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The Malay Archipelago Volume 1 by by Alfred Russell Wallace

Part 4 out of 6

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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

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

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.

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

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



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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.



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. 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:

Lombock 4 belonging to 2 genera, of which 1 is Australian, 1 Indian.
Flores 12 " 7 " 5 are " 2 "
Timor 42 " 20 " 16 are " 4 "

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:

In Lombock. In Flores. In Timor.
Javan birds . . . . 33 23 11
Australian birds . . 4 5 10

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. [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:

In Lombock. In Flores. In Timor.
Javan birds . . . . . . . . . . .33 23 11
Closely allied to Javan birds . . 1 5 6
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 28 17

Australian birds . . . . . . . . . 4 5 10
Closely allied to Australian birds 3 9 26
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 14 36

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:

Javan birds . . . . . . . 36 Australian birds . . . 13
Closely allied species . . 11 Closely allied species . . 35
Derived from Java . . . . 47 Derived from Australia . . . 48

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.

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

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

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.




I LEFT Lombock on the 30th of August, and reached Macassar in
three days. It was with great satisfaction that I stepped on a
shore which I had been vainly trying to reach since February, and
where I expected to meet with so much that was new and

The coast of this part of Celebes is low and flat, lined with
trees and villages so as to conceal the interior, except at
occasional openings which show a wide extent of care and marshy
rice-fields. A few hills of no great height were visible in the
background; but owing to the perpetual haze over the land at this
time of the year, I could nowhere discern the high central range
of the peninsula, or the celebrated peak of Bontyne at its
southern extremity. In the roadstead of Macassar there was a
fine 42-gun frigate, the guardship of the place, as well as a
small war steamer and three or four little cutters used for
cruising after the pirates which infest these seas. There were
also a few square-rigged trading-vessels, and twenty or thirty
native praus of various sizes. I brought letters of introduction to
a Dutch gentleman, Mr. Mesman, and also to a Danish shopkeeper,
who could both speak English and who promised to assist me in
finding a place to stay, suitable for my pursuits. In the
meantime, I went to a kind of clubhouse, in default of any hotel in
the place.

Macassar was the first Dutch town I had visited, and I found it
prettier and cleaner than any I had yet seen in the East. The
Dutch have some admirable local regulations. All European houses
must be kept well white-washed, and every person must, at four in
the afternoon, water the road in front of his house. The streets
are kept clear of refuse, and covered drains carry away all
impurities into large open sewers, into which the tide is
admitted at high-water and allowed to flow out when it has ebbed,
carrying all the sewage with it into the sea. The town consists
chiefly of one long narrow street along the seaside, devoted to
business, and principally occupied by the Dutch and Chinese
merchants' offices and warehouses, and the native shops or
bazaars. This extends northwards for more than a mile, gradually
merging into native houses often of a most miserable description,
but made to have a neat appearance by being all built up exactly
to the straight line of the street, and being generally backed by
fruit trees. This street is usually thronged with a native
population of Bugis and Macassar men, who wear cotton trousers
about twelve inches long, covering only from the hip to half-way
down the thigh, and the universal Malay sarong, of gay checked
colours, worn around the waist or across the shoulders in a
variety of ways. Parallel to this street run two short ones
which form the old Dutch town, and are enclosed by gates. These
consist of private houses, and at their southern end is the fort,
the church, and a road at right angles to the beach, containing
the houses of the Governor and of the principal officials. Beyond
the fort, again along the beach, is another long street of native
huts and many country-houses of the tradesmen and merchants. All
around extend the flat rice-fields, now bare and dry and
forbidding, covered with dusty stubble and weeds. A few months
back these were a mass of verdure, and their barren appearance at
this season offered a striking contrast to the perpetual crops on
the same kind of country in Lombock and Bali, where the seasons
are exactly similar, but where an elaborate system of irrigation
produces the effect of a perpetual spring.

The day after my arrival I paid a visit of ceremony to the
Governor, accompanied by my friend the Danish merchant, who spoke
excellent English. His Excellency was very polite, and offered me
every facility for travelling about the country and prosecuting
my researches in natural history. We conversed in French, which
all Dutch officials speak very well.

Finding it very inconvenient and expensive to stay in the town,
I removed at the end of a week to a little bamboo house, kindly
offered me by Mr. Mesman. It was situated about two miles away,
on a small coffee plantation and farm, and about a mile beyond
Mr. M.'s own country-house. It consisted of two rooms raised
about seven feet above the ground, the lower part being partly
open (and serving excellently to skin birds in) and partly used
as a granary for rice. There was a kitchen and other outhouses,
and several cottages nearby, occupied by men in Mr. M.'s employ.

After being settled a few days in my new house, I found that no
collections could be made without going much further into the
country. The rice-fields for some miles around resembled English
stubbles late in autumn, and were almost as unproductive of bird
or insect life. There were several native villages scattered
about, so embosomed in fruit trees that at a distance they looked
like clumps or patches of forest. These were my only collecting
places; but they produced a very limited number of species, and
were soon exhausted. Before I could move to any more promising
district it was necessary to obtain permission from the Rajah of
Goa, whose territories approach to within two miles of the town
of Macassar. I therefore presented myself at the Governor's
office and requested a letter to the Rajah, to claim his
protection, and permission to travel in his territories whenever
I might wish to do so. This was immediately granted, and a
special messenger was sent with me to carry the letter.

