Through the Malay Archipelago.
BY EMILY RICHINGS.
Author of "Sir Walter's Wife," "In Chaucer's Maytime," &c.
LONDON: HENRY J. DRANE, LIMITED, DANEGELD HOUSE, 82A, FARRINGDON STREET, E.C.
O hundred shores of happy climes! How swiftly streamed ye by the bark! At times the whole sea burned—at times With wakes of fire we tore the dark.
New stars all night above the brim Of waters lightened into view; They climbed as quickly, for the rim Changed every moment as we flew.
We came to warmer waves, and deep Across the boundless East we drove, Where those long swells of breaker sweep The nutmeg rocks, and isles of clove.
For one fair Vision ever fled Down the waste waters day and night, And still we followed where she led, In hope to gain upon her flight.
Batavia and Weltevreden—Buitenzorg—Soekaboemi and Sindanglaya—Garoet and her Volcano— Djokjacarta—Boro-Boedoer—Brambanam— Sourakarta—Sourabaya and the Tengger.
Makassar and Western Celebes—The Minahasa— Gorontalo and the Eastern Coast.
A Glimpse of Borneo.
Ternate, Batjan, and Boeroe.
The Solo-Bessir Isles.
The Western Coast and the Highlands.
A View of Krakatau.
The traveller who reaches those enchanted gates of the Far East which swing open at the palm-girt shores of Ceylon, enters upon a new range of thought and feeling. The first sight of tropical scenery generally awakens a passionate desire for further experiences of the vast Archipelago in the Southern Seas which girdles the Equator with an emerald zone. Lured onward by the scented breeze in that eternal search for perfection destined to remain unsatisfied where every step marks a higher ideal than the one already attained, the pilgrim pursues his endless quest, for human aspiration has never yet touched the goal of desires and dreams. The cocoanut woods of Ceylon and her equatorial vegetation lead fancy further afield, for the glassy straits of Malacca beckon the wanderer down their watery highways to mysterious Java, where vast forests of waving palms, blue chains of volcanic mountains, and mighty ruins of a vanished civilisation, loom before the imagination and invest the tropical paradise with ideal attractions. The island, seven hundred miles long, and described by Marianne North as "one magnificent garden of tropical luxuriance," has not yet become a popular resort of the average tourist, but though lacking some of those comforts and luxuries found under the British flag, it offers many compensations in the wealth of beauty and interest afforded by scenery, architecture, and people. The two days' passage from Singapore lies through a green chain of countless islets, once the refuge of those pirates who thronged the Southern seas until suppressed by European power. The cliffs of Banka, honeycombed with tin quarries, and the flat green shores of Eastern Sumatra, stretching away to the purple mountains of the interior, flank the silvery straits, populous with native proas, coasting steamers, sampans, and the hollowed log or "dug-out" which serves as the Malayan canoe. Patched sails of scarlet and yellow, shaped like bats' wings, suggest gigantic butterflies afloat upon the tranquil sea. The red roofs of whitewashed towns, and the tall shafts of white lighthouses emphasise the rich verdure between the silvery azure of sky and water. The little voyage ends at Tandjon Priok, nine miles from Batavia, for a volcanic eruption of Mount Salak in 1699 filled up the ancient harbour, and necessitated the removal of shipping to a deep bay, as the old city was landed high and dry through the mass of mud, lava, and volcanic sand, which dammed up the lower reaches of the Tjiligong river, and destroyed connection with the sea. The present model harbour, erected at tremendous cost, permits ships of heavy burden to discharge passengers and cargo with comfort and safety at a long wharf, without that unpleasant interlude of rocking sampans and reckless boatmen common to Eastern travel. A background of blue peaks and clustering palms rises beyond the long line of quays and breakwaters flanked by the railway, and a wealth of tropical scenery covers a marshy plain with riotous luxuriance. No Europeans live either in Tandjon Priok or Old Batavia, and the locality was known for two centuries as "the European graveyard." Flourishing Arab and Chinese campongs or settlements appear immune from the terrible Java fever which haunts the morasses of the coast, and the industrial Celestial who absorbs so much of Oriental commerce, possesses an almost superhuman imperviousness to climatic dangers.
In the re-adjustment of power after the Fall of Napoleon, Java, invaded by England in 1811, after a five years' interval of British rule under the enlightened policy of Sir Stamford Raffles, was restored to the Throne of Holland. The supremacy of the Dutch East India Company, who, after a prolonged struggle, acquired authority in Java as residuary legatee of the Mohammedan Emperor, ended at the close of the eighteenth century. Perpetual warfare and rebellion, which broke out in Central Java after the return of the island to the Dutch, taxed the resources of Holland for five years. Immense difficulties arrested and delayed the development of the fertile territory, until the "culture system" of forced labour within a certain area relieved the financial pressure. One-fifth of village acreage was compulsorily planted with sugar-cane, and one day's work every week was demanded by the Dutch Government from the native population. The system was extended to tea and coffee; and indigo was grown on waste land not needed for the rice, which constitutes Java's staff of life. Spices and cinchona were also diligently cultivated under official supervision, and the lives of many explorers were lost in search of the precious Kina-tree, until Java, after years of strenuous toil, now produces one-half of that quinine supply which proves the indispensable safeguard of European existence on tropic soil. The ruddy bark and scarlet branches of the cinchona groves glow with autumnal brightness amid the evergreen verdure of the Javanese hills, and the "culture system," as a financial experiment, proved, in spite of cavillers, a source of incalculable benefit to the natives as well as to the colonists of Java. As we travel through the length and breadth of an island cultivated even to the mountain tops with the perfection of detail common to the Dutch, as the first horticulturists of the world, we realise the far-reaching wisdom, which in a few decades transformed the face of the island, clearing vast tracks of jungle, and pruning that riot of tropical nature which destroys as rapidly as it creates. A lengthened survey of Java's political economy and past history would be out of place in a slight volume, written as a "compagnon de voyage" to the wanderer who adds a cruise in the Archipelago to his Eastern itinerary, but the colonial features of Dutch rule which have produced many beneficial results demand recognition, for the varied characteristics of national genius and racial expansion suggest the myriad aspects of that creative power bestowed on humanity made in the Divine Image, and fulfilling the great destiny inspired by Heavenly Wisdom.
BATAVIA AND WELTEVREDEN.
From the railway station at Batavia the comfortless "dos-a-dos," colloquially known as the sado, a vehicle resembling an elementary Irish car, and drawn by a rat-like Timor pony transports us to the fashionable suburb of Weltevreden, away from the steamy port and fever-haunted commercial capital. The march of modern improvement scarcely affects old-world Java, where jolting sado and ponderous milord remain unchanged since the early days of colonisation, for time is a negligeable quantity in this lotus-eating land, too apathetic even to adopt those alleviations of tropical heat common to British India. The Java of the ancient world was considered "The Jewel of the East," and possesses many claims to her immemorial title, but the stolid Dutchman of to-day contents himself with the domestic arrangements which sufficed for his sturdy forefathers, scorning the mitigations of swinging punkah or electric fan. The word Batavia signifies "fair meadows," and these swampy fields of rank vegetation, exhaling a deadly miasma, were considered such an adequate defence against hostile attack, that forts were deemed unnecessary in a locality where 87,000 soldiers and sailors died in the Government Hospital during the space of twenty years. Batavia proper is a commonplace city of featureless streets, brick-walled canals, and ramshackle public buildings, but the residential town of Weltevreden, suggesting a glorified Holland, combines the quaint charm of the mother country with the Oriental grace and splendour of the tropics. The broad canals bordered by colossal cabbage-palms, the white bridges gay with the many coloured garb of the Malay population, the red-tiled roofs embowered in a wealth of verdure, and the pillared verandahs veiled with gorgeous creepers, tumbling in sheets of purple and scarlet from cornice to floor, compose a characteristic picture, wherein Dutch individuality triumphs over incongruous environment. Waving palms clash their fronds in the sea-breeze; avenues of feathery tamarind and bending waringen trees surround Weltevreden with depths of green shadow; the scarlet hybiscus flames amid tangled foliage, where the orange chalices of the flowering Amherstia glisten from sombre branches, and hang like fairy goblets from the interwoven roofs of tropical tunnels, pierced by broad red roads. On this Sunday afternoon of the waning year which introduces us to Weltevreden, family groups are gathered round tea tables canopied with flowers and palms, in the white porticos of the Dutch villas, and the startling deshabille adopted by Holland in the Netherlands India almost defies description. The ladies, with stockingless feet thrust into heelless slippers, and attired in the Malay sarong (two yards of painted cotton cloth), supplemented by a white dressing-jacket, display themselves in verandah, carriage, or street, in a garb only fit for the bath-room; while the men, lounging about in pyjamas, go barefoot with the utmost sangfroid. The sarong, as worn by the slender and graceful Malay, appears a modest and appropriate garb, but the grotesque effect of native attire on the broad-built Dutchwoman affords conclusive proof that neither personal vanity nor a sense of humour pertain to her stolid personality. Dutch Puritanism certainly undergoes startling transformations under the tropical skies, and the Netherlands India produces a modification of European ideas concerning what have been called "the minor moralities of life," unequalled in colonial experience. An identical exhibition fills the open corridors of the Hotel Nederlanden, built round a central court, and the general resort of the guests during the hot hours of the January days. Evening dress is reserved for State occasions, and though sarong and kabaja be discarded at the nine o'clock dinner, the blouse and skirt of morning wear in England suffices even at this late hour for the fair Hollander, who also concedes so far to the amenities of civilisation as sometimes to put on her stockings. So much of life in Java is spent in eating, sleeping, and bathing, that but a small residuum can be spared for those outside interests which easily drop away from the European when exiled to a colony beyond the beaten track of travel, and destitute of that external friction which counteracts the enervating influence of the tropics. Comfort is at a discount according to English ideas, but the arrangements of the Hotel Nederlanden, under a kindly and capable proprietor, render it an exception to the prevailing rule. Each guest is apportioned a little suite, consisting of bedroom, sitting-room, and a section of the verandah, fitted up with cane lounge, table, and rocking-chair. The bathrooms, with porcelain tank and tiles, leave nothing to be desired, and the "dipper-bath," infinitely cooler than the familiar tub, becomes an unfailing delight. Ominous prophecies have emphasised the rashness of coming to Java in the rainy season, but it has expended its force before January arrives, and though daily