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Full text of "A thousand miles up the Irrawaddy : Burmah proper"

ASIA 

DS 

527 

.6 

.033 

1879a 




^for TpribHlt <SirtuInfion. 



THOUSAND MILES 
UP THE IRRAWADDY 



BURMAH PROPER. 



BV 



AN OFFICER. 




LONDON: 

PxiDTtD IV thi Ahmy AMD Navy Co-oh«ativi Socuxr, LiHITIP, 
ii7, Victoria Stmit, Wmtmiiisteii, S.W. 



;ORNEI.L UNIVERSITY 
l/B> RY 



4853 




John M. Echols Collectior 
on Southeast Asia 



CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 



3 1924 075 148 001 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924075148001 



$ot Iflri&atr Cirrulalion. 



THOUSAND MILES 



UP THE IRRAWADDY; 



BURMAH PROPER. 



BY 



AN OFFICER. 




LONDON : 
Printed by the Army and Navy Co-operative Society, Limited, 
117, Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W. 



1879. 



A THOUSAND MILES UP THE 
IRRAWADDY. 



About the beginning of August, 187s, Col. Gloag, R.A., and I 
formed the resolution of travelling together to Bamo in Upper 
Burmah. Being as it is nearly a thousand miles by river from 
Rangoon, and the farthest point reached by steam navigation, 
we considered that by going there we should see more of 
Burmah than we could in any other journey occupying the 
same time. We then applied for sixty days' privilege leave, 
and having obtained it, took our passage to Bamo. As we 
intended to go by rail as far as Prome to save time, we took 
return tickets from Prome to Bamo and back. My ticket for 
self and one servant came to about ^10. This of course 
includes neither food nor wine, the charge for food being four 
rupees a day. Wine, beer, &c, can be had on payment, and 
the charges are moderate. 

Our steamer, the " Irrawaddy,'' left Rangoon on the 15th 
August, but we ourselves, profiting by the quicker means of 
transit, did not leave till the morning of the 18th inst. The 
train goes at a very deliberate pace through a most uninterest- 
ing country — perfectly flat — its monotonous plains of paddy 
fields only relieved by still more monotonous patches of jungle. 

Being two hours late, we did not reach Prome till 9 p.m., 
having taken fifteen hours to travel 163 miles. As the 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 



steamer was not to arrive till the next day, we adjourned for 
the night to the Circuit-house. 

August igth. Taking advantage of the cool air of the 
morning, I got up and had a look about me. The Circuit- 
house is close to the river, which is here about 1200 yards 
broad. On the opposite side are some picturesque hills 
•covered with jungle, and custard-apple gardens : the latter 
looking not unlike vineyards. Winding amongst these hills is 
seen the road which crosses the mountains to Tongoop on the 
Aracan coast. I then walked up to the pagoda, which stands 
on a small hill overlooking the town. From there I got a 
beautiful view of the river, and saw also in the distance the 
ruins of a very old pagoda — date about a.d. 445 : this was 
•one of four pagodas, one of which was situated at each corner 
of the old town of Prome — the oldest town in Burmah — the 
remains of which are to be seen about three miles from the 
present town of'Prome. 

The modern pagoda to which we went is small, but is re- 
markable for the number of large bells in the court-yard. 
About midday our steamer appeared in sight, and we em- 
barked at 3 p.m. After leaving Prome the river is somewhat 
contracted in width, and runs between low hills, which are 
•beautifully wooded and occasionally crowned by pagodas. We 
found two ladies on board the steamer who were going up to 
join their husbands at Mandalay. They were waited upon by 
two young native girls, one of them being a Kukyen who had 
been bought by her mistress in Upper Burmah. She was de- 
scribed as being a perfect starveling when bought, but was now 
very fat and happy-looking. She was rather fairer than the 
majority of Burmese, women. The ladies gave us a good deal 
-of information about Mandalay. By their accounts it must be 
a wretched place to live in ; no getting about, and no news. 
We anchored for the night a few miles below Thyetmyo. 

Our steamer, with a flat on each side of her, could only go 
against the stream at the rate of about six miles an hour : with- 
out flats she would be able to go twelve miles in the same time. 
These steamers are all built on the model of the American 
river steamers. The accommodation for passengers is forward, 
and on the upper deck, so as to avoid the smell of the 



A Thousand Miles up tlie Irrawaddy. 



machinery and catch all the air. They draw about five feet 
■of water when loaded. 

August ioth. As we approached Thyetmyo the hills on the 
west bank became higher. The station is picturesquely situated 
in a basin surrounded, or nearly so, by low hills. The river, 
which was now full, i.e., about thirty-five feet higher than 
in the hot weather, expands to a breadth of one and a half 
miles. At Thyetmyo we heard that Mr. St. Barbe, the Presi- 
dent at Bamo, had arrived there with Mr. Cooper's murderer, 
and was to be detained to act as prosecutor at his trial. We 
were rather afraid that he would not be able to get to 
Mandalay in time for the Bamo steamer, and that we should 
have to get on at Bamo as best we could by ourselves. That 
he was not delayed, however, will appear farther on. 

We only remained at Thyetmyo for two hours, and it was so 
hot that I did not go on shore. Meaday, a place which was 
•once occupied by British troops, and where the old barracks 
may still be seen, is about nine miles above Thyetmyo, and 
five or six miles farther on are the boundary pillars of British 
Burmah. Just above Meaday is an old Burmese fort which 
was taken by the English in 1824. 

August 2 1st. Some distance beyond the frontier are two or 
three large islands, the first of which is called Loongyee. All 
along the west bank of the river are wooded hills, a spur of the 
Aracan range. These gradually trend away from the river to 
the west. On the east bank of the river is a village, called 
Sinnwam-bwe, which bears a very bad character for dacoitee. 
Last time the steamer passed this village, three men were seen 
crucified on the banks of the river. Above Thyetmyo the 
jungle gets more open, and the country looks much drier than 
it does farther south. They say that partridges, hare, and 
quail are very numerous in these parts. After passing the 
islands the village of Maloon is seen on the west bank. It is 
.situated at the foot of a hill, at the top of which are five or six 
pagodas of different shape to those of British Burmah. There 
was formerly a stockade here, which was taken by the English 
in 1826. 

About 4 p.m. we anchored at Meula, where there is a Woon, 
-or chief magistrate. It is also a telegraph station on the road 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 



to Mandalay ; and we heard that a telegram was sent from 
here to the king, to the effect that a Colonel and a Captain 
were oh their way to Mandalay, but that their mission was 
unknown. 

On the opposite side of the river, on some high uplands, is 
a fort on modern principles, designed by an Italian in the 
service of the king. ; 

August 22nd. Early in the morning we arrived at Magive,. 
a town containing, I should think, about 5000 inhabitants. 
It is high and prettily situated, and its gilt pagoda, called 
Mya Thalwon, or the Golden Couch, occupies a conspicuous 
position on the cliff. Here the river becomes very broad, with 
numerous sandbanks. To the west is a level plain, across 
which are seen, at a distance of forty or fifty miles, the Aracan 
Mountains, some of which are here more than four thousand 
feet high. 

