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We shall now present a few extracts from different parts of the work, selected with the intention of giving our readers specimens of the manner of its execution.
The following description of a squall at sea, seems to us unusually graphic:
“ Thursday, 5. Reached the south-east trade-wind, and are going gayly, with a steady breeze, at the rate of seven miles an hour. Those who have not been to sea can scarcely realize the exhilaration of spirit produced by a strong favoring wind, after wearisome delays. We had scarcely made any advance for ten days, and were almost weary of delay. When we bad wind, it was in severe squalls, accompanied with heavy showers. The majesty of a few sharp squalls, however, repays one for the danger they may involve, and tempts the timid passenger to brave the wind and a wetting, for the pleasure of the sight. Every sluggish sailor is converted instantly into a hero. Every order is obeyed on the run. The lofty display of canvass, which had been flapping against the masts, is rapidly reduced, as the threatening cloud draws on. Regardless of the huge drops which now begin to descend, the captain stands at the weather bulwark, peering, through half-closed lids, into the gathering gloom. Fitful gusts herald the approaching gale. More canvass is taken in; the waves are lashed to foam; the wind howls through the rigging; the bulk-heads creak and strain; the ship careens to the water's edge; and the huge spray springs over the weather-bow; then comes the rain in torrents; the mainsail is furled, the spanker brailed up, and the man at the wheel is charged to mind his weather helm. Soon the whole force of the blast is upon us. “Hard up! roars the captain. Hard up, sir ! responds the watchful helmsman. The noble thing turns her back to the tremendous uproar, and away we scud, conscious of safety, and thrilling with emotions of sublimity.
“ The rush is over! The dripping seamen expand again the venturous canvass,—the decks are swabbed, -the tropical sun comes out gloriously,—we pair ourselves to promenade,-and evening smiles from golden clouds, that speak of day-gladdened realms beyond. And now the rolling billows, disrobed of their foaming glitter, quiet themselves for the repose of night, while the blessed moon beams mildly from mid-heaven.
« « Thou art, O God! the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see ;
Are but reflections caught from thee!
Vol. I, pp. 19, 20.
A storm off Tavoy Point, is thus described : “ The present period of the year on this coast is the latter part of the dry season, and is marked by heavy squalls and showers. After
these, there are about six weeks of clear weather, increasingly hot, after which the monsoon changes to the south-west, with violent squalls, and the rains set in for six months. In this return voyage to Maulmain, we experienced three of these storms, accompanied by much thunder, each severely testing the power of our anchor and vessel. The rocky coast furnishes no harbor except Mergui, Tavoy, and Amherst; and the high mountains which skirt the shore seemn to draw together the utmost fury of the elements.
“One of these storms, experienced off Tavoy Point, will be memorable to all on board. As night drew on, the thunder, which had been growling on the mountains, grew more violent. It was evident we should have a hard blow; and, the tide turning against us, we were obliged to anchor in an exposed situation. After dark, the wind and lightning increased, and we got top-mast, gaff, &c., upon deck, and, paying out much cable, waited the issue, uneasy. At length it blew a hurricane, and the lightning kept up a glare bright as mid-day. It was but at intervals that it was dark, even for a moinent, the light flickering constantly like a torch in the wivd. We were in the very midst of the electric cloud, and the sharp, cracking thunder was deafening. Torrents of rain drenched the poor fellows on deck (for there was room for only two or three below), and even in the cabin I had to gather my desk, &c., under an umbrella ; for the neglected seams let in the water in twenty places. The little cutter pitched heavily at her anchor, and the loud roaring of a lee surf told what we should experience if she parted her chain. We left all in the hands of God, and were sitting in silence below, when a universal shout of terror brought us on deck, -a ball of fire rested on the mast-head! The consternation was universal ; the captain and every one of the crew vociferating prayers, one to the Virgin Mary, another to Mahomet, &c., each in different language. They seemed frantic, and their voices rose on the tempest like the swelling wail of dying men. One declared it was the devil, and proposed to drive him away by burning a certain mixture to make a horrid smell. They seemed comforted, however, to see us confident, and aware of its cause. The Christian Karens were tranquil, but awe-struck, and lay on their knees with their faces to the deck, uttering prayer each for himself, in a low but audible voice. It staid clinging to the mast, amid all the rocking of the surges, till the lascars were nearly ready with their incantatious, and then disappeared. It was an hour of great danger; but the good hand of the Lord was upon us, and our frail bark rode out the storm, which abated in its violence before morning.”—Vol. I, pp. 51, 52.