showers cool the air, and the sky is often overcast, no inconvenience is experienced. Lizards and mosquitoes are few, and in the marble-floored dining hall of cathedral proportions the absence of a punkah is generally unfelt, though the fact of a tropical climate is realised at the slightest exertion. The day begins at 6 a.m. with a cup of the Java coffee, which, at first unpalatable, reveals by degrees the hidden excellence of the beverage, brought cold in a stoppered cruet, the potent essence requiring a liberal admixture of boiling water. At 9 a.m. a solid but monotonous breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, and cheese is customary, with the accompaniment of iced water, though tea and coffee are provided for the foreign traveller, unused to the cold comfort which commends itself to Dutch taste. The mid-day riz-tavel from beginning to end of a stay in Java, remains the terror of the English visitor. Each plate is heaped with a mound of rice, on which scraps of innumerable ingredients are placed—meat, fish, fowl, duck, prawns, curry, fried bananas, and nameless vegetables, together with chilis and chutneys, sembals, spices, and grated cocoanut, in bewildering profusion. The Dutch digestion triumphantly survives this severe test at the outset of the meal, and courageously proceeds to the complementary courses of beefsteak, fritters and cheese. Fortunately for those of less vigorous appetite, mine host of the Nederlanden, far in advance of his Javanese fraternity, kindly provides a simple "tiffin" as an alternative to this Gargantuan repast. Afternoon tea is served in the verandah, and at eight o'clock the Dutch contingent, having slept off the effects of the rice table, prepares with renewed energies to attack a heavy dinner. New Year's Eve is celebrated by a very bombardment of fireworks from the Chinese campong, and crowds hasten to the fine Roman Catholic church for Benediction, Te Deum, and an eloquent, though to me incomprehensible, Dutch sermon. Crisp muslins and uncovered heads for the women, and white linen garb for the men, are the rule in church, for the slatternly undress of sarong and pyjamas is happily inadmissible within the walls of the sanctuary, where the fair fresh faces and neat array compose a pleasing picture which imagination would fail to evolve from the burlesque ugliness of the slovenly deshabille wherewith the Dutch colonist disguises every claim to beauty or grace. On alluding to the shock experienced by this grotesque travesty of native garb, a Dutch officer asserts that there are in reality but few Dutch ladies in Java of pure racial stock, for one unhappy result of remoteness from European influence is shown by the gradual merging of the Dutch colonists into the Malay race by intermarriage. Exile to Java was made financially easy and attractive by the Dutch Government, but it was for the most part a permanent separation from the mother country, and a long term of years necessarily elapsed before the colonial planter could even return for a short visit to his native land. The overwhelming force of public opinion against mixed marriages, and the consequent degeneration of type, from a union which lowers one of the contracting parties without raising the other, beats but faintly against these remote shores, cut off from associations which mould and modify the crudities of individual thought in regions swept by the full tide of contemporary life. The idea of welding European and Asiatic elements into one race, as a defence against external aggression, possesses a superficial plausibility, but ages of historical experiment only confirm the unalterable truth of the poetic dictum that
East is East, and West is West, And never the two shall meet. Until they stand on either hand, At God's great Judgment Seat!
The sudden rise of an Oriental race to the position of a great world-power, and the apprehensions of coming struggles for supremacy in Eastern waters, present many future complications concerning Java, even if not weakened by the assimilation of her European colonists to an inferior race.
Neither landlord nor secretary of the Hotel Nederlanden spare time or trouble in arranging the programme of sight-seeing, and but for their kindly help, only a partial success would be possible, owing to the difficulties presented by the two unknown tongues of Dutch and Malay. Ignorance of the former involves separation from the world as revealed by newspapers, and though a smattering of "coolie Malay" is picked up with the aid of a handbook, and the "hundred words" mastered, sanguinely asserted to suffice for colloquial needs, there are many occasions when even the practice of this elementary language requires a more extensive vocabulary. At a New Year's fete given by the proprietor of the hotel to his numerous Malay employes, we make our first acquaintance with native music. Dancing girls, in mask and tinsel, gyrate to the weird strains of the Gamelon, an orchestra of tiny gongs, bamboo tubes, and metal pipes. Actors perform old-world dramas in dumb show, and conjurors in gaudy attire attract people of all ages to those time-honoured feats of legerdemain which once represented the sorcery of the mystic East. The simple Malay has not yet adopted the critical and unbelieving attitude which rubs the gilt off the gingerbread or the bloom off the plum, and his fervid faith in mythical heroes and necromantic exploits gives him the key to that kingdom of fancy often closed to a sadder if wiser world. The electric tram provides an excellent method of gaining a general idea of Batavia and Weltevreden; the winding route skirting canals and palm groves, campongs of basket-work huts, and gay passers, the native markets, with their wealth of many-coloured fruit. Stacks of golden bananas, olive-tinted dukus, rambutans like green chestnut-shells with scarlet prickles, amber star-fruit, brown salak, the "forbidden apple," bread-fruit, and durian offer an embarassing choice. Pineapples touch perfection on Java soil; cherimoya and mango, papaya and the various custard-fruits, the lovely but tasteless rose-apple, and the dark green equatorial orange of delicious flavour, afford a host of unfamiliar experiences. The winter months are the season of the peerless mangosteen, in beauty as well as in savour the queen of tropical fruits. The rose-lined purple globes, with the central ball of ivory whiteness in each fairy cup, suggest fugitive essences of strawberry and nectarine combined with orange to produce this equatorial marvel, also considered perfectly wholesome. The mangosteen, ripening just north or south of the Equator, according to the alternations of the wet and dry seasons, cannot be preserved long enough to reach the temperate zone, and though every year shows fresh varieties of tropical fruit successfully transported to European markets, the mangosteen remains unknown outside the narrow radius of the equatorial region to which the tree is indigenous. The flower markets blaze with many-coloured roses, tons of gardenias and a wealth of white heavy-scented flowers, such as tuberoses and Arabian jasmine. All the spices of the East, in fact, seem breathing from these mounds of blossom, as well as from gums and essences distilled from them in archaic fashion. Transparent sachets, filled with the scented petals of ylang-ylang, fill the air with intoxicating sweetness, and outside the busy passer, a frangipanni-tree, the native sumboya or "flower of the dead," just opening a white crowd of golden-hearted blossoms to the sun, adds another wave of perfume to the floral incense, steaming from earth to sky with prodigal exuberance.
Batavia possesses few objects of interest. The dismal green-shuttered Stadkirche, a relic of Dutch Calvinism; the earliest warehouse of the Netherlands Company, a commonplace lighthouse, and the gate of Peter Elberfeld's dwelling (now his tomb), with his spear-pierced skull above the lintel, as a reminder of the sentence pronounced on traitors to the Dutch Government, comprise the scanty catalogue. Antiquities and archaeological remains fill a white museum of classical architecture on the Koenig's Plein, a huge parade ground, flanked by the Palace of the Governor-General. Gold and silver ornaments, gifts from tributary princes, shield and helmet, dagger, and kris, of varied stages in Malay civilisation, abound in these spacious halls, where every Javanese industry may be studied. Buddhist and Hindu temples have yielded up a treasury of images, censers, and accessories of worship, the excavations of ruined cities in Central Java, long overgrown with impenetrable jungle, opening a mine of archaeological wealth in musical instruments, seals, coins, headgear, chairs and umbrellas of State. Golden pipes and betel-boxes show the perfection of the goldsmith's art, and metal statues vie with those of sculptured wood or stone. Here Captain Cook left his treasure trove from the Southern seas, and the Council Chamber of the Museum contains portraits and souvenirs of the great navigators who sailed into the uncharted ocean of geographical discovery, and in various stages of their adventurous careers anchored at Java, to display the wondrous trophies of unknown lands in the island then regarded as the farthest outpost of contemporary civilisation.
The toelatingskaart, or Javanese passport, formerly indispensable for insular travel beyond the radius of forty miles from Batavia, though not yet obsolete, proves practically needless, and is never once demanded during a six weeks' stay. The small addition contributed to the rich revenue by this useless official "permit," appears the sole reason for retaining it, now that vexatious restrictions are withdrawn. In the intervals of arranging an up-country tour from monotonous Weltevreden, destitute of any attraction beyond the white colonnades and verdant groves flanking sleepy canals and quaint bridges, the local industry of sarong stippling affords a curious interest. Every city in Java possesses a special type of this historic dress, represented on the walls of temples dating before the Christian era, and worn by the Malay races from time immemorial. This strip of cotton cloth, which forms the attire both of men and women, is twisted firmly round the body, and requires no girdle to secure it. Palm-fronds, birds, and animals, geometric patterns, religious emblems, fruits and flowers, are represented in bewildering confusion. The girls, with flower-decked hair and scanty garb, occupy a long, low shed, filled with rude frames for stretching the cloth, painted in soft-tinted dyes—brown, blue, and amber for the most part—with tapering funnels. These waxed cloths allow infinite scope for native imagination, only a small panel of formal design being obligatory, the remaining surface fancifully coloured at will in harmonious hues. No two sarongs are alike, and the painted battek, notwithstanding the simplicity of the cotton background, represents an amount of labour and finish which makes the archaic garment a costly, though almost indestructible production. The graceful slandang, a crossed scarf of the same material, only serves as a shoulder-strap, wherein the brown Malay baby sits contentedly, for the ugly white jacket of the Dutchwoman is now compulsory on the native. Every variety of battek, basket-work, mats, and quaint silver or brass ware, is brought by native peddlers to the broad verandahs of the hotel, the patient and gentle people content to spend long hours on the marble steps, dozing between their scanty bargains, or crimsoning their months with the stimulating morsel of betel-nut, said to allay the hunger, thirst, and exhaustion of the steaming tropics. The conquered race, cowed by ages of tyranny under native princes, possesses those mild and effeminate characteristics fostered by a languid and enervating climate. That the salient angles of the sturdy Dutch character, which accomplished so many feats of endurance in the earlier days of the colony, should undergo rapid disintegration by intermarriage with the native stock, must arouse regret in all who realise the claims to respect possessed by the fighting forefathers of Holland's tropical dependencies.
