A ZOOLOGICAL LABORATORY IN CEYLON
My first work in Belligam was to set up my household goods in the rest-house as comfortably as might be with the help of my four familiars, and then to arrange a laboratory. The bungalow contained but three rooms, of which the middle one - the dining-room - was the sitting and eating-room for all the visitors to the house, chiefly government officials travelling through. A large dining table, two benches, and several chairs, were all the furniture. On each side of this room was a large sleeping room with a huge Indian bedstead, in which a sleeper disturbed by dreams could turn comfortably on his axis without touching the edges with the tips of his toes. An ample mosquito curtain, which was stretched over it, had formerly perhaps done good service, but was now present only as an idea. I also found the mattress in a state which led me to regard it as advisable to abstain from using it, and to sleep in the native fashion on a palm-leaf mat. Besides this mighty bedstead, there was in each of these rooms a small table with washing apparatus and a few chairs. The large windows in the white walls were, as elsewhere, devoid of glass panes, but they could be closed by green wooden venetian shutters; the floor was paved with flags. The lighter of the two rooms, facing south, which I chose for my own use, commanded a beautiful view of the harbour through a door opening on to the verandah. I would gladly have used this room exclusively for working in, and have arranged it as my laboratory, taking the other, northern room, for a bedroom and private sitting-room; but my host was obliged to keep this in case of need, for the use of travellers passing through.
In view of the primitive simplicity of the furniture, my first care was to procure some household chattels, without which all work in these huge empty rooms was quite out of the question; above all a large table and a bench, and then, if possible, some sort of cabinet or cupboard. In this I had the greatest difficulty, and although my new friends did all they could to help me, my laboratory when complete left much to be desired. The chief headman supplied me with boards, which I laid across my empty cases, to make benches on which to deposit my glass phials, and the second headman lent me two large old tables. The collector, who was a most obliging and intelligent man, lent me a few small cabinets or almeiras that I could lock, in which to bestow my valuable instruments, chemicals, and poisons. The schoolmaster provided me with a small book-case, and the kind folks contributed many other small articles of furniture, with which I contrived to fit up my laboratory fairly well. In payment for all these little kindnesses they were content to take the mere satisfying of their curiosity; but this ere long grew to such dimensions as to become a serious nuisance, robbing me of a great part of my precious working hours.
Beyond these most elementary requisites, which most of the Cinghalese would regard as superfluous luxuries, next to nothing was to be had in Belligam which could serve me in any way, and it was really most fortunate that I had brought with me from Europe all that was essential, both for my personal convenience and for my zoological studies. There were, it is true, a carpenter and a locksmith - so called - in the village, whose assistance I might often have found extremely useful, but the primitive products of their handiwork sufficiently proved the extent of their skill, as well as their astonished admiration of the simple chattels I had with me. I soon discovered that I must do everything myself, for whenever I did by chance employ a Cinghalese workman, as a rule the first thing to be done when the thing was finished was to remake it myself from the beginning. As to repairs to instruments and so forth, which unfortunately were largely needed, any assistance from such bunglers was of course not to be thought of.
In spite of every hindrance, however, I succeeded in a few days in transforming my room into a tolerably good laboratory, answering in some degree to the requirements of the study of marine zoology. I had set up my microscopes and dissecting instruments, arranged a dozen of large glass vessels and a few hundred phials on shelves, decanted the spirit I had brought with me into bottles, mixing it with turpentine and oil of thyme, to protect it against the possible thirstiness of my servants.
One of the two cupboards held my well-furnished medicine chest, as well as my cartridges and powder-flasks, my photographic apparatus and chemicals - in themselves a perfect witches' kitchen - and the poisons for preparing and preserving beasts. In the other I placed my books and papers, drawing materials for working in water and oil colour, and a number of fragile or delicate instruments. The feet of these two cabinets and those of the tables all stood in saucers full of water, like clay flower-pot saucers, to protect them against the destructive attacks of termites and other ants. In one corner of the room I stowed my fishingnets and rods; in another, my gun and apparatus for hunting, trapping, and botanizing; a third held a soldering-pot and tin cases; and in the fourth stood the above-mentioned bedstead, which by day served as a table for making preparations on. Round the walls were arranged a few dozen empty cases to receive my specimens, and the tin boxes in which I kept my clothes. Above these I drove in nails to hang up a barometer, thermometer, scales, and fifty things I needed for daily use.
