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Wanderings Among South Sea Savages And in Borneo and the Philippines by H. Wilfrid Walker

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jaundiced feeling soon wears off, and you start off collecting again
as keen as ever. One day a small skinny brown dog somehow managed to
climb up the bamboo step into my hut during Vic's temporary absence,
and I suddenly awoke to find it helping itself to the contents of a
plate that Vic had placed by my side. I was far too ill to do more
than frighten it away. This happened a second time before I was strong
enough to move, but the third time I was well enough to seize my small
collecting gun (which was loaded with very small cartridges), and
when it was about thirty yards away I fired at it, simply intending to
frighten it, as at that distance these small cartridges would hardly
have killed a small bird. It stopped suddenly and, after spinning
round a few times yelping, it turned over on its back. Even then I
thought it was shamming, but on going up to it I found it was dead,
with only one No. 8 shot in its spleen. On Vic's return he was much
alarmed, as he said the dog belonged to the Negrito chief, who was
very fond of it, and would be very angry with me if he knew. So we
hid the body in the middle of a clump of bamboo about a quarter of
a mile away from the hut. But the following day the sky was thick
with a kind of turkey buzzard, which had evidently smelt the dog's
corpse from some distance, and they were soon quarrelling over the
remains. Vic worked himself up into a state of panic, saying that it
would be discovered by the Negritos, but a few days later I sent him
over to the Negrito chief's hut to get me some rice, and the chief
mentioned that his chief wife had lost her dog, which she was very
fond of, and that he thought that I must have killed it. Vic in reply
said that that could never be, as in the country that I came from
the people were so fond of dogs that they were very kind to them,
and treated them like their own fathers. The chief then said that a
pig must have killed it, and so the incident ended.

About this time Vic asked my permission to return to Florida Blanca
for a few days, as he had heard that his wife had run away with another
man, and he offered to send his brother to take his place. His brother
could also speak English a little, and was assistant schoolmaster to
the American. He proved, however, an arrant coward, and, like most
Filipinos, lived in great fear of the Negritos. When out with me
in the forest he would start, if he heard a twig snap or a bamboo
creak, and look fearfully about him for a Negrito. He told me that
the Negritos will kill and rob you if they think there is no chance
of being found out, and he mentioned a case of an old Filipino being
killed and robbed by these same Negritos a few months previously. I
managed to string together the following absurd story from his broken
English. He said that if you heard a twig break in the forest once or
even twice you were safe enough, but if a twig snapped a third time,
and you did not call out that you saw the Negrito, you would get an
arrow into you. He said that once when he heard the stick "break three
time" (to use his own words), he called out "Ah! I see you Negrite,
and the Negrite he no shoot, but came out like amigo (friend)." His
English was too limited for me to point out the many weak and absurd
points of the story, as, for instance, why the Negrito should make the
twigs break exactly three times, and why he should not shoot because
he thinks he is seen. I only mention this anecdote to illustrate the
credulity of the Filipinos. The next day, when we were out collecting
in the morning, I suddenly saw him start when a bamboo snapped, so I
called out, "Buenos diaz, Senor Negrite." This was too much for my man,
who ran off home and refused to follow me in the forest that afternoon,
and when I returned that evening he was nowhere to be seen, and I
found out later that he had returned to Florida Blanca. In consequence
I was forced to do all my own cooking, which was not pleasant, as I
had to do it all in the hot sun, and this brought on a return of my
fever. At last, one morning, as I was endeavouring to light a fire to
cook my breakfast, and muttering unpleasant things about Vic and his
brother, I suddenly looked up and Vic stood before me like a. silent
ghost. I say like a ghost, because he looked like one, thin and gaunt
as he still was from fever. He, too, had had a return of the fever
and had not yet recovered, but sooner than that "his English" should
be alone, he had dragged himself over in the cool of the night. The
next day his wife and two children arrived. She had been on a visit
to her mother in another village, which accounted for Vic's thinking
she had run away. They occupied the hut of my late neighbour, and
before many days had gone they were all bad with fever. It was easy
to see that the woman hated me, and imagined I was the cause of her
having to come and live in these lonely and unhealthy mountains. Vic
told me that there had been so much sickness in Florida Blanca that
there was no quinine left in the place. My own stock was getting low,
and Vic and his family, as well as myself, used it daily. I had cured
the old Negrito chief with it, and he was very grateful to me, and
presented me with some very fine arrows in return.

For some time past I had heard rumours of an extraordinary tribe of
Negritos who lived further back in the mountains, and were named
Buquils, and whose women were reported to have beards. Vic, whom
I always found to be most truthful in everything, and who rarely
exaggerated, declared it was true, and furthermore told me that
these Buquils had long smooth hair, which proved that they could not
have been Negritos. Besides, I learnt that they were quite a tall
people. Nowhere in the whole world is there such a diversity of races
as in the Philippines, and so it would be quite impossible even to
guess what they were. Vic had once seen some of them himself when they
came on a visit to the lower mountains. Though I thought the story,
as to the women having beards, a fable, I determined to visit them
before I left these mountains, and the old Negrito chief, who also told
me that the women really did have beards, offered to lend me some of
his people to carry my things. But one day Vic heard that his lather
was dying, and when I tried to cheer him up he sobbed in a mixture
of broken Spanish and English, "One thousand senoritas can get, one
thousand children can get, but lose one father more cannot get." On
this account I had to return to Florida Blanca, and besides we were
all very bad with constant attacks of fever, and in this village we
could at all events get bread, milk and eggs to recuperate us. The
American had left for a long holiday, so I managed to hire a small
house where I could sort my collections before returning to Manila,
where I intended catching a steamer for the south Philippines.

One day the village priest (a Filipino) called on me, and in course
of conversation we spoke about these Buquils. He was most emphatic
that it was true about the women having beards, and he also told me
that no Englishman, American or Spaniard had ever penetrated so far
back in the mountains as to reach their villages. When he had left I
thought it over, and decided to go and see them for myself, though
I was still suffering from fever. Vic, whose father had recovered
from his illness, declared his willingness to accompany me; in fact
I knew that he would never allow me to go without him. He was quite
miserable at the idea of our parting, which was close at hand. As
luck would have it, the day before we decided to start, Vic was down
with fever again, and the following day I was seized with it. Never
before or since have I been amongst so much fever as I was in this
district. In any case I had made up my mind to see these Buquils,
but we had now lost two days, and there was only just enough time
left to get there and back and to journey back to Manila and catch
my steamer. The day after my attack we started for the mountains once
more at about two p.m., my fever being still too bad for me to start
earlier. It had been very dry lately, with not a drop of rain and
hardly a cloud to be seen, but just as we were starting it came on to
rain in torrents and this meant that the rainy season had set in. It
seemed as if the very elements were against us, and even Vic seemed
struck with our various difficulties. I was sick and feverish, and
my head felt like a lump of lead, as I plodded mechanically along in
the rain through the tall wet grass. I felt no keenness to see these
people at the time, fever removes all that, but I had so got it into
my head before the fever that I must go at all hazards, that I felt
somehow as if I was obeying someone else. We passed my old residence
a short way off, and I stayed the night at the Negrito chief's hut,
which I reached long after dark. He seemed very glad to see me again,
and turned out most of his family and relations to make room for
me. My troubles were not yet ended, as the two Filipinos whom I had
engaged to carry my food and bedding could not start till late, and
consequently lost their way, and were discovered in the forest by
some Negritos, who went in search of them about 2 a.m. Meanwhile I
had to lie on the hard ground in my wet clothes, and as I got very
cold a fresh attack of fever resulted. I had intended to start off
again about four a.m., but it was fully four hours later before we
were well on our way. I managed to eat a little before I left, our
rice and other food being cooked in bamboo (the regular method of
cooking amongst the Negritos). I here noticed for the first time the
method employed by the Negrito mothers for giving their babies water;
they fill their own mouths with water from a bamboo, and the child
drinks from its mother's mouth. In the early morning thousands of
metallic green and cream-coloured pigeons and large green doves came
to feed on the golden yellow fruit of a species of fig tree (FICUS),
which grew on the edge of the forest near the chief's hut. They made
a tremendous noise, fluttering and squeaking as they fought over the
tempting looking fruit.

We took five Negritos to carry the rice and my baggage -- two men,
two women, and a boy. The women, though not much more than girls,
were apportioned the heaviest loads; the men saw to that, and looked
indignant when I made them reduce the girls' loads. As we continued
on our journey, I noticed that our five Negrito carriers were joined
by several others all well armed with bows and extra large bundles of
arrows, and on my asking Vic the reason, he told me that these Buquils
we were going to visit were very treacherous, and our Negritos would
never venture amongst them unless in a strong body. As we went along
the narrow track in single file some of the Negritos would suddenly
break forth into song or shouting, and as they would yell (as if in
answer to each other) all along the line, I could not help envying them
the extreme health and happiness which the very sound of it seemed to
express; my own head meanwhile feeling as if about to split. I shall
never forget that walk up and down the steepest tracks, where in some
places a slip would have meant a fall far down into a gorge below. If
Vic was to be believed, I was the first white man to try that track,
and I would not like to recommend it to any others. Deep ravines, that
if one could only have spanned with a bridge one could have crossed in
five minutes or less, took us fully an hour to go down and up again,
and I could never have got down some of them except for being able
to hang on to bushes, trees and long grass. Whenever we passed a
Negrito hut we took a short rest. My Negritos, however, wanted to
make it a long one, as they seemed to be very fond of yarning, and
when I insisted on their hurrying on, Vic got frightened and declared
they might clear out and leave us, which would certainly have been
a misfortune. At length we arrived at a chief's hut, where we had
arranged to spend the night. It was situated at the top of a tall,
grassy peak, from which I got a wonderful view of the surrounding
country: steep wooded gorges and precipices surrounded us on all
sides, and in the distance the flat country from whence we had come,
and far far away the sea looked like glistening silver. The flat
country presented an extraordinary contrast to the rugged mountains
which surrounded me. It was so wonderfully flat, not the smallest
hill to be seen anywhere, except where the lonely isolated peak of
Mount Aryat arose in the distance, and far away one could just see
a long chain of lofty mountains. The effect of the shadows of the
distant clouds on the flat country was very curious. Early the next
morning, at sunrise, the view looked very different, though just as
beautiful. The chief seemed very friendly. He was a brother of my old
friend, with whom I had stayed the previous night. This chief, however,
was very different to his brother, being very dignified, but he had
a very good and kind face, whilst my old friend was a "typical comic
opera" kind of character. From what I could understand these two and
another brother ruled over this tribe of Negritos between them, each
being chief of a third of the tribe Soon after my arrival I turned in,
as I was very tired and feverish and had had no sleep the previous
night. The Negritos, as usual, were very merry and made a great noise
for so small a people. I never saw such people for laughter whenever
anything amused them, which is very often; they were a great contrast
in this respect to the Filipinos. This natural gaiety helps to explain
their many and varied dances, one of which consists in their running
round after each other in a circle.

