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tion of the spectacle. Taouist priests by two, gor
Cusly robed in amber satin vestments, stiff with cade and gold embroidery; to clean some idea of whose " shape and sheen," says the Recorder, you must examine the pall of Ambrose of Milan, in Vandyke's well-known picture.
After this glittering group a scarcely less gorgeous land of Bhuddist priests came, clad in scarlet, then a troop of by no means clean children,—rather dirty little beggars, in fact. After whom, in the deceased's chair, veiled in red crape, the Shintsu-Ba, a mysterious tablet considered the seat of the human soul, now in happiness, and closely veiled lest it be perturbed by beholding the sorrow of those he loved. Slore Bhuddist priests of second rank followed in profusely embroidered green robes; then a closely clustered mass of tall narrow silk and satin banners inscribed with sentences recommending the soul of the departed to the genii, and recording his good acts in this life to insure him a kind reception in the next Then another instance of Chinese contradiction,— the "Djur Lan," or mourning lantern, hung before the dead man's face to enable him to recognize his friends in the next world.
The friends of the deceased then followed with his adopted son, and in the coarse grass-cloth garments I have before mentioned; the coffin from Lintin, now covered with green instead of crimson, and surmounted by a paper representation of the "ScenHok," or Fairy Stork. This long cortege was closed by thirty-nine chairs containing the wives in mourning garments, and their friends crowned with chaplets of white china-asters. With such pomp and circumstance (writes the Recorder) was Takee borne to the Joss-house near the Maloo, then through the streets to the river-side, where, amidst salvos of cannon, his body was placed on board the steamer Kiangse, which was to convey it to the last restingplace at Ningpo.
Takee's wealth is reputed to be one million taels (about a third of a million sterling), and we were told by a mandarin, at the lying-in-state, that the cost of it, — the chow-chowing, priests, pageant, and other outlay, till the coffin was deposited in the grave at Ningpo, would amount to 50,000 taels (fifty thousand taels), which statement we took cum grano talis, but we were more inclined to believe this buttoned grandee when he said that four hundred candles were nightly consumed in lighting the house.
WHAT I SAW OF THE PEARL-FISHERY.
I. — CEYLON.
Early in the month of February, 1859,I found myself in the streets of Colombo, in the Island of Ceylon. How I came there need not concern the reader at present, though I may say that ill usage drove me to leave my ship without receiving the money due to me for wages.
The fear of being again put under the command of those I disliked prevented me from visiting that part of the town where the principal European residents of the place were dwelling, and I was compelled to acquire some knowledge of the inhabitants of that part of the city occupied by the descendants of the Dutch and Portuguese, and of the Pettah, or native quarter of Colombo.
The Pettah presented a fine school for acquiring some knowledge of the different races found in the East; for it then contained a population of about thirty-five thousand souls, including Malays, Moors,
Amongst these people, all very busy in accomplishing but little, I was trying to live on nothing per diem. During the day I would wander about the city, and occasionally give its inhabitants a lesson in economy by consuming a pine-apple, shaddock, or mango that had been rejected by others.
In the evening I would walk out of town, where, undisturbed by its inhabitants, I could find a night's lodging in some cinnamon-garden or grove of cashewnut-trees. A man who lives in Ceylon must be industrious, and I recommend the place as a residence for any one who is constitutionally indolent, and wishes relief from the infirmity. Day and night existence demands a constant warfare against myriads of sand-flies and other annoyances, small in form, but great in the effect of disturbing repose.
A soft bed of snow and a blanket of ice were all I then desired for perfect happiness; but such luxuries are not to be had in Ceylon. If I did wrong in leaving my ship, I was amply punished for it. In the frenzy of struggling to maintain an existence against the myriads of tormentors all anxious to im
Press upon me some record of their love and hatred, arranged my frantic powers of thought into a resolution to take the first opportunity of getting once more upon the water. if small brig was about to sail for the Bay of Condatchy, and I joined it as one of the crew, with the promise that I should be employed in the pearl-fishery when the vessel reached its destination. It was the first chance I had of leaving Colombo; a better might have been found the same day; but I had acquired all the experience of a vagabond life in that city that I deemed necessary for future use, and would run no risk in enlarging it.
