Heaven speed the canvas, gallantly unfurled 
    To furnish and accommodate a world, 
    To give the Pole the produce of the sun, 
    And knit the unsocial climates into one.

Friday, April 6th. - Our visit to Ceylon has been so delightful that I wish it could have been prolonged for a month, instead of lasting only a week; but in that case I should have preferred to select a cooler season of the year, when travelling is more practicable. A most interesting journey could be made through the centre of the island to see the ancient cities, temples, and tanks, over the road from Matelle to Nalandi Senadoora, to the curious rock temple at Dambool, near which is the fortified rock of Sigiri, and a few miles further are the vast ruins of Topari, or Ponamira, the mediaeval capital of Ceylon. It is full of wonderful ruins, some of them among the oldest in the world. The Ranhol Dagoba, the Jayti Wana Rama, and the Galle Wihara and rock temple, carved out of the living rock, are alone worth a long journey to see. Then think of visiting Anajapoora, the city of rubies, the sacred capital of the kingdom of ruins, on whose splendours even the Chinese travellers of the early ages used to expatiate with fervour. From this point it would be easy to reach the peninsula of Jaffna, which has been peopled with Tammils for more than two thousand years. It is the country par excellence of gardens exquisitely kept, and skilfully irrigated on the old Moorish system. Here are grown all the ingredients for the making of curry, which are sent to all parts of this island and to Southern India. The most important crop of all, however, is tobacco, whose excellence is famed throughout India, and of which the Rajah of Travancore holds the monopoly.

Then one might go southward from Jaffna, past Aripo, and the Gulf of Calpentyn, until the curious reef of Adam's Bridge was reached, which almost connects Ceylon with India. People say it has been separated by some convulsion of nature in former days, and that the passage is gradually deepening; but recent examinations have shown that instead of being a remnant of the original rock by which Ceylon is supposed to have been once connected with the Indian continent, it is in reality a comparatively recent ridge of conglomerate and ironstone, covered with alluvial deposits carried by the current and heaped up at this particular point; whilst the gradual rising of the coast has contributed to give the reef its present altitude.

Balchus tells a most improbable story of fifteen Portuguese frigates escaping through the passage of Panupam, when pursued by some Dutch cruisers in 1557. Formerly the Straits were only thirty-five yards wide, with a maximum depth of six feet of water, but lately they have been widened and deepened by ten feet, and a little Government steamer frequently passes through on a tour round the island. At present a sailing ship going from Bombay to Madras has to make a curve of five thousand miles in order to weather the Maldives and Ceylon. It seems a long course for any vessel drawing over ten feet of water to be obliged to take.

In the centre of the channel there is a little island where a Dutch establishment for horse-breeding formerly stood, the original stud having been imported from Arabia. The horses were all turned into corrals and caught by means of lassos, and then conquered by domidores, exactly as they are at the present day in South America. Now the stud is dispersed, the buildings are in ruins, and all that remains is the Indian pagoda, where religious ceremonies, curious processions, and dances of nautch-girls occasionally take place and are attended by great crowds. To the southward again of Adam's Bridge is the celebrated Gulf of Manaar, from which the best pearls come.

This is an exceptionally good year for pearls, and the price of the shells went up many rupees per thousand in the first week. The pearl fishery can be reached in about eight hours by steam from Colombo, and it would have been delightful to have visited it, had time permitted. We were shown an oyster with some beautiful pearls in it, all found in the one shell. When a boat with pearls reaches the shore, the shells are divided into equal heaps, one-fourth going to the boat's crew, and three-fourths to the Government Inspector. They keep whichever heap he chooses to kick; so that, being uncertain which they will get for themselves, the boat's crew are sure to make a fair division. These heaps are then divided and sold by auction in thousands, and then subdivided again and again. Of course it is always a matter of speculation as to whether you get good pearls, bad pearls, or no pearls at all, though this last misfortune seldom happens.

The love of gambling is inherent in every Oriental mind, and the merest beggar with but a few pice in his wallet to buy his daily food will invest them in a small number of oyster-shells, hoping to find a pearl of great value; and, should he fail to do so, he contents himself with eating the oyster and hoping for better luck next time. The shells are generally left on the sand in carefully guarded heaps till they die and open, when the pearls are extracted, and the fish left to decay. Some of the oysters are taken in sealed-up sacks to Colombo, Kandy, and other inland places, in order to enable people to indulge their love of gambling and speculation, without the trouble of a journey to Manaar. Though called oysters, they are not the proper oyster, but a sort of avicula (Meleagrina margaritifera being the name given by Samarik), very different from the large mother-of-pearl shells in which the South Sea pearls are found.