Educational matters were for centuries in abeyance, and until 1864 the Malays were forbidden to learn the language of their European rulers. Many dialects are found in Java's wide territory, but Low Malay has been declared the official tongue, and with the advance of public opinion, wider views prevail concerning the rights of the subject race. A good Roman Catholic priest, one of the most enlightened and liberal Dutchmen encountered in Java, asserts that in the schools of the Colonial Government, the Malay boy possesses a mathematical facility superior to that of the Dutch scholar, in spite of the advantage accruing from hereditary education.
At the sunset hour, Batavian life awakens from the long slumbers of the tropical afternoon, and as the golden light filters through the waving palms, the long Schul-Weg, beside the central canal, fills with saunterers, enjoying the delights of that brief spell, when peace and coolness fall on the world before the sudden twilight drops veil after veil of deepening gloom, merging into the "darkness which may be felt," for the twelve hours of the tropical night. Gathering clouds reveal but scanty glimpses of the moon in these January weeks, but through rifts in the sombre canopy, the Southern stars hang low in the dome of heaven, and shine like burning lamps, appearing almost within reach of an outstretched hand.
The first destination of the up-country traveller in Java is Buitenzorg, the Dutch "Sans Souci," containing the Governor-General's rural Palace, the houses of Court officials, and the superb Botanical Garden, which ranks first among the horticultural triumphs of the world. The two hours' journey by the railway, which now traverses the whole of Java, shows a succession of tropical landscapes, appearing unreal in their fantastic and dream-like beauty. The glowing green of rice-fields, the dense forests of swaying palms, the porphyry tints of the teeming soil, and the purple mountains, carved into the weird contours peculiar to volcanic ranges, frame myriad pictures of unfamiliar native life with dramatic effect. Villages of woven basket-work cluster beneath green curtains of banana and spreading canopies of palm, the central mosque surmounting the tiny huts with many-tiered roofs, and walls inlaid with gleaming tiles of white and blue. Brown figures, with gay sarong and turbaned headgear, bring bamboo buckets to moss-grown wells, gray water-buffaloes crop marshy herbage, a little bronze-hued figure seated on each broad back, and busy workers stand knee-deep in slush, to transplant emerald blades of rice or to gather the yellow crops, for seedtime and harvest go on together in this fertile land. Our train halts at Depok, a Christian village unique in Java, for the religious history of the island shows little missionary enterprise among a race strangely indifferent to the claims of faith, and lightly casting away one creed after another, with a carelessness which has ever proved a formidable bar to spiritual progress. The Portuguese Jesuits were expelled by the Dutch, and English efforts at conversion were succeeded by a general exclusion of foreign missionaries. Public opinion eventually prevented the continuance of this despotic rule, and at the present day a certain number of Roman and Protestant clergy are supported by the Government, but Roman zeal outstrips the niggardly spiritual provision, and proves the appreciation in which it is held by full churches and devout worshippers. The Mohammedanism of the Malay lacks the fiery fervour common to Islam, and his slack hands are ever ready to forego all symbols of faith. From the region of rice and tapioca, maize and sugar-cane, we reach the great cacao plantations, hung with chocolate-coloured pods, and the ruddy kina-groves on the lower slopes of the mountain chain. The palms are everywhere, clashing their huge fronds, and undulating in waves of fiery green, the light and shadow of the golden evening reflected on the swaying foliage. Stately Palmyra, slender areca, graceful pandang with a length of scarlet crowning each smooth grey stem, the mighty royal palm, king of the forest, spreading cocoanuts, and a hundred unknown varieties, soaring among bread-fruit and teak, nutmeg and waringen, reveal the inexhaustible powers of tropical Nature. Buitenzorg occupies an ideal position between the blue and violet peaks of Gedeh and Salak, the guardian mountains of the fairy spot, perennially green with spring-like freshness, from the daily showers sweeping across the valley from one or other of the lofty crests, and possessing a delicious climate at an altitude of eight hundred feet. The Hotel Bellevue, where back rooms should be secured on account of a superb prospect, comprising river, mountain and forest, stands near the great entrance of the world-famous Gardens, and our balcony commands a profound ravine, carved by a clear river, winding away between forests of palm to the dark cone of Mount Salak, the climax of the picture. The artist destined to interpret the soul of Java is yet unborn, or unable to grasp the character of her unique and distinctive scenery, but a village of plaited palm-leaves, accentuating this tropical Eden, brings it down to the human level, where soft Malay voices, glimpses of domestic life, and a canoe afloat on the brimming stream, remind us that we are still on terra firma, and not gazing at a dreamland Paradise beyond earthly ken. Sleeping accommodation in the hills suggests little comfort. A hard mattress beneath a sheet is the sole furniture of the huge four-poster, surrounded by thick muslin curtains to exclude air and creeping things; pillows are stuffed hard with cotton-down, and no coverings are provided—an unalterable custom possessing obvious disadvantages in a climate reeking with damp, where the walls of a room closed for a day or two become green with mould. Rheumatic stiffness on waking is a matter of course in humid Java, for the hour between darkness and dawn contains a concentrated essence of dew, mist, and malaria, which penetrates to the very marrow of unaccustomed bones, even when it lacks the frequent accompaniment of the violent cascade known as "a tropical shower." The glorious Botanical Garden is approached by a mighty avenue of colossal kanari-trees, over a hundred feet high, with yellow light filtering through the fretted roof of interlacing boughs, which suggests a vast aisle in some primeval forest. Stately columns and spreading roots garlanded with stag-horn ferns, waving moss, white and purple orchids, or broad-leaved creepers, falling in sheets and torrents of shining foliage and knitting tree to tree, attest the irrepressible growth of vegetation, which flings a many-coloured veil of blossom and leaf over root, branch, and stem. A fairy lake glows with the pink and crimson blossoms of the noble Victoria Regia, the huge leaves like green tea-trays floating on the water, where a central fountain adds prismatic radiance to the scenic effect of the splendid lilies. Climbing palms and massive creepers, splashed with orange, scarlet, and gold, tumble in masses from lofty branches, and the dazzling Bougainvillea flings curtains of roseate purple over wall and gateway. A dense thicket of frangipanni scents the air with the symbolic blossoms, shining like stars from grey-green boughs of sharp-cut leaves. A copse of splendid tree-ferns flanks the forest-like plantation known as "The Thousand Palms," and beneath dusky avenues of waringen (a variety of the banyan species, which strikes staff-like boughs into the earth and springs up again in caverns of foliage), herds of deer are wandering, snatching at drooping vines, or sheltering from the fierce sun in depths of impenetrable shade. Tufts of red-stemmed Banka palms cluster on the green islets of lake and river, vista after vista opens up, each mysterious aisle appearing more lovely than the last, and luring the wanderer to the climax formed by a terraced knoll, commanding a superb view of Gedeh and Salak, the twin summits of chiselled turquoise, gashed by the amethyst shadows of deep ravines, with Gedeh's curl of volcanic smoke staining the lustrous azure of the sky. Many-coloured tree carnations, gorgeous cannas and calladiums, copses of snowy gardenia, and flowering shrubs of rainbow hues, blaze with splendour, or exhale their wealth of perfume on the languid air, thronged with the invisible souls of the floral multitude. Graceful rattans shoot up in tall ladders of foliage-hidden cane, climbing to the topmost fronds of the loftiest palm, and, unless ruthlessly cut down, overthrowing the stately tree with their fatal embrace. Sausage and candle trees, with strange parodies of prosaic food and waxen tapers, climbing palms, sometimes extending for five hundred feet, and gigantic blossoms like crimson trumpets, or delicately-tinted shells of ocean, comprise but a tithe of Nature's wonders, crowned by the mighty "Rafflesia," the largest flower in the world, with each vast red chalice often measuring a circumference of six feet. A hundred native gardeners are employed in this park-like domain, and seventy men work in the adjacent culture-garden of forty acres, where experiments in grafting and acclimatizing are carried on, as well as in the supplementary garden of Tjibodas, beautifully situated on the lower slopes of Mount Salak. The white palace of the Governor-General faces the lake, fed by the lovely river Tjiligong, winding in silver loops round verdant lawn and palm-clad hill, or expanding into bamboo-fringed lakes, and bringing perennial freshness into the tropical Eden of sun-bathed Java.