Thus, in a few days, the rest-house at Belligam looked just like those marine laboratories which, twenty-two years since, I had arranged for a six months' winter residence at Messina, and again, fifteen years ago, at Lancerote, in the Canary Isles, with this difference, that my outfit in both the Science and Art Departments was far more complete and various than on those previous occasions. On the other hand. my domestic arrangements here were far simpler and more primitive. However, I consoled myself for many deficiencies by reflecting that I was at scarcely more than six degrees north of the equator, and that no laboratory for the study of marine zoology at all to be compared with mine had ever yet been seen in Ceylon. And I set to work with proportionate eagerness and zeal.
The extreme difficult attendant on such work in the tropics, more particularly in the delicate operation of examining the structure and development of the lower marine animals, have been severely felt and loudly lamented by every naturalist who has attempted it. I was, therefore, fully prepared for them, but I soon learnt by experience that they were more and greater in Ceylon than I had expected. It was not only the destructive effects of an excessively hot and damp climate - the mere fact of living in a primitive village among a half-savage population, as well as the absence of many of the most ordinary resources of civilized life, hindred study and collecting in a thousand different ways. I often thought with a sigh of the conveniences and advantages I had always enjoyed in my scientific visits to the Mediterranean, and which I desperately missed now.
One of my greatest difficulties from the first was to obtain a boat suitable for my fishing operations, with manageable fishermen and boatmen. At Belligam, as everywhere else on the coast of Ceylon, with the single exception of Colombo, the only boats in use are the quaint canoes with outriggers, which I have already described. As I then said, these are from twenty to twenty-five feet long, and scarcely more than eighteen inches wide, so narrow that a grown-up man cannot sit in them with his legs side by side. Thus the sitter is fast stuck into his boat, and my friend, Professor Vogel, of Berlin, who had formerly used such a canoe in this part of the world, has, in his delightful account of his journey, very aptly named them "calf-crushers." To work in such a canoe - a mere hollowed-out trunk of a tree - or even to go from place to place in it, with no possibility of the free action needed for dredging or for casting a net, was quite out of the question. Net-fishing must, at any rate, be given up. Another disadvantage in these canoes was offered by the outriggers - the two bars of wood or bamboo which project on one side, and are fastened to a stronger pole parallel with the boa, and at eight or ten feet away from it. This floats on the surface of the sea. and prevents the high narrow canoe from being upset. But while it contributes considerably to its safety, it also adds to its inconvenience; for only one side of the boat can ever be brought up alongside of the shore, or of any object, and turning is a long process. There is no rudder whatever; the boat is steered by means of an oar, which can be used alternately at either end of the canoe, both being alike and ending in a point. The smaller boats of this kind are propelied by two rowers, the larger ones by four or six. They have, too, a small mast with a broad square sail; this is of use in a favourable wind, for the light bark, with its shallow draught and narrow bulk, offers very small resistance to the water, and shoots like an arrow over the smooth sea. I have often made from ten to twelve miles an hour in such a boa, as fast, that is, as a good steamer. If the wind bears too strongly against the sail, threatening to upset the canoe, the boatmen scramble like monkeys over the side and out on to the floating beam, on which they squat to keep the balance true.
It was obviously impossible to embark in such a boat, with a case full of glass vessels, and the various paraphernalia which I was accustomed to make use of for catching floating marine creatures, and particularly Medusae; I therefore had to construct in my canoe a queer contrivance of boards laid across the top and projecting to some distance, on which I could sit more comfortably, and at any rate move freely. At each end of this platform two cases were attached with ropes of cocoa-nut fibre, in which I arranged four large glass vessels and a dozen or so of smaller ones. Ropes of the same fibre or coir are extensively used in constructing these canoes, all the parts being tied together; the natives use no nails in making them, nor any iron whatever - the whole thing is of wood and Cocos coir, even the perpendicular sides, rising three or four feet above the hollowed trunk which forms the body of the canoe, are tied on with cords of palm-fibre. All the rope and string I required in my various occupations were, in the same way, made of coir, the outer husk of the cocoa-nut.
