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amla in their boats, and, as we pass each ke-wyn or circle, its keonk, or head man, comes on board, and we form quite a flotilla.
The Aracanese have a custom of leaving the jungle growing on the banks of the creeks and rivers in a hedge or border, sometimes 50 to 100 yards deep; so that the traveller, being unable to see inland, fancies he is traversing interminable forests, when he is probably in a champaign country. The object of this border is to prevent drift-wood being carried during high floods into their fields; but it appears to me a useless custom, and it certainly disfigures the country. Where Chittagongs reside the land is cleared to the water's edge, and the sight of the open meadows is Quite cheering to the eye.
The stream being narrow, we tacked every five minutes, and once got into the trees on the bank, but were soon off again. Three hours' sail brought us past Chyn-tan, a small village on the bank, dignified by two little Jedis. The villagers seem very busy, threshing and piling their rice on the shore, and scarcely leaving off to stare at us as we pass. This rice is soon purchased by dul&ls (native brokers) for the shipping, or the Akyab market.
The tide failed us at the village of Subong, on the E. bank, where we anchored, and I had kucherry, returning with the ebb to the mouth of the creek before night-fall.
In these wooded nalas, when the ebb leaves the mud exposed, the banks are often visited by numbers of monkeys (Cercopithecus carbonarius), the "myuk-tunga," or fishing monkey of the Aracanese, who grope about the mud for worms, shell-fish, or
when caught young; but the males get morose with age, and bite severely, having canine teeth as large as the fangs of a fox-hound. They swim well: one that I had wounded in the Bolongo Island, in 1847, escaped out of our boat (having charged at and nearly driven us all overboard), and took to swimming and diving so dexterously that we were long in recapturing him. I might have shot several to-day, but forbore.
Among the hills described a little while back, one of the inner ranges, running N.W., ends in a very steep truncated summit. It is the highest hill in the alluvium of the Akyab district,- and, by native report, quite insurmountable. It is called the Beygnara-tung (or hill of five hundred ducks); but the origin of such a singular name I could not discover. There is said to be a tank on the top (perhaps for the ducks), and that in former years a nat or spirit inhabited the hill, who fulfilled the wishes of all such pilgrims as visited her shrine, whether for riches, long life, or posterity. The tank also on the summit, generally said to be dug by praeter-human hands, is a feature common to nearly all the remarkable hills in Singthum, Chota Nagpur, &c.
amusing fellows, and readily tamed
Before nightfall we anchored at our station of yesterday, below Yeogwyn Island. The conflux of the two streams is dangerous for small boats at half tides during the springs, as strong whirlpools form in such spots sufficient to engulph a light canoe.
The channel of the Koladyn before us being shallow, we waited till 9 P.m., when the flow had been running about half an hour, and then weighed, tacking up with a light north-easterly air. The young moon had set early behind the hills, but it was a brilliant starlight night. We made for the easterly shore, where we had 3 fathoms, but the channel was very narrow, and in spite of every precaution, sending the jolly-boat ahead to sound, we twice shoaled to £ a fathom, and the second time grounded. This was about midnight, and the crew, who had been working hard all day, let go the anchor, to wait for better times; but, on my insisting upon it, they got a grapnel off in the jolly-boat, and throwing it into deep water astern of us, hove upon it, and a light air helping us, we got off. This reach of the Koladyn, which I calculate at 25 to 30 miles from Akyab, would require great precaution, and daylight, to ensure the safe passage of larger vessels. Beyond it the water continues of great depth for about 50 miles.
bth, Wednesday.—At about 3 A.m. we anchored off the village of Kuddawa, on the E. shore, being unable to proceed on account of a dense fog. I was upon deck at about 7 A.m., a cold northerly breeze was clearing off the mist, which at 9 A.m. lifted, and the sun shone out upon much the same kind of country as heretofore. The Koladyn narrowed to about 600 yards; the E. shore well cultivated, but fringed with jungle, and villages at every mile or two apart. The opposite side is the E. bank of Yeogwyn Island (which we ran along yesterday), and is chiefly jungle, with the ground taree-palm in thick groves, affording a boundless supply to the Aracanese of the drink they love. The whole of the day was occupied in revenue business; and the poop of the Petrel, with an awning above, made the pleasantest kucherry I had ever worked in.