On the east bank are uplands, .sprinkled with scrub jungle, 
and in many places cultivated and divided into fields. These 
uplands terminate at the" river-side in sandy cliffs, deeply in- 
dented by water-worn channels. In some of the clififs above 
Magive, at a height of twenty or thirty feet, are holes looking 
like large rabbit burrows, without any visible means of com- 
munication either with the top or bottom of the cliff. I was told 
that these were the habitations of hermits. If this is the case, 
it bears a strong resemblance to the habits of the hermits of the 
middle ages. Large quantities of shells and corals are found 
on the surface of the high ground above the cliffs, shewing 
that at a comparatively recent period this country was covered 
by the sea. Some distance above Magive is the picturesque 
village of Ye'-nang-young, or Stinking Water Creek. It is the 
depot for the produce of the petroleum wells, which are some 
distance inland, and hence the name. The village is situated 
in one of the green valleys which here and there divide the 
line of cliffs. A small hill behind is covered with pagodas and 
kyoungs, rising one above another, and the strand is shaded 
by fine trees. Above Ye'-nang-young the sandstone cliffs fade 
away and reappear on the opposite side of the river. The 
double-topped mountain of Paopa comes into view to the east 
It stands so completely isolated that it would appear to be of 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaidy. 



volcanic origin. Yule says that it is an object of superstitious 
'dread to the Burmese, who refuse to ascend it It is said to be 
very rich in iron and other minerals. The country on either 
side of the river becomes more and more barren and dried up, 
and the climate here evidently much more resembles that of 
Northern India than the damp climate of the coast of Burmah. 
We had no rain, and for the most part a cloudless sky, since we 
passed the frontier, and to-day the thermometer registered 94 
in the shade at 4 p.m. The river now expanded in breadth 
very much, with low, flat islands. In the distance we saw one 
of the Burmese war boats. They carry forty rowers, with one 
man in the stern. The steamer anchored for the night at a 
point opposite the town of Semphyoogoon. We went on shore 
for a few minutes, but the ground was so muddy that we had 
very soon to return. On our way back to the steamer we 
passed through a temporary bazaar where dried chickens, 
.snakes, and lizards were being offered for sale. 

August 23rd. About 8 a.m. we passed the town of Tsilemyo. 
The greensward stretching down to the river, thickly shaded 
by fine trees, gave the place a most inviting appearance, and 
we greatly regretted not being able to land. There are a 
great number of pagodas here, some of them in good repair, 
but the majority in a dilapidated condition. It is said that in 
almost every house in the village lacquered ware is exposed 
for sale. Above Tsilemyo the Jau river flows into the 
Irrawaddy from the west, and from this point a range of 
sandstone hills border the river for some distance. They look 
extremely barren and destitute of water, and the villages are 
small, and few and far between. On one of these hills we saw 
two pheasants, but I do not know to what kind they belong. 
About 2 p.m. the many pagodas of Pagan came into sight, and 
an hour afterwards we were close alongside, and had a good 
view of them with our glasses. They are so numerous that it 
gives one the idea of an immense burying-ground filled with 
monuments erected to departed heroes. We recognised two 
of the pagodas so much admired by Yule, and certainly they 
are much superior in their style of architecture to the pagodas 
of the present day. These fine pagodas are almost all allowed 
to fall into decay, as the Burmese consider it much more 



8 A Thousand Miles up tJie Irrawaddy. 

meritorious to build a new pagoda than to repair an old one. 
Pagan was founded about a.d. 850, and was abandoned by 
the Burmese in the Chinese invasion of 1284. The Burmese 
made their last stand here in 1826 against Sir Archibald 
Campbell's army. We found the small pumpkin pagoda of 
which there is a sketch in Yule in good order, but it is hardly 
so elegant as it appears in the drawing. Just above Pagan is 
Nyoung-60 where the lacquered ware of Burmah is chiefly 
manufactured. Here also there are numerous pagodas, one of 
them with a curious spire, shaped something like a hock bottle. 
In the cliff near Nyoung-00 are several hermits' caves; a 
ladder up to one of them gave evident signs of habitation. 

August 24th. About 8 a.m. we stopped at the village of 
Koonyuwa to discharge cargo. The people here were the 
poorest and the most barbarous-looking we had yet seen. 
The women and children came down to the river close to the 
steamer to bathe, and did not appear to be troubled by much 
regard for modesty. Above Koonyuwa the river expands to 
an immense breadth, being — including the sandbanks, which 
were now mostly covered with water — ten miles from bank to 
bank. One channel of the river Kym-dwen joins the Irra- 
waddy at this point. For the remainder of the day the river 
presented little of interest, but we saw a number of ducks and 
a flock of black curlews. The steamer was anchored for the 
night off Yandaboo, where the treaty was signed in 1826, and 
where there is a Catholic Mission Station. 

August 2jtA. Saw a large number of duck. The mountain 
of Paopa, which we first sighted on the 22nd, was still visible in 
the early part of the day. 

As we approached Ava the river gradually contracted in 
breadth, and the range of limestone hills near Sagain came 
into view. 

A conspicuous object on the west bank of the river is the 
Khoung-moo^ian Pagoda, built, as the legend goes, in imitation 
of a woman's breast. About 5 p.m. we were opposite the old 
capital of Ava, and here the view was very beautiful. On our 
left were the rugged hills of Sagain, dotted with picturesque 
monasteries and pagodas, while from their feet little valleys 
thickly shaded by groves of fruit-bearing trees ran down to 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 



the river's edge. To our right, across a noble sheet of water, 
lay the park-like plain of Ava ; and beyond rose range upon 
range of wooded mountains, all rose-coloured and purple in the 
glow of the setting sun. In front of us the river stretched its 
lake-like expanse to where the hill of Mandalay, bounding 
the distant horizon, marked our resting-place for the night. 
We had laughed at Yule's enthusiasm about the view from the 
Sagain hill; but as we looked at this scene in all the changing 
hues of the sunset we were forced to admit that his description 
was not far short of the reality. Passing Ava, we came to 
Amarapoora, which was. the capital in the days of which Yule 
writes. This frequent changing of the site of the capital, so 
contrary to all our European ideas, seems to be a relic of the 
wandering habits of the Mongolian ancestors of the Burmese. 
Ava, Amarapoora, and Tsagain have all been in their turn 
the seat of monarchy prior to its being established in i860 at 
Mandalay. The old wall of Ava still exists and has just been 
thoroughly repaired. The situation is much more favourable 
than that of the modern capital. At different bends of the 
river three forts, in which the arrangements for mutual support 
shew considerable skill, have been constructed by the king ; 
but there are at present no guns in them. Some five or six 
miles north of Amarapoora is Mandalay, which we reached as 
darkness set in. 