In all these arrangements and the further fitting of my boat. as well as in finding and instructing my boatmen, I was greatly assisted by a man to whom I owe much gratitude for kind and valuable services; this was the second headman of Belligam, the Aretshi Abayavira. I had previously heard of his intelligence and merit from the government agent of the southern district, who had especially recommended me to his care. He was a remarkably clever and bright Cinghalese of about forty years of age, whose general information and range of interests was far greater than those of most of his countrymen. He had none of their stolid and lazy indifference; on the contrary, he displayed an eager interest in every kind of knowledge, and had done his best, so far as lay in his power, to promote it in his immediate circle. He spoke tolerably good English, and expressed himself with a natural intelligence and soundness of judgment that frequently astonished me. And the Aretshi was a philosopher. too - in a higher sense than Socrates of the rest-house. I remember with infinite pleasure several deep discussions we had together on a variety of general subjects. He was free from the superstition and dread of spirits which are universal among his Buddhist fellow-countrymen, and gazed, on the contrary, with open eyes on the marvels of nature, seeking their causes and explanation; thus he had learnt to be an independent freethinker, and was delighted to find me able to account to him for many phenomena, which had hitherto remained mysteries to him. I think I can see him now, a tall brown man with expressive and regular features - how his black eyes would sparkle as I explained to him this or that fact in nature, and then, in his gentle full voice, he would ask me with respectful confidence to answer some question arising out of the subject.
In everything, however, I found the amiable side of the Cinghalese character - a quiet, impressionable nature with a peculiar grace of manner - at its best in the Aretshi; and whenever my mind reverts to that verdurous paradise, peopled with the slender brown figures of tho natives, the Aretshi and Ganymede stand forth as the ideal type. The Aretshi's nephew, a youth of seventeen, who was studying in Colombo with a view to becoming a teacher, was also a particularly bright young fellow; he was at this time spending his holidays at Belligam, and in a variety of ways most helpful and useful.
With the Aretshi's assistance I procured four of the best boatmen and fishermen in Belligam to manage my boat and help me in my marine excursions. I paid them five rupees a day for each excursion, but when they dived for coral, or we were out at sea for half a day at a time, I always added a few extra rupees. At first I had considerable difficulties with them, and when I fished the surface of the water with a fine sweeping net and showed them for the first time the fragile Medusae and Polyps, Siphonophora, and Ctenophora, which it was my first object to capture, I could see plainly in their faces that they thought me a fool. By degrees, however, and by dint of a little patience, they learnt to understand what I wanted and then did their best to add to my collections. Two of these men particularly distinguished themselves in diving down to the coral banks, and to their services I owe a large part of the splendid corals, and the wonderful marine creatures living among them, which I was able to collect and bring home to Europe.
But the climate of Ceylon, that terrible and unconquerable foe of the European, which nullifies so much of his toil, placed far greater obstacles in the way of my fishing and studies than any difficulties as to the boat and men. On my very first excursion on the bay of Belligam I learnt what I had to dread. A number of preparations and arrangements had detained me till nine in the morning before I fairly put off from shore. The tropical sun was blazing down pitilessly from the clear blue cloudless sky, there was not a breath of air, and the mirror-like sea reflected its rays with an intensity which no eye could endure. I had to put on my blue spectacles to enable me only to keep my eyes open. However, I had the canoe pulled out to sea in hopes of finding the temperature there somewhat lower; but the heat seemed even more tremendous, and the dazzling sheet of water, unruffled by a breath, looked like a sea of molten metal. I had hardly been fishing one hour, streaming with sweat, when I was utterly exhausted. I felt my strength failing rapidly; a singing in my ears and an increasing and oppressive pain in my head made me fear a sunstroke. I had recourse to a plan which I had often tried before in similar circumstances. My light clothing being already drenched by fishing under such difficulties, I poured a few buckets of sea water over my head and then covered it with a wet handkerchief under my broad-brimmed helmet. This remedy had the happiest results, and I availed myself of it almost daily, as soon as the intense heat began to produce the oppressive sense of fullness in the head, by about ten or eleven o'clock. Under a constant temperature of from 27o to 31o centigrade, the sea being very little below the atmosphere, this cooling douche is a very beneficial and refreshing process, and even sitting for hours in wet clothes, which in our climate would induce a severe cold, and is both harmless and pleasant.
