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- The Malay Archipelago - 3/54 -


as a good place for birds, and as possessing a large population both of Mahomotans and Alfuros, which latter race I much wished to see. I set off one morning to examine this place myself, expecting to pass through some extent of forest on my way. In this however I was much disappointed, as the whole road lies through grass and scrubby thickets, and it was only after reaching the village of Sahoe that some high forest land was perceived stretching towards the mountains to the north of it. About half-way we dad to pass a deep river on a bamboo raft, which almost sunk beneath us. This stream was said to rise a long way off to the northward.

Although Sahoe did not at all appear what I expected, I determined to give it a trial, and a few days afterwards obtained a boat to carry my things by sea while I walked overland. A large house on the beach belonging to the Sultan was given me. It stood alone, and was quite open on every side, so that little privacy could be had, but as I only intended to stay a short time I made it do. Avery, few days dispelled all hopes I might have entertained of making good collections in this place. Nothing was to be found in every direction but interminable tracts of reedy grass, eight or ten feet high, traversed by narrow baths, often almost impassable. Here and there were clumps of fruit trees, patches of low wood, and abundance of plantations and rice grounds, all of which are, in tropical regions, a very desert for the entomologist. The virgin forest that I was in search of, existed only on the summits and on the steep rocky sides of the mountains a long way off, and in inaccessible situations. In the suburbs of the village I found a fair number of bees and wasps, and some small but interesting beetles. Two or three new birds were obtained by my hunters, and by incessant inquiries and promises Í succeeded in getting the natives to bring me some land shells, among which was a very fine and handsome one, Helix pyrostoma. I was, however, completely wasting my time here compared with what I might be doing in a good locality, and after a week returned to Ternate, quite disappointed with my first attempts at collecting in Gilolo.

In the country round about Sahoe, and in the interior, there is a large population of indigenes, numbers of whom came daily into the village, bringing their produce for sale, while others were engaged as labourers by the Chinese and Ternate traders. A careful examination convinced me that these people are radically distinct from all the Malay races. Their stature and their features, as well as their disposition and habits, are almost the same as those of the Papuans; their hair is semi-Papuan-neither straight, smooth, and glossy, like all true Malays', nor so frizzly and woolly as the perfect Papuan type, but always crisp, waved, and rough, such as often occurs among the true Papuans, but never among the Malays. Their colour alone is often exactly that of the Malay, or even lighter. Of course there has been intermixture, and there occur occasionally individuals which it is difficult to classify; but in most cases the large, somewhat aquiline nose, with elongated apex, the tall stature, the waved hair, the bearded face, and hairy body, as well as the less reserved manner and louder voice, unmistakeably proclaim the Papuan type. Here then I had discovered the exact boundary lice between the Malay and Papuan races, and at a spot where no other writer had expected it. I was very much pleased at this determination, as it gave me a clue to one of the most difficult problems in Ethnology, and enabled me in many other places to separate the two races, and to unravel their intermixtures.

On my return from Waigiou in 1860, I stayed some days on the southern extremity of Gilolo; but, beyond seeing something more of its structure and general character, obtained very little additional information. It is only in the northern peninsula that there are any indígenes, the whole of the rest of the island, with Batchian and the other islands westward, being exclusively inhabited by Malay tribes, allied to those of Ternate and Tidore. This would seem to indicate that the Alfuros were a comparatively recent immigration, and that they lead come from the north or east, perhaps from some of the islands of the Pacific. It is otherwise difficult to understand how so many fertile districts should possess no true indigenes.

Gilolo, or Halmaheira as it is called by the Malays and Dutch, seems to have been recently modified by upheaval and subsidence. In 1673, a mountain is said to stave been upheaved at Gamokonora on the northern peninsula. All the parts that I have seen have either been volcanic or coralline, and along the coast there are fringing coral reefs very dangerous to navigation. At the same time, the character of its natural history proves it to be a rather ancient land, since it possesses a number of animals peculiar to itself or common to the small islands around it, but almost always distinct from those of New Guinea on the east, of Ceram on the south, and of Celebes and the Sula islands on the west.

The island of Morty, close to the north-eastern extremity of Gilolo, was visited by my assistant Charles Allen, as well as by Dr. Bernstein; and the collections obtained there present some curious differences from those of the main island. About fifty- six species of land-birds are known to inhabit this island, and of these, a kingfisher (Tanysiptera Boris), a honey-sucker (Tropidorhynchus fuscicapillus), and a large crow-like starling (Lycocorax morotensis), are quite distinct from allied species found in Gilolo. The island is coralline and sandy, and we must therefore believe it to have been separated from Gilolo at a somewhat remote epoch; while we learn from its natural history that an arm of the sea twenty-five miles wide serves to limit the range even of birds of considerable powers of flight.