Our readers will be amused with the following goodnatured exhibition of the inconveniences to which our author was frequently exposed in his navigation along the coast :
“ Aside from the danger of navigating this side of the bay of Bengal (except from September to March, when the weather is exceedingly fine), the inconveniences are not small, from the bad construc
tion and management of the vessels employed, and the annoying insects, &c., with which they abound. My little cutter is superior in all those respects to the Burman vessels, which I expect generally to sail in from place to place. I can stand up in the cabin, while in those one can only sit, and that on the floor. I have a little quarterdeck, which they know nothing of. And we have an iron anchor, while theirs is but a piece of wood, shaped like a fish-hook. On the score of insects, too, I am informed that my condition is far better. In the latter point, however, I can by no means boast. Hundreds of ants, great and small, black and red, move in endless files every where. Cockroaches, flying and creeping, spotted, striped, and plain, walk over me and about me all night, but, through mercy, they do not bite, and are, withal, quite shy when there is a light burning, and so do not interrupt me when engaged. I now and then kill a forward fellow; but it is in vain to think of abating the nuisance, for their name is legion. I have nice sugar-cane laid in a corner for the ants, to keep them away; but some of them are blood-thirsty, and bite me with all zeal. I sometimes watch a bold fellow, as he runs over my hand; and, when he finds a suitable spot, he raises himself perpendicular, and digs into me, kicking and struggling, as if he would go through the skin. The spiders 1 kill without mercy; and busy enough they kept me, the first day or two. Some of them have bodies as big as the joint of one's thumb, and occupy, as they stand, a space as large as the top of a coffee-cup. Mice nibble my clothes at night. I have seen but two or three centipedes, and succeeded in killing them; but there are, doubtless, more on board. But the musquitoes! They are a torment day and night. I am comforted with the assurance, that strangers suffer most with them, and hope they will not make a stranger of me' much longer.
“ Among all these enemies, I have no auxiliaries but two or three nimble lizards. These I carefully befriend, and they consume as many of the vermin as they can. But what are these among so many ? Beside their services in the butchering department, they interest me by their sudden and adroit movements on the walls and ceiling, and, withal, sing for me every night, as soon as the candle is out.
“ The variety of costume on board is striking. My man is from Madras, and wears generally nothing but a pair of calico drawers. The captain has nothing but a piece of check wound tight round bis hips, and drawn up between his thighs. The owner's agent, or supercargo, is a Mussulman, and wears, beside the waist-cloth, a muslin jacket with sleeves, tied in front, so as to discover the left breast. The su-cún-ny, or steersman, is a half-blood Portuguese, and wears drawers, and a short shirt or jacket, of red calico. One of the sailors has a regular short gown and petticoat, and the other, short drawers only. The Karens wear nothing but a long shirt without sleeves, made of substantial cotton cloth, ingeniously figured in the loom. Diversity in dress is still greater in the towns, arising from the great mixture in the population. I hare, however, already become so accustomed to it, that it ceases to excite attention.”— Vol. I, pp. 52–54.
Idolatry, in all its forms, has always been prodigal of labor and capital. In Burmah, though it is seen in one of its least objectionable shapes, yet even here it must have drained, most effectually, the means of the people. Without mentioning the fact, that all the gold which comes into the country is used for gilding the temples and royal edifices, how sad must be the waste of property in the construction of pagodas and images. The following description of the aspect of the country, in this respect, will give us a striking conception of the moral condition of a heathen land:
“The whole region immediately above Maulmain is alluvial; the rocks chiefly blue limestone of excellent quality. The country is flat, fertile, and beautiful, but, though once populous, is now thinly inhabited. The scenery is rendered romantic and peculiar by small mountains, rising abruptly from the level fields to the height of four, five, and six hundred feet; the base scarcely exceeding the size of the summit. In most parts, trees and shrubs cling to the sides; but here and there the castellated and perpendicular rocks project above the foliage, like the turrets of some huge ruined tower. On the summits of many of them, apparently inaccessible to human feet, Boodbjst zeal has erected pagodas, whose white forms, conspicuous far and near, remind the traveller every moment that he surveys a region covered with the shadows of spiritual death. Some of the smaller of these hills I ascended. My heart sickened as I stood beside the dumb gods of this deluded people, looking down and around on a fine country, half peopled by half-civilized tribes, enjoying but half the blessings of their delicious climate, borne by whole generations to the chambers of death. They eat, and drink, and die. No inventions, no discoveries, no attainments, no enjoyments, are theirs, but such as have descended to them age by age; and nothing is left to prove they have been, but their decayed pagodas, misshapen gods, and unblessed graves.