August 26th. In the morning Mr. Shaw, the English Resi- 
dent, to whom we had letters of introduction, sent two ponies 
down to the steamer for us, and bidding a temporary adieu to 
the hospitable Captain of our vessel, we set out for the 
Residency, which is about two and a half miles from the river. 
Our way lay through the suburbs of the city, which are chiefly 
inhabited by Munnipooris led captive from their native land 
by the Burmese. The road was exceedingly bad. There was 
no attempt at metalling, and our ponies were generally either 
cautiously skirting huge ruts, picking their way through foetid 
mud, or crossing watercourses of uncertain depth. The 
houses were for the most part poor and mean-looking, but we 
passed several fine khoongee-kyoungs, in some of which the 
wood carving was very beautiful. Swarms of most repulsive 
pigs prowled about in all ritrpr tinns. a.nd the filthy curs are a 



A Thousand Milts up the Irrawaddy. 



terror to every respectably dressed passer-by. At last we came 
to the Residency, which is on the bank of an almost dry canal,. 
and which is surrounded by a screen of bamboo mat-work 
some ten feet high, which effectually conceals the enclosure 
from the outer world. Within this enclosure is the Resident's- 
house — a rambling wooden edifice, — the house of the Assistant 
Resident, the Court for the trial of cases arising between 
Burmese and. British subjects, the Post Office, &c., &c The 
site is a very bad one, and the tout ensemble of the buildings 
by no means impressive. We were most kindly received by 
Mr. Shaw, who invited us to stay with him whilst we remained 
in Mandalay. At dinner the same evening we met the re- 
mainder of the English official community, consisting of the 
Assistant Resident, the Chaplain, and the Doctor. 

August 27th. In the morning we started, a party of four, to 
go to the top of Mandalay hill. Shortly after leaving the 
Residency we 'came to the City, through which our road lay. 
It is built like the old walled cities of Burmah, and the modern 
ones of China, in the form of a square, the sides being about 
a mile long. It is enclosed by an earthen parapet, which is 
faced on the outer side by a brick wall 26 feet high, crenelated 
at the top, and flanked by rectangular brick towers projecting 
from the wall at distances of 200 feet Twenty yards from the 
foot of the wall a deep moat, 100 feet in breadth, runs round 
the city. There are three gates on each side, and above the 
gateways, standing as it were on the top of the wall, are 
porches with ornamental carved roofs as in the sacred buildings 
of Burmah, which have a very quaint and picturesque effect. 
The moat is crossed by wooden bridges, and when we passed 
was gay with the bright flowers of the lotus plant, which 
completely covers it in many places. The streets, though 
straight and broad, are very bad, and the houses are mostly 
poor structures of wood and bamboo. A large quarter of the- 
city had been recently burnt down, and the inhabitants were 
living in roughly extemporised huts, which were, some of them, 
absurdly small. We were struck by the enormous proportion 
which the priests seem to bear to the rest of the population. 
Almost every third person we met was attired in the yellow 
robes of a phoongee, some of them having the most villainous- 



A Thousand Miles up the Irtawaddy. n 

■countenances I ever saw. On our way we passed the palace 
enclosure, which lies in the centre of the city. A high wooden 
stockade prevented our seeing anything of the interior. 
Leaving the city by one of the northern .gates, we again 
crossed the moat, which in this part is full of war boats and 
racing boats. In the distance we saw the royal barge with its 
high gilded roof. Shortly afterwards we came to the foot of 
the hill where we left our ponies. A flight of rude steps leads 
up the hill, and the. ascent was somewhat fatiguing, but we 
were well rewarded by the view from the top. The city 
lay spread like a map beneath us, and we could see all the 
streets, and the various buildings in the palace enclosure, 
while beyond the level plain in which it stands rose the rugged 
outlines of the Shan mountains. We had also a capital view 
of the river, both to the north and south of us. Perhaps what 
struck us most was the insignificant appearance of the city thus 
seen from above, and the badness of the site. The plain all 
round is flat and marshy, and it has not even the advantage of 
close proximity to the river. There is an excellent site for a 
town near Mendoon, on the other side of the river. The hill 
on which we stood perfectly commands Mandalay, and a very 
few guns placed there would render it untenable. In the 
evening we went to see the church, schools, &c, built for the 
S.P.G. Mission by the king. They are all built of teak, and 
are full of the most beautiful wood carving, which discloses 
itself in the most unexpected places. 

August 28th. There was a scare in the city to-day, caused 
by a rumour that the king was dead. The vendors of 
merchandise hastily carried off their goods, and the city gates 
were shut. An hour or two afterwards the rumour was 
contradicted, and confidence partially restored, but it seems to 
show the unsettled state of the capital, and the anarchy that 
may so easily ensue at any moment In the evening we dined 
with Dr. Williams, a gentleman who has been connected with 
Upper Burmah for many years, and who understands the 
Burmese most thoroughly. He had a Burmese band to play 
to us after dinner, consisting of a harp, harmonicon, and flute. 
They were joined afterwards by a young girl who sang and 
<danced. The music accompanied the voice most artistically, 



12 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

and was really very pretty, but I cannot say that I cared much 
about the rest of the performance. The singing does not 
accord with our English ideas of the beautiful, and the 
dancing is slow and monotonous. 

August 29th. The day set in with heavy rain, the first we 
had had since we crossed the frontier of British Burmah. In 
the afternoon, the rain having cleared off, we set out, again a 
party of four, to visit the Aracan pagoda. 

To avoid any possibility of insult the English officials at 
Mandalay, when they go outside the Residency, usually take- 
with them a certain number of followers, and the parapherna- 
lia of their rank, after the Burmese fashion. On this occasion, 
as the Assistant Resident was one of the party, we were 
preceded by a man carrying a fan with a long handle, and 
followed by an umbrella-bearer and four or five peons. Of 
course this ceremonious method of travelling necessitated 
going at a foot-pace, but the roads were so bad that we could 
seldom have gone any faster had we been inclined. After- 
riding for about four miles through the suburbs of the town we- 
reached the pagoda, or temple, as it might more properly be 
called. It is built of wood, with an immense amount of carving 
and ornamental work, and is approached by a long covered 
way, of which the teak pillars and the roof inside are richly giltr 
producing a very fine effect. The image of Gautama, which 
stands under a carved wooden pyasatte, or spire, is made of 
solid brass, and is about twelve feet high. It is said to be very 
old, and was cast originally in Aracan and brought over the- 
Aracan mountains in three pieces. Close by the pagoda is a 
tank containing a number of tortoises, which come at call to be- 
fed. We had great fun, tempting them out of water by a 
cake of rice at the end of a stick. They would crawl gradually- 
up the bank, with no eyes for anything but the rice cake held 
just in front of their noses, and then, suddenly discovering that 
they were quite out of water, they would take alarm and dash 
frantically back again. We atterwards visited the marble 
workshops, where images of Gautama, &c, are made out of the 
beautiful semi-transparent marble of Mandalay, and bought a 
few small specimens of the work. 

