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gradual slope of the valleys between each place. The room was, however, suffirange toward the wide expanse of low ciently large to admit of our using it as country a few miles farther below-com- a sleeping apartment; we migrated into bined to form a prospect as magnificent the various rooms by turns with our as any I had ever beheld.
dressing paraphernalia, and the few Just below the bungalow I came to a articles of dining-room furniture indisstandstill: the road suddenly terminated, pensable to our needs were placed day and an almost perpendicular bank stood by day wherever we found it most conup before me. Cock Robin,” how- venient to sit down to our meals. How ever, was better acquainted with the spot I resigned myself during so long a period than I was, and doubtless divining my to the many drawbacks to comfort I hesitation, took his own way, went then experienced I find it difficult in the straight at it, and, foundering up, land- retrospect to conceive. But whenever ed me safely on the levelled compound I felt a disposition to grumble I had above, amid a confused litter of bricks, only to look from the front veranda to sawn timber, heaps of lime, pools of dispel every feeling of impatience and mortar, stones, tools, masons, carpen- discontent. The magnificent panorama ters, and coolies, a conglomeration of before my eyes almost surpassed descripvarious implements and races, Malays, tion. Tamils, and Singhalese of every stamp Allagalla" being situated at the and caste being congregated together in very extremity of the district, the termialmost equal numbers.
nation of the various ranges of hills From behind this motley assemblage a around afforded us the view of a wide heavily-bearded visage was soon distin- expanse of low country, extending to the guishable, and a familiar figure emerged, right and left as well as before us. its burliness scarcely diminished by a Directly opposite, stretching away for suit of white jungle clothes, and the light miles toward the beautiful port of Trinof amusement inclined to beam out of comalee, it lay wrapped in an unbroken the dark, kindly eyes as they rested on stillness. Some idea of the remarkable mine, and descried the consternation purity of the atmosphere may be formed and disgust which must have been very from the circumstance that on a clear vividly pictured in them. When, at day the sea-line can be distinctly traced length, after dismounting, I managed on the horizon at a distance of more with my husband's assistance to sur- than seventy miles, looking like a silver mount the various obstacles in our way thread-the white foam of the advancand reach the bungalow, I was even ing and receding waves even perceptible more dismayed, for although he had at times to the naked eye. To the left prepared me for finding things in an in- lay the watery plains of Aloot Newaracomplete and disordered condition, my the Bintenne fields, where the snipe flock imagination had scarcely realized the in numbers as the season approaches, veritable chaus which the scene before affording good shooting for all lovers of me presented.
sport. Beyond, dimly fading in the disThe building was, or rather promised tance, the broken peaks and summits of to be, a fine large bungalow, containing the Kandyan ranges reared their lofty several lofty rooms, a spacious smoking heights – Mchadahamahanewara, the hall, and broad verandas. But the Knuckles and Hewahette, and even porplan was only just marked out by stone tions of the Nitre Cave and Kalibooka pillars and partially-built walls--even districts being visible sometimes. Inthe roof was not shingled all over, and mediately below we could trace at interthrough the open rafters here and there vals portions of the white line of high the sun blazed fiercely in. The only road passing to the right through the room which was really in a habitable paddy fields of Beebola, and onward state was the office, and that could just through the park country, by many deboast of four walls which were already viations from the straight line to Battidry and whitewashed; but even here the caloa, one of the hottest ports in the doors were not put up, and pieces of island. coir-matting, hung before the apertures,
I found “Allagalla" a most lonely were improvised as curtains in their abode ; it was so far from any other New Series.-VOL. XXXIII., No, I
estate, or rather bungalow (for estates their range beneath their stupendous adjoined it in more than one point), that weight. we rarely saw visitors, especially as we Before we took up our residence on were in such confusion with the building “ Allagalla” there had been foating operations that we could not entertain.
among the natives that a E- being secretary to the Medical “Pezazi,' “Yakkho"-or in plain Aid Committee at that time, and a mem- English a devil-haunted its vicinity, ber of the Planters' Association, had rumors which of course E-regarded many public meetings to attend in the with supreme contempt, ridiculing all district; and the visiting of his own the stories which came to his ears. properties, both in the immediate neigh- Still, the apprehension exhibited by borhood and in other districts, made the natives was genuine enough, and we his absences very frequent.
