W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 127
my comprehension is how the trees themselves escaped injury.
Either the rapidity with which the flames advanced prevented any real danger accruing to them; or else the cultivators themselves must have devised some expedient whereby the trees were rendered fire-proof. They could be seen superintending the operation, regulating the direction of the flames, and beating out any that ascended too high with long bamboos. The soil on these hills was no doubt peculiarly adapted for this fruit, a fact which the inhabitants probably discovered by having seen some originally there in a wild state.
In spite of their laziness, they were no mean cultivators, and, as I saw on an occasion hereafter to be related, endowed with considerable ingenuity. That the soil of these hills fulfilled the requirements of the fruit in question in a unique degree, I gathered from the fact that I never came across it elsewhere. I should much like to assign a scientific reason, based on an analysis of the soil and the geological formation of the hills ; but I regret to say that my knowledge in this branch of science was, in those days at all events, extremely elementary and unpractical. I had soon special reason to lament my ignorance in this respect, for I was to traverse a hitherto unknown tract of country, where nature had been exceedingly lavish of her gifts, animal, vegetable and mineral. Advanced age brings in its train to the majority of mankind varying degrees of regret for neglected opportunities, the inevitable longing after that which a might have been.a
Chosen no doubt from the facilities it afforded, as well as for its strategical position, the military eye may nevertheless have been attracted to Prome by the senseChosen no doubt from the facilities it afforded, as well as for its strategical position, the military eye may nevertheless have been attracted to Prome by the sense