Daniel Henry MacKinnon
Military Service and Adventures in the Far East: Vol.1 (of 2) by Daniel Henry MacKinnon Summary
Example in this ebook CHAPTER I. ARRIVAL IN INDIA, AND MARCH TO THE NORTH-WESTERN PROVINCES. Any one who has coasted the Andamans will bear witness to the beauty of those Islands, of which, at the time I visited them, marvellous tales were related. The predilection of the inhabitants of those realms for their white brethren, when shipwrecked on these shores, was said to have been evinced in a manner singularly contrasted to other philanthropists, for they actually devoured them. It has moreover been stated, that the biped islanders were not the only philanthropists dwelling in these alluring scenes, but that the woods swarmed with a variety of wild beasts, who were also epicures in human flesh. It[Pg 2] is, indeed, wonderful that man, being so great a luxury, should continue to exist in such regions. Unfortunately, we were unable to put any reports to the test, not having set foot ashore. The sun, which had been shining brilliantly all the morning over these green isles, became obscured in the afternoon, when a breeze springing up soon caused a musical ripple of the waters, and wafted us in four days to the Sandheads; where, receiving our pilot on board, we coasted the low sandy ridge of Saugar, and anchored off Kedgeree, there to await the steamer which was to tow us up the Hoogly to the capital. No sooner was our anchor dropped, than the river suddenly swarmed with boats full of the wildest-looking savages, in a perfect state of nature, saving a dingy clout bound about their waists. The hair hung like horses' tails over the shoulders of some; others had gathered up and twisted the sable mass into a knot on the top of their heads, which led us into considerable doubt as to the gender of the individuals, this being the generally approved method of arranging the hair amongst the ladies of our northern climes. But we did injustice, in this instance, to the more gentle and better sex, who in this region are as superior in shape and feature to the males, as an[Pg 3] English woman is to every other on the face of the earth! Nevertheless, these dusky anatomies possessed singularly Stentorian lungs, as we experienced when they came whooping and jabbering alongside. Our worthy mate, being thoroughly versed in savage intercourse, loudly exclaimed, "Ho! you d—d Dinghee Wallahs! nickal jao there, will you? Quartermaster, hand up a bit of pork, heave it into that boat astern, and shove off those shoals at the gangway." The sovereign remedy, a bit of pork, was carefully distributed among the boats, and relieved us of their presence; for when the savoury morsel alighted, they cast off, eyeing us with as much sorrowful disgust as the bit of unclean animal, which was taken up by one of the boatmen between two sticks, thrown overboard, and the polluted spot well scoured with the mud and water of the brown Hoogly. In the afternoon, I went ashore, at Kedgeree, with a party of officers, to shoot. We wandered in various directions over the marshy rice fields, and through the low jungle, in quest of game: most of us loaded one barrel with small shot, and the other with ball, being uncertain as to the probability of meeting with a tiger or a snipe in[Pg 4] those unknown regions; but fortune having conceded neither, we returned at nightfall to the appointed rendezvous for re-embarking, and found the ship's boats had returned on board: our two linguists had gone with them. As it was getting pitch dark, our prospects of a comfortable night's rest were becoming correspondingly gloomy. In these straits, we wandered along the banks to a village, where, endeavouring to make the natives aware of our wants by signs, they immediately brought us some fruits, making countersigns for money; that and food being pretty nearly the sum total of their worldly concernments. At this juncture, one of our party returned from a successful forage, having found a tent occupied by a European. To be continue in this ebook...