Another day finished Madras; and, though there was little to see, compared with the places they had visited before, Mrs. Belgrave declared they had had a good time. On the morning following they went on board of the Guardian-Mother, and she sailed for Ceylon.
THE FAREWELL TO CEYLON AND INDIA
If the tourists had been in a safe place they would have been glad to see a cyclone on the shore of Madras, on Napier bridge for instance; and it would have been a grand spectacle to observe the great billows rolling in on the beach, breaking at a distance of a thousand feet from the land. But they had all seen great waves, and they were not anxious to see them here. At her ordinary speed, the Guardian-Mother would arrive at Colombo at one o’clock the next day. The weather was fine, and the passengers assembled in Conference Hall to talk with the three experts on board about the various places they had visited in India.
Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava were full of information, which they adorned with stories from history and mythology. The good people from Von Blonk Park were sorry they had not seen the Temple and Car of Juggernaut, though they had been fully described to them. They had visited the missions in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, as well as wherever they had found them elsewhere. They were much interested in them, and regretted that they had not been able to devote more time to them.
The next forenoon, with the northern shore of Ceylon in sight from the deck, Lord Tremlyn went upon the rostrum, with the map of the island, and a portion of the main shore included, on the frame. Though the ship was in ten degrees of north latitude, the weather was delightful and the sea was smooth. The thermometer stood at 70 deg., and the ladies declared that the temperature was just right.
“You know the location of the island on the southeast of India, and it takes in about four degrees of latitude and two of longitude, without going into the matter too finely, with an area of twenty-four thousand seven hundred and two square miles; about the size of your State of West Virginia, I find, or as large as three or four of your New England States. Perhaps the most lovely scenery in the whole world is to be found in this island. The Greeks and Romans visited it, and it is mentioned in ’The Arabian Nights,’ under the name of Serendib.
“The mountains are near the southern part, and the highest one is Mount Pedrotallagalla,—don’t forget the name, my young friends,—eight thousand two hundred and sixty feet high. In your visit to Ceylon you will go to Candy, which will please those with a sweet tooth better than Kandy, as it is often spelled. Many precious stones are found in Ceylon; and the pearl fishery is a very important source of wealth, though its value is variable in different years. In six years only out of the last thirty have the fisheries been productive, and in the other twenty-four they yielded hardly anything. In those six years, the largest yield, in 1881, was not quite sixty thousand pounds, while the smallest noted was ten thousand pounds.