THE TIMOR GROUP
BALI AND LOMBOCK
(JUNE, JULY, 1856)
THE islands of Bali and Lombock, situated at the eastern end of Java, are particularly interesting. They are the only islands of the whole Archipelago in which the Hindu religion still maintains itself--and they form the extreme points of the two great zoological divisions of the Eastern hemisphere; for although so similar in external appearance and in all physical features, they differ greatly in their natural productions. It was after having spent two years in Borneo, Malacca and Singapore, that I made a somewhat involuntary visit to these islands on my way to Macassar. Had I been able to obtain a passage direct to that place from Singapore, I should probably never have gone near them, and should have missed some of the most important discoveries of my whole expedition the East.
It was on the 13th of June, 1856, after a twenty days' passage from Singapore in the "Kembang Djepoon" (Rose of Japan), a schooner belonging to a Chinese merchant, manned by a Javanese crew, and commanded by an English captain, that we cast anchor in the dangerous roadstead of Bileling on the north side of the island of Bali. Going on shore with the captain and the Chinese supercargo, I was at once introduced to a novel and interesting scene. We went first to the house of the Chinese Bandar, or chief merchant, where we found a number of natives, well dressed, and all conspicuously armed with krisses, displaying their large handles of ivory or gold, or beautifully grained and polished wood.
The Chinamen had given up their national costume and adopted the Malay dress, and could then hardly be distinguished from the natives of the island--an indication of the close affinity of the Malayan and Mongolian races. Under the thick shade of some mango- trees close by the house, several women-merchants were selling cotton goods; for here the women trade and work for the benefit of their husbands, a custom which Mahometan Malays never adopt. Fruit, tea, cakes, and sweetmeats were brought to us; many questions were asked about our business and the state of trade in Singapore, and we then took a walk to look at the village. It was a very dull and dreary place; a collection of narrow lanes bounded by high mud walls, enclosing bamboo houses, into some of which we entered and were very kindly received.
During the two days that we remained here, I walked out into the surrounding country to catch insects, shoot birds, and spy out the nakedness or fertility of the land. I was both astonished and delighted; for as my visit to Java was some years later, I had never beheld so beautiful and well cultivated a district out of Europe. A slightly undulating plain extends from the seacoast about ten or twelve miles inland, where it is bounded by a wide range of wooded and cultivated hills. Houses and villages, marked out by dense clumps of cocoa-nut palms, tamarind and other fruit trees, are dotted about in every direction; while between then extend luxuriant rice-grounds, watered by an elaborate system of irrigation that would be the pride of the best cultivated parts of Europe. The whole surface of the country is divided into irregular patches, following the undulations of the ground, from many acres to a few perches in extent, each of which is itself perfectly level, but stands a few inches or several feet above or below those adjacent to it. Every one of these patches can be flooded or drained at will by means of a system of ditches and small channels, into which are diverted the whole of the streams that descend from the mountains. Every patch now bore crops in various stages of growth, some almost ready for cutting, and all in the most flourishing condition and of the most exquisite green tints.
The sides of the lanes and bridle roads were often edged with prickly Cacti and a leafless Euphorbia, but the country being so highly cultivated there was not much room for indigenous vegetation, except upon the sea-beach. We saw plenty of the fine race of domestic cattle descended from the Bos banteng of Java, driven by half naked boys, or tethered in pasture-grounds. They are large and handsome animals, of a light brown colour, with white legs, and a conspicuous oval patch behind of the same colour. Wild cattle of the same race are said to be still found in the mountains. In so well-cultivated a country it was not to be expected that I could do much in natural history, and my ignorance of how important a locality this was for the elucidation of the geographical distribution of animals, caused me to neglect obtaining some specimens which I never met with again. One of these was a weaver bird with a bright yellow head, which built its bottle-shaped nests by dozens on some trees near the beach. It was the Ploceus hypoxantha, a native of Java; and here, at the extreme limits of its range westerly, I shot and preserved specimens of a wagtail-thrush, an oriole, and some starlings, all species found in Java, and some of them peculiar to that island. I also obtained some beautiful butterflies, richly marked with black and orange on a white ground, and which were the most abundant insects in the country lanes. Among these was a new species, which I have named Pieris tamar.
Leaving Bileling, a pleasant sail of two days brought us to Ampanam in the island of Lombock, where I proposed to remain till I could obtain a passage to Macassar. We enjoyed superb views of the twin volcanoes of Bali and Lombock, each about eight thousand feet high, which form magnificent objects at sunrise and sunset, when they rise out of the mists and clouds that surround their bases, glowing with the rich and changing tints of these the most charming moments in a tropical day.
The bay or roadstead of Ampanam is extensive, and being at this season sheltered from the prevalent southeasterly winds, was as smooth as a lake. The beach of black volcanic sand is very steep, and there is at all times, a heavy surf upon it, which during spring-tides increases to such an extent that it is often impossible for boats to land, and many serious accidents have occurred. Where we lay anchored, about a quarter of a mile from the shore, not the slightest swell was perceptible, but on approaching nearer undulations began, which rapidly increased, so as to form rollers which toppled over onto the beach at regular intervals with a noise like thunder. Sometimes this surf increases suddenly during perfect calms to as great a force and fury as when a gale of wind is blowing, beating to pieces all boats that may not have been hauled sufficiently high upon the beach, and carrying away uncautious natives. This violent surf is probably in some way dependent upon the swell of the great southern ocean and the violent currents that flow through the Straits of Lombock. These are so uncertain that vessels preparing to anchor in the bay are sometimes suddenly swept away into the straits, and are not able to get back again for a fortnight.
What seamen call the "ripples" are also very violent in the straits, the sea appearing to boil and foam and dance like the rapids below a cataract; vessels are swept about helplessly, and small ones are occasionally swamped in the finest weather and under the brightest skies.
I felt considerably relieved when all my boxes and myself had passed in safety through the devouring surf, which the natives look upon with some pride, saying, that "their sea is always hungry, and eats up everything it can catch." I was kindly received by Mr. Carter, an Englishman, who is one of the Bandars or licensed traders of the port, who offered me hospitality and every assistance during my stay. His house, storehouses, and offices were in a yard surrounded by a tall bamboo fence, and were entirely constructed of bamboo with a thatch of grass, the only available building materials. Even these were now very scarce, owing to the great consumption in rebuilding the place since the great fire some months before, which in an hour or two had destroyed every building in the town.
The next day I went to see Mr. S., another merchant to whom I had brought letters of introduction, and who lived about seven miles off. Mr. Carter kindly lent me a horse, and I was accompanied by a young Dutch gentleman residing at Ampanam, who offered to be my guide. We first passed through the town and suburbs along a straight road bordered by mud walls and a fine avenue of lofty trees; then through rice-fields, irrigated in the same manner as I had seen them at Bileling; and afterwards over sandy pastures near the sea, and occasionally along the beach itself. Mr. S. received us kindly, and offered me a residence at his house should I think the neighbourhood favourable for my pursuits. After an early breakfast we went out to explore, taking guns and insect nets. We reached some low hills which seemed to offer the most favourable ground, passing over swamps, sandy flats overgrown with coarse sedges, and through pastures and cultivated grounds, finding however very little in the way of either birds or insects. On our way we passed one or two human skeletons, enclosed within a small bamboo fence, with the clothes, pillow, mat, and betel-box of the unfortunate individual, who had been either murdered or executed. Returning to the house, we found a Balinese chief and his followers on a visit. Those of higher rank sat on chairs, the others squatted on the floor. The chief very coolly asked for beer and brandy, and helped himself and his followers, apparently more out of curiosity than anything else as regards the beer, for it seemed very distasteful to them, while they drank the brandy in tumblers with much relish.
Returning to Ampanam, I devoted myself for some days to shooting the birds of the neighbourhood. The fine fig-trees of the avenues, where a market was held, were tenanted by superb orioles (Oriolus broderpii) of a rich orange colour, and peculiar to this island and the adjacent ones of Sumbawa and Flores. All round the town were abundance of the curious Tropidorhynchus timoriensis, allied to the Friar bird of Australia. They are here called "Quaich-quaich," from their strange loud voice, which seems to repeat these words in various and not unmelodious intonations.
Every day boys were to be seen walking along the roads and by the hedges and ditches, catching dragonflies with birdlime. They carry a slender stick, with a few twigs at the end well annointed, so that the least touch captures the insect, whose wings are pulled off before it is consigned to a small basket. The dragon- flies are so abundant at the time of the rice flowering that thousands are soon caught in this way. The bodies are fried in oil with onions and preserved shrimps, or sometimes alone, and are considered a great delicacy. In Borneo, Celebes, and many other islands, the larvae of bees and wasps are eaten, either alive as pulled out of the cells, or fried like the dragonflies. In the Moluccas the grubs of the palm-beetles (Calandra) are regularly brought to market in bamboos and sold for food; and many of the great horned Lamellicorn beetles are slightly roasted on the embers and eaten whenever met with. The superabundance of insect life is therefore turned to some account by these islanders.
Finding that birds were not very numerous, and hearing much of Labuan Tring at the southern extremity of the bay, where there was said to be much uncultivated country and plenty of birds as well as deer and wild pigs, I determined to go there with my two servants, Ali, the Malay lad from Borneo, and Manuel, a Portuguese of Malacca accustomed to bird-skinning. I hired a native boat with outriggers to take us with our small quantity of luggage, on a day's rowing and tracking along the shore brought us to the place.
I had a note of introduction to an Amboynese Malay, and obtained the use of part of his house to live and work in. His name was "Inchi Daud" (Mr. David), and he was very civil; but his accommodations were limited, and he could only hire me part of his reception-room. This was the front part of a bamboo house (reached by a ladder of about six rounds very wide apart), and having a beautiful view over the bay. However, I soon made what arrangements were possible, and then set to work. The country around was pretty and novel to me, consisting of abrupt volcanic hills enclosing flat valleys or open plains. The hills were covered with a dense scrubby bush of bamboos and prickly trees and shrubs, the plains were adorned with hundreds of noble palm- trees, and in many places with a luxuriant shrubby vegetation. Birds were plentiful and very interesting, and I now saw for the first time many Australian forms that are quite absent from the islands westward. Small white cockatoos were abundant, and their loud screams, conspicuous white colour, and pretty yellow crests, rendered them a very important feature in the landscape. This is the most westerly point on the globe where any of the family are to be found. Some small honeysuckers of the genus Ptilotis, and the strange moundmaker (Megapodius gouldii), are also here first met with on the traveller's journey eastward. The last mentioned bird requires a fuller notice.
The Megapodidae are a small family of birds found only in Australia and the surrounding islands, but extending as far as the Philippines and Northwest Borneo. They are allied to the gallinaceous birds, but differ from these and from all others in never sitting upon their eggs, which they bury in sand, earth, or rubbish, and leave to be hatched by the heat of the sun or by fermentation. They are all characterised by very large feet and long curved claws, and most of the species of Megapodius rake and scratch together all kinds of rubbish, dead leaves, sticks, stones, earth, rotten wood, etc., until they form a large mound, often six feet high and twelve feet across, in the middle of which they bury their eggs. The natives can tell by the condition of these mounds whether they contain eggs or not; and they rob them whenever they can, as the brick-red eggs (as large as those of a swan) are considered a great delicacy. A number of birds are said to join in making these mounds and lay their eggs together, so that sometimes forty or fifty may be found. The mounds are to be met with here and there in dense thickets, and are great puzzles to strangers, who cannot understand who can possibly have heaped together cartloads of rubbish in such out-of-the-way places; and when they inquire of the natives they are but little wiser, for it almost always appears to them the wildest romance to be told that it is all done by birds. The species found in Lombock is about the size of a small hen, and entirely of dark olive and brown tints. It is a miscellaneous feeder, devouring fallen fruits, earthworms, snails, and centipedes, but the flesh is white and well-flavoured when properly cooked.
The large green pigeons were still better eating, and were much more plentiful. These fine birds, exceeding our largest tame pigeons in size, abounded on the palm-trees, which now bore huge bunches of fruits--mere hard globular nuts, about an inch in diameter, and covered with a dry green skin and a very small portion of pulp. Looking at the pigeon's bill and head, it would seem impossible that it could swallow such large masses, or that it could obtain any nourishment from them; yet I often shot these birds with several palm-fruits in the crop, which generally burst when they fell to the ground. I obtained here eight species of Kingfishers; among which was a very beautiful new one, named by Mr. Gould, Halcyon fulgidus. It was found always in thickets, away from water, and seemed to feed on snails and insects picked up from the ground after the manner of the great Laughing Jackass of Australia. The beautiful little violet and orange species (Ceyx rufidorsa) is found in similar situations, and darts rapidly along like a flame of fire. Here also I first met with the pretty Australian Bee-eater (Merops ornatus). This elegant little bird sits on twigs in open places, gazing eagerly around, and darting off at intervals to seize some insect which it sees flying near; returning afterwards to the same twig to swallow it. Its long, sharp, curved bill, the two long narrow feathers in its tail, its beautiful green plumage varied with rich brown and black and vivid blue on the throat, render it one of the most graceful and interesting objects a naturalist can see for the first time.
