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of the principal performers were showy and becoming. I was told that the best actors were natives of Siam, a nation which, though unable to contend with the Birmans and Peguers in war, have cultivated with more success the refined arts of peace. By way of an interlude between the acts, a clownish buffoon entertained the audience with a recital of different passages, and by grimace, and frequent alterations of tone and countenance, extorted loud peals of laughter from the spectators. The Birmans seem to delight in mimickry, and are very expert in the practice, possessing uncommon versatility of countenance. An eminent practitioner of this art amused us with a specimen of bis skill, at our own house, and, to our no small astonishment, exhibited a masterly display of the passions, in pantomimic looks and gestures: the transitions he made from pain to pleasure, from joy to despair, from rage to mildness, from laughter to tears; his expression of terror, and, above all, his look of idiotism, were performances of first rate merit in their line, and we agreed in opinion, that had his fates decreed him to have been a native of Great Britain, his genius would have rivalled that of any modern comedian of the English stage.
• On the 12th of April, the last day of the Birman year, we were invited by the maywoon to bear a part ourselves in a sport that is universally practised throughout the Birman dominions on the concluding day of their annual cycle. To wash away the impurities of the past, and commence the new vear free from stain, women on this dav are accustomed to throw water on every man they meet, which the men have the privilege of retorting; this licence gives rise to a great deal of harmless merriment, particularly amongst the young women, who, armed with large syringes and flaggons, endeavour to wet every man that goes along the street, and, in their turn, receive a wetting with perfect good humour; nor is the smallest. indecency ever manifested in this or in any other of their sports. Dirty water is never cast; a man is not allowed to lay hold of a woman, but may fling as much water over her as he pleases, provided she has been the aggressor ; but if a woman warns
a man that she does not mean to join in the diversion, it is considered as an avowal of pregnancy, and she passes without molestation.
* About an hour before sunset we went to the maywoon's, and found that his lady had provided plentifully to give us a wet reception. In the hall were placed three large China jars, full of water, with bowls and ladles to fling it. Each of us, on entering, had a bottle of rose-water presented to him, a little of which we in turn poured into the palm of the maywoon's hand, who sprinkled it over his own vest of fine flowered muslin; the lady then made her appearance at the door, and gave us to understand that she did not mean to join in the sport herself, but made her eldest daughter, a pretty child, in the nurse's arms, pour from a golden cup some rose-water mixed with sandal-wood, first over her father, and then over each of the English gentlemen ; this was a signal for the sport to begin. We were prepared, being dressed in linen waistcoats. From 10 to 20 women, young
and middle-aged, rushed into the hall from the inner apartments, who surrounded and deluged without mercy four men ill able to maintain so unequal a contest. The maywoon was soon driven from the field; but Mr. Wood having' got possession of one of the jars, we were enabled to preserve our ground till the water was exhausted; it seemed to afford them great diversion, especially if we appeared at all distressed by the quantity of water flung in our faces. All parties being tired, and completely drenched, we went home to change our clothes, and in the way met many damsels who would willingly have renewed the sport ; they, however, were afraid to begin without receiving encouragement from us, not knowing how it might be taken by strangers; but they assailed Baba-Sheen and his Birman attendants with little ceremony. No inconvenient consequences were to be apprehended from the wetting; the weather was favourable, and we ran no risk of taking cold. Having put on dry clothes, we returned to the mayroun's, and were entertained with a dance and puppet-show that lasted till eleven.' VOL. IV.
During this time major Symes and his suite were plentifully supplied with provisions, and provided with horses for exercise. They were permitted to visit any part of the city, which was then rapidly recovering from the desolation caused by former
The streets are spacious and paved with brick, and the houses raised from the ground on wooden posts. the object in Pegu,' says our author, that most attracts, and most merits notice, is the noble edifice of Shoemadoo, or the Golden Supreme. This extraordinary pile of building is erected on a double terrace, one raised upon another : the lower and greater terrace is about 10 feet above the natural level of the ground, forming an exact parallelogram : the upper and lesser terrace is similar in shape, and rises about 20 feet above the lower terrace, or 30 above the level of the country. I judged a side of the lower terrace to be 1,391 feet; of the upper, 684.
• Shoemadoo is a pyramidical building, composed of brick and mortar, without excavation or aperture of any sort ; octagonal at the base, and spiral at top; each side of the base measures 162 feet; this immense breadth diminishes abruptly, and a similar building has not unaptly been compared in shape to a large speaking-trumpet.