The brig belonged to a Colombo merchant, who had purchased at auction the right of fishing on an oyster-bed that had lately been surveyed and sold by the government. The vessel was freighted with stores for the use of those who had been engaged for the fishery, and was commanded by a native of Colombo, of Portuguese descent, named Manos. Aboard the brig were several men who had been engaged as divers. They were called Muraicas, and were most of them natives of Tuticorum. They had no duty to perform on the vessel, and seldom spoke but to each other. A high opinion of their profession or business evidently made them above associating too freely with those who have never tried to make themselves amphibious; but why they had conceived this exalted opinion of themselves I was unable to learn.
Four days after leaving Colombo we anchored in the Bay of Condatchy, and I again found myself on the animated soil of Ceylon, where the insects were quite as numerous, inquisitive, impertinent, and bloodthirsty as those of the place we had left.
We landed near a village containing about twelve hundred inhabitants, — most of them miserable-looking wretches, and many of them apparently suffering evils from which death would seem a relief.
Every species of animal and vegetable life seemed in its proper home excepting man, who was apparently maintaining a miserable, uncertain existence, in opposition to the efforts nature was making to remove him from the island.
We found Condatchy Bay the scene of much animation; for more than one hundred and fifty
coasts, had reached the bay, and their crews were making preparations for engaging in pearl-fishing, which was not to commence until the 16th of the month, three days after our arrival.
An oyster-bank is divided into five parts, only one of which is fished in a year, and each in turns. This prevents the bank from being completely stripped, and gives the young oysters a chance of reaching maturity. The right of fishing on certain portions of the bank is sold at auction to the highest bidder, and purchased by speculative merchants, who generally lose money in the business. This, however, does not prevent them from engaging in it, since there is a chance of a large fortune being made at it in one season.
Each fishing-boat is manned by twenty men, besides a tindal, or man acting as pilot, who has authority over all the others. Ten of the twenty men are divers; the others attend on them, pull the boat, and perform all other duties.
The oyster-banks off Condatchy are about twenty miles from the shore; and early on the evening of the 15th more than a hundred boats were manned by men anxiously waiting for the signal for them to start for their respective fishing-grounds.
At ten o'clock in the evening a gun was fired at Arippo. It was a signal that the boats might start; and setting a sail to catch the land-breeze, then fairly on its way for the sea, we started. I had consented to form one of the ten of a boat's crew, whose duty consisted in managing the boat and looking after the divers; and, on our first excursion out, Senhor Manos, who had commanded the brig, was our tindal, or pilot.
We reached our station a little before sunrise, and preparations were immediately commenced for business. The divers divested themselves of all clothing except a small piece of calico about the loins; and to a belt around the waist each fastened a small net to hold the oysters. Each had a piece of iron weighing about ten pounds, to which was tied a small line with a loop in which a foot could be inserted. These weights were to enable them to descend with greater rapidity to the bottom; for, as they could only remain under water from one minute and a half to two minutes, it was necessary that no time should be lost on the way down.
One end of the small line attached to the weight was retained in the boat, to enable us to recover the weight after the diver had reached the bottom and withdrawn his foot from the loop. Although there were ten divers in each boat, only five went over at a time. This enabled each to have a rest, and still kept the work constantly going on.
Each man before going over had placed around his body, under the arms, a line by which he could be pulled to the surface, the end of the line being held by one of the crew in the boat; and as an additional precaution against danger, a line was hanging from the stem of the boat, and sunk with a weight to the bottom.
With a knife in one hand, and firmly grasping the nose with the other, five of our divers went over the side, and rapidly disappeared below, while those in the boats saw that the lines attached to their bodies ran out clear, and stood ready to pull them up, should the signal be given for us to do so.
This was the first work of the kind I had ever seen performed, and the minute and a half or more in which we waited for the shaking of the lines, which was the signal for us to haul up, seemed to me a period of nearly ten minutes.
