페이지 이미지

against a strong Trade wind, a beavy sea, with great turbulence, will be found in this channel.

So smooth and deep is Admiralty Bay, Bequia, that a vessel may be hove down there in great security to the sandy beach. We found it very convenient for cleaning and repairing our small surveying vessels. There are no conveniences for the purpose, there is the bare beach to make the best of, with some large trees growing near it, for use when heaving down to anchors and ballast. Wbarves might easily be constructed here for coaling purposes, and Admiralty Bay seems well adapted for such a purpose, to supply a few ships; but the anchorage space is far too limited for any extensive number of shipping, thus rendering it unfit for a packet station.

The magistrate for the St. Vincent Grenadines, resides here, also a clergyman of the Established Church for those islands, who occasipally visit the others, so far as Union Island, the last belonging to the government of St. Vincent. The population of Bequia is more numerous and actually lazier than in the others. Formerly there were ten sugar estates in this island, in high cultivation, that are now almost abandoned ; and the low prices of this year will most probably settle this as well as many of the larger islands. The proprietor cannot grow the sugar for what it costs him in tillage, not counting the outlay for lands, implements, stock, &c. In fact, the ruin of the Smaller Antilles seems certain, notwithstanding what may be said respecting the beneficial effects of measures. The people never move if they can help it. In every contract or bargain for work, they try to overreach. It is their constant effort to overcharge even when they can be persuaded to work a little. All this the unfortunate employer of labour has to suffer. Nor will the law assist him, for almost in all cases the magistrate decides for the Negro,—perhaps popularity may be at the bottom of this; but the only people who seem to manage the Negro are the traders, who charge him double value for all goods from abroad, and as they employ but little labour, they are not subject to the vexations arising from the application of it.

The islands here enumerated are of the same geologic character as the rest of the Grenadines; they are formed principally of trappean rocks, or rocks closely allied to that material, dikes of which protrude in many places. Battowia is very bold and cliffy; all are much worn; above the trap or greenstone in many places is seen a brown stone, or indurated clay, and which is not unlike what the terras of St. Vincent might become after long exposure. There is no doubt that the superficial rocks of the Grenadines are much older and more worn than either Grenada or St. Vinceut; those islands possessing more recent volcanic ejecta on their surfaces. If we acknowledge, therefore, that the Grenadines may have been larger than they are now, it is probable that their breaking up and decomposition has materially helped to form the marine base around them, which in a section from East to West through an island looks peculiar. Their very singular character might also lead one to suppose that they had been more extensive and possibly joined each other. We do not find many other descriptions of stone about these islands, other than what are stated. On the Great Pillory there is a quartz dike, and on that cay are also found some good specimens of rock crystal; and on Mustiques, some stones of reddish quartz.

Master in Charge West India Survey.


(Continued from vol. uxi., page 650.) At Maromby I chose for residence a house which had belonged to an American, known by the name of Wilson, and who resides still at Tamatava. He had formed some plantations, the remains of which to this day prove the richness of the soil. The coffee shrub, the cotton, the orange, although left to themselves for several years, are still there in a most flourishing condition.

My Hova officer, Rasolo, little accustomed to my rapid travelling, and who had no particular desire to arrive so quickly at Tananarivo, tried in vain to persuade me that we could not cross two or three streams which contribute to the River Yark, and that it would be far better to wait for the following day, so that we might make sure of finding canoes. But I was deaf to all his reasonings, knowing well that once conceding to his advice would oblige me to do so on other occasions, and be placing myself entirely in his hands for the rest of the journey. We therefore set out again at one p.m. At two we crossed a bridge over the Anala-miorika rivulet, formed by the trunks of trees; a league further we met that of the Manabonitra, wbich is not more fordable than the former, and where two bad canoes made some twenty passages to take us and our luggage over; and at six in the evening we found ourselves at the River Andranamafona, one of the principal affluents of the Yark, if it be not the principal itself. The current was rapid, the river some thirty yards across, but the rains not having yet been heavy, there is no water but as far as the aiselles, and we can ford it without accident to reach the town of Toizunker, which is often called Andranamufrana (hot water), on account of its proximity to the river, which obtains its name from a spring of hot water near its banks. I intended to have visited this spring, but it was now overflown by the waters of the river. The officers of the English mission, who were here some months before me, say that it is highly ferruginous, with a temperature of about 160° Fabr. The qualities of this water are known to the natives, but I am not aware of their curative quality.

