Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.
his way into a stack of corn, as if he understood it to have been made for his use alone.  It was so close to me as I passed that I put out my stick to push it off in play, and, to my surprise, it flew off in a fright at my white face and strange dress, and was followed by the others.  I found that they were all wild, if that term can be applied to birds that live on such excellent terms with mankind.  On reaching our tents we found several feeding in the corn-fields close around them, undisturbed by our host of camp-followers; and were told by the villagers, who had assembled to greet us, that they were all wild.  ‘Why’, said they, ’should we think of keeping birds that live among us on such easy terms without being kept?’ I asked whether they ever shot them, and was told that they never killed or molested them, but that any one who wished to shoot them might do so, since they had here no religions regard for them.[4] Like the pariah dogs the peacocks seem to disarm the people by confiding in them—­their tameness is at once the cause and the effect of their security.  The members of the little communities among whom they live on such friendly terms would not have the heart to shoot them; and travellers either take them to be domesticated, or are at once disarmed by their tameness.

At Antri a sufficient quantity of salt is manufactured for the consumption of the people of the town.  The earth that contains most salt is dug up at some distance from the town, and brought to small reservoirs made close outside the walls.  Water is here poured over it, as over tea and coffee.  Passing through the earth, it flows out below into a small conduit, which takes it to small pits some yards’ distance, whence it is removed in buckets to small enclosed platforms, where it is exposed to the Sun’s rays, till the water evaporates, and leaves the salt dry.[5] The want of trees over this vast plain of fine soil from the Sindh river is quite lamentable.  The people of Antri pointed out the place close to my tents where a beautiful grove of mango-trees had been lately taken off to Gwalior for gun-carriages and firewood, in spite of all the proprietor could urge of the detriment to his own interest in this world, and to those of his ancestors in that to which they had gone.  Wherever the army of this chief moved they invariably swept off the groves of fruit-trees in the same reckless manner.  Parts of the country, which they merely passed through, have recovered their trees, because the desire to propitiate the Deity, and to perpetuate their name by such a work, will always operate among Hindoos as a sufficient incentive to secure groves, wherever man has be made to feel that their rights of property in the trees will be respected.[6] The lands around the village, which had a well for irrigation, paid four times as much as those of the same quality which had none, and were made to yield two crops in the year.  As everywhere else, so here, those lands into which water flows

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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