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And when it was quite certain that every village had sent in its bundle, the Rajah divided the needles into twelve equal parts, and ordered the best steel-worker in Mataram to bring his forge and his bellows and his hammers to the palace, and to make the twelve krisses under the Rajah's eye, and in the sight of all men who chose to see it. And when they were finished, they were wrapped up in new silk and put away carefully until they might be wanted.

Now the journey to the mountain was in the time of the east wind, when no rain falls in Lombock. And soon after the krisses were made it was the time of the rice harvest, and the chiefs of the districts and of villages brought in their tax to the Rajah according to the number of heads in their villages. And to those that wanted but little of the full amount the Rajah said nothing; but when those came who brought only half or a fourth part of what was strictly due, he said to them mildly, "The needles which you sent from your village were many more than came from such a one's village, yet your tribute is less than his; go back and see who it is that has not paid the tax." And the next year the produce of the tax increased greatly, for they feared that the Rajah might justly kill those who a second time kept back the right tribute. And so the Rajah became very rich, and increased the number of his soldiers, and gave golden jewels to his wives, and bought fine black horses from the white-skinned Hollanders, and made great feasts when his children were born or were married; and none of the Rajahs or Sultans among the Malays were so great or so powerful as the Rajah of Lombock.

And the twelve sacred krisses had great virtue. And when any sickness appeared in a village one of them was sent for; and sometimes the sickness went away, and then the sacred kris was taken back again with great honor, and the head-men of the village came to tell the Rajah of its miraculous power, and to thank him. And sometimes the sickness would not go away; and then every body was convinced that there had been a mistake in the number of needles sent from that village, and therefore the sacred kris had no effect, and had to be taken back again by the head-men with heavy hearts, but still with all honor-for was not the fault their own?

SCANTY VEGETATION.

CHAPTER XIII.

TIMOR.

193

COUPANG, 1857-1859.

DELLI, 1861.

THE island of Timor is about three hundred miles long and sixty wide, and seems to form the termination of the great of volcanic islands which begins with Sumatra, more range than two thousand miles to the west. It differs, however, very remarkably from all the other islands of the chain in not possessing any active volcanoes, with the one exception of Timor Peak, near the centre of the island, which was formerly active, but was blown up during an eruption in 1638, and has since been quiescent. In no other part of Timor do there appear to be any recent igneous rocks, so that it can hardly be classed as a volcanic island. Indeed its position is just outside of the great volcanic belt, which extends from Flores through Ombay and Wetter to Banda.

I first visited Timor in 1857, staying a day at Coupang, the chief Dutch town at the west end of the island, and again in May, 1859, when I staid a fortnight in the same neighborhood. In the spring of 1861 I spent four months at Delli, the capital of the Portuguese possessions in the eastern part of the island.

The whole neighborhood of Coupang appears to have been elevated at a recent epoch, consisting of a rugged surface of coral rock, which rises in a vertical wall between the beach and the town, whose low white red-tiled houses give it an appearance very similar to other Dutch settlements in the East. The vegetation is everywhere scanty and scrubby. Plants of the families Apocynaceæ and Euphorbiacea abound; but there is nothing that can be called a forest, and the whole country has a parched and desolate appearance, contrasting strongly with the lofty forest-trees and perennial verdure of the Moluccas or of Singapore. The most conspicuous feature of the vegetation was the abundance of fine fan-leaved palms

(Borassus flabelliformis), from the leaves of which are constructed the strong and durable water-buckets in general use, and which are much superior to those formed from any other species of palm. From the same tree, palm-wine and sugar are made, and the common thatch for houses formed of the leaves lasts six or seven years without removal. Close to the town I noticed the foundation of a ruined house below highwater mark, indicating recent subsidence. Earthquakes are not severe here, and are so infrequent and harmless that the chief houses are built of stone.

The inhabitants of Coupang consist of Malays, Chinese, and Dutch, besides the natives; so that there are many strange and complicated mixtures among the population. There is one resident English merchant, and whalers as well as Australian ships often come here for stores and water. The native Timorese preponderate, and a very little examination serves to show that they have nothing in common with Malays, but are much more closely allied to the true Papuans of the Aru Islands and New Guinea. They are tall, have pronounced features, large, somewhat aquiline noses, and frizzly hair, and are generally of a dusky brown color. The way in which the women talk to each other and to the men, their loud voices and laughter, and general character of self-assertion, would enable an experienced observer to decide, even without seeing them, that they were not Malays.