All came up within a few seconds of each oU*r, and each had not less than one hundred oysters m the net. The diver attached to the line I was hole- ing was the first to make an appearance, and required much more force in pulling him up than what I thought was necessary; but as he reached the surface, the reason of this was immediately seen. & was bearing in his hands a mass of oysters adhcrinp together, which he had succeeded in detaching frua a rock with his knife. The mass could not hart weighed less than forty pounds.
The other five divers immediately went down; and in this way the work was carried on until noon. the divers having gone down about forty times each since the time they commenced in the morning. The sea-breeze had then commenced blowing, sal we started for the shore.
Thus far we had been fortunate; and yet there was a possibility that in the many bushels of oy»tiis we had secured there might not be a pearl of iV value of one shilling. But with this possibility there was another: the cargo we had procured might 1* worth five or ten thousand pounds.
On reaching the shore the oysters were taken inn the boat, put into a pit, and then covered over with matting and some earth, there to die and decompose. The shells would then be open, when they would I* picked over, and the pearls, if they contained ity. would be extracted.
More than two thousand men had been at work on the banks that day, and many tons of oyster' hs4 been taken from their homes to die.
"What," thought I, " can be the real cause of to labor, — this waste of time for a substance that is of no practical use to mankind?"
To many of those I had seen employed that day an answer to this question would have been very simple. They would have told me that they *w working for money; but I looked beyond this lor the real cause of their toil.
The conclusion at which I arrived may be Vtot; perhaps worse, — ungallant; for all this wicked «W of time I ascribed to the fact that ladies hare vanity. From the result of this infirmity thousands o', others have to suffer. It seems that the law of nature, that from the misfortunes of a few many roiK suffer, applies to pearl-oysters as well as human Icings; for since being in the fishery I have learnp! that only oysters in ill-health produce pearls: «t the misfortunes of the afflicted bring all from tk-r beds in the sea to the earth-pits to die.
III. THE PILLAR KARRA8.
In the evening after we had unloaded the batmany reports reached us of the events of the by All were favorable for the prospect of a good So:l-« at the fishery; for we heard no complaints i* U1 want of success in procuring oysters. Other report?, however, gave the fear that the business of proo|ring was to be followed with danger; for we hejTM of three or four encounters with sharks, in one of which a diver had been killed.
For each boat employed on the pearl-banks there is a priest, whose business is to protect the divon from sharks. During the time the boats are out. , these men are supposed to be engaged in prayer' and other ceremonies thought necessary for the protection of those who have employed them, fl* pearl-divers will not work unless there is some oweither in the boat or on shore, who is paid by tbrtf employers for protecting them from sharks. 1 priests or conjurers are called Pillar Earns, of
u binders of sharks "; and their exertions in behalf of the divers are certainly of great assistance; for the superstitious men place the utmost confidence in their labors, and the absence of fear is necessary in encountering any danger.
The Pillar Karras work very hard for the money they receive for their services, and the contortion of their bodies and features when engaged in their conjurations or prayers is painful to witness. Frequently, when a diver is killed by a shark, the priest employed to protect him from harm has to make a sudden departure from the scene of his labors to avoid the vengeance of the lost man's companions, who pronounce him an impostor, incapable of commanding or exercising the power necessary for protecting them from the enemy they fear.
So great is the superstition of the pearl-divers, that each firmly believes his preservation from day to day is wholly owing to the labors of the priest. They know that thousands of sharks are cruising the tropic seas where the occupation of pearl-diving is followed; they also know that this enemy to man and everything else is ever hungry; and they require no further exercise of reason to believe that the "shark-binders" have saved them from being devoured.
The Pillar Karras generally remain on shore, and during the time the divers are at work they must be constantly engaged in prayer. Should one of the Marawas be seized by a shark, it is fully believed by his companions that at that particular instant the priest was neglecting his duty, and that his thoughts for a moment have been turned upon some sinful theme, giving the shark an opportunity of seizing its victim.
Before we had been employed on the pearl-banks a week, two incidents occurred that strongly confirmed the Marawas in their superstitious belief in tnepower of their priests.