Beyond the fretted arches of the great kanari avenue, the white tomb of Lady Raffles, who died during her husband's term of office in the island, forms a pathetic link with the past. When the colony was restored to Holland, a clause in the treaty concerning it, made the perpetual care of this monument, to one deeply loved and mourned, binding upon the Dutch Governor—a condition loyally observed during the century since the cessation of English rule. Cinnamon and clove scent the breeze which whispers mysterious secrets to the swaying plumes of the tall sago-palms, and dies away in the delicate foliage of tamarind and ironwood tree. A network of air roots makes a grotesque circle round the spreading boughs of the banyan grove, mahogany and sandal-wood, ebony and cork, ginger-tree and cardamom, mingle their varied foliage, the translucency of sun-smitten green shading through deepening tones into the sombre tints of ilex and pine with exquisite gradation. Flamboyant trees flaunt fiery pyramids of blossom high in the air, and the golden bouquets of the salacca light up dusky avenues, where large-leaved lianas rope themselves from tree to tree in cables of vivid green. Bare stems, except in the palms, are unknown in this richly-decorated temple of Nature; climbing blade-plants with sword-like leaves of gold-striped verdure, huge orchids like many-coloured birds and butterflies fluttering in the wind, wreathe trunk and branch with fantastic splendour, and matted creepers weave curtains of dense foliage from spreading boughs. The austere and scanty vegetation of Northern climes, which gives a distinct outline and value to every leaf and flower, has nothing in common with the prodigal and passionate beauty of the tropical landscape, where the wealth of earth is flung broadcast at our feet in mad profusion. Day by day the marvellous gardens of Buitenzorg take deeper hold of mind and imagination. The early dawn, when the dark silhouettes of the palms stand etched against the rose-tinted heavens, the hot noontide in the shadows of the colossal kanari-trees, the sunset gold transfiguring the foliage into emerald fire, and spilling pools of liquid amber upon the mossy turf, or the white moonlight which transmutes the forest aisles into a fairy world of sable and silver, invest this vision of Paradise with varied aspects of incomparable beauty. The surrounding scenery, though full of interest, seems but the setting of the priceless gem, and when inexorable Time, the modern angel of the flaming sword, at length bars the way, and banishes us from our Javanese Eden, the exiled heart turns back perpetually to the floral sanctuary, the antitype of that Divinely-planted Garden on the dim borderland of Time which revealed and fulfilled the primeval beauty of earth's morning hours.
SOEKABOEMI AND SINDANGLAYA.
Soekaboemi (Desire of the World), a favourite sanatorioum of the Dutch, is approached by an exquisite railway, curving round the purple heights of forest-girt Salak. The usual afternoon deluge weeps itself away, palm plumes and cassava boughs, overhanging the silvery Tjiligong, drop showers of diamonds into the current, and giant bamboos creak in the spicy wind, redolent of gardenia and clove. The hills, scaled by green rice-terraces, each with tiny rill and miniature cascade, are vocal with murmuring waters. Lilac plumbago, red hybiscus, and golden allemanda mingle with pink and purple lantana, yellow daisies, and hedges of scarlet tassels, enclosing wicker huts in patches of banana and cocoanut. Brown girls, in blue and orange sarongs, occupy the steps of a basket-work shrine, from whence an unknown god, smeared with ochre, extends a sceptred hand, for Hinduism left deep traces on inland Java, dim with the dust of vanished creeds. The expense and trouble of former travel by the superb post-roads, made at terrible sacrifice of life in earlier days, is now done away with, though the noble avenues and picturesque shelters, erected for protection from sun or rain, suggest a pleasant mode of leisurely progress. No trains may run at night, not only on account of native incompetence, but from dangers caused by constant geographical changes on this volcanic soil, where rivers suddenly alter their course, and earthquakes obstruct the way with yawning chasms or heaps of debris. A paternal Government provides the traveller with a half-way house, erecting a large hotel at Maos, with uniform rates, entirely for the benefit of the passenger by rail. Trains are built on the American plan, stations are spacious and airy, refreshments easily secured, and every halting-place offers an embarras de richesses in the shape of tropical fruits, wherewith to supplement or replace the solidity of the Dutch commissariat. Coffee and tea plantations in ordered neatness, contrast with the untamed profusion of forest vegetation, clothing sharp promontory and shelving terrace. Dusky villages cling like birds' nests to ledges of rock, screw-palms with airy roots frame mountain tarns, and a Brazilian Emperor-palm, with smooth column bulging into a pear-shaped base, accentuates the sunset glory from a crag crowned by the black canopy of colossal fronds. The Preanger Regency was the heart of ancient Mataram, that historic kingdom of old-world Java round which perpetual warfare waged for centuries.
Language and customs change as we cross the saddle between the blue peaks of Salak and Gedeh; gay crowds bring fruits to picturesque wayside markets, bearing bamboo poles laden with golden papaya and purple mangosteen, or plaited baskets containing the conglomerate native cuisine. The elastic and gracefully-modelled figures of the Soendanese populace betoken a purer race than that of the steamy Batavian lowlands, where foreign elements deteriorate the native stock. The Hotel Victoria at Soekaboemi consists of detached white buildings round tree-filled courts, erected on the "pavilion system." Every two visitors occupy a tiny bungalow of two bedrooms, opening on a spacious verandah divided by a screen, and each section provided with lamp, rocking-chair, and tea-table, the long public dining hall being approached by a covered alley. The rain, swishing down through the night in torrents and cataracts, clears at sunrise, and though heavy clouds still veil the heights of Salak, the transparent beauty of the morning crystallises the atmosphere, and sharply defines every feature of the landscape. The country roads, shaded by towering palms and fruit-laden mangos, glow with a continuous procession of brown figures, the women clad in the universal sarong, but men and children often in Nature's garb, with touches of orange or crimson in scarf and turban. Water-oxen and buffaloes, goats and sheep, vary the throng, but cattle fare badly in fertile Java, where the all-pervading rice ousts the pasture-land. Glorious bamboos form arches of feathery green meeting across the road, and the busy China campong, or desar in Preanger parlance, is full of life and movement with the first streak of day, for all trade in Java depends upon the indefatigable industry of the Celestial. The idle gambling Malay, though an expert hunter and fisher, takes no thought for the morrow, and is protected by the Dutch Government from ruin by an enforced demand of rice for storage, according to the numbers of the family. Every village contains the great Store Barn of plaited palm leaves, so that, in case of need, the confiscated rice can be doled out to the improvident native, who thus contributes to the support of his family in times of scarcity. This regulation relieves want without pauperising, the common garner merely serving as a compulsory savings bank. Many salutary laws benefit the Malay, possessing a notable share of tropical slackness, and the lack of initiative partly due to a servile past under the sway of tyrannical native princes. The little brown people of Java, eminently gentle and tractable, are honest enough for vendors of eatables to place a laden basket at the roadside for the refreshment of the traveller, who drops a small coin into a bamboo tube fastened to a tree for this purpose. The customary payment is never omitted, and at evening the owner of the basket collects the money, and brings a fresh supply of food for future wayfarers. Country districts demonstrate the fact of Java being a creedless land. This is Sunday, and the Feast of the Epiphany, but the only honour paid to the day consists in a gayer garb, and a band playing for an hour in the palm-shaded garden. Work goes on in rice-field and plantation, but no church bell rings from the closed chapel outside the gates, and no sign of religion is evident, whether from mosque, temple, or church. Lovely lanes form alluring vistas. The pretty desas of plaited palm and bamboo, hiding in depths of tropical woodland, with blue thunbergia clambering over every verandah, and the Preanger girls, with their brilliant slandangs of orange and scarlet, amber and purple, make vivid points of colour in the foreground of blue mountain and dusky forest. A copper-coloured boy carries on his head a basket of gold-fish large as salmon, the westering sun glittering on the ruddy scales.
Traditional servility remains ingrained in Preanger character, and the crouching obeisance known as the dodok, formerly insisted upon, is still observed by the native to his European masters, the humble posture giving place to kneeling on a nearer approach. The kind proprietor of the Soekaboemi Hotel offers every facility to those guests anxious to penetrate below the surface of Soendanese life, placing his carriage and himself at the disposal of the visitor, and affording a mine of information otherwise unattainable, for books on Java are few and far between, and the work of Sir Stamford Raffles continues the best authority on island life and customs, though a century has elapsed since it was written. Why, one asks in amazement, did England part with this Eastern Paradise? rich not only in vegetation, but containing unexplored treasures of precious metal and the vast mineral wealth peculiar to volcanic regions, where valuable chemical products are precipitated by the subterranean forces of Nature's mysterious laboratory. In the far-off days when "the grand tour" of Europe was the climax of the ordinary traveller's ambition, beautiful Java was relinquished on the plea of being an unknown and useless possession, too far from the beaten track of British sailing ships to be of practical value. The remonstrances of Sir Stamford Raffles, and his representations of future colonial expansion, were regarded as the dreams of a romantic enthusiast, and the noble English Governor, in advance of his age, while effecting during his brief tenure of office results unattainable by a century of ordinary labour, found his efforts wasted and his work undone. Instead of returning home, he applied himself heroically to the developement of Singapore, the eternal monument of patriotic devotion and invincible courage.
The line to Tjandjoer, the starting point for Sindanglaya, traverses one of the exquisite plains characteristic of Java. Mountain walls, with palm-fringed base and violet crest, bound a fertile expanse, where myriad brooks foam through fairy arches of feathery bamboo and long vistas of spreading palm fronds. Rice in every stage of growth, from flaming green to softest yellow, covers countless terraces, the picturesque outlines of their varied contours enhancing the beauty of the fantastic scene. A sado, with a team of three tiny ponies, dashes up the long avenue leading to the palm-fringed hills, the mighty Amherstia trees forming aisles of dark green foliage, brightened with the vivid glow of orange red blossoms. The broad road is a kaleidoscope of brilliant colour, for native costume vies with the dazzling tints of tropical Nature as we advance further into the Preangers. The gay headgear, worn turbanwise, with two ends standing upright above plaited folds, and magenta kabajas, with slandangs of apple green, amber or purple, make a blaze of colour against the forest background, or glow amidst the dusky shadows of palm-thatched sheds, where thirsty travellers imbibe pink and yellow syrups, the favourite beverages of the Malay race. The ascending road commands superb views of the mountain chain, and the rambling two-storied hotel, widened by immense verandahs, stands opposite cloud-crowned Gedeh, half-veiled by the spreading column of volcanic smoke. The misty blue of further hills leads the eye to the three weird peaks of the Tangkoeban Prahoe, the boat-shaped "Ark" regarded as the Ararat of Java, for the universal tradition of the great Deluge underlies the religious history welded from Moslem, Buddhist, and Hindu elements. Legendary lore clusters round the petrified "Ark" in which the progenitors of the Malayan stock escaped from the Noachian flood. The storm-tossed and water-logged boat, lodged between jutting rocks, was reversed that it might dry in the sun, but the weary voyagers who traditionally peopled the Malay Archipelago remained in the lotus-eating land, and the disused "Ark" or Prau, fossilizing through the ages, became a portion of the peaks whereon it rested. The sacred mountain developed into a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and the ruins of richly-carved temples, together with four broken flights of a thousand steps, denote the former importance ascribed to the great Altar of Nature, and the power of religion on the social life of the past. Generations of later inhabitants, dwelling in flimsy huts of bamboo and thatch, regarded the mysterious ruins of the Tankahan Prahoe as the work of giants or demons, and the haunted hill as a mysterious resort of evil spirits. In lofty Sindanglaya, the swaying palms of the lowlands yield to glorious tree-ferns, shading road and ravine with feathery canopies of velvet green. A lake of azure crystal mirrors a thick fringe of the great fronds, and on every parapet of the ruddy cliffs the living emerald of the lanceolated foliage glows in vivid contrast with the splintered crags. Sindanglaya is the refuge of fever-stricken Europeans from malarial coast or inland swamp, but the hotel is now empty of invalids. The kind proprietor lavishes time and care on English guests, and the attentive Malay "room-boys," squatting on the verandah outside our doors, fear to lose sight of their charges for a moment, lest some need of native help should arise. They watch hand and eye like faithful dogs, for their language is unintelligible to us as ours to them, and the only attempt at speech is "Chow-chow, mister!" when the dinner-bell rings, the mystic words accompanied by a realistic pantomime of mouth and fingers.
