Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

16.  ’Many years ago Dr. Spry (Note on the Fossil Palms and Shells lately discovered on the Table-Land of Sagar in Central India, in J.A.S.B. for 1833, vol. ii, p. 639) and, subsequently to him, Captain Nicholls (Journal of Asiatic Soc. of Bombay, vol. v, p. 614), studied and described certain trunks of palm-trees, whose silicified remains are found imbedded in the soft intertrappean mud-beds near Sagar. . . .  The trees are imbedded in a layer of calcareous black earth, which formed the surface soil in which they grew; this soil rests on, and was made up of the disintegration of, a layer of basalt.  It is covered over by another and similar layer of the same rock near where the trees occur. . . .  The palm-trees, now found fossilized, grew in the soil, which, in the condition of a black calcareous earthy bed, we now find lying round their prostrate stems.  They fell (from whatever cause), and lay until their silicification was complete.  A slight depression of the surface, or some local or accidental check of some drainage-course, or any other similar and trivial cause, may have laid them under water.  The process of silicification proceeded gradually but steadily, and after they had there, in lapse of ages, become lapidified, the next outburst of volcanic matter overwhelmed them, broke them, partially enveloped, and bruised them, until long subsequent denudation once more brought them to light’ (J.  G. Medlicott, in Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, vol. ii.  Part II, pp. 200, 203, 204, 205, 216, as quoted in C.  P. Gazetteer (1870), p. 435).  The intertrappean fossils are all those of organisms which would occur in shallow fresh-water lakes or marshy ground.

Besides the author’s friend and relative, Dr. H. H. Spry, Dr. Spilsbury contributed papers on the Nerbudda fossils to vols. iii, vi, viii, ix, x, and xiii of the J.A.S.B. Other writers also have treated of the subject, but it appears to be by no means fully worked out.  James Prinsep, to whom no topic came amiss, discussed the Jubbulpore fossil bones in the volume in which Dr. Spry’s paper appeared.  Dr. Spry was the author of a work entitled Modern India:  with Illustrations of the Resources and Capabilities of Hindustan (2 vols. 8vo, 1838).  He became F.R.S.

CHAPTER 15

Legend of the Sagar Lake—­Paralysis from eating the Grain of the Lathyrus sativus.

The cantonments of Sagar are about two miles from the city and occupied by three regiments of native infantry, one of local horse, and a company of European artillery.[1] The city occupies two sides of one of the most beautiful lakes of India, formed by a wall which unites two sandstone hills on the north side.  The fort and part of the town stands upon this wall, which, according to tradition, was built by a wealthy merchant of the Banjara caste.[2] After he had finished it, the bed of the lake still remained dry; and he

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