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such a mad phrenzy of fear were they con. vulsed, that it was with the utmost difficulty we learnt they were shut in with an immense serpent.
Conceiving all this uproar to be a stratagem, in order that they might be drawn up, I did not believe them, and earnestly requested that no ropes might be thrown down to take them up, until I had seen the snake.
This determination being intimated to the sufferers, one of them had resolution enough to move the lights in such a position, that I was enabled to perceive something like a thick piece of wood, lying upon the ground, and this substance they declared to be the snake. Having desired them to place their torches nearer, I cannot express the astonishment I felt, when I actually beheld a horrid monster rear himself up, with open and terrific jaws, while an im- . mense length of body lay on the floor, coiled in large wreaths, that were all in motion, nor can I describe the poignancy of my feelings, at the moment when I beheld the two helpless wretches immediately within the fatal power of the most hideous of monsters, and that caused partly by my own orders.
Not a moment was lost in reflection: down went the ropes, and in an instant both the unhappy wretches seized them with an eagerness that madness alone could exert. We soon hauled up the two poor panting, terrified Indians, and to my unspeakable joy, found they had received no other injury than the cold anddeath-like state, the violence of their fears had occasioned.
The torches had been left behind by their sudden departure, and these remained burning by the snake. We threw down a considerable quantity of hay upon them, and by that means made a fire, that consumed the mortal part of the guardian genii, in a very short time; and we afterwards drew up the parched body of an immense serpent; but notwithstanding some work. men dug to a very great depth, no money was to be found; and it appeared to me most probable, that if there had been treasure concealed in that place, the proprietor had carried it off with him, when he fled his country.
The most remarkable circumstance attending this adventure, was the existence of a large serpent in so small a cell, of such a great depth, and so well fortified, on every side, by the strongest
stone-work, where it must have remained for a very long period, without any visible means of subsistence.
Upon mentioning my astonishment at this circumstance, to those of the Indians who were standing around me, one of them, a Parsee, im. mediately informed me, that it was not an uncommon incident, and mentioned several similar instances where snakes had been found; and amongst others, said, that a relation of his, who resided in Surat, in capacity of broker to the Dutch factory there, having occasion some years ago to dig under his house, he accidently found a very large sum of money, concealed in a small subterraneous apartment, similar, in most respects, to the one we had that day been exploring; and was, in like manner, guarded by a very large serpent, of that species, which in India is called Cobra de Capella, or hooded snake, of this fact a number of people were witnesses.
The conduct of the broker, upon the disco. very of this dreadful animal, was indeed very different from ours. Instead of murdering the extraordinary centinel, who watched over the hidden treasure, he gave it milk and several · other favourite delicacies, which the animal much relished; he moreover burnt frankincence in its immediate presence, which had such an happy effect upon its disposition, that it very politely moved on one side, giving the lucky broker an opportunity to remove the valuable treasure in perfect safety; which he had no sooner secured, than he very wisely presented one half of it to the reigning Nam bob, and dedicated the remainder to charitable purposes. Since this adventure he has been esteemed a very lucky man. It is certain he has prospered in all his undertakings unto this day, and all his success is attributed to the wise method he pursued in the disposal of the treasure he had found.
So far the account of the Parsee. I have always found that the Indians, to a man, believe that the Deity has every species of snake under his peculiar care; and, moreover, that he frequently preserves them alive, without any natural assistance. I
this strange supposition to arise, principally, from the accidental circumstances of their being found in situations where there did not appear to be any visible sources of subsistence,
Were these simple people acquainted with the same instances, which have occurred in Europe, where toads have been found inclosed, in the centre of blocks of stone, wood, and other hard substances, without the least appearance of any mode of entrance, much less subsistence, in such a close and impervious confinement, they would, doubtless, believe, it to be an indubitable sign, that toads were the chosen and elect of the Almighty. I much suspect, that the superstitious Brahmins, are fundamentally the cause of this, as well as most other absurd notions which the poor ignorant Indians sedulously nourish.
Being disappointed in our search after the treasure, we pursued our journey towards Dhuboy; where we arrived after a short and agreeable ride.
Dhuboy, is an Hindoo city, that can boast of the most valuable remains of very remote antiquity. The fortifications which surround it, are nearly three miles in circumference; and the antient parts, that yet remain, are constructed in an elegant, and costly manner, being formed entirely of a beautiful hewn stone, having a covered piazza, supported by