W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 166
In this particular locality grew a rampant creeper, fascinating to behold, but woe betide the unlucky individual who chanced to shake the plant while passing underneath it.
Hanging from various points among the surrounding trees, among which it twists and turns, may be seen large racemes of Papillionaceous purple blossoms, harmless, except for their unpleasant smell. At a latter stage, however, when they have podded, the outer surface becomes covered with fine, brittle hairs, which shower down whenever the creeper is agitated. Should they lodge on the naked skin, the irritation becomes maddening in the course of a few minutes, increasing as one scratches. It is the Mucuna pruens of botanists ; in popular phraseology, cowage or Cow-itch. Strange to say, on this occasion three out of the four elephants steered clear of this undesirable a thing of beautythe
fourth did not, and its occupant, Captain H--, the
short one this timeareceived a dose on the nape of his neck which caused him to struggle as if he would pull his head off his shoulders.
He would without a doubt have inflicted serious injury on his neck, had not a native suggested a remedy: if an apothecaryas shop had been available, we might have found something less disagreeable and equally oleaginous, the quality on which its efficacy mainly depended. In lieu thereof, we proceeded to a village where cows were kept, and the remedy was applied.
The natives have great faith in it here as in many parts of India. Formerly, it was considered an excellent vermifuge, and was administered incorporated with treacle, honey or syrup. How the rest of us escaped the same annoyance was a wonder!
The other drawback to the pleasures of this kind ofThe other drawback to the pleasures of this kind of