W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 257
We visited several of the villages, which were very neat and built, as usual, on piles; but we soon discovered that distance lent enchantment to the view, and that a closer acquaintance brought us in contact with a formidable amalgamation of odours, not of the eau-de-Cologne order, a melange of Jack-fruit, mango, and that curious native delicacy, to which I alluded in a former chapter, and which consists for the most part of fish not remarkable for its freshness !
While their houses were canopied with the thickest of foliage, the space around was kept clear of anything like undergrowth. Only a few bamboos were allowed to grow in each clump, about which a man could thread his way with ease. The survivors were consequently of large sizeathe largest I ever came acrossathe specimens cut for us as souvenirs measuring nine inches in diameter. Three joints of such a one I took back to Calcutta, one of which I had prettily carved for a present, while the others served as wine-coolers. The price asked by the natives for a bamboo sixty or seventy feet in length, including the cost of cutting up, was not exorbitant, amounting to about four annas, or sixpence. The dexterity with which it was levelled and cut up was almost unequalled, reminding onea ghastly reminiscence!aof the manner in which a Ghoorka handled his kookerie, when cutting off the heads of his prisoners. I once witnessed thirty severed in a row ; and there was no keeping the bloodthirsty little demons from so disposing of their captives.
The Jack-fruit and plantain both revelled in that fertile soil, attaining to a large size; but as for the mangoaoh, what a falling off was there ! not off the trees, but in point of size and flavour. The ubiquitous crow of course abounded; paroquets flew away uttering