I felt very much better next morning, and we started off very early,
our numbers being increased by the chief and many of his men, so that
I now found myself escorted by quite an army. I took note round here
of the methods used by the Negritos in climbing tall, thick trees to
get fruit and birds-nests. They had long bamboo poles lashed together,
which run up to one of the highest branches fully one hundred feet from
the ground. They often fastened them to the branch of a smaller tree,
and thence slanting upwards to the top of a tall tree, perhaps as much
as sixty feet and more away from the smaller tree. These Negritos axe
splendid climbers, but it seemed wonderful for even a Negrito to trust
himself on one of these bamboos stretching like a thread from tree
to tree so far from the ground. I shall never forget the scramble we
now had into the deepest gorge of all, and how we followed the bed
of a dried-up stream, which in the rainy season must be a series of
cascades and waterfalls, since we had to scramble all the way over
large slippery boulders covered with ferns and BEGONIAS. We at length
came to a tempting-looking river full of large pools of clear water,
into which I longed to plunge. The banks were extremely beautiful,
being overhung by the forest, and the rocky cliffs were half hidden
by large fleshy-leaved climbers and many other beautiful tropical
plants. It was one of those indescribably beautiful spots that one
so often encounters in the tropical wilds, and which it is impossible
to paint in words. A troop of monkeys were disporting themselves on a
tree overhanging the river. Vic was most anxious for me to allow him
to shoot one, but I have only shot one monkey in my life, and it is
to be the last, and I always try and prevent others from doing so. We
waded the river in a shallow place, and climbed up the steep hill on
the other side. We had gone a good distance over hills covered with
tall grass, and I was now looking forward to a bit of decent walking,
as hitherto it had been nearly all miserable scrambling work, and the
Negritos told Vic that the worst was now over. But we were approaching
a hut, overhanging a rocky cliff, when we heard the sound of angry
voices and wailing above us, and we soon perceived four Negritos
(three men and a woman) approaching us. I thought the old woman was
mad; she was making more noise than all the others put together,
shouting and screaming in her fury. At first I thought they might be
hostile Negritos who resented our intrusion, but they belonged to
the tribe of the chief who was with me, and they were soon talking
to him in loud, excited voices. Our own party soon got excited, too,
and, as may be imagined, I was longing to find out the cause of all
this excitement. Vic soon told me the reason. It appeared that on the
previous day a large party of our Negritos had gone into the territory
of the Buquils in order to get various kinds of forest produce (as they
had often done in the past), and had been treacherously attacked by
these Buquils, and many of them killed. One of these was the brother
of a sub-chief, who now approached us, and who was, I believe, the
husband of the frenzied woman. It was a very excitable scene that
followed. I suppose one might call it a council of war. It was a
mystery to me where all the Negritos came from and how they found us
out; but they came in ones and twos till there was a huge concourse
of them present, all gathered round their chief and squatting on the
ground. About the only one who behaved sensibly was my friend the
chief. He spoke in a slow and dignified manner, but the rest worked
themselves up into a furious rage, and twanged their bowstrings,
and jumped about and fitted arrows to their bows, and pointed them at
inoffensive "papaya" trees, whilst two little boys shot small arrows
into the green and yellow fruit, seeming to catch the fever from their
elders. One man actually danced a kind of war-dance on his own account,
strutting about with his bow and arrow pointed, and getting into all
sorts of grotesque attitudes, moving about with his legs stiffened,
and pulling the most hideous faces, till I was forced to laugh.

But it seemed to be no laughing matter for the Negritos. The old woman
beat them all; she did not want anyone to get in a word edgeways,
but screamed and yelled, almost foaming at the mouth, till I almost
expected to see her fall down in a fit. I never before witnessed such
a display of fury.

Vic kept me well advised as to the progress of the proceedings, and
it was eventually settled that each of the three brother chiefs were
to gather together three hundred fighting men, making nine hundred
altogether, and these in a few days' time were to go up and avenge
the deaths of their fellow tribesmen. From the enthusiasm displayed
amongst the little men, this was evidently carried unanimously,
but I noticed two young men sitting aloof from the rest of the
crowd and looking rather sullen and frightened, and as they did not
join in the general warlike demonstrations, it was evidently their
first fight. Here, however, I made Vic interrupt in order to draw
attention to myself. What Vic translated to me was to the effect that
it was out of the question for us to go on into the enemy's country,
which we should have reached in another two hours' walk. If we did
they would certainly kill us all by shooting arrows into us from the
long grass (in other words, we should fall into an ambush), and, in
fact, since they had killed some of this tribe they would kill anyone
that came into their country. By killing these men they had declared
war. This was the sum total of Vic's translation, and I saw at once
that it was out of the question for me to go on, as no Negrito would
go with me, and I could not go alone. In any case I should have been
killed. Vic told me that very few of these Buquils ever leave their
mountain valleys, and so most of them had never seen a Filipino, much
less a white man. And so I met with a very great disappointment, and
was forced to leave without proving whether or no the story of these
bearded women was a myth. Lately I heard a rumour that an American had
visited them and proved the story true. My disappointment may well be
imagined. I had come over the worst track I had ever travelled on in
spite of rain and fever, but I at once saw that all my labours were
in vain and that I could not surmount this last difficulty. But I was
lucky in one way. The chief told Vic that if we had gone yesterday we
should all have been killed, as without knowing anything about it,
we should have got there just after the fight. So for once fever
had done me a good turn, a "providencia," I think Vic called it,
as I should have reached my destination the previous day if I had
not been delayed by fever. Out of curiosity to see what the chief
would say, I told Vic to tell him that I would help him with my gun,
but the chief was ungrateful and contemptuous, saying that they
would shoot me before I could see to shoot them. Vic thought I was
serious, and said he would not go with me, and begged me not to go,
saying, in a mixture of English and Spanish, "What will your father,
your sister, and your brother say to me when Buquil arrow make you
dead?" Needless to say I was not keen on stalking Buquils who were
waiting for me with steel arrows in long grass, and, besides, if I
went with the gallant little nine hundred, I should miss my steamer. I
never heard the result of that fight, much as I should like to have
known it. After the meeting had dispersed, we returned to the river
and rested. I bathed and took a swim in a big, deep pool under a huge
tree, which was one mass of beautiful white flowers. I have never
enjoyed a swim more. Vic also took a wash, and to my great surprise
one of the Negritos proceeded to copy him, and as Vic soaped himself
the Negrito tried to do the same thing with a stone, with which he
succeeded in getting rid of a great deal of dirt. It surprised and
amused the other Negritos, both men and women, who jeered and roared
with laughter at the unusual spectacle of a Negrito washing himself.

I signed to them to give our boy carrier a wash, as he seemed the
noisiest of the party, and two men got hold of him to duck him, but
he seemed so terrified that I stopped them. The youngster evidently
hated me for the fright he had received, as later on when I made him
a present of a silver ten-cent piece to make up for his fright --
this is a very handsome present for a Negrito -- he threw it on the
ground and stamped his foot in anger. The Negritos shot several fish
and large prawns with a special kind of long pointed arrow; these
we ate with our rice by the river side before returning. The night
I stayed with my old friend, the comic chief, I found him actually
in tears and much cut up at the idea of his two sons having to take
part in the fight. I suppose it was compulsory for them to fight, but
it appeared rather odd to me that a chief should object to his sons
taking part in a fight, as the Negritos are considered very plucky
fighters. The chief sent four Negritos to carry my things down to
Florida Blanca. The following day I started back to Manila, where I
caught my steamer for the southern Philippines. Vic was much distressed
at my departure and shed many tears as I said good-bye to him, his
grief being such that even a handsome tip could not assuage it.

In the Jungles of Cannibal Papua.


On the War-Trail in Cannibal Papua.

Expedition against the Doboduras -- We hear reports about a Web-footed
Tribe -- Landing at the Mouth of the Musa River -- A Good Bag --
Barigi River Reached -- A Flight of Torres Straits Pigeons --
A Tropical Night Scene -- Brilliant Rues of Tropical Fish --
Arrival of Supplies -- Prospects of a Stiff Fight -- Landing of
the Force -- Pigs Shot to Prevent them from being Cooked Alive --
Novelty of Firearms -- A Red Sunrise -- Beauty of the Forest --
Enemies' War Cry First Heard -- Rushing a Village -- Revolting
Relics of Cannibal Feast -- Doboduras eat their Enemies Alive --
Method of Extracting the Brains -- Extensive Looting -- Firing at
the Enemies' Scouts -- An Exciting Chase -- When in Doubt Turn to
the Right -- Another Village Rushed -- Skirmishes with the Enemy --
Relics of Cannibalism general in the Villages -- Camp Formed at the
Largest Village -- Capture of Prisoners -- An "Object, Lesson" --
Carriers ask Leave to Eat one of the Slain -- Arigita's Opinion --
Cannibal Surroundings at our Supper -- Expectation of a Night Attack.

We were three white men, Monckton was the resident magistrate, while
Acland and I myself were NON-OFFICIO members of the expedition,
being friends of Monckton.

We had been some time at Cape Nelson, where the residency was,
a lonely though beautiful spot on the north-east coast of British
New Guinea. Whilst here I had made good collections of birds and
butterflies, and had made expeditions into the surrounding and little
known country, including the mountains at the back, where no white
man had yet been. And now (September 17th, 1902) we were off on a
government exploring and punitive expedition into the unknown wilds
of this fascinating and interesting country.

We three sat on the stern of the large whale boat, while the twenty
police and our four boys took turns at the oars. They were fine
fellows these Papuan police, and their uniforms suited them well,
consisting as they did of a deep blue serge vest, edged with red
braid, and a "sulu" or kilt of the same material, which with their
bare legs made a sensible costume for the work they had to perform
in this rough country. As they pulled cheerfully at their oars they
seemed in splendid spirits, for they felt almost sure that they were
in for some fighting, and this they dearly love.

Our boys, however, did not look quite so happy, especially my boy
Arigita, who was a son of old Giwi, chief of the Kaili-kailis. He --
old Giwi -- had gone on the previous day with three or four large
canoes laden with rice and manned by men of the Kaili-kaili and
Arifamu tribes, and we intended taking more canoes and men from the
Okeina tribe EN ROUTE.

Our expedition was partly a punitive one, as a tribe named Dobodura
had been continually raiding and slaughtering the Notu tribe on the
coast, with no other apparent reason than the filling of their own
cooking pots.

Although the Notus lived on the coast, little was known of them,
though they professed friendship to the government. The Doboduras,
on the other hand, were a strong fighting tribe a short way off in
the unknown interior, no white men having hitherto penetrated into
their country: hence they knew nothing about the white man except by
dim report.

After we had settled our account with them we intended going in search
of a curious swamp-dwelling tribe, whose feet were reported to be
webbed, like those of a duck, and many were the weird and fantastic
rumours that reached our ears concerning them.

The sea soon got very "choppy," and up went our sail, and we flew along
pretty fast. We had left behind us Mount Victory (a volcano which
is always sending forth volumes of dense smoke) some time before,
and some time afterward we were joined by a fleet of fourteen large
canoes, most of them belonging to the Okeina tribe, but also including
the three Kaili-kaili canoes sent off on the previous day.

We all then went on together, and late in the afternoon we landed
at a spot near the mouth of the Musa River. We spent the evening
shooting, and had splendid sport, our bag consisting of ducks of
various species, pigeon, spur-winged plover, curlew, sandpipers,
etc. We also saw wallaby, and numerous tracks of cassowary and wild
pig. After some supper on the beach, the Kaili-kaili, Arifamu and
Okeina carriers, numbering over one hundred, were drawn up in line,
and Monckton told them that he did not want so many carriers. If they
(the Okeinas) would like to come, he would not give them more than
tobacco, and not axes and knives, which he gave to the Kaili-kaili and
Arifamu carriers. They unanimously wished to go even without payment,
as they were confident that we should have some big fighting, and
they, being a fighting tribe, simply wished to go with us for this
reason. Monckton sent off the carriers that night, so that they could
get a good start of us. It was a bright moonlight night, and it was a
picturesque scene when the fleet of canoes started off amidst a regular
pandemonium of shouting and chatter. I do not suppose that this quiet
spot had ever before witnessed such a sight. We were off next morning
before sunrise, and continued our way in a dead calm and a blazing sun.

We soon caught up with our canoes, which had gone on in advance on the
previous night. A breeze sprang up and we made good progress under
sail, and soon left the canoes far behind. We saw plenty of large
crocodiles, and a persevering but much disappointed shark followed
us for some distance.

We camped that night just inside the mouth of the Barigi River, on the
very spot where Monckton was attacked the previous year by the Baruga
tribe. They had made a night attack upon him as he was encamped here
with his police, and had evidently expected to take him by surprise,
as they paddled quietly up. But he was ready for them, and gave the
leading canoe a volley, with the result that the river was soon full
of dead and wounded men, who were torn to pieces by the crocodiles. The
rest fled, but he captured their chief, who was wounded.

Upon our arrival late in the afternoon Acland and I started out with
our guns after pigeon, taking our boys and some armed police, as it
was not safe to venture far from the camp without protection.