The following morning dawns like an ideal day of June, and we start in chairs, carried by four coolies, for the beautiful Falls of Tjibereum. A mountain road winds through rice-fields and tree-ferns towards fold upon fold of lilac peaks, until we reach the mountain garden of Tjibodas, the beautiful supplement of incomparable Buitenzorg. A strange sense of remoteness belongs to this lonely pleasaunce of the upper world, on a sheltered slope of ever-burning Gedeh, quiescent now save for the blue curl of sulphurous smoke, which gives perpetual warning of those smouldering forces ever ready to devastate the surrounding country. Subterranean activity increases during the rainy season, and tremors of earthquake occasionally startle the equanimity of those unused to the perils of existence on this thin crust of Mother Earth, for Java's teeming soil and population rest upon an ominous fissure of the globe's surface, and twelve of the forty-five volcanos on this island of terror and beauty are still moderately active, sometimes displaying sudden outbursts of energy. The green lawns and towering camphor trees of Tjibodas suggest the spellbound beauty of some enchanted spot, unprofaned by human foot. A glassy lake mirrors the tall bamboos and feathery tamarinds, their slender and sensitive foliage motionless in the still air of the dewy dawn. Huge coleas accentuate the spring verdure with heavy masses of bronze and crimson, and magnolias exhale intoxicating odours from snowy chalices. Blue lilies and flaxen pampas grass grow in thickets upon the emerald slopes, and the ordered loveliness of the mountain Paradise, walled in by dense jungle and savage precipice, brings the glamour of dreamland into the stern environment of mysterious forest and frowning peak. A rudely-paved and mossy path, shadowed by the black foliage of stately casuarinas, leads into the gloomy jungle. The forest monarchs are curtained with tangled creepers and roped together with serpent-like lianas, stag-horn ferns, and green veils of filmy moss fluttering from every bough. A swampy path through rank grass and rough boulders pierces the dense thickets, matted together with inextricable confusion, teak and tamarind, acacia and bread-fruit, palm and tree-fern losing their own characteristics and merging themselves into concrete form. The appalling stillness and solemnity of the dense jungle appears emphasised by a solitary brown figure, with pipe and betel-box, beneath a thatched shed at an angle of the narrow track, where he presides over a little stall of cocoanuts, bananas, and coloured syrups, for the refreshment of coolies on their way from the Tjibodas garden to villages across the heights of Gedeh. No voice ever seems raised in these remote recesses of the mountains, where even the children of each brown hamlet play silently as figures in a dream. Our bearers, swishing through wet grass and splashing across brimming brooks, push with renewed energies up a steep ascent to the heart of the wild solitude, where three mighty waterfalls dash in savage grandeur from a range of over hanging cliffs into a churning river, descending by continuous rapids over a stairway of brown-striped trap-rock and swirling between lichen-clad banks, to lose itself in the green gloom of the impenetrable woods. One of these huge cascades would make the fortune of a Swiss valley, and we need no further efforts of our willing bearers in the cause of sight-seeing, but as neither words nor gestures prove intelligible to Western obtuseness, a brown coolie seizes each arm, and rushes us up a grassy hill to a huge cavern, hung with myriad bats, and containing a pool of crystal water. The simple minds of these kindly mountaineers shirk no trouble for the benefit of the stranger, who, though regarded as a madman, must be humoured as such, not only to the top of his bent, but often beyond it. A descent through rice-fields and desas skirts the serrated cliffs of Gedeh's northward side, though tree-ferns growing in thousands afford shelter from the daily showers. The sudden passion of tropical rain dies away, leaving an atmosphere of unearthly transparency. Gedeh, carved in amethyst, leans against a primrose sky, streaked by the puff of white smoke from the crater. Villagers returning from work brighten the road with patches of scarlet and yellow; children, clad only in necklaces of red seeds and silver bangles, running about amid groups of women in painted battek, with brown babies carried in the orange or crimson folds of the slandang, pause before the doorways of woven basket-work huts, or carry crates of yellow bananas and strings of purple mangosteens, to supplement the "evening rice" of their frugal meal. The Malay races have been called "the flower of the East," noted for their soft voices and courteous manners in the days of old, but European intercourse obliterates native characteristics, and the inhabitant of the sea-coast, or of the larger towns, unpleasantly imitates the brusquerie of his Dutch masters, and even exaggerates it. The Soendanese of the Preanger hills, less in contact with the external world, retains traces of life's ancient simplicity, and though a keen intelligence forms no part of his mental equipment, his desire to please and satisfy his employer is of pathetic intensity.
The Governor-General of Java, whose stipend is of double the amount received by the American President, owns a country palace at Sindanglaya, in addition to the splendid official residences at Batavia and Buitenzorg. A lovely walk leads from this flower-girt mansion to a pavilion on the Kasoer hill, commanding a prospect of four mountain ranges, outlined in tender hues of lavender and turquoise against the cobalt sky. In the foreground stretches a fertile plain, with bamboo and sugar-cane varying the eternal rice in brilliant shades of green and gold, always decorative, from the first emerald blade to the amber-tinted straw, for the sacred grain possesses a beauty far exceeding that of wheat, barley, or rye.
Undulating lines and ascending terraces break the uniformity of the lovely plains with the fascination of weird contour and fanciful design, intricate as the pattern traced on the native sarong. The rice-culture of these fields and valleys is a perfect survival of the primeval system, unchanged since the days when "the gift of the gods" was first bestowed on primitive man in this land of plenty. The peasant, toiling in the flooded sawas, and occupied from seedtime to harvest in the arduous labour demanded by the rice-field, combines with his agricultural work the idea of a sacred duty to the divinities who gave him the staple commodity whereon his life mainly depends. Cocoanut and sugar-cane, maize and tapioca, banana and cassava, supplement the rice, but it ranks above all other products of the teeming soil, for sacramental efficacy and supernatural origin have hallowed the "grain of heaven" from the very dawn of history, and the hereditary belief in the efficacy of the sacred crop still remains mystically rooted in the sub-consciousness of the Malay race.
GAROET AND HER VOLCANO.
The occasional drawback of weeping skies is counterbalanced by the gorgeous vegetation only seen to perfection in the rainy season, and that clouds should sometimes veil the burning blue to mitigate Equatorial sunshine proves a source of satisfaction to those who fail to appreciate the Rip Van Winkle life of womankind in Java. The journey to Garoet supplies a succession of vivid pictures, illustrating the individuality of the insular scenery. The weird outlines of volcanic ranges, shading from palest azure to deepest plum-colour, the dreamlike beauty of Elysian plains, and the stately palm-forests extending league upon league, with mighty vans clashing in the mountain breeze, assume magical charm as we penetrate into the heart of the alluring land. Two pyramidal peaks, Haroeman and Kaleidon, rise sheer from the fair plain of Leles in colossal stairways of green rice-terraces. Knots of palm shelter innumerable villages which dot the mountain flanks, the woven huts fragile as houses of cards, but built up on identical sites through countless ages, recorded in perennial characters of living green on these twin trophies of primitive agriculture. Many travellers have commented on the strange undertone of music, echoing from a thousand silvery rills and tiny cascades, which follow the verdant lines of terrace or parapet, and make the shimmering air vocal with melody, like the distant song of surf on a coral reef. Variety of form belongs to all Javanese agriculture as the result of handicraft, for the peasant unconsciously puts his own personality into his toil. The exquisite tints of the rice in different stages of growth display a translucence indescribable except in terms of light and fire. The amber gleam of young shoots, the green flames of the springing crop, the pulsating emerald of later growth, and the golden sheen of ripened ears, invest the "gift of the gods" with unearthly radiance. The Eastern mind has ever responded to Nature's touch, for the great Mother whispers her closest secrets to simple hearts, and science now realises that civilisation has broken many of the subtle links which in earlier days were mystic bonds of union between man and the universe.
