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Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier
Chapter XXIV

Camp of the Nepaulee chief—Quicksands—Elephants crossing rivers— Tiffin at the Nepaulee camp—-We beat the forest for tiger—Phoot a young tiger—Red ants in the forest—Bhowras or ground hees—The nursus libialis or long-lipped bear—Across the stream—Florican— Stag running the gauntlet of flame—Our bag—Start for factory— Remarks on elephants—Precautions useful for protection from the sun in tiger shooting—The puggree—Cattle breeding in India, and wholesale deaths of cattle from disease—Nathpore—Ravages of the river— Mrs. Gray, an old resident in the jungles—Description of her surroundings.

Next morning we started beating due east, setting fire to the jungle as we went along. The roaring and crackling of the flames startled the elephant on which Captain S. was riding, and going away across country at a furious pace, it was with difficulty that it could be stopped. We crossed the frontier line a short distance from camp, and entered a dense jungle of thorny acacia, with long dry grass almost choking the trees. They were dry and stunted, and when we dropped a few lights amongst such combustible material, the fire was splendid beyond description. How the flames surged through the withered -grass. We were forced to pause and admire the magnificent sight. The wall of flame tore along with inconceivable rapidity, and the blinding volumes of smoke obscured the country for miles. The jungle was full of deer and pig. One fine buck came bounding along past our line, but I stopped him with a single bullet through the neck. He fell over with a tremendous crash, and turning a complete somersault broke off both his horns with the force of the fall.

We beat down a shallow sandy watercourse, and could see the camp of the old Major on the high bank beyond. Farther down the stream there was a small square fort, the whitewashed walls of which flashed hack the rays of the sun, and grouped round it were some ruinous-looking huts, several snowy tents, and a huge shamiana or canopy, under which we could see a host of attendants spreading carpets, placin. chairs, and otherwise making ready for us. The hanks of the stream were very steep, but the guide at length brought us to what seemed a safe and fordable passage. On the further side was a flat expanse of seemingly firm and dry sand, but no sooner had our elephants begun to cross it, than the whole sandbank for yards began to rock and tremble; the water welled up over the footmarks of the elephants, and S. called out to us, "Fussun, Fussun!" quicksand, quicksand! We scattered the elephants, and tried to hurry them over the dangerous bit of ground with shouts and cries of encouragement.

The poor animals seemed thoroughly to appreciate the danger, and shuffled forward as quickly as they could. All got over in safety except the last three, The treacherous sand, rendered still more insecure by the heavy tread of so many ponderous animals, now gave way entirely, and the three hapless elephants were left floundering in the tenacious hold of the dreaded fussun. Two of the three were not far from the firm bank, and managed to extricate themselves after a short struggle; but the third had sunk up to the shoulders, and could scarcely move. All hands immediately began cutting long grass and forming it into bundles. These were thrown to the sinking elephant. He rolled from side to side, the sand quaking and undulating round him in all directions. At times lie would roll over till nearly half his body was invisible. South of the Nepaulese ventured near, and managed to undo the harness-ropes that were holding on the pad. The sagacious brute fully understood his danger, and the efforts we were making for his assistance. He managed to get several of the big bundles of grass under his feet, and stood there looking at us with a most pathetic pleading expression, and trembling, as if with an ague, from fear and exhaustion.

The old Major came down to meet us, and a crowd of his men added their efforts to ours, to help the unfortunate elephant. We threw in bundle after bundle of grass, till we had the yielding sand covered with a thick passage of firmly bound fascines, on which the hathee, staggering and floundering painfully, managed to reach firm land He. was so completely exhausted that he could scarcely walk to the tents, and we left him there to the care of his attendants. This is a very common episode in tiger hunting, and does not always terminate so fortunately. In running water, the quicksand is not so dangerous, as the force of the stream keeps washing away the sand, and docs not allow it to settle round the legs of the elephant; but on dry land, a dry fussun, as it is called, is justly feared ; and many a valuable animal has been swallowed up in its slow, deadly, tenacious grasp.