The vegetation was very beautiful, and there was a wonderful variety
of the palm family. We wandered through very thorny and tangled
vegetation. We espied a fire not far off and went to inspect it,
but saw no natives, though there were plenty of footprints in the sand.

Towards evening we saw thousands of pigeons settle on a few trees
close by on a small island, but they were off in clouds before we got
near. They were what is known as the Torres Straits pigeon, and were
of a beautiful creamy-white colour. On the banks of this river were
quantities of the curious NIPA palm growing in the water. These palms
have enormous rough pods which hang down in the water, and there were
quantities of oysters sticking to the lower parts of their stems. We
dynamited for fish and got sufficient to supply us all with food.

About nine p.m. all the canoes turned up and the camp was soon alive
with noise and bustle. The carriers had had nothing to eat since
the day before, and poor old Giwi, the chief, squeezed his stomach
to show how empty he was, but still managed to giggle in his usual
childish fashion.

They brought with them two runaway carriers who had come from the
Kumusi district, where many of the miners start inland for the Yodda
Valley (the gold mining centre). They had travelled for five days
along the coast, and had hardly eaten anything. They had avoided all
villages EN ROUTE, otherwise they themselves would undoubtedly have
furnished food for others, though there was little enough meat on
them. There were many different tribes in this neighbourhood, and
Monckton was far from satisfied as to the safety of our camp if we
were attacked. We sent off a canoe with Okeina men up the river to get
provisions from the Baruga tribe who had attacked Monckton the previous
year, and they now professed friendship to the government. The Okeinas
were friendly with them, but as they paddled away in the darkness
Monckton shouted out after them to give him warning when they were
coming back with the Baruga people, and they shouted back what was
the Okeina equivalent for "You bet we will."

We pitched our mosquito nets under a rough shelter of palm leaves, and
I lay awake for some time watching the light of countless fire-flies
and beetles which flashed around me in the darkness, while curious
cries of nocturnal birds on the forest-clad banks and mangroves from
time to time broke the stillness of the tropical night, and followed
me into the land of dreams, from which I was rudely awakened early
the next morning by clouds of small sandflies, which my mosquito net
had failed to keep out.

We stayed here the following day, and put in part of our time
dynamiting for fish at the mouth of the river. It was a curious sight
to see the fish blown high into the air as if by a regular geyser. We
got about three hundred; they were of numerous species, and most of
them of good size. Many were most brilliantly coloured, indeed the
fish in these tropical waters are often the most gorgeous objects in
nature, and would greatly surprise those who are only used to the fish
of the temperate zone. During the day the Okeinas returned. They were
followed by several canoes of the Baruga tribe with their chief, who
brought us four live pigs tied to poles, besides other native food,
which, together with the fish, saved us from using the rice for the
police and carriers. New Guinea is not a rice-producing country, and
the natives not being used to it, are far from appreciating it. A
little later some of the Notu tribe from further north arrived by
canoe. They had again been raided by the Dobodura tribe, and many
of them killed and captured. They said the enemy were very strong,
and Monckton told us that it was more than likely that they could
raise one thousand to fifteen hundred fighting men. We determined
to resume our journey the next day, and go inland and attack their
villages. We seemed likely to be in for a good fight, and the police
especially were highly elated. Old Giwi, who bragged so much about
his fighting capabilities at starting, shook his head and thought it
a tall order, and that we were not strong enough to tackle them.

We left again early on the morning of September 20th, the canoes
with our carriers having gone on the previous night. Early in the
afternoon we passed large villages situated amid groves of coconut
palms. These belonged to the Notus, who had been suffering such severe
depredations at the hands of the Doboduras. Shortly before arriving
at our destination we found the carriers waiting for us on shore, they
having too much fear of the Notus to reach their villages before us.

We determined to land on the far side of one particularly large
village. Rifles were handed around, and we strapped on our revolvers,
and all got ready in case of treachery. Then came a scene of excitement
as we landed in the breakers. Directly we got into shallow water the
police jumped out, and with loud yells rushed the boat ashore. There
was still greater excitement getting the canoes ashore amid loud
shouting, and one of the last canoes to land, filled, but was carried
ashore safely, and only a few bags of rice got wet.

We pitched our camp on a sandy strip of land surrounded on three sides
by a fresh water lagoon, our position being a good one to defend,
in case we were attacked. Monckton then took a few police and went
off to interview the Notus.

After a time he returned with the information that the Notus appeared
to be quite friendly, and anxious to unite with us against the common
foe on the morrow.

Several of them visited our camp during the day and brought us native
food and pigs, which latter Monckton shot with his revolver, to prevent
our carriers cooking them alive. It was quite amusing to see the way
the Notus hopped about after each report, some of them running away,
and small blame to them, seeing that it was the first time that they
had ever heard the report of a firearm.

The next morning saw us up long before daybreak, and in the dim light
we could see small groups of Notu warriors wending their way amid the
tall coconuts in the direction of our camp, till about seventy of them
had assembled. They were all fully armed with long hardwood spears,
stone clubs and rattan shields (oblong in shape and of wood covered
with strips of rattan, with a handle at the back), and led the way
along the beach. The sun soon rose above the sea a very red colour, and
a superstitious person might have considered it an omen of bloodshed.

It was hard work walking in the loose sand, and I was glad when
we branched off into the bush to walk inland. We passed through
alternate forests and open grass land, the forest in places being
quite luxuriant, and new and beautiful plants and rare and gaudy
birds and butterflies made one long to loiter by the way. Amongst the
palm family new to me was a very beautiful LICUALA, perhaps the most
beautiful of all fan-leaved palms, and a climbing palm, one of the
rattans (KORTHALZIA sp.), with pinkish stems and leaves resembling
a gigantic maidenhair fern, which looked very beautiful scrambling
over the trees, together with two or three other species of rattans.

Our combined force was over two hundred strong, the Notus leading the
way, then came most of the police, then we three white men, then more
police, and our Kaili-kaili, Arifamu and Okeina carriers brought up
the rear bearing our tents, baggage and bags of rice.

As we wended our way down the narrow track there were several moments
of excitement, and the Notus several times fell back on to us in alarm,
but their fears seemed groundless.

We continued our march for many hours, and just as we came to the
end of a long bit of forest, the Notus came rushing back on to us in
great confusion. We soon learned the reason. At the end of a grassy
stretch of country was a village surrounded by a thick grove of coconut
and betel-nut palms, and some of the enemy's scouts had been seen,
and we heard their distant war-cry, a prolonged "ooh-h-h, ah-h-h,"
which was particularly thrilling, uttered as it was by great numbers of
voices. The Notus all huddled together, then replied in like language,
but their cry did not seem to possess the same defiant ring as that
of the Doboduras.

We three took off our helmets and crouched down with the police just
inside the forest, with our rifles ready for the expected rush of
the enemy, having sent the Notus out into the open, hoping thereby
to draw the enemy after them. We meant then to give them a lesson,
make some captures, and come to terms with their chief. Two or three
times the Notus came rushing back, and I fully expected to see the
Doboduras at their heels, but they were evidently aware that the
Notus were not alone, and all I could see was the distant village
and palm-trees shimmering in the quivering heated air, and the heads
of the Dobodura warriors crowned with feather head-dresses bobbing
about amid the tall grass, while ever and anon their distant war-cry
floated over the grassy plain.

We decided to rush the village, which we later found was named Kanau,
but when we got there we found it deserted. In the centre of the
village was a kind of small raised platform, on which were rows of
human skulls and quantities of bones, the remnants of many a gruesome
cannibal feast. Many of these skulls were quite fresh, with small
bits of meat still sticking to them, but for all that they had been
picked very clean. Every skull had a large hole punched in the side of
the head, varying in size, but uniform as regards position (to quote
from Monckton's later report to the government). The explanation for
this we soon learnt from the Notus, and later it was confirmed by our
prisoners. When the Doboduras capture an enemy they slowly torture him
to death, practically eating him alive. When he is almost dead they
make a hole in the side of the head and scoop out the brains with a
kind of wooden spoon. These brains, which were eaten warm and fresh,
were regarded as a great delicacy. No doubt the Notus recognised some
of their relatives amid the ghastly relics. We rested a short time in
this village, and our people were soon busy spearing pigs and chickens,
and looting. The loot consisted of all sorts of household articles
and implements, including wooden pillows, bowls, and dishes, "tapa"
cloth of quaint designs, stone adzes, beautiful feather ornaments,
"bau-baus" or native bamboo pipes, wooden spears, and a great quantity
of shell and dogs'-tooth necklaces.

We saw three or four of the enemy scouting on the edge of the forest,
and I was asked to try to pick one off, but before I could fire
they had disappeared. Then several Notus ran out brandishing spears,
and danced a war-dance in front of the forest, but their invitation
was not accepted. We next saw several armed scouts on a small tree
about five hundred yards away, and we all lined up and gave them
a volley; whether we hit any of them or not it is hard to say, but
they dropped down immediately into the long grass. At any rate, it
must have astonished them to hear the bullets whistling round them,
even if they were not hit, as it was the first time they had ever
heard the report of a firearm of any description. Some of the police
went out to sneak through the long grass, and we soon heard shots,
and they came back with the spears, clubs and shields of two men
they had killed. They also brought a curious fighting ornament worn
on the head, made of upper bills of the hornbill.

We continued our march through some thick forest, and at length came
to the banks of a river, where we suddenly crouched down. An armed
man was crawling along the river bed, peering in all directions, and
shouting out to his friends on the opposite bank. We were anxious to
make a capture. Monckton suddenly gave the word, and up jumped a dozen
police in front of me and plunged into the river and gave chase. I
followed hard, but the police in front were gradually leaving me far
behind. Till then I always fancied I could run a bit, but I knew better
now. Seeing the man's shield, which he had thrown away in his flight,
I at once collared it as a trophy of the chase. Then looking around,
I found that I was quite alone, and the thick jungle all around me
resounded with the loud angry shouts and cries of the enemy. I found
out afterwards that my friends and the rest had no intention of giving
chase, but had been highly amused in watching my poor effort to keep
up with the nimble barefooted police. I shall never forget those
uncomfortable few minutes as I rushed down the track in the direction
the police had taken. Visions arose before me of the part I should play
in a cannibal feast, and I expected every minute to feel the sharp
point of a spear entering the small of my back, just as I had been
seeing our people drive their spears clean through some running pigs.

To my dismay I found the track divided, and it was impossible to tell
which way the police had gone. To turn back was out of the question. I
had come a good way, and I had no idea where the rest were, and from
the uproar at the back I imagined the Doboduras were coming down the
track after me. I hastily decided to go by the old saying, "If you
go to the right you are right," and it was well for me that I did so,
as I found out later from the police that if I had gone to the left --
well, there would have been nothing left of me, especially after one
Dobodura meal, as the enemy were there in full force. As it was, I
soon afterward came up with the police, feeling rather shaky and white.

The police had captured a middle-aged woman, whose face and part
of her body were thickly plastered with clay. This was a sign of
mourning. We learnt that she was a Notu woman, who had been captured
some time previously by the Doboduras. She was much alarmed, and
whined and beat her breasts, and caressed some of the police. We
made her come on with us, and the rest of the party soon joining
us, we came to another village, which we "rushed," but it, too,
was deserted. There was more killing of fowls and pigs, and a scene
of great confusion as our people speared and clubbed them and ran
about in all directions, looting the houses, picking coconuts, and
cutting down betel-nut palms, many of them decorating themselves
with the beautifully variegated leaves of crotons and DRACAENAS,
some of which were of species entirely new to me. It seemed a bit
curious that these wild cannibals should exhibit such a taste for
these gay and brilliantly coloured leaves and flowers, which they
had evidently transplanted from forest and jungle to their own village.

We continued our way through bush and open country, our police having
slight skirmishes with small bands of natives. One big Dobodura rushed
at Sergeant Kimi with uplifted club, but Kimi coolly knelt down and
shot him in the stomach when he was only a few yards off. The round,
sharp stone on the club being an extra fine one, I soon exchanged it
with Kimi for two sticks of tobacco (the chief article of trade in
New Guinea, and worth about three half-pence a stick).

