ALL OVER THE WORLD LIBRARY
FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS
By OLIVER OPTIC
* * * * *
Illustrated, Price per Volume $1.25
A MISSING MILLION Or THE ADVENTURES OF LOUIS BELGRAVE
A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN Or THE CRUISE OF THE GUARDIAN MOTHER
A YOUNG KNIGHT-ERRANT Or CRUISING IN THE WEST INDIES
STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD Or A VOYAGE IN EUROPEAN WATERS
AMERICAN BOYS AFLOAT Or CRUISING IN THE ORIENT
THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS Or THE FOREIGN CRUISE OF THE MAUD
UP AND DOWN THE NILE Or YOUNG ADVENTURERS IN AFRICA
ASIATIC BREEZES Or STUDENTS ON THE WING
ACROSS INDIA Or LIVE BOYS IN THE FAR EAST
HALF ROUND THE WORLD Or AMONG THE UNCIVILIZED
FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS Or SIGHT-SEEING IN THE TROPICS
OTHER VOLUMES IN PREPARATION ANY VOLUME SOLD SEPARATELY
LEE AND SHEPARD Publishers Boston
All-Over-the-World Library—Third Volume of Third Series
FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS
SIGHT-SEEING IN THE TROPICS
AUTHOR OF "THE ARMY AND NAVY SERIES" "YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD, FIRST AND SECOND SERIES" "THE BOAT-CLUB STORIES" "THE ONWARD AND UPWARD SERIES" "THE GREAT WESTERN SERIES" "THE WOODVILLE STORIES" "THE LAKE SHORE SERIES" "THE YACHT-CLUB SERIES" "THE RIVERDALE STORIES" "THE BOAT-BUILDER SERIES" "THE BLUE AND THE GRAY AFLOAT" "THE BLUE AND THE GRAY—ON LAND" "THE STARRY FLAG SERIES" "ALL-OVER-THE-WORLD LIBRARY, FIRST SECOND AND THIRD SERIES" COMPRISING "A MISSING MILLION" "A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN" "A YOUNG KNIGHT-ERRANT" "STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD" "AMERICAN BOYS AFLOAT" "THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS" "UP AND DOWN THE NILE" "ASIATIC BREEZES" "ACROSS INDIA" "HALF ROUND THE WORLD" ETC., ETC., ETC.
BOSTON LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS 10 MILK STREET 1896
COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY LEE AND SHEPARD
All Rights Reserved
FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS
TYPOGRAPHY BY C. J. PETERS & SON, BOSTON.
PRESSWORK BY BERWICK & SMITH.
TO MY APPRECIATIVE AND VALUED FRIEND
FREDERICK D. RUGGLES, ESQ.
RESIDING ON A HISTORIC HILL IN HARDWICK, MASS.
IS RESPECTFULLY AND CORDIALLY DEDICATED.
"FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS" is the third volume of the third series of the "All-Over-the-World Library." When the young millionaire and his three companions of about his own age, with a chosen list of near and dear friends, had made the voyage "Half Round the World," the volume with this title left them all at Sarawak in the island of Borneo. The four young explorers, as they became, were permitted to spend three weeks there hunting, fishing, and ascending some of the rivers, while the rest of the party proceeded in the Guardian-Mother to Siam. The younger members of the ship's company believed they had seen enough of temples, palaces, and fine gardens in the great cities of the East, and desired to live a wilder life for a brief period.
They were provided with a steam-launch, prepared for long trips; and they ascended the Sarawak, the Sadong, and the Simujan Rivers, and had all the hunting, fishing, and exploring they desired. They visited the villages of the Sea and Hill Dyaks, and learned what they could of their manners and customs, penetrating the island from the sea to the mountains. They studied the flora and the fauna of the forests, and were exceedingly interested in their occupation for about a week, when they came to the conclusion that "too much of a good thing" became wearisome; and, more from the love of adventure than for any other reason, they decided to proceed to Bangkok, and to make the voyage of nine hundred miles in the Blanchita, as they had named the steam-launch, which voyage was accomplished without accident.
After the young explorers had looked over the capital of Siam, the Guardian-Mother and her consort made the voyage to Saigon, the capital of French Cochin-China, where the visit of the tourists was a general frolic, with "lots of fun," as the young people expressed it; and then, crossing the China Sea, made the port of Manila, the capital of the Philippine Islands, where they explored the city, and made a trip up the Pasig to the Lake of the Bay. From this city they made the voyage to Hong-Kong, listening to a very long lecture on the way in explanation of the history, manners, and customs, and the peculiarities of the people of China. They were still within the tropics, and devoted themselves to the business of sight-seeing with the same vigor and interest as before. But most of them had read so much about China, as nearly every American has, that many of the sights soon began to seem like an old story to them.
Passing out of the Torrid Zone, the two steamers proceeded to the north, obtaining a long view of Formosa, and hearing a lecture about it. Their next port of call was Shang-hai, reached by ascending the Woo-Sung. From this port they made an excursion up the Yang-tsze-Chiang, which was an exceedingly interesting trip to them. The ships then made the voyage to Tien-tsin, from which they ascended by river in the steam-launch to a point thirteen miles from Pekin, going from there to the capital by the various modes of conveyance in use in China. They visited the sights of the great city under the guidance of a mandarin, educated at Yale College. Some of the party made the trip to the loop-wall, near Pekin. Returning to Tien-tsin, with the diplomatic mandarin, who had accepted an invitation to go to Japan in the Guardian-Mother, they sailed for that interesting country, where the next volume of the series will take them.
It may be necessary to say that the Guardian-Mother, now eighteen months from New York, and half round the world, reached Tien-tsin May 25, 1893; and therefore nothing relating to the late war between China and Japan is to be found in this volume. Possibly the four young explorers would have found more sights to see, and more adventures to enjoy, if they had struck either of the belligerent nations during the war; but the ship sailed for the United States before hostilities were begun.
Of course the writer has been compelled to consult many volumes in writing this book; and he takes great pleasure in mentioning among them the very interesting and valuable work of Mr. W. T. Hornaday, the accomplished traveller and scientist, "Two Years in the Jungle." This book contains all that one need know about Borneo, to say nothing of the writer's trip in India among the elephants. His researches in regard to the orang-outang appear to have exhausted the subject; though I do not believe he has found the "missing link," if he is looking for it. Professor Legge contributed several articles to "Chambers's Encyclopaedia," which contain the most interesting and valuable matter about China to be derived from any work; for he lived for years in that country, travelled extensively, and learned the language. I am under great obligations to these authors.
The author is under renewed obligations to his readers, young and old, who have been his constant friends during more than forty years, for the favor with which they have received a whole library of his books, and for the kind words they have spoken to him, both verbally and by letter.
WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
CHAPTER I. PAGE THE BORNEO HUNTERS AND EXPLORERS 1
CHAPTER II. A VOYAGE UP THE SARAWAK RIVER 10
CHAPTER III. SOMETHING ABOUT BORNEO AND ITS PEOPLE 19
CHAPTER IV. A SPECULATION IN CROCODILES 29
CHAPTER V. A HUNDRED AND EIGHT FEET OF CROCODILE 39
CHAPTER VI. THE VOYAGE UP THE SADONG TO SIMUJAN 48
CHAPTER VII. A SPIRITED BATTLE WITH ORANG-OUTANGS 58
CHAPTER VIII. A PERFORMANCE OF VERY AGILE GIBBONS 67
CHAPTER IX. A VISIT TO A DYAK LONG-HOUSE 77
CHAPTER X. THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE DYAKS 87
CHAPTER XI. STEAMBOATING THROUGH A GREAT FOREST 96
CHAPTER XII. A FORMIDABLE OBSTRUCTION REMOVED 106
CHAPTER XIII. THE CAPTAIN'S ASTOUNDING PROPOSITION 115
CHAPTER XIV. DOWN THE SIMUJAN AND UP THE SARAWAK 125
CHAPTER XV. ON THE VOYAGE TO POINT CAMBODIA 134
CHAPTER XVI. AN EXCITING RACE IN THE CHINA SEA 143
CHAPTER XVII. THE END OF THE VOYAGE TO BANGKOK 153
CHAPTER XVIII. LOUIS'S DOUBLE-DINNER ARGUMENT 163
CHAPTER XIX. A HASTY GLANCE AT BANGKOK 172
CHAPTER XX. A VIEW OF COCHIN-CHINA AND SIAM 181
CHAPTER XXI. ON THE VOYAGE TO SAIGON 191
CHAPTER XXII. IN THE DOMINIONS OF THE FRENCH 201
CHAPTER XXIII. A LIVELY EVENING AT THE HOTEL 211
CHAPTER XXIV. TONQUIN AND SIGHTS IN CHOLON 221
CHAPTER XXV. SEVERAL HILARIOUS FROLICS 231
CHAPTER XXVI. THE VOYAGE ACROSS THE CHINA SEA 241
CHAPTER XXVII. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE PHILIPPINES 250
CHAPTER XXVIII. THE DESCRIPTION OF AN EARTHQUAKY CITY 260
CHAPTER XXIX. GOING ON SHORE IN MANILA 270
CHAPTER XXX. EXCURSIONS ON SHORE AND UP THE PASIG 280
CHAPTER XXXI. HALF A LECTURE ON CHINESE SUBJECTS 290
CHAPTER XXXII. THE CONTINUATION OF THE LECTURE 300
CHAPTER XXXIII. THE CONCLUSION OF THE LECTURE 310
CHAPTER XXXIV. SIGHT-SEEING IN HONG-KONG AND CANTON 321
CHAPTER XXXV. SHANG-HAI AND THE YANG-TSZE-CHIANG 332
CHAPTER XXXVI. THE WALLS AND TEMPLES OF PEKIN 342
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"YOUR FIRST SHOT, LOUIS," SAID SCOTT Frontispiece
"WHAT HAVE YOU GOT THERE, MR. BELGRAVE?" 41
"YOU ARE NEAR ENOUGH, CAPTAIN" 99
THE BOAT ROSE GRACEFULLY ON THE BILLOWS 132
"BUT WHERE IS FELIX?" DEMANDED MRS. BLOSSOM, 161
SHE MADE A VIGOROUS LEAP INTO THE FORE-SHEETS, 267
NATIVES PREPARING TOBACCO IN MANILA 285
TEMPLE AND GARDEN IN CHINA 329
FOUR YOUNG EXPLORERS
THE BORNEO HUNTERS AND EXPLORERS
The Guardian-Mother, attended by the Blanche, had conveyed the tourists, in their voyage all over the world, to Sarawak, the capital of a rajahship on the north-western coast of the island of Borneo. The town is situated on both sides of a river of the same name, about eighteen miles from its mouths.