August jot/i. In accordance 'with a promise previously- 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 13 

made, Dr. Williams took us to see the palace. We had to ride 
right round the outer stockade to get to the east gate, which is 
the only public entrance. Leaving our ponies outside, we 
walked through the gate into the outer enclosure, in which are 
some of the courts of justice, the mint, small-arms factory, and 
other buildings. Some 200 yards from the stockade is a high 
wall, and beyond that again another wall, so that three 
separate defences have to be passed before reaching the 
actual palace of the king, which lies in the centre. The space 
between the stockade and outer wall is ill kept, and contains 
very little that is worth seeing. At ,the gates were strong 
guards of soldiers, but I could not see any sentries, while the 
men on guard wore no uniform, and were squatting about and 
smoking just like ordinary individuals. Their arms were 
racked inside the guard-houses, and seemed to be in fair order. 
The only men in uniform that we saw were one or two soldiers 
on their way out of the palace. They wore the most comical- 
looking helmets, and red coats with green skirts. The king's 
army is far indeed behind our European ideas of efficiency. 
They are armed with most indifferent weapons, old muskets, 
and muzzle-loading rifles, which are often rendered perfectly 
useless by neglect, and they are very ill provided with 
ammunition. They are quite unable to act together in any 
numbers, as their drill never gets farther than squad drill and 
the manual' exercise. They have no guns fit to take the field ; 
their cavalry is a farce, and their officers, with the exception of 
one or two Europeans, perfectly untrained. The ministers had 
unfortunately all gone inside the inner enclosure to audience 
with the king, and as it was desirable to obtain the permission 
of one of them before venturing farther, we decided not to wait, 
and returned to our ponies. We then rode out along the 
road leading to the new pagoda which the king is building at 
a distance of about five miles east of Mandalay. This is 
being built entirely of stone, and would be, if completed, by far 
the largest pagoda in Burmah; but the present king will 
certainly not live to see it finished, and it probably will never 
be finished at all. By the side of this road, which is the only 
good road in Mandalay, is a telegraph wire, which is intended 
to connect telephones at either end — the last new fancy of the 



14 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

king. About three miles from Mandalay we found the road 
undergoing repairs and impassable, so we had to return without 
seeing the pagoda. 

August jist. Having paid our adieux at the Residency, we 
went on board the " Talifoo," Mr. St Barbe, who had arrived 
at Mandalay two days before, accompanying us. 

We got off at 10 a.m., and as we had no flats we made very 
.good progress. In less than an hour we were close to the 
Mengoon pagoda, which is on the opposite side of the river to 
Mandalay, and had a good view of this enormous mass of 
brickwork. According to Yule it is 200 feet square and 165 
' feet high, and contains more than 6,000,000 cubic feet of 
brickwork. It was intended to have been carried to a height 
of 500 feet, but was left unfinished, and the earthquake of 1839 
has made enormous rents in it Near the pagoda is a bell 
second only in size to the great bell of Moscow, but it was 
concealed from view by the trees. 

The views on the river above Mandalay are charming : we 
could easily imagine that we were gliding along a succession of 
noble lakes, for the wooded islands and windings of the river 
prevented our seeing any long stretch of it at a time. In the 
evening the river scenery was at its best. The wooded 
promontories softly reflected upon the water, the tender hues 
upon the distant mountains, the white pagodas and quaint 
peaked monasteries perched upon the hill-tops, the park-like 
plains with their noble trees, all helped to form a scene which 
will never fade from my memory. 

About 4 p.m. we entered the third defile. There is nothing 
very grand or striking about it, merely a broad river running 
smoothly between wooded hills. Towards dark we anchored 
at a village called Kyouk-myoung. Mr. St Barbe and I went 
on shore with our guns, and walked about two miles along a 
cart track, which led up-hill through some nice jungle. We 
heard a barking deer close to us, but could not catch sight of it 
September 1st. We continued our way through the defile, 
which became bolder and more picturesque as we proceeded. 
At the upper end of the defile lies the small island of Thikadan, 
which has just room on it for a pagoda and two or three mon- 
asteries. Here the captain very kindly lay to, and sent us off in 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 15 



a boat to see the tame fish for which the island is celebrated. 
We had some little difficulty in landing, owing to the violence 
of the current, which threatened to carry the island bodily 
away. When we got on shore a Burman who lived on the 
island, by dint of calling and splashing the water, succeeded in 
assembling some six or eight immense cut fish, which we fed 
with rice and pieces of bread. One of them weighed, I should 
say, quite sixty pounds. There are many more of them, and 
that we only saw so few was doubtless owing to the flooded 
state of the river. We could not get down to the water's edge, 
so we were obliged to forego the attempt to feed them by hand 
and stroke them, which I was told might easily be done. 

After leaving the island it began to rain heavily, which 
prevented our seeing as much as we might have done, but we 
could make out the outlines of the fine mountain of Shive-oo- 
toung to the right of us, which after a time, as the rain stopped, 
came more clearly into view. On the other side of this 
mountain are those ruby mines which the Burmese guard so 
jealously from prying eyes. In the afternoon we passed 
Tagoung, an old capital of Burmah, but it has nothing to 
distinguish it from an ordinary village, except the remains of a 
walL A little above Tagoung a very conspicuous mountain 
rises in solitary grandeur from the plain on the east side of the 
river. Excessive denudation has worn it into sharp ridges so 
steep as to be almost bare of trees, though the valleys between 
them are densely wooded. By the help of our glasses we 
could see a hut perched on one of its highest peaks. 

Pelicans are numerous in this part of the river, and we 
disturbed numbers of them as we steamed past ; we also saw 
two ibises. We anchored for the night at a place called 
Myadoung, and Mr. St Barbe and I again went on shore. 
The place was so flooded that we had to hail a Burman canoe, 
in which we went down the main street, which had about 
three feet of water in it. We then crossed a kind of backwater 
by a bridge, about five hundred yards long, made in the usual 
way with piles of teak. Finally, finding the whole country 
inundated we returned to the steamer. The villagers said 
that wild elephants and tigers were numerous in the neigh- 
bourhood. 



1 6 A Thousand Miles up tJu Irrawaddy. 

m 

September 2nd. . After Myadoung the river loses itself 
amidst a succession of low islands, thinly wooded, and covered 
with kyne grass, and the general aspect is somewhat desolate. 
About mid-day we reached Katha, where the banks become 
more clearly defined. The mountains on the west bank have 
numerous clearings upon them for the cultivation of hill paddy. 
Above Katha, also on the west bank, is the large village of 
Magoung. Soon after this we reached the most northerly 
point of our journey, lat 24 20", for here the river makes a 
long bend in. a south-easterly direction, and though it turns 
towards the north again at the second defile, Bamo is a few 
miles to the south of this point. We anchored near the village 
of Shive-goo, which had been recently attacked and plundered 
by Kukyens. 