Toku, Monckton's boy, and a brother of my boy, Arigita, who carried
his master's small pea-rifle, shot a man in the back with it as the
man fled, and thereafter was a hero among the boys. Arigita wished
to emulate his brother, and begged hard to do some shooting on his
own account with my twelve-bore shot gun, which he carried, and he
seemed very much hurt because I would not allow it.

We passed through many more villages, embowered in palm groves, and
in each village we saw plenty of human skulls and long sticks with
human jawbones hanging upon them. On one I counted twenty-five; there
were also long rows of the jawbones of pigs, and a few crocodiles'
heads. These villages were all deserted, the natives having fled. At
length we came to what appeared, from its great size, to be the
chief village, which we later learnt was named Dobodura. It extended
some distance, and stood amid thousands of coconut palms. Here we
determined to camp, but we found that most of the police had rushed
on ahead after the Doboduras, much to Monckton's annoyance, for it
was risky, to say the least, as the enemy might easily have attacked
each party separately. But the police and carriers, now that they had
"tasted blood," seemed to get quite out of hand, and their savagery
coming to the surface, they rushed about as if demented. However,
they soon returned with more captured weapons of warfare, having
killed two more men, and they also brought two prisoners, a young man
and a young woman. The prisoners looked horribly frightened, having
never seen a white man before, and they thought they would be eaten:
so Constable Yaidi told me.

The man was a stupid looking oaf, and seemed too dazed to speak. The
woman, however, if she had been washed, would have been quite
good-looking. She had rather the European type of features, and was
quite talkative. She told us that most of her people had gone off
to fight a mountain tribe, who had threatened to swoop down on this
village. These complications were getting exceedingly Gilbertian in
character. To begin with, the Kaili-kaili and Arifamu carriers were
afraid of the Okeinas, who in their turn were afraid of the Notus;
the Notus feared this Dobodura tribe we were fighting, and the
Doboduras seemed to be in fear of a mountain tribe. We ourselves
were by no means sure of the Notus, and kept on guard in case of
treachery. These tribes, we heard, were nearly always fighting,
and always have their scouts out.

To return to the prisoners. We showed them how a bullet could
pass clean through a coconut tree, and they seemed to be greatly
impressed. They were then told to tell their chief to come over the
next morning and interview us, and that we wished to be friendly. We
then gave them some tobacco and told them they could go, and it
was evident that they were astonished beyond words at their good
fortune. As they passed through our police and carriers, I feel sure
that they suspected us of some trick on them.

A bathe in the cool, clear river close by was delightful after a very
hard day, but we, of course, had an armed guard of police around us,
and practically bathed rifle in hand, as the growth was dense on the
opposite bank.

Our people seemed to be quite enjoying themselves, looting the
houses, and one of the police was chasing a pig in this village,
when he was attacked by a man with a club. The policeman was unarmed,
but immediately wrenched the club from the man's hand and smashed his
skull in, and the body lay barely one hundred yards from our tent. This
was too tantalizing for our carriers, who came up and begged permission
to eat it, although they knew full well that Monckton had given orders
that there was to be no cannibalism among them. Needless to remark,
the request was refused, but they had the pluck to ask again before
the expedition was over.

My boy Arigita had often eaten human meat, and as he expressed it in
his quaint pidgin English, "Pig no good, man he very good." It can
be imagined it must be really good, as the Papuan thinks a great deal
of pig. We had a good appetite for supper, in spite of the fact that
we ate it within a few yards of a half-burnt heap of human skulls and
bones, which appeared quite fresh. Our various tribes were all camped
separately, and they looked very picturesque round their different
camp fires, with their spears stuck in the ground in their midst,
their clubs and shields by their sides, and the firelight flickering
upon their wild-looking faces.

To our astonishment, our late man prisoner returned and said that his
chief wished to see us that night. At once there was a great commotion
among our police and the Notus, who all spoke excitedly together,
and were unanimous that this implied treachery, and that behind
the chief would come his men, who would attack us unawares. We also
learned that it was not their usual habit to make friendly visits at
night. Monckton thought the same, and told the man that if the chief or
any of his people came near the camp that night they would be shot. The
man also informed us that all his tribe had returned; no doubt swift
messengers went after them to bring them back. The man went, and we
waited expectantly for what might happen. Everyone seemed certain that
we should be attacked, and if so, we had a very poor chance with from
a thousand to fifteen hundred well-armed savages making a rush on us
in the semi-darkness, as there was no moon, and it was cloudy.

The enemy would rush up and close with our people, and while we should
not be able to distinguish friend from foe, we should not be able to
fire in the darkness at close quarters. They could then spear and club
us at will. Now we had always heard that Papuans never attack at night,
but the police and Notus told us that these Doboduras nearly always
attacked at night, and if we had known this before we should most
certainly have made ourselves a fortified camp outside the village. But
it was too late to think of this now, and we knew that we were in a
very awkward position. The fact that they could gather together so
large a force as was alleged, was estimated by Monckton from the size
of these villages, which showed that they were a very powerful tribe.

The whole police force were put out on sentry duty, as also four or
five Kaili-kailis who had been taught at Cape Nelson to use a rifle.


We Are Attacked By Night.

A Night Attack -- A Little Mistake -- Horrible Barbarities of the
Doboduras -- Eating a Man Alive -- A Sinister Warning -- Saved by Rain
-- Daylight at Last -- "Prudence the Better Part" -- The Return --
Welcome by the Notus -- "Orakaiba."

I was busily engaged in writing my notes of the day, with my rifle
by my side, when suddenly a shot rang out, followed by another and
another, then a volley from all the sentries on one side of the camp,
and the darkness was lit up by the flashes of their rifles. Then came
the thrilling war-cry, "Ooh-h-h-h! ah-h-h-h!" that made one's blood run
cold, especially under such surroundings. All the camp was now in the
utmost confusion, and there was a great panic among our carriers, who
flung themselves on the ground yelling with fear. Never was there such
a fiendish noise! I sprang to my feet, flinging my note-book away and
picking up my rifle, and ran back to where Monckton was yelling out:
"Fall in, fall in, for God's sake fall in!"

Two houses were hastily set on fire, and instantly became furnaces
which lit up the surroundings and the tops of the tall coconut palms
over-head, which even in this moment of danger appeared to me like
a glimpse of fairyland. I noticed a line of fire-sticks waving in
the darkness outside. They seemed to be slowly advancing, and in the
excitement of the moment I mistook them for the enemy -- and fired!

Luckily, my shot did not take effect, as I soon found out that these
fire-sticks were held by some of our own carriers, who had been told
by Monckton to carry them so that we could distinguish them from the
enemy in case we were attacked. Monckton turned to where the Notus,
were, and seeing them all decked out in their war plumes, dancing
about among the prostrate carriers, and waving their clubs and spears,
naturally took them for Dobodura warriors, and nearly fired at them. He
angrily ordered them to take off their feathers.

Calmness soon settled down again, and we learned that the police had
fired at some Doboduras who were creeping up into the camp. How many
there were we could not tell, but later on we learnt that some of
them had been killed, and seeing the flash of the rifles, which was
a new experience to them, the rest had retreated for the time being,
but soon rallied together for attack that night or in the small hours
of the morning. Knowing that if they once rushed us in the darkness
we should all be doomed for their cooking pots, the state of our
feelings can be imagined.

The first attempt came rather as a shock to a peaceful novice like
myself, and seeing warriors in full war paint and feathers rushing
about with uplifted club and spear amid our prostrate squirming
carriers, I had a very strong inclination to bury myself in the nearest
hut and softly hum the lines, "I care not for wars and quarrels,"
etc. We sat talking in subdued tones for some time, expecting every
minute to hear the thrilling war cry of the Doboduras, but nothing was
to be heard but the crackling of the embers of the burning houses,
the low murmur of our people around their camp fire, and the most
dismal falsetto howls of the native dogs in the distance. These howls
were not particularly exhilarating at such a time, and I more than
once mistook them for the distant war-cry of the Doboduras.

The Papuans, as a rule, do not torture their prisoners for the
mere idea of torture, though they have often been known to roast a
man alive, for the reason that the meat is supposed to taste better
thus. This they also do to pigs, and I myself, on this very expedition,
caught some of our carriers making preparations to roast a pig alive,
and just stopped them in time. For this reason Monckton would always
shoot the pigs brought in for his carriers, but in this case one pig
was overlooked. I have heard of cases of white men having been roasted
alive, one case being that of the two miners, Campion and King. But
we had learnt that this Dobodura tribe had a system of torture that
was brutal beyond words. In the first place they always try to wound
slightly and capture a man alive, so that they can have fresh meat
for many days. They keep their prisoner tied up alive in the house and
cut out pieces of his flesh just when they want it, and we were told,
incredible as it seems, that they sometimes manage to keep him alive
for a week or more, and have some preparation which prevents him from
bleeding to death.

Monckton advised both Acland and myself to shoot ourselves with
our revolvers if we saw that we were overwhelmed, so as to escape
these terrible tortures, and he assured us that he should keep the
last bullet in his own revolver for himself. This was my first taste
of warfare. Monckton had had many fights with Papuans, and Acland,
besides, had seen many severe engagements in the Boer war, but he
said he would rather be fighting the Boers than risking the infernal
tortures of these cannibals. It all, somehow, seemed unreal to me,
and I could hardly realise that I was in serious danger of being
tortured, cooked and eaten. It is impossible to depict faithfully
our weird surroundings. We chatted on for some time, and tried
to cheer each other up by making jokes about the matter, such as
"This time to-morrow we shall be laughing over the whole affair,"
but the depressed tone of our voices belied our words, and it proved
to be but a very feeble attempt at joking. We longed for the moon,
though that would have helped us little, as it was cloudy.

It is quite unnecessary to go into further details of that awful
night. I know we all owned up afterward that it was the most trying
night we had ever spent, and for my part I hope I may never spend
another like it. None of us got a wink of sleep. I tried to sleep,
but I was too excited to do so; besides, all my pockets were crammed
full of rifle and revolver cartridges, and I had my revolver strapped
to my side, ready for an attack, or in case we got separated in the
confusion that was sure to ensue. At about 3 a.m. it began to rain,
the first rain we had had in New Guinea for five or six weeks,
and that saved us, for we learned later on that about that time
the Doboduras were gathering together for a rush on our camp, when
the rain set in, and, odd as it may seem, we heard that they had a
superstition against attacking in the rain. What their reason was,
I never got to hear fully, but we were unaware of all these things as
we silently waited and longed for the dawn to break. I never before
so wished for daylight. It came at length, and what a load it took
off our minds! We could now see to shoot at all events. We saw the
Dobodura scouts in the distance on the edge of the forest, but we had
made up our minds to "heau" (Papuan for "run away") as things were
too hot for us. There was a scene of great excitement as we left, and
from the noise our people made they were evidently glad to get away.

The Notus led the way, and they started to hop about, brandishing
their spears. They did excellent scouting work in the long grass,
rushing ahead with their spears poised. This time the rear guard
was formed by some of the police. All the villages we passed through
were again deserted, but we heard the enemy crying out to one another
in the forest and jungle, telling each other of our whereabouts. We
expected an attack, and I often nearly mistook the screeches and cries
of cockatoos and parrots and the loud, curious call of the birds
of paradise for some distant war-cry, which was quite excusable,
considering the state of our nerves and the sleepless night we
had spent.

The Notus were great looters, and as we passed through the various
villages they took everything they could lay their hands on, and our
entrance into a village was marked by a scene of great confusion. Pigs
and chickens were speared, betel-nut palms cut down, and hunting
nets, bowls, spears and food hauled out of the house, but Monckton
was very strict in stopping them from cutting houses and coconut
palms down. Ere long we left the last village behind, and halting
just inside the forest, sent a man up a tree, who reported the last
village we had passed through to be full of people. The police had
a few shots, but apparently without success.