The steamer on which was the pleasant home of the millionaire at eighteen, who was accompanied by his mother and a considerable party, all of whom have been duly presented to the reader in the former volumes of the series, lay in the middle of the river. The black smoke was pouring out of her smokestack, and the hissing steam indicated that the vessel was all ready to go down the river to the China Sea. Her anchor had been hove up, and the pilot was in the pilot-house waiting for the commander to strike the gong in the engine-room to start the screw.
Just astern of the Guardian-Mother was a very trim and beautiful steam-launch, fifty feet in length. The most prominent persons on board of her were the quartette of American boys, known on board of the steamer in which they had sailed half round the world as the "Big Four." Of this number Louis Belgrave, the young millionaire, was the most important individual in the estimation of his companions, though happily not in his own.
Like a great many other young men of eighteen, which was the age of three of them, while the fourth was hardly sixteen, they were fond of adventure,—of hunting, fishing, and sporting in general. They had gone over a large portion of Europe, visited the countries on the shores of the Mediterranean, crossed India, and called at some of the ports of Burma, the Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, and had reached Sarawak in their explorations.
They had visited many of the great cities of the world, and seen the temples, monuments, palaces, and notable structures of all kinds they contain; but they had become tired of this description of sight-seeing. When the island of Borneo was marked on the map as one of the localities to be visited, the "Big Four" had a meeting in the boudoir, as one of the apartments of the Guardian-Mother was called, and voted that they had had enough of temples, monuments, and great cities for the present.
They agreed that exploring a part of Borneo, with the incidental hunting, fishing, and study of natural history, would suit them better. Louis Belgrave was appointed a committee of one to petition the commander to allow them three weeks in the island for this purpose. Captain Ringgold suggested to Louis that it was rather selfish to leave the rest of the party on the steamer, stuck in the mud of the Sarawak, while they were on the rivers and in the woods enjoying themselves.
But the representative of the "Big Four" protested that they did not mean anything of the sort. They did not care a straw for the temples and other sights of Siam, Cambodia, and French Cochin-China; and while they were exploring Borneo and shooting orang-outangs, the Guardian-Mother should proceed to Bangkok and Saigon, and the rest of the tourists could enjoy themselves to the full in seeing the wonders of Farther India.
It required a great deal of discussion to induce the commander, and then the mothers of two of the explorers, to assent to this plan; but the objections were finally overcome by the logic and the eloquence of Louis. The Blanche, the consort of the Guardian-Mother, having on board the owner, known as General Noury, his wife and his father-in-law, had nothing to do with this difficult question; but the general had a steam-launch, which he was kind enough to grant for the use of the explorers.
The third engineer of the ship was to go with the quartette, in charge of the engine; five of the youngest of the seamen were selected to make the venture safer than it might otherwise have been. Achang Bakir, a native Bornean, who had been picked up off the Nicobar Islands, after the wreck of the dhow of which he had been in command, was to be the guide and interpreter.
The youngsters and their assistants had taken their places on board of the "Blanchita," as Louis had christened the craft, and she was to accompany the two large steamers down the river. But the farewells had all been spoken, the hugging and kissing disposed of, and the tears had even been wiped away. The mothers had become in some degree reconciled to the separation of three weeks.
The Guardian-Mother started her screw, and began to move very slowly down the river, amid the cheers and salutations of the officers, soldiers, and citizens of the town. The Blanche followed her, and both steamers fired salutes in honor of the spectators to their departure. The Blanchita secured a position on the starboard of the Guardian-Mother, and for three hours kept up a communication with their friends by signals and shouts.
Off the mouth of the Moritabas, one of the outlets of the stream, the steamers stopped their screws, and the "Big Four" went alongside of the Guardian-Mother; the adieux were repeated, and then the ships laid the course for their destination. Both of the latter kept up an incessant screaming with their steam whistles, and the party on board of them waved their handkerchiefs, to which the "Big Four," assisted by the sailors, responded in like manner, while the engineer gave whistle for whistle in feeble response.
When the whistles ceased, and the signals could no longer be seen, the Blanchita came about, and headed for the Peak of Santubong on the triangular island formed by the two passes of the Sarawak River. The explorers watched the ships till they could no longer be seen, and then headed up the river.
"Faix, the bridges betune oursels and civiloization are all broke down!" exclaimed Felix McGavonty, who sometimes used his Milesian dialect in order, as he put it, not to lose his mother's brogue.
"Not so bad as that, Felix; for there is considerable civilization lying around loose in Borneo," replied Louis Belgrave.
"Not much of it here is found," added Achang Bakir, the Bornean.
"Is found here," interposed Morris Woolridge, who had been giving the native lessons in English, for he mixed with it the German idiom.
"Rajah Brooke has civilized the region which he governs, and the Dutch have done the same in portions of their territory. Professor Giroud gave us the lecture on Borneo, and we shall have occasion to review some of it," added Louis. "But I think we had better give some attention to the organization of our party for the trip up the Sarawak River."
"I move, Mr. Chairman, that we have the same organization we had on board of the Maud," interposed Felix, dropping his brogue. "That means that Mr. Scott shall be captain, and Morris mate, while Louis and myself shall be the deck-hands."
"Mr. Chairman, I move an amendment to the motion, to the effect that Louis shall be captain, while I serve as deck-hand," said Scott.
"I hope the amendment will be voted down, and that the original motion will prevail," Louis objected. "Captain Scott, in command of the Maud, on a voyage of two thousand miles, proved himself to be an able and skilful commander, as well as a prudent and successful leader in several difficult situations. He is the right person for the position. Question! Those in favor of the amendment of Mr. Scott will signify it by raising the right hand."
Scott voted for his own motion, and he was the only one.
"Contrary minded, by the same sign," continued Louis, raising his right hand, Felix and Morris voting the same. "The amendment is lost. The question is now on the original motion of Felix. Those in favor of its adoption will signify it."
Three hands appeared, the motion was carried, and the chairman informed Scott and Morris that they were chosen captain and mate. Scott was outvoted, and he made no further objection. Of the five seamen on board he appointed Pitts cook and steward, in which capacity he had served on board of the Maud. The starboard is the captain's watch; though the second mate, when there is one, takes his place for duty, and the port is the mate's watch.
"I select Clingman for the first of my watch," continued Scott. "Your choice next, Morris."
"Wales," said the mate.
"Lane for the starboard," added Scott.
"Hobson's choice," laughed Morris, as he took the last man. "Clinch for the port; the last, but by no means the least."
"I fancy the watches will have an easy time of it; for I suppose we shall not do much running up and down these rivers, and through dark forests, in the night," suggested Louis.
"If we lie up in the night, I shall divide them both into quarter-watches, and have one man on duty all the time; for we may be boarded by a huge crocodile or a boa-constrictor if we are not on the lookout. But Achang is a pilot for these rivers. Isn't that so, Captain Bakir?"