Mr. Arndt, a German, and the Government doctor, invited me to stay at his house while in Coupang, and I gladly accepted his offer, as I only intended making a short visit. We at first began speaking French, but he got on so badly that we soon passed insensibly into Malay; and we afterward held long discussions on literary, scientific, and philosophical questions, in that semi-barbarous language, whose deficiencies we made up by the free use of French or Latin words.

After a few walks in the neighborhood of the town, I found such a poverty of insects and birds that I determined to go for a few days to the island of Semao, at the western extremity of Timor, where I heard that there was forest country with birds not found at Coupang. With some difficulty I obtained a large dug-out boat with outriggers to take me over, a distance of about twenty miles. I found the country pretty

OEASSA.

195

well wooded, but covered with shrubs and thorny bushes rather than forest-trees, and everywhere excessively parched and dried up by the long-continued dry season. I staid at the village of Oeassa, remarkable for its soap springs. One of these is in the middle of the village, bubbling out from a little cone of mud to which the ground rises all round like a volcano in miniature. The water has a soapy feel, and produces a strong lather when any greasy substance is washed in it. It contains alkali and iodine in such quantities as to destroy all vegetation for some distance round. Close by the village is one of the finest springs I have ever seen, contained in several rocky basins communicating by narrow channels. These have been neatly walled where required and partly levelled, and form fine natural baths. The water is well-tasted, and clear as crystal, and the basins are surrounded by a grove of lofty manystemmed banyan- trees, which keep them always cool and shady, and add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the scene.

The village consists of curious little houses very different from any I have seen elsewhere. They are of an oval figure, and the walls are made of sticks about four feet high, placed close together. From this rises a high conical roof thatched with grass. The only opening is a door about three feet high. The people are like the Timorese, with frizzly or wavy hair, and of a coppery-brown color. The better class appear to have a mixture of some superior race, which has much improved their features. I saw in Coupang some chiefs from the island of Savu, further west, who presented characters very distinct from either the Malay or Papuan races. They most resembled Hindoos, having fine well-formed features and straight thin noses, with clear brown complexions. As the Brahminical religion once spread over all Java, and even now exists in Bali and Lombock, it is not at all improbable that some natives of India should have reached this island, either by accident or to escape persecution, and formed a permanent settlement there.

I staid at Oeassa four days, when, not finding any insects and very few new birds, I returned to Coupang to await the next mail-steamer. On the way I had a narrow escape of being swamped. The deep coffin-like boat was filled up with my baggage, and with vegetables, cocoa-nuts, and other fruit for

Coupang market; and when we had got some way across into a rather rough sea, we found that a quantity of water was coming in which we had no means of baling out. This caused us to sink deeper in the water, and then we shipped seas over our sides, and the rowers, who had before declared it was nothing, now became alarmed, and turned the boat round to get back to the coast of Semao, which was not far off. By clearing away some of the baggage, a little of the water could be baled out, but hardly so fast as it came in, and when we neared the coast we found nothing but vertical wall of rock, against which the sea was violently beating. We coasted along some distance till we found a little cove, into which we ran the boat, hauled it on shore, and, emptying it, found a large hole in the bottom, which had been temporarily stopped up with a plug of cocoa-nut, which had come out. Had we been a quarter of a mile further off before we discovered the leak, we should certainly have been obliged to throw most of our baggage overboard, and might easily have lost our lives. After we had put all straight and secure we again started, and when we were half-way across, got into such a strong current and high cross-sea that we were very nearly being swamped a second time, which made me vow never to trust myself again in such small and miserable vessels.

The mail-steamer did not arrive for a week, and I occupied myself in getting as many of the birds as I could, and found some which were very interesting. Among these were five species of pigeons, of as many distinct genera, and most of them peculiar to the island; two parrots-the fine red-winged broad-tail (Platycercus vulneratus), allied to an Australian species, and a green species of the genus Geoffroyus. The Tropidorhynchus timorensis was as ubiquitous and as noisy as I had found it at Lombock; and the Sphæcothera viridis, a curious green oriole, with bare red orbits, was a great acquisition. There were several pretty finches, warblers, and fly-catchers, and among them I obtained the elegant blue and red Cyornis hyacinthina; but I can not recognize among my collections the species mentioned by Dampier, who seems to have been much struck by the number of small song-birds in Timor. He says: "One sort of these pretty little birds my men called the ringing-bird, because it had six notes, and al

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