The wealth of varieties of marine creatures to be found in the Bay of Belligam was evident even on this first expedition. The glass vessels into which I turned the floating inhabitants of the ocean out of the gauze net were quite full in a few hours. Elegant Medusae and beautiful Siphonophora were swimming among thousands of little crabs and Salpae, numbers of larvae of Mollusca were rushing about, plying their ciliated fins and mingled with fluttering Hyaleadae and other Pteropoda, while swarms of the larvae of worms, crustacea and corals fell a helpless prey to greedy Sagittae. Almost all these creatures are colourless, and as perfectly transparent as the sea-water in which they carry on their hard struggle for existence, which, indeed, on the Darwinian principle of selection, has gradually given rise to the transparency of these pelagic creatures. Most of them were well known to me, being of genera, if not of species that I had met with before; for the Mediterranean, and particularly the famous Straits of Messina, under favourable circumstances, when fished with the gauze net, yield the same mixture of pelagic forms and species. Still, I could detect among my old acquaintances a number of new forms, some of them of the greatest interest, which invited me to examine them promptly with the microscope. So after a couple of hours fishing I told my men to row back again and meanwhile studied my newly found treasures as best I might. But I soon discovered to my grief that within a very short time after being captured - at most half an hour, and often not more than a quarter - most of the fragile creatures died; their hyaline bodies grew opaque, and falling to the bottom of the glass, formed a powdery white mass. And even before we could reach the land I perceived the characteristic odour exhaled by their soft and rapidly decomposing bodies. This decomposition which, in the Mediterranean, under similar conditions, only took place after from five to ten hours, here, with a temperature from ten to twdve degrees higher, had begun in half an hour.
Greatly disappointed by this discovery, I hurried my return as much as possible, and was on shore again by twelve o'clock. But a fresh difficulty now arose. In spite of the scorching heat, almost all the population of Belligam were crowded together on the strand to satisfy their curiosity as to the results of my wonderful new mode of fishing. Every one wanted to see what I had caught, and what I should do with it, or, rather, in what way I proposed to eat it, for of course no one would catch sea-creatures unless to eat them. The astonishment of the bronze assembly through which I made my way, was unbounded when they saw nothing in my glass jars but the white sediment at the bottom and a few minute creatures swimming at the top. My companion, the Aretshi, told me afterwards, that when he explained that I did all this simply with a scientific purpose and to make a collection for study, they neither understood nor believed him; on the contrary, most of them scented some mysterious magic behind all these doings, the brewing of philtres or the like; while the more realistic spirits opined that I was concocting some new variety of curry; the really judicious, however, regarded me simply as an European madman.
In this way I lost a precious quarter of an hour before I could make my way through the inquisitive crowd to the house, close as it was. There I began, as usual, to sort out the hundred tiny beings, and place them in separate glasses with fresh sea-water. But, alas! I saw at once that at least nine-tenths of my booty were already dead and useless, and among them most of the very creatures which had attracted me by their novelty. Even the remaining fraction were so exhausted that most of them soon perished, and in a few hours all were dead and useless.
On the following day I tried every means in my power, and all the most familiar methods, to avert the fatal effects of the tropical heat, but with very small success. In short, it was simply impossible in any way to keep the temperature of the water sufficiently low. I was convinced at last that the indispensable condition of a successful study of marine life in a hot country like Ceylon, is to build or arrange cool rooms and cooled water-tanks. Now that ice, which was formerly imported from America, is manufactured in Colombo by machines, and both cheaper and more plentiful, the construction of such cold chambers and cooled aquaria will be far less difficult; but considerable outlay would have been requisite then and there, and it was out of my power.
A second important condition of success for such zoological labours would be the construction of the room itself, and above all the introduction of glass windows. These are scarcely ever seen in Ceylon; and in the rest-house at Belligam, as in most buildings in the island.,the windows have wooden shutters or venetians, instead of glass. Above these there is generally a wide opening to admit the air, and over the door too, close to the ceiling, there is always a broad gap, and generally no means of closing it. These openings are, of course, a very sensible and pleasant contrivance for constantly airing and cooling the room, but to a naturalist working with the microscope they are far more hindrance than comfort; for every variety of flying and creeping creature has free entrance, and the swarms of flies and gnats, of ants and termites are positively intolerable. The draught blows his papers about, covers his instruments with dust, and often rises to a gale and tosses everything into confusion. The shutters are equally disadvantageous for getting a good light, and this is the very first requisite for working with the microscope, especially with the higher powers. It was often quite impossible under the existing conditions of sun and wind to find any suitable spot for my work-table - the room was too dark, the verandah outside too draughty; out there, too, the projecting roof was a serious drawback.