“Most of these mountains contain caves, some of them very large, which appear to have been, from time immemorial, specially devoted to religious. purposes. The wealth and labor bestowed on these, are of themselves sufficient to prove how great the population has been, in former ages. I visited, in these excursions, three of the most remarkable, -one on the Dah Gyieng, and two on the Salwen. They differed only in extent, and in the apparent antiquity of the idols they contained. Huge stalactites descended almost to the floor in many places, while, in others, stalagmites, of various magnitudes and fantastic shapes, were formed upon the floor. In each, the bats occupied the lofty recesses of the ceiling, dwelling in deep and everlasting twilight. In one they seemed innumerable. Their ordure covered the bottom, in some places, to the depth of many feet. Throwing up some fragments of idols, we disturbed their noon-tide slumbers, and the effect was prodigious. The flutter of their wings created a trembling, or pulsation in the air, like that
produced by the deepest base of a great organ. In the dusk of the evening, they issue from the cave in a thick column, which extends unbroken for miles. The natives all affirmed this to be the case every evening; and Mr. Judson himself, when here with Major Crawford and others, saw the almost incredible fact.
“ This cave bas evidently been long deserted, except that a single large image at the entrance is kept in repair, before which were some recent offerings. I might, therefore, have easily obtained images for my friends; but, Mr. J. being afraid of an injurious influence on the native Christians who were with us, I abstained, and afterward obtained a supply by regular purchase.
“ The last one we visited is on the Salwen, about fifteen or twenty miles above Maulmain. The entrance is at the bottom of a perpendicular but uneven face of the mountain, enclosed in a strong brick Wall, wbich forms a large vestibule. The entrance to this enclosure is by a path, winding along the foot of the mountain; and nothing remarkable strikes the eye till one passes the gate, where the attention is at once powerfully arrested. Not only is the space within the wall filled with images of Gaudama of every size, but the whole face of the mountain, to the height of eighty or ninety feet, is covered with them. On every jutting crag stands some marble image, covered with gold, and spreading its uncouth proportions to the setting sun. Every recess is converted into shrines for others. The smooth surfaces are covered by small, flat images in burnt clay, and set in stucco. Of these last, there are literally thousands. In some places, they have fallen off, with the plaster in which they were set, and left spots of naked rock, against which bees have built their hives undisturbed. No where in the country have I seen such a display of wealth, ingenuity, and industry. But imposing as is this spectacle, it shrinks to insignificance, compared to the scene which opens on entering the cavern itself. It is of vast size, chiefly in one apartment, which needs no human art to render it sublime. The eye is confused, and the heart appalled, at the prodigious exbibition of infatuation and folly. Every where, on the floor, over-head, on the jutting points, and on the stalactite festoons of the roof, are crowded together images of Gaudama,—the offerings of successive ages. Some are perfectly gilded; others incrusted with calcareous matter; some fallen, yet sound; others mouldered; others just erected. Some of these are of stupendous size; some not larger than one's finger; and some of all the intermediate sizes; marble, stone, wood, brick, and clay. Some, even of marble, are so timeworn, though sheltered, of course, from changes of temperature, that the face and fingers are obliterated. In some dark recesses, bats were heard, and seemed numerous, but could not be seen. Here and there are models of temples, kyoungs, &c., some not larger than a half bushel, and some ten or fifteen feet square, absolutely filled with small idols, beaped promiscuously one upon another. As we followed the paths which wound among the groups of figures and models, every new aspect of the cave presented new multitudes of images. A ship of five hundred tons could not carry away the half of them.
VOL. IV.—NO. XIII.