The Pooneah seldom lasts more than the two days, but it is quite unique in its feudal character, and is one of the old-fashioned observances; a relic of the time when the planter was really looked upon as the father of his people, and when a little sentiment and mutual affection mingled with the purely business relations of landlord and tenant.
I delighted my ryots by importing some of our own country recreations, and setting the ploughmen to compete against each other. I stuck a greasy bamboo firmly into the earth, putting a bag of copper coins at the top. Many tried to climb it, but when they came to the grease they came down ‘by the run.’ One fellow however filled his kummerbund with sand, and after much exertion managed to secure the prize. Wheeling the barrow blindfold also gave much amusement, and we made some boys bend their foreheads down to a stick and run round till they were giddy. Their ludicrous efforts then to jump over some water-pots, and run to a thorny bush, raised tumultuous peals of laughter. The poor boys generally smashed the pots, and ended by tumbling into the thorns.
The Koosee jungles.—Ferries.—Jungle roads.—The rhinoceros.—We go to visit a neighbour.—We lose our way and get belated.—We fall into a quicksand.—No ferry boat.—Camping out on the sand.—Two tigers close by.—We light a fire.—The boat at last arrives.—Crossing the stream.—Set fire to the boatman’s hut.—Swim the horses.—They are nearly drowned.—We again lose our way in the jungle.—The towing path, and how boats are towed up the river.—We at last reach the factory.—News of rhinoceros in the morning.—Off we start, but arrive too late.—Death of the rhinoceros.—His dimensions.—Description. —Habits.—Rhinoceros in Nepaul.—The old ’Major Capt[=a]n.’—Description of Nepaulese scenery.—Immigration of Nepaulese.—Their fondness for fish.—They eat it putrid.—Exclusion of Europeans from Nepaul. —Resources of the country.—Must sooner or later be opened up. —Influences at work to elevate the people.—Planters and factories chief of these.—Character of the planter.—His claims to consideration from government.
In the vast grass jungles that border the banks of the Koosee, stretching in great plains without an undulation for miles on either side, intersected by innumerable water-beds and dried up channels, there is plenty of game of all sorts. It is an impetuous, swiftly-flowing stream, dashing directly down from the mighty hills of Nepaul. So swift is its current and so erratic its course, that it frequently bursts its banks, and careers through the jungle, forming a new bed, and carrying away cattle and wild animals in its headlong rush.