Malay idiosyncracy evidences the survival of many primal influences forgotten or denied by races of higher type and deeper culture. Very little is known concerning the Malayan people who mingled with almost every Oriental stock. Amphibious tastes suggest picturesque traditions of prolonged voyaging in search of fresh fishing grounds to supply the needs of a rapidly multiplying population. A strong Malay element exists even in far-off Japan, and the wide ramifications of the nomadic stock can be traced to broad rivers encountered on the southward journey, and luring stragglers from the main body by the mysterious glamour of winding water-ways piercing the tangled forests, and pointing to unknown realms of hope or promise. The Malay retains many of the hereditary gifts bestowed on the untaught children of Nature, and, in spreading his language and customs far over the vast Pacific, adopted few extraneous ideas from the world through which he wandered. His primeval instincts still sway his life under other conditions. Marvellous skill in hunting, fishing, boat-building, and navigation in tornado-swept waters, remains to him. The deft weaving of palm-leaf hut and wall of defence creates a village or destroys it at lightning speed. Even now his basket-work home is never built on dry land, if water can be found wherein to plant the supporting poles of the fragile dwellings, suggesting the impermanence of a nomadic race. The Malay never travels on foot to any place which can possibly be reached by water, his native element; winds and tides have imbued him with something of their own unstable and changing character, and the sea which nurtured him is still the supreme factor in his life. Feet vie with fingers in marvellous capacity, and to see a native cocoanut gatherer run up the polished stem of a swaying palm, with greater ease and swiftness than anyone shows in mounting a ladder, transports thought to the distant past, when the ancestral stock, disembarking from the rude canoes at nightfall, sought an evening meal on the edge of the palm-forest, bowed beneath the weight of green and yellow nuts a hundred feet overhead. What wonder if in lands of perpetual summer the syren song of some "long bright river" should lure the storm-tossed mariners from the perilous seas to the comparative security of inland life! The stern environment of Northern poverty stands out in terrible contrast with the teeming prodigality of tropical Nature, offering all the richest fruits of earth in full measure to these early wanderers across the Southern seas.
The mountain railway, curving round ridge or precipice and spanning sombre gorge with bridge and aqueduct, affords superb views of the unrivalled plains. Waterfalls foam over granite cliffs; a sinuous river flings a silver chain round the symmetrical base of Kaleidon, and from our lofty vantage point we gaze into the luminous green of a million palms, where the warm heart of a deep forest opens to display the lustre and colour of molten emeralds. The Soendanese quarter of the island gives place to the ancient Javanese territory, and Malay characteristics, though underlying and mingling with every insular stock, are here modified by a strain of Hindu ancestry, which gives refinement of feature and grace of carriage. Well-modelled figures and delicate hands and feet are attributed to the liberal admixture of royal and noble blood with that of the peasantry, for the ancient Rulers of Java respected no rights but their own, and the domestic arrangements of King Solomon prevailed in a kingdom of tyrants and slaves. Hindu thraldom was intensified under Arab priests, who, following in the train of piratical Moormen, claimed the sovereignty of Java under their protection. The gold-embroidered jacket of civil or military rank, with the kris thrust into a brilliant sash, here supplements the universal sarong, itself of bolder design and glowing colour in this old-world realm of Mataram, the centre of Java's historic interest. The crooked blade of the kris is still used in divination, light and shadow playing over the wavy steel, ever suggesting cabalistic signs inscribed by an invisible hand on the azure surface. The kris is popularly endowed with healing efficacy, and the availing touch of the sacred talisman is an article of Javanese faith. A hundred varieties of the weapon are found in the Malay Archipelago, from the gold-hilted and diamond-studded royal kris to the boat-handled dagger of common use, permitted to all but peasants; women of the higher class wear it in the girdle, and though unrepresented in the sculpture of Javanese temples, the kris is ascribed to the days of Panji, a Hindu warrior whose feats form the libretto of a popular drama, though his authenticity appears uncertain. The changes in local costume and character, as seen in wayside villages, enliven the journey until we reach the mountain gateway of Tjadas Pangeran, "the Royal Stone," flanked by flashing waterfalls, and forming the entrance to the region supreme in natural scenery, archaic art, and literary interest. The black cone of Goentoer, "the thunder peak," accentuates the red blaze of the declining sun on the intricate rice-mosaic of green and gold in the divinely beautiful plain revealed through the rocky cleft. Amid the many glories of Javanese landscape, the poetic glamour of these palm-girt levels lingers longest in the memory, for the world-famed picture known as "The Plains of Heaven" might have been inspired by the haunting loveliness of these rolling uplands. Our railway carriage contains a native Regent, his principal wife, and a pretty daughter. Javanese princes are made ostensible rulers of native districts, but associated with Dutch Residents as "Elder Brothers," who may be more accurately termed compulsory advisers. Without a measure of despotic authority exercised by the fraternal partner, the spendthrift Malay would cause perpetual hindrance to insular development and commercial prosperity. The old Regent, with embroidered military jacket glittering above his elaborately-patterned sarong, looks a grim and forbidding figure, and evidently regards his womenkind as beneath notice. His head is tied up in a black kerchief, and a brilliant Order conferred by the Queen of Holland adorns his breast. Madame, in magenta shawl and purple gown, travesties European costume. Diamonds blaze incongruously on arms and neck, a scarlet flower in oily black braids completing her startling attire. The girl, in yellow sarong and pink cotton jacket glorified with rubies and pearls, shows her high breeding in slender wrists, delicate hands, and bare feet of exquisite modelling, a red stain of henna drawing attention to their statuesque contour. She staggers beneath a load of impedimenta belonging to her princely father: bags, bundles, and a heavy cloak. Javanese parents of exalted rank treat their daughters with disdain, the approved discipline of family life consisting in stamping an impression of abject insignificance deeply on the plastic mind of girlhood. Fertile plain and wooded slopes are alike destitute of domestic animals. The sheep was unknown to native races in this pastureless land, and, though introduced by the earliest colonists, is still spoken of as "the Dutch goat," no other term existing for it in Malay parlance. Monkeys chatter and rustle in forest trees, gorgeous birds flit past on jewelled wings, and frogs in this rainy season make a deep booming like the tuning of numerous violoncellos. At length the little town of Garoet appears in a green valley, encircled by a diadem of peaks which suggest a tropical Engadine. Volcanic mountains replace Alpine crests, but the white battlements of Papandayang's smoking crater give the effect of distant snow, and the dark pines of the Swiss valley are merely translated into the lustrous green of crowding palms. Brawling river, rustic bridge, and brown hamlets foster the strange illusion, and if it be true that somewhere in the wide world every face finds a counterpart, natural scenery may be subject to an identical law, and various ice-bound landscapes be mirrored under Southern skies in pictures wreathed with palm-fronds and tropic flowers. The Hotel Rupert, garlanded with creepers, the open lattices trellised with ivy and roses, shows a more poetic aspect than any hostelry of the distant Engadine. Our hostess is the widow of a German physician, and her fair young daughter, alert and capable as the typical Hausfrau of her native land, has established a reputation for supplying the guests with the home comforts and restful atmosphere which make the Hotel Rupert an ideal abiding-place in stagnant Java, where as a rule the sole luxuries are out-of-doors, and of Nature's providing. That the Dutchman flourishes on his diet of tinned meat, his appalling rice-table, and the extraordinary sequence of dishes which probably belonged to the early days of colonisation, either proves herculean strength or the triumph of mind over matter, but to those of less heroic mould the unwonted amenities of a more familiar civilisation are welcome as a green oasis in a sandy desert. A cool and healthy mountain climate gives unwonted zest for the lovely excursions of which Garoet is the centre. From the little lake Setoe Bajendit, a covered raft plies to a cupola-crowned hill, facing a noble panorama of volcanic peaks the Soendanese desa of basket-work huts, through which we pass, presents a curious spectacle, with the village street lined on either side by rows of kneeling children, clad in Dame Nature's brown suit alone; each little figure holding up a long-stemmed flower—red hybiscus, creamy tuberose, or snowy gardenia—the imploring faces raised in silent entreaty to the white strangers for the infinitesimal coins which suffice to purchase a sheaf of blossom. Changing lights and shadows sweep across the glancing emerald of the rice-filled vale, darken the purple rifts of mountain gorges, or intensify the luminous azure of soaring crests. Wayside fruit-stalls make gay patches of colour among green piles of banana leaves, and thin yellow strips of bamboo, the approved paper and string of the tropics, in which every parcel is packed. Tall sugar-cane and plumy maize surround each brown desa beneath the knot of palms, and fields of tapioca vary the prevailing rice-grounds with sharp-pointed leaves and paler verdure. The entire tapioca crop of Java belongs to Huntley and Palmer, for use in the manufacture of the biscuits which make a valuable supplement to the Javanese commissariat, for unlimited rice seldom commends itself to English tastes. Hot springs abound in this volcanic soil, and in the "five waters" of Tjipanas, each of different temperature, the native finds a panacea wherein he can indulge to his heart's content, the healing springs rushing into stone tanks set in sheds of bamboo. The principal excursion from Garoet is to the active crater of the Papandayang, a long drive of twelve miles leading to the foot of the volcano. From this point a chair carried by six coolies is required for the steep road, formed by hundreds of moss-grown steps. Plantations of coffee, cinchona, and tapioca girdle the lower slopes of the mountain, hedges and thickets of red and purple coleas bordering the primeval jungle of orchid-decked trees on the higher levels, the moss-grown boughs wreathed with epiphytal plants, the trunks covered with branching ferns, and the thick ropes of matted lianas strangling the dense forest in their green embrace. Wild oleander mingles rosy blossoms with bushes of living gold like tall growths of double buttercups, and at length the cooler regions show the familiar ferns, violets, and primroses of the temperate zone. The weird silence of the jungle is emphasised by an occasional cry of a wild bird, flitting among the tall tree tops, or the crash of a bough, dragged down by the weight of some climbing rattan. A walk up a boulder-strewn slope reaches the old crater, or Solfatara, almost surrounded by steep walls of rock. Boiling and wheezing springs, fast-forming sulphur columns, and clouds of choking steam, rise from the yellow and orange-powdered earth. A deafening noise issues from the self-building architecture of ruddy pillars, the bubbling of boiling mud, and the shrill spouting of hot vapours from narrow orifices in the trembling crust of the fire-charged earth. Golden sulphur-pools shower burning drops on every side, and from the mysterious kawa or crater, echoes of subterranean thunder sound at intervals, from the traditional forge where native legends assert that a chained giant is condemned to work eternally in the service of the Evil One.
