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has cleft the mountain into two parts, extending for a distance of over nine miles through the top of the mountain and across the site of Lake Rotomahana at its base. The eruption produced a row of deep craters along this line. During the explosion the old lake Rotomahana, on whose shores were situated the beautiful White and Pink geyser terraces, was entirely blown up, and a huge hole formed with a small pool in the bottom about 400 feet below the surface of the lake. Another small lake was formed along the line of the chasm, close to the foot of the mountain. Since the eruption both lakes have been gradually filling up and now they have joined into one lake, three miles in length. In eight years it rose 420 feet, and a further rise of 93 feet will permit it to overflow. A channel will then be excavated in the soft volcanic ashes, by which a considerable portion of the water will be drained off. H. B. K.

Ceylon. The following notes are taken from the Scottish Geographical Magazine for April, 1897:

Climate." The intense heats of the hot season in the plains of India are not known in Ceylon; but, on the other hand, there is no cold season, no winter. Still, the island having a mountain roof, Europeans who have time and money may command a climate where, if the sun smites fiercely at noon-tide, the nights are cool, or even cold."

In spite of the small size of Ceylon-only four-fifths as large as Ireland-the annual rainfall varies in different parts from 200 inches down to 33. This is because the island lies right in the track of the monsoons, and has a high mountain roof, which condenses the watery vapors, and so produces periodic rains. Of course, vegetation and scenery vary signally in the dry and the moist regions, the hills and the low country. The driest parts are in the northwest and southeast, where the moist winds sweep across without encountering any hills. These parts exhibit a good deal of scorching sand and dry, thorny scrub. The wettest parts are to the south and southwest of the hills.

Gems. Ceylon from very early times has been noted for the gems found in the granite detritus. The main seat of this somewhat speculative industry is near Ratnapura, below Adam's Peak;

but old gem-pits exist high up in the mountains, and elsewhere. The most valuable stones are sapphires and cats'-eyes; the rubies have less value, but some of the cheaper stones-amethysts, garnets, and particularly the cinnamon stones-are very pretty. The opalescent stones, styled moonstones, are quarried out of the rock in the neighborhood of Kandy. These gems are cut somewhat rudely with the aid of the corundum found in the country.


People. "Two native languages are spoken in Ceylon, Sinhalese and Tamil." The population is about 3,300,000. peans, mostly planters, number barely 6,000.


Many common expressions in daily use among the natives sound curiously to our ears. "If a man be asked in the witness-box, What time was it when so-and-so happened?' he very likely raises his arm skyward and says, The sun was so high before (or after) sun-turn.' Or he may say 'There were so many feet of human shadows before (or after) sun-turn.' Or, perhaps, he may say, This happened about the time when priests eat.' (The Buddhist priest, or rather monk, is supposed to take but one square meal per diem, viz., about 11 A. M.) Or he may say, 'About the time when bees play' (about 4 or 5 P. M.), or About the time parrots fly home to roost.'

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The Forests. By far the greatest part of the 25,000 square miles of the island is uncultivated, but the amount of good timber (some valuable woods, ebony, satin-wood and calamander) is small owing to poaching and the native manner of cultivation. The villager clears and burns off a block of forest, raises a crop or two and then abandons this piece and clears another. Naturally this is disastrous for the forests and the soil.

Animal Life.-Elephants, panthers, bears, buffalo, several kinds of deer (including one no larger than a cat), pigs, jackals, monkeys, etc., were once abundant, although now some are scarce owing to the settlement of the country by Europeans. A pearl fishery occurs at intervals on the northwest coast and brings an occasional windfall.

Planting. For many years Ceylon produced much coffee. The government sold large tracts to the Europeans, who caused the forests to be cleared and established plantations. In 1873 coffee-planting obtained its zenith. The yield was generous and

prices were high. Speculation and inflation naturally followed and the crash came. Then disease attacked the bushes, and in 1882 coffee-plantations were sold for a song.

After several unsuccessful experiments with various staples tea was introduced and thus far has proved a great success.

in time tea may fail as did the coffee is yet to be seen.


The situation and harbors of Ceylon are invaluable to Great Britain, close to India and on the high road to the Far East and their Australian Colonies. Doubtless if England had not taken possession of the island some other Power would, and in general England governs the native populations more humanely than any other power. But, side by side with what they have done for the natives, three unhappy mischiefs have grown up in the countrydrinking, gambling and false litigation.