When we again reached the coast we knew that we were now safe from
attack. Monckton was much puzzled that no attack had been made on us
during the return journey, as he felt sure they were not afraid of us,
and after we had killed so many of their people he was certain they
would try for revenge. He also thought they expected us to camp that
night in their country, and that we were only out hunting for them,
as we did not hurry away very fast, but stopped a short time in
each village.

We found the tide high, so we took off our boots and waded most of
the way, and in time arrived at a creek up which the sea was rushing
in and out with great violence. We were helped over by police on each
side of us, who half dragged us across, otherwise we should have been
washed off our legs, so great was the suction. I was very fond of
these strong, plucky, good tempered and amusing Papuan police. Often
when we were encamped for the night, I would hear them chaffing each
other in pidgin English for the benefit of the "taubadas" (masters);
they would slyly turn their heads to see if we were amused, and how
delighted they were if they saw us smile at their quaint English,

In the evening we found ourselves back in the Notu villages, and were
met by many Notus bearing coconuts, which they opened and handed to
us. I suppose these were meant as refreshment for the victors, for as
such they no doubt regarded us, as well as saviours of their tribe. I
could quite imagine the Notu warriors bragging on their return of
their own deeds of valour, although all the killing was done by the
police. Meanwhile, however, as we passed through the squatting crowds,
we were greeted with loud cries of "orakaiba" (peace).


On the War-Trail Once More.

Further Expedition Planned -- Thank-offerings of Notu Chiefs --
The Voyage -- A Gigantic Flatfish -- Negotiating a Difficult Bar
-- Moat Unhealthy Spot in New Guinea -- Hostility of Natives --
Precautions at Night -- Catching Ground Sharks and a "Groper" --
Shark-flesh a Delicacy to the Natives -- Wakened by a War Cry -- A
False Alarm -- A Hairbreadth Escape -- Between "Devil and Deep Sea"
-- Dangers of the Goldfield -- Two Miners Eaten Alive -- Unexpected
Visit from a White Man -- "Where's that Razor?" -- Crime of Cutting
Down a Coconut Tree -- Walsh's Camp -- Torres Straits Pigeons -- My
Boy an ex-Cannibal -- A Probable Trap -- Relapse into Cannibalism
of our Own Allies -- Narrow Escape from a New Guinea Mantrap --
Attack on a Village -- Second Visit to Dobodura -- Toku's Exploit --
Interview with our Prisoners -- Reasons for Cannibalism -- The Night
Attack on our Camp and Enemies' Fear of our Rifles described by our
Prisoners -- Bravery of one of our Carriers -- Treatment of a Prisoner.

"Yes," said Monckton on our return to the coast, "we have got to
punish those Doboduras at all costs. They are the worst brutes I've
come across in New Guinea." And Monckton knew what he was talking
about, as he had been a resident magistrate in British New Guinea for
many years and had travelled all over the country, and had a wider
experience of the cannibals than any man living.

This tribe (as has already been mentioned), when they capture a
prisoner, tie him to a post, keep him alive for days, and meanwhile
feed on him slowly by cutting out pieces of flesh, and prevent his
bleeding to death with a special preparation of their own concoction,
and finally, when he is nearly dead, they make a hole in the side of
the head and feed on the hot fresh brains.

Both Acland and I myself fully agreed with Monckton, as we were not
by any means grateful to the Doboduras for giving us the worst fright
of our lives. We had, it is true, killed a good many of them, but we
recognised the fact that our force was insufficient to hold its own,
much less to punish these brutal tribesmen. So we determined to journey
up north and get help from the magistrate of the Northern Division
on the Mambare River, before returning to the Dobodura country.

That evening four Notu chiefs came into camp to thank us for killing
their enemies, and they brought with them presents of dogs' teeth and
shell necklaces, and seemed greatly excited, all talking at once,
each trying to out-talk his fellows, and wagged their heads at us
in turn. We left very early the next morning in our whaleboat for
the Kumusi River, but left all our carriers and stores with most of
the police behind in one of the Notu villages to await our return,
as we now felt sure that we could trust the Notu tribe.

It was a hot and uneventful voyage. A fish which looked like an
enormous sole, but which was larger than the whaleboat, jumped high in
the air not many yards away. Toward evening we arrived opposite the
bar of the Kumusi River, and we had a very uncomfortable few minutes
getting through the breakers into the river, for if we had been
upset we should soon have become food for the sharks and crocodiles,
which literally swarmed here. We got through the worst part safely,
but then stuck fast on a small sand-bank, and one or two good-sized
breakers half-filled the boat; but we all jumped out and hauled her
off the sand into the deep, calm waters beyond.

After rowing up the river a short distance, we landed at a spot
where there was a trader's store, looked after by an Australian
named Owen. From here miners go up the river to the gold fields in
the Yodda Valley, and cutters are constantly putting in at this store
with miners and provisions.

This district has the reputation of being one of the most unhealthy
spots in New Guinea, and the natives round here are none too friendly,
and hate the government and their police, so that during the last
three years, three or four resident magistrates in the locality have
either been murdered or have died of fever.

We arranged to have our meals with Owen at the store, and we slept in a
rough palm-thatched shed with a raised flooring of split palm-trunks,
which was very hard and rough to sleep on, and gave me a sleepless
night. We got two of our police to sleep in front of the doorway,
as it was more than likely that the natives might attempt to murder
us. These precautions may have been justified as, in the middle of the
night both Acland and I myself saw two natives peering into the hut.

The next day we sent off a messenger to the northern station for more
police, and it was fully a week before they arrived. Meanwhile we spent
our time dynamiting and catching fish. We caught some large ground
sharks fully four hundred pounds in weight, and also a "gorupa"
("groper"), a very large fish of about three hundred and fifty
pounds. This fish is the terror of divers in these parts they fear
it more than any shark. Both shark and fish proved most acceptable
to our police; they are especially fond of shark.

One morning about five o'clock I was aroused by hearing a shrill
war-cry close by. The police rushed up with their rifles and told us
we were attacked. It can be imagined it did not take us long to buckle
on our revolvers and seize our rifles and run, half-asleep as we were,
in the direction of the noise, which was repeated from time to time
in a very ferocious manner. On turning a sharp corner by the river,
instead of warlike warriors, we beheld about a dozen natives hauling
in the sharkline we had left baited in the water the previous evening,
with a very large shark at the end of it. Being greatly excited they
had from time to time yelled out their war-cry. We felt very foolish
at being roused from our slumbers for nothing, but still there was
some slight consolation in knowing that even the police were deceived.

Owen, the Australian, not long before had had rather an amusing,
and at the same time exciting, adventure with a large crocodile in
a swamp close to the store. He noticed it fast asleep in the swamp,
and so waded out to it through the mud, making no noise whatever. When
within a few yards of the saurian, he threw a double charge of dynamite
close up to it, and then turned to fly. He found he could not move,
but was stuck firmly in the mud. His struggles and yells for help had
meanwhile awoke the crocodile, which came for him with open jaws. It
looked as if it was a case of either being blown to pieces by the
dynamite or furnishing a meal for the crocodile.

Luckily the fuse was a long one, and the crocodile floundered about
a good deal in the mud ere it could reach him. Some friendly natives
rushed in and dragged him out just as the crocodile reached him. The
crocodile fled in one direction and the dynamite went off in another,
but Owen and the natives only just avoided the explosion.

Owen told me that there were about fifty miners in the goldfields
of the Yodda Valley, but that most of them were beginning to leave,
although there is plenty of gold to be got. The climate is a bad one,
and provisions, etc., are very dear, and so gold has to be got in
very large quantities to pay. As the miners decrease, there is bound
to be trouble with the natives, who are very treacherous. The miners,
who are nearly all Australians or New Zealanders, have generally to
work in strong bands with their rifles close at hand.

Only a short time ago the two miners, Campion and King (whom I
have elsewhere mentioned), while working in the bed of a creek,
had just traded with some apparently friendly natives for a pig and
some yams, and sat down for a smoke and a rest, thinking that the
natives had left, but these cunning cannibals were awaiting just
such an opportunity, and were lying hid amidst the thick foliage
clothing the steep banks of the creek. Suddenly, making a rush, they
got between the miners and their rifles, and speared both in the
legs, taking care not to kill them, as the cannibals in this part
of New Guinea consider that meat tastes better, be it pig or man,
when cooked alive. They then tied them with ropes of rattan to long
poles and carried them off to their village, where they were both
roasted alive over a slow fire. These facts were gathered from some
prisoners afterwards captured by a government force. A strong band
of miners also attacked their villages, and gave no quarter.

On the fifth day of our stay here one of our police came rushing up
to us excitedly with the information that a whaleboat was in sight,
and we knew that a white man would be in it. There was at once a
cry from Monckton, "After you with the razor, Acland." Now it had
been understood that none of us were to shave during the expedition,
and consequently we had grown large crops of beards and whiskers,
and looked a veritable trio of cut-throats. However, it appeared
that Acland had smuggled away a razor-possibly for all we knew to
enable him to captivate some fair Amazon, who might otherwise have
thought he was only good for her cooking pot. Half-an-hour later three
clean-shaven individuals met a tall unshaven man as he stepped out
of his boat on to the beach, and his first remark was, "Oh, I say,
(reproachfully) you fellows, where's that razor!" It was Walsh,
Assistant Resident Magistrate for the Northern Division, and none of
us had met him before.

He and another Englishman, a celebrated trader named Clark (he was
an old resident, well-known in New Guinea), with a force of police,
were returning from an expedition down the coast, and were at present
encamped about sixteen miles south of here, near some small islands
known as Mangrove Islands.

Leaving Clark in charge, Walsh had come over with a small cutter, which
we promptly hired to carry the extra stores of rice and provisions
which we had purchased from Owen. It is astonishing the amount of
rice it takes to feed one hundred carriers and twenty-five native
police during a six weeks' exploring expedition.

Two days later ten police arrived, sent down at Monckton's request
from the Mambare or Northern Station. These, with Walsh's nine, made
an addition of nineteen police to our force. A celebrated old Mambare
chief named Busimaiwa arrived at the same time, together with many
of his tribe, which was friendly to the government. I say celebrated
because he was the leader in the murder of the resident magistrate
of the Northern Division, the late Mr. -- -- , together with all
his police. But he has since been pardoned by the government. The
magistrate and his police were killed through treachery, being unarmed
at the time. They were all eaten, but -- -- 's skull was afterwards
recovered. Old Busimaiwa, had a son in our police force.

We were off early the next morning, we four white men and most of the
police going in the two whaleboats, while the rest walked along the
shore. These latter had to pass through many small villages on the
way, but the inhabitants did not wait to find out whether they were
friends or foes, and the police found the villages empty.

From the whaleboat I suddenly noticed a tall coconut palm come falling
to the ground, and I immediately called Monckton's attention to the
fact. He was very much annoyed, as he knew that it was cut down by some
of our party, contrary to regulations. According to government laws,
to cut down a coconut tree in New Guinea is a crime, and a serious
one at that. Even when attacking a hostile village it is strictly
forbidden, though one may loot houses, kill pigs, out down betel-nut
palms, and even kill the inhabitants. But the coconut-palm is sacred
in their eyes.

However, the government has an eye to the future of the country,
as, besides being the main article of food in a country whose food
supply is limited, the coconut tree means wealth to the country,
when it gets more settled and the natives are able to do a large
business in copra with the white traders.

That evening, when in camp, we discovered the culprit to be no less a
personage than the sergeant of Walsh's police, who was in command of
the shore party, his sole excuse for breaking the law being that he
thought it too much trouble to climb the tree after the coconuts. When
the whole of the police force had been drawn up in line Monckton,
as leader of the expedition, cut the red stripes from the blue tunic
of the sergeant, and he was reduced to the ranks.

After a rough voyage, there being a good swell on, we arrived at
Walsh's camp on the mainland, opposite the Mangrove Islands, and
here we found Clark, whom I had met before in Samarai. The camp
was situated in the midst of a small native village, and later on
the inhabitants and others turned up armed with their stone clubs,
spears and shields, and offered to help us. They also wanted us to
go and fight their enemies a short way inland from here. Monckton's
reply was not over polite. He ended by ordering them at once to clear
out of their village, as he had no use for them.

