W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 241
a It gives me wonder, great as my content,
To see you here before me.a
a Whether we shall meet again, I know not,
Therefore our everlasting farewell take ! a
The anchorage off Mergui is guarded by an almost perpendicular rock, which in our case necessitated steering a point to starboard. Although destitute of even a blade of grass, this rock is extremely valuable on account of a certain species of swallow, thousands of which nest there year after year, their dwellings being] the much prized edible nests, in such great demand among Chinese epicures, as a stock for their soups, i They resemble those of our own species, though a trifle* more elongated ; and are composed of a peculiar kind of gelatinous seaweed, very palatable when boiled with the addition of a little mixed spice.
When the young ones are fledged, the nests are separated from the rock, to which they were attached by a secretion peculiar to the bird.
Soup flavoured with these nests is to the Chinese gourmand what green turtle is to the alderman. Both are expensive ; I never had the courage to ascertain the. price of real turtle, but I know that the nests fetch as much as Aj per pound, or, as each weighs about half an ounce, nearly $s. apiece.