At about 2 P.m. we anchored off the pleasant village of Rungjwyn.
About 8 P.m. we weighed again, sweeping up, for there was little or no wind, but were obliged to anchor about midnight, as the fog settled down so thick we could scarcely see to the jibboom end. Just before anchoring we passed a pariar brig at anchor.
6th, Thursday.— Ookwye, our anchoring place. The country immediately in advance begins perceptibly to improve, the banks to heighten, and wide meadows to relieve the monotony of bush and jungle. We weighed at 9 A.m., with a cold bracing wind that sent us flying through the water. The country here rises on either shore, losing the swampy appearance of Lower Aracan ; and the view, as we tacked up, was lovely in the extreme. On either side villages, of a far superior description to any yet seen, lay clustered on high banks, amid groves of plantains, mangoes, guavas, and jacks; and in front of us extended ranges of purple hills, from which stood out in relief a beautiful group, covered with green jungle, and crowned with a jedi (the Kyuktau), beneath which the river winds, sweeping in a semicircle to the W. We anchored late in the afternoou, in a very populous country, thickly studded with villages all the way from Apawa, a town on the last reach, about 8 miles down, where we passed two or three Madras brigs at anchor.
Shwelyn is a very large village, the houses peering through groves of plantains, mangoes, and jack-trees, on a bank full 20 feet above high water. The cotton-tree ("seemul") is here common: and I heard the voices of several Indian birds, which are not found, or but rarely so, near the sea; such as the coel, the wandering cuckoo (Cuculus fugax), and the " oogoos" (Haliwtus macei), which at Akyab is replaced by the HaliaHus blagrus.
The western shore is rather lower, entirely open, and cultivated; and opposite us lay the village of Poona-roa (the Bramin's village), in which a colony of Bramins had for ages settled. Above this extended, as far as the eye could reach, the villages of Frabong, Tongbo, Chagong, Oukpyse, Atapyse, Kyuktau, Meedan, and Wangewdung; and on our side Kanynroa, Sadagri, Gnwelyn, Shwelyn, Sawungyn, Pryntong, and the Kyuktau jedi. The population here is almost entirely of that neutral class called Mugh Musulmans, who have become completely naturalized in the country, speaking indiscriminately Aracanese or Bengali to each other. Their first immigration from Chittagong (or Dhaka ?) is of so ancient a date that they could give me no information on the subject.
Towards evening I went on shore in a large boat belonging to my quondam teacher and ally, Mungola. His boat was a good specimen of a Burmese godoo, but is not of a class much used here; the ordinary boats being very like the choppered dingies of Bengal. Mungola's boat rowed ten oars, and went very fast through the water. The Aracanese are much better rowers than the Hindustanees, who lose much mechanical force by dipping their oars close to the boat's side, instead of at right angles. The stroke oar in -these boats is generally a Burmese, and often a "loo-byak," or wag, well versed in songs and witty sayings, wherewith to beguile labour. Every stroke is preceded by a short sentence said or sung, and the stroke itself accompanied by a chorus from the other rowers. The words sounded to me a constant repetition of "Welykcho "— (chorus) Welyk — every time increasing in energy and rapidity until the rowers seemed crazy, dashing the water most disagreeably about, and making the boat foam along, until, at a general shout, there was a temporary pause or lull. We landed at a good ghaut, a path winding up the steep bank, and walked into the village of Shwelyn aforesaid.