Toward evening we all went pigeon shooting, as thousands of Torres
Straits pigeons flock round here at twilight and settle chiefly on
the small islands close to the mainland. We had excellent sport. The
birds flew overhead, and we shot a great number between us.

Three of us white men were down with fever that evening. As the
cutter had not arrived with the rice, etc., from the Kumusi River,
we had to remain here the whole of the next day.

Toward evening we again went pigeon shooting, each of us taking
possession of a small island, but the birds were not nearly as
plentiful as yesterday, and small bags were the result. On these
islands were plenty of houses, which we heard were deserted a few weeks
ago, owing to the frequent attacks of hungry cannibals on the mainland.

On my island I discovered several very fresh-looking human skulls
and bones. My boy, Arigita, regaled me with yarns while we waited for
the pigeons. He told me he had often eaten human meat, and expressed
the same opinion on the matter as the ex-cannibals I had met in the
interior of Fiji had done. I had good reason for suspecting the young
rascal of having partaken of human meat since he had been my servant.

I noticed plenty of double red hibiscus bushes on these islands,
and I came across a new and curious DRACAENA with extremely short
and broad red and green leaves, that was certainly worth introducing
into cultivation.

We continued our journey in the whaleboats the next morning, and after
going some distance we heard a shout, and saw a man on the beach
frantically waving to us, but as he would not venture near enough,
we had to go on without finding out what was the matter. Shortly
afterward we heard three loud blasts on a conch shell, which is
always used to call natives together, but the bush being thick, we
could see nothing. I myself believe it was a trap, the man evidently
trying to get us ashore, so that his tribe might attack us. However,
our shore party, who came along later, saw no sign of any natives.

Towards evening we landed at the spot where we had started inland
last time against the Doboduras. Here we determined to camp. We
immediately sent down to Notu for our carriers and the rest of the
police, who arrived after dark, all seeming delighted and relieved
to be with us once more. We learned that after we had left the Notu
people killed and ate two runaway carriers from the Kumusi, and after
indulging in a great feast, fled and deserted their villages, so our
late cannibalistic allies evidently feared retribution at our hands.

These carriers, belonging to the miners in the Kumusi and Mambare
districts, are constantly running away, and they then try to work their
way down the coast to Samarai, from whence they are shipped. But they
never get there, being always killed and eaten on the way. One of our
own carriers had died at Notu, but the police had seen to it that he
was properly buried. However, it is more than likely that he was dug
up after they had left, and eaten.

The cutter arrived early the next morning.. The rice was soon landed,
and we started off along the same track as before. We now had over
forty police, and although we did not this time have the assistance
of the Notus, we had many more carriers.

During this march our police luckily discovered in time some slanting
spears set as a man trap, which projected from the tall grass over
the narrow track. Such spears are hard to see, especially for anyone
travelling at a good speed, and I was told that the points were
poisoned. Another trap, common in New Guinea, is to place a fallen
tree across the track and dig a deep pit on the other side from which
the enemy is expected to come. This pit is filled with sharp upright
spears, and then lightly covered over so that a man stepping over the
tree, which hides the ground on the other side, will fall into the pit.

After marching for some distance, we came to the end of a bit
of forest, from whence we could see the first hostile village. We
frightened away several armed scouts. The village appeared to be full
of armed men in full war-paint and plumes, so we divided our force
into two parties, each cutting round through the forest on both sides
of the village, in an endeavour to surprise the enemy. We were only
partially successful, as the Doboduras discovered our plans just
in time. Though we rushed the village, and a few shots were fired,
we only succeeded in capturing two old men and a small boy, who were
not able to get away in time. The houses were full of household goods,
in spite of our previous raid, when this and other villages were well
looted by our people, so we were evidently not expected to return.

We did not stay long here, but soon resumed our march. It was a very
hot day, and after walking through the open bits of grass country,
it was always pleasant to get into the cool and shady forest, full
of delicate ferns, rare palms and orchid-laden trees. We passed on
through two other villages, with their gruesome platforms of grinning
skulls as the only vestige of humanity.

At length we came to the large village, which is named Dobodura,
after the tribe, and in which we had spent such a horrible night on
our last visit. The village was full of yelling warriors. Rushing up,
we shot several who showed fight. Most of them, however, fled before
us. Toku, Monckton's boy, and brother of my boy Arigita, again made
use of his master's pea-rifle, but this time he did not meet with
any success, and very narrowly escaped getting a spear through him.

A short time before, when Monckton was out on an expedition, Toku was
carrying his master's revolver, but happened to lag behind the rest of
the party without being noticed, when a man jumped out of the jungle
and picked young Toku up in his arms, covering up his mouth so that he
could not cry out, and proceeded to carry him off, no doubt intending
to have a live roast. But Toku, managing to draw Monckton's revolver,
shot him dead right through the head, and Monckton, hearing the shot,
turned back, and soon discovered young Toku calmly sitting on his
enemy's dead body. But, alas! the hero had to suffer in the hour of
his triumph, as Monckton ordered him to be flogged for lagging behind
the rear guard of police.

Besides killing several of the Doboduras, we also took several
prisoners, both men and women. We rested here, but several of the
police, whose fighting blood was now fully roused, went out with some
of our armed natives, skirmishing in one or two parties till late,
and we could hear shots in all directions. As we found out later,
they had slain several more of the enemy, with no loss to themselves.

We chose a splendid camp, with the river (which we were informed was
the Tamboga River) on one side.

The forest trees were felled on the other side, forming a strong
barrier, very different from our last camp here in the centre of the
village, and without any defences at all. We had a most refreshing
bathe in the river, but kept our rifles close at hand, as the enemy
could have easily speared us from the reeds on the opposite bank.

After supper we interviewed the prisoners, and we now learned the
real sequel to our last visit and what a narrow escape we had that
night from being all massacred. It appeared that our fighting during
the daytime astonished them much, as they could not understand how we
could kill at such a distance, rifles being quite new to them. Our
fame soon reached a large village much further on, and they said
to the Dobodura people: "Ye are all cowards; we will show you that
we can destroy these strange people." They started off that night
and surrounding our camp on all sides, crept up for a rush; but,
luckily for us, our sentries saw some of them and fired. The first
shot killed one of them, and others were hit. Then came the blaze of
many rifles. This terrified them and they fled. The horrible noise of
the rifles and the flashes of fire in the darkness astonished them, but
what made them depart for good was seeing one of their men fall at the
first shot. It was a very lucky shot, and it probably saved our lives
that night. When asked why they raided the Notus, the prisoners said
that they were friends until two years ago, when they quarrelled, and
had been constantly fighting since. In particular they now blamed the
Notus for the late drought, which they said was due to their sorcery,
the result being that they were forced to live on sago alone, and to
vary this diet were compelled to get human meat.

I was the only one out of five white men not down with fever, but I
was glad that we passed a quiet night, with no attack on the camp. In
the morning one of our carriers, who ventured less than fifty yards
beyond the barrier, received a spear through his left arm and another
through his side, and though I am almost afraid to relate it for
fear of being thought guilty of exaggeration, the man plucked the
spear out of his side in a moment, and, hurling it back, killed his
opponent. I ventured outside and proved the truth of the man's story,
by finding the Dobodura man transfixed with his own spear. Both our
man's wounds were bad ones, but he did not seem to mind them at all,
and was for some time surrounded by a crowd of admiring natives.

We started off early in search of a large village of which a prisoner
told us, but had not gone far when a man jumped out of the long grass
and threw a spear at one of our carriers, only a few paces in front
of me. Fortunately he missed him, but only by a few inches. As he
was preparing to throw another spear, one of our men, whom he had not
noticed, owing to an abrupt bend in the narrow track, which brought
him close to the spearman, sprang forward and buried his stone club
in the man's head, who sank down without a groan.

It was cloudy, but very close, and we passed through open grass
country, bounded on each side by tall forest, in which bird-life
seemed plentiful, cockatoos and parrots making a great noise. Birds
of paradise were also calling out with their very noticeable and
peculiar falsetto cry.

After going some distance we catechized the prisoners, and while
an old man declared that there was a large village ahead, the two
women prisoners said that the track was only a hunting one and led
to the mountains.

The old man evidently wanted to get us away from his village, to
enable his tribe to return, but the women, not being so loyal, told
us the truth, no doubt because they found the forced marching on a
hot day a little too much for them. We sat down for a consultation,
but hearing a loud outcry in the rear, I suddenly came across about a
dozen of the now indignant police pelting the old man with darts made
out of a peculiar kind of grass, which grew around here. The old man,
who was handcuffed, hopped high in the air, uttering loud yells every
time a dart hit him, so I imagined they hurt, and though I, too, felt
much annoyed, I had to put a stop to this cruel sport, when one of
the aggrieved policemen cried out to me: "Taubada (master), why you
stop him get hurt? This fellow he ki-ki (eat) you if he get chance."


The Return From Dobodura.

Horrible Fate of one of our Enemies -- Collecting in Cannibal --
Haunted Forest -- I Shoot a new Kingfisher, and a Bird of Paradise
-- Natives' Interest in Bird-Stuffing -- Return Journey begun --
Tree-house in a Notu Village -- Peacemaking Ceremonies -- Notu Village
described -- Our Allies sentenced for Cannibalism -- Parting with
Walsh and Clark.

We decided to return, and sent off a strong body of police in advance
to surprise some of the surrounding villages. On the way back we found
the man who was brained by one of our carriers still breathing. He
was a ghastly sight, with his brains projecting out, and he was being
eaten alive by swarms of red ants, which almost hid his body and found
their way into his eyes, ears and nose. By the convulsions that from
time to time shook the man's body, he was evidently still conscious,
but could not possibly have lived for more than a few hours at most,
after our thus finding him. New Guinea, like most tropical countries,
had its full share of these pests (ants), some species of which
actually make webs, and, by way of supplementing the web itself,
work leaves in.

Acland, who had been suffering all day long from bad fever, now
collapsed and could walk no further, but had to be carried in a
hammock. When we got back to our old camping ground, I took an armed
guard of police and went in search of birds for my collection, in
the adjoining forest, and shot a new kingfisher (TANYSIPTERA) and a
bird of paradise (PARADISEA INTERMEDIA). It was rather exciting work,
as one went warily through the thick growth, from whence might issue
a spear any minute, and I held on to my rifle all the time, except,
of course, when I saw a bird, and then I made a quick change to my
shotgun, lest I should prove a case of the hunter hunted.

On my return I had a large crowd of carriers around me watching me
skin my birds, while Arigita explained everything to them in lordly
fashion, only too pleased to get the chance of being listened to,
while he expounded to them his superior knowledge. What he told them
I, of course, could not tell, but he informed me that when I put the
final stitch in the nostrils of the birds, my audience declared that
I did this to prevent the birds from breathing and so one day coming
to life again. When the wise Arigita asked them how this could be,
since they had seen me take out the body and brains, they scoffed at
him and said that spirits would come inside the skins so that they
could sing again.

Monckton, meanwhile, had made a raid on the native gardens and brought
in quite a lot of taro. The police had killed several more Doboduras,
and in one place they had quite a fight. Our old man prisoner escaped
in the night, although he was handcuffed.

We returned to the coast the next day, as there seemed no chance of our
coming to terms with these Doboduras. Our only chance would have been
to defeat them in a big engagement. They seemed too frightened of us
to stand up for a big fight, but hid themselves in the bush, and were
thus hard to get at. We left ten police behind to trap the natives,
and, thinking we had left, a few of them returned to the village,
and the police shot four more of them and soon caught up with us,
bringing in the shields, stone clubs and spears of the slain.

During both these expeditions we had killed a good many of these
people, and it ought to be a lesson to them to leave the Notus alone
in future, although there is little doubt that the Notus themselves
make cannibalistic raids on some of their weaker neighbours. I did
not like the looks of the Notus, and they, as well as the Doboduras,
have a most repellent type of features, and look capable of any
kind of cruelty and treachery. They are very different from the
gentle-looking Kaili-kailis.

