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cipal supports of straight posts, to have two or three of them chosen as crooked as possible. I had often noticed these crooked posts in houses, but imputed it to the scarcity of good straight timber, till one day I met some men carrying home a post shaped something like a dog's hind leg, and inquired of my native boy what they were going to do with such a piece of wood. "To make a post for a house," said he. "But why don't they get a straight one, there are plenty here?" said I. "Oh," replied he, "they prefer some like that in a house, because then it won't fall," evidently imputing the effect to some occult property of crooked timber. A little consideration and a diagram will, however, show that the effect imputed to the crooked post may be really produced by it. A true square changes its figure readily into a rhomboid or oblique figure; but when one or two of the uprights are bent or sloping, and placed so as to oppose each other, the effect of a strut is produced, though in a rude and clumsy
Just before I had left Mamájam the people had sown a considerable quantity of maize, which appears above ground in two or three days, and in favorable seasons ripens in less than two months. Owing to a week's premature rains the ground was all flooded when I returned, and the plants just coming into ear, were yellow and dead. Not a grain would be obtained by the whole village, but luckily it is only a luxury, not a necessary of life. The rain was the signal for plowing to begin, in order to sow rice on all the flat lands between us and the town. The plow used is a rude wooden instrument with a very short single handle, a tolerably wellshaped coulter, and the point formed of a piece of hard palmwood fastened in with wedges. One or two buffaloes draw it at a very slow pace. The seed is sown broadcast, and a rude wooden harrow is used to smooth the surface.
By the beginning of December the regular wet season had set in. Westerly winds and driving rains sometimes continued for days together; the fields for miles around were under water, and the ducks and buffaloes enjoyed themselves amazingly. All along the road to Macassar plowing was daily going on in the mud and water, through which the wooden plow easily makes its way, the plowman holding
A MACASSAR FARM.
the plow-handle with one hand, while a long bamboo in the other serves to guide the buffaloes. These animals require an immense deal of driving to get them on at all; a continual shower of exclamations is kept up at them, and "oh ! ah! gee! ugh!" are to be heard in various keys and in an uninterrupted succession all day long. At night we were favored with a different kind of concert. The dry ground around my house had become a marsh tenanted by frogs, who kept up a most incredible noise from dusk to dawn. They were somewhat musical too, having a deep vibrating note which at times closely resembles the tuning of two or three bassviols in an orchestra. In Malacca and Borneo I had heard
My kind friend and landlord, Mr. Mesman, was a good specimen of the Macassar-born Dutchman. He was about thirty-five years of age, had a large family, and lived in a spacious house near the town, situated in the midst of a grove of fruit-trees, and surrounded by a perfect labyrinth of offices, stables, and native cottages, occupied by his numerous servants, slaves, or dependents. He usually rose before the sun, and after a cup of coffee looked after his servants, horses, and dogs till seven, when a substantial breakfast of rice and meat was ready in a cool veranda. Putting on a clean white linen suit, he then drove to town in his buggy, where he had an office, with two or three Chinese clerks, who looked after
his affairs. His business was that of a coffee and opium merchant. He had a coffee estate at Bontyne, and a small prau which traded to the Eastern islands, near New Guinea, for mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell. About one he would return home, have coffee and cake or fried plantain, first changing his dress for a colored cotton shirt and trowsers and bare feet, and then take a siesta with a book. About four, after a cup of tea, he would walk round his premises, and generally stroll down to Mamájam to pay me a visit and look after his farm.
This consisted of a coffee-plantation and an orchard of fruittrees, a dozen horses and a score of cattle, with a small village of Timorese slaves and Macassar servants. One family looked after the cattle and supplied the house with milk, bringing me also a large glassful every morning, one of my greatest luxuries. Others had charge of the horses, which were brought in every afternoon and fed with cut grass. Others had to cut grass for their master's horses at Macassar-not a very easy task in the dry season, when all the country looks like baked mud, or in the rainy season, when miles in every direction are flooded. How they managed it was a mystery to me, but they know grass must be had, and they get it. One lame woman had charge of a flock of ducks. Twice a day she took them out to feed in the marshy places, let them waddle and gobble for an hour or two, and then drove them back and shut them up in a small dark shed to digest their meal, whence they gave forth occasionally a melancholy quack, Every night a watch was set, principally for the sake of the horses, the people of Goa, only two miles off, being notorious thieves, and horses offering the easiest and most valuable spoil. This enabled me to sleep in security, although many people in Macassar thought I was running a great risk, living alone in such a solitary place and with such bad neighbors.
My house was surrounded by a kind of straggling hedge of roses, jessamines, and other flowers, and every morning one of the women gathered a basketful of the blossoms for Mr. Mesman's family. I generally took a couple for my own breakfast-table, and the supply never failed during my stay, and I suppose never does. Almost every Sunday Mr. M. made a shooting excursion with his eldest son, a lad of fifteen, and
I generally accompanied him; for though the Dutch are Protestants, they do not observe Sunday in the rigid manner practiced in England and English colonies. The Governor of the place has his public reception every Sunday evening, when card-playing is the regular amusement.
On December 13th I went on board a prau bound for the Aru Islands, a journey which will be described in the latter part of this work.
On my return, after a seven months' absence, I visited another district to the north of Macassar, which will form the subject of the next chapter.
MACASSAR. JULY TO NOVEMBER, 1857.
I REACHED Macassar again on the 11th of July, and established myself in my old quarters at Mamájam, to sort, arrange, clean, and pack up my Aru collections. This occupied me a month; and having shipped them off for Singapore, had my guns repaired, and received a new one from England, together with a stock of pins, arsenic, and other collecting requisites, I began to feel eager for work again, and had to consider where I should spend my time till the end of the year. I had left Macassar, seven months before, a flooded marsh, being plowed up for the rice-sowing. The rains had continued for five months, yet now all the rice was cut, and dry and dusty stubbles covered the country just as when I had first arrived there.
After much inquiry I determined to visit the district of Máros, about thirty miles north of Macassar, where Mr. Jacob Mesman, a brother of my friend, resided, who had kindly offered to find me house-room and give me assistance should I feel inclined to visit him. I accordingly obtained a pass from the Resident, and having hired a boat, set off one evening for Máros. My boy Ali was so ill with fever that I was obliged to leave him in the hospital, under the care of my friend the German doctor, and I had to make shift with two new servants utterly ignorant of every thing. We coasted along during the night, and at daybreak entered the Máros River, and by three in the afternoon reached the village. I immediately visited the Assistant Resident, and applied for ten men to carry my baggage, and a horse for myself. These were promised to be ready that night, so that I could start as soon as I liked in the morning. After having taken a cup of tea I took my leave, and slept in the boat. Some of the men came at night as promised, but others did not arrive till the next morning. It took some time to divide my baggage fairly among them, as they all wanted to shirk the heavy boxes, and would