There was a great commotion in a boat lying next to the one in which I was employed. The line attached to one of their divers commenced rapidly running out. All who witnessed this knew the cause, and the Marawas were pulled to the surface. One of them never appeared again. He had been taken away by a shark. The companions of the lost man, having no confidence in their Pillar Karras, would go under water no more that day; and the boat returned to shore, the Marawas in it cursing their " binder of sharks" for what they thought his criminal neglect, while those in our boat seemed very grateful for the good fortune that had given them a conjurer whose incantations had protected them from the evil that had befallen others so near
On reaching the shore in the evening we heard what the Marawas thought a satisfactory explanation of the reason why the diver had been lost. While energetically engaged in performing his duty, the Pillar Karras employed in protecting the divers belon«kig to the boat from which the man had been lost, had been bitten by a cobra de cappello, or hooded snake, and had died about three hours •forwards.
Here, in the opinion of the Marawas, was positive proof of the necessity of a Pillar Karras to protect them from their enemy. A priest had been interrupted in his ceremonies and prayers, and the consequence had been the loss of a life placed in his ore. The priest was buried that evening by the men who had been cursing him but ft few hours before for what they thought neglect of duty.
IV. — THE MARAWAS.
The Marawas are generally quiet, inoffensive men, simple in their amusements and manner of living, and yet they are not easily induced to do anything against which they have the slightest objection.
The season in which fishing on the pearl-banks is allowed only lasts six weeks, but in that time only about twenty-five days' work is performed by the divers.
Frequently all refuse to go out in the boats, and will give no reason for doing so. There is no use in trying to compel them, and all others have to wait their pleasure.
There is a great similarity in their appearance, and one is seldom met who possesses much character not common to others.
One of the divers of the boat to which I belonged was an exception to this rule: a man who looked and talked somewhat differently from his companions, and who, with some of them, was a little inclined to be quarrelsome. Uneven in disposition, he was also fond of playing^ practical jokes. When this man, who was called Latta, was in one of his merry moods, he often seriously interrupted our work, and by his conduct brought upon himself the ill-will of his companions.
Usually when a diver first reaches the bottom there will be a few feet of slack to the line attached to his body. A favorite amusement of Latta's was to shake the rope fastened to one of his companions in such a manner that the motion would be perceptible to those above, while the person to whom it was attached would know nothing of its having been agitated. This would be a signal for those above to haul up the line ; and, knowing that the man had just gone down, they would suppose that the signal would not be given without some good reason, and would lose no time in bringing the man to the surface.
The astonished diver who had given no signal, and in ignorance that any had been given, would find himself dragged up immediately after coming down, and would use some strong Malabar language in expressing his opinion of those who had been exerting themselves in obeying the signal. Here would be a fine opportunity for a controversy, which was never lost.
The diver would swear that he had not given a signal, and we in the boat would be as certain that he had. On one occasion, when the same man had been suddenly pulled up twice within an hour, Senhor Manos, the timlal, was strongly impressed with the fear that he should have to take the lives of two men, to prevent them from killing each other. Latta was at last detected in his amusement, and emphatically threatened with death should he again offend in the same manner.
Before we had been three weeks on the banks, this man had made an enemy of nearly every other belonging to the boat; but an enemy more merciless than man was in search of Latta. It found him one day, and he was seen no more. He was taken away by a shark, and his loss was further proof to our Marawas of the power and wisdom of the conjurer retained for their special use. Latta they pronounced unworthy of the priest's care, alleging that he had therefore been allowed to meet the fate of the unprotected.
So inconsistent are the thoughts of the superstitious divers, that the loss of Latta apparently inspired our Marawas with more confidence in the power of the Pillar Karras to save them. Had the shark selected another, our priest, in their opinion, would have deserved some severe punishment; but, as the one who had been taken away was disliked, all were noisy in praise of the wonderful man who, at the distance of twenty miles from a shark, had not prevented it from getting a dinner.
Our business was followed until the 1st of April, the end of the season, without further loss of life, and with great success in procuring oysters. To all there had been some excitement, much amusement, •and very good pay, yet none seemed to regret that the season was over.
