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- The Malay Archipelago - 10/54 -


were being made by some gentlemen of Amboyna. I reached the place (called Awaiya) the same afternoon, and with the assistance of Mr. Peters (the manager of the plantations) and the native chief, obtained a small house, got all my things on shore, and paid and discharged my twenty boatmen, two of whom had almost driven me to distraction by beating tom-toms the whole voyage.

I found the people here very nearly in a state of nature, and going almost naked. The men wear their frizzly hair gathered into a flat circular knot over the left temple, which has a very knowing look, and in their ears cylinders of wood as thick as one's finger, and coloured red at the ends. Armlets and anklets of woven grass or of silver, with necklaces of beads or of small fruits, complete their attire. The women wear similar ornaments, but have their hair loose. All are tall, with a dark brown skin, and well marked Papuan physiognomy. There is an Amboyna schoolmaster in the village, and a good number of children attend school every morning. Such of the inhabitants as have become Christians may be known by their wearing their hair loose, and adopting to some extent the native Christian dress-trousers and a loose shirt. Very few speak Malay, all these coast villages having been recently formed by inducing natives to leave the inaccessible interior. In all the central part of Ceram there new remains only one populous village in the mountains. Towards the east and the extreme west are a few others, with which exceptions all the inhabitants of Ceram are collected on the coast. In the northern and eastern districts they are mostly Mahometans, while on the southwest coast, nearest Amboyna, they are nominal Christians. In all this part of the Archipelago the Dutch make very praiseworthy efforts to improve the condition of the aborigines by establishing schoolmasters in every village (who are mostly natives of Amboyna or Saparua, who have; been instructed by the resident missionaries), and by employing native vaccinators to prevent the ravages of smallpox. They also encourage the settlement of Europeans, and the formation of new plantations of cacao and coffee, one of the best means of raising the condition of the natives, who thus obtain work at fair wages, and have the opportunity of acquiring something of European tastes and habits.

My collections here did not progress much better than at my former station, except that butterflies were a little more plentiful, and some very fine species were to be found in the morning on the sea-beach, sitting so quietly on the wet sand that they could be caught with the fingers. In this way I had many fine specimens of Papilios brought me by the children. Beetles, however, were scarce, and birds still more so, and I began to think that the handsome species which I had so often heard were found in Ceram must be entirely confined to the eastern extremity of the island.

A few miles further worth, at the head of the Bay of Amahay, is situated the village of Makariki, from whence there is a native path quite across the island to the north coast. My friend Mr. Rosenberg, whose acquaintance I had made at New Guinea, and who was now the Government superintendent of all this part of Ceram, returned from Wahai, on the north coast, after I had been three weeks at Awaiya, and showed me some fine butterflies he had obtained on the mountain streams in the interior. He indicated a spot about the centre of the island where he thought I might advantageously stay a few days. I accordingly visited Makariki with him the next day, and he instructed the chief of the village to furnish me with men to carry my baggage, and accompany me on my excursion. As the people of the village wanted to be at home on Christmas-day, it was necessary to start as soon as possible; so we agreed that the men should be ready in two days, and I returned to make my arrangements.

I put up the smallest quantity of baggage possible for a six days' trip, and on the morning of December 18th we left Makariki, with six men carrying my baggage and their own provisions, and a lad from Awaiya, who was accustomed to catch butterflies for me. My two Amboyna hunters I left behind to shoot and skin what birds they could while I was away. Quitting the village, we first walked briskly for an hour through a dense tangled undergrowth, dripping wet from a storm of the previous night, and full of mud holes. After crossing several small streams we reached one of the largest rivers in Ceram, called Ruatan, which it was necessary to cross. It was both deep and rapid. The baggage was first taken over, parcel by parcel, on the men's heads, the water reaching nearly up to their armpits, and then two men returned to assist me. The water was above my waist, and so strong that I should certainly have been carried off my feet had I attempted to cross alone; and it was a matter of astonishment to me how the men could give me any assistance, since I found the greatest difficulty in getting my foot down again when I had once moved it off the bottom. The greater strength and grasping power of their feet, from going always barefoot, no doubt gave them a surer footing in the rapid water.

