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The Pearl of India   By: (1820-1895)

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First Page:

THE PEARL OF INDIA

BY

MATURIN M. BALLOU

From India and the Golden Chersonese, And utmost Indian Isle Taprobanes.

MILTON

SECOND EDITION

BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

The Riverside Press, Cambridge

1895

Copyright, 1894,

BY MATURIN M. BALLOU.

PREFACE.

That many readers evince a growing satisfaction in contemplating foreign lands through the eyes of experienced travelers, the favor shown to previous books by the author of these pages abundantly testifies. Mutual profit is therefore the outcome of such a work; both the author and reader are gratified.

It is a pleasure to depict scenes which have afforded so much gratification to the writer, for enjoyment is redoubled by being shared, "joy was born a twin." The undersigned has often been asked both personally and by letter, "Of all the places you have seen and written about, which do you consider of the most interest, and which do you recommend me to visit?" This is a very difficult question to answer, because individual tastes differ so widely. It is safe to say no point presents more varied attractions to the observant traveler, more thoroughly and picturesquely exhibits equatorial life, or addresses itself more directly to the delicate appreciation of the artist, botanist, antiquarian, general scientist, and sportsman, than does Ceylon, gem of the Orient. There are few attractive places in the East which are so accessible, or which may be said to offer more reasonable assurance of safety and good health to the stranger, than this fabled isle of Arabian story. The climate is equable and most delightful; though the temperature is exceptionally high, it is, in fact, perpetual summer, varied only by the rains of the monsoon months of May and June, October and November. The tropical heat near the coast is trying to northern visitors, but one can always find a refuge, within a day's journey, up in the hills of the central province, where it is so cool at most seasons of the year as to render a fire necessary after sunset. In the matter of expense, this route is as economical as the average of land and sea travel in any direction. The cost of living in Ceylon is quite as moderate as in Southern Europe, and now that the island is so generally traversed by railways and excellent government roads, there is very little hardship to be encountered in visiting its remotest districts.

M. M. B.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Introductory. Coming from the Eastward. Interesting Ocean Phenomena. Denizens of the Sea. Bird Travelers. Delusive Mirage. A Thrilling Adventure. Prompt Seamanship. A Struggle for Life. Dust of the Sea. A Dangerous Wreck. Night Watches. Sighting the Island of Ceylon. Adam's Peak, among the Clouds. A Beautiful Shore. Steamers and Sailing Ships. Curious Native Boats. Singhalese Pedlers. A Catamaran. Tempting of Providence. An Author's Position 1

CHAPTER II.

A Classic Island. Topographical Position. Maldive Islands. Lands rising out of the Sea. Size of Ceylon. Latitude and Longitude. A Link of a Powerful Chain. Important British Station. "Mountain of the Holy Foot." Remarkable Mountain View. Queer Speculations. Insect Life in the Island. Acknowledged Gem of the Orient. Wild Elephants. In Olden Times. Far Reaching Historic Connections. Arboreal and Floral Beauties. Perennial Vegetation. The Feathered Tribe 19

CHAPTER III.

The Wearisome Tropics. Waterspouts. Climatic Conditions. Length of Days. A Land Rich in Prehistoric Monuments... Continue reading book >>




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