The result of the speculation of the merchant who had employed us I never learned; for, before it was known in Colombo, I had sailed from that part of the world, delighted with the hope that I might never see it again.
"Spiders! What a subject for an article! Let us skip it, and get on to the next!" exclaims some one alter reading the heading. But be in no hurry, my reader! Try to read this article. The subject is striking. In all creation there exists not a more remarkable set of beings than spiders. I will try to be brief in their story.
Let me venture to alter a word in the song of the Second Fairy, in the " Midsummer Night's Dream," and follow me, as the said Fairy calls,
"Weaving spiders! come ye here:
Shakespeare, in these two lines, has touched with his master eye a leading peculiarity of the race.
Spiders are weavers. Who has not wondered at their webs?
A glance at any of our cuts will show that spiders have a body very different from that of insects, properly so called. They have their head and breast welded, as it were, into one piece,* while the body is in another piece, or division. To the first piece is attached that formidable apparatus, their mouth (Fig. 2); on its upper surface are generally six or eight eyes; the latter number prevailing, although one genus is said to have only two eyes. To the under side are attached eight legs. The breathing apparatus of spiders, and indeed their general structure, from their palpi to their spinnerets, would take many papers to describe. Their very curious legs, with their combs, spines, and brushes, would alone furnish matter for columns. These structures must only be alluded to incidentally in this paper. The figures will show parts of these in sufficient detail to point out the curious arrangement of eyes, claws, and spinnerets, at least in two of the genera. But let us glance at the webs of spiders for an instant.
Come with me to that well-known point in Strathearn, called Whitehill, on an autumn morning. The sun is breaking through the mist which conceals the lovely prospect all around. The view of the country, from the Ochils to the Grampians, from "fair"
Fomale Diadem Spider.
Nnluraluta call it cepkalo-thorax.
Fig. 2. Eyes and mouth of Chelicera, greatly magnified.
autumn morning, the many pretty fungi springing up all around attract your notice- The whin and broom bushes are a mere mass of close webs. The sun is shining on these. At a distance they are seemingly gray and dull. You go near to examine them more closely, and to make acquaintance with their makers and tenants, and perhaps also to see what prey their webs contain.
As you look on them, the webs shine with the lustre of mother-of-pearl, or opal. If an entomologist, you might fancy that tie colors somewhat resemble the lovely hues that may be seen on tlie backs of some eastern beetles, found by Mr. Wallace. Naturalists like to be particular; and this last resemblance, at the time, occurred to me as being exact. The sheen of these webs, on the autumn morning of 1865 when I viewed them, exactly resembled at a short distance that on the back of a species of Weevil, of the genus Eupholus, brought from Celebes or some other Eastern island. As yon approached more closely, the twinkling iridescence became more glorious. The rainbow hues glittered and glowed. Seldom had I seen anything more delicately beautiful; although the general impression was such as I had often witnessed in similar circumstances. This iridescence, however, did not entirely arise from the reflection of the sun on the dewy drops. I oljserved that the threads, on webs that appeared quite dry, glittered as my eye closely approached them.
Sir David Brewster • has described this, and give* Sir John Herschel's explanation of it. "These colors," says he, "may arise either from the cause that produces color in a single scratch or fissure, or the interference of light reflected from its opposite edges, or from the thread itself, as spun by the anim.il. consisting of several agglutinated together, ami thus presenting, not a cylindrical, but a furrowed surface."
If the reader examine the cut (Fig. 3), he will find that each thread of a spider's web is formed by the combination of many threads from their spinnerets, so that each thread has lines throughout its length, which can cause the light of the sun, reflected to the eye, to show the prismatic colors. But whether this be the explanation or not, I had never seen a more fairy-like vision. William Blake or Noel Paton could have peopled it with fairies. The glittering webs would have become the magic carpet of the "little people" whom a gifted fancy might have conjured up.
