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“ The materials of which their houses are made are always easily to be procured, and the structure is so simple, that a spacious, and by no means uncomfortable dwelling, suited to the climate, may be erected in one day. Our habitation, consisting of three small rooms, and a hall opened to the north, in little more than four hours was ready for our reception : fifty or sixty labourers completed it in that time, and on emergency could perform it in much less. Bamboo grass for thatching, and the ground rattan, are all the materials requisite: not a nail is used in the whole edifice. A row of strong Bamboos, from eight to ten feet high, are fixed firm in the ground, which describe the outline, and are the supporters of the building ; smaller Bamboos are then tied horizontally, by strips of the ground rattan, to these upright posts. The walls, composed of Bamboo mats, are fastened to the sides with similar ligatures. Bamboo rafters are quickly raised, and a roof formed, over which thatch is spread in regular layers, and bound to the roof by filaments of rattan. A floor of Bamboo grating is next laid in the inside, elevated two or three feet above the ground ; this grating is supported on Bamboos, and covered with mats and carpets. Thus ends
the process, which is not more simple than it is effectual. When the workmen take pains, a house of this sort is proof against any inclement weather. We experienced, during our stay at Meeaday, a severe storm of wind and rain, but no water penetrated-our thatch escaped ; and if the tempest should blow down the house, the inhabitants would run no risk of having their brains knocked out or their bones broken, -the fall of the whole fabric would not crush a lady's lap-dog. The Bamboo bears neither blossoms nor fruit, but is propagated by suckers. In windy, dry weather their friction while waving often causes them to take fire, occasioning the hills on which they grow to assume a beautiful appearance at night."
Although no production of China is of so much importance to us as tea, there are others of equal or perhaps superior value to the Chinese, themselves, and the Bamboo may be classed among them. In the hands of the Chinese, the Bamboo may be almost denominated a universal material ; for they perform with it operations the most various and dissimilar that can be imagined. This reed in its entire state is formed into stools, chairs, tables, bedsteads, and many other articles of furniture. It supplies scaffolding for building, masts and yards for shipping, carts and wheelbarrows for husbandry, wheels and tubes for irrigation. Split into laths, or beaten into fibres, it forms screens for ornaments, and ropes, cords, and twine for all purposes, from the rigging of a ship to the wick of a candle. Woven, it becomes a sail-cloth or a sacking. Macerated into a pulp, it is made into paper; and mixed
up with lime, it serves to caulk their ships. By simply tying together four of these reeds, swimming-jackets are constructed capable of supporting one or more persons; and a machine is thus made for the prevention of drowning, equally efficacious with more elaborate life-pre
When young it affords a nutritive article of diet; when growing it is a fence for their gardens and fields, a protection for their cottages, and an ornament for their palaces. It is the weapon of justice and the instrument of oppression ; supporting equally the authority of the mandarin and the arrogance of the petty official. It almost seems, that, without its use, the machinery of government would stand still, and the Chinese would want many of those accessories to comfort, which separate the civilised man from the savage.
The leaves are generally put round the tea sent to Europe. The thick juice is a favourite medicine. It is said to be indestructible by fire, to resist acids, and by fusion with alkali to form a transparent and durable glass. There are about fifty varieties ; and it is of the most rapid growth, rising from fifty to eighty feet the first year and in the second perfecting its timber in hardness and durability.
There are two kinds of Bamboo in the Horticultural Society's garden, London, which have endured the open air for many years without any protection whatever.
One of these, Bambusa Nigra, was, in 1837, seven feet high, with several stems varying in thickness from one quarter to one inch. Though a native of India it appears nearly as hardy as the European reed. In Jersey there are several species and varieties in Saunder's nursery garden which stand out perfectly well, without any protection.
THE VEGETABLE IVORY TREE.
The Ivory nut is the produce of a palm tree found on the banks of the river Magdalena, in that part of South America formerly called New Granada, but now constituting the republic of Columbia. The natives of Columbia call it Tagua, or Cabeza de Negro (Negro's Head), in allusion, we presume, to the figure of the nut. The Indians cover their cottages with the leaves of this most beautiful palm. The fruit at first contains a clear insipid fluid, with which travellers allay their thirst; afterwards this liquor becomes milky and sweet, and changes its taste by degrees, as it acquires solidity, till at last it is almost as hard as ivory. The liquor contained in the young fruits becomes acid, if they are cut from the tree and kept some time. From these kernels the Indians fashion the knobs of walkingsticks, the reels of spindles, and little toys, which