^ The Lower Courses
passing slowly from a tidal creek to an inland water. No longer does my vision range over vast deltaic spaces. The mightiest trees, dark, cumulose, and splendid, clothe both banks of the river, marshalling its progress. Miles of glistening plantains follow its curves, and hedges of tall river-grass wave over the lips of the water. There is, in spite of tropic exuberance, a regularity and order in the scenery, which give it a park-like character, between the river and the lines of trees, and as the ship goes by, little children, bare as Adam in his better days, dance and clap their hands and mimic the droning chant of the leadsman as he calls the deeps of the channel. The more curious of the village folk come out of their houses to look at the passing show, and make remarks about the white man on the steamer. These are nearly always women.
Returning rice-boats, high out of the water, lie at anchor, waiting for the tide to take them home, while others with bellying sails, and holds full to the brim with rice, go gallantly down to their traffic with the world. A stray launch sends her shrill whistle down the lane of waters, bringing a bevy of laden boats in
Red villages rise up at intervals,