« السابقةمتابعة »
Thaung-kala into the gulf of Siam, and on the western, or (now) British side, by the Zimee and Attran into the gulf of Martaban. The ground is rocky and barren, only a few stunted trees, some bamboos, and long grass; under a belief that no water was to be found here, we had halted in the afternoon to make our miserable meal, had in consequence been benighted, and tumbled about amongst the sharp, broken, rocky ground near the halting place, where on arrival we found an abundance of good water for a much larger party than ours, which will probably not be dried up for the next two months.
January 4th.-Thaung-kala, 3h. 10m., nine miles. Waited this morning at the three Pagodahs till past nine, when the moon went down, in hopes of getting a distance between the sun and moon, but anxious as I was to do so, I was defeated in my object by a thick fog which rose just before the sun, and continued till after the moon had set. It was impossible to make a day's halt, as the people had already been three days without food, except what they picked up in the jungle, and I did not know when I might expect the party despatched for rice, as we passed their previous night's halting place about noon, the day before yesterday. At 9h. 20m. we started, the elephants having gone an hour or so before; at 10h. 45m. heard some one in apparent distress calling out to the right of the road, and on going to see what was the matter, found a young elephant had taken fright, at some of the people running up behind him, and broken away into the jungle, knocked off his rider, and breaking his howdah and all its fastenings against the branches, had escaped. I sent all the people who could be spared from the other elephants after him, they picked up all his load, consisting of a large carpet (part of the presents) and some muskets, but being unable to see him, we left the things in the jungle, and started at 1h. 25m., intending to make all haste to the halting place, and send the elephants back to look for their lost companion; but we lost the road at 1h. 50m. and we did not find it again till 3h. 20m., when we continued our march, and crossing two or three runs of water came to this ground, on a beautiful mountain stream about knee-deep, and a stone's throw across, running here south-west, and falling into the gulf of Siam, and were much disappointed at not finding the people with the rice; the elephants from the thickness of the jungle in one or two places, and from some fallen trees over a ravine in which they had to march, did not arrive till 8 P. M., when it had been quite dark in the jungle for nearly three hours; they were enabled to find their way (fortunately the path was pretty well marked towards the end of the march) by the mahouts carrying in front immense torches of blazing bamboos in
a bundle over their shoulders, which gave an exceedingly picturesque effect to the whole little encampment. It is now impossible to send back for the carpet, and should the wild elephants come upon it in the night they will certainly tear it to pieces, our lost elephant will also have an opportunity, and as I believe he has not been in bondage above eight or nine months, he will probably be admitted into the herd, and having nothing to distinguish him but his belt, (should that fortunately not be torn off in his rushing through the jungle,) I fear we have not much chance of recovering him. I shall however halt here to-morrow, send one of the horses for rice to the Siamese Kareen village of Kenk-khaung, and all the elephants after the fugitive one. The path to-day has generally been good and level, through a high tree jungle, and occasionally in a ravine, always with high hills at a short distance, and our course more direct than on any previous day.
January 5th.-Halt on the Thaung-kala. About 4 P. M., the party sent for rice returned with a most welcome supply of two baskets, enough for two meals for the whole party; the Siamese interpreter to whom the money was entrusted, after a vain attempt to get the others to join him in withholding it from the villagers, separated from them and has not yet returned; the head mahout who was of the party, bought the small supply we have obtained with his own money, and the Tsokay of the village promised to bring us an elephant load to-morrow; he told the mahout the king would punish him if he received payment for the rice, but he would take what I chose to give him as hire for his elephant. I had already despatched two elephants for the load of the fugitive one, and immediately the rice arrived I sent the three others with the head mahout and a supply of rice for three days to look after him, with directions to return in that time, whether they recovered him or not.
January 6th.-Halt at Thaung-kala. About half-past 4 the Siamese interpreter returned with the Tsokay of Thaung-kala, who according to his promise to my people yesterday, brought me three baskets of rice, some salt and chillies; he received one rupee for the rice, and I gave him and the chief person who accompanied him two cotton handkerchiefs each, with which they were very well pleased; he had accompanied some Siamese officers with a letter to Maulmain some time ago, and professed to recognize me, I believe however I was in Calcutta at the time he refers to. I had just given up hopes of him, and supposed the interpreter, from what I had been told yesterday by the people who accompanied him, had very probably gone off to Tahine, where he has a wife and children, especially as he had received an
advance of two months' pay, and ten rupees for the purchase of rice; he says, he supposed (I know not on what grounds) we were at the three Pagodahs, and was on his way thither, when he saw the party looking after the lost elephant. The supply of rice was a most seasonable relief to the people; five or six Madras men who are not accustomed to jungle food, had yesterday considerable derangement in the bowels from living on the green fern leaves and roots, it has nearly gone off again with the improved diet.
January 7th.-Halt at Thaung-kala. The party sent after the elephant returned at 8 o'clock this morning, and as I had feared, without him; the wild elephants are so exceedingly numerous in this part of the forest, that from the first I had little hopes of recovering him; a short way in advance of the place I had followed him to, he had rushed down a ravine so steep and rocky that the other elephants could not follow him; they went round, and coming on his track on the further side, followed it till they came on a herd of forty or fifty elephants, and our smaller one would not approach them; the head mahout on the only one that would, broke the herd in hopes of seeing our lost one, as the wild ones will not admit one escaped to mix with them; he however was not seen, and in hopes that they might come on him making his way back the road he came, and in that direction, they went back as far as Jung-Jung-Khay near which they fell in with two other large herds, but had no better success in the search, and from the time they fell in with the first herd, they of course, in the numerous paths made by the wild ones, lost all trace of his foot prints. The interpreter has just told me he saw a Tsokay of Pra-Soowan, who has charge of this district, to whom he gave an account of the number of people, elephants, &c. I had with me, and told him I was sent on a mission with a friendly letter to the Court.
