Imágenes de páginas

can sailor ran away from his ship on the east side of the isl and, and made his way on foot and unarmed across to Ampanam, having met with the greatest hospitality on the whole route. Nowhere would the smallest payment be taken for the food and lodging which were willingly furnished him. On pointing out this fact to Manuel, he replied, "He one bad man-run away from his ship-no one can believe word he say;" and so I was obliged to leave him in the uncomfortable persuasion that he might any day have his throat cut.

A circumstance occurred here which appeared to throw some light on the cause of the tremendous surf at Ampanam. One evening I heard a strange rumbling noise, and at the same time the house shook slightly. Thinking it might be thunder, I asked, "What is that?" "It is an earthquake," answered Inchi Daud, my host; and he then told me that slight shocks were occasionally felt there, but he had never known them severe. This happened on the day of the last quarter of the moon, and consequently when the tides were low and the surf usually at its weakest. On inquiry afterward at Ampanam, I found that no earthquake had been noticed, but that on one night there had been a very heavy surf, which shook the house, and the next day there was a very high tide, the water having flooded Mr. Carter's premises higher than he had ever known it before. These unusual tides occur every now and then, and are not thought much of; but by careful inquiry I ascertained that the surf had occurred on the very night I had felt the earthquake at Labuan Tring, nearly twenty miles off. This would seem to indicate, that although the ordinary heavy surf may be due to the swell of the great southern ocean confined in a narrow channel, combined with a peculiar form of bottom near the shore, yet the sudden heavy surfs and high tides that occur occasionally in perfectly calm weather may be due to slight upheavals of the ocean-bed in this eminently volcanic region.





HAVING made a very fine and interesting collection of the birds of Labuan Tring, I took leave of my kind host Inchi Daub, and returned to Ampanam to await an opportunity to reach Macassar. As no vessel had arrived bound for that port, I determined to make an excursion into the interior of the island, accompanied by Mr. Ross, an Englishman born in the Keeling Islands, and now employed by the Dutch Government to settle the affairs of a missionary who had unfortunately become bankrupt here. Mr. Carter kindly lent me a horse, and Mr. Ross took his native groom.

Our route for some distance lay along a perfectly level country, bearing ample crops of rice. The road was straight, and generally bordered with lofty trees, forming a fine avenue. It was at first sandy, afterward grassy, with occasional streams and mud-holes. At a distance of about four miles we reached Mataram, the capital of the island, and the residence of the Rajah. It is a large village, with wide streets, bordered by a magnificent avenue of trees, and low houses concealed behind mud walls. Within this royal city no native of the lower orders is allowed to ride, and our attendant, a Javanese, was obliged to dismount and lead his horse while we rode slowly through. The abodes of the Rajah and of the high-priest are distinguished by pillars of red brick constructed with much taste, but the palace itself seemed to differ but little from the ordinary houses of the country. Beyond Mataram and close to it is Karangassam, the ancient residence of the native or Sassak Rajahs before the conquest of the island by the Balinese.

Soon after passing Mataram the country began gradually to rise in gentle undulations, swelling occasionally into low hills toward the two mountainous tracts in the northern and southern parts of the island. It was now that I first obtained an adequate idea of one of the most wonderful systems of

cultivation in the world, equalling all that is related of Chinese industry, and, as far as I know, surpassing in the labor that has been bestowed upon it any tract of equal extent in the most civilized countries of Europe. I rode through this strange garden utterly amazed, and hardly able to realize the fact that in this remote and little known island, from which all Europeans except a few traders at the port are jealously excluded, many hundreds of square miles of irregularly undulating country have been so skillfully terraced and levelled, and so permeated by artificial channels, that every portion of it can be irrigated and dried at pleasure. According as the slope of the ground is more or less rapid, each terraced plot consists in some places of many acres, in others of a few square yards. We saw them in every state of cultivation; some in stubble, some being plowed, some with rice-crops in various stages of growth. Here were luxuriant patches of tobacco; there, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, yams, beans, or Indian-corn varied the scene. In some places the ditches were dry, in others little streams crossed our road, and were distributed over lands about to be sown or planted. The banks which bordered every terrace rose regularly in horizontal lines above each other; sometimes rounding an abrupt knoll, and looking like a fortification, or sweeping round some deep hollow, and forming on a gigantic scale the seats of an amphitheatre. Every brook and rivulet had been diverted from its bed, and instead of flowing along the lowest ground, were to be found crossing our road half-way up an ascent, yet bordered by ancient trees and moss-grown stones so as to have all the appearance of a natural channel, and bearing testimony to the remote period at which the work had been done. As we advanced further into the country, the scene was diversified by abrupt rocky hills, by steep ravines, and by clumps of bamboos and palm-trees near houses or villages; while in the distance the fine range of mountains, of which Lombock peak, eight thousand feet high, is the culminating point, formed a fit background to a view scarcely to be surpassed either in human interest or picturesque beauty.