In crossing sand, the heaviest and slowest elephants should go first, preceded by a light, nimble pioneer. If the leading elephant shows signs of sinking, the others should at once turn back, and seek some safer place. In all cases the line should separate a little, and not follow in each other's footsteps. The. indications of a quicksand are easily recognised. If the surface of the sand begins to oscillate and undulate with a tremulous rocking motion, it is always wise to seek some other passage. Looking back, after elephants have passed, you will often see what was a perfectly dry flat, covered with several inches of water. When water begins to ooze up in any quantity, after a few elephants have passed, it is much safer to make the remainder cross at some spot farther on.

In crossing a deep swift river, the elephants should enter the water in a line, ranged up and down the river. That is, the line should he ranged along the bank, and Inter the water at right angles to the current, and not in Indian file. The strongest elephants should be up stream, as they help to break the force of the current for the weaker and smaller animals down below. It is a fine sight to see some thirty or forty of these huge animals crossing a deep and rapid river. Some are reluctant to strike out, when they begin to enter the deepest channel, and try to turn back; the mahouts and "mates" shout, and belabour them with bamboo poles. The trumpeting of the elephants, the waving of tbe trunks, disporting, like huge water-snakes, in the perturbed current, the splashing of the bamboos, the dark bodies of the natives swimming here and there round the animals, the unwieldy boat piled high with howdahs and pads, the whole heap surmounted by a group of sportsmen with their gleaming weapons, and variegated puggrees, make up a picturesque and memorable sight. Some of the strong swimmers among the elephants seem to enjoy the whole affair immensely. They dip their huge heads entirely under the current, the sun flashes on the dark hide, glistening with the dripping water; the enormous head emerges again slowly, like some monstrous antediluvian creation, and with a succession of these ponderous appearances and disappearances, the mighty-brutes forge through the surging water. When they reach a shallow part, they pipe with pleasure, and send volumes of fluid splashing against their heaving flanks, scattering the spray all round in mimic rainbows.

At all times the Koosee was a dangerous stream to cross, but during the rains I have seen the strongest and best swimming elephants taken nearly a mile down stream; and in many instances they have been drowned, their vast bulk and marvellous strength being quite unable to cope with the tremendous force of the raging waters.

When we had got comfortably seated under the shamiana, a crowd of attendants brought us baskets of fruit and a very nice cold collation of various Indian dishes and curries. We did ample justice to the old soldier's hospitable offerings, and then betel-nut, cardamums, cloves, and other spices, and paun leaves, were handed round on a silver salver, beautifully embossed and carved with quaint devices. We lit our cigars, our beards and handkerchiefs were anointed with attar of roses; and the old Major then informed us that there was good khubber of tiger in the wood close by.

The trees were splendid specimens of forest growth, enormously thick, beautifully umbrageous, and growing very close together. There was a dense undergrowth of tangled creeper, and the most lovely ferns and tropical plants in the richest luxuriance, and of every conceivable shade of amber and green. It was a charming spot. The patch of forest was separated from the unbroken line of morung jungle by a beautifully sheltered glade of several hundred acres, and further broken in three places by avenue-looking openings, disclosing peeps of the black and gloomy-looking mass ot impenetrable forest beyond.

In the first of these openings we were directed to take up a position, while the pad elephants and a crowd of beaters went to the edge of the patch of forest and began beating up to us. Immense numbers of genuine jungle fowl were calling in all directions, and flying right across the opening in numerous coveys. They are beautifully marked with black and golden plumes round the neck, and I determined to shoot a few by-and-bye to send home to friends, who 1 knew would pri e them as invaluable material in dressing hooks for fly-fishing. The crashing of the trees, as the elephants forced their way through the thick forest, or tore off huge branches as they struggled amid the matted vegetation, kept us all on the alert. The first place was however a blank, and we moved on to the next. We had not long to wait, for a fierce din inside the jungle, and the excited cries of the beaters, apprised us that game of some sort was afoot, We were eagerly watching, and speculating on the cause of the uproar, when a very fine half-grown tiger cub sprang out of some closely growing fern, and dashed across the narrow opening so quickly, that ere we had time to raise a gun, he had disappeared in some heavy jhamun jungle on the further side of the path.