H. B. K.

The Oural Mountains.-The Oural mountains, separating Eurasia into two parts-Europe and Asia-are commonly represented in geographies as Alpine in their characters. "As a matter of fact, the region is a broad, moderately elevated dissected plateau, the valleys are relatively broad and open, the hills rolling and with few sharp contours, while here and there peaks like Bolchoi Taganai, the highest peak in the Ourals, rise slightly above the sky line. Great monotonous forests of birch and fir cover the slopes with open park-like forest occasionally at higher altitudes. The region is rainy, but there are practically no lakes or morasses. The few inhabitants are mostly employed in mines."

R. E. D.

The Gobi not a Desert.-Mr. W. Obrutscheff, in his book "Aus China," treats at length of the physical features of the Gobi, and brings much evidence to show that this vast region is not a desert, like the African and Arabian wastes to which it has often been compared, but is a plateau with all the characteristics of a steppe. Once a part of the sea-floor, its many hills and valleys are the result of long erosion since its elevation. Atmospheric precipitation fails in no part of the Gobi, and, though the quantity of rain or snow is not large, it suffices, in most years, to produce a good

growth of grass. The caravan route to Urga is traversed every year by 100,000 camels with their loads of tea, and the wells in this most barren part of Mongolia are usually not more than twenty to thirty miles apart. The wandering Mongolians have large herds, and only in the driest years have they any difficulty in finding sufficient quantities of fodder. The author says that only in certain areas does the Gobi approach the character of a desert, and even these regions do not compare in barrenness and lack of water with the deserts of Africa, Arabia, the Tarim Basin and the Ala-Schan. (Deutsche Rundschau für Geog. und Stat., No. 8, Vol. XIX.)— Summarized in Bull. Am. Geog. Soc., XXIX., 2, June, 1897.

Egypt and Abyssinia.—Egypt and Abyssinia, with their ancient civilizations, stand in a position of marked contrast with the rest of the native states of Africa, characterized as they are by a complete absence of culture. Whilst for this reason the latter fall easily into the hands of the civilized states of Europe, the former have, down to the present day, borne a certain stamp of independence, which, in the case of Abyssinia especially, shows itself in the possession by the people of a real national spirit.

Both Egypt and Abyssinia lie on the shores of the Red Sea, and both are in touch with the Nile. This similarity of geographical position brought them, even in ancient times, into manifold relations with each other, although the nature of the two countries has influenced their development in diametrically opposite directions. Both states are suited by nature for a high degree of culture— Abyssinia by reason of its elevated and healthy position, which favors work, and of its plentiful supply of rain; Egypt, on the other hand, by reason of the yearly fertilizing overflow of the Nile.

Bounded on either side by the lifeless desert, the Nile valley is of surpassing fruitfulness wherever the fertilizing stream reaches. The irrigation of the valley demands a strictly organized system of labor, on which the whole people must bring their united strength to bear, while the open nature of the country gives no scope for insurrection, and the wide desert on either side renders the flight of the disaffected or of rebels impossible. These natural conditions brought it about that more than 5,000 years ago the government of Egypt took the form of a despotic monarchy.

This despotism, whilst it wrought for the material prosperity of the land, and for the advancement of science and art among the upper orders, entirely robbed the common folk of their free development. From the most remote antiquity down to our own day, this naturally favored land has witnessed no social change or advance. Dynasty has followed dynasty without any alternation in the condition of the people, whose destiny has been shaped for them entirely without their intervention. Nor has religion done aught to break the yoke of slavery. Hence the conquest of Egypt has been an easy task for foreign nations. With a people little interested in the fortunes of their rulers, it is no wonder that in turn Ethiopians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Turks and Franks have been able to make themselves masters of the country. Egypt can, in fact, remain an independent state only so long as no foreign enemy covets possession of the land.

Very different is the case in Abyssinia. The broken nature of the ground, and the fact that the several provinces are separated one from the other by steep, rugged, and often impassable mountains, or by deeply cut ravines, puts the greatest obstacles in the way of a united government, and favors the formation of a smaller and more independent class of states. For the same reason the old inhabitants of Abyssinia, who are related by blood with those of Egypt, have been formed into a number of separate races with distinct languages, whilst their kindred in Egypt had, on the contrary, by reason of the natural character of the country, become moulded into a homogeneous people with one language even before the dawn of history. Various circumstances however, especially the introduction of Christianity into the country in the time of Constantine the Great, have so acted on the people of Abyssinia, that even there the inhabitants of the separate provinces have likewise in a measure become united, on a federal basis, into a single political organism.

As regards the probable destination of Abyssinia, Professor Reinisch gave it as his opinion that at least within a measurable time it will certainly not share the fate of the Egyptians. They have been for centuries a nation of slaves, the Abyssinians a race of freemen. The conquest of the country by a nation capable of

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