The Silken East ^
Pagan-galay and Sinbyu-gyun (White Elephant Island) face each other across the water. I have left my little launch, with all her struggles to breast the tide, and am embarked upon one of the great ships of the Flotilla with two flats in tow. One hundred and fifty feet of pathway is the right we claim, and the roar of our thundering paddles, the deep throbbing of the hidden engines, mark the unequal conflict between the immemorial river and this new factor driving ruthlessly
ahead, and caring nothing for its protest. Brute force driven by pitiless mind is the burden of the iron paddles as they tear through the heart of the water ; of the engines, as they swing to the wrath of the driven flame. The waters plunge in great billows between the flats and the steamer's side, and the rudder cleaves a line between. Long after the ship has passed, her course is marked upon the river's surface, and every inch of the shore and every boat drawn up along it, or abroad upon the waters, knows, by the strange paroxysm, of the portent that has passed.
Sal, at which we anchor for the night, is a place of ancient ruined pagodas, giant gryphons, and carved