But I was
had more than one instance in which thoroughly accustomed to jungle life, fear so completely overcame them that and, except on his trips to any great dis- they succumbed to its effects. One case, tance, rarely cared to accompany him, which fell immediately under my notice, the long rides in the hot sun being so was that of a Singhalese lad about seventrying to me. I had plenty of resources teen years of age, employed as a servant for occupation and amusement in my by the conductor, who becamne, as the work and writing, drawing and books, Tamils graphically describe it, Pezazi though I often longed for my piano, poodichidi,” or
· devil-taken' -as we which of course had been left with our should express it, “possessed of the other goods at "Mausa-Kellie;" my devil''--and gave himself up for lost. poultry-yard and flower-garden too were He had for some days refused to work, still in prospective at “ Allagalla," and and hung about the compound in a state I missed them considerably. But, on of abject terror, which increased on the the whole, night was the only time when approach of night. Soon he betook I really did feel the loneliness and soli- himself to one of the go-downs belongtude almost more than oppressive. ing to the bungalow, where he lay in a Even when my husband was at home the state of partial coma, trembling and weird aspect of the surroundings had quaking in every limb, and refusing all always an unpleasant effect on my offers of food or medicine. Unfortunatenerves, and it was sometimes with an ly, at that time the appointment of a unaccountable sort of shiver that I rose medical officer to the district had not from my comfortable rattan reclining- been concluded, so that no professional chair in the veranda to retire for the help was at hand. Persuasion failing, night, when he had fallen asleep in the threats and even force were resorted to, opposite long arm-chair.
but without effect ; nothing would rouse To stand on the levelled space in front him, and all that could be gathered from of the bungalow on a bright moonlight his miserable articulations was a kind night, and gaze around, gave me a shud- of incoherent entreaty to be left to his dering sensation of something "un- fate; it was useless to make any effort canny" about the place. The black, to rescue him from the grasp of the overhanging rocks above—the " devil's fiend who held him as his victim. rocks, as they were called-looked On the morning of the third day the blacker in the shades of night ; the unfortunate creature was dead, and charred trunks of felled trees in the laid in his grave before the sun went clearing stood out in huge shapeless down. bodies here and there, the few remaining
This circumstance impressed me very branches on them projecting like phan- unpleasantly, and although I scouted the tom hands and glinting in the fitful idea of there being anything to justify moonlight ; the chasms—and there were such apprehensions as led to the death many--had the appearance of unfathom- of the wretched boy, I could not but able depths; and the sharp outline wish that these notions were less prevaof the rugged hills against the sky lent among the natives, as it became quite made them resemble impending masses disagreeable having the servants and in close proximity, ready to close coolies in a state of continual trepidaupon and overwhelm everything within tion, and circulating the most improb
able stories among themselves and their it must be quite early, and the kitchen neighbors.
cooly was doubtless cutting firewood in I observed, however, that those natives good time. E-- responded in a tone who professed Christianity, both Roman- of slight contempt, that no one could be ists and Protestants, exhibited no symp- cutting firewood at that hour, and the toms of fear, neither were they so credu- sounds were more suggestive of felling lous as the Buddhists. The Tamil coo- jungle ; and he then inquired how long lies appeared more superstitious than Í had been listening to them. Now any, impressing upon one the generally thoroughly aroused, I replied that I had received opinion, which has almost be heard the sounds for some time, at first come an axiom, that the greater the confusing them with my dreams, but ignorance, the greater is the superstition. Soon sufficiently awakening to the fact
The memorable night on which the that they were no mere phantoms of my circumstances I am about to describe imagination, but a reality. During our took place, E-- and I had retired conversation the noises became more early, as was our usual custom. The distinct and loud ; blow after blow reservants slept in go-downs outside, built sounded, as of the axe descending upon in the compound at the back of the bun- the tree, followed by the crash of the galow, and it so happened at the time falling timber. Renewed blows anthat the conductor and his family also nounced the repetition of the operations occupied a go-down, the small bungalow on another tree, and continued till in which he had formerly lived having several were devastated. Exclaiming been recently destroyed by fire. wrathfully that he would “stand this
E- was never a sound sleeper, and sort of thing no longer," E-- pushed the least noise soon roused him. I, on aside the matting overhanging the doorthe contrary, enjoyed my repose, and way, and passing through a couple of even when dawn of day urged the neces- rooms and a passage stood in the back sity of rising if we would have a refresh- veranda and shouted for the appoo and ing half hour before the sun burst forth the conductor. I remained within, listin its tropical heat and dried up all the ening in mute astonishment to what was dews of night, would fain have lingered passing. It appeared that both conin the transition state between slumber ductor and servants were all awake, and and wakefulness, when, knowing that I could hear the wailing of a child, fol. we are in dreamland, we still wish to lowed by the sound of a woman's frightprolong the duration of that blissful ened weeping from one of the go-downs feeling of semi - unconsciousness, and outside. E- was the first to speak. avert for a while the awakening to the In imperious tones he demanded what stern realities and commonplaces of the conductor meant by allowing such a every-day life.