CHAPTER XXIII.

TERNATE TO THE KAIOA ISLANDS AND BATCHIAN.

(OCTOBER 1858.)

ON returning to Ternate from Sahoe, I at once began making preparations for a journey to Batchian, an island which I had been constantly recommended to visit since I had arrived in this part of the Moluccas. After all was ready I found that I should have to hire a boat, as no opportunity of obtaining a passage presented itself. I accordingly went into the native town, and could only find two boats for hire, one much larger than I required, and the other far smaller than I wished. I chose the smaller one, chiefly because it would not cost me one-third as much as the larger one, and also because in a coasting voyage a small vessel can be more easily managed, and more readily got into a place of safety during violent gales, than a large one. I took with me my Bornean lad Ali, who was now very useful to me; Lahagi, a native of Ternate, a very good steady man, and a fair shooter, who had been with me to New Guinea; Lahi, a native of Gilolo, who could speak Malay, as woodcutter and general assistant; and Garo, a boy who was to act as cook. As the boat was so small that we had hardly room to stow ourselves away when all my stores were on board, I only took one other man named Latchi, as pilot. He was a Papuan slave, a tall, strong black fellow, but very civil and careful. The boat I had hired from a Chinaman named Lau Keng Tong, for five guilders a month.

We started on the morning of October 9th, but had not got a hundred yards from land, when a strong head wind sprung up, against which we could not row, so we crept along shore to below the town, and waited till the turn of the tide should enable us to cross over to the coast of Tidore. About three in the afternoon we got off, and found that our boat sailed well, and would keep pretty close to the wind. We got on a good way before the wind fell and we had to take to our oars again. We landed on a nice sandy beach to cook our suppers, just as the sun set behind the rugged volcanic hills, to the south of the great cone of Tidore, and soon after beheld the planet Venus shining in the twilight with the brilliancy of a new moon, and casting a very distinct shadow. We left again a little before seven, and as we got out from the shadow of the mountain I observed a bright light over one part of the edge, and soon after, what seemed a fire of remarkable whiteness on the very summit of the hill. I called the attention of my men to it, and they too thought it merely a fire; but a few minutes afterwards, as we got farther off shore, the light rose clear up above the ridge of the hill, and some faint clouds clearing away from it, discovered the magnificent comet which was at the same time, astonishing all Europe. The nucleus presented to the naked eye a distinct disc of brilliant white light, from which the tail rose at an angle of about 30° or 35° with the horizon, curving slightly downwards, and terminating in a broad brush of faint light, the curvature of which diminished till it was nearly straight at the end. The portion of the tail next the comet appeared three or four tunes as bright as the most luminous portion of the milky way, and what struck me as a singular feature was that its upper margin, from the nucleus to very near the extremity, was clearly and almost sharply defined, while the lower side gradually shaded off into obscurity. Directly it rose above the ridge of the hill, I said to my men, "See, it's not a fire, it's a bintang ber-ekor" ("tailed-star," the Malay idiom for a comet). "So it is," said they; and all declared that they had often heard tell of such, but had never seen one till now. I had no telescope with me, nor any instrument at hand, but I estimated the length of the tail at about 20°, and the width, towards the extremity, about 4° or 5°.

The whole of the next day we were obliged to stop near the village of Tidore, owing to a strong wind right in our teeth. The country was all cultivated, and I in vain searched for any insects worth capturing. One of my men went out to shoot, but returned home without a single bird. At sunset, the wind having dropped, we quitted Tidore, and reached the next island, March, where we stayed till morning. The comet was again visible, but not nearly so brilliant, being partly obscured by clouds; and dimmed by the light of the new moon. We then rowed across to the island of Motir, which is so surrounded with coral-reefs that it is dangerous to approach. These are perfectly flat, and are only covered at high water, ending in craggy vertical walls of coral in very deep water. When there is a little wind, it is dangerous to come near these rocks; but luckily it was quite smooth, so we moored to their edge, while the men crawled over the reef to the land, to make; a fire and cook our dinner-the boat having no accommodation for more than heating water for my morning and evening coffee. We then rowed along the edge of the reef to the end of the island, and were glad to get a nice westerly breeze, which carried us over the strait to the island of Makian, where we arrived about 8 P.M, The sky was quite clear, and though the moon shone brightly, the comet appeared with quite as much splendour as when we first saw it.

The coasts of these small islands are very different according to their geological formation. The volcanoes, active or extinct, have steep black beaches of volcanic sand, or are fringed with rugged masses of lava and basalt. Coral is generally absent, occurring only in small patches in quiet bays, and rarely or


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