September 3rd. Early in the morning the captain sent- us in 
a boat to explore the island of Shive-goo, celebrated for the 
number of its pagodas. We found it to be rather more than a 
mile round, and divided into four pretty equal parts by roads, 
leading from the shore to a good-sized pagoda in the centre. 
In the intervals between these roads small pagodas, averaging 
about fifteen feet high, were planted so thickly that there was 
only just room to walk between them. In a small shrine in the 
side of each pagoda were one or more marble figures of 
Gautama- ; and each quarter of the island contained one or two 
idol houses, in which not only the floor but four or five shelves 
round the walls were ornamented with images of Gautama 
great and small. Most were of marble, some of wood gilded, 
and one or two of metal. They say that there are 999 
pagodas on the island, and I do not think the number is 
exaggerated, but they are badly built, and evidently quantity 
more than quality was the object of their pious founders. 
Almost immediately after leaving the island we entered the 
second defile, which in the dull light of a cloudy morning 
looked like the entrance of another world. 

The river, contracted to a width of two hundred yards, runs 
furiously along the bottom of a deep valley shut in by wooded 
mountains. In many places the sides of the mountains facing 
the river are very precipitous, but the luxurious vegetation con- 
ceals a great deal of what would be, in a less humid climate, 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 17 

bare rocjf. Sometimes, however, the limestone crags rise up so 
sheer that nothing can grow upon them, and in one place a 
precipice some four hundred feet high seems almost to overhang 
the river. Occasionally in sheltered nooks along the banks 
were a few huts and a little cultivation, but most of the houses 
were on rafts moored to the shore, and inhabited by fishermen, 
who were prosecuting their calling with great vigour by means 
of drop-nets. They reaped rich harvests as our steamer passed ; 
driving shoals of frightened fish towards the shore. The river 
rolls through the defile in great surging eddies and whirlpools, 
and though our steamer was a powerful one, it was with diffi- 
culty kept in the centre of the stream. Steamers with two flats 
are obliged to leave one of them at the entrance of the defile, 
and come back for it when they have taken the other one 
through. The passage occupied about an hour, after which we 
emerged in the mountain-girdled plain of Bamo. We reached 
the town a little before mid-day, and found a motley crowd of 
Burmese, Chinese, Shans, Kukyens, and Hindoos clustered on 
the bank to watch our arrival. The captain having lent us his 
gig, we proceeded at once to the Residency, which is beautifully 
situated on an eminence close to the river, about a mile above 
Bamo. A guard of twenty Sepoys is provided by Government 
for the Resident, and these were drawn up at the landing-place 
to receive Mr. St Barbe, while two or three Burmans accom- 
panied us from the boat with state umbrellas, so that our landing 
was somewhat ceremonious. Climbing up the bank, we entered 
the house, which is large and well built, and which, though we 
hardly expected it at the time, was to be our home for a month. 
At the top of the house was a large upper room, open on all 
sides, from which there was a magnificent view over the whole 
•of the Bamo valley. 

To the north rises a tangled mass of mountains, through 
which the river winds its tortuous way by the first defile. To 
the north-east the mountains recede somewhat jound the 
valley of the Taping, which rises in Western China, and flows 
into the Irrawaddy about three miles above Bamo. On the 
•east, separated only by a few miles of densely wooded plain, are 
the Kukyen mountains, rising one behind the other to a height 
of over 6000 feet To the south the plain is more open, the 



18 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

tops of hills being just visible in the dim distance, but on. the 
south-west is a range of mountains through which the river runs 
by the defile I have already described. To the west is a broad 
expanse of* river, some two or three miles across, broken in a line 
with the Residency by two low islands. On the farther shore a 
plain covered with jungle is bounded in the distance by a range 
of hills of very varying height and irregular outline. As our life 
at Bamo for the next month was not a very eventful one, I shall 
cease to keep a daily record, and confine myself to one or two 
extracts from my diary during that time. 

September 6th. Our evening walks had hitherto been taken 
along tracks leading through the jungle, where, in consequence 
of the wet weather, the walking was anything but good, so on 
this occasion we went for a change in the direction of the town. 
Shortly after leaving the Residency we passed through a pretty 
strong wooden stockade which serves to protect the inhabitants 
from the ravages of tigers and the raids of Kukyens. 

Almost the first building we came to was the Catholic mission 
house, the head quarters of three priests who are endeavouring 
to establish a mission amongst the Kukyens. A little farther 
was the house of an American missionary, whose wife was the 
only lady in Bamo ; and beyond that again was the residence 
of a medical missionary belonging to the inland China mission. 
The town is little more than one long street running along the- 
river bank, the north end — that nearest the Residency — being 
occupied by Burmese, and the south end by Chinese. The 
houses are poor structures of bamboo and wood, and the only 
buildings which attract the eye are some wooden pyasattes, or 
spires, on the river bank, the tops of which, being gilt and 
ornamented with mirror work, are seen flashing in the sun 
from a great distance. The streets are good walking for foot 
passengers, being either paved with brick, or having a footway 
consisting of three thick planks laid side by side down the centre. 
The town has, I should say, about 3000 inhabitants. There 
were at this time 300 soldiers quartered within the stockade. 

September jtk. A day or two after we arrived one of the 
king's steamers came to Bamo with one of the prime ministers 
on board, who was on a kind of tour of inspection. This 
morning we were rather startled at hearing the sound of paddle- 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 19 

wheels close under the Residency, and looking out, we saw the 
steamer passing on its way to the mouth of the Taping, where 
there is a very old and sacred pagoda. The minister was 
visiting it in state, and to make the scene more impressive, 
soldiers in full uniform, and with fixed bayonets, were squatting 
at regular distances all round the poop deck. In about a couple 
of hours the steamer returned, and the following day left Bamo, 
taking away all but one hundred of the garrison. 

September gth. A Kukyen tsaubwa, or chief, attended by five 
or six followers, came to pay Mr. St Barbe a visit. A musical 
box and an electric machine were produced for their entertain- 
ment, and the expression of their countenances on feeling the 
• electric shock was very amusing. The chief was immensely 
taken by the musical box, and said that if it belonged to him 
it would greatly increase his authority amongst his people. 