Of all the birds of Lombock, however, I sought most after the beautiful ground thrushes (Pitta concinna), and always thought myself lucky if I obtained one. They were found only in the dry plains densely covered with thickets, and carpeted at this season with dead leaves. They were so shy that it was very difficult to get a shot at them, and it was only after a good deal of practice that I discovered low to do it. The habit of these birds is to hop about on the ground, picking up insects, and on the least alarm to run into the densest thicket or take a flight close to the ground. At intervals they utter a peculiar cry of two notes which when once heard is easily recognised, and they can also be heard hopping along among the dry leaves.
My practice was, therefore, to walk cautiously along the narrow pathways with which the country abounded, and on detecting any sign of a Pitta's vicinity to stand motionless and give a gentle whistle occasionally, imitating the notes as near as possible. After half an hour's waiting I was often rewarded by seeing the pretty bird hopping along in the thicket. Then I would perhaps lose sight of it again, until leaving my gun raised and ready for a shot, a second glimpse would enable me to secure my prize, and admire its soft puffy plumage and lovely colours. The upper part is rich soft green, the head jet black with a stripe of blue and brown over each eye; at the base of the tail and on the shoulders are bands of bright silvery blue; the under side is delicate buff with a stripe of rich crimson, bordered with black on the belly. Beautiful grass-green doves, little crimson and black flower- peckers, large black cuckoos, metallic king-crows, golden orioles, and the fine jungle-cocks--the origin of all our domestic breeds of poultry--were among the birds that chiefly attracted my attention during our stay at Labuan Tring.
The most characteristic feature of the jungle was its thorniness. The shrubs were thorny; the creepers were thorny; the bamboos even were thorny. Everything grew zigzag and jagged, and in an inextricable tangle, so that to get through the bush with gun or net or even spectacles, was generally not to be done, and insect- catching in such localities was out of the question. It was in such places that the Pittas often lurked, and when shot it became a matter of some difficulty to secure the bird, and seldom without a heavy payment of pricks and scratches and torn clothes could the prize be won. The dry volcanic soil and arid climate seem favourable to the production of such stunted and thorny vegetation, for the natives assured me that this was nothing to the thorns and prickles of Sumbawa whose surface still bears the covering of volcanic ashes thrown out forty years ago by the terrible eruption of Tomboro.
Among the shrubs and trees that are not prickly the Apocynaceae were most abundant, their bilobed fruits of varied form and colour and often of most tempting appearance, hanging everywhere by the waysides as if to invite to destruction the weary traveller who may be unaware of their poisonous properties. One in particular with a smooth shining skin of a golden orange colour rivals in appearance the golden apples of the Hesperides, and has great attractions for many birds, from the white cockatoos to the little yellow Zosterops, who feast on the crimson seeds which are displayed when the fruit bursts open. The great palm called "Gubbong" by the natives, a species of Corypha, is the most striking feature of the plains, where it grows by thousands and appears in three different states--in leaf, in flower and fruit, or dead. It has a lofty cylindrical stem about a hundred feet high and two to three feet in diameter; the leaves are large and fan-shaped, and fall off when the tree flowers, which it does only once in its life in a huge terminal spike, upon which are produced masses of a smooth round fruit of a green colour rind about an inch in diameter. When those ripen and fall the tree dies, and remains standing a year or two before it falls. Trees in leaf only are by far the most numerous, then those in flower and fruit, while dead trees are scattered here and there among them. The trees in fruit are the resort of the great green fruit pigeons, which have been already mentioned. Troops of monkeys (Macacus cynoraolgus) may often be seen occupying a tree, showering down the fruit in great profusion, chattering when disturbed and making an enormous rustling as they scamper off among the dead palm leaves; while the pigeons have a loud booming voice more like the roar of a wild beast than the note of a bird.
My collecting operations here were carried on under more than usual difficulties. One small room had to serve for eating, sleeping and working,and one for storehouse and dissecting-room; in it were no shelves, cupboards, chairs or tables; ants swarmed in every part of it, and dogs, cats and fowls entered it at pleasure. Besides this it was the parlour and reception-room of my host, and I was obliged to consult his convenience and that of the numerous guests who visited us. My principal piece of furniture was a box, which served me as a dining table, a seat while skinning birds, and as the receptacle of the birds when skinned and dried. To keep them free from ants we borrowed, with somedifficulty, an old bench, the four legs of which being placed in cocoa-nut shells filled with water kept us tolerably free from these pests. The box and the bench were, however, literally the only places where anything could be put away, and they were generally well occupied by two insect boxes and about a hundred birds' skins in process of drying. It may therefore be easily conceived that when anything bulky or out of the common way was collected, the question "Where is it to be put?" was rather a difficult one to answer. All animal substances moreover require some time to dry thoroughly, emit a very disagreeable odour while doing so, and are particularly attractive to ants, flies, dogs, rats, cats, and other vermin, calling for special cautions and constant supervision, which under the circumstances above described were impossible.
My readers may now partially understand why a travelling naturalist of limited means, like myself, does so much less than is expected or than he would himself wish to do. It would be interesting to preserve skeletons of many birds and animals, reptiles and fishes in spirits, skins of the larger animals, remarkable fruits and woods and the most curious articles of manufacture and commerce; but it will be seen that under the circumstances I have just described, it would have been impossible to add these to the collections which were my own more especial favourites. When travelling by boat the difficulties are as great or greater, and they are not diminished when the journey is by land. It was absolutely necessary therefore to limit my collections to certain groups to which I could devote constant personal attention, and thus secure from destruction or decay what had been often obtained by much labour and pains.
While Manuel sat skinning his birds of an afternoon, generally surrounded by a little crowd of Malays and Sassaks (as the indigenes of Lombock are termed), he often held forth to them with the air of a teacher, and was listened to with profound attention. He was very fond of discoursing on the "special providences" of which he believed he was daily the subject. "Allah has been merciful today," he would say--for although a Christian he adopted the Mahometan mode of speech- "and has given us some very fine birds; we can do nothing without him." Then one of the Malays would reply, "To be sure, birds are like mankind; they have their appointed time to die; when that time comes nothing can save them, and if it has not come you cannot kill them." A murmur of assent follow, until sentiments and cries of "Butul! Butul!" (Right, right.) Then Manuel would tell a long story of one of his unsuccessful hunts--how he saw some fine bird and followed it a long way, and then missed it, and again found it, and shot two or three times at it, but could never hit it, "Ah!" says an old Malay, "its time was not come, and so it was impossible for you to kill it." A doctrine is this which is very consoling to the bad marksman, and which quite accounts for the facts, but which is yet somehow not altogether satisfactory.
It is universally believed in Lombock that some men have the power to turn themselves into crocodiles, which they do for the sake of devouring their enemies, and many strange tales are told of such transformations. I was therefore rather surprised one evening to hear the following curious fact stated, and as it was not contradicted by any of the persons present, I am inclined to accept it provisionally as a contribution to the Natural History of the island. A Bornean Malay who had been for many years resident here said to Manuel, "One thing is strange in this country--the scarcity of ghosts." "How so? "asked Manuel. "Why, you know," said the Malay, "that in our countries to the westward, if a man dies or is killed, we dare not pass near the place at night, for all sorts of noises are heard which show that ghosts are about. But here there are numbers of men killed, and their bodies lie unburied in the fields and by the roadside, and yet you can walk by them at night and never hear or see anything at all, which is not the case in our country, as you know very well." "Certainly I do," said Manuel; and so it was settled that ghosts were very scarce, if not altogether unknown in Lombock. I would observe, however, that as the evidence is purely negative we should be wanting in scientific caution if we accepted this fact as sufficiently well established.
One evening I heard Manuel, Ali, and a Malay man whispering earnestly together outside the door, and could distinguish various allusions to "krisses," throat-cutting, heads, etc. etc. At length Manuel came in, looking very solemn and frightened, and said to me in English, "Sir--must take care,--no safe here;--want cut throat." On further inquiry, I found that the Malay had been telling them that the Rajah had just sent down an order to the village, that they were to get a certain number of heads for an offering in the temples to secure a good crop of rice. Two or three other Malays and Bugis, as well as the Amboyna man in whose house we lived, confirmed this account, and declared that it was a regular thing every year, and that it was necessary to keep a good watch and never go out alone. I laughed at the whole thing, and tried to persuade them that it was a mere tale, but to no effect. They were all firmly persuaded that their lives were in danger. Manuel would not go out shooting alone, and I was obliged to accompany him every morning, but I soon gave him the slip in the jungle. Ali was afraid to go and look for firewood without a companion, and would not even fetch water from the well a few yards behind the house unless armed with an enormous spear. I was quite sure all the time that no such order had been sent or received, and that we were in perfect safety. This was well shown shortly afterwards, when an American sailor ran away from his ship on the east side of the island, and made his way on foot and unarmed across to Ampanam, having met with the greatest hospitality on the whole route. Nowhere would the smallest payment be taken for the food and lodging which were willingly furbished him. On pointing out this fact to Manuel, he replied, "He one bad man,--run away from his ship--no one can believe word he say;" and so I was obliged to leave him in the uncomfortable persuasion that he might any day have his throat cut.
A circumstance occurred here which appeared to throw some light on the cause of the tremendous surf at Ampanam. One evening I heard a strange rumbling noise, and at the same time the house shook slightly. Thinking it might be thunder, I asked, "What is that?" "It is an earthquake," answered Inchi Daud, my host; and he then told me that slight shocks were occasionally felt there, but he had never known them to be severe. This happened on the day of the last quarter of the moon, and consequently when tides were low and the surf usually at its weakest. On inquiry afterwards at Ampanam, I found that no earthquake had been noticed, but that on one night there had been a very heavy surf, which shook the house, and the next day there was a very high tide, the water having flooded Mr. Carter's premises, higher than he had ever known it before. These unusual tides occur every now and then, and are not thought much of; but by careful inquiry I ascertained that the surf had occurred on the very night I had felt the earthquake at Labuan Tring, nearly twenty miles off. This would seem to indicate, that although the ordinary heavy surf may be due to the swell of the great Southern Ocean confined in a narrow channel, combined with a peculiar form of bottom near the shore, yet the sudden heavy surfs and high tides that occur occasionally in perfectly calm weather, may be due to slight upheavals of the ocean-bed in this eminently volcanic region.
LOMBOCK: MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE
HAVING made a very fine and interesting collection of the birds of Labuan Tring, I took leave of my kind host, Inchi Daud, and returned to Ampanam to await an opportunity to reach Macassar. As no vessel had arrived bound for that port, I determined to make an excursion into the interior of the island, accompanied by Mr. Ross, an Englishman born in the Keeling Islands, and now employed by the Dutch Government to settle the affairs of a missionary who had unfortunately become bankrupt here. Mr. Carter kindly lent me a horse, and Mr. Ross took his native groom.
Our route for some distance lay along a perfectly level country bearing ample crops of rice. The road was straight and generally bordered with lofty trees forming a due avenue. It was at first sandy, afterwards grassy, with occasional streams and mudholes. At a distance about four miles we reached Mataram, the capital of the island and the residence of the Rajah. It is a large village with wide streets bordered by a magnificent avenue of trees, and low houses concealed behind mud walls. Within this royal city no native of the lower orders is allowed to ride, and our attendant, a Javanese, was obliged to dismount and lead his horse while we rode slowly through. The abodes of the Rajah and of the High Priest are distinguished by pillars of red brick constructed with much taste; but the palace itself seemed to differ but little from the ordinary houses of the country. Beyond Mataram and close to it is Karangassam, the ancient residence of the native or Sassak Rajahs before the conquest of the island by the Balinese.