• A great variety of mouldings encircle the building, and ornaments somewhat resembling the fleur-de-lys surround the lower part of the spire: circular mouldings likewise girt it to a considerable height, above which are ornaments in stucco not unlike the leaves of a Corinthian capital, and the whole is crowned by a tee, or umbrella, of open iron-work, from which rises a rod with a gilded pennant.
« The circumference of the tee is 56 feet; it rests on an iron axis fixed in the building, and is farther secured by large chains strongly rivetted to the spire. Round the lower rim of the tee are appended a number of bells, which, agitated by the wind, make a continual jingling.
· The extreme height of the edifice, from the level of the country, is 361 feet, and above the interior terrace, 331 feet.
* From the upper projection that surrounds the base of Shoemadoo, the prospect of the circumjacent country is
extensive and picturesque; but it is a prospect of nature in her rudest state; there are few inhabitants, and scarcely any cultivation.
• Not being able to procure any satisfactory information respecting the antiquity of Shoemadoo, I paid a visit to the siredaw, or superior rhahaan (priest) of the country; his abode was situated in a shady grove of tamarind trees, about five miles south-east of the city; every object seemed to correspond with the years and dignity of the possessor. He told me, that in the convulsions of the Pegu empire, most of their valuable records had been destroyed, but it was traditionally believed that the temple of Shoemadoo was founded 2,300 years ago, by two merchants, brothers, who came to Pegu from Tallowmeou, a district one day's journey east of Martaban.
• The only article of consequence manufactured in Pegu is silk and cotton cloth, which the women weave for their own and their husbands' use. It is wrought with considerable dexterity; the thread is well spun, and the texture of the web is close and strong; it is mostly checquered like the Scotch tartan. They make no more than what suffices their own consumption.
• We had now spent nearly three weeks at Pegu, and seen every thing worthy of notice, which, in a place so lately rescued from desert, could not be very interesting or various. Gathering clouds, and a gloomy horizon, foretold the approach of the south-west monsoon ; and we had reason shortly to expect the arrival of a royal messenger, to notify his majesty's pleasure in regard to our further progress. Having also several arrangements to make at Rangoon, preparatory to our departure, it became expedient to appoint a day for quitting Pegu; I therefore intimidated to the may woon my intention, and fixed on the 25th to take my leave, on which day I visited him in form. After half an hour's cheerful conversation, he asked me with much earnestness, whether we were pleased with the reception and treatment we had received; in return, I gave him the most ample assurances of our entire satisfaction, expressed my sense of his past kindness, and my reliance on
his future friendship; he seemed happy to find that we were contented, and handsomely apologized for the restraint and apparent rudeness we had sustained on our first coming to Rangoon, which, he said, originated in misconception. Thus we parted with perfect complacency on both sides.
* Captain Thomas and Dr. Buchanan, with a proportion of the baggage and servants, left Pegu on the 21st, to return to Rangoon; Mr. Wood and myself were ready to embark on the 26th. We went on board in the afternoon, attended by the nakheen, two inferior officers of government, and the public interpreter; the remainder of our domestics followed in a separate boat. The heavy rains that fell during the night incommoded the rowers; and retarded our progress ; next morning the weather cleared up, but towards noon the sky again became overcast, and seemed to promise a stormy night. At two o'clock we reached a village on the east bank, called Deesa ; at this place we found two commodious houses unoccupied, close to the river. Our boatmen being fatigued, and there appearing no probability of being able to reach Rangoon by the night's tide, I judged it most advisable to take up our quarters here until the morning.
Making inquiries respecting what game the country produced, the miou-gee, or chief person of the village, told me that it abounded in various kinds, particularly deer; and that if I chose to walk out with my gun, he would be my guide, and undertake to shew me a herd of antelopes at no distance. I accepted the offer with pleasure; we went through the village, which did not contain more than 50 houses, comfortable in appearance, and well raised from the ground: the women and children flocked to their doors, and screamed with astonishment at seeing such a phænomenon as an English officer dressed in his uniform. Proceeding to the eastward, about a mile from the town, we came on an extensive plain, where the tall rank grass had been consumed by fire, to allow the growth of the more delicate shoots, as pasturage for the cattle. Here we soon discovered a herd of deer, but watchful and wild, that I could not get near enough to fire a random shot from a rifle, which did not take effect. In