Septembenoth. Having arranged to explore the first defile 
as far as possible, Mr. St Barbe had his boat made ready and 
procured rowers, and the following day we made an early start. 
The boat was a light one, of the kind used by Burmese for 
travelling, with a wooden structure in the stern for the accommo- 
dation of passengers, which gave it very much the appearance 
of a gondola. Our crew consisted of twenty men, each armed 
with a paddle. For the first five or six miles the channel was 
very broad, and we passed two or three considerable islands. 
About three miles above the Taping is a stream called the Molay, 
which seems to lose itself amongst the mountains almost at 
once, though they say it is navigable for some distance. After 
running nearly north from Bamo the river sweeps round to the 
north-east, and from this point the defile may be said to com- 
mence. At first the mountains on each side slope gently down 
to the river, which is in this part about five hundred yards 
broad, but their sides rapidly become steeper and the river 
narrower. Unfortunately long before we could get into the 
really narrow part of the defile, where the river is said to be only 
fifty yards wide, the strength of the current made it almost 
impossible to proceed. At one time our twenty men were 
paddling with all their might for at least two minutes without 
making an inch against the stream. From one point we 
.got a very fine view up the Gorge, which farther on is over- 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 



shadowed by high mountains, and where the scenery must be 
very grand. Pulling into a little cove where the force of the 
current was unfelt, we landed and took a short walk along a 
little track which led up the hillside. It led us through a 
bamboo jungle to a deserted hut formerly occupied by bamboo- 
cutters, whence, finding the track went no farther, we returned. 
Floating down the stream in the boat, — though we passed one 
or two places where the river rushed along the banks with such 
force as to sound like a cataract — there hardly appeared to be 
any current at all, and it was only by watching the bank that 
we could form any idea of the rate at which we were going. 
Of the dreaded Kukyens we never saw a sign, and one or two 
villages which we passed at the entrance of the defile do not 
seem to have been molested by them. Some time ago Mr. 
Graham, a gentleman in the king of Burmah's service was 
coming down the river in a boat when he saw a number of 
Kukyens gathered on a sandbank for the purpose of attacking 
him.- He fired at them and killed three men, and rumour says 
that the Kukyens. have in consequence sworn to have the life 
of the first European they meet with. This however occurred 
three days' jpurney from Bamo, and I was told that this defile 
might be traversed with perfect safety. 

September 15th. This morning we got a few men from the 
village close by, and beat the jungle at the back of the Residency 
for deer. After four or five beats, during which we saw nothing 
but a small deer, which we failed to get a shot at, we were 
making our way home, when we came across a broad track 
through the grass made by a tiger dragging along a carcase of 
some kind. We followed the track for about a quarter of a mile,, 
and then in a deep hollow, where the grass was about six feet 
high and thicker than usual, we found the half-eaten body of a 
cow, which the men with us said had been taken from the village 
near the Residency the night before. A yard or two from the 
cow a well-worn "form" amongst the grass shewed that this 
was a favourite haunt of the tiger, and a small tree was scored 
all over with fresh marks of its claws. Thinking he would very 
likely come back in the afternoon, we had a couple of •'' machans" 
built in two neighbouring trees, to which we adjourned after break- 
fast with some rugs and pillows, and a book apiece. Though 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 



the tige.r did not come, I have spent many a less pleasant after- 
noon than that which I passed hidden in the leafy umbrage of 
a tree, deep in one of Thackeray's novels. Once I saw a quiver 
in the long grass, and with my heart thumping against my ribs 
I quietly took up my Express rifle, already at full cock. Still 
that snake-like movement underneath, and hope became almost 
a certainty, when suddenly out hopped a bird, and with a feeling 
of intense disgust I resumed my book. 

As there was no moon, we concluded it was no use to wait 
after dark, so we returned home to dinner. Next morning I got 
up early to look for duck, which are often found feeding in the 
little bits of rice cultivation in the jungle. On my way home I 
thought I would go and see if the tiger had been at the carcase 
of the cow in the night, so I went in that direction, following the 
original trail made by the tiger. Whilst pushing my way 
through the long grass I heard a low growl, as much as to say 
" Get out of that 1 " proceeding from a spot .about fifteen yards 
away. I took the hint, and retired as quietly as I could, having 
fully satisfied my curiosity. Two days afterwards the tiger 
carried off another cow, and, as we found he never came back 
to a kill, I determined to try what I could do with a live animal. 
Giving the tiger time to get hungry again, I got a bullock, for 
which I agreed to give fifteen rupees in the event of its being 
killed, and had it tied up in a likely spot, and a machan built 
in a tree close by. At this time there was a moon, so I had a 
good chance of getting the tiger if he made his appearance. 
After dinner I walked out to the tree and climbed up into the 
machan, the bullock having been driven out and tied up at a 
convenient distance. The brute, which I had expected to make 
a great noise in its anxiety to get back to the herd, persistently 
refused to raise its voice, and quietly cropped the grass as if 
nothing had happened. Hour after hour of the night passed 
by without a sound, save that made by the bullock grazing 
below, and by myself slapping at the innumerable mosquitoes 
above. Towards morning, to add to the pleasantness of the 
situation, it began to rain, and, huddled up in my blanket, I sat 
and longed for daybreak. At last, heralded by the bright star 
of morning, the sun burst in a flood of light from behind the 
mountains, and soon several men from the Residency came out 



22 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

to see what luck I had had, and escort me Rome. Though my 
bullock had appeared to be perfectly easy in his mind all the 
night, yet he was evidently in a great hurry to be gone, for he 
gave the Burman who was loosing him a kick which laid him 
fiat on his back, and then dashed headlong into the jungle in 
the direction of his native village. Utterly disgusted, both at 
the non-appearance of the tiger and the ill behaviour of the 
bullock, I returned to the house and went to bed. 

September 18th. Mr. Friday, the American missionary, and 
his wife, and Mr. Saltan, of the inland China mission, came to 
dinner at the Residency. From what they said Bamo does not 
appear to be a very promising field for. missionary enterprise. 
Mr. Sattan was only temporarily at Bamo, and hoped to be able 
to cross over into Western China in the cold weather. 

September 20th. Several Kukyen tsaubwas from the hills 
adjoining the Chinese frontier, who had come into Bamo to pay 
their respects to the king's minister; came in to-day to see Mr. 
St. Barbe. The musical boxes and electric battery were got 
out as usual, but they had evidently seen these things before, 
and only took a languid interest in them. A toy which I had 
brought with me, representing a monkey which squeaked and 
at the same time put out its tongue, was however a source of 
immense amusement to them. They coolly asked for 3000 
rupees to keep the trade route into China open, and on the 
Resident's telling them that he would think about making them 
a present when he heard that the route was safe, they lowered 
their demand to a bottle of brandy, but this also they had to go 
without. 

The following is an account of the Kukyens — pronounced 
Kuchins — as I had it from Roman Catholic missionaries and 
■other sources : — 

THE KUKYENS. 