Soon after passing Mataram the country began gradually to rise in gentle undulations, swelling occasionally into low hills towards the two mountainous tracts in the northern and southern parts of the island. It was now that I first obtained an adequate idea of one of the most wonderful systems of cultivation in the world, equalling all that is related of Chinese industry, and as far as I know surpassing in the labour that has been bestowed upon it any tract of equal extent in the most civilized countries of Europe. I rode through this strange garden utterly amazed and hardly able to realize the fact that in this remote and little known island, from which all Europeans except a few traders at the port are jealously excluded, many hundreds of square miles of irregularly undulating country have been so skillfully terraced and levelled, and so permeated by artificial channels, that every portion of it can be irrigated and dried at pleasure. According as the slope of the ground is more or less rapid, each terraced plot consists in some places of many acres, in others of a few square yards. We saw them in every state of cultivation; some in stubble, some being ploughed, some with rice-crops in various stages of growth. Here were luxuriant patches of tobacco; there, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, yams, beans or Indian-corn varied the scene. In some places the ditches were dry, in others little streams crossed our road and were distributed over lands about to be sown or planted. The banks which bordered every terrace rose regularly in horizontal lines above each other; sometimes rounding an abrupt knoll and looking like a fortification, or sweeping around some deep hollow and forming on a gigantic scale the seats of an amphitheatre. Every brook and rivulet had been diverted from its bed, and instead of flowing along the lowest ground, were to be found crossing our road half-way up an ascent, yet bordered by ancient trees and moss-grown stones so as to have all the appearance of a natural channel, and bearing testimony to the remote period at which the work had been done. As we advanced further into the country, the scene was diversified by abrupt rocky bills, by steep ravines, and by clumps of bamboos and palm- trees near houses or villages; while in the distance the fine range of mountains of which Lombock Peak, eight thousand feet high, is the culminating point, formed a fit background to a view scarcely to be surpassed either in human interest or picturesque beauty.
Along the first part of our road we passed hundreds of women carrying rice, fruit, and vegetables to market; and further on, an almost uninterrupted line of horses laden with rice in bags or in the car, on their way to the port of Ampanam. At every few miles along the road, seated under shady trees or slight sheds, were sellers of sugar-cane, palm-wine, cooked rice, salted eggs, and fried plantains, with a few other native delicacies. At these stalls a hearty meal may be made for a penny, but we contented ourselves with drinking some sweet palm-wine, a most delicious beverage in the heat of the day. After having travelled about twenty miles we reached a higher and drier region, where, water being scarce, cultivation was confined to the little fiats bordering the streams. Here the country was as beautiful as before, but of a different character; consisting of undulating downs of short turf interspersed with fine clumps of trees and bushes, sometimes the woodland, sometimes the open ground predominating. We only passed through one small patch of true forest, where we were shaded by lofty trees, and saw around us a dark and dense vegetation, highly agreeable after the heat and glare of the open country.
At length, about an hour after noon, we reached our destination-- the village of Coupang, situated nearly in the centre of the island--and entered the outer court of a house belonging to one of the chiefs with whom my friend Mr. Ross had a slight acquaintance. Here we were requested to seat ourselves under an open den with a raised floor of bamboo, a place used to receive visitors and hold audiences. Turning our horses to graze on the luxuriant glass of the courtyard, we waited until the great man's Malay interpreter appeared, who inquired our business and informed us that the Pumbuckle (chief) was at the Rajah's house, but would soon be back. As we had not yet breakfasted, we begged he would get us something to eat, which be promised to do as soon as possible. It was however about two hours before anything appeared, when a small tray was brought containing two saucers of rice, four small fried fish, and a few vegetables. Having made as good a breakfast as we could, we strolled about the village, and returning, amused ourselves by conversation with a number of men and boys who gathered around us; and by exchanging glances and smiles with a number of women and girls who peeped at us through half-opened doors and other crevices. Two little boys named Mousa and Isa (Moses and Jesus) were great friends with us, and an impudent little rascal called Kachang (a bean) made us all laugh by his mimicry and antics.
At length, about four o'clock, the Pumbuckle made his appearance, and we informed him of our desire to stay with him a few days, to shoot birds and see the country. At this he seemed somewhat disturbed, and asked if we had brought a letter from the Anak Agong (Son of Heaven) which is the title of the Rajah of Lombock. This we had not done, thinking it quite unnecessary; and he then abruptly told us that he must go and speak to his Rajah, to see if we could stay. Hours passed away, night came, and he did not return. I began to think we were suspected of some evil designs, for the Pumbuckle was evidently afraid of getting himself into trouble. He is a Sassak prince, and, though a supporter of the present Rajah, is related to some of the heads of a conspiracy which was quelled a few years since.
About five o'clock a pack-horse bearing my guns and clothes arrived, with my men Ali and Manuel, who had come on foot. The sun set, and it soon became dark, and we got rather hungry as we sat wearily under the shed and no one came. Still hour after hour we waited, until about nine o'clock, the Pumbuckle, the Rajah, some priests, and a number of their followers arrived and took their seats around us. We shook hands, and for some minutes there was a dead silence. Then the Rajah asked what we wanted; to which Mr. Ross replied by endeavouring to make them understand who we were, and why we had come, and that we had no sinister intentions whatever; and that we had not brought a letter from the "Anak Agong," merely because we had thought it quite unnecessary. A long conversation in the Bali language then took place, and questions were asked about my guns, and what powder I had, and whether I used shot or bullets; also what the birds were for, and how I preserved them, and what was done with them in England. Each of my answers and explanations was followed by a low and serious conversation which we could not understand, but the purport of which we could guess. They were evidently quite puzzled, and did not believe a word we had told them. They then inquired if we were really English, and not Dutch; and although we strongly asserted our nationality, they did not seem to believe us.
After about an hour, however, they brought us some supper (which was the same as the breakfast, but without the fish), and after it some very weak coffee and pumpkins boiled with sugar. Having discussed this, a second conference took place; questions were again asked, and the answers again commented on. Between whiles lighter topics were discussed. My spectacles (concave glasses) were tried in succession by three or four old men, who could not make out why they could not see through them, and the fact no doubt was another item of suspicion against me. My beard, too, was the subject of some admiration, and many questions were asked about personal peculiarities which it is not the custom to allude to in European society. At length, about one in the morning, the whole party rose to depart, and, after conversing some time at the gate, all went away. We now begged the interpreter, who with a few boys and men remained about us, to show us a place to sleep in, at which he seemed very much surprised, saying he thought we were very well accommodated where we were. It was quite chilly, and we were very thinly clad and had brought no blankets, but all we could get after another hour's talk was a native mat and pillow, and a few old curtains to hang round three sides of the open shed and protect us a little from the cold breeze. We passed the rest of the night very uncomfortably, and determined to return in the morning and not submit any longer to such shabby treatment.
We rose at daybreak, but it was near an hour before the interpreter made his appearance. We then asked to have some coffee and to see the Pumbuckle, as we wanted a horse for Ali, who was lame, and wished to bid him adieu. The man looked puzzled at such unheard--of demands and vanished into the inner court, locking the door behind him and leaving us again to our meditations. An hour passed and no one came, so I ordered the horses to be saddled and the pack-horse to be loaded, and prepared to start. Just then the interpreter came up on horse back, and looked aghast at our preparations. "Where is the Pumbuckle?" we asked. "Gone to the Rajah's," said he. "We are going," said I. "Oh! pray don't," said he; "wait a little; they are having a consultation, and some priests are coming to see you, and a chief is going off to Mataram to ask the permission of the Anak Agong for you to stay." This settled the matter. More talk, more delay, and another eight or ten hours' consultation were not to be endured; so we started at once, the poor interpreter almost weeping at our obstinacy and hurry, and assuring us "the Pumbuckle would be very sorry, and the Rajah would be very sorry, and if we would but wait all would be right." I gave Ali my horse, and started on foot, but he afterwards mounted behind Mr. Ross's groom, and we got home very well, though rather hot and tired.
At Mataram we called at the house of Gusti Gadioca, one of the princes of Lombock, who was a friend of Mr. Carter's, and who had promised to show me the guns made by native workmen. Two guns were exhibited, one six, the other seven feet long, and of a proportionably large bore. The barrels were twisted and well finished, though not so finely worked as ours. The stock was well made, and extended to the end of the barrel. Silver and gold ornament was inlaid over most of the surface, but the locks were taken from English muskets. The Gusti assured me, however, that the Rajah had a man who made locks and also rifled barrels. The workshop where these guns are made and the tools used were next shown us, and were very remarkable. An open shed with a couple of small mud forges were the chief objects visible. The bellows consisted of two bamboo cylinders, with pistons worked by hand. They move very easily, having a loose stuffing of feathers thickly set round the piston so as to act as a valve, and produce a regular blast. Both cylinders communicate with the same nozzle, one piston rising while the other falls. An oblong piece of iron on the ground was the anvil, and a small vice was fixed on the projecting root of a tree outside. These, with a few files and hammers, were literally the only tools with which an old man makes these fine guns, finishing then himself from the rough iron and wood.
GUN-BORING IN LOMBOCK
I was anxious to know how they bored these long barrels, which seemed perfectly true and are said to shoot admirably; and, on asking the Gusti, received the enigmatical answer: "We use a basket full of stones." Being utterly unable to imagine what he could mean, I asked if I could see how they did it, and one of the dozen little boys around us was sent to fetch the basket. He soon returned with this most extraordinary boring-machine, the mode of using which the Gusti then explained to me. It was simply a strong bamboo basket, through the bottom of which was stuck upright a pole about three feet long, kept in its place by a few sticks tied across the top with rattans.|
The bottom of the pole has an iron ring, and a hole in which four-cornered borers of hardened iron can be fitted. The barrel to be bored is buried upright in the ground, the borer is inserted into it, the top of the stick or vertical shaft is held by a cross-piece of bamboo with a hole in it, and the basket is filled with stones to get the required weight. Two boys turn the bamboo round. The barrels are made in pieces of about eighteen inches long, which are first bored small, and then welded together upon a straight iron rod. The whole barrel is then worked with borers of gradually increasing size, and in three days the boring is finished. The whole matter was explained in such a straightforward manner that I have no doubt the process described to me was that actually used; although, when examining one of the handsome, well-finished, and serviceable guns, it was very hard to realize the fact that they had been made from first to last with tools hardly sufficient for an English blacksmith to make a horseshoe.
The day after we returned from our excursion, the Rajah came to Ampanam to a feast given by Gusti Gadioca, who resides there; and soon after his arrival we went to have an audience. We found him in a large courtyard sitting on a mat under a shady tree; and all his followers, to the number of three or four hundred, squatting on the ground in a large circle round him. He wore a sarong or Malay petticoat and a green jacket. He was a man about thirty- five years of age, and of a pleasing countenance, with some appearance of intellect combined with indecision. We bowed, and took our seats on the ground near some chiefs we were acquainted with, for while the Rajah sits no one can stand or sit higher. He just inquired who I was, and what I was doing in Lombock, and then requested to see some of my birds. I accordingly sent for one of my boxes of bird-skins and one of insects, which he examined carefully, and seemed much surprised that they could be so well preserved. We then had a little conversation about Europe and the Russian war, in which all natives take an interest. Having heard much of a country-seat of the Rajah's called Gunong Sari, I took the opportunity to ask permission to visit it and shoot a few birds there which he immediately granted. I then thanked him, and we took our leave.
An hour after, his son came to visit Mr. Carter accompanied by about a hundred followers, who all sat on the ground while he came into the open shed where Manuel was skinning birds. After some time he went into the house, had a bed arranged to sleep a little, then drank some wine, and after an hour or two had dinner brought him from the Gusti's house, which he ate with eight of the principal priests and princes, he pronounced a blessing over the rice and commenced eating first, after which the rest fell to. They rolled up balls of rice in their hands, dipped them in the gravy and swallowed them rapidly, with little pieces of meat and fowl cooked in a variety of ways. A boy fanned the young Rajah while eating. He was a youth of about fifteen, and had already three wives. All wore the kris, or Malay crooked dagger, on the beauty and value of which they greatly pride themselves. A companion of the Rajah's had one with a golden handle, in which were set twenty-eight diamonds and several other jewels. He said it had cost him £700. The sheaths are of ornamental wood and ivory, often covered on one side with gold. The blades are beautifully veined with white metal worked into the iron, and they are kept very carefully. Every man without exception carries a kris, stuck behind into the large waist-cloth which all wear, and it is generally the most valuable piece of property he possesses.
A few days afterwards our long-talked-of excursion to Gunong Sari took place. Our party was increased by the captain and supercargo of a Hamburg ship loading with rice for China. We were mounted on a very miscellaneous lot of Lombock ponies, which we had some difficulty in supplying with the necessary saddles, etc.; and most of us had to patch up our girths, bridles, or stirrup-leathers as best we could. We passed through Mataram, where we were joined by our friend Gusti Gadioca, mounted on a handsome black horse, and riding as all the natives do, without saddle or stirrups, using only a handsome saddlecloth and very ornamental bridle.