"I have been up and down all the rivers in this part of the island, though I was not shipped as a pilot then," replied Achang, who had been the captain of a dhow, and on board the ship he had been called by his first name or the other with the title.
"All right; we shall use you for pilot or interpreter as occasion may require; and I suppose you can tell us all we want to know about the country and the people," added the captain.
Clinch, one of the ablest seamen on board, was steering the launch, and Scott kept the run of the courses; but as long as the craft had three feet of water under her, she was all right. The conversation took place in the cabin, as the explorers called the after part of the steamer, though no such apartment had been built there.
A frame constructed of brass rods, properly braced, extended the entire length of the launch. A stanchion at the bow and another at the stern, with five on each side set in the rail, supported a rod the whole distance around the craft. Another extended from the bow to the stern stanchion, directly over the keel, about six inches higher than those at the sides. Ten rods led from the central down to the side rods, like the rafters of a house.
Over the whole, of this structure above was extended a single piece of painted canvas, serving as a roof, and keeping out both sun and rain. It was laced very taut to the rods, and had slope enough to make the water run off. On the sides were curtains, which could be hauled down tight. The launch had been used by the rajah on the Ganges, and when closed in the interior was like "a bug in a rug."
Thus closed in, the standing-room was called the cabin. It was surrounded by wide cushioned seats, which made very good beds at night. Between these divans was a table where the meals of the explorers were to be served. Under the seats were many lockers for all sorts of articles, the bedding, and the arms and ammunition.
Just forward of the cabin were the engine and boiler, with bunkers on each side for the coal. In the middle of the craft was abundant space. The forward part of the boat was provided with cushioned divans, where passengers could sit by day or sleep at night; and this space was appropriated to the sailors. In the centre of it was the wheel. Next to it was the galley, with a stove large enough to cook for a dozen persons, and all needed utensils.
The ship's company had looked the craft over with great interest, and all of them were well pleased with the arrangements. The launch had been put into the water and fitted up for use the day before. The party from both ships had visited her, and almost wished they were to go to the interior of the country in her.
The Blanchita continued on her course up the river. Pitts was at work in the galley; and as soon as the launch was made fast off the "go-down," or business building of the town, dinner was served to the seamen, and later to the denizens of the cabin. The afternoon was spent in examining the place, and in obtaining such supplies as were needed; for the boat was to sail on her voyage up the river early the next morning.
With the assistance of Achang, a small sampan, a kind of skiff, was purchased; for the Bornean declared that it would be needed in the hunting excursions of the party, for much of the country was flooded with water, a foot or two in depth.
A VOYAGE UP THE SARAWAK RIVER
The young hunters slept on board of the Blanchita, and they were delighted with their accommodations. Sarawak, or Kuching, the native name of the town, is only about one hundred and fifty miles north of the equator, and must therefore be a very warm region, though away from the low land near the sea-coast it is fairly healthy. The party slept with the curtains raised, which left them practically in the open air.
Achang had given them a hint on board of the ship that mosquitoes were abundant in some localities in Borneo. The Guardian-Mother was provided with the material, and the ladies had made a dozen mosquito bars for the explorers. They were canopies, terminating in a point at the top, where they were suspended to the cross rods on which the canvas roof was supported. The netting was tucked in under the cushions of the divan, and the sleepers were perfectly protected.
Captain Scott had carried out his plan in regard to the watches. The cook was exempted from all duty in working the little steamer; but each of the other seamen was required to keep a half-watch of two hours during the first night on board. Clinch was on watch at four in the morning. He called the engineer at this hour, and Felipe proceeded at once to get up steam. It was still dark, for the sun rises and sets at six o'clock on the equator.
As soon as there was a movement on board, all hands turned out forward. There were no decks to wash down; and, if there had been, the water was hardly fit, in the judgment of the mate, for this purpose, for it was murky, and looked as though it was muddy; but it was not so bad as it appeared, for the dark color was caused by vegetable matter from the jungles and forest, and not from the mud, which remained at the bottom of the stream.
"The top uv the marnin' to ye's!" shouted Felix, as he leaped from his bed about five o'clock,—for all hands had turned in about eight o'clock in the evening, as the mosquitoes, attracted by the lanterns, began to be very troublesome,—and the Milesian could sleep no longer.
"What's the matter with you, Flix?" demanded the captain.
"Sure, if ye's mane to git under way afore night, it's toime to turn out," replied Felix. "Don't ye's hear the schtaym sizzlin' in the froy'n pan?"
"But it isn't light yet," protested Scott.
"Bekase the lanthern in the cab'n bloinds your two oyes, and makes the darkness shoine broighter nor the loight," said Felix, as he looked at his watch. "Sure, it's tin minutes afther foive in the marnin'. These beds are altogidther too foine, Captain."
"How's that, Flix?" asked Scott, as he opened the netting and leaped out of bed.
"They're too comfor-ta-ble, bad 'cess to 'em, and a b'y cud slape till sundown in 'em till the broke o' noight."
"Dry up, Flix, or else speak English," called Louis, as he left his bed. "There is no end of 'paddies' along this river, and I'm sure they cannot understand your lingo."
"Is it paddies in this haythen oisland?" demanded Felix, suspending the operation of dressing himself, and staring at his fellow deck-hand. "I don't belayve a wurrud of ut!"
"Are there no paddies up this river, Achang?" said Louis, appealing to the Bornean.
"Plenty of paddies on all the streams about here," replied the native.
"And they can't oondershtand Kilkenny Greek! They're moighty quare paddies, thin."
"They are; and I am very sure they won't answer you when you speak to them with that brogue," added Louis.
"We will let that discussion rest till we come to the paddies," interposed the captain, as he completed his toilet, and left the cabin.
By this time all the party had left their beds and dressed themselves; for their toilet was not at all elaborate, consisting mainly of a woollen shirt, a pair of trousers, and a pair of heavy shoes, without socks. Felipe had steam enough on to move the boat; and the seamen had wiped the moisture from all the wood and brass work, and had put everything in good order.
"Are you a pilot for this river, Achang?" asked Scott, as the party came together in the waist, the space forward of the engine.
"I am; but there is not much piloting to be done, for all you have to do is to keep in the middle of the stream," replied the Bornean. "I went up and down all the rivers of Sarawak in a sampan with an English gentleman who was crocodiles, monkeys, mias, snakes, and birds picking up."
"Wrong!" exclaimed Morris. "You know better than that, Achang."
The native repeated the reply, putting the verb where it ought to be.
"He was a naturalist," added Louis.
"Yes; that was what they called him in the town."
"I think we all know the animals of which you speak, Achang, except one," said Louis. "I never heard of a mias."
"That is what Borneo people call the orang-outang," replied the native.
"Orang means a man, and outang a jungle, and the whole of it is a jungle man," Louis explained, for the benefit of his companions; for he was better read in natural history than any of them, as he had read all the books on that subject in the library of the ship. "In Professor Hornaday's book, 'Two Years in the Jungle,' which was exceedingly interesting to me, he calls this animal the 'orang-utan,' which is only another way of spelling the second word."
"Excuse me, Louis, but I think we will get under way, and hear your explanations at another time," interposed Captain Scott.
"I have finished all I had to say."
"Take the wheel, Achang," continued the captain.
The sampan was sent ashore to cast off the fasts. The river at the town is over four hundred feet wide, and deep enough in almost any part for the Blanchita. As soon as the lines were hauled in, the captain rang one bell, and Felipe started the engine. The helmsman headed the boat for the middle of the stream, and the captain rang the speed-bell. When hurried, the Blanchita was good for ten knots an hour, but her ordinary speed was eight.
On the side of the river opposite Kuching, or Sarawak, was the kampon of the Malays and other natives; and the term means a division or district of a town. Many of the natives of this village had visited the Blanchita,—some for trade, some for employment, and some from mere curiosity. None of them were allowed to go on board of the launch; for, while the Dyaks are remarkably honest people, the Malays and Chinese will steal without any very heavy temptation.
Achang headed the boat up the river. For five miles the banks were low, with no signs of cultivation, and bordered with mangroves. At this point the captain called Lane to the wheel, with orders to keep in the middle of the river. The "Big Four" had taken possession of the bow divans, the better to see the shores. They were more elevated, which simply means higher above the water.
"When shall we come across the paddies, Achang?" asked Felix; "for I am very anxious to meet them, and maybe we shall have a Kilkenny fight with them."
"No, you won't, for you speak English," replied Louis.
"The paddies are here on both sides of the river," added Achang.
"I don't see a man of any sort, not even a Hottentot, and I am sure there is not a Paddy in sight."