The path we had taken from Maromby traverses a hillocky country,

these features being more remarkable the further it is penetrated into the interior, without presenting any particular direction in its undulations.

All parts of the ground exposed to the sea breezes are covered by a herb of handsome appearance at this season, but without a single shrub: and here we first see some flint and quartz rocks cropping above the surface. In the vales a fine tropical vegetation is strongly developed, amongst which the cane is most conspicuous, and of so flexible a kind that the end of it bends down again to the ground: there is a kind of balisier, the beautiful large foliage of which so nearly resembles it as to be mistaken for the banana'; its green leaves are used for domestic purposes by the Malgaches,-they serve as plates and dishes, and by working them in a particular manner, as spoons and goblets. When dried, they serve for thatching their roofs under the name of fountsy, being plaited together, thus forming & light cool covering, through which the rain does not easily penetrate.

In the same places we also see the travellers' tree (urania specioSUS). Certain writers assert that this flourishes only in dry parts; others, on the contrary, affirm that its presence indicates the vicinity of water. These two opinions are each as much exaggerated as the other. I have always found the travellers' tree in Madagascar in company with other species of palms, from the saline sands bordering the sea shore as far as Biforna, the limit beyond which the ground becomes too high for this species of vegetation. The travellers' tree, again, owes it celelırity entirely to the arrangement of its foliage, which retains for a long time the rain water, which may be obtained by making an incision into their interior. There is nothing in this fact which leads to the conclusion that this tree only flourishes in a dry or humid soil; but like the rest of the palms it likes the low grounds and to be sheltered from the wind.

Another palm of great utility to the Malgaches, is the raffier, a species of lagus. Its leaves resemble those of the cocoanut; they are cut when tender, and they are then cleared of the fibre, of which rabana is made cloth of different quality, from the coarsest kind used in making up packages of produce, up to the finest kind used by the people for their dresses, and sometimes by the upper classes. I have seen European dresses dyed with the most beautiful colour by indigo, and may be taken for lasting without the rustling noise occasioned by friction.

The rabana cloth is an important article of commerce between the different classes of natives. It is constantly met on the road, being Barried by bearers on bamboos, bearing two large panniers at their ends, these being filled with the fibres of the rabana going to the Hovas who weave it into cloth.

13th.-We set out at the usual time, about daylight. In leaving Voizanker we had to cross the same little brook four times before we reached Ambatoherana, where we breakfasted. The country begins to wear an imposing appearance: the border plain ber vies more extensive, the hills become higher, vegetation is much the same, but the soil is ferruginous, with debris of rocks near the surface.

In the afternoon, before reaching Mahela, we crossed a wooded mountain, being the first forest we have met with on our journey, the path being sometimes several feet deep, is often very difficult to pass. A tremendous storm overtook us in this part of our journey, most happily for ns where we had no longer to descend. But notwithstanding this, I often thought that the bearers and their burdens would be washed away by the flood of water which rushed along our path through the ravine from all parts of it, converting it into a most dangerous torrent. I must do justice to my bearers, for indeed it would not be fair to doubt their abilities, for subsequently I had abundant opportunity of judging of their powers in places of more difficulty.than this, where I had not the least fear of their failure,but./on the contrary, my confidence in them became stronger, and I preferred being carried over dangerous passes by them rather than crossing them on foot.

