This chapter is tagged (labeled) with: 

Ch. 2: Gems in Ceylon

Ch. 2: Gems in Ceylon Page of 442 Ch. 2: Gems in Ceylon Text size:minus plus Restore normal size   Mail page  Print this page
GOLD AND GEMS.
307
black dust, which I am preserving, and almost always in the black gleamed a speck of gold. Where does it come from ? One piece is of appreciable size, as large as a grain of rice, but thin and water-worn. There were five men washing, and each was equally successful in finding gold, not in dust, but in small pieces. They washed for two hours, and I was glad they gave up as I could see they were very cold.
1 went up the Segama this afternoon to see if there were any hills, and came across limestone on the true left bank, but nothing further of note. Searching for orchids I raised a little mouse-deer, which scuttled away from its lair at the root of a big tree. This is first game I have seen. The wet weather renders it unnecessary for game to come to the river to drink, and my men say a flooded river frightens game away. We have seen nothing but a few alli­gators and the one rhinoceros mentioned 12th November. We went up the Sungei Bilang: unfortunately it rained a good deal in the night and the river is pretty full, too much so for midstream working, and we have to content ourselves with working the sides. The stuff is too new for any good results. Still at each place we found gold in specks, brilliantly discernable against the black metal accompanying it. No dust—where does that go ? A fine day and pleasant working: we did not get back till 4 o'clock, very tired. The jungle is full of a tree, called Ankaug, whose nut yields oil and which the Resident asked me to look for. The oil used in place of coconut oil and is much more valuable. I have given orders to collect a quantity. On the right bank of the Sungei Bilang I saw a tree called Tappang by the Sarawak men, a bee tree, ten feet in diameter at twenty feet above the ground. I believe this would be a big tree in any part of the world. The timber on this river, Segama, runs very large and increases in size as we progress inland.
13th Nov.—The river is much lower and the men set to work near their old spot, and found gold again. They say the river was lower on the former occasion, which I can well imagine as when they stoop to fill the scoop with dirt they buried their shoulders in water. I got my specimens of stone together : tiiey include water-worn granite, like grey Aberdeen, gneiss, slate, crystalline sandstones, jasper, porphyries, serpentine basaltic limestone (water-worn), and coral limestone. As I write their names I cannot help speculating on the possibilities of the future.
14th Nov.—Got away early and found the river fuller than when we came up. At the big fall, Tabauat, we got out to lighten the boats, but did not remove the baggage. Going down the falls was exciting work at first, but there are so many of them they are becoming less so; besides which, as we progress, the waters are becoming quieter. The country we have passed through has been fairly flat, much occupied by natives in days gone by. I feel thankful we started, and that we have had a fine day as we could hardly have come down safely in the rain. As it was we had some narrow escapes, and, had the rock-ripples been hidden by falling rain, we should probably have come to grief. I stopped a few times to chip off a bit of rock and pick up bits from the single.
15th November.—The 16th day. We left at 6-45 p.m. Last night we had a little rain, but nothing that would account for the rising of the river which rose rapidly from the time of pitching our camps until this morning. In the night time I heard the men shouting, and on inquiry found they were moving higher up the bank, and this morning I was awoke by the noise of a falling tree and cries. A dead tree had fallen across one of the huts striking Nacoda Budjang, the head of the Sarawak traders, on the the back of the neck. He was sitting up smoking a cigarette, waiting for daylight, when the tree fell. The day was just breaking, and after a little I was able to examine him, and was glad to find no bones broken, but he was almost insensible, I could do nothing beyond giving him my pillow and seeing him laid in the boat as carefully as possible. Immediately after starting we entered a gorge. Hills on both sides for about seven miles—not high, perhaps 200 feet above the river
Ch. 2: Gems in Ceylon Page of 442 Ch. 2: Gems in Ceylon
Suggested Illustrations
Other Chapters you may find useful
Other Books on this topic
bullet Tag
This Page