We hurried round as fast as we could to intercept him, should he attempt to break on ahead; and leaving some men to rally the mahouts, and let them know that there was a tiger afoot, we were soon in our places, and ready to give the cub a warm reception, should he again show his stripes. It was not long ere he did so. I spied him stealing along the edge of the jungle, evidently intending to make a rush back past the opening he had just crossed, and outflank the line of beater elephants. I fired and hit him in the forearm; he rolled over roaring with rage, and then descrying his assailants, he bounded into the open, and as well as his wound would allow him, came furiously down at the charge. In less time however than it takes to write it, he had received three bullets In his body, and tumbled down a lifeless heap. We raised a cheer which brought the beaters and elephants quickly to the spot. In coming through a thickly wooded part of the forest, with numerous long and pliant creepers intertwisted into a confused tangle of rope-like ligaments, the old Puddeah elephant tore down one of the long vines, and dislodged an angry army of venomous red ants on the occupants of the guddee, or cushioned seat on the elephant's pad. The ants proved formidable assailants. There were two or three. Baboos or native gentlemen, holding on to the ropes, chewing pan, and enjoying the scene, but the red ants were altogether more than they had bargained for. Recognising the Baboos as the immediate cause of their disturbance, they attacked them with venomous pertinacity. The mahout fairly yelled with pain, and one of the Baboos, smarting from the fiery bites of the furious insects, toppled clean backwards into the undergrowth, showing an undignified pair of heels. The other two danced on the guddee, sweeping and thrashing the air, the cushion, and their clothes, with their cummerbunds, in the vain effort to free themselves of their angry assailants. The guddee was literally covered with ants; it looked an animated red mass, and the wretched Baboos made frantic efforts to shake themselves clear. They were dreadfully bitten, and reaching the open, they slid off the elephant, and even on the ground continued their saltatory antics before finally getting rid of their ferocious assailants.

In forest shooting the red ant is one of the most dreaded pests of the jungle. If a colony gets dislodged from some overhanging branch, and is landed in your howdah, the best plan is to evacuate your stronghold as quickly as you can, and let the attendants clear away the invaders. Their bite is very painful, and they take such tenacious hold, that rather than put their grip, they allow themselves to be decapitated and leave their head and formidable forceps sticking in your flesh.

Other dreaded foes in the forest jungle are the Bhowra or ground bees, which are more properly a kind of hornet. If by evil chance your elephant should tread on their moundlike nest, instantly an angry swarm of venomous and enraged hornets comes buzzing about your ears. Your only chance is to squat down, and envelope yourself completely in a blanket. Old sportsmen, shooting in forest jungle, invariably take a blanket with them in the howdah, to ensure themselves protection in the event of an attack by these bloodthirsty creatures. The thick matted creepers too are a great nuisance, for which a bill-hook or sharp kookree is an invaluable adjunct to the other paraphernalia of the march. I have seen a mahout swept clean off the elephant's back by these tenacious creepers, and the elephants themselves are sometimes unable to break through the tangle of sinewy, lithe cords, which drape the huge forest trees, hanging in slender festoons from every branch. Some of them are prickly, and as the elephant slowly forces his way through the mass of pendent swaying cords, they lacerate and tear the mahout's clothes and skin, ami appropriate his puggree. As you crouch down within the shelter of your howdah, you can't help pitying the poor wretch, and incline to think that, after all, shooting in grass jungle has fewer drawbacks and is preferable to forest shooting.

One of the drivers reported that he had seen a bear in the jungle, and we saw the earth of one not far from where the young tiger had fallen; it was the lair of the sloth hear Urses labialis, so called from his long pendent upper lip. His spoor is very easily distinguished from that of any other animal; the ball of the foot shows a distinct round impression, and about an inch to an inch and a half further on, the impressions of the long curved claws are seen. lie uses these long claws to tear up ant hills, and open hollow decaying trees, to get at the honey within, of which he is very fond. We went after the bear, and were not long in discovering his whereabouts, and a well-directed shot from S. added him to our bag. The best bear shooting in India perhaps is in CHOTA NAGPOOR, but this does not come within the limits of my present volume. We now beat slowly through the wood, keeping a bright look out for ants and hornets, and getting fine shooting at the numerous jungle fowl which flew about in amazing numbers.

The forest trees in this patch of jungle were very line. The hill seerees, with its feathery foliage and delicate clusters of white bugle-shaped blossom; the semul or cotton tree, with its wonderful wealth of magnificent crimson flowers; the birch-looking sheeshum or sissoo; the sombre-looking sal; the shining, leathery-leafed bhur, with its immense over-arching limbs, and the crisp, curly-leafed elegant-looking jhamun or Indian olive, fonned a paiadise of syhan beauty, on which the eye dwelt till it was sated with the woodland loveliness.