We slept at Ampasimbé a large town built on the bank of a small river in a charming locality. In the country over which we passed yesterday, on the summit of the hills we frequently observed groups of houses, from which there was a view of the whole coast, and which could be attained by open roads. These were inhabited by the rice cultivators, who isolate themselves thus to be free from surprise, and in a better position from whence to overlook the country.

However naturalists may reckon a dozen varieties of rice, I have not observed more than two kinds of this cereal under cultivation in the course of my journey, water rice and mountain rice. The former is only cultivated on the low lands, where there is a course of water either natural or artificial. Here the ground is divided by steps, with the view of turning to the best possible account as much water as possible for its benefit. The ground is prepared for the seed by being trampled out by cattle, and the irrigations are directed according to the wants of the plant. The mountain rice is sown on the sides exposed to an amount of heat or humidity necessary for bringing it forward. I have been often told that for the cultivation of this rice a commencement is made by setting fire to the trees on the ground to be cleared, that they again burn in the following year the new sprouts which have been thrown up, and then they sow successive crops of rice, but after this the land becomes sterile completely, as well for the rice as for any forest produce; it will produce nothing but grass ; and this to a certain degree explains the reason of the quantity of completely bare ground in this part of the island.

14th. We found ourselves at the foot of the first range of mountains between us and Madilo in good time. The road, which always follows the crests of the mountains, is rough and difficult, and, moreover, a small rain has been falling all night, and has made the ground slippery, and the bearers hold on by each other to reach the summit without accident. From this point, which is the highest that we

Slippery, and then has been faltains, is rough anhe road,

have yet attained, all the country to the East is seen, and the sea appears on the horizon, although we are 35 miles from it. The descent is more difficult than the ascent, nevertheless we arrived tolerably soon at Madilo, and we continued our route after a short rest. We passed on through Mazzevo without stopping, and arrived at Beferona, where we halted until the following morning.

This station is justly considered the most unhealthy of the whole route. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, it is seated on low ground, where a winding stream is constantly sending off its vapours over the village without the power of escaping, consequently the air one breathes there is thick and humid.

The people themselves seem to like increasing this unhealthy condition by keeping herds of cattle about their ill sheltered houses, that tend to keep up about them and in their houses a filthy and most repulsive odour. And as if these evils were not sufficient, Beferona serves as a refuge for the most hardy and expert thieves, of which on my return I was a victim. Whilst I was sleeping at the end of a long fatiguing journey, I felt my bed clothes lifted off without the least friction. This completely awoke me, and I opened my eyes only to see them quickly vanish. But in my half dreaming condition I considered it merely a mental hallucination, and it was not until fairly roused up by cold that I could persuade myself that they had in reality been carried off by some thief. M. Clement, who slept near me, was plundered in another way, for when he was about to dress himself for departing, he could not find the clothes he had taken off: all bad vanished. I was the more surprised at the impudence of the theft, as we had with us three very watchful dogs.*

But these hardened robbers do not venture into the interior of houses, for there they have less chance of escape should they be discovered, and the law of the country admits of their being killed on the spot. Having made their observations on the places in the course of their journey as to the facilities they offer for their purposes, they make an incision in the wall of foliage forming the abode and introduce into it the long handle of a sagaye, provided with a hook at the end, with which they get hold of the articles they desire. They then conceal them in the brushwood, and make no attempt to sell them until the traveller of whom they have plundered them has left the country.

Beferona is a place that cannot be avoided, owing to its distance from other towns; but the inconveniences which we suffered there seemed to be thought nothing of by our bearers. They had their fresh meal of betza betza and their liberty till the following morning. This was quite enough to make them forget the fatigues of the two preceding days. Very soon, therefore, after our arrival they had turned the village upside down with their usual amusements; which

• Madame Pfieffer bears her testimony to the thieving propensities of these people. At Mad. Julie's, already mentioned, she lost her watch,-and at another place her parasol.—ED.


« 이전계속 »