At night the broad verandah of the Hotel Rupert is transformed into a stage for a performance of the topeng or national drama, chartered by an American guest. The weird spectacle, accompanied by the gamelon music, transports us to the days of old-world Java, story and performance being of ancient origin and religious signification. The subjects of the topeng are derived from the Panji group of dramatic poems, the ancient costumes, the curious masks, and the office of the dalang or reciter, whose ventriloquial skill is required for the entire wording of the libretto, comprise a valuable memento of bygone days, otherwise entirely forgotten. The wayang-wayang or "shadow dance" of puppets, vies with the topeng in popularity, but the latter ranks as classic and lyrical drama. A graceful girl in pink, with floating scarf, and gleaming kris in her spangled sash, exhibits wonderful skill in the supple play of wrist and fingers, through the process known as devitalization, a form of drill which gives to the arm a plastic power of detached movement, fascinating but uncanny. The dusky garden is filled with a native crowd, moved alternately to tears and laughter by exploits unintelligible to the European spectator, for the story of every national hero is known to the poorest and most ignorant of the people, from perpetual attendance on theatrical performances. The al fresco entertainments necessitated by the climate provide exceptional opportunities of dramatic education in the legends of Java's heroic age. The spacious verandahs gleaming with the soft light of Chinese lanterns, and set in depths of shadow, the scented gloom of the tropical night veiling the dusky lawns, crowded with mysterious figures drawn by the weird music from every quarter, the brilliant robes and grotesque masks of the actors, compose a picture of archaic charm. Passers-by pause on their way to look, and listen with unwearied interest to the oft-told tales, for the stories of the world's childhood, like the fairy lore of our own early days, deepen their significance to the untaught mind by perpetual repetition. The Hindu cloudland which veils the Javanese past "was reached by a ladder of realities," for the exploits of gods and mythical heroes were afterwards attributed to native Rulers, until the medley of truth and fiction, history and mythology, became an inextricable tangle. The birds' beaks, and hooked noses of the masks in the topeng, and of the puppets in the shadow-play, were made compulsory after the Arabic conquest, in order to reconcile the national pastime with the creed of Islam, which forbade the dramatic representation of the human form. The reigning Susunhan evaded the decree by distorting mask and puppet, but although the outside world might no longer recognise the heroes of the play, Javanese knowledge of national tradition easily pierced the flimsy disguise, and credited their deified heroes with a new power of metamorphosis. The fantastic play lasts so far into the night that the prolonged libretto is brought to a summary conclusion by the hostess, since European nature can stand no more, though the rapt attention of the Malay would continue till morning. The satiety of modern days has never touched these simple minds, and an entire absence of that critical element which disintegrates so many of life's simple joys, ministers to the supreme satisfaction derived from the crude ideals of native drama. Silently the brown spectators slip away like shadows from the dim and dewy garden, for the simple and untaught Malay, though eagerly welcoming the privileges permitted to him, never encroaches upon them, and the conduct of these Eastern playgoers affords an example of order and sobriety which shames many an audience of higher education and social superiority in distant Europe.
A long day's journey lies between Garoet and Djokjacarta, which popular parlance abbreviates into Djokja. From the blue Preanger hills and palm-shadowed upland plains, the railway descends by steep gradients to the dense jungle and fever-laden swamp known as the Terra Ingrata. Malarious mists steam from marsh and mere, pink and purple lantana, yellow daisies, and the pallid blossoms of strangling creepers emphasise the gloom of the matted foliage, forming an impenetrable screen on either side of the narrow embankment across the dreary morass. The railway through the hundred miles of this miasma-haunted region was laid at immense sacrifice of human life, even the native workmen being compelled to sleep in camps far away from the scene of their daily toil. No white man could even direct the work, and the ubiquitous Chinaman, proof against every ill that flesh is heir to in Java, was deputed to superintend the solution of abstruse professional problems, between the short and hasty visits of Dutch and English engineers. Quagmire and quicksand, stagnant pool and sluggish stream, succeed in weary iteration. Bleached skeletons of dead trees writhe in weird contortions against the dark background of jungle, as though some wizard's curse had blighted life and growth amid the rank vegetation rising from this dismal Slough of Despond. The brooding melancholy of atmosphere and scenery penetrates mind and soul, oppressed by an intangible weight, and escape from the Dantesque horrors of this selva oscura is accompanied by a sudden relief and buoyancy of spirit which perceptibly heightens the interest of the old-world city, once isolated by the woodland fastness of Nature, and belonging to an ageless past, surrounding the authentic origin of Djokjacarta with thick clouds of fable and myth. The modern name is derived from Arjudja, a city recorded in Java's ancient annals as being established by Rama, the incarnate Sun-God. Na-yud-ja, the first king of this Divinely-founded capital, also memorialises in his name the place which became the nucleus of the ancient Hindu empire. Temples and palaces, walls and watch-towers, ruined by earthquake, buried in jungle, and blackened by smoke of war, testify to the splendours of old Mataram. A bitter resistance was offered by the invading hordes of Islam, whether pirates or prophets, princes or soldiers, and the Hindu territory remained independent until the fierce conflict in the 18th century with usurping Mohammedans and Dutch colonists, when family influence was undermined by political intrigues. The Dutch, after many vicissitudes, became absolute rulers of Java, though native princes, as tributaries, were suffered to retain a semblance of sovereignty. The shadowy paraphernalia of vanished power is still accorded to the Sultan of Djokjacarta, in melancholy travesty of past authority, though every hereditary privilege has been wrested from his grasp. A curious relic of primitive days remains in the al fresco Throne of Judgment, a block of stone beneath a rudely-tiled canopy, moss-grown and hoary. Two ancient waringen-trees, their aerial roots, drooping branches, and colossal main trunks denoting an almost fabulous age, flank the historic seat, where the turbaned Ruler administered justice to the surging crowd which thronged around him, the indigo garb of the Soendanese contrasting with the gay sarongs of Central Java, glowing in the hot sunlight as it poured through the dark trellis of fluttering boughs. The city in the course of ages moved away from this ancient centre, and the rustic Throne is now remote from the heart of civic life. The streets of Djokjacarta, and the surrounding roads, consist of shady avenues, where open tokos (the native shops) vary the monotony of Dutch villas, their white colonnades and porticos gleaming against the background of stately trees, and rising from a mass of tropical vegetation. The prevailing indigo of Soendanese dress gives a dull aspect to the wide but squalid streets, for in native capitals, though Dutch cleanliness may enforce perpetual "tidying up," the lacking sense of order produces a strange impermanence in the conditions insisted upon. The inner court of the Sultan's Kraton, or Royal Enclosure, is now taboo to visitors, for the barbaric monarch, on the plea of age and infirmity, has obtained the privilege of privacy, and the Palace can only be seen through a personal interview. The outer courts are accessible to carriages, which make the square-mile circuit of the spacious quadrangles. Massive gates and crumbling machicolated walls command a green plain, where immense waringen-trees, clipped into the semblance of evergreen umbrellas, display the Eastern symbol of sovereignty. Officials passing to and fro show a continuous procession of these State pajongs. The Sultan's august head is canopied with gold, edged by an orange stripe, the Crown Prince sporting an umbrella with a golden border. Sultanas and royal children are known by white pajongs, while the vast concourse of Court officials, with umbrellas of pink, blue, red, black, purple and green, show their status to the initiated eye through the sequence of colour by which the pajongs form a complete system of heraldry. In the dusky angle of a mossy wall, four elephants, used in State processions, feed upon bundles of bamboo and sugar-cane. Mud huts and bamboo sheds prop themselves against tiled eaves and windowless houses. Open doors afford glimpses of squalid interiors, crowded with slatternly women and dirty children, the hereditary retainers and hangers-on of this effete and moribund royalty. Private troupes of dancing bedayas, gamelon players, actors, pipe, fan, and betel-box bearers, pertain to the tumbledown Palace, and the patriarchal system of ancient Java permits the presence of whole families belonging to these indispensable ministers of the royal pleasure. The people show the same indifference to Mohammedanism as to the perished faiths of olden time, and a large funeral party encountered on leaving the Kraton displays painful irreverence, though scattering rice and lighting incense sticks before a white coffin borne shoulder-high, and decked with a tracery of yellow marigolds and rosettes of pink paper. No priest accompanies the procession, and the laughter of the white-scarved mourners, preceded by men carrying ropes and planks, suggests an utter heartlessness and barbarity. Gay passers, a busy campong Tchina, a very hive of Celestial industry, and innumerable drives beneath over-arching trees, with distant views of purple peaks, comprise the interests of old-world Djokja, with the one exception of the famous Taman Sarie, or Water Castle, ruined by earthquake, but remaining as a pathetic memorial of bygone power and pride. Pavilions and baths, grottoes and fish-ponds, set in the tangled verdure of a neglected garden, surround the arcaded parapets of a colossal tower. Green plumes of fern wave from wall and battlement, velvet moss and orange lichen tapestry the blackened stone, and matted creepers sway their woven curtains in the evening wind. A Dancing Hall, which formerly rang with the weird music accompanying the "woven paces and waving hands" of Court bedayas, in their spangled pink robes, now echoes to the tread of alien feet; the dim arcades teem with ghostly memories, and the mournful desolation of the Taman Sarie borrows fresh poignancy in the former scene of mirth and music. A moss-grown and slippery stairway leads to the green twilight of a subterranean grotto, containing the richly-carved stone bedstead of the Sultan, who sought this cool retreat from the ardour of a tropical sun. A silvery curtain of murmuring water fell before his sculptured couch, and supplied this haunt of dreams with an ideal, if rheumatic environment of poetic beauty and lulling charm. Superstition clings to the deserted resting-place, and to touch even the stone columns of the royal couch is to invoke the powers of evil, and the presence of Death. The Sumoor Gamelon, or "Musical Spring," echoing with the voice of flowing waters, flanks the ancient banqueting hall, and cools a circle of vaulted grottoes, their shadowy depths bathed in the emerald twilight, deepened by the veil of verdure and the transparent foliage drooping over open window spaces. The Sultan's oval bathing tank, with stone galleries and spiral pavilions, occupies a hollow tower, but a touch of young life dispels the gloom, for a group of brown children swim and dive in the cool depths, shouting and splashing with a merriment unsubdued by the solemn sadness of the deserted halls. A Portuguese architect designed this fantastic retreat for an old-time Sultan, who brought the idea of the Water Castle from a far-off Indian home. The earthquake of 1867 rendered the Taman Sarie uninhabitable, choked the lake in which it stood, and destroyed the subaqueous tunnel which ensured the absolute seclusion of Sultan and harem. The famous Marshal Daendels, weary of waiting for an interview with a dilatory Sultan, yielded to natural impatience, and hearing the sound of distant music from the watery depths, dashed through the thicket of tamarinds which concealed the entrance to the water pavilion, and, dragging the Sultan from the place of dreams, scattered bedayas and gamelon players in terror, forcing the so-called "Regent of the World" and "Shadow of the Almighty" to accompany him to the Dutch headquarters. Rose garden and shrubbery, palm grove and pleasaunce, are fast relapsing into impenetrable jungle. Broken fountains, and mouldering vases once filled with orange-trees, outline the balustraded terraces; gilt pavilions lift their upcurved eaves above a wild growth of oleander, but the enchanted scene of old romance is given up to bats and lizards, for the crumbling Taman Sarie is now a fast-vanishing monument of Java's buried past.