In recrossing the dhar or water-course, we took care to avoid the quicksands, and as we did not expect to fall in with another tiger, we indulged in a little general firing. I shot a fine- buck through the spine, and we bagged several deer, and no less than five floriean; this bird is allied to the bustard family, and has beautiful drooping feathers, hanging in plumy pendants of deep black and pure white, intermingled in the most graceful and showy manner. The male is a magnificent bird, and has perhaps as fine plumage as any bird on the border; the flesh yields the most delicate eating of any game bird I know; the slices of mingled brown and white from the breast are delicious. The birds are rather shy, generally getting up a long way in front of the line, and moving with a slow, rather clumsy, flight, not unlike the flight of the white earth owl. They run with great swiftness, and are rather hard to kill, unless about the neck and head. There are two sorts, the lesser and the greater, the former also called the bastard florican. Altogether they are noble-looking birds, and the sportsman is always glad to add as many florican as he can to his bag.

We were, now nearing the locality of the fierce fire of the morning; it was still blazing in a long extended line of flame, and we witnessed an incident without parallel in the experience of any of us. I fired at and wounded a large stag; it was wounded somewhere in the side, and seemed very hard hit indeed. Maddened probably by terror and pain, it made straight for the line of fire, and bounded unhesitatingly right into the flame. We saw it distinctly go clean through the flames, but we could not see whether it got away with its life, as the elephants would not go up to the fire. At ail events, the stag went right through his fiery ordeal, and was lost to us. We started numerous hares close to camp, and S. bowled over several. They are very common in the short grass jungle, where the soil is sandy, and are frequently to be found among thin jowah jungle; they afford good sport for coursing, but are neither so fleet, nor so large, nor such good eating as the English hare. In fact, they are very dry eating, and the best way to cook them is to jug them, or make a hunter's pie, adding portions of partridge, quail, or plover, with a few mushrooms, and a modicum of bam or bacon if these are procurable.

We reached camp pretty late, and sent off venison, birds and other spoils to Mrs. S. and to Ramputtee factory. Our bag showed a diversity of spoil, consisting of one tiger, seven hog-deer, one bear (Ursus labialis), seventeen jungle fowl, five florican, and six hares. It was no had bag considering that during most of the day we had been beating solely for tiger. We could have shot manv more deer and jungle fowl, but we never try to shoot more than are needed to satisfy the wants of the camp. Were we to attempt to shoot at all the deer and pig that we see, the figures would reach very large totals. As a rule, therefore, the records of Indian sportsmen give no idea of the vast quantities of game that are put up and never fired at. It would be the very wantonness of destruction, to shoot animals not wanted for some specific purpose, unless, indeed, you were waging an indiscriminate war of extermination, in a quarter where their numbers were a nuisance and prejudicial to crops. In that case, your proceedings would not be dignified by the name of sport.

After a few more days' shooting, the incidents of which were pretty much like those I have been describing, [ started back for tbe factory. I sent my horse on ahead, and took five elephants with me to beat up for game 011 the homeward route. Close to camp a tine buck got up in front of me. I broke both his forelegs with my first shot, but the poor brute still managed to hobble along. It was il some very dense patair jungle, and I had considerable dificulty in bringing him to bag. When we reached the ghat or ferry, I ordered Geerdliarree Joe's mahout to cross with his elephant. The brute, however, refused to cross the river alone, and in spite of all the driver could do, she insisted on following the rest. I got down, and some of the other drivers got out the hobbles and bound them round her legs. In spite of these she still seemed determined to follow us. She shook the bedding and other articles with which she was loaded off her back, and made a frantic effort to follow us through the deep sand. The iron chains cut into her legs, and, afraid that she might do herself an irreparable injury, I had her tied up to a tree, and left her trumpeting and making an indignant lamentation at being separated from the rest of the line.

The elephant seems to be quite a social animal. I have frequently seen cases where, after having been in company together for a lengthened hunt, they have manifested great reluctance to separate. In leaving the line, I have often noticed the single elephant looking back at his comrades, and giving vent to his disappointment and disapproval by grunts and trumpetings of indignant protest. We left the refractory hathee tied up to her tree, and as we crossed the long rolling billows of burning sand that lay athwart our course, she was soon lost to view. I shot a couple more hog-deer, and got several plover and teal in the patches of water that lay in some of tin1 hollows among the sandbanks. I fired at a huge alligator basking in the sun, on a sandbank close, to the stream. The bullet hit him somewhere in the forearm, and lie made a tremendous sensation header into the current. From the agitation in the water, he seemed not to appreciate the leaden message which I had sent him.