I was on my way to examine for a second time the curious library of Lord Maderty at Innerpeffray, where are many books that belonged to the great Marquis of Montrose. I walked on, leaving the webs to entrap the flies, and the spiders to pounce on them from their secret recesses, while those gifted with fancy, like Shakespeare, might see or imagine what they chose. Any spider's web is well worth examination. Whoever cares to look at them will soon find that there are many different kinds of these very curiously fabricated net-like or woven webs. Some are close and dense; some loose and irregular: a perfect maze of lines. Many are geometric and concentrical. All are wonderfully and most skilfully constructed. Some have long tubes connected with them; others are only tubes. Several of the foreign kinds, as we shall see, have regular trap-doors.
The habits of spiders are as various as their forms. Some spiders are essentially wanderers, regular vagabonds indeed! Naturalists in their books even call the Wolf spiders Vagabonds. These Wolf spiders in summer and autumn may be seen wandering over fields or heaths, generally carrying their bag of eggs with them. The specimens you meet with are chiefly females. They are most careful of their precious charge of eggs. These eggs are enveloped in a cocoon, which is attached to the spinners by means of short threads of silk; on a summer or autumn day, one when walking can scarcely fail to see on a heath or in a garden, a specimen of some species of Wolf spider carrying this precious burden. If my memory does not deceive me, Pollok, the author of " The Course of Time," has referred to it in his delightful story of the persecutions, " Helen of the Glen." He had often seen a spider of this kind (Lycom) on the hills and heaths of Renfrewshire and Ayrshire, and he introduces it as a characteristic object of the scene.
Many of the Crab spiders have such an arrangement of the legs that they can move backwards, forwards, or to the sides, with equal readiness. A slight search under stones or round their edges, — such stones, especially, as are slightly imbedded in the ground or among grass, — will be sure to reward you with one or more species of this genus. In the valley above lovely Dunira in Perthshire I found a pretty species of the group (Thotnisus), and witnessed its peculiar motions with renewed pleasure.
But, see! what little black spider is this on a sunny wall! How prettily spotted and banded he is with white! He stops, then goes on again, and stops, as if with these clear eyes of his he saw some ogre ready to arrest him. No doubt he has seen you, and tries to make you believe that he is only a black dot of a lichen on the wall. Do not look at him too closely, and you will soon see him, as Mr. Blackwall describes him, "moving with great circumspection, and occasionally elevating his front half or ' cephalo-thorax,' by straightening the anterior legs, for the purpose of extending his sphere of vision."
He runs with ease on the most perpendicular surface, for he has an apparatus below his toes by which he can take firm hold (Fig. 4). Look how he jumps on his prey, some little fly or other insect 1 He drew a line of silk from the spinners while in the very act of springing, and from the very point whence he vaulted. So that our friend, Salticus scenicus, has *ell earned his name Salticux, the leaper. If he has lost the object he jumped at, he has not lost his hold of the ground. It would be well for us to look
_ spiders are the commonest of our garden ^J^ST ^^'^ spiders, the spider which yig.1- Eyes of above, constructs the geometric
web. These "symmetrical snares," as our great spider lover, Mr. Blackwall, calls them,' are described distinctly by him in words which sound somewhat "Johnsonian," but for which it would be difficult to substitute anything more short, simple, or clear. "They consist," he writes, " of an elastic spiral line thickly studded with minute globules of liquid gum, whose circumvolutions, falling within the same plane, are crossed by radii converging towards a common centre, which is immediately surrounded by several circumvolutions of a short spiral line devoid of viscid globules, forming a station from which the toils may be superintended by their owner without the inconvenience of being entangled in them. Examine the strong movable spire near the end of the last joint of each hind leg in this spider, and you will find that they are of great use in the economy of the creature." "By the contraction of the flexor muscles," I again quote Mr. Blackwall, "they are drawn towards the foot, and are thus brought into direct opposition to the claws, by which means the animals are enabled to hold with a firm grasp such lines as they have occasion to draw from the spinners with the feet of the hind legs, and such also as they design to attach themselves to."
* See his noble contribution to British Zoology, The Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland, published by the Bay Society in 1881 and 1864, p. 323.