disturbance at that hour-why did he Thus, wrapped in dreams, I lay on not put an immediate stop to it? The the night in question, tranquilly sleep- conductor's reply was given without ing, but gradually roused to a percep- hesitation, deferentially enough, but with tion that discordant sounds disturbed no attempt at evading the question. His the serenity of my slumber. Loath to English was not elegant, but at least exstir, I still dozed on, the sounds, how- plicit. “I should be very glad to stop ever, becoming, as it seemed, more de- it, sir, if I could, but I can't. termined to make themselves heard ; one at work, sir-it's the devil.” and I awoke to the consciousness that I confess that my nerves were not they proceeded from a belt of adjacent proof against this startling announcejungle, and resembled the noise that ment. I sought companionship. Throwwould be produced by some person fello ing on my dressing-gown I quickly ing timber.
proceeded to the veranda, looking at Shutting my ears to the disturbance, the clock on the sideboard en passant. I made no sign, until with an expres- The hands pointed to 2.55 A.M. Suffision of impatience E—- suddenly start- ciently convinced that there was someed up, when I laid a detaining grasp thing very extraordinary going on, I upon
his arm, murmuring that there was joined E-- in the veranda. The no need to think of rising at present, conductor, head appoo, and several of
the other servants were standing outside Some time elapsed, it may have been in the compound. All this time there a quarter of an hour, and my quakings had been no cessation of the sounds. having somewhat subsided, I was dropThe regular blow of the axe and the ping off into a restless doze, when sudcrash of the falling tree went on without denly a whole battery of blows resoundintermission For the moment, as the ed in the immediate vicinity, succeeded conductor ceased speaking, E-—'s ut- by thundering crashes in quick succester astonishment almost took away his sion. Then came a violent rush of breath. This was succeeded, as he has wind, followed by a volley of what since admitted, by a cold chill, which seemed to be missiles, in the shape of crept imperceptibly over him as he stood stones, sand, and other loose materials there, and seemed to paralyze his powers hurled down upon the roof of the outof articulation. Hastily rallying himself, side buildings with the noise of a hurriwith rising anger, he found utterance.
Conductor, do you take me for a The sudden alarm almost deprived me fool, or am I to consider you one, to of my self-possession, and E-- could believe in such humbug as this ? I scarcely repress his indignation, so firmlooked upon you as
a man of some ly did the conviction rest in his mind sense, but you appear to be as foolish as that human agency was at work. His the coolies. You know as well as I do muttered imprecations were not a few, that the devil doesn't play practical and I pitied the poor "devil," whoever jokes like these, and that no such person he might be, who might at that moment as the devil is allowed to go about as have fallen under the lash of his vengethese ignorant people describe-that it ful feelings. is simply a tissue of humbugging super- After this we heard no more, the fiend stition.'
having apparently exhausted his disThe conductor shook his head. “He pleasure. Daylight came at last, and was very sorry to lose master's good with it my nerves recovered their wontopinion, he had no wish to believe in ed equilibriu!n. the devil, he did not believe in the devil, Directly after the matutinal cup of at the same time he could not account coffee, E-- went out, traversed every for the sounds. No person would dare part of the small belt of jungle adjacent, to be in the jungle at this hour, in such and came back thoroughly disappointed darkness, therefore no human being and nonplussed with the result of his incould make them ;" ergo the devil must ? vestigations. Not a trace of a tree havLogic certainly, but not convincing ing been touched was perceptible, nor enough for E- Exasperated beyond was there a vestige of any substance control, he called for his gun, and shout- whatever on the roof of the buildings in ing in Tamil that he was going to fire, the compound. discharged both barrels in the direction No satisfactory solution of the mystewhence the sounds proceeded—the strip rious noises we heard has ever been of jungle almost adjoining the com- offered, and we can arrive at no conclupound, so close was its proximity to the sion. It has been suggested that they bungalow. The sounds became fainter; may have been produced by an echo. suddenly stopped. Congratulating him. The strip of jungle ascended the hill, on self upon having "settled " the devil,
settled " the devil, the other side of which was a deep for the present at any rate, E-- re- valley. On the opposite side of this loaded his gun, and sending the servants valley rose another range of hills, covto their rooms we returned to our own, ered with a tract of heavy jungle. This to compose ourselves to slumber again if was valuable, as the district did not possible ; but I am fain to confess that abound in very extensive forest, and my apprehensions were quickened and timber was in request. It is possible my nerves by this time quite unstrung. that the sound of felling in this jungle Anything tangible one might grapple might be echoed by the opposite hill, but with and surmount, but this mysterious even then other circumstances combined intruder baffled and filled one with un- to stultify this supposition ; the echo definable dread-of what, it was impos- would be heard on the hill where the sible to conjecture.