I have not been able to keep my mind from running incessantly on Sir Emerson Tennent's delightful book on Ceylon, which describes places we have not ourselves visited, but which I wanted very much to see, and I have been so interested reading about them that I cannot help thinking other people will share my feelings. It seems wonderful that so much which is strange, beautiful, and interesting should be so easy of access from England, and yet that so few English travellers know comparatively anything of Ceylon, except Galle and Colombo, and perhaps Kandy and Trincomalee.

Saturday, April 7th. - To-day we passed close to the island of Minnikoy, between the groups of islands called the Laccadives and Maldives, some of which we saw dotting the horizon; and still further to the south stretches the Chagos Archipelago. It was very hot all day, with hardly a breath of air, and we have all returned to our former light and airy costumes: the gentlemen to their shirts and trousers, the children to their pinafores and nothing else, and I to my beloved Tahitian dresses.

Before we left England we could not make ourselves believe what we were told about heat in the tropics; so we started with very few windsails and without any punkahs or double awnings. It was all very well in the Atlantic or Pacific, but between Hongkong and Singapore the state of things became simply unbearable. The carpenter has rigged up a punkah, and the men have improvised some double awnings. At Colombo they made some windsails, so we are now better off than on our last hot voyage. It has been really hotter than ever to-day, but a pleasant breeze sprang up in the afternoon.

Sunday, April 8th. - A delightful fresh morning after a cool night. Everybody looks quite different, and we begin to hope we shall carry the north-east monsoon right across, which would be an exceptional piece of good fortune. We had service in the saloon at eleven o'clock and at four, and though there was an unusually full attendance it was cool and pleasant even without the punkah. The thermometer registers nearly the same as it did on Friday, when we were all dead with the heat. The apparently nice cool breeze that refreshes our heated bodies does not produce any corresponding effect on the glassy surface of the ocean; for we find to-day, as on previous occasions, that the temperature, both of the water and of the air, registered by the thermometer, does not by any means correspond with the effect on the human frame.

The two Chinese servants we shipped at Hongkong are a great success, as every one on board agrees. Even the old sailing master is obliged to confess that the two 'heathen Chinee' keep the mess rooms, ships' officers' and servants' berths much cleaner and more comfortable than his own sailors ever succeeded in doing. At Galle we shipped three black firemen, two from Bombay and one from Mozambique, a regular nigger, with his black woolly hair clipped into the shape of Prince of Wales feathers. Their names are Mahomet, Abraham, and Tom Dollar. They live in a little tent we have had pitched for them on deck, cook their own food, and do their work in the engine-room exceedingly well. In the intervals they are highly amused with the children's picture books. The picture of the durbar at Delhi delighted them, especially as they recognised the figures, and learned a little English through them. They can say a few words already, and have told me all about their wives and children at Mozambique and Bombay, and have shown me the presents they are taking home to them. They have been nearly a year on board the P. and O. steamship 'Poonah,' and appear to have saved nearly all their earnings. I do not suppose our own men could have stood the fearful heat below in the engine-room for many days together, so it was fortunate we met with these amiable salamanders.

Monday, April, 9th. - No wind. We passed through a large shoal of porpoises, and at dusk we saw the light of a distant ship. At all the places we have recently visited we have found excellent ice-making machines, and have been able to get a sufficient supply to last us from port to port, which has been a great comfort. The machine at Colombo unfortunately broke down the day before we left, so that in the very hottest part of our voyage we have had to do without our accustomed luxury; and very much we miss it, not only for cooling our drinks, but for keeping provisions, &c. As it is, a sheep killed overnight is not good for dinner next day; butter is just like oil, and to-day in opening a drawer my fingers touched a sticky mess; I looked and discovered six sticks of sealing wax running slowly about in a state resembling treacle.

Wednesday, April 11th. - Hotter than ever. We could see a steamer in the far distance. About sunset we passed through a shoal of flying-fish; the night was intensely hot, and everybody slept on deck.

Friday, April 13th. - At 6 a.m. we made the island of Sokotra, and about seven o'clock saw 'The Brothers,' two islands where large quantities of turtle and ambergris are found. Though generally uninhabited, they are sometimes visited by the natives for the purpose of collecting articles of commerce.

One of our large pigs took it into his head to jump overboard to-day. The helm was put round as quickly as possible, but the most anxious spying could not discover any trace of poor piggy's whereabouts; so we proceeded on our original course for a few minutes, when suddenly, to our great astonishment, we saw him alongside, having been nearly run down, but still gallantly swimming along. The dingy was lowered and two men sent in pursuit. They had, however, no easy task before them, for as soon as they approached, piggy swam away faster than they could row, and bit and fought most furiously when they tried to get him into the boat. It was a good half-hour's work before he was secured, yet when he arrived he did not appear to be in the least exhausted by his long swim, but bit and barked at everybody so furiously that he was condemned to death, to prevent the possibility of further accidents. It is quite clear from the foregoing incident that some pigs can swim, and swim very well too, without cutting their own throats in the process.