"Your education has been neglected, Flix, and you did not read all the books in the ship's library," said Louis. "I only told you the paddies would not answer you if you spoke to them with a brogue. You can try them now if you wish."
"But I don't see a single Paddy to try it on."
"Here is one on your left."
"I don't see anything but a field of rice."
"That's a paddy in this island."
"A field of rice!"
"Achang will tell you that is what they call them in Borneo."
"Bad luck to such Paddies as they are! But it looks as though there might be some Paddies here, for the houses are very neat and nice, just as you see in old Ireland."
"Certainly they are; but I never saw any such in Ireland," added Louis. "You remember the old woman on the road from Killarney to the lakes who told us she lived in the Irish castle, to which she pointed; and it looked like a pig-sty."
"Of course it didn't have the bananas and the cocoanut-palms around it."
"I admit that we saw many fine places in Ireland, and very likely your mother lived in one of them. But, Achang, is there any game in the woods we see beyond the paddies?"
"Sometimes there is plenty of it; at others there is scarcely any. You can get squirrels here and some birds."
"We found none when we came up the river, for this is not the best place for them. If we run up the Sadong and Samujan Rivers, you will find some," replied the Bornean. "I don't think it will pay to go very far up the Sarawak, if it is game you want; but you can see the country. There is quite a village on the right."
The party were very much interested in examining the houses they saw on the borders of the stream. Like those they had seen in Java and in Sumatra, they were all set up on stilts. A Malay or Dyak will not build his home on dry land, as they noticed in coming up the lower part of the river, though there was plenty of elevated ground near. The dwellings were all built on the soft mud.
The village ten miles up-stream was constructed on the same plan. The houses were placed just out of the reach of the water when it was higher than usual. The material was something like bamboo, as in India, with roofs of kadjang leaves, which abound in the low lands. In front of every one of them was a flat boat—sampan; and one was seen which was large enough to have a roof of the same material as the house. The boats were made fast to a pole set in the mud.
"There is a bear on the shore!" shouted Morris, with no little excitement in his manner, as he pointed to the woods on the shore opposite the houses, to which the attention of all the rest of the party had been directed.
At the same time he seized his repeating rifle, and all the others followed his example. The animal was fully three feet high, and at a second glance it did not look much like a bear. Whatever it was, it took to its heels when the sound of the steamer's screw reached its ear. But Morris fired before the boat started, and the others did the same.
"That is not a bear, Mr. Morris," interposed Achang, laughing as he spoke.
"What is it, then?" demanded Morris.
"A pig three feet high!" exclaimed the hunters with one voice.
"A wild pig," added the Bornean.
"Is he good for anything?" inquired Scott.
"He is good to eat if you like pork."
"He dropped in the bushes when we fired. Can't we get him?" asked Morris.
Under the direction of the captain the steamer was run up to the shore; and the bank in this place was high enough to enable the party to land without using the sampan. All hands, including the seamen, rushed in the direction of the spot where the pig had been seen. The game was readily found. The animal was something like a Kentucky hog, often called a "racer," because he is so tall and lank. He was a long-legged specimen; and Achang said that was because they hunted through swamps and shallow water in search of food, and much use had made their legs long. He added that they were a nuisance because they rooted up the rice, and farmers had to fence their fields.
He was carried on board by the sailors, and Pitts cut out some of the nicer parts of the pig. They had roast pork for dinner, but it was not so good as civilized hogs produce.
SOMETHING ABOUT BORNEO AND ITS PEOPLE
"I don't think we know much of anything about Borneo," said Scott, as the Blanchita continued on her course up the Sarawak, after the dinner of roast pork.
"We all heard the lecture of Professor Giroud on board the ship," replied Louis.
"I should like to hear it over again, now that we are on the ground," added the captain.
"Sure, we're not on the ground, but on the wather," suggested Felix.
As the reader did not hear the lecture, or see it in print, it becomes necessary to repeat it for the benefit of "whom it may concern." The professor, after being duly presented to his audience in Conference Hall, proceeded as follows:—
"Australia is undoubtedly the largest island in the world, and some geographers class it with the continents; but Chambers makes Borneo the third in size, while most authorities rate it as the second, making Papua, or New Guinea, the second in extent. Lippincott says Papua disputes with Borneo the claim to the second place among the great islands of the world; and I do not propose to settle the question. Chambers gives the area of Borneo at 284,000 square miles, the population in the neighborhood of 200,000, and the dimensions as 800 by 700 miles.
"It has a coast-line of about 3,000 miles, nearly the whole of which is low and marshy land. A large portion of the island is mountainous, as you may see by looking at the map before you;" and the professor indicated the several ranges with the pointer. "One chain extends nearly the whole length of the island, dividing in the middle of it into two branches, both of which almost reach the sea on the south. Near the centre of the island are two cross ranges, one extending to the east, and the other to the south-west. It would be useless to mention the Malay names of these ranges, for you could not remember them over night. The general idea I have given you is quite enough to retain.
"The interior of Borneo is but little known; and when Mr. Gaskette makes another map of the island twenty or thirty years hence, it will probably differ considerably from the one before you. In the extreme north is the peak of Kini Balu, the height of which is set down at 13,698 feet, with an interrogation point after it. Other mountains are estimated to be from 4,000 to 8,000 feet high. There are no active volcanoes.
"In the low lands on the coast, it is hot, damp, and unhealthy for those who are not acclimated; but in the high lands among the mountains, the temperature is moderate, from 81 deg. to 91 deg. at noon, and it is sometimes worse than that in New York. From November to May, which is the rainy season, violent storms of wind with thunder-showers prevail on the west coast. In hot weather the sea-breezes extend a considerable distance inland. Vegetation is remarkably luxuriant, as our young hunters will find in their explorations. The forests produce all the woods of the Indian Archipelago, of which you know the names by this time. Brunei, on the north-west coast, produces the best camphor in Asia, which is about the same as saying in the world."
"What is camphor, Professor?" asked Mrs. Belgrave. "I have used it all my life, but I have not the least idea what it is."
"Camphor is an oil found in certain plants, mostly from the camphor laurel. This oil is separated from the plant, and then undergoes the process of refining. It is mixed with water, and then boiled in a sort of retort. It makes steam, which is allowed to escape through a small aperture, which is then closed, and the camphor becomes solid in the upper part of the vessel. This is the article which is sent to market.
"All the spices and fruits of the Torrid Zone are produced in Borneo, with cotton and sugar-cane in certain parts. The animals of the island are about the same as in other parts of the Archipelago. The monkey tribe is the most abundant, including the simia, the gibbon, the orang-outang, found in no other island, except very rarely in Sumatra, where our hunters did not find even one; tapirs"—
"What are they?" asked Uncle Moses.
"They are a sort of cross between an elephant and a hog. They are found all over South American tropical regions and in this part of Asia. The animal is more like a hog than like an elephant, though it has the same kind of a skin as the latter. It is about the size of the average donkey. It has a snout which is prehensile, like the trunk of an elephant, but on a very small scale.
"What does that mean?" asked Mrs. Blossom.
"Capable of taking hold of anything, as the elephant does with his proboscis. The tapir is one of the gentler animals, and may be easily tamed; though it will fight and bite hard when attacked, or harried by dogs. They take to the water readily, though the American swims, while the Asiatic only walk on the bottom. One book I consulted calls the tapir a kind of tiger, to which he bears hardly any resemblance.
"The other animals are small Malay bears, wild swine, horned cattle, and puny deer. The elephant and rhinoceros are found, few in number, in the north. The birds are the eagle, vulture, argus-pheasant,—a singular and beautiful bird,—peacocks, flamingoes, and swifts."
"What in the world are swifts?" inquired Mrs. Woolridge.
"They are a kind of swallow, of which you may have seen some as we came down from Rangoon. They make the edible birds'-nests which are so great a delicacy among the Chinese when made into soup. The rivers, lakes, and swamps swarm with crocodiles, the real man-eaters. Leeches are a nuisance when you bathe in the rivers and ponds, and various kinds of snakes abound. There are plenty of fish in the sea, lakes, and rivers. Diamonds, gold, coal, copper, are mined in the island.
"All of New England and the Middle States, with Maryland, could be set down in Borneo, still leaving a considerable border of swamp and jungle all around them. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland could be slapped down upon it like a flapjack, and there would still be more than space for another United Kingdom, without covering up all the mud of Borneo. We do not see how big it is when we look on the map.
"The larger portion of the island is included in the Dutch possessions. Banjermassin, of which something was said as we passed the mouth of the Barito River, on which it is located, contains 30,000 inhabitants, and is the most important in the island. Borneo proper is in the north-west, and is under the government of the Sultan of Brunei. He lost nearly one-half of his territory, taken by the North Borneo Company, and that in the west, which is now Sarawak, of which I shall have something more to say later. The island of Labuan lies six miles west of the northern portion of Brunei. It was ceded to the English by the sultan, and is principally valuable as a coaling-station, though it has a considerable trade.