About three miles further, along pleasant byways, brought us to the place. We entered through a rather handsome brick gateway supported by hideous Hindu deities in stone. Within was an enclosure with two square fish-ponds and some fine trees; then another gateway through which we entered into a park. On the right was a brick house, built somewhat in the Hindu style, and placed on a high terrace or platform; on the left a large fish- pond, supplied by a little rivulet which entered it out of the mouth of a gigantic crocodile well executed in brick and stone. The edges of the pond were bricked, and in the centre rose a fantastic and picturesque pavilion ornamented with grotesque statues. The pond was well stocked with fine fish, which come every morning to be fed at the sound of a wooden gong which is hung near for the purpose. On striking it a number of fish immediately came out of the masses of weed with which the pond abounds, and followed us along the margin expecting food. At the same time some deer came out of as adjacent wood, which, from being seldom shot at and regularly fed, are almost tame. The jungle and woods which surrounded the park appearing to abound in birds, I went to shoot a few, and was rewarded by getting several specimens of the fine new kingfisher, Halcyon fulgidus, and the curious and handsome ground thrush, Zoothera andromeda. The former belies its name by not frequenting water or feeding on fish. It lives constantly in low damp thickets picking up ground insects, centipedes, and small mollusca. Altogether I was much pleased with my visit to this place, and it gave me a higher opinion than I had before entertained of the taste of these people, although the style of the buildings and of the sculpture is very much inferior to those of the magnificent ruins in Java.
I must now say a few words about the character, manners, and customs of these interesting people.
The aborigines of Lombock are termed Sassaks. They are a Malay race hardly differing in appearance from the people of Malacca or Borneo. They are Mahometans and form the bulk of the population. The ruling classes, on the other hand, are natives of the adjacent island of Bali, and are of the Brahminical religion. The government is an absolute monarchy, but it seems to be conducted with more wisdom and moderation than is usual in Malay countries. The father of the present Rajah conquered the island, and the people seem now quite reconciled to their new rulers, who do not interfere with their religion, and probably do not tax them any heavier than did the native chiefs they have supplanted. The laws now in force in Lombock are very severe. Theft is punished by death. Mr. Carter informed me that a man once stole a metal coffee-pot from his house. He was caught, the pot restored, and the man brought to Mr. Carter to punish as he thought fit. All the natives recommended Mr. Carter to have him "krissed" on the spot; "for if you don't," said they, "he will rob you again." Mr. Carter, however, let him off with a warning, that if he ever came inside his premises again he would certainly be shot. A few months afterwards the same man stole a horse from Mr. Carter. The horse was recovered, but the thief was not caught. It is an established rule, that anyone found in a house after dark, unless with the owner's knowledge, may be stabbed, his body thrown out into the street or upon the beach, and no questions will be asked.
The men are exceedingly jealous and very strict with their wives. A married woman may not accept a cigar or a sirih leaf from a stranger under pain of death. I was informed that some years ago one of the English traders had a Balinese woman of good family living with him--the connection being considered quite honourable by the natives. During some festival this girl offended against the law by accepting a flower or some such trifle from another man. This was reported to the Rajah (to some of whose wives the girl was related), and he immediately sent to the Englishman's house ordering him to give the woman up as she must be "krissed." In vain he begged and prayed, and offered to pay any fine the Rajah might impose, and finally refused to give her up unless he was forced to do so. This the Rajah did not wish to resort to, as he no doubt thought he was acting as much for the Englishman's honour as for his own; so he appeared to let the matter drop. But some time afterwards he sent one of his followers to the house, who beckoned the girl to the door, and then saying, "The Rajah sends you this," stabbed her to the heart. More serious infidelity is punished still more cruelly, the woman and her paramour being tied back to back and thrown into the sea, where some large crocodiles are always on the watch to devour the bodies. One such execution took place while I was at Ampanam, but I took a long walk into the country to be out of the way until it was all over, thus missing the opportunity of having a horrible narrative to enliven my somewhat tedious story.
One morning, as we were sitting at breakfast, Mr. Carter's servant informed us that there was an "Amok" in the village--in other words, that a man was "running a muck." Orders were immediately given to shut and fasten the gates of our enclosure; but hearing nothing for some time, we went out, and found there had been a false alarm, owing to a slave having run away, declaring he would "amok," because his master wanted to sell him. A short time before, a man had been killed at a gaming-table because, having lost half-a-dollar more than he possessed, he was going to "amok." Another had killed or wounded seventeen people before he could be destroyed. In their wars a whole regiment of these people will sometimes agree to "amok," and then rush on with such energetic desperation as to be very formidable to men not so excited as themselves. Among the ancients these would have been looked upon as heroes or demigods who sacrificed themselves for their country. Here it is simply said--they made "amok."
Macassar is the most celebrated place in the East for "running a muck." There are said to be one or two a month on the average, and five, ten, or twenty persons are sometimes killed or wounded at one of them. It is the national, and therefore the honourable, mode of committing suicide among the natives of Celebes, and is the fashionable way of escaping from their difficulties. A Roman fell upon his sword, a Japanese rips up his stomach, and an Englishman blows out his brains with a pistol. The Bugis mode has many advantages to one suicidically inclined. A man thinks himself wronged by society--he is in debt and cannot pay--he is taken for a slave or has gambled away his wife or child into slavery--he sees no way of recovering what he has lost, and becomes desperate. He will not put up with such cruel wrongs, but will be revenged on mankind and die like a hero. He grasps his kris-handle, and the next moment draws out the weapon and stabs a man to the heart. He runs on, with bloody kris in his hand, stabbing at everyone he meets. "Amok! Amok!" then resounds through the streets. Spears, krisses, knives and guns are brought out against him. He rushes madly forward, kills all he can--men, women, and children--and dies overwhelmed by numbers amid all the excitement of a battle. And what that excitement is those who have been in one best know, but all who have ever given way to violent passions, or even indulged in violent and exciting exercises, may form a very good idea. It is a delirious intoxication, a temporary madness that absorbs every thought and every energy. And can we wonder at the kris-bearing, untaught, brooding Malay preferring such a death, looked upon as almost honourable to the cold-blooded details of suicide, if he wishes to escape from overwhelming troubles, or the merciless of the hangman and the disgrace of a public execution, when he has taken the law into his own hands and too hastily revenged himself upon his enemy? In either case he chooses rather to "amok."
The great staples of the trade of Lombock as well as of Bali are rice and coffee; the former grown on the plains, the latter on the hills. The rice is exported very largely to other islands of the Archipelago, to Singapore, and even to China, and there are generally one or more vessels loading in the port. It is brought into Ampanam on pack-horses, and almost everyday a string of these would come into Mr. Carter's yard. The only money the natives will take for their rice is Chinese copper cash, twelve hundred of which go to a dollar. Every morning two large sacks of this money had to be counted out into convenient sums for payment. From Bali quantities of dried beef and ox-tongues are exported, and from Lombock a good many ducks and ponies. The ducks are a peculiar breed, which have very long flat bodies, and walk erect almost like penguins. They are generally of a pale reddish ash colour, and are kept in large flocks. They are very cheap and are largely consumed by the crews of the rice ships, by whom they are called Baly-soldiers, but are more generally known elsewhere as penguin-ducks.
My Portuguese bird-stuffer Fernandez now insisted on breaking his agreement and returning to Singapore; partly from homesickness, but more I believe from the idea that his life was not worth many months' purchase among such bloodthirsty and uncivilized peoples. It was a considerable loss to me, as I had paid him full three times the usual wages for three months in advance, half of which was occupied in the voyage and the rest in a place where I could have done without him, owing to there being so few insects that I could devote my own time to shooting and skinning. A few days after Fernandez had left, a small schooner came in bound for Macassar, to which place I took a passage. As a fitting conclusion to my sketch of these interesting islands, I will narrate an anecdote which I heard of the present Rajah; and which, whether altogether true or not, well illustrates native character, and will serve as a means of introducing some details of the manners and customs of the country to which I have not yet alluded.
L0MBOCK: HOW THE RAJAH TOOK THE CENSUS
The Rajah of Lombock was a very wise man and he showed his wisdom greatly in the way he took the census. For my readers must know that the chief revenues of the Rajah were derived from a head-tax of rice, a small measure being paid annually by every man, woman, and child in the island, There was no doubt that every one paid this tax, for it was a very light one, and the land was fertile and the people well off; but it had to pass through many hands before it reached the Government storehouses. When the harvest was over the villagers brought their rice to the Kapala kampong, or head of the village; and no doubt he sometimes had compassion for the poor or sick and passed over their short measure, and sometimes was obliged to grant a favour to those who had complaints against him; and then he must keep up his own dignity by having his granaries better filled than his neighbours, and so the rice that he took to the "Waidono" that was over his district was generally good deal less than it should have been. And all the "Waidonos" had of course to take care of themselves, for they were all in debt and it was so easy to take a little of the Government rice, and there would still be plenty for the Rajah. And the "Gustis" or princes who received the rice from the Waidonos helped themselves likewise, and so when the harvest was all over and the rice tribute was all brought in, the quantity was found to be less each year than the one before. Sickness in one district, and fevers in another, and failure of the crops in a third, were of course alleged as the cause of this falling off; but when the Rajah went to hunt at the foot of the great mountain, or went to visit a "Gusti" on the other side of the island, he always saw the villages full of people, all looking well-fed and happy. And he noticed that the krisses of his chiefs and officers were getting handsomer and handsomer; and the handles that were of yellow wood were changed for ivory, and those of ivory were changed for gold, and diamonds and emeralds sparkled on many of them; and he knew very well which way the tribute-rice went. But as he could not prove it he kept silence, and resolved in his own heart someday to have a census taken, so that he might know the number of his people, and not be cheated out of more rice than was just and reasonable.
But the difficulty was how to get this census. He could not go himself into every village and every house, and count all the people; and if he ordered it to be done by the regular officers they would quickly understand what it was for, and the census would be sure to agree exactly with the quantity of rice he got last year. It was evident therefore that to answer his purpose no one must suspect why the census was taken; and to make sure of this, no one must know that there was any census taken at all. This was a very hard problem; and the Rajah thought and thought, as hard as a Malay Rajah can be expected to think, but could not solve it; and so he was very unhappy, and did nothing but smoke and chew betel with his favourite wife, and eat scarcely anything; and even when he went to the cock-fight did not seem to care whether his best birds won or lost. For several days he remained in this sad state, and all the court were afraid some evil eye had bewitched the Rajah; and an unfortunate Irish captain who had come in for a cargo of rice and who squinted dreadfully, was very nearly being krissed, but being first brought to the royal presence was graciously ordered to go on board and remain there while his ship stayed in the port.
One morning however, after about a week's continuance of this unaccountable melancholy, a welcome change tool place, for the Rajah sent to call together all the chiefs, priests, and princes who were then in Mataram, his capital city; and when they were all assembled in anxious expectation, he thus addressed them:
"For many days my heart has been very sick and I knew not why, but now the trouble is cleared away, for I have had a dream. Last night the spirit of the 'Gunong Agong'--the great fire mountain-- appeared to me, and told me that I must go up to the top of the mountain. All of you may come with me to near the top, but then I must go up alone, and the great spirit will again appear to me and will tell me what is of great importance to me and to you and to all the people of the island. Now go all of you and make this known through the island, and let every village furnish men to make clear a road for us to go through the forest and up the great mountain."
So the news was spread over the whole island that the Rajah must go to meet the great spirit on the top of the mountain; and every village sent forth its men, and they cleared away the jungle and made bridges over the mountain streams and smoothed the rough places for the Rajah's passage. And when they came to the steep and craggy rocks of the mountain, they sought out the best paths, sometimes along the bed of a torrent, sometimes along narrow ledges of the black rocks; in one place cutting down a tall tree so as to bridge across a chasm, in another constructing ladders to mount the smooth face of a precipice. The chiefs who superintended the work fixed upon the length of each day's journey beforehand according to the nature of the road, and chose pleasant places by the banks of clear streams and in the neighbourhood of shady trees, where they built sheds and huts of bamboo well thatched with the leaves of palm-trees, in which the Rajah and his attendants might eat and sleep at the close of each day.
And when all was ready, the princes and priests and chief men came again to the Rajah, to tell him what had been done and to ask him when he would go up the mountain. And he fixed a day, and ordered every man of rank and authority to accompany him, to do honour to the great spirit who had bid him undertake the journey, and to show how willingly they obeyed his commands. And then there was much preparation throughout the whole island. The best cattle were killed and the meat salted and sun-dried; and abundance of red peppers and sweet potatoes were gathered; and the tall pinang-trees were climbed for the spicy betel nut, the sirih-leaf was tied up in bundles, and every man filled his tobacco pouch and lime box to the brim, so that he might not want any of the materials for chewing the refreshing betel during the journey. The stores of provisions were sent on a day in advance. And on the day before that appointed for starting, all the chiefs both great and small came to Mataram, the abode of the king, with their horses and their servants, and the bearers of their sirih boxes, and their sleeping-mats, and their provisions. And they encamped under the tall Waringin-trees that border all the roads about Mataram, and with blazing fires frighted away the ghouls and evil spirits that nightly haunt the gloomy avenues.