In their own country their manners are very overbearing 
and offensive, but they are easily cowed by any one who is not 
afraid of them. They are of a most treacherous nature, and 
mutual confidence does not exist even amongst members of the 
same family. They always go about armed, and draw their 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawadiy. 23 

dahs — long knives — on very slight provocation. Like the 
ancient Highlanders of Scotland, almost every tribe has an 
hereditary feud with some other tribe. They never wash either 
their bodies or their clothes, nor do they ever change the 
latter. If a man gets a new coat he puts it on over his old 
one, which he leaves to drop off by itself. Four or five families 
live together in long barrack-like huts, with their ponies, 
buffaloes, dogs, pigs, and filth of every description. They 
indulge freely in the European vices of drinking and smoking 
to excess, and many of them smoke opium as well as tobacco. 
They have no idea of a beneficent deity, but believe that 
spirits called hats can work them evil, and have to be propiti- 
ated with sacrifices. They say that they only fear two things, 
a hat and a tiger. When I was at Bamo a Roman Catholic 
priest came in who had been lying for nearly three weeks in 
a Kukyen village very ill with fever. The Kukyens would not 
bring him in, because they said he might die on the road, and 
then the hats would be angry with them. He would probably 
have died in their village had not some Chinamen been passing 
through with a pony, which he hired, and on which he had to 
be tied, being too weak to sit in the saddle. If a Kukyen 
wishes to marry, he has to purchase his wife by the present of a 
buffalo and other things to the parents, and has generally to 
provide a slave to attend upon her. Some men are too poor to 
make the necessary presents, and in that case the wife is not 
allowed to leave her parents' house (though the husband may 
visit her when he pleases) till the debt is paid. The necessity 
of making presents tends in a great measure to prevent poly- 
gamy, as few can afford to purchase more than one wife. 

September 2jrd. We had been expecting a steamer to come 
up about the middle of the month, but it did not make its 
appearance, and as we began to hear some rather alarming 
rumours respecting the state of affairs at Mandalay — that the 
king was dead — that two of the princes had escaped from the 
palace, &c, we determined to try to get down the river by boat 
On making inquiries we found that there were guards stationed 
at various places on the river who stopped all boats, and that 
if we wished to avoid unpleasantness, some kind of passport 
would be required We had some communication with the 



24 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

woon, or chief magistrate, on this subject, and he asked us both 
to pay him a visit, but, Colonel Gloag being unwell, I was 
obliged to go alone. To present as imposing an appearance 
as possible, I was mounted on a pony which I had borrowed 
from one of the missionaries, and attended by some dozen 
retainers, one of them carrying a gold umbrella as a token that 
I was a person of quality. On reaching the woon's house, I 
dismounted, and was shewn up into a kind of reception-room, 
open in front, but enclosed on the other sides by screens put up 
for the occasion. Chairs were provided for the principal people 
present, and the woon, after shaking hands, motioned me into 
one of them. On a small table were placed cups of tea, slices 
of pear and pineapple, English biscuits and plantains. After 
I had, for form's sake, tasted some of these and drank a cup of 
tea — which, by the way, was smoked — we began to talk, using 
an interpreter, whom I had taken with me. The woon asked 
about my relations, and whether ' they were all well, and also 
asked my age. When I told him I was twenty-nine, there was a 
murmur of surprise from all the Burmans squatted round, as 
much as to say, You don't mean to say you are only tnat ! why, 
we should have thought you ever so much older. This, what- 
ever might be thought of it in England, was intended for a 
compliment, meaning that my wisdom was beyond my years. 
I then told the woon that we had given up the idea of going 
.down by boat, as- we found so many difficulties in the way, and 
he replied that he thought we did very wisely in waiting for the 
steamer. Knowing that when we first arrived he had been 
very curious to know why we came, I said that I had a great 
desire to see all countries, and that, having heard what a fine 
country Upper Burmah was, I had come to see it with my own 
eyes. The woon said, " You have come a long distance from 
the sea, and you require prayer to be made for your safe-keep- 
ing. After a little more conversation I rose to take leave, the 
woon shaking hands very cordially with me as I left the room, 
and again outside at the top of the steps. 

September 25th. One of our favourite amusements at Bamo 
was canoeing, and we used to go out almost every evening in 
little Burman dug-outo, which hold thr^e men pretty comfort- 
ably, but are very easily upset. I used to sit in the bow, so 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 25 

as to be able to use my gun, and I had either one or two 
Burman paddlers, one sitting with a large paddle at the 
extreme stern of the canoe, the other (if there were two) sitting 
in the middle. Paddling along close to the bank, we could go 
with ease against a current which no ordinary boat could face, 
and many a pleasant excursion did we make amongst the creeks 
and islands near Bamo. Nowhere could we enjoy the scenery 
to such advantage as from the bosom of the broad river, where 
no dense jungle impeded our view of the distant mountains, and 
where the beautiful sunsets were rendered doubly beautiful by 
the reflection of their glowing tints upon the water. There was 
a little shooting too to be got in this way, as sometimes an 
unsuspicious mallard would fly overhead and fall a victim to the 
ever-ready gun, or perhaps while floating down stream in the 
dusk of the evening the canoe might be brought close to a flock 
of duck sitting on a sandbank, and two or three of them be 
brought to bag. In the dry weather, i.e., from November to 
the end of April, there is splendid wild fowl shooting at Bamo. 
Then almost every sandbank in the river swarms with duck, 
geese, and teal, but at this time of the year the duck are 
scattered in twos and threes all over the country, and the geese ■ 
have not yet left their breeding places in China. The object of 
two or three of our boating excursions was an island, about four 
miles long, called Choongee — big island — of which the farthest 
point was about seven miles up the river from the Residency. 
This seven miles against a current running nearly five miles an 
hour was hard work even for our little canoes, but we were well 
repaid for our labour on arrival. For here the river, as if in joy 
at having escaped from the mountains which have been 
confining it hitherto, bursts suddenly into a broad channel 
clasping in its arms the island of Choongee, which lies, a 
perfectly level plain covered with grassy pastures and beautiful 
trees, right under the shadow of the mountains, and affords a 
striking contrast to their savage wildness. The herds of cattle 
graze peacefully, without a thought of the striped monarch of 
the woods, and the gentle Shans who inhabit the island 
industriously ply their looms secure from the invasion of the 
ruthless Kukyens. The very birds seem to partake of the 
general security. The pretty little doves are so tame that they 



a 6 A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 

might almost be caught by hand, and one seems to have 
•dropped into an earthly paradise. 

There is a large monastery in the island, which, as usual in 
Burmah, contains a school for boys. On my first appearance I 
got a lot of the boys together and delighted them by shewing 
them my gun, field-glass, and a squeaking india-rubber toy 
which I had taken in my pocket. Their expressions of sur- 
prise as they looked at some object alternately through the 
large and small end of the glass were very amusing, and when 
before leaving I presented one of them with the toy they 
evidently considered the Kala — foreigner — by no means a 
bad fellow. 

Two large villages lie on opposite sides of the island, and 
about a mile apart; one taking the name of the island, 
" Choongee," the other called Mainka, or " the pretty woman." 
Naturally on passing through this latter village we looked out 
for a pretty face, but saw nothing but Shan ladies, who with 
their flat good-humoured faces and ample forms looked the 
embodiment of healthy ugliness. The Burmese are proverbially 
a happy race, but never have I seen faces wearing -such a 
thoroughly contented look as on this island. And I thought 
mournfully of the time when our European civilization should 
teach them drunkenness and greed for wealth. They say that 
there are numbers of wild deer, and a few wild buffaloes in 
Choongee, but the grass was too high for a successful beat, so 
we did not try for them. 