The sea was very rough, and it was exciting work launching the
canoes. One was thrown clean out of the water by a breaker. The
majority of the carriers and half the police went round by the beach,
but we in the two whaleboats had some exciting moments in the rough
sea, though with the sails up we made good progress. We passed two
of the canoes partially wrecked, and apparently in great difficulties.

We eventually landed long after dark in Eoro Bay, some distance the
other side of the large Notu village, near which we had previously
camped. We landed opposite a good-sized village belonging to the
Notu tribe, from which all the inhabitants fled on our approach. We
wandered about the village with flaming torches, looking out for huts
to pass the night in, as it was too late to pitch camp. But unhappily
the huts were full of lice, and it was impossible to get any sleep.

I saw here for the first time one of the curious native tree houses. It
was high up in a tall pandanus tree, and had a very odd appearance. We
spent the whole of the next day in this village, while our carriers
brought in and mended their canoes. They, too, had a very rough time
of it, but no lives were lost.

During the day I witnessed a very interesting ceremony, which I
take the liberty of describing in Monckton's own words, given in his
report to the Government. He says: "October 7th. Found that some of
the mountain people had been out to Notu and wished to make peace
with them. The Notu people had also ascertained that the Dobodura
had retreated into the large sago swamp, and were quite certain that
they had no danger to fear from them for some time to come. They
also said that after the police had departed they would very likely
be able to re-establish their ancient friendly relations with the
Dobodura. A peace-offering was brought from the mountain people,
which the Notu people asked me to receive for them. The ceremony was
strange to me, and had several peculiar features. Two minor chiefs
came to where I was sitting and sat down. About twenty men then
approached and drove their spears into the ground in a circle with
the butts all leaning inwards. Many of the spears had a small piece
broken off at the butt end. From these spears were then hung clubs,
spears and shields, and native masks and fighting ornaments. An old
chief then said they had given me their arms. Next they placed cloth,
fishing nets and spears and other native ornaments inside the circle,
and the same old chief said they had given me their property. After
this ten pigs, five male and five female, were brought and placed
inside the ring with a quantity of sago and a little other food. Then
followed cooking vessels full of cooked food. The old chief then said,
'We have given you all we have as a sign we are now the people of the
Government.' I gave them a good return present, and told them that
they were at liberty to take any articles they wanted or their pigs
back again, but this they absolutely refused to do, saying that it
would destroy the effect of what they had done. The female prisoners
were now sent back to Dobodura with a message to the Dobodura, that
I should return in a few months and make peace with them, should they
in the meantime refrain from murdering the coastal people, but should
they persist in their raiding I should return and handle them still
more severely." In return we gave them presents of axes, knives,
beads, tobacco, etc., which were laid down on the top of each pig.

Monckton very kindly presented Acland and myself with all the clubs,
native masks, "tapa" cloth and ornaments, and the pigs and other food
came in very useful for our police and carriers, as our rice supply
was getting low.

This was a very picturesque village, shaded by thousands of coconut
and betel nut palms and large spreading trees, among which was a very
fine tree, with very beautiful green and yellow variegated leaves
(ERYTHRINA sp.). There was also a great variety of DRACAENAS, striped
and spotted with green, crimson, white, pink and yellow.

In most of these villages there were many curious kinds of trophies --
crossed sticks, standing in the middle of the village, with a centre
pole carved and painted in various patterns, and with a fringe of
fibre placed near the top. Hanging on these sticks were the skulls
and jawbones of men, pigs and crocodiles. I went out in the afternoon
with gun and rifle, and saw several wallabies, but could not get a
shot at them on account of the tall grass.

In the evening the chiefs of the large Notu village who had in our
absence killed and eaten the two runaway carriers, visited us in
fear and trembling. Monckton told them they must give up to us the
actual murderers and send them up to the residency at Cape Nelson
(or Tufi) within the next three weeks. He did not ask for those
that ate them. Possibly one hundred or more partook of the feast,
and for this they could hardly be blamed, as, being cannibals, it
is quite natural that they should eat fresh meat when they got the
chance. Indeed, our own carriers could not understand why we would
not allow them to eat the bodies of those we had slain.

The next morning we five white men parted company, Walsh and Clark,
with the Mambare and their own police, returning to the north,
while Monckton, Acland and I went southward again to continue our
explorations in another direction.

Our Discovery of Flat-Footed Lake Dwellers.


Our Discovery of Flat-Footed Lake Dwellers.

Rumours at Cape Nelson of a "Duckfooted" People in the Interior --
Conflicting Opinions -- Views of a Confirmed Sceptic -- Start of the
Expedition -- Magnificence of the Vegetation -- Friendliness of the
Barugas -- The "Orakaibas" (Criers of "Peace") -- Tree-huts eighty feet
from the ground-Loveliness of this part of the Jungle -- Description
of its Plants -- A Dry Season -- First Glimpse of Agai Ambu Huts --
Remarkable Scene on the Lake -- Flight of the Agai Ambu in Canoes --
Success at Last -- A Voluntary Surrender -- The Agai Ambu Flat-footed,
not Web-footed -- Sir Francis Winter's subsequent Visit and fuller
Description of these People -- Their Physical Appearance, Houses,
Canoes, Food, Speech and Customs -- My Account Resumed -- Making
Friends with the Agai Ambu -- A Country of Swamps -- Second Agai
Ambu Village -- Extraordinary Abundance and Variety of Water-fowl --
Strange Behaviour of an Agai Ambu Women -- Disposal of the Dead in
Mid-lake Food of the Agai Ambu -- Their Method of Catching Ducks
by Diving for them -- An Odd Experience -- Mosquitos and Fever --
Last View of Agai Ambu -- An Amusing FINALE.

Many were the wild and fantastic rumours we had heard at the Residency
at Cape Nelson, on the north-east coast of British New Guinea,
concerning a curious tribe of natives whose feet were reported to be
webbed like those of a duck, and who lived in a swamp a short way in
the interior, some distance to the north of us. I myself had at first
been inclined to sneer at these reports, but Monckton, the Resident
Magistrate, with his superior knowledge of the Papuans, as the natives
of New Guinea are called, was sure that there was some truth in the
reports, as the Papuan who has not come much in contact with the
white man is singularly truthful though guilty of exaggeration.

I knew this, but I had in mind the case of the Doriri tribe, who
lived in the interior a little to the south of us. These Doriri (who
had had the kindly forethought to send us word that they were coming
down to pay us a visit to eat us, for the Papuan, though a savage,
is often most suave and courteous and by no means lacking in humour),
were reported to us as having many tails, but needless to say when
we made some prisoners, we were scarcely disappointed to find that
the said tails protruded from the back of the head (in much the same
fashion as the Chinaman's pigtail); in this case each man had many
tails, which were fashioned by rolling layers of bark from a certain
tree -- closely allied, I believe to the "paper tree" of Australia --
round long strands of hair.

We three white men had many a long talk as to whether these
swamp-dwellers were worth going in search of, but I soon came round to
Monckton's way of thinking. Acland, alone, however, maintained to the
last that the whole thing was a myth, and jokingly said to Monckton:
"When you find these duck-footed people, you had better see that Walker
does not take them for birds, and shoot and skin a couple of specimens
of each sex and add them to his collection." (For my chief hobby in
this and many other countries all over the world consisted in adding
to my fine collections of birds and butterflies in the old country.)

As we three, with our twenty-five native police and four servant
boys, rowed up the Barigi River in our large government whaleboat,
on our way to search for these "duck-footed" people, I could not help
being struck with the very great beauty of the scene. Giant trees
laden with their burden of orchids, parasites and dangling lianas,
surrounded us on both sides, their wide-spreading branches forming
a leafy arcade far over our heads, while palms in infinite variety,
intermixed with all sorts of tropical forms of vegetation, and rare
ferns, grew thickly on the banks.

Some distance behind us came our large fleet of canoes, bearing our
bags of rice and over one hundred carriers, and as they paddled down
the dark green oily waters of this natural arcade, with much shouting
and the splashing of many paddles, it made a scene which is with me
yet and is never to be forgotten. As we proceeded, the river got more
narrow, and fallen trees from time to time obstructed our way. We at
length landed at a spot where we were met by a large number of the
Baruga tribe, who brought us several live pigs tied to poles, and
great quantities of sago, plantains and yams. They had expected us,
as we had camped in their country the previous night. They had been
"licked" into friendliness by Monckton, who less than a year ago (as
elsewhere mentioned) had sunk their canoes, and together with the aid
of the crocodiles, which swarm in this river, had annihilated a large
force of them. And now to show their friendliness they were prepared
to do us a good turn, by helping us to find these duck-footed people,
with whom (they told us) they were well acquainted.

Oyogoba, the chief of the Baruga tribe, came to meet us. He assured us
of the friendliness of his people, and himself offered to accompany
us. His arm had been broken in the encounter with Monckton and his
police, and Monckton had immediately afterwards set it himself. It
now seemed quite sound.

We soon resumed our journey, on foot, passing through very varied
country, plains covered with tall grass and bounded by forest,
through which at times we passed. At other times we had to force our
way through thick swamps in which the sago-palm abounded, from the
trunks of which the natives extract sago in great quantities.

About mid-day we arrived at a fair-sized village belonging to the
Baruga tribe. It was surrounded by a tall stockade of poles, and as
we entered it, the women sitting in their huts greeted us with their
incessant cries of "orakaiba, orakaiba" (peace). On this account the
natives of this part of New Guinea are generally termed "Orakaibas"
by other tribes.

The houses here seemed larger and better built than most Papuan houses
that I had hitherto seen, and there were many curious tree-houses
high up among the branches of some very large, trees in the village,
some being fully eighty feet from the ground. They had broad ladders
reaching up to them, and looked very curious and picturesque. These
ladders are made of long rattans from various climbing palms. These
rattans, of which there were three double strings, are twisted in
such a way as to support the pieces of wood which form the steps. In
one case a ladder led from the ground in the usual way to a house
built in a small tree about thirty feet from the ground, but a second
ladder connected this house with another one in a much larger tree
about eighty feet off the ground. I climbed the first ladder, but
the second one swayed too much.

These tree-houses axe built partly as look-out houses, from which the
approach of the enemy is discovered, and partly as vantage points
from which the natives hurl down spears at their opponents below
when attacked.

Resuming our journey, after a brief halt in this village, we soon
came to the Barigi River again, which we crossed, camping in a small
deserted village close by. Here I noticed several more tree-houses in
the larger trees. This had been a very hot day, even for New Guinea,
and I could not resist taking a most refreshing bathe in the river,
though I must confess I was glad to get out again, having rather a
dread of the crocodiles, which infest parts of this river, though
they were not nearly so numerous up here as in the lower reaches of
the river which we had traversed in the morning.

We were up the following morning before sunrise, and were all
much excited at the prospect before us of discovering this curious
tribe. This day would show whether or no our journey was to prove
fruitless. Soon after leaving the village we entered a dense forest,
the growth of which was wonderfully beautiful. Tall PANDANUS trees,
some of them supported by a hundred and more long stilted roots, which
rose many feet above our heads, reared their crowns of ribbon-like
leaves above even some of the giants of the forest. Palms of all shapes
and sizes, dwarfed, tall, slender and thick, surrounded us on every
side, and at least three different species of climbing palms scrambled
over the tallest trees. The tree trunks were hidden by climbing ferns
and by a white variegated fleshy-leafed POTHOS. Orchids, though not
numerous, were by no means scarce on the branches of some of the
larger trees, and were intermixed with many curious and beautiful
ferns. There were many large-leafed tropical plants somewhat resembling
the HELICONIAS and MARANTAS of tropical America.

Flowers were not very plentiful, but here and there the forest
would be literally ablaze with what is said to be the most showy
flowering creeper in the world, huge bunches of large flowers of so
vivid a scarlet that Monckton and I agreed no painting could do them
justice. It is sometimes known as the DALBERTIA, but its botanical name
is MUCUNA BENNETTI. It has been found impossible to introduce it into
cultivation. Among other flowers were some very large sweet-scented
CRINUM lilies and some very pretty pink flowering BEGONIAS, with their
leaves beautifully mottled with silver. Here and there we would notice
a variegated CROTON or pink-leafed DRACAENA, but these were uncommon.

