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music that they can appreciate no other. I am
certain that M. Jullien's band would scarcely
be listened to by the Singalese if there were
a few tom-toms within hearing. It is a curious
fact that in the districts in which these
Nautch girls are brought up, education is so
rare, that these dancers are generally the only
lay persons within many days' journey who
can either read or write. The priests can all
read, if not write, and they take care to instruct
the temple girls, in order to enable them to
learn the various songs and legends for recital
at their periodic festivals. The rest of the
population they keep in the densest ignorance.

Leaving the dancers and priests, I strolled
towards the river Kaloo-ganga, whose quiet,
palm-shaded banks stood out in sweetest
contrast to the noisy revelry I had just beheld.
The moon was near the full, and rising high
above the many rich green topes of palms, and
gorgeous plantains, lit up the peaceful scene
with radiance not of earth. It is hardly
possible to conceive the magic beauty of
moonlight in the tropics: those who have witnessed
it, can never forget their feelings under its
influence. The master hand of our finest
painters might attempt to depict it, but the
affair would be a dead failure; and did it
succeed, strangers to these climes would
pronounce it an unnatural painting. Even in its
reality, it bears the impress of something half
unearthly, and it requires the testimony of
the huge fingery leaves, as they wave to the
breeze, to assure one that the whole scene is
not imaginary. Fully as bright and radiating,
though softer in its hue, than the broad
sunshine, the moon poured down in living streams
its gifts of ether-light. The monster palms,
the slender arekas, the feathery bamboos
and tamarinds, revelled in the harmony and
glow of radiant moonlight, which leaping down
in phosphorescent waves, sprang on from leaf
to flower, from bud to herb, and streaming
through the waving seas of giant, emerald
grass, died sparkling at its feet.

Some of the topes along this gentle river
grew so thickly that not the faintest ray of
light found its soft way amongst them: the
deepest shade was there, and only in one of
these could I trace any vestiges of living
beings. A little hut was buried far away in
the inmost recesses of a topeall bright
above, all gloom below. The door was open,
and from it shone a faintly glimmering light;
so tiny was the ray amidst that heavy shade,
so distant did it seem, that it defied all
conception of space, and made my eyes ache to
gaze at it. I, at length, distinguished faint
sounds proceeding from it. They were those
of a regular harmony. Strolling nearer, I
heard that they proceeded from cultivated
voices. What a sensation! The music was
that of the " Evening Hymn!" and it came
upon me with the echoes of the uncouth
Babel of Heathenism I had just left still
ringing in my ears, like the sunlight on a
surging sea. When I recovered from the
delightful surprise, I found that the singers,
were the family of a native missionary who
who had embraced Christianity.

The next day the bazaar was crowded with
dealers in and diggers for precious stones.
Hundreds of Moormen, Chitties, Arabs,
Parsces, and Singalese were busily employed
in barter; and a most noisy operation it was.
In the neighbourhood of Ratnapoora exist
many tracts of clayey and gravelly land, rich
in rubies, sapphires, garnets, turquoise, and
cat's-eyes. For the privilege of digging for
these, or of sifting them from the sands of
some of the rivers, the natives pay heavy
rents to Government; often sub-letting the
ground, at large profits, to needy speculators.
Their harvest is usually offered for sale during
the Peraharra; and, be their gains what they
may, they are generally rid of the whole
amount before the end of the festival. The
existence of this source of wealth is,
unfortunately, a bane, rather than a blessing, to
the district; for whole villages flock to the
ruby-grounds, delving and sifting for weeks
together, utterly neglecting their rice-fields
and gardens. Arrack taverns have multiplied,
intemperance has increased, long tracts of
fertile land have ceased to be sown with paddy,
and the country-people now buy their food
from strangers, in place of growing it, as
formerly. It will be a happy time for Saffragam
when its stores of precious stones shall be
exhausted; for not till then will peaceful
industry be once more sought.

Struggling and forcing a way through the
busy crowd were to be seen one or two Hindoo
fakeers, most repulsive objects, depending for
subsistence on the alms of pilgrims and others.
One of these wretched creatures, in the
fulfilment of a vow, or as an act of fancied
righteousness, had held his left arm for so
many years erect above his head, that it could
not now be movedand grew transfixed,
emaciated, and bony. It seemed more like
a dry, withered stick tied to the body
than a part of itself. The other fakeer
had closed his hands so long that the fingernails
had grown quite through the palms,
and projected at the back of them: these
miserable-looking objects appeared to reap a
tolerable harvest, and seemed to be then in
no pain.

Under the shade of a banyan tree, a grave-
looking Moorman was amusing a crowd of
boys and women with the recital of some
wonderful or silly legend. The trade of
story-telling, in the East, is still a profitable one,
if I might judge from the comfortable
appearance of this well-clad talker.

When I left Ratnapoora crowds were still
flocking into the town, for on the morrow the
huge temple elephants were expected to
march in procession through the place, decked
out in all sorts of finery, and bearing the
casket and relic; but it was a wearisome
spectacle, and I was heartily glad to find

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