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THE SAGO PALM.

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they do not shrink, require no paint or varnish, and are not a quarter the expense. When carefully split and shaved smooth, they are formed into light boards, with pegs of the bark itself, and are the foundation of the leaf-covered boxes of Goram. All the insect-boxes I used in the Moluccas were thus made at Amboyna; and when covered with stout paper inside and out, are strong, light, and secure the insect-pins remarkably well. The leaflets of the sago folded and tied side by side on the smaller midribs form the "atap" or thatch in universal use, while the product of the trunk is the staple food of some hundred thousands of men.

When sago is to be made, a full-grown tree is selected just before it is going to flower. It is cut down close to the ground, the leaves and leaf-stalks cleared away, and a broad strip of the bark taken off the upper side of the trunk. This exposes the pithy matter, which is of a rusty color near the bottom of the tree, but higher up pure white, about as hard as a dry apple, but with woody fibres running through it about a quarter of an inch apart. This pith is cut or broken down into a coarse powder by means of a tool constructed for the purpose a club of hard and heavy wood, having a piece

SAGO CLUB.

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of sharp quartz rock firmly embedded into its blunt end and projecting about half an inch. By successive blows of this, narrow strips of the pith are cut away, and fall down into the cylinder formed by the bark. Proceeding steadily on, the whole trunk is cleared out, leaving a skin not more than half an inch in thickness. This material is carried away (in baskets made of the sheathing bases of the leaves) to the nearest water, where a washing-machine is put up, which is composed almost entirely of the sago-tree itself. The large sheathing bases of the leaves form the troughs, and the fibrous covering from the leaf-stalks of the young cocoa-nut the strainer. Water is poured on the mass of pith, which is kneaded and pressed against the strainer till the starch is all dissolved and has

passed through, when the fibrous refuse is thrown away, and a fresh basketful put in its place. The water charged with sago starch passes on to a trough, with a depression in the centre, where the sediment is deposited, the surplus water trickling off by a shallow outlet. When the trough is nearly full, the mass of starch, which has a slight reddish tinge, is made into cylinders of about thirty pounds' weight, and neatly covered with sago leaves, and in this state is sold as raw sago.

Boiled with water, this forms a thick glutinous mass, with a rather astringent taste, and is eaten with salt, limes, and

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chilies. Sago-bread is made in large quantities, by baking it into cakes in a small clay oven containing six or eight slits side by side, each about three-quarters of an inch wide, and six or eight inches square. The raw sago is broken up, dried in the sun, powdered, and finely sifted. The oven is heated over a clear fire of embers, and is lightly filled with the sago-powder. The openings are then covered with a flat piece of sago bark, and in about five minutes the cakes are turned out sufficiently baked. The hot cakes are very nice with butter, and when made with the addition of a little sugar and grated cocoa-nut are quite a delicacy. They are soft, and something like corn

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SAGO BREAD.

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flour cakes, but have a slight characteristic flavor which is lost in the refined sago we use in this country. When not wanted for immediate use, they are dried for several days in the sun, and tied up in bundles of twenty. They will then keep for years; they are very hard, and very rough and dry; but the people are used to them from infancy, and little children may be seen gnawing at them as contentedly as ours with their bread and butter. If dipped in water and then toasted, they become almost as good as when fresh baked; and thus treated, they were my daily substitute for bread with my coffee. Soaked and boiled, they make a very good pudding or vegetable, and served well to economize our rice, which is sometimes difficult to get so far east.