In the morning a great procession was formed to conduct the Rajah to the mountain. And the royal princes and relations of the Rajah mounted their black horses whose tails swept the ground; they used no saddle or stirrups, but sat upon a cloth of gay colours; the bits were of silver and the bridles of many-coloured cords. The less important people were on small strong horses of various colours, well suited to a mountain journey; and all (even the Rajah) were bare-legged to above the knee, wearing only the gay coloured cotton waist-cloth, a silk or cotton jacket, and a large handkerchief tastefully folded around the head. Everyone was attended by one or two servants bearing his sirih and betel boxes, who were also mounted on ponies; and great numbers more had gone on in advance or waited to bring up the rear. The men in authority were numbered by hundreds and their followers by thousands, and all the island wondered what great thing would come of it.
For the first two days they went along good roads and through many villages which were swept clean, and where bright cloths were hung out at the windows; and all the people, when the Rajah came, squatted down upon the ground in respect, and every man riding got off his horse and squatted down also, and many joined the procession at every village. At the place where they stopped for the night, the people had placed stakes along each side of the roads in front of the houses. These were split crosswise at the top, and in the cleft were fastened little clay lamps, and between them were stuck the green leaves of palm-trees, which, dripping with the evening dew, gleamed prettily with the many twinkling lights. And few went to sleep that night until the morning hours, for every house held a knot of eager talkers, and much betel-nut was consumed, and endless were the conjectures what would come of it.
On the second day they left the last village behind them and entered the wild country that surrounds the great mountain, and rested in the huts that had been prepared for them on the banks of a stream of cold and sparkling water. And the Rajah's hunters, armed with long and heavy guns, went in search of deer and wild bulls in the surrounding woods, and brought home the meat of both in the early morning, and sent it on in advance to prepare the mid-day meal. On the third day they advanced as far as horses could go, and encamped at the foot of high rocks, among which narrow pathways only could be found to reach the mountain-top. And on the fourth morning when the Rajah set out, he was accompanied only by a small party of priests and princes with their immediate attendants; and they toiled wearily up the rugged way, and sometimes were carried by their servants, until they passed up above the great trees, and then among the thorny bushes, and above them again on to the black and burned rock of the highest part of the mountain.
And when they were near the summit, the Rajah ordered them all to halt, while he alone went to meet the great spirit on the very peak of the mountain. So he went on with two boys only who carried his sirih and betel, and soon reached the top of the mountain among great rocks, on the edge of the great gulf whence issue forth continually smoke and vapour. And the Rajah asked for sirih, and told the boys to sit down under a rock and look down the mountain, and not to move until he returned to them. And as they were tired, and the sun was warm and pleasant, and the rock sheltered them from the cold grind, the boys fell asleep. And the Rajah went a little way on under another rock; and as he was tired, and the sun was warm and pleasant, and he too fell asleep.
And those who were waiting for the Rajah thought him a long time on the top of the mountain, and thought the great spirit must have much to say, or might perhaps want to keep him on the mountain always, or perhaps he had missed his way in conning down again. And they were debating whether they should go and search for him, when they saw him coming down with the two boys. And when he met them he looked very grave, but said nothing; and then all descended together, and the procession returned as it had come; and the Rajah went to his palace and the chiefs to their villages, and the people to their houses, to tell their wives and children all that had happened, and to wonder yet again what would come of it.
And three days afterwards the Rajah summoned the priests and the princes and the chief men of Mataram, to hear what the great spirit had told him on the top of the mountain. And when they were all assembled, and the betel and sirih had been handed round, he told them what had happened. On the top of the mountain he had fallen into a trance, and the great spirit had appeared to him with a face like burnished gold, and had said--"0h Rajah! much plague and sickness and fevers are coming upon all the earth, upon men and upon horses and upon cattle; but as you and your people have obeyed me and have come up to my great mountain, I will teach you how you and all the people of Lombock may escape this plague." And all waited anxiously, to hear how they were to be saved from so fearful a calamity. And after a short silence the Rajah spoke again and told them, that the great spirit had commanded that twelve sacred krisses should be made, and that to make them every village and every district must send a bundle of needles--a needle for every head in the village. And when any grievous disease appeared in any village, one of the sacred krisses should be sent there; and if every house in that village had sent the right number of needles, the disease would immediately cease; but if the number of needles sent had not been exact, the kris would have no virtue.
So the princes and chiefs sent to all their villages and communicated the wonderful news; and all made haste to collect the needles with the greatest accuracy, for they feared that if but one were wanting, the whole village would suffer. So one by one the head men of the villages brought in their bundles of needles; those who were near Mataram came first, and those who were far off came last; and the Rajah received them with his own hands and put them away carefully in an inner chamber, in a camphor-wood chest whose hinges and clasps were of silver; and on every bundle was marked the name of the village and the district from whence it came, so that it might be known that all had heard and obeyed the commands of the great spirit.
And when it was quite certain that every village had sent in its bundle, the Rajah divided the needles into twelve equal parts, and ordered the best steelworker in Mataram to bring his forge and his bellows and his hammers to the palace, and to make the twelve krisses under the Rajah's eye, and in the sight of all men who chose to see it. And when they were finished, they were wrapped up in new silk and put away carefully until they might be wanted.
Now the journey to the mountain was in the time of the east wind when no rain falls in Lombock. And soon after the krisses were made it was the time of the rice harvest, and the chiefs of districts and of villages brought their tax to the Rajah according to the number heads in their villages. And to those that wanted but little of the full amount, the Rajah said nothing; but when those came who brought only half or a fourth part of what was strictly due, he said to them mildly, "The needles which you sent from your village were many more than came from such-a-one's village, yet your tribute is less than his; go back and see who it is that has not paid the tax." And the next year the produce of the tax increased greatly, for they feared that the Rajah might justly kill those who a second time kept back the right tribute. And so the Rajah became very rich, and increased the number of his soldiers, and gave golden jewels to his wives, and bought fine black horses from the white-skinned Hollanders, and made great feasts when his children were born or were married; and none of the Rajahs or Sultans among the Malays were so great or powerful as the Rajah of Lombock.
And the twelve sacred krisses had great virtue. And, when any sickness appeared in a village one of them was sent for; and sometimes the sickness went away, and then the sacred kris was taken back again with great Honour, and the head men of the village came to tell the Rajah of its miraculous power, and to thank him. And sometimes the sickness would not go away; and then everybody was convinced that there had been a mistake in the number of needles sent from that village, and therefore the sacred kris had no effect, and had to be taken back again by the head men with heavy hearts, but still, with all honour--for was not the fault their own?
(COUPANG, 1857-1869. DELLI, 1861)
THE island of Timor is about three hundred miles long and sixty wide, and seems to form the termination of the great range of volcanic islands which begins with Sumatra more than two thousand miles to the west. It differs however very remarkably from all the other islands of the chain in not possessing any active volcanoes, with the one exception of Timor Peak near the centre of the island, which was formerly active, but was blown up during an eruption in 1638 and has since been quiescent. In no other part of Timor do there appear to be any recent igneous rocks, so that it can hardly be classed as a volcanic island. Indeed its position is just outside of the great volcanic belt, which extends from Flores through Ombay and Wetter to Banda.
I first visited Timor in 1857, staying a day at Coupang, the chief Dutch town at the west end of the island; and again in May 1859, when I stayed a fortnight in the same neighbourhood. In the spring of 1861 I spent four months at Delli, the capital of the Portuguese possessions in the eastern part of the island.
The whole neighbourhood of Coupang appears to have been elevated at a recent epoch, consisting of a rugged surface of coral rock, which rises in a vertical wall between the beach and the town, whose low, white, red-tiled houses give it an appearance very similar to other Dutch settlements in the East. The vegetation is everywhere scanty and scrubby. Plants of the families Apocynaceae and Euphorbiacea, abound; but there is nothing that can be called a forest, and the whole country has a parched and desolate appearance, contrasting strongly with the lofty forest trees and perennial verdure of the Moluccas or of Singapore. The most conspicuous feature of the vegetation was the abundance of fine fanleaved palms (Borassus flabelliformis), from the leaves of which are constructed the strong and durable water-buckets in general use, and which are much superior to those formed from any other species of palm. From the same tree, palm-wine and sugar are made, and the common thatch for houses formed of the leaves lasts six or seven years without removal. Close to the town I noticed the foundation of a ruined house below high-water mark, indicating recent subsidence. Earthquakes are not severe here, and are so infrequent and harmless that the chief houses are built of stone.
The inhabitants of Coupang consist of Malays, Chinese, and Dutch, besides the natives, so that there are many strange and complicated mixtures among the population. There is one resident English merchant, and whalers as well as Australian ships often come here for stores and water. The native Timorese preponderate, and a very little examination serves to show that they have nothing in common with Malays, but are much more closely allied to the true Papuans of the Aru Islands and New Guinea. They are tall, have pronounced features, large somewhat aquiline noses, and frizzly hair, and are generally of a dusky brown colour. The way in which the women talk to each other and to the men, their loud voices and laughter, and general character of self- assertion, would enable an experienced observer to decide, even without seeing them, that they were not Malays.
Mr. Arndt, a German and the Government doctor, invited me to stay at his house while in Coupang, and I gladly accepted his offer, as I only intended making a short visit. We at first began speaking French, but he got on so badly that we soon passed insensibly into Malay; and we afterwards held long discussions on literary, scientific, and philosophical questions in that semi-barbarous language, whose deficiencies we made up by the free use of French or Latin words.
After a few walks in the neighbourhood of the town, I found such a poverty of insects and birds that I determined to go for a few days to the island of Semao at the western extremity of Timor, where I heard that there was forest country with birds not found at Coupang. With some difficulty I obtained a large dugout boat with outriggers, to take me over a distance of about twenty miles. I found the country pretty well wooded, but covered with shrubs and thorny bushes rather than forest trees, and everywhere excessively parched and dried up by the long-continued dry season. I stayed at the village of Oeassa, remarkable for its soap springs. One of these is in the middle of the village, bubbling out from a little cone of mud to which the ground rises all round like a volcano in miniature. The water has a soapy feel and produces a strong lather when any greasy substance is washed in it. It contains alkali and iodine, in such quantities as to destroy all vegetation for some distance around. Close by the village is one of the finest springs I have ever seen, contained in several rocky basins communicating by narrow channels. These have been neatly walled where required and partly levelled, and form fine natural baths. The water is well tasted and clear as crystal, and the basins are surrounded by a grove of lofty many-stemmed banyan-trees, which keep them always cool and shady, and add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the scene.
The village consists of curious little houses very different from any I have seen elsewhere. They are of an oval figure, and the walls are made of sticks about four feet high placed close together. From this rises a high conical roof thatched with grass. The only opening is a door about three feet high. The people are like the Timorese with frizzly or wavy hair and of a coppery brown colour. The better class appear to have a mixture of some superior race which has much improved their features. I saw in Coupang some chiefs from the island of Savu further west, who presented characters very distinct from either the Malay or Papuan races. They most resembled Hindus, having fine well- formed features and straight thin noses with clear brown complexions. As the Brahminical religion once spread over all Java, and even now exists in Bali and Lombock, it is not at all improbable that some natives of India should have reached this island, either by accident or to escape persecution, and formed a permanent settlement there.
I stayed at Oeassa four days, when, not finding any insects and very few new birds, I returned to Coupang to await the next mail steamer. On the way I had a narrow escape of being swamped. The deep coffin- like boat was filled up with my baggage, and with vegetables, cocoa- nut and other fruit for Coupang market, and when we had got some way across into a rather rough sea, we found that a quantity of water was coming in which we had no means of baling out. This caused us to sink deeper in the water, and then we shipped seas over our sides, and the rowers, who had before declared it was nothing, now became alarmed and turned the boat round to get back to the coast of Semao, which was not far off. By clearing away some of the baggage a little of the water could be baled out, but hardly so fast as it came in, and when we neared the coast we found nothing but vertical walls of rock against which the sea was violently beating. We coasted along some distance until we found a little cove, into which we ran the boat, hauled it on shore, and emptying it found a large hole in the bottom, which had been temporarily stopped up with a plug of cocoa-nut which had come out. Had we been a quarter of a mile further off before we discovered the leak, we should certainly have been obliged to throw most of our baggage overboard, and might easily have lost our lives. After we had put all straight and secure we again started, and when we were halfway across got into such a strong current and high cross sea that we were very nearly being swamped a second time, which made me vow never to trust myself again in such small and miserable vessels.