The number of rechas, or sacred stone figures of Brahmin and Buddhist origin, in the garden of the Dutch Residency, shows the scant care bestowed on the ancient temples, for years used as mere quarries of broken statuary, and still receiving inadequate recognition as historical remains, though Sir Stamford Raffles a century ago realised the supreme importance of Javanese sculpture as an indispensable link in archaeological science. Djokjacarta, interesting in itself as the survival of an ancient dynasty, borrows double attraction from the architectural wonders which surround it, buried for ages in the deep green grave of tropical vegetation, but now laid bare as an open book, wherein we may read those graven records which unveil the mysteries of the past, and enable us to gaze down the long vista of Time and Change.
The archaeological interest of Java culminates in the mysterious temple known as Boro-Boedoer, "the aged thing," with an actual history lost in mist and shadow, though recorded in imperishable characters on this spellbound sanctuary of a departed faith. The little tramway from Djokjacarta traverses fields of rice and sugar-cane, indigo and pepper; a range of dreamlike mountains bounds the view, crowned by the turquoise cone of Soemboeung, the traditional centre of Java, a green knoll at the base of the volcanic pyramid being regarded as the "spike" which fastens the floating isle to some solid rock in unfathomed depths of ocean. The fitful fancy of a wandering race, ever drifting across the changing seas, reflects itself in the legendary lore of the Malay Archipelago, often represented by weird traditions as though in perpetual motion. The vicissitudes of volcanic action, whereby islands were sometimes submerged or created, gives a colouring of fact to the vague ideas entertained by these nomads of the sea. Merbaboe, the "ash-ejecting," and Merapi, the "fire-throwing," flank the loftier crest, honeycombed with dim cave temples, now deserted and forgotten, but formerly sanctifying those watch-towers of Nature which guard the hoary shrine of Boro-Boedoer. At Matoelan we hear that the swift river separating the great Temple from the secular world is in flood, the bridge broken down, and the supplementary raft impossible through the swirling current. This untoward event involves a further expedition to Magelang, a sordid town of continuous markets, the Javanese population being of pronounced Hindu type, silent and sad, according to the idiosyncracy of their mysterious ancestors across the sea. The conversational difficulties presented by the Dutch and Malay languages, combined with the incapacity of our brown driver, eventually land us at Mendoet, on the wrong side of the turbid stream—the Jordan which divides the weary traveller from his Land of Promise. Evening draws on, the clear sky flushes pink above the darkness of the palm-woods, and hope sinks apace, for the surging flood shows no sign of abatement. Suddenly the apathetic driver rouses himself from what proves a profitable meditation, and, with folded hands, breathes the magic word pasteur, whipping up his sorry steeds to fresh exertions. We draw up at a white bungalow on the roadside, close to a rustic church, and find a friend in an English-speaking Dutch priest, who, after giving us tea on his verandah, suggests inspection of Mendoet's little moated temple, on the edge of the forest. An ever-growing tangle of lianas and vines buried this ancient shrine through the lapse of ages, until accident revealed the entombed sanctuary about eighty years ago. A processional terrace surrounds the walled pavement supporting the grey edifice, and the sculptured bas-reliefs denote the transitional stage of Buddhist faith, as it materialised through Jainism into the Puranic mythology of Hindu creed. The central chapel contains the famous picture in stone known as "The Tree of Knowledge," and represents the Buddha beneath the sacred Bo-Tree of Gaya. A fluted pajong, propped against the boughs, canopies his head, one hand being raised in benediction over kneeling converts, offering rice and incense. Listening angels hover overhead, birds peep out from nests among the leaves, and kids lean with necks outstretched over fretted crags, magnetised by the mystic attraction of the inspired Teacher. Long-eared statues show Nepalese influence, even the Buddhist images being girt with the sacred cord of Brahma. A controversy exists as to their identification with the Hindu Trinity, but as Eastern cults frequently bestow Divine attributes on mortals, the mysterious figures may possibly represent the murdered wives of the Rajah who founded the Mendoet temple in expiation of his crime. Another legend suggests the petrification of a princely family, as a punishment for marrying within the forbidden degrees, but myth grows apace in this haunted land, and every century offers fresh variations of old-world stories, until original form is lost beneath a weight of accretion, like the thick moss blurring the chiselled outlines of some carven monument. After careful scrutiny of the miniature temple which suggests so many interpretations of symbolic imagery, we return to the little presbytery to hear of the subsiding river, and the good priest, announcing that the raft can now be safely negotiated, accompanies us to the tottering structure, a straw matting laid over three crazy boats punted across the turbulent stream. A half-hour's stroll beneath the arching boughs of a kanari avenue, ends at a picturesque Rest House, facing the temple-crowned hill. Surely we have reached the peace and silence of Nirvana at last! and the exquisite beauty of the surrounding landscape, mountain and forest, park-like valley and winding glen, transfigured in the deepening gold of sunset, stamps an ineffaceable impression of Boro-Boedoer in that mystic gallery of imagination and memory which retains earth's fairest scenes as eternal possessions of mind and soul. A shadowy garden, fragrant and dim, stretches up to the pyramidal pile which covers the hill. A frangipanni grove scents the air, with gold-starred blossoms gleaming whitely amid the silvery green of lanceolated leaves, and a shaft of ruby light striking the stone Buddhas which guard the portico, emphasises the inscrutable smile of the tranquil faces. Like all stupendous monuments of Art or Nature, Boro-Boedoer at first sight seems a disappointment, simply because the mind fails to grasp the immensity of the noblest Temple ever dedicated to the gentle Sage whose renunciation typified the greater Sacrifice offered by the Saviour of the World. Who that reads the story of Sakya Munyi can doubt that through the Prince who gave up kingdom, throne, and earthly ties for the sake of downtrodden humanity, a prophetic gleam of heavenly light pierced the darkness of the future, and pointed to the distant Cross? Twenty-five centuries have rolled away since Prince Siddartha closed his unique career, and twelve centuries later the wondrous sanctuary of Boro-Boedoer was erected in honour of the creed eternally dear to the heart of the mystic East. The eight stately terraces which climb and encircle the sacred hill rise from a spacious pavement of blackened stone, and the walled processional paths display a superb series of sculptured reliefs, which would measure three miles in length if placed side by side. The grey and black ruins, with their rich incrustations of sacred and historic scenes, remain in such splendid preservation that fancy easily reconstructs the bygone glory of the golden age, when this mighty Altar of Faith witnessed the glittering pageantry of Oriental devotion; when gaily-clad crowds flocked to the morning sacrifice of flowers and music, while monarchs brought their treasures from far-off lands to lay at the feet of the mystic Sage, prophetically revealed as an incarnation of purity and peace vouchsafed to a world of oppression and sorrow. Life-size Buddhas, enthroned on the sacred lotus, rise above the crumbling altars of five hundred arcaded shrines, and stone stairways ascend from every side, beneath sharply-curved arches bordered with masks or gargoyles. The last three terraces form sweeping circles, flanked by bell-shaped dagobas resembling gigantic lotus-buds. Each open lattice of hoary stone reveals an enthroned Buddha, mysteriously enclosed in his symbolical screen, for these triple terraces typify the higher circles of Nirvana. Each dreamy face turns towards the supreme Shrine of the glorious sanctuary, a domed dagoba fifty feet high, and once containing some authentic relic of the Buddha's sacred person. Certain archaeologists recognise in this spire-tipped cupola a survival of Nature-worship, incorporated with the later Buddhism in a form derived from the tree temples of primeval days, and built over a receptacle for the cremated ashes of the Buddhist priesthood. A touch of mysticism added by an unfinished statue in the gloom of the shadowy vault, suggests the unknown beauty of the soul which attains Nirvana's supremest height, for the supernal exaltation of purified humanity to Divine union may not be interpreted or expressed by mortal hands, but must for ever remain incommunicable and incomprehensible. From the central dagoba, ascended by a winding stair, the intricate design of the spacious sanctuary discloses itself with mathematical precision, and the changing glories of dawn, sunset, and moonlight idealize the sacred hill, rising amid the palm-groves and rice-fields of a matchless valley, sweeping away in green undulations which break like emerald waves against the deepening azure and amethyst of the mountain heights. The solemn grandeur of Boro-Boedoer blinds the casual observer to many details which manifest the ravages of time, the ruthlessness of war, and the decay of a discarded creed. Headless and overthrown figures, broken tees, mutilated carvings, and shattered chapels abound, but the vast display of architectural features still intact conveys an impression of permanence rather than of ruin.