"Sabah is the country of the North Borneo Company. An American obtained the right to this territory in 1865, and transferred it to the present company. It has an area somewhat larger than the State of Maine. No doubt they will develop and improve the country.
"Sarawak has a territory nearly as large as that of the State of Pennsylvania, and larger than the State of Ohio. Its history is involved in the life of Sir James Brooke, who was originally created the rajah, or governor of the country, by the Sultan of Brunei, and retained the title till his death in 1868. He was born in Benares in 1803, and educated at Norwich, England. In 1819 he entered the East Indian army, and was severely wounded in the Burmese war. He returned to England; and his furlough lapsed before he could rejoin his regiment, and with it his appointment. He left the service. He next conceived a plan for putting down piracy in the Indian Archipelago, and of civilizing the savage inhabitants of these islands, a grand and noble scheme to be carried out by a single individual on his own responsibility.
"He bought a small vessel, and made a voyage to China, probably with the intention of improving his finances for the work he had in view. In 1835 he inherited $150,000 at the death of his father. After a cruise in the Mediterranean, he sailed in a schooner-yacht from London for Sarawak, where he arrived in 1839. The uncle of the sultan was engaged in a war with some tribes of rebels, and Brooke rendered him important assistance. He returned to Kuching with the title of rajah, his predecessor, a native, having been compelled to resign.
"The new governor immediately went to work very vigorously to establish a better government, introducing free trade, and framing a new code of laws. At this time the atrocious custom of head-hunting prevailed in the island. Enemies killed in battle were decapitated simply for the sake of the head, and the Dyak who obtained the greatest number of them was esteemed the most valiant warrior.
"A Dyak girl would not accept the addresses of a young man who had not obtained a head, in the earlier time; and murders were often committed for the sole purpose of obtaining the head of the victim, either to conciliate some dusky maiden, or as a trophy for the head-house, of which there is one in every village. The heads were 'cooked,' as they called it, though the operation was merely drying and cleaning the skull. Rajah Brooke made the penalty of this kind of murder death, without regard to the customs and antecedents of the natives; and he soon abolished head-hunting in his dominion.
"The sultan, either directly or by 'winking at it,' encouraged piracy; and the crime was as common as in the vicinity of the Malay states fifty years ago. Sir James Brooke resolutely attacked the pirates, and with the means at his command soon vanquished and drove them from the sea and the land. The Dyaks, in spite of their head-hunting propensities, were rather a simple people; while the Malays of the island were cunning, dishonest, treacherous, and cruel. The simple Dyaks were no match for them, and were cheated and abused in every possible way. There was no such thing as justice in the land. The new rajah corrected all these abuses.
"Having established his government on the basis of right and justice to all, Brooke went to England in 1847. He was invited to Windsor by the Queen, and created a K. C. B. (Knight Commander of the Bath), a distinguished honor in Great Britain. The next year he was made governor of Labuan. He was charged in the House of Commons with receiving head-money for pirates killed; but the charge was disproved.
"Brooke continued to hold his position as Rajah of Sarawak while at Labuan; but in 1857 he was superseded at the latter, and returned to his government. The Chinese, of whom there are a great many in Borneo, became incensed against him because he prevented the smuggling of opium into his territory. A large body of them attacked his house in the night, and destroyed a great amount of his property.
"But the rajah was not a man to submit quietly to such an outrage. He immediately collected a force of Dyaks and Malays, and attacked the Celestials. He razed a fort they had constructed, and thoroughly defeated them in several successive battles. He was very prompt and decided in action, and to see an abuse was to remedy it without unnecessary delay. He established and maintained a model government, and the country prospered greatly under his mild but decisive rule.
"He found a town with 1,000 inhabitants, and left it with 25,000. He died in 1868, and was succeeded by his nephew, Sir C. T. Brooke, who extended his territory, and ten years ago placed it under the protection of the United Kingdom. This is the history of a noble man and a model colony."
"But what are Dyaks, Professor?" inquired Mrs. Belgrave.
"They are natives of Borneo, though all the people are not known by this name. They are divided into Hill Dyaks and Sea Dyaks. At the present time they are a high-toned class of savages; for they do not steal or rob, and they have many social virtues which might be copied by the people of enlightened nations. Head-hunting and piracy are known among them no more. They are the farmers and producers of the island. There is much that is very interesting about them. They build peculiar houses, some of them occupied by a dozen or more families, though they always live in peace, and do not quarrel with their neighbors. The young women select their own husbands, and a head is no longer necessary to open the way to an engagement.
"If any of the party wish to learn more of the Dyaks, their manners and customs, present and past, you will find a work in two volumes, by the Rev. J. G. Wood, entitled, 'The Uncivilized Races of Men;' and you will find that the author often quotes from Rajah Brooke."
A SPECULATION IN CROCODILES
The Blanchita continued on her course up the river with Clingman at the wheel. There was no table in the fore cabin; and the dinner of the six men, including the engineer, was served astern after the "Big Four" had taken the meal. Louis attended to the engine while Felipe was at his meals and occasionally at other times. A table is not a necessity for the crew of a ship, and one is not used on board a merchant vessel; but Louis insisted that all hands should fare equally well on board of the little steamer.
The dinner was disposed of, and Wales was at the wheel. The men had nothing to do, and a couple of them had assisted Pitts in washing the dishes and putting the after cabin in order. It was an idle time, and the "Big Four" were anxious to have something more exciting than merely sailing along the river, the novelty of which had worn off; and they had not long to wait for it.
"A crocodile ahead, Captain, on the port bow, sir!" exclaimed Wales, the wheelman, whose duty required him to keep a sharp lookout for any obstructions in the stream.
All of the party had their weapons within reach, including the three seamen who were disengaged; but the latter were not expected to use the rifles till they were ordered to do so by the captain or any one of the hunters. The occupants of the fore cabin, the principal personages on board, had the exclusive use of the forward part of the boat, though the hands were at liberty to use the seats when they were not required by any of the "Big Four." No order to this effect had been given; but the men, under the influence of the discipline on board of the ship, had involuntarily adopted the system.
"Slow her down, Wales," said Scott, after he had observed the situation of the saurian.
The wheelman rang the jingle-bell, and the boat soon came down to half-speed. The five hunters, including Achang, had their rifles ready for use, though they still retained their seats. The reptile was not asleep; and he appeared to have some notions of his own, for he was not disposed to wait for the coming of the boat. He settled down in the dark water so that he could not be seen, but the surface was disturbed by his movements.
"Port the helm, Wales," said the captain quietly. "He is going across the river."
Presently he came to the surface again, and was swimming towards the opposite shore. He kept his head and a small portion of his back next to it above the surface of the water, as the young hunters had seen in Sumatra before.
"Full speed; give her a spurt, Wales," said the captain.
The wheelman rang the speed-bell, and then spoke through the tube to the engineer. The boat suddenly darted ahead under this instruction, and was soon abreast of the reptile, who was not at first disposed to change his tactics. He evidently realized that he was pursued, and it seemed to make him angry.
"The rascal has put his helm to port," said Wales.
"Look out there, in the waist!" shouted Scott to the seamen, a couple of whom were seated on the rail, with their legs dangling over the side of the boat. "Never sit in that way, men, unless you want to be carried to the hospital with a leg bitten off."
"Will they bite, Captain?" asked Clinch.
"Bite? They are regular man-eaters on these rivers."
"I used to go in swimming with the alligators on the Alabama River; but they all kept their distance," added the seaman.
The two men drew in their legs and moved inboard. Alligators, which are generally considered harmless in the rivers of the Southern States, will bite at anything hanging in the water. As Wales had suggested, the crocodile had changed his course, and was now headed directly for the Blanchita. He seemed to have concluded that there was no safety for him in flight, and he had decided to fight.
"Your first shot, Louis," said Scott, who had not even taken up his rifle, as if he thought there would be no chance for him after the millionaire had fired.
Louis waited a minute or more till he could distinctly see the eye of the crocodile, and then he fired. As has so often been said before, he had been thoroughly trained in a shooting-gallery, and was a dead shot, as he had often proved during the voyage. The bullet had evidently gone to his brain, for the reptile floundered about for an instant, and then moved no more. As Felix put it, he was "very dead," though the word hardly admits of an intensifier.
"What are you going to do with him now?" asked the Milesian.
"I don't think we want anything more of him; but, like a poison snake, he is a nuisance that ought to be abated," replied the captain. "I dare say the rajah will be much obliged to us for making the number of them even one less."
"How long is he?" Achang inquired, as he returned his rifle to its resting-place.
"About ten feet," replied Louis.
