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- The Malay Archipelago - 6/54 -


retained, and the Malay, which is their only language, contains a large number of Portuguese words and idioms. The third race consists of the Galela men from the north of Gilolo, a singular people, whom I have already described; and the fourth is a colony from Tomóre, in the eastern peninsula of Celebes. These people were brought here at their own request a few years ago, to avoid extermination by another tribe. They have a very light complexion, open Tartar physiognomy, low stature, and a language of the Bugis type. They are an industrious agricultural people, and supply the town with vegetables. They make a good deal of bark cloth, similar to the tapa of the Polynesians, by cutting down the proper trees and taping off large cylinders of bark, which is beaten with mallets till it separates from the wood. It is then soaked, and so continuously and regularly beaten out that it becomes as thin and as tough as parchment. In this foam it is much used for wrappers for clothes; and they also make jackets of it, sewn neatly together and stained with the juice of another kind of bark, which gives it a dark red colour and renders it nearly waterproof.

Here are four very distinct kinds of people who may all be seen any day in and about the town of Batchian. Now if we suppose a traveller ignorant of Malay, picking up a word or two here and there of the "Batchian language," and noting down the "physical and moral peculiarities, manners, and customs of the Batchian people"--(for there are travellers who do all this in four-and- twenty hours)--what an accurate and instructive chapter we should have' what transitions would be pointed out, what theories of the origin of races would be developed while the next traveller might flatly contradict every statement and arrive at exactly opposite conclusions.

Soon after I arrived here the Dutch Government introduced a new copper coinage of cents instead of doits (the 100th instead of the 120th part of a guilder), and all the old coins were ordered to be sent to Ternate to be changed. I sent a bag containing 6,000 doits, and duly received the new money by return of the boat. Then Ali went to bring it, however, the captain required a written order; so I waited to send again the next day, and it was lucky I did so, for that night my house was entered, all my boxes carried out and ransacked, and the various articles left on the road about twenty yards off, where we found them at five in the morning, when, on getting up and finding the house empty, we rushed out to discover tracks of the thieves. Not being able to find the copper money which they thought I had just received, they decamped, taking nothing but a few yards of cotton cloth and a black coat and trousers, which latter were picked up a few days afterwards hidden in the grass. There was no doubt whatever who were the thieves. Convicts are employed to guard the Government stores when the boat arrives from Ternate. Two of them watch all night, and often take the opportunity to roam about and commit robberies.

The next day I received my money, and secured it well in a strong box fastened under my bed. I took out five or six hundred cents for daily expenses, and put them in a small japanned box, which always stood upon my table. In the afternoon I went for a short walk, and on my return this box and my keys, which I had carelessly left on the table, were gone. Two of my boys were in the house, but had heard nothing. I immediately gave information of the two robberies to the Director at the mines and to the Commandant at the fort, and got for answer, that if I caught the thief in the act I might shoot him. By inquiry in the village, we afterwards found that one of the convicts who was on duty at the Government rice-store in the village had quitted his guard, was seen to pass over the bridge towards my house, was seen again within two hundred yards of my house, and on returning over the bridge into the village carried something under his arm, carefully covered with his sarong. My box was stolen between the hours he was seen going and returning, and it was so small as to be easily carried in the way described. This seemed pretty clear circumstantial evidence. I accused the man and brought the witnesses to the Commandant. The man was examined, and confessed having gone to the river close to my house to bathe; but said he had gone no farther, having climbed up a cocoa-nut tree and brought home two nuts, which he had covered over, _because he was ashamed to be seen carrying them!_ This explanation was thought satisfactory, and he was acquitted. I lost my cash and my box, a seal I much valued, with other small articles, and all my keys- the severest loss by far. Luckily my large cash-box was left locked, but so were others which I required to open immediately. There was, however, a very clever blacksmith employed to do ironwork for the mines, and he picked my locks for me when I required them, and in a few days made me new keys, which I used all the time I was abroad.

Towards the end of November the wet season set in, and we had daily and almost incessant rains, with only about one or two hours' sunshine in the morning. The flat parts of the forest became flooded, the roads filled with mud, and insects and birds were scarcer than ever. On December Lath, in the afternoon, we had a sharp earthquake shock, which made the house and furniture shale and rattle for five minutes, and the trees and shrubs wave as if a gust of wind had passed over them. About the middle of December I removed to the village, in order more easily to explore the district to the west of it, and to be near the sea when I wished to return to Ternate. I obtained the use of a good- sized house in the Campong Sirani (or Christian village), and at Christmas and the New Year had to endure the incessant gun- firing, drum-beating, and fiddling of the inhabitants.