Along the first part of our road we passed hundreds of women carrying rice, fruit, and vegetables to market; and further on an almost uninterrupted line of horses, laden with



rice in bags or in the ear, on their way to the port of Ampanam. At every few miles along the road, seated under shady trees or slight sheds, were sellers of sugar-cane, palm- wine, cooked rice, salted eggs, and fried plantains, with a few other native delicacies. At these stalls a hearty meal may be made for a penny, but we contented ourselves with drinking some sweet palm-wine, a most delicious beverage in the heat of the day. After having travelled about twenty miles, we reached a higher and drier region, where, water being scarce, cultivation was confined to the little flats bordering the streams. Here the country was as beautiful as before, but of a different character; consisting of undulating downs of short turf interspersed with fine clumps of trees and bushes, sometimes the woodland, sometimes the open ground predominating. We only passed through one small patch of true forest, where we were shaded by lofty trees, and saw around us a dark and dense vegetation, highly agreeable after the heat and glare of the open country.

At length, about an hour after noon, we reached our destination-the village of Coupang, situated nearly in the centre of the island-and entered the outer court of a house belonging to one of the chiefs, with whom my friend Mr. Ross had a slight acquaintance. Here we were requested to seat ourselves under an open shed with a raised floor of bamboo, a place used to receive visitors and hold audiences. Turning our horses to graze on the luxuriant grass of the court-yard, we waited till the great man's Malay interpreter appeared, who inquired our business, and informed us that the pumbuckle (chief) was at the Rajah's house, but would soon be back. As we had not yet breakfasted, we begged he would get us something to eat, which he promised to do as soon as possible. It was however about two hours before any thing appeared, when a small tray was brought, containing two saucers of rice, four small fried fish, and a few vegetables. Having made as good a breakfast as we could, we strolled about the village, and returning, amused ourselves by conversation with a number of men and boys who gathered round us, and by exchanging glances and smiles with a number of women and girls who peeped at us through half-opened doors and other crevices. Two little boys named Mousa and Isa (Moses and Jesus) were great friends with us, and an impu

dent little rascal called Kachang (a bean) made us all laugh by his mimicry and antics.

At length, about four o'clock, the pumbuckle made his appearance, and we informed him of our desire to stay with him a few days, to shoot birds and see the country. At this he seemed somewhat disturbed, and asked if we had brought a letter from the Anak Agong (Son of Heaven), which is the title of the Rajah of Lombock. This we had not done, thinking it quite unnecessary; and he then abruptly told us that he must go and speak to his Rajah, to see if we could stay. Hours passed away, night came, and he did not return. I began to think we were suspected of some evil designs, for the pumbuckle was evidently afraid of getting himself into trouble. He is a Sassak prince, and, though a supporter of the present Rajah, is related to some of the heads of a conspiracy which was quelled a few years since.

About five o'clock a pack-horse bearing my guns and clothes arrived, with my men Ali and Manuel, who had come on foot. The sun set, and it soon became dark, and we got rather hungry as we sat wearily under the shed and no one came. Still hour after hour we waited, till about nine o'clock, the pumbuckle, the Rajah, some priests, and a number of their followers arrived and took their seats around us. We shook hands, and for some minntes there was a dead silence. Then the Rajah asked what we wanted; to which Mr. Ross replied by endeavoring to make them understand who we were, and why we had come, and that we had no sinister intentions whatever; and that we had not brought a letter from the "Anak Agong" merely because we had thought it quite unnecessary. A long conversation in the Bali language then took place, and questions were asked about my guns, and what powder I had, and whether I used shot or bullets; also what the birds were for, and how I preserved them, and what was done with them in England. Each of my answers and explanations was fol lowed by a low and serious conversation which we could not understand, but the purport of which we could guess. They were evidently quite puzzled, and did not believe a word we had told them. They then inquired if we were really English, and not Dutch; and although we strongly asserted our nationality, they did not seem to believe us.

« AnteriorContinuar »