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breeze came up from the beach, glowing with
health and life. I looked to see how many
doors and windows would be gladly flung
open to catch the first of the morning wind,
and chase away the hot, damp, sickly air
within; but I looked in vain. Not a door
creaked on its rusty hinges, not a window
relaxed its close hold of the frame; the
glorious light of day was not to be thrown in
upon the foul walls and floors of those
wretched hovels.

There was business, however, going on here
and there. The fisher and his boy were
patching up an old worm-eaten canoe, ready
for the morrow's toil; another son was hard
at work upon the net that lay piled up in
the little dirty verandah. Next door was a
very small shoemaker, sharing the little front
courtyard with a cooper, who did not appear
to be working at anything in particular;
but was rather disposed to soliloquize upon
buckets and tubs in general, and to envy
the hearty meal which a couple of crows
were making of a dead rat in the street.
Farther on was a larger building, but clearly
on its last legs, for it was held up by
numberless crutches. It was not considered safe to
hold merchandise of any description; and, as
the owner did not desire the trouble and
expense of pulling it down, he had let it out
to a Malay, who allowed strangers to sleep
in it on payment of a small nightly fee. As
I passed by, a crowd of poor Malabars, just
arrived from the opposite coast of India, were
haggling for terms for a night's lodging for
the party, and not without sundry misgivings;
for some looked wistfully at the tottering
walls, and pointed, with violent gestures, to
the many props.

Wending my slow way back towards the
main street, I came upon a busy carpenter's
shopa perfect model of the kind. In that
country carpenters are likewise carriage-
builders, and the place I then stopped to
examine was one of that description. It
was a long, low, rambling shed, such as
we might consider good enough to hold
cinders or firewood: the turf-thatched roof
had been patched in many places with tattered
matting; the crazy posts were undermined
by the pigs in the next yard, where they
shared the mud and the sun with a heap of
wretched children, and a score of starving dogs.
Every kind of conveyance that had been
invented since the flood, appeared to have a
damaged representative in that strange place.
Children's shattered donkey-carriages,
spavined old breaks, a rickety triacle of the
Portuguese period, hackeries of the early Malabar
dynasty, palanquins of Cingalese descent,
Dutch governors' curricles, English gigs, were
all pent up, with irrecoverable cart-wheels,
distorted carriage-poles, and consumptive
springs. Had I possessed any antiquarian
experience, I doubt not I should have
discovered amongst the mass an Assyrian chariot
or two, with a few Carthaginian howdahs.
The master-mind of this coach-factory was a
genuine Cingalese; who, in company with a
slender youth, was seated on his haunches
upon the ground, chisel in hand, contemplating,
but not working at, a felly for some embryo
vehicle. After one or two chips at the round
block of wood between his feet, Jusey Appoo
paused, arranged the circular comb in his
hair, and took another mouthful of betel;
then another chip at the wood; and then he
rose, sauntered to the door, and looked very
hard up the little lane and down it, as though
he momentarily expected some dreadful accident
to happen to somebody's carriage in the
next street.

Once more in my carriage, I threaded the
entire length of Sea Street, with its little dirty
shops; the sickly-smelling arrack-taverns;
the quaint old Hindรน temple, bedecked with
flowers and flags inside, and with dirt
outside; and the whitewashed Catholic churches.
Little bells were tinkling at these churches;
huge gongs were booming forth their brazen
thunder from the heathen temples; there was
a devil-dance in one house to charm away some
sickness, and a Jesuit in the next hovel confessing
a dying man. There was a chorus of many
tiny lungs at a Tamil school, chanting out their
daily lessons in dreary verse, and a wilder, older
chorus at the arrack-shop just over the way,
without any pretence to time or tune. The
screams of bullock-drivers; the shouts of
horse-keepers; the vociferations of loaded
coolies; the screeching of rusty cart-wheels,
begging to be greased; the din of the
discordant cheekoe or oil-mill;—all blended in one
violent storm of sound, made me glad to hasten
on my way, and leave the maddening chorus
far behind. The open beach, with its tall fringe
of graceful cocoa-palms, and its cool breeze,
was doubly welcome. I was sorry when we
left it, and drove slowly up a steep hill: on
the summit of which stood the Church of
St. Nicholas, my destination.

A busy scene was there. Long strings of
curious-looking vehicles were ranged outside
the tall white churchso white and shiny in
the sun, that the bullocks in the hackeries
dared not look up at it. I felt quite strange
amongst all the motley throng: and when I
stared about and beheld those many carts,
and palanquins, and hackeries, I fancied
myself back again in Jusey Appoo's coach-
factory. But then these were all gaily painted,
and some were actually varnished, and had
red staring curtains, and clean white cushions.
Nearer the church, were some half-a-dozen
carriages, with horses, poor enough of their
kind, but still horses. I glided in amongst
the crowd, unnoticed, as I too fondly
believed, and was about to take up a very
humble position just inside one of the great
folding-doors, when I was accosted by a
Cingalese, in a flowing white robe, and a gigantic
comb in his hair, and politely led away captive,
I knew not whither. Down one side aisle,
and across a number of seats, and then up