All the afternoon a large steamer had been gradually gaining on us. We exchanged signals and made out that she was the 'Calypso' (?) of Glasgow. About half-past five she altered her course and came alongside to speak us. The fore-deck was crowded with the crew. On the bridge were many of the officers; and sitting bolt upright on a stool, 'looking out forward' in the most amusing manner, was the captain's little Skye terrier. The stern was crowded with passengers, of every shade of colour. To our surprise a voice from among them shouted out 'Three cheers for Mr. Brassey!' which was responded to by ringing shouts from all on board, and taken up again by some of our own men. It was a very pleasant and unexpected greeting to hear in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The ship soon drew ahead again, but handkerchiefs and caps were waved till their owners faded away into the distance. Meeting and passing thousands of people as you at home do daily, you can hardly understand the excitement a little incident like this causes on board ship, where even a distant sail in these lonely oceans makes everybody leave his occupation and crowd to look at her. Soon after sunset we saw the island of Abd-al-Kuri, with its fantastic peaks, melting into orange, gold, and purple tints, beneath the gorgeous Arabian afterglow.

Saturday, April 14th. - We made Cape Rasalhir, formerly called Guardafui, about nine o'clock yesterday evening, and passing it during the night entered the Gulf of Aden.[21] All to-day we have been going along the Soumali coast. There is a good deal of trade carried on in native boats. Passing all these strange and comparatively unknown and little-visited islands and coasts, from which all sorts of things in daily use at home are brought, one dimly realises what commerce means and how necessary one part of the world is to the other.

[Footnote 21: We found considerable difficulty in making the light, and since our return there have been several wrecks, and many lives lost, on this dangerous point.]

Sunday, April 15th. - Still intensely hot. The usual services were held on deck at eleven and four o'clock. The land, both in Arabia and in Africa, could be seen the whole day, with precipitous mountains. In the afternoon we could make out the rock of Aden, and at sunset it stood grandly forth, looming in purple darkness against the crimson and blood-red sky, which gradually faded to tenderest tints of yellow and green, before it finally blazed forth into a radiant afterglow. At half-past eight a gun from the fort at Aden summoned us to show our colours, or rather lights. At nine o'clock we dropped our anchor in the roads; a boat came off with a bag of newspapers and to ask for orders in the morning. It was sent by the great Parsee merchants here, who undertake to supply us with coals, provisions, water, and everything we want, and spare us all trouble. For the last three or four days we have had a nice little breeze astern, and if we had not been in a hurry to cross the Indian Ocean before the south-west monsoon set in, we should certainly have been contented with four or five knots an hour under sail instead of eight and a half under steam. We have averaged over 200 miles a day under steam alone, ever since we left Penang, and have burnt only four tons of coal for every fifty miles.

Monday, April 16th. - At 1.30 a.m. I heard the signal gun fired, and shortly afterwards a great splash of boats and oars, and a vast chattering and shouting of tongues announced the arrival of a P. and O. steamer. She dropped her anchor just outside us, so we had the benefit of the noise all night. I got up at daylight and found the pilot just coming off. He took us to a buoy, a little closer in, and soon the business of coaling and watering commenced.

We reached the shore about 7.30, and, landing at the pier, had our first near view of the natives, who are most curious-looking creatures. They have very black complexions, and long woolly hair, setting out like a mop all round, and generally dyed bright red, or yellow by the application of lime. Mr. Cowajee had sent his own private carriage to meet us. It was a comfortable open barouche, with a pair of nice horses, and two servants in Eastern liveries, green vests and full trousers, and red and orange turbans. We went first to his store, which seemed to be an emporium for every conceivable article. There was carved sandal-wood, and embroidered shawls from China, Surat, and Gujerat, work from India, English medicines, French lamps, Swiss clocks, German toys, Russian caviare, Greek lace, Havannah cigars, American hides and canned fruits, besides many other things. The feathers did not look very tempting; there was a great deal of feather and very little stem about most of them, and only a few were white, the majority being a pretty sort of brown and drab. But this general store is only a very small part of their business, for about 60,000 tons of coal pass through their hands every year.

