A railway has been built from Colombo, the shipping port, through the mountains to the coffee-growing districts, a distance of seventy miles, and this enabled us to visit Kandy, more than 1,600 feet above the sea, and the summer capital to which the government repairs in hot weather. It is a beautiful little town, and gave us the first breath of air with "ozone" in it that we had enjoyed since we were on the Sierras. Our hotel fronts upon the square, and is opposite the Buddhist Temple, celebrated as the receptacle of that precious relic, "the sacred tooth of Buddha." A former king of Ceylon is reputed to have paid an immense sum for this memento of the departed. We were too near the temple for comfort. The tomtom has to be beaten five times each day, and as one of these is at sunrise, I had occasion to wish the priest and tooth both far enough away. I wonder the Europeans don't indict this tomtoming at unseasonable hours as a nuisance.

The Botanical Gardens here are rivalled in the tropics by those in Java only, and upon seeing the display of luxuriant vegetation, we fully understood how it had acquired its celebrity; but still all is green. The great variety of palms, the bread-fruit, banyan, jack-fruit, and others sustain this reputation. The chocolate tree was the most curious to us; it has recently been introduced in the island, and promises to add one more to the list of luxuries for which Ceylon is famous. A fine evidence of the intelligence of the Ceylon planters is seen in the fact that the association employs a chemist to investigate and report upon the different soils and what they are capable of producing; under his supervision various articles are always under trial. Recently Liberian coffee has been found to thrive in low latitudes unsuited for the Arabian variety, which requires a higher district, thus rendering available for this plant a large area, which has hitherto been necessarily devoted to less profitable uses. Nothing nowadays can be thoroughly developed without the chemist's aid, and the day is not far distant when our farming will be conducted under his instructions as completely as our steel manufacture is now.

Ceylon is noted for its pearl fisheries and its supply of rubies, sapphires, and cats'-eyes as much as for its spices; and from the hour the traveller lands until the steamer carries him off he is beset with dealers offering precious stones, worth hundreds of dollars in London or New York, for a few rupees; but those who purchase no doubt find their fate in the story of the innocent who bought his gold cheap. The government keeps the pearl fishery grounds under proper regulations, and allows divers one half of all they find, the other half going to the State Treasury. I was told the value of the pearls found last year amounted to $400,000, but the production seems to be falling off. In 1798 the fishery was rented for L142,000 ($710,000). Now the government has to work it and the net proceeds have never exceeded L87,000 in any year, and have fallen as low as L7,200.

The government employed a naturalist to study the habits of the pearl oyster. He labored for five years, but this time scientific investigation seems to have failed and we know but little more about the subject than before. Some genius will come, however, to solve all questions. Science may be rebuffed twenty times, but it never rests until the truth is known. This much is certain, that these precious oysters leave their usual beds for years together. There was no fishery once for twenty-seven years, from 1768 to 1796, and once before then it failed for about fourteen years. When they do visit pretty Ceylon, their main residence is upon the northwestern coast, sixteen to twenty miles from shore. It is believed that the oyster reaches maturity in its seventh year, when the pearl attains full size and lustre. If the oyster be not secured then, it soon dies and we lose our pearl. Consider the number of these jewels which fade away to their original elements in the depths of ocean: for one we get, a million decomposed.

Did the poet know how true his words were when he said:

  "Full many a gem of purest ray serene 
   The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear."

The government brings the oysters to the beach and sells them to the highest bidders in lots of one thousand. Can you conceive of a prettier game of chance than this! Imagine the natives at work opening the rough shells, expecting at every turn to find a pearl worth a fortune!

The pearl fishers descend six to eight fathoms forty or fifty times a day, and can remain under water from a minute to a minute and a half. So much for practice. In the course of a million or hundred million years, more or less, each successive generation pursuing this calling, under the law of inherited tendencies, these people might well return to the amphibious state and give us an illustration of evolution, backward.

The pearl oyster is a large, round bivalve, sometimes twelve inches in diameter. If Thackeray felt, as he said when he first tried a Rockaway, as if he were swallowing a baby, what would have been his impressions if he had tickled his throat with one of these monsters? Sometimes a dozen, or even twenty pearls, are said to have been found in a single oyster. I remember hearing in China that a fresh water mollusc is made to grow pearls by the introduction of foreign bodies within the shell. These produce irritation which the shell fish seeks to allay by depositing around them a layer of pearly matter, and thus pearls are formed. It is a fact that the celebrated Linnaeus was paid $2,500 by the Swedish Government for a plan he discovered for doing a similar thing with the oyster. He bored through the shell and deposited sand particles, between it and the mantle of fine tissues. It was not a success; but some day the race will produce pearls from cultivated oyster beds as we now get our eggs from chickens; that is, provided the coming man is not to regard jewelry of all kinds as barbaric - " barbaric pearls and gold" are Milton's very words, and great poets are prophets. The tendency is certainly in that direction. The more ignorant the natives, the more ornamental jewelry is worn, even if it be immense, heavy glass bracelets from Birmingham. Already one says, how simple, how grandly simple she was, with her hair plain, her ears unpierced, her head and neck without a single ornament, save only a rosebud in the hair. Jewels are to women what wine is to man - not recommended till after forty; and a poor help at any age.

       * * * * *