sounds were made, not on that which
produced it. No felling was going on The tall pillars and bare scaffolding, there at that time, and had any one at half-built walls and dark corners looked tempted to fell and carry off timber by weird and desolate enough ; and with a stealth, the act must have been detect- feeling of insecurity I dropped the cured. Throughout the entire jungle did tain and extinguished my lamp. The E subsequently extend his investi- convivial domestics outside had by this gations without discovering a sign of time ceased their chattering ; all was human being having been engaged in any still, when upon my startled ears fell the such operation. And then, who would, unwelcome but familiar sound of a heavy. who could, go into the depths of a Cey. blow-an axe falling upon a tree ! Hor: lon jungle at dead of night without even rified and unnerved, and dreading that a streak of moonlight to direct their the events of the previous week were steps, for any purpose whatsoever ? about to be re-enacted, to what extent I Most natives are timorous of even walk- could form no limit or conception, I ing on the high road in darkness. Lights hastily sought my pillow, bathed in a would have been of little use, and more- cold perspiration. Whether imagination over would have been likely to lead to or not this time I cannot determine, but the discovery of their whereabouts. But if it was the “ Pezazi” again, bent upon the main fact remained to overthrow all terrifying us poor human beings, he dethe possible explanations we could de- sisted for that night, and relinquished vise-no felling had taken place in any his intention ; for no more of the dreadpart of the jungle.
ed sounds did I hear ; nor have I, from This fact goes far also to disprove any that day to this, ever been troubled with supposition which might be urged on the anything intangible to cause alarm or ground of volcanic agency, which would raise suspicions of a superstitious nature leave some traces of its action. Neither in my mind. is Ceylon subject to earthquakes or dis- As might have been expected, after turbances resultgin from
this occurrence all sorts of reports and though it is not altogether exempt from vague stories were brought to our ears, them, as, in the autumn of 1874, I my: such as that of a mason who, sleeping in self experienced a shock one night which an open shed in company with several we found was attributable to a slight other workmen, deposed to having actuearthquake which was felt more or less ally seen the “ Pezazi" in propria perin different parts of the island.
soná, and went so far as to give a vivid Time passed on. I was not so brave description of his chain, horns, and as formerly about being left alone at cloven foot in regular order! night, and that day week E-had oc- Another man, a Jaffna Tamil, had occasion to attend a medical committee casion to sleep in a small store standing meeting at Cooroovagalan, and could alone on the patina some few hundred not return home till the following morn- yards from any other dwelling, and he ing. I might have accompanied him calmly asserted with great seriousness had I felt equal to the ride, but my that nightly did the Evil One pace the nerves were in so shaken a state that I narrow veranda in front of his room, could not sit my horse, and had to give clanking his chain, and from time to up the attempt and remain at home. time knocking for admittance. Samuel, As night advanced, my fears redoubled. who professed Christianity, stated that Dinner over, I kept the servants about on the arrival of this unwelcome visitant the bungalow as long as I could, but at from the unknown world, he read aloud length they had finished all I could find his Testament by the light of his solitary for them to do, and, not wishing to dis- lamp, and after repeated unsuccessful play any feelings of nervousness, I was demands to enter, the uninvited guest obliged to dismiss them. I could, how- was forced to take his departure, unable ever, hear them in conversation outside to endure the reading of Holy Writ. over their rice, and summoned up cour- All these stories we took for what they age to retire for the night. Just before were worth ; and gradually the natives
turning in" an impulse led me to became less importunate, and, as time push aside the curtain over the door- went on, the rumors died a natural way, and gaze upon the solitude around. death.