We went on to the Hotel de l'Europe, which was by no means in first-rate order, but allowances must be made for a new house. A delightful breeze was blowing in through the open windows, and although the thermometer registered 85 deg. in the dining-room, it did not seem at all hot. The view over the bay is very pretty, and the scene on shore thoroughly Arabian, with the donkeys and camels patiently carrying their heavy loads, guided by the true Bedaween of the desert, and people of all tinges of complexion, from jet black to pale copper colour. A pair of tame ostriches, at least seven feet high, were strolling about the roadway, and a gazelle, some monkeys, parrots, and birds lived happily together beneath a broad verandah. After a little while we went for a drive to see the camp and town of Aden, which is four or five miles from the Point where everybody lands. On the way we met trains of heavily laden camels bringing in wood, water, grain, and fodder, for garrison consumption, and coffee and spices for exportation. After driving for about four miles we reached a gallery pierced through the rock, which admits you into the precincts of the fort. The entrance is very narrow, the sides precipitous, and the place apparently impregnable. We went all through the town, or rather towns, past the Arab village, the Sepoy barracks, and the European barracks, to the water tanks, stupendous works carved out of the solid rock, but until lately comparatively neglected, the residents depending entirely on distillation for their supply of water. There is a pretty little garden at the foot of the lowest tank, but the heat was intense in the bottom of the deep valley amongst the rocks, where every sun-ray seemed to be collected and reflected from the white glaring limestone, and every breath of air to be excluded. We saw a little more of the town and the market crowded with camels, the shops full of lion, leopard, and hyaena skins. We went to the officers' mess-house, visited the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches and the Mohammedan mosque, and then passing through two long tunnels, bored and blasted in the solid rock, we looked over the fortifications. Finally, we returned to the Point again by way of the Isthmus, and went to Government House, which gets a fresh breeze from every quarter. They say that to-day is hotter than usual, but it is never really very oppressive here unless there is an exceptionally hot wind blowing from the desert, but even that is partially cooled before it arrives. To us it appears delightful after our sultry voyage and the heat at Penang and Singapore.

We are all agreeably disappointed with Aden, and find that it is by no means the oven we expected; it is prettier too than I thought, the mountains and rocks are so peaked and pointed, and although the general effect is one of barrenness, still, if you look closely, every crack and crevice is full of something green. The soil, being of volcanic origin, is readily fertilised by moisture, and at once produces some kind of vegetation. This adds of course greatly to the effect of colour, which in the rocks themselves is extremely beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset. The sea, too, is delightfully blue on one side of the peninsula, and pale green on the other, according to the wind, and the white surf curls and breaks on the sandy shore beyond the crisp waves.

We went back to the hotel a little before one, and found many friends had called during our absence. After superintending the children's dinner, I went with Tom to luncheon at Government House. It was very pleasant; General and Mrs. Schneider were more than kind, and the house felt deliciously cool and airy.

We are told that thirty miles inland the country is sometimes very beautiful. There are exquisitely green valleys, with a stream running through them, amongst peaks, and rocky mountains, which one rarely sees in the desert. Here the natives cultivate their crops of corn - such corn as it is too, reaching six feet above a man's head! All sorts of useful vegetables grow abundantly, besides roses, fruits, and fragrant flowers, large supplies of which are brought daily into Aden. About ten miles from the town there are acres of the most fertile garden ground, which is cultivated to supply the garrison with vegetables. Sometimes a party of seventy or eighty men, and ten or twenty Arab guides, goes out for three weeks or a month at a time surveying. The natives are much more friendly than they used to be a few years ago, when people were afraid even to ride outside the town. Now pleasant excursions lasting a few days may be made, especially as there is very fair shooting to be got. After luncheon I was shown some lovely feathers. The contrast between these and the steamer-feathers is ludicrous; the price, too, is proportionately cheaper, for the feathers are infinitely better. Long, white, full, and curly feathers can be bought for much less than you give for them in England. We drove down to the town, finished our business transactions, and then went in the 'Vestal's' steam launch on board the 'Gamma,' one of the new Chinese gunboats on her way out to China.

After afternoon tea we all adjourned to the 'Sunbeam,' where we found many other friends already arrived or arriving. We had only just time to look round before the sun set, and the short twilight was succeeded by the swift tropical darkness. All too soon good-bye had to be said; the anchor was raised, and we were actually drifting slowly along under our head canvas before our friends took their departure. It was a lovely evening, with a light fair breeze, and although there appeared hardly any wind, it was wonderful how swiftly we crept out of the harbour, and, as sail after sail was spread, how rapidly we glided past the land.

Our visit to Aden has been short but very agreeable; it is not by any means such a dreadful place as we had always fancied. Most of the people we have seen to-day seem rather to like it; there is good boating, excellent sea fishing, moderate shooting, and many rides and excursions. A vehicle of some sort is an absolute necessity, however, if you want to see anything of your friends, for the three divisions of the settlement are at least four miles apart, and the heat is far too great for driving or riding in the middle of the day, except on business. I cannot say, however, that we ourselves found it intolerably hot to-day.