The mail steamer did not arrive for a week, and I occupied myself in getting as many of the birds as I could, and found some which were very interesting. Among them were five species of pigeons of as many distinct genera, and most of then peculiar to the island; two parrots--the fine red-winged broad-tail (Platycercus vulneratus), allied to an Australian species, and a green species of the genus Geoffroyus. The Tropidorhynchus timorensis was as ubiquitous and as noisy as I had found it at Lombock; and the Sphaecothera viridis, a curious green oriole with bare red orbits, was a great acquisition. There were several pretty finches, warblers, and flycatchers, and among them I obtained the elegant blue and red Cyornis hyacinthina; but I cannot recognise among my collections the species mentioned by Dampier, who seems to have been much struck by the number of small songbirds in Timor. He says: "One sort of these pretty little birds my men called the ringing bird, because it had six notes, and always repeated all his notes twice, one after the other, beginning high and shrill and ending low. The bird was about the bigness of a lark, having a small, sharp, black bill and blue wings; the head and breast were of a pale red, and there was a blue streak about its neck." In Semao, monkeys are abundant. They are the common bare-lipped monkey (Macacus cynomolgus), which is found all over the western islands of the Archipelago, and may have been introduced by natives, who often carry it about captive. There are also some deer, but it is not quite certain whether they are of the same species as are found in Java.
I arrived at Delli, the capital of the Portuguese possessions in Timor, on January 12, 1861, and was kindly received by Captain Hart, an Englishman and an old resident, who trades in the produce of the country and cultivates coffee on an estate at the foot of the hills. With him I was introduced to Mr. Geach, a mining-engineer who had been for two years endeavouring to discover copper in sufficient quantity to be worth working.
Delli is a most miserable place compared with even the poorest of the Dutch towns. The houses are all of mud and thatch; the fort is only a mud enclosure; and the custom-house and church are built of the same mean materials, with no attempt at decoration or even neatness. The whole aspect of the place is that of a poor native town, and there is no sign of cultivation or civilization round about it. His Excellency the Governor's house is the only one that makes any pretensions to appearance, and that is merely a low whitewashed cottage or bungalow. Yet there is one thing in which civilization exhibits itself-- officials in black and white European costume, and officers in gorgeous uniforms abound in a degree quite disproportionate to the size or appearance of the place.
The town being surrounded for some distance by swamps and mudflats is very unhealthy, and a single night often gives a fever to newcomers which not unfrequently proves fatal. To avoid this malaria, Captain Hart always slept at his plantation, on a slight elevation about two miles from the town, where Mr. Geach also had a small house, which he kindly invited me to share. We rode there in the evening; and in the course of two days my baggage was brought up, and I was able to look about me and see if I could do any collecting.
For the first few weeks I was very unwell and could not go far from the house. The country was covered with low spiny shrubs and acacias, except in a little valley where a stream came down from the hills, where some fine trees and bushes shaded the water and formed a very pleasant place to ramble up. There were plenty of birds about, and of a tolerable variety of species; but very few of them were gaily coloured. Indeed, with one or two exceptions, the birds of this tropical island were hardly so ornamental as those of Great Britain. Beetles were so scarce that a collector might fairly say there were none, as the few obscure or uninteresting species would not repay him for the search. The only insects at all remarkable or interesting were the butterflies, which, though comparatively few in species, were sufficiently abundant, and comprised a large proportion of new or rare sorts. The banks of the stream formed my best collecting-ground, and I daily wandered up and down its shady bed, which about a mile up became rocky and precipitous. Here I obtained the rare and beautiful swallow- tail butterflies, Papilio aenomaus and P. liris; the males of which are quite unlike each other, and belong in fact to distinct sections of the genus, while the females are so much alike that they are undistinguishable on the wing, and to an uneducated eye equally so in the cabinet. Several other beautiful butterflies rewarded my search in this place, among which I may especially mention the Cethosia leschenaultii, whose wings of the deepest purple are bordered with buff in such a manner as to resemble at first sight our own Camberwell beauty, although it belongs to a different genus. The most abundant butterflies were the whites and yellows (Pieridae), several of which I had already found at Lombock and at Coupang, while others were new to me.
Early in February we made arrangements to stay for a week at a village called Baliba, situated about four miles off on the mountains, at an elevation of 2,000 feet. We took our baggage and a supply of all necessaries on packhorses; and though the distance by the route we took was not more than six or seven miles, we were half a day getting there. The roads were mere tracks, sometimes up steep rocky stairs, sometimes in narrow gullies worn by the horses' feet, and where it was necessary to tuck up our legs on our horses' necks to avoid having them crushed. At some of these places the baggage had to be unloaded, at others it was knocked off. Sometimes the ascent or descent was so steep that it was easier to walk than to cling to our ponies' backs; and thus we went up and down over bare hills whose surface was covered with small pebbles and scattered over with Eucalypti, reminding me of what I had read of parts of the interior of Australia rather than of the Malay Archipelago.
The village consisted of three houses only, with low walls raised a few feet on posts, and very high roofs thatched with brass hanging down to within two or three feet of the ground. A house which was unfinished and partly open at the back was given for our use, and in it we rigged up a table, some benches, and a screen, while an inner enclosed portion served us for a sleeping apartment. We had a splendid view down upon Delli and the sea beyond. The country around was undulating and open, except in the hollows, where there were some patches of forest, which Mr. Geach, who had been all over the eastern part of Timor, assured me was the most luxuriant he had yet seen in the island. I was in hopes of finding some insects here, but was much disappointed, owing perhaps to the dampness of the climate; for it was not until the sun was pretty high that the mists cleared away, and by noon we were generally clouded up again, so that there was seldom more than an hour or two of fitful sunshine. We searched in every direction for birds and other game, but they were very scarce. On our way I had shot the find white-headed pigeon, Ptilonopus cinctus, and the pretty little lorikeet, Trichoglossus euteles. I got a few more of these at the blossoms of the Eucalypti, and also the allied species Trichoglossus iris, and a few other small but interesting birds. The common jungle-cock of India (Gallus bankiva) was found here, and furnished us with some excellent meals; but we could get no deer. Potatoes are grown higher up the mountains in abundance, and are very good. We had a sheep killed every other day, and ate our mutton with much appetite in the cool climate, which rendered a fire always agreeable.
Although one-half the European residents in Delli are continually ill from fever, and the Portuguese have occupied the place for three centuries, no one has yet built a house on these fine hills, which, if a tolerable road were made, would be only an hour's ride from the town; and almost equally good situations might be found on a lower level at half an hour's distance. The fact that potatoes and wheat of excellent quality are grown in abundance at from 3,000 to 3,500 feet elevation, shows what the climate and soil are capable of if properly cultivated. From one to two thousand feet high, coffee would thrive; and there are hundreds of square miles of country over which all the varied products which require climates between those of coffee and wheat would flourish; but no attempt has yet been made to form a single mile of road, or a single acre of plantation!
There must be something very unusual in the climate of Timor to permit wheat being grown at so moderate an elevation. The grain is of excellent quality, the bread made from it being equal to any I have ever tasted, and it is universally acknowledged to be unsurpassed by any made from imported European or American flour. The fact that the natives have (quite of their own accord) taken to cultivating such foreign articles as wheat and potatoes, which they bring in small quantities on the backs of ponies by the most horrible mountain tracks, and sell very cheaply at the seaside, sufficiently indicates what might be done if good roads were made, and if the people were taught, encouraged, and protected. Sheep also do well on the mountains; and a breed of hardy ponies in much repute all over the Archipelago, runs half-wild, so that it appears as if this island, so barren-looking and devoid of the usual features of tropical vegetation, were yet especially adapted to supply a variety of products essential to Europeans, which the other islands will not produce, and which they accordingly import from the other side of the globe.
On the 24th of February my friend Mr. Geach left Timor, having finally reported that no minerals worth working were to be found. The Portuguese were very much annoyed, having made up their minds that copper is abundant, and still believing it to be so. It appears that from time immemorial pure native copper has been found at a place on the coast about thirty miles east of Delli.
The natives say they find it in the bed of a ravine, and many years ago a captain of a vessel is said to have got some hundreds-weight of it. Now, however, it is evidently very scarce, as during the two years Mr. Geach resided in the country, none was found. I was shown one piece several pounds' weight, having much the appearance of one of the larger Australian nuggets, but of pure copper instead of gold. The natives and the Portuguese have very naturally imagined that where these fragments come from there must be more; and they have a report or tradition, that a mountain at the head of the ravine is almost pure copper, and of course of immense value.
After much difficulty a company was at length formed to work the copper mountain, a Portuguese merchant of Singapore supplying most of the capital. So confident were they of the existence of the copper, that they thought it would be waste of time and money to have any exploration made first; and accordingly, sent to England for a mining engineer, who was to bring out all necessary tools, machinery, laboratory, utensils, a number of mechanics, and stores of all kinds for two years, in order to commence work on a copper-mine which he was told was already discovered. On reaching Singapore a ship was freighted to take the men and stores to Timor, where they at length arrived after much delay, a long voyage, and very great expense.
A day was then fixed to "open the mines." Captain Hart accompanied Mr. Geach as interpreter. The Governor, the Commandante, the Judge, and all the chief people of the place went in state to the mountain, with Mr. Geach's assistant and some of the workmen. As they went up the valley Mr. Leach examined the rocks, but saw no signs of copper. They went on and on, but still nothing except a few mere traces of very poor ore. At length they stood on the copper mountain itself. The Governor stopped, the officials formed a circle, and he then addressed them, saying, that at length the day had arrived they had all been so long expecting, when the treasures of the soil of Timor would be brought to light, and much more in very graandiloquent Portuguese; and concluded by turning to Mr. Leach, and requesting him to point out the best spot for them to begin work at once, and uncover the mass of virgin copper. As the ravines and precipices among which they had passed, and which had been carefully examined, revealed very clearly the nature and mineral constitution of the country, Mr. Geach simply told them that there was not a trace of copper there, and that it was perfectly useless to begin work. The audience were thunderstruck! The Governor could not believe his ears. At length, when Mr. Geach had repeated his statement, the Governor told him severely that he was mistaken; that they all knew there was copper there in abundance, and all they wanted him to tell them, as a mining-engineer, was how best to get at it; and that at all events he was to begin work somewhere. This Mr. Geach refused to do, trying to explain that the ravines had cut far deeper into the hill than he could do in years, and that he would not throw away money or time on any such useless attempt. After this speech had been interpreted to him, the Governor saw it was no use, and without saying a word turned his horse and rode away, leaving my friends alone on the mountain. They all believed there was some conspiracy that the Englishman would not find the copper, and that they had been cruelly betrayed.
Mr. Geach then wrote to the Singapore merchant who was his employer, and it was arranged that he should send the mechanics home again, and himself explore the country for minerals. At first the Government threw obstacles in his way and entirely prevented his moving; but at length he was allowed to travel about, and for more than a year he and his assistant explored the eastern part of Timor, crossing it in several places from sea to sea, and ascending every important valley, without finding any minerals that would pay the expense of working. Copper ore exists in several places, but always too poor in quality. The best would pay well if situated in England; but in the interior of an utterly barren country, with roads to make, and all skilled labour and materials to import, it would have been a losing concern. Gold also occurs, but very sparingly and of poor quality. A fine spring of pure petroleum was discovered far in the interior, where it can never be available until the country is civilized. The whole affair was a dreadful disappointment to the Portuguese Government, who had considered it such a certain thing that they had contracted for the Dutch mail steamers to stop at Delli and several vessels from Australia were induced to come with miscellaneous cargoes, for which they expected to find a ready sale among the population at the newly- opened mines. The lumps of native copper are still, however, a mystery. Mr. Geach has examined the country in every direction without being able to trace their origin; so that it seems probable that they result from the debris of old copper-bearing strata, and are not really more abundant than gold nuggets are in Australia or California. A high reward was offered to any native who should find a piece and show the exact spot where he obtained it, but without effect.