As we proceeded, I noticed that in spite of the very dry weather
we had been having, the ground each moment became more moist, which
indicated that we were approaching the swamps we had heard about. It
was a rough track over fallen trees and dry streams, but before long
we passed along the banks of a creek full of stagnant water.

We at length left the forest and found ourselves in open country,
covered with reeds and rank grass, through which we slowly wended
our way. Suddenly, however, we halted, and looking through the
tall grass, saw some of the houses of the Agai Ambu tribe close
at hand. Down we all crouched, hiding ourselves among the grass,
while two of our Baruga guides, who speak the language of the Agai
Ambu, went forward to try and parley with them and induce them to be
friendly with us. We soon heard them yelling out to the Agai Ambu,
who yelled back in reply. This went on for some minutes, when the
Baruga men called out to us to come on.

Jumping up, we rushed forward through the grass and witnessed a
remarkable scene. In front of us was a lake thickly covered with
water-lilies, most of them long-stemmed and of a very beautiful blue,
with a yellow centre, and with large leaves, the edges of which were
covered with a kind of thorn; there were also some white ones with
yellow centre.

On the other side of the lake were several curious houses built on
long poles in the water, the houses themselves being a good height
above the water. The lake presented a scene of great confusion. The
inhabitants were fleeing away from us in their curious canoes, which,
unlike most Papuan canoes, had no outrigger whatever. Their paddles
also were peculiar, the blades being very broad. Close to us were
our two Baruga guides in a canoe with one of the Agai Ambu tribe,
who directly he saw us plunged into the lake and disappeared under
the tangled masses of water lilies.

He remained under some time, but on his coming to the surface again,
one of the Baruga men plunged in after him, and we witnessed an
exciting wrestling match in the water. The Baruga man was by far
the more powerful of the two, but he was no match for the almost
amphibious Agai Ambu, who slipped away from his grasp like an eel,
and swam away, with the Baruga man in close pursuit. All this time
a canoe full of the Agai Ambu was rapidly approaching to the rescue,
waving their paddles over their heads, and the Baruga man, seeing this,
climbed back into his canoe and paddled back to us.

Meanwhile the police had made a rush for a canoe which was close at
hand; but it at once upset, having no outrigger and being exceedingly
light and thin; it was, in fact, a species of canoe quite new to our
police. In any case they would not have had the slightest chance of
overtaking the fleet Agai Ambu in their own canoes. It looked very
much as if after all we were not to have the chance of verifying
the strange reports about the formation of these people. As a last
resource we sent over our two Baruga guides in a canoe to speak with
those of the tribe who had not fled. As the guides approached they
shouted out that we were friends, and that as we were friends of the
Baruga tribe, we must be friends of the Agai Ambu tribe as well.

We held up various tempting trade goods, including a calico known as
Turkey-red, bottles of beads, etc. This and a long conversation with
the Baruga men seemed to carry some weight with them, for the Baruga
soon returned with one of their number, who turned round in the canoe
with his arms outstretched to his friends and cried or rather chanted,
in a sobbing voice, what sounded like a very weird song, which seemed
quite in keeping with the mournful surroundings and lonely life of
these people.

This weird song, heard under such circumstances, quite thrilled me,
and wild and savage though the singer was, the song appealed to me
more than any other song has ever done. It looked as if he might
be a ne'er-do-weel or an idiot whom his friends could afford to
experiment with before taking the risk of coming over themselves,
but his song was no doubt a farewell to his friends, whom he possibly
never expected to see again.

He certainly looked horribly frightened as he stepped out of the
canoe. We at once saw that there was some truth in the reports about
the physical formation of these people, although there had been
exaggeration in the descriptions of their feet as "webbed." There
was, between the toes, an epidermal growth more distinct than in the
case of other peoples, though not so conspicuous as to permit of the
epithet "half-webbed," much less "webbed," being applied to them. The
most noticeable difference was that their legs below the knee were
distinctly shorter than those of the ordinary Papuan, and that their
feet seemed much broader and shorter and very flat, so that altogether
they presented a most extraordinary appearance. The Agai Ambu hardly
ever walk on dry land, and their feet bleed if they attempt to do
so. They appeared to be slightly bowlegged and walk with a mincing
gait, lifting their feet straight up, as if they were pulling them
out of the mud.

Sir Francis Winter, the acting Governor of British New Guinea, was so
interested in our discovery, that he himself made another expedition
with Monckton to see these people, while I was still in New Guinea. On
his return I stayed with him for some time at Government House,
Port Moresby, and he gave me a copy of his report on the Agai Ambu,
which explains the curious physical formation of these people better
than I could do.

He says: "On the other side of this mere, and close to a bed of reeds
and flags, was a little village of the small Ahgai-ambo tribe, and
about three-quarters of a mile off was a second village. After much
shouting our Baruga followers induced two men and a woman to come
across to us from the nearest village. Each came in a small canoe,
which, standing up, they propelled with a long pole. One man and the
woman ventured on shore to where we were standing.

"The Ahgai-ambo have for a period that extends beyond native traditions
lived in this swamp. At one time they were fairly numerous, but a
few years ago some epidemic reduced them to about forty. They never
leave their morass, and the Baruga assured us that they are not able
to walk properly on hard ground, and that their feet soon bleed
if they try to do so. The man that came on shore was for a native
middle-aged. He would have been a fair-sized native, had his body
from the hips downward been proportionate to the upper part of his
frame. He had a good chest and, for a native, a thick neck; and his
arms matched his trunk. His buttocks and thighs were disproportionately
small, and his legs still more so. His feet were short and broad,
and very thin and flat, with, for a native, weak-looking toes. This
last feature was still more noticeable in the woman, whose toes were
long and slight and stood out rigidly from the foot as though they
possessed no joints. The feet of both the man and the woman seemed to
rest on the ground something as wooden feet would do. The skin above
the knees of the man was in loose folds, and the sinews and muscles
around the knee were not well developed. The muscles of the shin were
much better developed than those of the calf. In the ordinary native
the skin on the loins is smooth and tight, and the anatomy of the body
is clearly discernible; but the Ahgai-ambo man had several folds of
thick skin or muscle across the loins, which concealed the outline
of his frame. On placing one of our natives, of the same height,
alongside the marsh man, we noticed that our native was about three
inches higher at the hips.

"I had a good view of our visitor, while he was standing sideways
towards me, and in figure and carriage he looked to me more ape-like
than any human being that I have seen. The woman, who was of middle
age, was much more slightly formed than the man, but her legs were
short and slender in proportion to her figure, which from the waist
to the knees was clothed in a wrapper of native cloth.

"The houses of the near village were built on piles, at a height of
about twelve feet from the surface of the water, but one house at the
far village must have been three or four feet more elevated. Their
canoes, which are small, long, and narrow, and have no outrigger, axe
hollowed out to a mere shell to give them buoyancy. Although the open
water was several feet deep, it was so full of aquatic plants that
a craft of any width, or drawing more than a few inches, would make
but slow progress through it. Needless to say that these craft, which
retain the round form of the log, are exceedingly unstable, but their
owners stand up in them and, pole them along without any difficulty.

"These people are very expert swimmers, and can glide through beds
of reeds or rushes, or over masses of floating vegetable matter,
with ease. They live on wild fowl, fish, sago and marsh plants,
and on vegetables procured from the Baruga in exchange for fish and
sago. They keep a few pigs on platforms built underneath or alongside
their houses. Their dead they place on small platforms among the reeds,
and cover the corpse over with a roof of rude matting. Their dialect
is almost the same as that of the Baruga. Probably their ancestors
at one time lived close to the swamp, and in order to escape from
their enemies were driven to seek a permanent refuge in it."

Thus it will be seen that Sir Francis was much impressed with these
people, and he heartily congratulated me upon our discovery.

To resume my personal account. We soon gave the man confidence
by presenting him with an axe, some calico and beads, and a small
looking-glass, which was held in front of him. He gazed in stupefied
wonderment at his own features so plainly depicted before him. He was
taken back to the other side, and soon returned with two more of his
tribe, who brought us a live pig, which they hauled out from a raised
flooring beneath one of their houses.

The country all round us seemed to be one large swamp, and we stood
upon a springy foundation of reeds and mud; except for these, we
should undoubtedly have soon sunk out of sight in the mud. As it was,
we stood in a foot of water most of the time, and in places we had
to wade through mud over our knees.

The lake swarmed with many kinds of curious water-birds, the most
common being a red-headed kind of plover; there was also a great
variety of duck and teal. The swamps were full of large spiders, which
crawled all over us; we had to keep continually brushing them off.

Farther down the lake we saw another small village, and we were
told that these two villages comprised the whole of this curious
tribe. Whether they axe the remnants of a once powerful tribe it
is impossible to say, but their position is well-nigh impregnable
in case they are ever attacked, as their houses are surrounded by
swamps and water on all sides, and no outsider could very well get
through the swamps to their villages. The only possible way to get
there would be to cross the water in their shell-like canoes, a feat
which no man of any other tribe would ever be able to manage.

Monckton thought that these swamps and lake were formed by an overflow
of the Musa River. This had been a phenomenally dry season for New
Guinea, so these swamps in an ordinary wet season must be under water
to the depth of many feet.

We camped close by on the borders of the forest amid a jungle of
rank luxuriant vegetation, over which hovered large and brilliant
butterflies, among them a very large metallic green and black species
(ORNITHOPTERA PRIAMUS) and a large one of a bright blue (PAPILIO
ULYSES). The same afternoon we three went out shooting on the lake. Two
of the Agai Ambu canoes were lashed together and a raft of split
bamboo put across them, and two Agai Ambu men punted and paddled us
about. Before starting we had first educated them up to the report
of our guns, and after a few shots they soon got over their fright.

The lake positively swarmed with water-fowl, including several
varieties of duck, also shag, divers, pigmy geese, small teal, grebe,
red-headed plover, spur-wing plover, curlew, sandpipers, snipe,
swamp hen, water-rail, and many other birds. The red-headed plover
were especially numerous, and ran about on the surface of the lake,
which was covered with the water-lily leaves and a thick sort of mossy
weed. All the birds seemed remarkably tame, and we got a good assorted
bag, chiefly duck -- enough to supply most of our large force with.

I stopped most of the time on the raised platform of one of the
houses and shot the duck, which Acland and Monckton put up, as
they flew over my head. I had a companion in old Giwi, the chief
of the Kaili-kailis, many of whom were among our carriers. He
seemed to be on very friendly terms with one of the Agai Ambu on
whose hut I was. Presently a woman came over in a canoe from one
of the houses in the far village, and climbed up on to the platform
where we were. Directly she saw old Giwi, she caught hold of him and
hugged and kissed him all over and rubbed her face against his body,
covering him with the black pigment with which she had smeared her
face. She was sobbing all the time and chanting a very mournful but
not unmusical kind of song. This exhibition lasted over half an hour,
and poor old Giwi looked quite bewildered, and gazed up at me in a
most piteous way, as much as to say: "Awful nuisance, this woman --
but what am I to do?" He understood the meaning of this performance
as little as I did. Possibly the woman was frightened of us, and
seeing a stranger of her own colour in old Giwi, appealed to him
for protection. The Baruga, however, had previously told us that the
Agai Ambu had recently captured one of their women, and I have since
thought that this might possibly have been the woman, and am sorry I
did not make inquiries at the time. At all events, old Giwi was too
courteous to shake her off, though to me it was a most amusing sight,
and it was all I could do to refrain from laughing aloud.

We saw the dead body of a man half-wrapped in mats tied to poles
in the middle of the lake. They always dispose of their dead thus,
and I suppose leave them there till they rot or dry up.

The chief food of these people seemed to be the bulbs of the
water-lilies, fish and shellfish. They catch plenty of water-fowl by
diving under them and pulling them under the water by the legs before
they have time to make any noise. By this method they do not frighten

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