The houses and homesteads are large and comfortable, and irregularly scattered amid railed-off enclosures of plantains, mangoes, jacks, and guava-trees. It was harvest-time, and all the villagers as busy as they could be. At every hundred yards were piles of rice in stalk and heaps of grain, which was being threshed out in the ancient Indian fashion by buffaloes, of which I saw great numbers. The people are all Musulmans, and dress nearly the same as the genuine Mughs, but are very distinct in countenance, having more or less of the disagreeable dull look of the Chittagong. The elders, moreover, wear beards—a rare sight amongst true Aracanese—and all cut their hair, which a Mugh cherishes like any Samson. The village lay along the river side; and inland spread a wide extent of rice, interspersed with scraps of nul or reed jungle. There were a few small tanks scattered about, and some enclosed patches of mirchaies (Chili pepper), onions, and banguns, which reminded me of the pretty Koormee villages in Chota Nagpur. From the houses we struck inland across the fields for about one mile and a half, and then skirted a low range of wooded hills, from whence, according to our guide, deer and pea-fowl sallied forth of an evening. We came across numerous traces of elephants, which resort to the rice-fields from the jungle to the N.E., in the rains, and cause great mischief to the crops.
7th, Friday.—A heavy driving fog in the morning, cleared off about 8 A.m. The fresh-water mullets here are very inferior in flavour to the delicious fish about Patna and Bhagulpur.
As evening closed in my attention was attracted by singular notes from the trees, "Koo, koo, koo—kukiak, kukiak, kukiak," which I at first supposed to proceed from some species of small owl (Athene), but on closer investigation I discovered the sounds to belong to a crepuscular species of squirrel.
On my way back to the Petrel I passed a singular pigeonhouse-looking edifice, on piles leaning over the river's bank, and was informed it was intended as a place for the accouchement of women newly arrived from other villages. If a man and his wife immigrate from another town, she will not be allowed by the villagers to be confined in the village, but must retire to this singular lying-in hospital. This interdiction is taken off after the birtli of the first child.
8th, Saturday.—We went in the direction taken the day before yesterday, but, passing through the first low range of hills, came upon large plains of grass and reeds, scattered over with broken chains of small hills covered with tree and thicket jungle. The beaters in line swept these little hills, while the hunters ran on ahead to intercept the game; by which means I was enabled to bag a couple of kakur, or barking deer (Cervus muntjac), the only things I saw.
It is melancholy to see such wide tracts of rich land lying waste for want of hands to cultivate it. These plains extend about 8 or 10 miles inland, and terminate in boundless forests and ranges of low hills increasing in height up to the great chain of the Yeomatung on the Burma frontier, and frequented by a few wandering Khiangs, or nomadic hill people, who seldom remain more than two years in one place.
9th, Sunday.—Leaving a party behind to finish some measurements in Sadagree, I weighed at 1 P.m., and with a pleasant breeze stood up the river. The banks on either side are high and steep, crowned with graceful drooping trees, of every shade of verdure, from the dark tints of the jack and mango to the tender yellow-green of the plantain, enriched here and there with large masses of the scarlet flowers of the dak jungle. Villages occur the whole way, with an occasional white stone jedi, and the shores were enlivened by groups of men, women, and children, in their gay coloured national costume. The river swept in a grand semicircle to the left, and the reach we were sailing up was bounded by the steep wooded Kyuktau, with its jedi on the summit, casting a rich green reflection on the clear water, where long low canoes glided smoothly in the cool shadow of the hill. Near its base was a small village of Khiangs, their neat little huts built entirely of bamboos. One or two Bengali boats were moored beneath the landing-place, whose owners appeared engaged in traffic with a few of the nearly naked hill men, while several children were playing about the water's edge. Bending to the left, or N.W., the shore on the right bank of the river was clustered with houses as far as the eye could reach, and the different ghats or landing-places were as beautiful as the most admired of those on the Hooghly or Ganges, with the advantage of a purple background of hills. This reach was about 2 miles in length, when the Koladyn, opposite the village of Wangewdung, turns sharply to the N.E., receiving here a pretty wooded nala, the Peekhyoung, running in from the N.W. The water of the river from our last anchoring-place was beautifully clear and green; the average depth 2 to 3 fathoms. The reach, now turning to the north-eastward, was beautiful in the extreme, the richly-wooded hills coming sheer down into the water, which spread out in other places, forming a chain of calm pools, a quarter of a mile wide