These and other hindrances to work in Belligam, arising from local circumstances, were aggravated by having to deal with natives, and
especially by their inordinate curiosity. The worthy Belligamese had of course, never seen the like of all the instruments and apparatus I had brought with me, and they wanted to know the use of everything; my way of working, particularly - as, indeed, every thing I did, wherever I might be - was an inexhaustible source of interest to them. Like all primitive races, the Cinghalese are in many respects mere grown-up children, and will perhaps remain so, for under the easy conditions prevailing in this Eden-like island the struggle for existence is a very easy one, and hard labour is unknown. Harmless play and incessant chatter are their principal amusements, so every new thing is an object of interest. It is true, that when I complained to my more distinguished visitors, the elite of Belligam, of being annoyed by the inquisitive crowd, the officials sent away the mob, but they themselves took their place and remained all the longer. The "doctor" took a particular interest in the microscope; the "collector" in my painting materials; the chief magistrate in the anatomical instruments - from the point of view, perhaps, of instruments of torture; the schoolmaster inspected my books; the postmaster my trunks. These and every other article, from the largest to the smallest, were overhauled again and again, felt, and turned over, while a thousand foolish questions were asked as to their construction and purpose.
My growing collection of specimens was a special subject of interest to all, and I thought I should best satisfy them on this subject by giving a regular little lecture on certain days of the week, and explaining some of the objects - a plan I had adopted with great success in places on the Mediterranean. But, in the first place, they did not believe me for the most part, or certainly did not understand; and, in the second, I soon discovered that their childish curiosity had in very few cases resulted in any desire for knowledge. The connection of cause and effect had no interest whatever for these simple children.
It would only be wearisome to relate at length all the other difficulties I had to contend with in the course of my studies in my primitive laboratory. Lacking the help of any European assistant, and thrown entirely upon my own resources, many remained wholly insuperable; and I lost a great deal of precious time in a variety of minor tasks, which are never necessary to zoological studies on the coast of Europe. My strictly limited time for remaining at Belligam was indeed too short for any connected series of observations, especially on processes of evolution, such as I had originally hoped to carry out; so that, finally, my chief consolation was in the very circumstance I had at first most regretted, namely, that the Bay of Belligam was by no means so rich in new and peculiar forms as I had expected to find it. The extended research of the last twenty years, particularly the results of the Challenger expedition, have convinced us more and more that the living creatures of the different oceans are not, by a long way, so dissimilar as the terrestrial fauna of the different continents. My experience in Belligam afforded fresh proof of this. I found there, indeed, a considerable number of new and some very interesting forms, particularly among the lowest orders of marine life: Radiolaria and Infusoria, sponges and corals, Medusae and Siphonophora; still, on the whole, the creatures of the ocean-surface, as well as those of the coast-waters, displayed a close affinity to the well-known marine fauna of the tropical Pacific, as, for instance, the Philippine and Fiji groups.
It is quite possible that other shores round India may be richer in various and peculiar forms than Ceylon. One unfavourable condition seemed to me to exist here in the enormous and regular daily rain-fall. While the flora of the island owes its astonishing wealth to this circumstance, the development and thriving of the fauna are in many ways seriously checked by it. The numerous water-courses carry down large quantities of red earth into the sea, which clouds its waters on most parts of the coast; its saltness is reduced, and that pure and transparent condition of the sea-water is destroyed, which is the first and indispensable condition of life for many marine creatures, especially those of the coast.
In spite of all this, my zoological collection in Belligam soon considerably increased; and if I brought home a richer store of material, to work on than I have any hope of exhausting in all the remaining years of my life, I owe it principally to the indefatigable exertions of my faithful Ganymede. My collection excited his most eager interest, and he was never tired of enriching it with land and sea-creatures of all kinds. By his intervention, I found a number of fisher-boys ready to collect for me and dealing for natural curiosities with the Cinghalese children soon became a most amusing business. Sometimes a whole troop of the pretty little naked brown things would make their appearance at the hour I had fixed for such transactions. One would bring a few bright coloured fishes or crabs, another a large star-fish or sea-urchin, a third a scorpion or a millipede, a fourth some brilliant butterfly or beetle, etc. I was often reminded of the entertaining scenes I had witnessed under similar circumstances on the shores of the Mediterranean, particularly at Naples and Messina. But how different here and there was the conduct of the little traders! The Italian fisher-boys used to cry up their goods loudly and energetically, and with their natural vehemence and eloquence would often discourse about them in long and flowery speeches; they always asked ten times their value, and were never content, even with a high price. The little Cinghalese, on the contrary, always approached me with reverence and timidity. They quietly laid their treasures before me and waited in silence to hear what I would give for them; as a rule they were satisfied with a small copper bit, and were only too happy when, in return for some particularly wished-for object, I gave them some trifle from a store of articles I had brought expressly for such barter, and of which I will speak later.