We found the journey through the soft yielding sand very fatiguing, and especially trying to the eyes. When not shooting, it is a very wise precaution to wear eye-preservers or "goggles." They are a great relief to the eyes, and the best, I think, are the neutral tinted. During the west winds, when the atmosphere is loaded with fine particles of irritating sand and dust, these goggles are very necessary, and are a great protection to the sight.

Another prudent precaution is to have the back of one's shirt or coat slightly padded with cotton and quilted. The heat prevents one wearing thick clothes, and there is no doubt that the action of the direct rays of the burning sun all Sown the back on the spinal cord, is very injurious, and may be a fruitful cause of sunstroke. It is certainly productive of great lassitude and weariness. I used to wear a thin quilted sort of shield made of cotton-drill, which fastened round the shoulders and waist. It does not incommode one's action in any particular, and is, I think, a great protection against the fierce rays of the sun. Main prefer the puggree as a head-piece. It is undeniably a fine thing when one is riding on horseback, as it fits close to the bead, does not catch the wind during a smart trot or canter, and is therefore not easily shaken off. For riding I think it preferable to all other head-dresses. A good thick puggree is a great protection to the back of the head and neck, the part of the body which of all others requires protection from the •sun. It feels rather heavy at first, but one gets used to it, and it does not shade the eyes and face. These are the two gravest objections to it, but for comfort, softness, and protection to the head and neck, I do not think it can be surpassed.

After crossing the sand, we again entered some thin scrubby acacia jungle, with here and there a moist swampy nullah, with rank green patair jungle growing in the cool dank shade. Here we disturbed a colony of pigs, but the four mahouts being Mahommedans I did not fire. As we went along, one of my men called my attention to some footprints near a small lagoon. On inspection we found they were rhinoceros tracks evidently of old date. These animals are often seen in this part of the country, but are more numerous farther north, in the great morung forest jungle.

A very noticeable feature in these jungles was the immense quantity of bleached ghastly skeletons of cattle, This year had been a most disastrous one for cattle. Enormous numbers had been swept .iff by disease, and in many villages bordering on the morung the herds had been well-nigh exterminated. Little attention is paid to breeding. In some districts, such as the Mooteeharrce and Mudhobunnee division, fine cart-bullocks are bred, carefully handled and tended, and fetch high prices. In Kurruekpore, beyond the Ganges in Bhaugulpore district, cattle of a small breed, hardy, active, staunch, and strong, are bred in great numbers, and are held in great estimation for agricultural requirements; but in these Koosee jungles the bulls are often ill-bred, weedy brutes, and the cows being much in excess of a fair proportion of bulls, a deal of in-breeding takes place; unmatured young bulls roam about with the herd, and the result is a crowd of cattle that succumb to the first ailment, so that the land is uttered with their bones.

The bullock being indispensable to the Indian cultivator, bull calves are prized, taken care of, well nurtured and well fed. The cow calves are pretty much left to take care of themselves; they are thin, miserable, half-starved brutes, and the short-sighted ryot seems altogether to forget that it is on these miserable withered specimens that he must depend for Ids supply of plough- and cart-bullocks. The matter is most shamefully neglected. Government occasionally through its officers, experimental farms, etc., tries to get good sire stock for both horses and cattle, but as long as the dams are bad— mere weeds, without blood, bone, muscle, or stamina, the produce must be bad. As a pretty well established and general rale, the ryots look after their bullocks,—they recognise their value, and appreciate their utility, but the cows fare badly, and from all I have myself seen, and from the concurrent testimony of many observant friends in the rural districts, I should say that the breed has become much deteriorated.

Old planters constantly tell yon, that such cattle as they used to get are not now procurable for love or money. Within the last twenty years prices have more than doubled, because the demand for good plough-bullocks has been more urgent, as a consequence of increased cultivation, and the supply is not equal to the demand. Attention to the matter is imperative, and planters would be wise in their own interests to devote a little time and trouble to disseminating sound ideas about the selection of breeding stock, and the principles of rearing and raising stock among their ryots and dependants. Every factory should be able to breed its own cattle, and supply its own requirements for plough- and cart-bullocks. It would be cheaper in the end, and it would undoubtedly be a blessing to the country to raise the standard of cattle used in agricultural work.