My friend Mr. Mesman kindly lent me a horse, and accompanied me
on my visit to the Rajah, with whom he was great friends. We
found his Majesty seated out of doors, watching the erection of a
new house. He was naked from the waist up, wearing only the usual
short trousers and sarong. Two chairs were brought out for us,
but all the chiefs and other natives were seated on the ground.
The messenger, squatting down at the Rajah's feet, produced the
letter, which was sewn up in a covering of yellow silk. It was
handed to one of the chief officers, who ripped it open and
returned it to the Rajah, who read it, and then showed it to Mr.
M., who both speaks and reads the Macassar language fluently, and
who explained fully what I required. Permission was immediately
granted me to go where I liked in the territories of Goa, but the
Rajah desired, that should I wish to stay any time at a place I
would first give him notice, in order that he might send someone
to see that no injury was done me. Some wine was then brought us,
and afterwards some detestable coffee and wretched sweetmeats,
for it is a fact that I have never tasted good coffee where
people grow it themselves.

Although this was the height of the dry season, and there was a
fine wind all day, it was by no means a healthy time of year. My
boy Ali had hardly been a day on shore when he was attacked by
fever, which put me to great inconvenience, as at the house where
I was staying, nothing could be obtained but at mealtime. After
having cured Ali, and with much difficulty got another servant to
cook for me, I was no sooner settled at my country abode than the
latter was attacked with the same disease; and, having a wife in
the town, left me. Hardly was he gone than I fell ill myself with
strong intermittent fever every other day. In about a week I got
over it, by a liberal use of quinine, when scarcely was I on my
legs than Ali again became worse than ever. Ali's fever attacked
him daily, but early in the morning he was pretty well, and then
managed to cook enough for me for the day. In a week I cured him,
and also succeeded in getting another boy who could cook and shoot,
and had no objection to go into the interior. His name was
Baderoon, and as he was unmarried and had been used to a roving
life, having been several voyages to North Australia to catch
trepang or "beche de mer", I was in hopes of being able to keep
him. I also got hold of a little impudent rascal of twelve or
fourteen, who could speak some Malay, to carry my gun or insect-
net and make himself generally useful. Ali had by this time
become a pretty good bird-skinner, so that I was fairly supplied
with servants.

I made many excursions into the country, in search of a good
station for collecting birds and insects. Some of the villages a
few miles inland are scattered about in woody ground which has
once been virgin forest, but of which the constituent trees have
been for the most part replaced by fruit trees, and particularly
by the large palm, Arenga saccharifera, from which wine and sugar
are made, and which also produces a coarse black fibre used for
cordage. That necessary of life, the bamboo, has also been
abundantly planted. In such places I found a good many birds,
among which were the fine cream-coloured pigeon, Carpophaga
luctuosa, and the rare blue-headed roller, Coracias temmincki,
which has a most discordant voice, and generally goes in pairs,
flying from tree to tree, and exhibiting while at rest that all-
in-a-heap appearance and jerking motion of the head and tail
which are so characteristic of the great Fissirostral group to
which it belongs. From this habit alone, the kingfishers, bee-
eaters, rollers, trogons, and South American puff-birds, might be
grouped together by a person who had observed them in a state of
nature, but who had never had an opportunity of examining their
form and structure in detail. Thousands of crows, rather smaller
than our rook, keep up a constant cawing in these plantations;
the curious wood-swallows (Artami), which closely resemble
swallows in their habits and flight but differ much in form and
structure, twitter from the tree-tops; while a lyre-tailed
drongo-shrike, with brilliant black plumage and milk-white eyes,
continually deceives the naturalist by the variety of its
unmelodious notes.

In the more shady parts butterflies were tolerably abundant; the
most common being species of Euplaea and Danais, which frequent
gardens and shrubberies, and owing to their weak flight are
easily captured. A beautiful pale blue and black butterfly, which
flutters along near the ground among the thickets, and settles
occasionally upon flowers, was one of the most striking; and
scarcely less so, was one with a rich orange band on a blackish
ground--these both belong to the Pieridae, the group that
contains our common white butterflies, although differing so much
from them in appearance. Both were quite new to European
naturalists. [The former has been named Eronia tritaea; the
latter Tachyris ithonae.] Now and then I extended my walks some
miles further, to the only patch of true forest I could find,
accompanied by my two boys with guns and insect-net. We used to
start early, taking our breakfast with us, and eating it wherever
we could find shade and water. At such times my Macassar boys
would put a minute fragment of rice and meat or fish on a leaf,
and lay it on a stone or stump as an offering to the deity of the
spot; for though nominal Mahometans the Macassar people retain
many pagan superstitions, and are but lax in their religious
observances. Pork, it is true, they hold in abhorrence, but will
not refuse wine when offered them, and consume immense quantities
of "sagueir," or palm-wine, which is about as intoxicating as
ordinary beer or cider. When well made it is a very refreshing
drink, and we often took a draught at some of the little sheds
dignified by the name of bazaars, which are scattered about the
country wherever there is any traffic.