"More than that," the captain thought. "I should say twelve feet."
"Then he is worth eighteen shillings to you," added the native.
"What is he good for, Achang?" asked Morris.
"He is good for nothing," replied the Bornean. "The crocodile here eats men and women. Some are killed every year, and the government pays one and sixpence apiece for the heads."
"That looks like a war of extermination upon them," said Morris.
"I don't know what that is; but they want to kill them all off," replied Achang, who had improved his language so that his tutor seldom had to correct it.
"That is the same thing. They pay by the foot for crocodiles here."
"The bigger they are, the more dangerous," suggested Louis. "Let us haul him alongside, and see how long he is."
The boat had stopped her screw before Louis fired; and the captain directed Wales to lay her alongside the saurian, which was done in a few minutes. Ropes were passed under his head and tail; and with a couple of purchases made fast to the horizontal rods over the rail, close to the stanchions, the carcass was hoisted partly out of the water. The measure was taken with a line first, to which Lane, who was a carpenter's assistant, applied his rule, which gave twelve feet and two inches as the length of the crocodile.
"That makes him worth eighteen shillings," said Achang.
"About four dollars and a half," added Morris. "We could make something hunting crocodiles. If we could kill ten of them like that fellow it would give us forty-five dollars."
Louis and Scott laughed heartily at this calculation, and thought the idea was derogatory to the character of true sport, though they did not object to turning their victims of this kind into money.
"Must we carry the carcass of this beast down to Kuching in order to get the reward, Achang?" asked Morris.
"The head will be enough; and they can tell how long he is by the size of it."
"How shall we saw the head off? Can you do it, Lane?"
"I can do that," interposed the Bornean, as he went to a bundle of implements he had procured in the town and from the natives.
He drew from it a very heavy sword, from which he took off the covering of dry leaves, and applied his thumb to the edge of the weapon. Then he picked out a straw from some packing, and dropped it off in pieces, as one tries his razor on a hair. It appeared to be as sharp as the shaving-tool, and he was satisfied. All hands watched his movements with deep interest. He secured a position with one foot on the side of the boat, and the other on the back of the crocodile. With two or three blows of his sword, he severed the head from the body, and a seaman secured it with a boathook.
All hands applauded when the deed was done, as the Bornean washed his keen blade. The operation excited the admiration of all the lookers-on, it was so quickly and skilfully done. Louis wished to examine the weapon, and it was handed to him. It was heavy enough to require a strong arm to handle it; and it was sharp enough for a giant's razor, if giants ever shave, for most of them are pictured with full beards.
"I suppose this is a native's sword," said Louis, as he passed it to the captain.
"Dyak parong latok; parong same thing, not so long," Achang explained.
"I suppose that is what the Dyaks used when they went head-hunting," said Felix.
"No head-hunting now; used to use it, the Hill Dyaks. Used in battle too; split head open with it, or cut head off."
"What other weapons did the fighting men use?" asked Louis.
"They carried a shield, and used a spear with the parong latok; no other weapons. Two kinds of Dyaks, the Sea and the Hill."
While the native was talking, the seamen, by order of the captain, had hoisted the head of the saurian into the sampan towing astern, placing it on a piece of tarpaulin. The carcass was cast loose, and probably was soon devoured by others of its own kind.
"We might find some eggs in the crocodile," said Achang, as the body floated past the boat.
"We don't want the eggs," replied the captain, turning up his nose.
"Good to eat, Captain. My naturalist used to eat them. Very nice, like turtles' eggs, which Englishmen always put in the soup."
"None in my soup!" exclaimed Scott, with a wry face, to express his disgust.
"I suppose they would be all right if we only got used to them," suggested Louis.
"As the man's horse did when he fed him on shavings," sneered Scott.
"I did not take very kindly to turtles' eggs when we were in the West Indies; but I got used to them, and then liked them," added Louis. "In Africa the natives eat boa-constrictors, and think they are a choice morsel. Some of our Indians eat clay, and I suppose they like it."
"Something up in the trees yonder, Captain," said Wales, as the boat approached some higher ground, which was not overflown with water, as most of the shore below had been.
"Monkeys," added Achang, not at all excited.
"I don't think I care to shoot monkeys unless it is for the purpose of examining them," said Louis. "They are too small game, and they are harmless creatures."
"Strange monkeys in here," continued Achang. "Not these," he added when he had obtained a sight of one of them. "These no good."
All eyes were directed to the tree; and at least a dozen common monkeys were there, such as they had seen in the museums at home. The steamer continued on her course, and a couple of miles farther on the forest was inundated. Some of the trees appeared to be inhabited.
"Plenty of elephant monkeys in here," said Achang.
"Elephant monkeys!" exclaimed Louis. "I never heard of any such animals. Are they called so because they are so large?"
"No, sir," said Achang; "because they have such long noses."
"There are a dozen monkeys in that tree, and they look very queer," said Louis, as he elevated his double-barrelled fowling-piece, loaded with large shot, and fired.
One of them dropped, and another when he discharged the second barrel. The boat was run in the direction of the tree till it grounded in the mud. The captain proposed to go for them in the sampan, when Clingman volunteered to wade to the tree for the game, and soon returned with the two victims of the millionaire's unerring aim. They were placed in the waist, and all were curious to see them. The rest of the tribe scampered away over the tops of the trees, crying, "honk, honk, kehonk!"
"They are proboscis monkeys, and old males at that; for they have very long noses, which is the reason for the name, and why Achang calls them elephant monkeys," said Louis, as he turned the creatures over. "The noses of these two reach down below the chin. They stand about three feet high, but are rather lank, like the tall pigs."
While the party were examining them, the captain gave the order to back the boat, and then to go ahead. She was moored for the night soon after. The next morning, by the advice of Achang, the Blanchita was headed down the river, for the native declared that they would find no different game on the banks of the Sarawak.
A HUNDRED AND EIGHT FEET OF CROCODILE
The party were stirring as soon as it was daylight; for in the tropics the early hours are the pleasantest, and they had fallen into the habit of early rising in India. The trees were alive with monkeys of several kinds, though the proboscis tribe seemed to be in the majority. Felix came out of the cabin with his gun in his hand, and began to regard the denizens of the tree-tops with interest.
"What are you going to do, Flix?" asked Louis, who was sitting on the rail, busily cutting out a notch in the end of a long piece of board.
"Don't you see there is plenty of game here, my darling?" demanded Felix, pointing up into the trees.
"Game!" exclaimed Louis contemptuously. "Monkeys!"
"Didn't you shoot a couple of them yesterday afternoon, Louis?"
"I did; but I wanted them in order to study the creature. Now every fellow knows what a proboscis monkey is, as he did not before except by name. I got my books out, and read him up with the animal before me. I am glad I did; for the picture of him I had seen was nothing like him in his nasal appendage, which gives him his name."
"What is the reason of that?"
"The portrait was taken from a young one, before his nose had attained its full growth. But I don't believe in shooting monkeys for the fun of it. Our party are not inclined to eat them."
"I'd as soon eat a cat as a monkey," added Felix.
"Then, don't shoot those long-nosed fellows, for we have all the specimens of them we need," said Louis.
"What are you going to do with them, my darling? You can't keep them much longer, and you will have to throw them overboard, for they won't smell sweet by to-morrow."
"Achang learned something about taxidermy from the naturalist he travelled with, and he has promised to skin and mount one of them for me."
"But what's that you are making, Louis?" asked Felix, who had been trying to take the measure of the implement the young Cr[oe]sus was fashioning.
Its use was not at all evident. A triangular piece had been sawed out of the end of a strip of board four inches wide, and the rest of it had been cut down and rounded off, and the thing looked more like a pitchfork than anything else.
"Is it to pitch hay with?" persisted Felix.
"No, it is not; when you see me use it, you will know what it is for. You must wait till that time before you know," replied Louis, who appeared to have finished the implement just as the other brought his gun to his shoulder.
"That's the handsomest schnake I iver saw since me modther, long life to her, left ould Ireland before I was bahrn."
"Don't shoot him, Flix!" protested Louis vigorously. "Where is he?"
"Jist forninst the bow of the boat. Sure, Oi'm the schnake-killer of the party, and he's moi game."
"I don't want him killed yet," replied Louis, as he moved forward from the waist with the forked stick in his hand. "He is handsome, as you say, Flix."
Creeping very cautiously till he could see over the bow, he discovered the serpent, which was nearly six feet long, working slowly down a dead log towards the water. Springing to his feet on the bow, he struck down with his weapon, directing the fork at the neck of the reptile. The outside of the log was nothing but punk, or the operation would have been a failure. As it was, the two points of the implement sunk into the wood, and the snake was pinned in the opening at the end of the stick.
"What have you got there, Mr. Belgrave?" asked Achang, hurrying to the side of the operator.