The mountaineers of Timor are a people of Papuan type, having rather slender forms, bushy frizzled hair, and the skin of a dusky brown colour. They have the long nose with overhanging apex which is so characteristic of the Papuan, and so absolutely unknown among races of Malayan origin. On the coast there has been much admixture of some of the Malay races, and perhaps of Hindu, as well as of Portuguese. The general stature there is lower, the hair wavy instead of frizzled, and the features less prominent. The houses are built on the ground, while the mountaineers raise theirs on posts three or four feet high. The common dress is a long cloth, twisted around the waist and hanging to the knee, as shown in the illustration (page 305), copied from a photograph. Both men carry the national umbrella, made of an entire fan-shaped palm leaf, carefully stitched at the fold of each leaflet to prevent splitting. This is opened out, and held sloping over the head and back during a shower. The small water-bucket is made from an entire unopened leaf of the same palm, and the covered bamboo probably contains honey for sale. A curious wallet is generally carried, consisting of a square of strongly woven cloth, the four corners of which are connected by cords, and often much ornamented with beads and tassels. Leaning against the house behind the figure on the right are bamboos, used instead of water jars.
A prevalent custom is the "pomali," exactly equivalent to the "taboo" of the Pacific islanders, and equally respected. It is used on the commonest occasions, and a few palm leaves stuck outside a garden as a sign of the "pomali" will preserve its produce from thieves as effectually as the threatening notice of man-traps, spring guns, or a savage dog would do with us. The dead are placed on a stage, raised six or eight feet above the ground, sometimes open and sometimes covered with a roof. Here the body remains until the relatives can afford to make a feast, when it is buried. The Timorese are generally great thieves, but are not bloodthirsty. They fight continually among themselves, and take every opportunity of kidnapping unprotected people of other tribes for slaves; but Europeans may pass anywhere through the country in safety. Except for a few half-breeds in the town, there are no native Christians in the island of Timor. The people retain their independence in a great measure, and both dislike and despise their would-be rulers, whether Portuguese or Dutch.
TIMOR MEN (from a photograph)
The Portuguese government in Timor is a most miserable one. Nobody seems to care the least about the improvement of the country, and at this time, after three hundred years of occupation, there has not been a mile of road made beyond the town, and there is not a solitary European resident anywhere in the interior. All the Government officials oppress and rob the natives as much as they can, and yet there is no care taken to render the town defensible should the Timorese attempt to attack it. So ignorant are the military officers, that having received a small mortar and some shells, no one could be found who knew how to use them; and during an insurrection of the natives (while I was at Delli) the officer who expected to be sent against the insurgents was instantly taken ill! And they were allowed to get possession of an important pass within three miles of the town, where they could defend themselves against ten times the force. The result was that no provisions were brought down from the hills; a famine was imminent; and the Governor had to send off to beg for supplies from the Dutch Governor of Amboyna.|
In its present state Timor is more trouble than profit to its Dutch and Portuguese rulers, and it will continue to be so unless a different system is pursued. A few good roads into the elevated districts of the interior; a conciliatory policy and strict justice towards the natives, and the introduction of a good system of cultivation as in Java and northern Celebes, might yet make Timor a productive and valuable island. Rice grows well on the marshy flats, which often fringe the coast, and maize thrives in all the lowlands, and is the common food of the natives as it was when Dampier visited the island in 1699. The small quantity of coffee now grown is of very superior quality, and it might be increased to any extent. Sheep thrive, and would always be valuable as fresh food for whalers and to supply the adjacent islands with mutton, if not for their wool; although it is probable that on the mountains this product might soon be obtained by judicious breeding. Horses thrive amazingly; and enough wheat might be grown to supply the whole Archipelago if there were sufficient inducements to the natives to extend its cultivation, and good roads by which it could be cheaply transported to the coast.
Under such a system the natives would soon perceive that European government was advantageous to them. They would begin to save money, and property being rendered secure they would rapidly acquire new wants and new tastes, and become large consumers of European goods. This would be a far surer source of profit to their rulers than imposts and extortion, and would be at the same time more likely to produce peace and obedience than the mock-military rule which has hitherto proved most ineffective. To inaugurate such a system would however require an immediate outlay of capital, which neither Dutch nor Portuguese seem inclined to make, and a number of honest and energetic officials, which the latter nation at least seems unable to produce; so that it is much to be feared that Timor will for many years to come remain in its present state of chronic insurrection and mis-government. [footnote: When Mr. H.O. Forbes visited Delli in 1883, a slight improvement had taken place under a more energetic governor.]
Morality at Delli is at as low an ebb as in the far interior of Brazil, and crimes are connived at which would entail infamy and criminal prosecution in Europe. While I was there it was generally asserted and believed in the place, that two officers had poisoned the husbands of women with whom they were carrying on intrigues, and with whom they immediately cohabited on the death of their rivals. Yet no one ever thought for a moment of showing disapprobation of the crime, or even of considering it a crime at all, the husbands in question being low half-castes, who of course ought to make way for the pleasures of their superiors.
Judging from what I saw myself and by the descriptions of Mr. Geach, the indigenous vegetation of Timor is poor and monotonous. The lower ranges of the hills are everywhere covered with scrubby Eucalypti, which only occasionally grow into lofty forest trees. Mingled with these in smaller quantities are acacias and the fragrant sandalwood, while the higher mountains, which rise to about six or seven thousand feet, are either covered with coarse grass or are altogether barren. In the lower grounds are a variety of weedy bushes, and open waste places are covered everywhere with a nettle-like wild mint. Here is found the beautiful crown lily, Gloriosa superba, winding among the bushes, and displaying its magnificent blossoms in great profusion. A wild vine also occurs, bearing great irregular bunches of hairy grapes of a coarse but very luscious flavour. In some of the valleys where the vegetation is richer, thorny shrubs and climbers are so abundant as to make the thickets quite impenetrable. [footnote: Mr H.O. Forbes collected plants assiduously for six months in the eastern portion of Timor, and obtained about 255 species of flowering plants, a very small number for a tropical island. The total number of species known from the whole island is considerably less than a thousand, although it was visited by the celebrated Robert Brown in 1803, and later by numberous continental botanists and collectors. (See Forbes' Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago, pp.497-523.)]
The soil seems very poor, consisting chiefly of decomposing clayey shales; and the bare earth and rock is almost everywhere visible. The drought of the hot season is so severe that most of the streams dry up in the plains before they reach the sea; everything becomes burned up, and the leaves of the larger trees fall as completely as in our winter. On the mountains from two to four thousand feet elevation there is a much moister atmosphere, so that potatoes and other European products can be grown all the year round. Besides ponies, almost the only exports of Timor are sandalwood and beeswax. The sandalwood (Santalum sp.) is the produce of a small tree, which grows sparingly in the mountains of Timor and many of the other islands in the far East. The wood is of a fine yellow colour, and possesses a well-known delightful fragrance which is wonderfully permanent. It is brought down to Delli in small logs, and is chiefly exported to China, where it is largely used to burn in the temples, and in the houses of the wealthy.
The beeswax is a still more important and valuable product, formed by the wild bees (Apis dorsata), which build huge honeycombs, suspended in the open air from the underside of the lofty branches of the highest trees. These are of a semicircular form, and often three or four feet in diameter. I once saw the natives take a bees' nest, and a very interesting sight it was. In the valley where I used to collect insects, I one day saw three or four Timorese men and boys under a high tree, and, looking up, saw on a very lofty horizontal branch three large bees' combs. The tree was straight and smooth- barked and without a branch, until at seventy or eighty feet from the ground it gave out the limb which the bees had chosen for their home. As the men were evidently looking after the bees, I waited to watch their operations. One of them first produced a long piece of wood apparently the stem of a small tree or creeper, which he had brought with him, and began splitting it through in several directions, which showed that it was very tough and stringy. He then wrapped it in palm- leaves, which were secured by twisting a slender creeper round them. He then fastened his cloth tightly round his loins, and producing another cloth wrapped it around his head, neck, and body, and tied it firmly around his neck, leaving his face, arms, and legs completely bare. Slung to his girdle he carried a long thin coil of cord; and while he had been making these preparations, one of his companions had cut a strong creeper or bush-rope eight or ten yards long, to one end of which the wood-torch was fastened, and lighted at the bottom, emitting a steady stream of smoke. Just above the torch a chopping- knife was fastened by a short cord.
The bee-hunter now took hold of the bush-rope just above the torch and passed the other end around the trunk of the tree, holding one end in each hand. Jerking it up the tree a little above his head he set his foot against the trunk, and leaning back began walking up it. It was wonderful to see the skill with which he took advantage of the slightest irregularities of the bark or obliquity of the stem to aid his ascent, jerking the stiff creeper a few feet higher when he had found a firm hold for his bare foot. It almost made me giddy to look at him as he rapidly got up--thirty, forty, fifty feet above the ground; and I kept wondering how he could possibly mount the next few feet of straight smooth trunk. Still, however, he kept on with as much coolness and apparent certainty as if he were going up a ladder, until he got within ten or fifteen feet of the bees. Then he stopped a moment, and took care to swing the torch (which hung just at his feet) a little towards these dangerous insects, so as to send up the stream of smoke between him and them. Still going on, in a minute more he brought himself under the limb, and, in a manner quite unintelligible to me, seeing that both hands were occupied in supporting himself by the creeper, managed to get upon it.
By this time the bees began to be alarmed, and formed a dense buzzing swarm just over him, but he brought the torch up closer to him, and coolly brushed away those that settled on his arms or legs. Then stretching himself along the limb, he crept towards the nearest comb and swung the torch just under it. The moment the smoke touched it, its colour changed in a most curious manner from black to white, the myriads of bees that had covered it flying off and forming a dense cloud above and around. The man then lay at full length along the limb, and brushed off the remaining bees with his hand, and then drawing his knife cut off the comb at one slice close to the tree, and attaching the thin cord to it, let it down to his companions below. He was all this time enveloped in a crowd of angry bees, and how he bore their stings so coolly, and went on with his work at that giddy height so deliberately, was more than I could understand. The bees were evidently not stupified by the smoke or driven away far by it, and it was impossible that the small stream from the torch could protect his whole body when at work. There were three other combs on the same tree, and all were successively taken, and furnished the whole party with a luscious feast of honey and young bees, as well as a valuable lot of wax.
After two of the combs had been let down, the bees became rather numerous below, flying about wildly and stinging viciously. Several got about me, and I was soon stung, and had to run away, beating them off with my net and capturing them for specimens. Several of them followed me for at least half a mile, getting into my hair and persecuting me most pertinaciously, so that I was more astonished than ever at the immunity of the natives. I am inclined to think that slow and deliberate motion, and no attempt at escape, are perhaps the best safeguards. A bee settling on a passive native probably behaves as it would on a tree or other inanimate substance, which it does not attempt to sting. Still they must often suffer, but they are used to the pain and learn to bear it impassively, as without doing so no man could be a bee-hunter.
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE TIMOR GROUP
IF we look at a map of the Archipelago, nothing seems more unlikely than that the closely connected chain of islands from Java to Timor should differ materially in their natural productions. There are, it is true, certain differences of climate and of physical geography, but these do not correspond with the division the naturalist is obliged to make. Between the two ends of the chain there is a great contrast of climate, the west being exceedingly moist and leaving only a short and irregular dry season, the east being as dry and parched up, and having but a short wet season. This change, however, occurs about the middle of Java, the eastern portion of that island having as strongly marked seasons as Lombock and Timor. There is also a difference in physical geography; but this occurs at the eastern termination of the chain where the volcanoes which are the marked feature of Java, Bali, Lombock, Sumbawa, and Flores, turn northwards through Gunong Api to Banda, leaving Timor with only one volcanic peak near its centre, while the main portion of the island consists of old sedimentary rocks. Neither of these physical differences corresponds with the remarkable change in natural productions which occurs at the Straits of Lombock, separating the island of that name from Bali, and which is at once so large in amount and of so fundamental a character, as to form an important feature in the zoological geography of our globe.
The Dutch naturalist Zollinger, who resided a long time on the island of Bali, informs us that its productions completely assimilate with those of Java, and that he is not aware of a single animal found in it which does not inhabit the larger island. During the few days which I stayed on the north coast of Bali on my way to Lombock, I saw several birds highly characteristic of Javan ornithology. Among these were the yellow-headed weaver (Ploceus hypoxantha), the black grasshopper thrush (Copsychus amoenus), the rosy barbet (Megalaema rosea), the Malay oriole (Oriolus horsfieldi), the Java ground starling (Sturnopastor jalla), and the Javanese three-toed woodpecker (Chrysonotus tiga). On crossing over to Lombock, separated from Bali by a strait less than twenty miles wide, I naturally expected to meet with some of these birds again; but during a stay there of three months I never saw one of them, but found a totally different set of species, most of which were utterly unknown not only in Java, but also in Borneo, Sumatra, and Malacca. For example, among the commonest birds in Lombock were white cockatoos and three species of Meliphagidae or honeysuckers, belonging to family groups which are entirely absent from the western or Indo-Malayan region of the Archipelago. On passing to Flores and Timor the distinctness from the Javanese productions increases, and we find that these islands form a natural group, whose birds are related to those of Java and Australia, but are quite distinct from either. Besides my own collections in Lombock and Timor, my assistant Mr. Allen made a good collection in Flores; and these, with a few species obtained by the Dutch naturalists, enable us to form a very good idea of the natural history of this group of islands, and to derive therefrom some very interesting results.