These people are very fond of music and dancing, and it would astonish a European to visit one of their assemblies. We enter a gloomy palm-leaf hut, in which two or three very dim lamps barely render darkness visible. The floor is of black sandy earth, the roof hid in a smoky impenetrable blackness; two or three benches stand against the walls, and the orchestra consists of a fiddle, a fife, a drum, and a triangle. There is plenty of company, consisting of young men and women, all very neatly dressed in white and black--a true Portuguese habit. Quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, and mazurkas are danced with great vigour and much skill. The refreshments are muddy coffee and a few sweetmeats. Dancing is kept up for hours, and all is conducted with much decorum and propriety. A party of this kind meets about once a week, the principal inhabitants taking it by turns, and all who please come in without much ceremony.

It is astonishing how little these people have altered in three hundred years, although in that time they have changed their language and lost all knowledge of their own nationality. They are still in manners and appearance almost pure Portuguese, very similar to those with whom I had become acquainted on the banks of the Amazon. They live very poorly as regards their house and furniture, but preserve a semi-European dress, and have almost all full suits of black for Sundays. They are nominally Protestants, but Sunday evening is their grand day for music and dancing. The men are often good hunters; and two or three times a week, deer or wild pigs are brought to the village, which, with fish and fowls, enables them to live well. They are almost the only people in the Archipelago who eat the great fruit-eating bats called by us "flying foxes." These ugly creatures are considered a great delicacy, and are much sought after. At about the beginning of the year they come in large flocks to eat fruit, and congregate during the day on some small islands in the bay, hanging by thousands on the trees, especially on dead ones. They can then be easily caught or knocked down with sticks, and are brought home by basketsfull. They require to be carefully prepared, as the skin and fur has a rank end powerful foxy odour; but they are generally cooked with abundance of spices and condiments, and are really very good eating, something like hare. The Orang Sirani are good cooks, having a much greater variety of savoury dishes than the Malays. Here, they live chiefly on sago as bread, with a little rice occasionally, and abundance of vegetables and fruit.

It is a curious fact that everywhere in the Past where the Portuguese have mixed with the native races they leave become darker in colour than either of the parent stocks. This is the case almost always with these "Orang Sirani" in the Moluccas, and with the Portuguese of Malacca. The reverse is the case in South America, where the mixture of the Portuguese or Brazilian with the Indian produces the "Mameluco," who is not unfrequently lighter than either parent, and always lighter than the Indian. The women at Batchian, although generally fairer than the men, are coarse in features, and very far inferior in beauty to the mixed Dutch-Malay girls, or even to many pure Malays.

The part of the village in which I resided was a grove of cocoa- nut trees, and at night, when the dead leaves were sometimes collected together and burnt, the effect was most magnificent-- the tall stems, the fine crowns of foliage, and the immense fruit-clusters, being brilliantly illuminated against a dark sky, and appearing like a fairy palace supported on a hundred columns, and groined over with leafy arches. The cocoa-nut tree, when well grown, is certainly the prince of palms both for beauty and utility.

During my very first walk into the forest at Batchian, I had seen sitting on a leaf out of reach, an immense butterfly of a dark colour marked with white and yellow spots. I could not capture it as it flew away high up into the forest, but I at once saw that it was a female of a new species of Ornithoptera or "bird-winged butterfly," the pride of the Eastern tropics. I was very anxious to get it and to find the male, which in this genus is always of extreme beauty. During the two succeeding months I only saw it once again, and shortly afterwards I saw the male flying high in the air at the mining village. I had begun to despair of ever getting a specimen, as it seemed so rare and wild; till one day, about the beginning of January, I found a beautiful shrub with large white leafy bracts and yellow flowers, a species of Mussaenda, and saw one of these noble insects hovering over it, but it was too quick for me, and flew away. The next clay I went again to the same shrub and succeeded in catching a female, and the day after a fine male. I found it to be as I had expected, a perfectly new and most magnificent species, and one of the most gorgeously coloured butterflies in the world. Fine specimens of the male are more than seven inches across the wings, which are velvety black and fiery orange, the latter colour replacing the green of the allied species. The beauty and brilliancy of this insect are indescribable, and none but a naturalist can understand the intense excitement I experienced when I at length captured it. On taking it out of my net and opening the glorious wings, my heart began to beat violently, the blood rushed to my head, and I felt much more like fainting than I have done when in apprehension of immediate death. I had a headache the rest of the day, so great was the excitement produced by what will appear to most people a very inadequate cause.

I had decided to return to Ternate in a week or two more, but this grand capture determined me to stay on till I obtained a


The Malay Archipelago - 6/54

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