"A snake; do you know him?" demanded Louis, as the reptile struggled to escape.
"I saw one like it years ago;" and he gave a long Dyak name to it which the others did not understand. "Wait a minute or two, and I will bring him on board for you."
"I don't know that we want him on board," added Louis.
"He is not poison, and he won't hurt you," said the Bornean, as he made a slip-noose at the end of a piece of cord.
Hanging over the bow, he passed the noose over the head of the snake, and hauled it taut, and then made the end he held fast to the boat. Louis lifted his implement from the neck of the snake, and he squirmed and wriggled as though he "meant business." Achang leaped to the shore, and seizing the serpent by the tail, tossed him into the boat. He struck on one of the cushions, and the cord prevented him from going any farther.
Scott and Morris had just reached the fore cabin at this moment, and they started back as though they had been bitten by the snake. His head, tail, and belly were bright red, with white stripes upon a dark ground along his back and sides. No one but Achang had ever seen such a serpent, even in a museum. His snakeship was disposed to make himself comfortable on the cushion, and the Bornean loosed the cord around his neck.
"I saw a small snake, not more than two feet long, swimming near the shore of Lake Cobbosseecontee, in Maine, that had nearly all the colors of the rainbow in his skin," said Morris. "I tried to knock him over with my fishing-rod, and catch him; but I failed. I told the people where we boarded about him, but no one had ever seen a snake like him."
"There are plenty of such snakes in South America, some that are not poisonous, which the native women tame and wear as necklaces," added Louis.
"Well, what are you going to do with him?" asked Captain Scott. "I think you had better kill him, and throw him into the river, pretty as he is. He isn't a very desirable fellow to have as a companion on board."
"What is the use of killing him? He would only be food for the crocodiles," protested Louis.
"Do what you like with him, Louis," added the captain.
"I certainly will not have him killed. If Achang never saw but one of the kind, there cannot be a great many of them in this part of the island. Put him ashore, Achang," said the humane young gentleman.
The Bornean complied with this request; and the handsome snake skurried off in the woods, none the worse for his adventure. But the others were not quite satisfied with the policy of the young millionaire. They wanted to shoot whatever they could see in the nature of game, including monkeys, and he was opposed to this destructive action. Of course they could kill whatever they pleased, but the moral influence of the real leader prevailed over them.
"Steam enough!" shouted Felipe from the engine.
"Take the wheel, Clingman, back her out and go ahead," said the captain; and in a few moments they were steaming down the river.
"I suppose you haven't any tenderness for crocodiles, have you, Louis?" inquired Scott, with a smile.
"You seem to believe that I am as chicken-hearted as a girl; but I believe in killing all harmful animals, including poisonous snakes; but I do not like to see these innocent monkeys shot down for the fun of it," replied Louis. "You can kill them if you choose, but I will not."
"The rest of us will not, if you are opposed to it," added Scott.
"Crocodile on the port hand!" exclaimed Clingman. "He is swimming across the river, about three boats' lengths from us."
"Stop her!" said the captain.
"I shot the last one, and I will not fire at this one," added Louis, who was not disposed to monopolize the fun.
"All right; then I will be number two, Morris three, Flix four, and Achang five; and if you are all satisfied, we will fire in this order hereafter," continued Scott, as he took aim at the saurian.
He missed the eye of the reptile, and the bullet from the rifle glanced off and dropped into the water.
"How many shots is a fellow to have before he loses his chance?" asked the captain, as he aimed again.
"I suggest three," said Louis. "Those in favor of three say ay."
They all voted "ay," and Scott fired twice more. "Your turn, Morris;" and he appeared to be very much chagrined at his ill luck. "I could hardly see the eye of the varmint."
Morris fired his three shots with no better success. Felix took a different position from the others, placing himself on the stem. He fired, and the saurian still kept on his course. He did better the second time; and the reptile floundered for a moment, and then turned over dead. The boat was run up alongside, and Achang was required to bring out his parong latok, with which he decapitated the game at a single blow this time; but the creature was only nine feet long.
Pitts called the cabin party to breakfast at this time. The Blanchita went ahead again, and the repeating rifles were left on the cushions. At Louis's suggestion the captain gave the four men off duty permission to use the arms on crocodiles, but not on monkeys.
Ham and eggs, with hot biscuit and coffee, was the bill of fare; and the young men had sharpened their appetites in the sports of the morning. Before they were half done they heard the crack of a rifle. They listened for the second shot, but none followed it.
"Who fired that shot, Pitts?" asked the captain, as the steward brought in another plate of biscuit.
"Clinch, sir," replied the man. "He knocked the crocodile over at the first shot, sir."
"Then he is a better shot than I am," said Scott, laughing.
"Or any of the rest of us who had their turns," added Felix. "Louis is the only fellow that brings 'em down the first time trying."
"The rest of you would have done better if the sun had not reflected on the water, and shaken your aim," said Louis.
Before the meal was finished, another shot was heard, followed by two more. When the party went forward they found that the little steamer had gone around a bend so that the forest shaded the surface of the water. Wales had fired the last three times at a crocodile still in sight; but he declared that he could not hit the side of a barn twenty feet from him, and did not care to fire again. The men went to breakfast, and the cabin party picked up the rifles. It was Achang's turn; and he missed twice, but killed the game at the third shot.
"I can see four more of them. We seem to have come to a nest of them, and the family are out for a morning airing," said Louis, as he picked up his rifle, while Felix was filling the other chambers with cartridges. "They have all started to go across the river."
"That must be the father of the family at the head of the procession," added the captain. "It is your turn now, Louis."
"Go ahead a little, Pitts," said the next one in turn; for the cook had taken the wheel while Clingman went to his morning meal. "I can't see his eye yet."
"That will do; stop her. I can see his eye now, and there is no reflection on the water."
As soon as the boat lost her headway, Louis fired. The saurian leaped nearly out of the water, and came down wrong side up. There were three dead reptiles lying on the water. It was the captain's next shot, and when he placed the yacht in a position to suit him he fired. The crocodile lifted his head out of the water, and did not move again.
"Bravo, Captain!" cried Louis. "You did not have a fair chance last time, and you have redeemed yourself."
"I thought I could shoot better than before, and now I feel better. But there are two more, and your turn, Morris."
He killed the game with the third shot, and Felix finished the last in sight with the second. Achang had brought out his formidable weapon, and the six dead reptiles were decapitated. The last three killed were each nine feet long, while the one Louis had shot was fourteen. The heads were all put in the sampan, and they made a full load for it. The Blanchita arrived at Kuching early in the afternoon, and the chief of police measured the heads, and took the figures from Felix. He made one hundred and eight feet of crocodile, which the official approved as correct, and paid not quite forty dollars for the bounty.
THE VOYAGE UP THE SADONG TO SIMUJAN
The money received for the heads of the crocodiles was in the hands of Felix, who was the clerk of the captain on board the ship, and it was proper to make him purser of the Blanchita. What to do with it was the next question. Louis's advice was asked for, and he promptly suggested that it should be divided into ten parts, and a share given to all but himself; and this was done. He refused to accept a penny, but all the others received about four dollars apiece.
The money was all in silver, as it is all over India and the Archipelago for general use. The engineer and the seamen shared with the four hunters; for the former had done all the work and some of the shooting. The steamer was made fast at the shore, and all hands except Pitts landed for a walk through the town. Their first visit was to a fruit-store kept by a Chinaman; and most of the shops in the place were in the hands of the Celestials.
Bananas and oranges were the principal, though there were also nearly all the tropical fruits in season. Many of the party purchased useful articles in other places. They had learned in Singapore and Batavia how to deal with Chinese traders, and they seldom gave even more than one-third or one-half of what was demanded. After diligent search Achang found a certain Dyak tool he wanted,—a sort of axe, which Lane, the carpenter's assistant, ridiculed without mercy.
The young men visited the English Mission, where they were kindly received, and went to the school. The American missionaries are also active in Borneo, and one of them has made a vocabulary of the Dyak language.
It was decided to start down the river the next morning on the way to the Sadong and Simujan Rivers, the latter being a branch of the former. In the early morning, as the hands were casting off the fasts, two Malays came alongside in a sampan, and asked to be towed to the Sadong. Achang had some talk with them, and made the request of the captain for them. He learned that they were engaged in the business of catching crocodiles for the reward.
"They don't shoot crocodiles, and they have no rifles," added Achang.
"How do they get them then?" asked Louis.
"They fish for them."
"What, with a hook and line?" demanded Captain Scott.
"With a line, but have no fish-hook," replied the Bornean. "You must see them catch one."
"All right," replied the captain; "we will tow them down the river."