January 8th.-Neauny-hen, stream near a Kareen village of the same name, 5h. 10m., fifty miles. Left the Thaung-kala at 8h. 30m. our course a little more to the southward than the general direction of our march hitherto; path nearly level, but apparently between two ranges of hills, and crossing four small runs of water, feeders of the Thaung-kala, 11h. 15m., the path lay near the foot of a high (5 or 600 feet) precipitous rocky hill, bearing N. 40° W., with its steepest side towards the south eastward; 12h. 20m. came to an old clearing and cotton field, with a small run of water; we halted, seeking the road, half an hour, from this in five minutes we reach Alanday Kyung, running S. 6o, 5o, W. nearly as large as the Thaung-kala which
it joins. The Thaung-kala is joined near the same place by MeeneKyning, which rises in the hills near Yea, where the three take the name of Ka-tain-tsein; further south the Mag-nan-noi, which rises in the hills towards Tavoy, joins it, and though smaller gives its name to the united stream. At 1h. 30m. we cross in a few minutes a rather steep hill bearing S. 60° E. near the eastern part of which a road runs N. E. to Kenk-Khaung, the residence of the Kareen Ank of this district; south of his village he has about seventy houses under him, who pay each a tax of fifty viss of cotton. At 3h. 35m. having halted an hour, reach this ground. Just before halting, the Taung-thoo traders who accompanied me, and who had come on to this village yesterday, met me with a complaint against the interpreter, who had told the villagers they were not part of the mission, and not to sell them any rice; he must have heard the complaint, for one of the coolies had given him half a rupee to bring rice, this he gave to the Kareen, and directed him to tell me that he had said they were traders, and to sell or give them rice if he had any to spare; the Kareen gave this version of the story when I inquired into the complaint, and as soon as he got home, the interpreter went and demanded the half rupee or a basket of rice; the Kareen returned the money, and then told the truth, expecting I would make the man pay him back the money. I shall however henceforth supply the whole of them with rice, which will save a great deal of trouble.
January 9th.-Papan Kyuing, 2h. 10m., seven miles. The elephants which were unable to come up last night, have again obliged me to take up my quarters under a bamboo bush; they did not overtake us till 12h. 10m., when having hired an elephant from one of the Kareens, to carry the load of the lost one, agreed to pay the half of his price if they recover him, which they expect to do. We started having procured three days rice, and given a pass to the Taung-thoo traders who separate from us here, and propose joining again in Bankok. The country was a good deal broken throughout this day's march, and the hills apparently at no great distance, but the jungle so thick that we could not see twenty yards in any direction; we crossed two small streams immediately after quitting the last ground, and at 12h. 55m. Raja of Kyuing, knee-deep, passed two or three other small streams, and at 2h. 30m. halted at this one, to enable the elephants to come up, which they did just before dark. The Kareens have been civil and furnished us with rice, the only thing they had, as they rear no poultry nor pigs. A Taline visited us this morning from one of the military posts, the name of which, and apparently the name only, is still kept up; he
put some questions to us relative to our number and arms, but no hint was dropped of delaying us; some mystery was made about the road, and an attempt made to induce me to go by Tauny-Kahoung road, but assuming a perfect right of choice, I merely intimated my intention of going by Ta-kanoon, which is shorter, and nearly level, whilst by the other the hills are very steep. One of our Kareen companions is at this moment giving most ludicrous and savage imitations of the dances of the Siamese, Taline, Birmans, and Sawas by the fire-light.
January 10th.-Sa-di-diang, 3h. 10m., nine miles. Start at 7h. 55m. and crossing the small ravine, in which the Pa-pan runs, proceed along a small reedy valley, through which the road has only been allowed to pass since our peace with Ava, before which time it ran east of the hills. At 8h. 10m. we passed a small trench, said to be the site of an old Siamese stockade, and the elephant pits (Ka-tyne-tsein,) from which the river and a frontier post and stockade on it take their name; at this post during the whole fine season was kept a force of from eighty to one hundred Talines, and twenty-five in the rains; the whole of this path is said to have been strewed with Birmese corpses in 1147 (A. D. 1812) when Along Mendora invaded Siam; his force was marching in an extended line, almost from Thaung-kala to Ka-tynetsein, when the Siamese broke his line near Neaung-ben; the king with the rear fled, leaving the van in the hands of the Siamese, who with the barbarity always displayed by both nations whenever they had an opportunity, tied them five or six at a time to the trees and speared or shot them. At 8h. 40m. eross the lesser Ka-tyne-tsein river, kneedeep, from which the country is more open to the west, the hills to the eastward continuing; at 9h.35m. cross the Ka-tyne-tsein, over the saddle flaps, some six miles below the old stockade now given up; 9h. 50m. cross the Paway, knee-deep, falling into the Ka-tyne-tsein, on the banks of which we fell in with a herd of wild buffaloes, one of which the Kareens wounded, but he got away; at 10h. 40m. enter the clearing of Sa-di-diong, the name of the Tsokay, pass' two small villages both bearing his name, and halt here in the same clearing at 11h. 10m. We met some Kareens to day, who found fault with our guide for bringing us this way; he answered that we knew the road, and would not come by the hills. Our present halting place is one of Pra-soo-one's villages, his people amount to seventy families, paying a duty yearly of fifty viss of cotton, carrying it as far as Camhoorie, for which they may make a money payment of five Siamese rupees (about six rupees and a quarter Madras) they have also to find carriage and food for officers passing this way; they met the chief who came to Maulmain last year at Ta