After well wringing out our wet clothes and putting them on, we again proceeded along a similar narrow forest track as before, choked with rotten leaves and dead trees, and in the more open parts overgrown with tangled vegetation. Another hour brought us to a smaller stream flowing in a wide gravelly bed, up which our road lay. Here w e stayed half an hour to breakfast, and then went on, continually crossing the stream, or walking on its stony and gravelly banks, till about noon, when it became rocky and enclosed by low hills. A little further we entered a regular mountain-gorge, and had to clamber over rocks, and every moment cross and recross the water, or take short cuts through the forest. This was fatiguing work; and about three in the afternoon, the sky being overcast, and thunder in the mountains indicating an approaching storm, we had to loon out for a camping place, and soon after reached one of Mr. Rosenberg's old ones. The skeleton of his little sleeping-hut remained, and my men cut leaves and made a hasty roof just as the rain commenced. The baggage was covered over with leaves, and the men sheltered themselves as they could till the storm was over, by which time a flood came down the river, which effectually stopped our further march, even had we wished to proceed. We then lighted fires; I made some coffee, and my men roasted their fish and plantains, and as soon as it was dark, we made ourselves comfortable for the night.

Starting at six the next morning, we had three hours of the same kind of walking, during which we crossed the river at least thirty or forty times, the water being generally knee-deep. This brought us to a place where the road left the stream, and here we stopped to breakfast. We then had a long walk over the mountain, by a tolerable path, which reached an elevation of about fifteen hundred feet above the sea. Here I noticed one of the smallest and most elegant tree ferns I had ever seen, the stem being scarcely thicker than my thumb, yet reaching a height of fifteen or twenty feet. I also caught a new butterfly of the genus Pieris, and a magnificent female specimen of Papilio gambrisius, of which I had hitherto only found the males, which are smaller and very different in colour. Descending the other side of the ridge, by a very steep path, we reached another river at a spot which is about the centre of the island, and which was to be our resting place for two or three days. In a couple of hour my men had built a little sleeping-shed for me, about eight feet by four, with a bench of split poles, they themselves occupying two or three smaller ones, which had been put up by former passengers.

The river here was about twenty yards wide, running over a pebbly and sometimes a rocky bed, and bordered by steep hills with occasionally flat swampy spots between their base and the stream. The whole country was one dense, Unbroken, and very damp and gloomy virgin forest. Just at our resting-place there was a little bush-covered island in the middle of the channel, so that the opening in the forest made by the river was wider than usual, and allowed a few gleams of sunshine to penetrate. Here there were several handsome butterflies flying about, the finest of which, however, escaped me, and I never saw it again during my stay. In the two days and a half which we remained here, I wandered almost all day up and down the stream, searching after butterflies, of which I got, in all, fifty or sixty specimens, with several species quite new to me. There were many others which I saw only once, and did not capture, causing me to regret that there was no village in these interior valleys where I could stay a month. In the early part of each morning I went out with my gun in search of birds, and two of my men were out almost all day after deer; but we were all equally unsuccessful, getting absolutely nothing the whole time we were in the forest. The only good bird seen was the fine Amboyna lory, but these were always too high to shoot; besides this, the great Moluccan hornbill, which I did not want, was almost the only bird met with. I saw not a single ground-thrush, or kingfisher, or pigeon; and, in fact, have never been in a forest so utterly desert of animal life as this appeared to be. Even in all other groups of insects, except butterflies, there was the same poverty. I bad hoped to find some rare tiger beetles, as I had done in similar situations in Celebes; but, though I searched closely in forest, river-bed, and mountain-brook, I could find nothing but the two common Amboyna species. Other beetles there were absolutely none.

The constant walking in water, and over rocks and pebbles, quite destroyed the two pair of shoes I brought with me, so that, on my return, they actually fell to pieces, and the last day I had to walk in my stockings very painfully, and reached home quite lame. On our way back from Makariki, as on our way there, we had storm and rain at sea, and we arrived at Awaiya late in the evening, with all our baggage drenched, and ourselves thoroughly uncomfortable. All the time I had been in Ceram I had suffered much from the irritating bites of an invisible acarus, which is worse than mosquitoes, ants, and every other pest, because it is impossible to guard against them. This last journey in the forest left me covered from head to foot with inflamed lumps, which, after my return to Amboyna, produced a serious disease, confining me to the house for nearly two months, a not very pleasant memento of my first visit to Ceram, which terminated with the year 1859.

It was not till the 24th of February, 1860, that I started again, intending to pass from village to village along the coast, staying where I found a suitable locality. I had a letter from the Governor of the Moluccas, requesting all the chiefs to supply me with boats and men to carry me on my journey. The first boat took me in two days to Amahay, on the opposite side of the bay to Awaiya. The chief here, wonderful to relate, did not make any excuses for delay, but immediately ordered out the boat which was to carry me on, put my baggage on hoard, set up mast and sails after dark, and had the men ready that nigh; so that we were actually on our way at five the next morning,--a display of energy and activity I scarcely ever saw before in a native chief on such an occasion. We touched at Cepa, and stayed for the night at Tamilan, the first two Mahometan villages on the south coast of Ceram. The next day, about noon, we reached Hoya, which was as


The Malay Archipelago - 10/54

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