After the yacht had been moving about an hour, they came to a colony of saurians apparently, for several of them were in sight at once. Achang directed the reptile-hunters to catch one of them, and they paddled their sampan towards a large one. The Blanchita kept near enough to enable all hands to witness the operation, which the Bornean described to them as the Malays made their preparations, for they had all their fishing-gear in their boat.
The line they used was a rattan about forty feet long. At the "business end," as Scott called it, they attached a float to keep it on the top of the water. The steamer just crawled along on the river in order not to disturb the game, though the reptiles were accustomed to the sight of vessels.
"Now you see that stick the hunter has in his hand," said Achang, though each of them had one. "'Most a foot long, like a new moon."
"Crescent-shaped," added Louis.
"Called an alir in Malay. Made of green wood, very tough, pointed at the ends; they fasten the rattan line to the middle of the stick."
Some tough green bark, braided together, was then wound around the stick so that the game could not bite it in two. A big fish for bait was then attached to the alir, and carefully fastened to it so that the reptile could not tear it off.
Thus prepared, the apparatus was thrown overboard, and the sampan paddled away from it to give the game an opportunity to approach it, the Malays each paying out his forty feet of line, one on each side of the boat. The spectators watched the result with great interest. As the sampan receded from the saurians, they approached the bait. Crocodiles and alligators do not nibble at their prey, but bolt it as a snake does a frog.
The bait nearest to the observers on the yacht was soon gobbled up by the hungry crocodile, who appeared not to have been to breakfast that morning; and the Malay at the other end of the line gave a sharp jerk to his gear, the effect of which was to draw the pointed crescent "athwart ships," as the sailors would say, or across his stomach; and the harder it was pulled the more the pointed ends would penetrate the interior of the organ.
The first Malay had hardly hooked his game before the second had another ready to haul in. Both of the saurians struggled and lashed the dark water into a foam; but both of the men in the sampan kept the line as taut as they could with all their strength; and this is the rule in hauling in all gamey fish.
"Tell them we will go ahead, Achang, and all they need to do is to make fast their rattans to the sampan," said Captain Scott, when he had taken in the situation.
In reply to the message the Bornean delivered to them, the Malays nodded their heads vigorously, and smiled their assent.
"Go ahead, down the river, Clinch," added the captain to the helmsman.
"I fancy there will be a lively kick-up on the part of the game," said Louis, as the boat came up to her course.
"Not much," added Scott. "If we put them through the water at the rate of eight knots an hour, the crocs will not feel much like doing any gambolling. We are not making more than four knots now."
"They are as lively now as a parched pea in a hot skillet."
"I will ring the speed-bell now, and see how that will affect them," replied the captain, suiting the action to the word.
The Blanchita darted ahead at her usual speed. Clingman began to overhaul the painter of the sampan, for it did not look strong enough for the present strain. He had scarcely got hold of it before it snapped in the middle, and relieved the strain on the crocodiles. The steamer backed at the order of the captain; and a strong line was thrown into the sampan, which one of the Malays seized and made fast.
When the strain upon them was thus removed, the saurians made violent struggles to escape. The yacht then went ahead again, and the speed-bell was rung immediately. The pressure on the game was renewed, and they ceased to struggle. The apparatus held fast, for the saurian fishers were experienced in their business, and had done their work well.
At eight o'clock the Blanchita reached the mouth of the river. The crocodiles were not dead, but their stomachs must have been in a terrible condition. To Louis it seemed to be cruel to prolong their sufferings; and he wished Achang to request the Malays to kill them, and Scott agreed with him. The Bornean said they could not kill them while they were towing behind, and that, if the lines were slacked, they might get away.
The captain took the matter in hand, and told Achang what he intended to do, which he communicated to the reptile-hunters. On the starboard hand Scott fixed his gaze on a small tongue of land extending out into the river. Taking the wheel himself, he run her close to the land some distance above the point, and worked the sampan and its tow close to the shore. The tow-line of the sampan was then lengthened out to a hundred feet or more, and the yacht went ahead again, rounding the point, so that the peninsula lay between the steamer and her tow.
Then she went ahead again, and the result was that she pulled the sampan upon the point; and as she was flat-bottomed, there was no difficulty in doing so. The Blanchita continued on her course, and the two crocodiles were landed after her. One of the Malays then produced a parong latok; and even more skilfully than Achang had done the job, he cut off the heads of both reptiles. They were out of misery then, and Louis was satisfied.
The yacht was then run up to the point, and Lane was sent on shore to measure the reptiles, while the fishermen proceeded to recover the apparatus from the stomachs of the defunct reptiles. The larger crocodile was twelve feet and four inches long, and the other ten feet and seven inches. The voyage was resumed on the sea to the mouth of the Sadong; and in three hours more she entered the stream, which was a large one, averaging half a mile wide for twenty miles.
"Bujang!" called Achang, as instructed by the captain. "Do you want to go any farther?"
The head man replied in his own language that they wished to go to Simujan, or till they came to plenty of game. The Bornean said Bujang was a great hunter, for he had killed fifty-three crocodiles that year. The yacht, with the sampan still in tow, started up the river, keeping in the middle of it. Just before sunset she reached the junction of the Simujan and Sadong.
On one side of the branch stream there was a considerable Malay village, backed by an abundance of cocoanut palms; and, of course, the houses were built on stilts close to the water. On the other side was the Chinese kampon, or quarter, consisting largely of shops and trading-houses. Louis Belgrave had been presented to the officials at Sarawak as the owner of the Guardian-Mother, and that established him as a person of great distinction.
After the ship departed on her voyage to Siam, many attentions were bestowed upon him; and when, after the return of the yacht from up the Sarawak, they learned that she was going to the Simujan, one of the officials had given him a letter of introduction to the Chinese half-cast government official, who was the magnate of the place. Figuratively, he took the "Big Four" in his arms, and there was nothing he was not ready to do for them.
He conducted them to the government house, and insisted that they should live there during their stay at Simujan. It had been erected to receive such officials as might have occasion to remain there at any time. It was well built and comfortable, and each chamber had a veranda in front of it. It was set on posts six feet from the ground, like all the other dwellings near it. It was the police station of the region; and the two Malays collected eight or nine dollars for their game, which they did not offer to share with the crew of the yacht—no Malay would do such a thing.
The agent's tender of the rooms to the party was accepted, for the members wished to sleep in a four-posted bedstead once more for a change. The chief Malay of the place called upon them, and treated them very handsomely. The Chinese official gave them much information as they were seated on a veranda of the house.
"You may find the orang-outang up the Simujan; but I don't know that you want such large game," said he.
"We have shot tigers in India, and Mr. McGavonty has shot more cobras than all the rest of us. He has a talent for killing snakes."
"Show me the snakes, and I will finish them," added Felix.
"You will not find many of them in the jungle. There are some water snakes taken occasionally, and people here eat them. They make a very fine curry."
"I should ask to be excused from partaking of that dish," said Scott.
"That is all prejudice," said the agent. "Perhaps you would like to go a-fishing in the Sadong and its branches. We have a peculiar way of taking fish here. We use the tuba plant, which the Malays prepare for use. It is a climbing-plant, the root of which has some of the properties of opium. It is reduced to a pulp, mixed with water. I cannot fully explain the process of preparation, in which the Malays are very skilful. At the right time of tide, the fluid is thrown into the stream. The effect is to stupefy and sometimes kill the fish. With dip-nets the fish are picked up, though some of them are so large that they can be secured only with a kind of barbed spear."
"I don't think I care to fish in that way," said Louis, with some disgust in his expression. "It is very unsportsmanlike, and it looks to me to be a mean way to do it."
"Just what some Englishmen who were here a while ago said, and perhaps you are right; but it is a Malay art, and not English."
The party slept very comfortably on bedsteads that night, but they were up before the sun the next morning.
A SPIRITED BATTLE WITH ORANG-OUTANGS
The civilized people of Simujan were not stirring when the party came from their chambers. Felipe had steam up at half-past five, for the captain intended to begin the ascent of the river; but he did not care to leave without bidding adieu to the kindly agent. But they got under way at his order, and ran up the river for a morning airing. The boat had not gone more than a mile when the young men discovered a sampan containing two Malays paddling with all their might for the shore.
They had no guns, and could not shoot their game, whatever it was; but each of them had a biliong. This was the implement Achang had bought in Sarawak. It looked something like a pickaxe with only one arm, the end of which was fashioned like a mortising chisel, and was used as an axe.
The edge of the chisel portion was parallel to the handle; but Achang explained that the Dyaks had another kind of biliong, with the cutting part at right angles with the handle, and this was used as an adze. While Lane, the carpenter, was ridiculing the tool, the Malays on shore moved to a tree in sight of the steamer, which had stopped her screw close to the sampan.
"They are going to cut down a tree with the biliongs," said Achang. "Sometimes do that to get the game."