One day Mr. Mesman told me of a larger piece of forest where he
sometimes went to shoot deer, but he assured me it was much
further off, and that there were no birds. However, I resolved to
explore it, and the next morning at five o'clock we started,
carrying our breakfast and some other provisions with us, and
intending to stay the night at a house on the borders of the
wood. To my surprise two hours' hard walking brought us to this
house, where we obtained permission to pass the night. We then
walked on, Ali and Baderoon with a gun each, Paso carrying our
provisions and my insect-box, while I took only my net and
collecting-bottle and determined to devote myself wholly to the
insects. Scarcely had I entered the forest when I found some
beautiful little green and gold speckled weevils allied to the
genus Pachyrhynchus, a group which is almost confined to the
Philippine Islands, and is quite unknown in Borneo, Java, or
Malacca. The road was shady and apparently much trodden by horses
and cattle, and I quickly obtained some butterflies I had not
before met with. Soon a couple of reports were heard, and coming
up to my boys I found they had shot two specimens of one of the
finest of known cuckoos, Phoenicophaus callirhynchus. This bird
derives its name from its large bill being coloured of a
brilliant yellow, red, and black, in about equal proportions. The
tail is exceedingly long, and of a fine metallic purple, while
the plumage of the body is light coffee brown. It is one of the
characteristic birds of the island of Celebes, to which it is

After sauntering along for a couple of hours we reached a small
river, so deep that horses could only cross it by swimming, so we
had to turn back; but as we were getting hungry, and the water of
the almost stagnant river was too muddy to drink, we went towards
a house a few hundred yards off. In the plantation we saw a small
raised hut, which we thought would do well for us to breakfast
in, so I entered, and found inside a young woman with an infant.
She handed me a jug of water, but looked very much frightened.
However, I sat down on the doorstep, and asked for the
provisions. In handing them up, Baderoon saw the infant, and
started back as if he had seen a serpent. It then immediately
struck me that this was a hut in which, as among the Dyaks of
Borneo and many other savage tribes, the women are secluded for
some time after the birth of their child, and that we did very
wrong to enter it; so we walked off and asked permission to eat
our breakfast in the family mansion close at hand, which was of
course granted. While I ate, three men, two women, and four
children watched every motion, and never took eyes off me until I
had finished.

On our way back in the heat of the day, I had the good fortune to
capture three specimens of a fine Ornithoptera, the largest, the
most perfect, and the most beautiful of butterflies. I trembled
with excitement as I took the first out of my net and found it to
be in perfect condition. The ground colour of this superb insect
was a rich shining bronzy black, the lower wings delicately
grained with white, and bordered by a row of large spots of the
most brilliant satiny yellow. The body was marked with shaded
spots of white, yellow, and fiery orange, while the head and
thorax were intense black. On the under-side the lower wings were
satiny white, with the marginal spots half black and half yellow.
I gazed upon my prize with extreme interest, as I at first
thought it was quite a new species. It proved however to be a
variety of Ornithoptera remus, one of the rarest and most
remarkable species of this highly esteemed group. I also obtained
several other new and pretty butterflies. When we arrived at our
lodging-house, being particularly anxious about my insect
treasures, I suspended the box from a bamboo on which I could
detect no sign of ants, and then began skinning some of my birds.
During my work I often glanced at my precious box to see that no
intruders had arrived, until after a longer spell of work than
usual I looked again, and saw to my horror that a column of small
red ants were descending the string and entering the box. They
were already busy at work at the bodies of my treasures, and
another half-hour would have seen my whole day's collection
destroyed. As it was, I had to take every insect out, clean them
thoroughly as well as the box, and then seek a place of
safety for them. As the only effectual one, I begged a plate and a
basin from my host, filled the former with water, and standing
the latter in it placed my box on the top, and then felt secure
for the night; a few inches of clean water or oil being the only
barrier these terrible pests are not able to pass.

On returning home to Mamajam (as my house was called) I had a
slight return of intermittent fever, which kept me some days
indoors. As soon as I was well, I again went to Goa, accompanied
by Mr. Mesman, to beg the Rajah's assistance in getting a small
house built for me near the forest. We found him at a cock-fight
in a shed near his palace, which however, he immediately left to
receive us, and walked with us up an inclined plane of boards
which serves for stairs to his house. This was large, well-built,
and lofty, with bamboo floor and glass windows. The greater part
of it seemed to be one large hall divided by the supporting
posts. Near a window sat the Queen, squatting on a rough wooden
arm-chair, chewing the everlasting sirih and betel-nut, while a
brass spittoon by her side and a sirih-box in front were ready to
administer to her wants. The Rajah seated himself opposite to her
in a similar chair, and a similar spittoon and sirih-box were
held by a little boy squatting at his side. Two other chairs were
brought for us. Several young women, some the Rajah's daughters,
others slaves, were standing about; a few were working at frames
making sarongs, but most of them were idle.

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