Unfortunately, I had neither time nor means for preserving in a satisfactory state all the interesting specimens of various kinds which I thus obtained in Belligam. Here, again, the difficulties arising from the tropical heat and the destructive insects were peculiarly annoying. This was particularly the case with those preparations which I attempted to keep in a dry state. Desiccation is, in fact, one of the most difficult problems in the world in so damp and hot a climate; the air is so absolutely saturated with moisture, that even quite dry objects become coated with mould and slowly decompose. There are, too, many kinds of tissue, which it is impossible ever to dry properly there. For instance, the skins of birds and mammals which I had shot, I prepared with the greatest pains and hung in the sun every day for weeks, but they were always thoroughly wetted through again every night.
A worse foe still to the collection of natural history are the legions of destructive insects, above all the swarms of ants and termites. Not a place is safe from their attacks. Even if the large ventilators in every room were not constantly open to secure a current of fresh air, allowing ingress to every creature that creep or flies without let or hindrance, it would still be impossible to exclude these torments. No wall can resist the attacks of their myriad of mandibles; they make their way down through the roof as easily as through the partitions, or up through the floor, which they undermine most cleverly. Not unfrequently, on waking in the morning, one is startled by seeing a small conical hill, which has been thrown up during the night by ants or termites, between the flags of the floor, and of which not a trace was visible the night before. The vigour and rapidity with which these minute enemies carry out the work of destruction, often in a very few days, I was destined to learn by their experiments on my desiccated specimens, within a month of my arrival. In the course of these four weeks I had formed a very pretty collection of butterflies and beetles, skins of birds and beasts, interesting fruits, woods, ferns, and other dried plants, and had locked them up in seeming security in an outhouse belonging to the rest-house. I looked at them almost daily, to see that no spiteful foe had intruded to damage them, and at once put to rout the reconnoitring parties of ants and vanguard of termites which now and then made their appearance. By a lavish use of camphor, napthaline and carbolic acid, I believed I had completely secured my treasures. A few longer expeditions, however, which I made at the end of the fourth week, and pressing work of other kinds, prevented my looking over them as usual for two or three days. How startled I was when, only three days after, I went into my museum and found the larger part of my collected treasures reduced to a heap of dust and mildew! Several regiments of large red ants, entering from the roof, had effected a combined attack with a division of smaller black ants arriving through the walls, and reinforced by a legion of termites from the ground - the results were disastrous!
From this moment I almost entirely abandoned the idea of preserving desiccated specimens, and tried preserving natural objects in alcohol and in Wickersheim's solution. This, which has lately been so much cried up, I found on the whole very useless. But I found the greatest difficulty even with spirits of wine, for the store I had brought with me was soon exhausted. The arrack or spirit prepared by the natives is of very inferior quality, and the better spirit of wine, which can be bought in the town, is so dear, in consequence of the enormous duty, that I could only use it in small quantities. Besides this, my pleasure in collecting specimens preserved in alcohol was greatly diminished by the odious labour of soldering down the tin cases, which I was forced to do myself. Simple as this process is in theory, in practice it is most difficult, as I discovered in Belligam. Under a constant temperature of from 27 degrees to 30 degrees C., to stand for hours, with a face streaming with sweat, over a glowing soldering-brasier is as near as may be to the torments of hell, and all the more so, since it requires no small effort of strength to solder a large tin case securely. I remember that terribly hard work with horror to this day. Many a time have I wished the whole collection at the devil! Afterwards, to be sure, I doubly appreciated my dearly bought treasures. The thirty cases of specimens which I collected in Belligam, and to which I added twenty more at Galle, richly repaid me for all my trouble.
Even though certain special hopes on which I had built in setting up my laboratory in Belligam were never fulfilled, I gained in my general views of tropical nature; and the six weeks I passed there alone among the Cinghalese filled my mind with a rich store of interesting experience.