To return from this digression. We plodded on and on weary, hot, and thirsty, expecting every moment to see the ghat and my waiting horse. But the country here is so wild, the river takes such erratic courses during the annual floods, and the district is so secluded and so seldom visited by Europeans or factory ser\ants, that my syce had evidently lost his way. After we had crossed innumerable streams, and laboriously traversed mile upon mile of burning sand, we gave up the attempt to find the ghat, and made for Nathpore.

Nathpore was formerly a considerable town, not far from the Nepaul border, a flourishing grain mart and emporium for the fibres, gums, spices, timbers, and other productions of a wide frontier. There was a busy and crowded bazaar, long streets of shops and houses, and hundreds of boats lying in the stream beside the numerous ghats, taking in and discharging their cargoes. It may give a faint idea of the destructive force of an Indian stream like the Koosee when it is in full flood, to say that this once flourishing town is now hut a handful of miserable huts. Miles of rich lands, once clothed with luxuriant crops of rice, indigo, and waving grain, are now barren reaches of burning sand. The bleached skeletons of mango, jackfruit, and other trees, stretch out their leafless and lifeless branches, to remind the spectator of the time when their foliage rustled in the breeze, when their lusty limbs bore rich clusters of luscious fruit, and when the. din of the bazaar resounded beneath their welcome shade. A fine old lady still lived in a two-storied brick building, with quaint little darkened rooms, and a narrow verandah running all round the building. She was long past the allotted threescore years and ten, with a keen yet mildly beaming eye, and a wealth of beautiful hair as white as driven snow, neatly gathered back from her shapely forehead. She was the last remaining link connecting the present with the past glories of Nathpore. Her husband had been a planter and Zemindar. "Where his vats had stood laden with rich indigo, the engulfing sand now reflected the rays of the torrid sun from its burning whiteness. She showed me a picture of the town as it appeared to her when she had been brought there many a long and weary year ago, ere yet liei step had lost its lightness, and when she was in the bloom of her bridal life. There was a fine broad boulevard, shadowed by splendid trees, on which she and her husband had driven in their carriage of an evening, through crowds of prosperous and contented traders and cultivators. The hungry river had swept all tins away. Subsisting on a few precarious rents of some, little plots of ground that it had spared, all that remained of a once princely estate, this good old lady lived her lonely life cheerful and contented, never murmuring or repining. The river had not spared even the graves of her departed dear ones. Since I left that part of the country I hear that she has been called away to join those who had gone before her.

I arrived at her house late in the afternoon. I had never been at Nathpore before, although the place was well known to me by reputation. What a wreck it presented as our elephants marched through. Ruined, dismantled, crumbling temples; masses of masonry half submerged in the swift running, treacherous, undermining stream; huge trees lying prostrate, twisted and jammed together where the angry flood had hurled them; bare unsightly poles and piles, sticking from the water at every angle, reminding us of the granaries and godowns that were wont to be filled with tlie agricultural wealth of the districts for miles around; hard metalled roads cut abruptly off, ami bridges with only half an arch, standing lonely and ruined half way in the muddy current that swept noiselessly past the deserted city. It was a scene of utter waste and desolation.

The lady I mentioned made me very welcome, and I was struck by her unaffected cheerfulness and gentleness. She was a gentlewoman indeed, and though reduced in circumstances, surrounded by misfortunes, and daily and hourly reminded by the scattered wreck around her of her former wealth and position, she bore all with exemplary fortitude, and to the full extent of her scanty means she relieved the sorrows and ailments of the natives. They all loved and respected, and I could not help admiring and honouring her.

She pointed out to me, far away on the south-east horizon, the place where the river ran in its shallow channel when she first came to Nathpore. During her experience it had cut into and overspread more than twenty miles of country, turning fertile fields into arid wastes of sand; sweeping away factories, farms, and villages; and changing the whole face of the country from a fruitful landscape into a wilderness of sand and swamp.

My horse came up in the evening, and I rode over to Ramputtee, leaving my kindly hostess in her solitude.

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