The number of birds known from these islands up to this date is: 63 from Lombock, 86 from Flores, and 118 from Timor; and from the whole group, 188 species. [footnote: Four or five new species have been since added from the island of Sumbawa. (See Guillemard's Cruise of the Marchesa, Vol. II, p.364.)] With the exception of two or three species which appear to have been derived from the Moluccas, all these birds can be traced, either directly or by close allies, to Java on the one side or to Australia on the other; although no less than 82 of them are found nowhere out of this small group of islands. There is not, however, a single genus peculiar to the group, or even one which is largely represented in it by peculiar species; and this is a fact which indicates that the fauna is strictly derivative, and that its origin does not go back beyond one of the most recent geological epochs. Of course there are a large number of species (such as most of the waders, many of the raptorial birds, some of the kingfishers, swallows, and a few others), which range so widely over a large part of the Archipelago that it is impossible to trace them as having come from any one part rather than from another. There are fifty-seven such species in my list, and besides these there are thirty-five more which, though peculiar to the Timor group, are yet allied to wide- ranging forms. Deducting these ninety-two species, we have nearly a hundred birds left whose relations with those of other countries we will now consider.
If we first take those species which, as far as we yet know, are absolutely confined to each island, we find, in:
||genera, of which
||1 is Australian,
||5 are "
||16 are "
The actual number of peculiar species in each island I do not suppose to be at all accurately determined, since the rapidly increasing numbers evidently depend upon the more extensive collections made in Timor than in Flores, and in Flores than in Lombock; but what we can depend more upon, and what is of more special interest, is the greatly increased proportion of Australian forms and decreased proportion of Indian forms, as we go from west to east. We shall show this in a yet more striking manner by counting the number of species identical with those of Java and Australia respectively in each island, thus:
Here we see plainly the course of the migration which has been going on for hundreds or thousands of years, and is still going on at the present day. Birds entering from Java are most numerous in the island nearest Java; each strait of the sea to be crossed to reach another island offers an obstacle, and thus a smaller number get over to the next island. [footnote: The names of all the birds inhabiting these islands are to be found in the "Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London" for the year 1863.] It will be observed that the number of birds that appear to have entered from Australia is much less than those which have come from Java; and we may at first sight suppose that this is due to the wide sea that separates Australia from Timor. But this would be a hasty and, as we shall soon see, an unwarranted supposition. Besides these birds identical with species inhabiting Java and Australia, there are a considerable number of others very closely allied to species peculiar to those countries, and we must take these also into account before we form any conclusion on the matter. It will be as well to combine these with the former table thus:
|Closely allied to Javan birds
|Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
|Closely allied to Australian birds
|Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
We now see that the total number of birds which seem to have been derived from Java and Australia is very nearly equal, but there is this remarkable difference between the two series: that whereas the larger proportion by far of the Java set are identical with those still inhabiting that country, an almost equally large proportion of the Australian set are distinct, though often very closely allied species. It is to be observed also, that these representative or allied species diminish in number as they recede from Australia, while they increase in number as they recede from Java. There are two reasons for this, one being that the islands decrease rapidly in size from Timor to Lombock, and can therefore support a decreasing number of species; the other and the more important is, that the distance of Australia from Timor cuts off the supply of fresh immigrants, and has thus allowed variation to have full play; while the vicinity of Lombock to Bali and Java has allowed a continual influx of fresh individuals which, by crossing with the earlier immigrants, has checked variation.
To simplify our view of the derivative origin of the birds of these islands let us treat them as a whole, and thus perhaps render more intelligible their respective relations to Java and Australia.
The Timor group of islands contains:
|Closely allied species
||Closely allied species
|Derived from Java
||Derived from Australia
We have here a wonderful agreement in the number of birds belonging to Australian and Javanese groups, but they are divided in exactly a reverse manner, three-fourths of the Javan birds being identical species and one-fourth representatives, while only one-fourth of the Australian forms are identical and three-fourths representatives. This is the most important fact which we can elicit from a study of the birds of these islands, since it gives us a very complete clue to much of their past history. [footnote: The new species of birds discovered in the group since this was written are so few, and so equally distributed between the two regions, that they will not affect the conclusions here arrived at.]
Change of species is a slow process--on that we are all agreed, though we may differ about how it has taken place. The fact that the Australian species in these islands have mostly changed, while the Javan species have almost all remained unchanged, would therefore indicate that the district was first peopled from Australia. But, for this to have been the case, the physical conditions must have been very different from what they are now. Nearly three hundred miles of open sea now separate Australia from Timor, which island is connected with Java by a chain of broken land divided by straits which are nowhere more than about twenty miles wide. Evidently there are now great facilities for the natural productions of Java to spread over and occupy the whole of these islands, while those of Australia would find very great difficulty in getting across. To account for the present state of things, we should naturally suppose that Australia was once much more closely connected with Timor than it is at present; and that this was the case is rendered highly probable by the fact of a submarine bank extending along all the north and west coast of Australia, and at one place approaching within twenty miles of the coast of Timor. This indicates a recent subsidence of North Australia, which probably once extended as far as the edge of this bank, between which and Timor there is an unfathomed depth of ocean.
I do not think that Timor was ever actually connected with Australia, because such a large number of very abundant and characteristic groups of Australian birds are quite absent, and not a single Australian mammal has entered Timor-- which would certainly not have been the case had the lands been actually united. Such groups as the bower birds (Ptilonorhynchus), the black and red cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus), the blue wrens (Malurus), the crowshrikes (Cracticus), the Australian shrikes (Falcunculus and Colluricincla), and many others, which abound all over Australia, would certainly have spread into Timor if it had been united to that country, or even if for any long time it had approached nearer to it than twenty miles. Neither do any of the most characteristic groups of Australian insects occur in Timor; so that everything combines to indicate that a strait of the sea has always separated it from Australia, but that at one period this strait was reduced to a width of about twenty miles.
But at the time when this narrowing of the sea took place in one direction, there must have been a greater separation at the other end of the chain, or we should find more equality in the numbers of identical and representative species derived from each extremity. It is true that the widening of the strait at the Australian end by subsidence, would, by putting a stop to immigration and intercrossing of individuals from the mother country, have allowed full scope to the causes which have led to the modification of the species; while the continued stream of immigrants from Java, would, by continual intercrossing, check such modification. This view will not, however, explain all the facts; for the character of the fauna of the Timorese group is indicated as well by the forms which are absent from it as by those which it contains, and is by this kind of evidence shown to be much more Australian than Indian. No less than twenty-nine genera, all more or less abundant in Java, and most of which range over a wide area, are altogether absent; while of the equally diffused Australian genera only about fourteen are wanting. This would clearly indicate that there has been, until recently, a wide separation from Java; and the fact that the islands of Bali and Lombock are small, and are almost wholly volcanic, and contain a smaller number of modified forms than the other islands, would point them out as of comparatively recent origin. A wide arm of the sea probably occupied their place at the time when Timor was in the closest proximity to Australia; and as the subterranean fires were slowly piling up the now fertile islands of Bali and Lombock, the northern shores of Australia would be sinking beneath the ocean. Some such changes as have been here indicated, enable us to understand how it happens, that though the birds of this group are on the whole almost as much Indian as Australian, yet the species which are peculiar to the group are mostly Australian in character; and also why such a large number of common Indian forms which extend through Java to Bali, should not have transmitted a single representative to the island further east.
The Mammalia of Timor as well as those of the other islands of the group are exceedingly scanty, with the exception of bats. These last are tolerably abundant, and no doubt many more remain to be discovered. Out of fifteen species known from Timor, nine are found also in Java, or the islands west of it; three are Moluccan species, most of which are also found in Australia, and the rest are peculiar to Timor.
The land mammals are only seven in number, as follows: 1. The common monkey, Macacus cynomolgus, which is found in all the Indo-Malayan islands, and has spread from Java through Bali and Lombock to Timor. This species is very frequent on the banks of rivers, and may have been conveyed from island to island on trees carried down by hoods. 2. Paradoxurus fasciatus; a civet cat, very common over a large part of the Archipelago. 3. Felis megalotis; a tiger cat, said to be peculiar to Timor, where it exists only in the interior, and is very rare. Its nearest allies are in Java. 4. Cervus timoriensis; a deer, closely allied to the Javan and Moluccan species, if distinct. 5. A wild pig, Sus timoriensis; perhaps the same as some of the Moluccan species. 6. A shrew mouse, Sorex tenuis; supposed to be peculiar to Timor. 7. An Eastern opossum, Cuscus orientalis; found also in the Moluccas, if not a distinct species.
The fact that not one of these species is Australia or nearly allied to any Australian form, is strongly corroborative of the opinion that Timor has never formed a part of that country; as in that case some kangaroo or other marsupial animal would almost certainly be found there. It is no doubt very difficult to account for the presence of some of the few mammals that do exist in Timor, especially the tiger cat and the deer. We must consider, however, that during thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, these islands and the seas between them have been subjected to volcanic action. The land has been raised and has sunk again; the straits have been narrowed or widened; many of the islands may have been joined and dissevered again; violent floods have again and again devastated the mountains and plains, carrying out to sea hundreds of forest trees, as has often happened during volcanic eruptions in Java; and it does not seem improbable that once in a thousand, or ten thousand years, there should have occurred such a favourable combination of circumstances as would lead to the migration of two or three land animals from one island to another. This is all that we need ask to account for the very scanty and fragmentary group of Mammalia which now inhabit the large island of Timor. The deer may very probably have been introduced by man, for the Malays often keep tame fawns; and it may not require a thousand, or even five hundred years, to establish new characters in an animal removed to a country so different in climate and vegetation as is Timor from the Moluccas. I have not mentioned horses, which are often thought to be wild in Timor, because there are no grounds whatever for such a belief. The Timor ponies have every one an owner, and are quite as much domesticated animals as the cattle on a South American hacienda.
I have dwelt at some length upon the origin of the Timorese fauna because it appears to be a most interesting and instructive problem. It is very seldom that we can trace the animals of a district so clearly as we can in this case to two definite sources, and still more rarely that they furnish such decisive evidence of the time, the manner, and the proportions of their introduction. We have here a group of Oceanic Islands in miniature--islands which have never formed part of the adjacent lands, although so closely approaching them; and their productions have the characteristics of true Oceanic islands slightly modified. These characteristics are: the absence all Mammalia except bats; and the occurrence of peculiar species of birds, insects, and land shells, which, though found nowhere else, are plainly related to those of the nearest land. Thus, we have an entire absence of Australian mammals, and the presence of only a few stragglers from the west which can be accounted for in the manner already indicated. Bats are tolerably abundant.
Birds have many peculiar species, with a decided relationship to those of the two nearest masses of land. The insects have similar relations with the birds. As an example, four species of the Papilionidae are peculiar to Timor, three others are also found in Java, and one in Australia. Of the four peculiar species two are decided modifications of Javanese forms, while the others seen allied to those of the Moluccas and Celebes. The very few land shells known are all, curiously enough, allied to or identical with Moluccan or Celebes forms. The Pieridae (white and yellow butterflies) which wander more, and from frequenting open grounds, are more liable to be blown out to sea, seem about equally related to those of Java, Australia, and the Moluccas.
It has been objected to in Mr. Darwin's theory, of Oceanic Islands having never been connected with the mainland, that this would imply that their animal population was a matter of chance; it has been termed the "flotsam and jetsam theory," and it has been maintained that nature does not work by the "chapter of accidents." But in the case which I have here described, we have the most positive evidence that such has been the mode of peopling the islands. Their productions are of that miscellaneous character which we should expect front such an origin; and to suppose that they have been portions of Australia or of Java will introduce perfectly gratuitous difficulties, and render it quite impossible to explain those curious relations which the best known group of animals (the birds) have been shown to exhibit. On the other hand, the depth of the surrounding seas, the form of the submerged banks, and the volcanic character of most of the islands, all point to an independent origin.
Before concluding, I must make one remark to avoid misapprehension. When I say that Timor has never formed part of Australia, I refer only to recent geological epochs. In Secondary or even Eocene or Miocene times, Timor and Australia may have been connected; but if so, all record of such a union has been lost by subsequent submergence, and in accounting for the present land-inhabitants of any country we have only to consider those changes which have occurred since its last elevation above the waters since such last elevation, I feel confident that Timor has not formed part of Australia.