October 2nd. This morning all our doubts about being able 
to leave Bamo were dispelled by the arrival of the usual monthly 
steamer, which had been sent up a day earlier than usual on our 
account The news brought by the steamer confirmed what 
we had heard of the occurrences at Mandalay, and also gave us 
the further information that two of the princes had taken refuge 
in the Residency. 

October 4th. About 9 a.m. we took leave of our kind host, 
Mr. St. Barbe, and went on board the " Rangoon." We found 
three fellow-passengers, all invalids : one a gentleman from 
Mandalay, who was making the trip for his health, the other 
two Roman Catholic priests who were going to Mandalay for 
change of air. The latter gave me a most dreadful account of 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 27 

- 

the climate of the country round Bamo, and said that all 
Europeans sooner or later must succumb to it One of the 
fathers had been higher up the Irrawaddy than any other 
European, travelling amongst the Kukyens the whole way. He 
told me that the two great requisites for successful travel in those 
parts were poverty and patience, but he certainly might have 
added a third, i.e., knowledge of the language. We anchored 
for the night at Madoung, where there is a very fine peepul tree 
close to the river bank. After various speculations as to how 
much it measured round, opinions varying from 120 to 60 feet, 
we finally measured it, and found it to be 54 feet round the stem 
at a height of three feet from the ground, but owing to the ex- 
treme irregularity of the outline of the trunk, this measurement 
would give far too high an estimate of the amount of actual 
wood contained in a section of it. 

October 6th. We arrived at Mandalay in the morning, and 
after breakfast I hired a pony and rode up to the Residency. 
I found that both Mr. Shaw and Mr. Davis had given up a 
large part of their houses to the accommodation of the two 
refugee princes and their followers, in all forty-one persons. 
Mr. Shaw confirmed the news of the king's having died on the 
first of the month, and said that the English chaplain had seen 
the body lying in state the day after. All the princes had been 
summoned to see their dying father, on which two of them, 
suspecting treachery, fled : the rest obeyed the summons, and 
were made prisoners. One of the two who escaped was the 
eldest son, and very popular amongst the people, but the king 
had declared a younger brother to be his heir. After 
quitting the palace the two princes first went to the mission 
house, which is close to the Residency, and from thence entered 
the Residency in disguise, for fear they might be stopped by the 
Burmese guards at the gate. The eldest assumed the attire of 
a Hindoo servant, and went in at the gate holding an umbrella 
over the chaplain, who had been invited to dinner by Mr. Shaw. 
In two or three days the whole party had passed in under various 
disguises, which were all devised by one of the princesses, who 
only came in herself after she had secured the safety of the rest 
Mr. Shaw also gave me a rather comic description of the 
immense reverence paid to the English flag by the two princes, 



a 8 A Tlwusand Miles up the Irraivaddy. 

_ 1 

who always "shikoo"-ed — prostrated themselves — when they 
saw it. The day before my arrival the eldest prince came to 
Mr. Shaw whilst sitting in an upper room in the house through 
which the flagstaff passes, and said " In our country it is not 
the custom for princes to make reverence before anything, but 
yesterday, when you were out walking in the compound, I 
brought my wives and my whole family up into this room, and 
made them shikoo to this flag, telling them that it was to it alone 
that they owed their safety." In the evening Colonel Gloag 
rode up, and we all dined together, the conversation naturally 
turning on local events. The king was to be buried in state 
the next day, and Mr. Shaw had been assigned a special pavi- 
lion as the Representative of Great Britain. He kindly invited 
us to share it with him, but our steamer was to start in the 
morning, so we were obliged to decline. 

October 7th. We left Mandalay on board the steamer 
" Panthay," and arrived at Myenjan in the afternoon, where 
we stopped to take in cargo. 

October 8th. As we still found ourselves waiting for cargo 
we took a stroll through the town in the morning. Myenjan is 
the Manchester of Upper Burmah, being the great mart for the 
sale of cotton (most of which goes to China), cereals, and most 
of the necessaries of life. We found, as usual, an immense 
number of pagodas and monasteries. One of the latter was 
covered with the richest wood carving that I had seen in Bur- 
mah. At the corners of the building were representations of 
elephants, horses, men riding in carts, and various other designs, 
each being cut out from a single block of wood. In the after- 
noon I took a walk with my gun, but got nothing but a solitary 
quail. 

October pt/i. Leaving Myenjan, we reached Koonnee early 
in the morning, and, as we had an hour to spare, I went out for 
a walk. I saw some old pagodas built in the style of those at 
Pagan : one of them was nicely built of a kind of pink sand- 
stone, the only stone pagoda I have seen in Burmah. The 
country round is all divided into fields of some three acres, and 
is traversed by narrow lanes with high hedges, which give it 
quite an English look. In the afternoon we stopped atTsilemyo, 
where, seeing a number of rock pigeons, I went ashore with my 



A Thousand Miles up the Irrawaddy. 29 

gun, and was immediately surrounded by a crowd of gamins, who 
seemed very anxious I should shoot something. As the pigeons 
had left the cliffs where I first saw them, they took me to a 
hill at the back of the village on which was a pagoda and 
a number of ky,oungs. Here I soon discovered that all the 
pigeons in the place had congregated, but I was at first unwilling 
to fire, as the Burmese generally object to anything being killed 
near their pagodas. However, as several men had assembled 
who seemed just as anxious as the boys that I should fire, I did 
so and brought down two pigeons. The remainder kept circling 
round the buildings, and I had some capital sport; shooting them 
from behind a wall as they flew past. The first I shot fell a 
little way down the hill, and the whole crowd of gamins started 
off in hot pursuit. I looked on calmly enough, expecting them 
to bring it back, but what was my amazement to see a long- 
legged youngster, who was the first to reach it, seize it and bolt 
as hard as he could in spite of my angry shouts. I had now 
fathomed the reason of their anxiety to see me shoot something, 
and had I not had a companion I should never have bagged 
another bird. As it was, there was a regular race every time a 
bird fell, and once I only saved it by roaring like a lion at a 
small boy who was picking it up, whereat he precipitately dropped 
it amid shrieks of laughter from his unsympathizing companions. 
Although the gamins were occasionally too quick for us, I was 
able to return to the steamer in a very short time with a good 
bag of pigeons. 

October 10th. We arrived at Thyetmyo, but as it was late 
when we got there I was only able to take a short walk through 
the cantonment. 

Octoberuth. I rode up to the cantonment to breakfast with 
a friend whom I had met before at Toungoo. Thyetmyo is a 
pretty little place, and seems to be liked by those who are quar- 
tered there. At mid-day we went on to Prome, where we had 
originally intended to leave the steamer and go on by rail, but 
as our leave had still four or five days to run we decided to 
remain on board, and go the whole way down by river. As we 
lay at anchor that evening at Prome, we saw a very pretty sight 
It was the night of some Burmese feast, on which it is the 
custom to launch little vessels containing candles on the river,