It is truly an extraordinary sight to witness a whole treetrunk, perhaps twenty feet long and four or five in circumference, converted into food with so little labor and preparation. A good-sized tree will produce thirty tomans or bundles of thirty pounds each, and each toman will make sixty cakes of three to the pound. Two of these cakes are as much as a man can eat at one meal, and five are considered a full day's allowance; so that reckoning a tree to produce 1800 cakes, weighing 600 pounds, it will supply a man with food for a whole year. The labor to produce this is very moderate. Two men will finish a tree in five days, and two women will bake the whole into cakes in five days more; but the raw sago will keep very well, and can be baked as wanted, so that we may estimate that in ten days a man may produce food for the whole year. This is on the supposition that he possesses sago trees of his own, for they are now all private property. If he does not he has to pay about seven-and-sixpence for one; and as labor here is fivepence a day, the total cost of a year's food for one man is about twelve shillings. The effect of this cheapness of food is decidedly prejudicial, for the inhabitants of the sago country are never so well off as those where rice is cultivated. Many of the people here

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SAGO OVEN.

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have neither vegetables nor fruit, but live almost entirely on sago and a little fish. Having few occupations at home, they wander about on petty trading or fishing expeditions to the neighboring islands; and as far as the comforts of life are concerned, are much inferior to the wild Hill Dyaks of Borneo, or to many of the more barbarous tribes of the Archipelago.

The country round Warus-warus is low and swampy, and owing to the absence of cultivation, there were scarcely any paths leading into the forest. I was therefore unable to collect much during my enforced stay, and found no rare birds or insects to improve my opinion of Ceram as a collectingground. Finding it quite impossible to get men here to accompany me on the whole voyage, I was obliged to be content with a crew to take me as far as Wahai, on the middle of the north coast of Ceram, and the chief Dutch station in the island. The journey took us five days, owing to calms and light winds, and no incident of any interest occurred on it, nor did I obtain at our stopping-places a single addition to my collections worth naming. At Wahai, which I reached on the 15th of June, I was hospitably received by the commandant and my old friend Herr Rosenberg, who was now on an official visit here. He lent me some money to pay my men, and I was lucky enough to obtain three others willing to make the voyage with me to Ternate, and one more who was to return from Mysol. One of my Amboyna lads, however, left me, so that I was still rather short of hands.

I found here a letter from Charles Allen, who was at Silinta, in Mysol, anxiously expecting me, as he was out of rice and other necessaries, and was short of insect pins. He was also ill, and if I did not soon come would return to Wahai.

As my voyage from this place to Waigiou was among islands inhabited by the Papuan race, and was an eventful and disastrous one, I will narrate its chief incidents in a separate chapter in that division of my work devoted to the Papuan Islands. I now have to pass over a year spent in Waigiou and Timor, in order to describe my visit to the island of Bouru, which concluded my explorations of the Moluccas.

BOURU.

CHAPTER XXVI.

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BOURU.

MAY AND JUNE, 1861. Map, p. 356.

I HAD long wished to visit the large island of Bouru, which lies due west of Ceram, and of which scarcely any thing appeared to be known to naturalists except that it contained a Babirúsa very like that of Celebes. I therefore made arrangements for staying there two months after leaving Timor Delli in 1861. This I could conveniently do by means of the Dutch mail-steamers, which make a monthly round of the Moluccas.

We arrived at the harbor of Cajeli on the 4th of May; a gun was fired, the commandant of the fort came alongside in a native boat to receive the post-packet, and took me and my baggage on shore, the steamer going off again without coming to an anchor. We went to the house of the opzeiner, or overseer, a native of Amboyna-Bouru being too poor a place to deserve even an Assistant Resident; yet the appearance of the village was very far superior to that of Delli, which possesses "His Excellency the Governor;" and the little fort, in perfect order, surrounded by neat grass-plots and straight walks, although manned by only a dozen Javanese soldiers with an adjutant for commander, was a very Sebastopol in comparison with the miserable mud inclosure at Delli, with its numerous staff of lieutenants, captain, and major. Yet this, as well as most of the forts in the Moluccas, was originally built by the Portuguese themselves. Oh, Lusitania, how art thou fallen!

While the opzeiner was reading his letters, I took a walk round the village with a guide in search of a house. The whole place was dreadfully damp and muddy, being built in a swamp, with not a spot of ground raised a foot above it, and surrounded by swamps on every side. The houses were mostly well-built, of wooden frame-work filled in with gabagaba (leaf-stems of the sago-palm); but as they had no

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