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measure of time. I tested it with my watch, and found that it hardly varied a minute from one hour to another, nor did the motion of the vessel have any effect upon it, as the water in the bucket of course kept level. It has a great advantage for a rude people in being easily understood, in being rather bulky and easy to see, and in the final submergence being accompanied with a little bubbling and commotion of the water, which calls the attention to it. It is also quickly replaced if lost while in harbor.
Our captain and owner I find to be a quiet, good-tempered man, who seems to get on very well with all about him. When at sea he drinks no wine or spirits, but indulges only in coffee and cakes, morning and afternoon, in company with his supercargo and assistants. He a man of some little education, can read and write well both Dutch and Malay, uses a compass, and has a chart. He has been a trader to Aru for many years, and is well known to both Europeans and natives in this part of the world.
Dec. 24th.--Fine, and little wind. No land in sight for the first time since we left Macassar. At noon calm, with heavy showers, in which our crew wash their clothes, and in the aft ernoon the prau is covered with shirts, trowsers, and sarongs of various gay colors. I made a discovery to-day which at first rather alarmed me. The two ports, or openings, through which the tillers enter from the lateral rudders, are not more than three or four feet above the surface of the water, which thus has a free entrance into the vessel. I of course had imagined that this open space from one side to the other was separated from the hold by a water-tight bulkhead, so that a sea entering might wash out at the further side, and do no more harm than give the steersmen a drenching. To my surprise and dismay, however, I find that it is completely open to the hold, so that half a dozen seas rolling in on a stormy night would nearly or quite swamp us. Think of a vessel going to sea for a month with two holes, each a yard square, into the hold, at three feet above the water-line-holes, too, which can not possibly be closed! But our captain says all praus are so; and though he acknowledges the danger," he does not know how to alter it-the people are used to it; he does not understand praus so well as they do, and if such a great alteration
IN A NATIVE PRAU.
were made, he should be sure to have difficulty in getting a crew!" This proves at all events that praus must be good sea-boats, for the captain has been continually making voyages in them for the last ten years, and says he has never known water enough enter to do any harm.
Dec. 25th.-Christmas-day dawned upon us with gusts of wind, driving rain, thunder and lightning, added to which a short confused sea made our queer vessel pitch and roll very uncomfortably. About nine o'clock, however, it cleared up, and we then saw ahead of us the fine island of Bouru, perhaps forty or fifty miles distant, its mountains wreathed with clouds, while its lower lands were still invisible. The afternoon was fine, and the wind got round again to the west; but although this is really the west monsoon, there is no regularity or steadiness about it, calms and breezes from every point of the compass continually occurring. The captain, though nominally a Protestant, seemed to have no idea of Christmas-day as a festival. Our dinner was of rice and curry as usual, and an extra glass of wine was all I could do to celebrate it.
Dec. 26th.-Fine view of the mountains of Bouru, which we have now approached considerably. Our crew seem rather a clumsy lot. They do not walk the deck with the easy swing of English sailors, but hesitate and stagger like landsmen. In the night the lower boom of our mainsail broke, and they were all the morning repairing it. It consisted of two bamboos lashed together, thick end to thin, and was about seventy feet long. The rigging and arrangement of these praus contrasts strangely with that of European vessels, in which the various ropes and spars, though much more numerous, are placed so as not to interfere with each other's action. Here the case is quite different; for though there are no shrouds or stays to complicate the matter, yet scarcely any thing can be done without first clearing something else out of the way. The large sails can not be shifted round to go on the other tack without first hauling down the jibs, and the booms of the fore-and-aft sails have to be lowered and completely detached to perform the same operation. Then there are always a lot of ropes foul of each other, and all the sails can never be set (though they are so few) without a good part of their surface having the wind kept out of them by oth
Yet praus are much liked even by those who have had European vessels, because of their cheapness both in first cost and in keeping up; almost all repairs can be done by the crew, and very few European stores are required.
Dec. 28th. This day we saw the Banda group, the volcano first appearing-a perfect cone, having very much the outline of the Egyptian pyramids, and looking almost as regular. In the evening the smoke rested over its summit like a small stationary cloud. This was my first view of an active volcano, but pictures and panoramas have so impressed such things on one's mind that when we at length behold them they seem nothing extraordinary.
Dec. 30th--Passed the island of Teor, and a group near it, which are very incorrectly marked on the charts. Flying-fish were numerous to-day. It is a smaller species than that of the Atlantic, and more active and elegant in its motions. As they skim along the surface they turn on their sides, so as fully to display their beautiful fins, taking a flight of about a hundred yards, rising and falling in a most graceful manner. At a little distance they exactly resemble swallows; and no one who sees them can doubt that they really do fly, not merely descend in an oblique direction from the height they gain by their first spring. In the evening an aquatic bird, a species of booby (Sula fiber.) rested on our hen-coop, and was caught by the neck by one of my boys.
Dec. 31st.-At daybreak the Ké Islands (pronounced kay) were in sight, where we are to stay a few days. About noon we rounded the northern point, and endeavored to coast along to the anchorage; but being now on the leeward side of the island, the wind came in violent irregular gusts, and then leaving us altogether, we were carried back by a strong current. Just then two boatloads of natives appeared, and our owner having agreed with them to tow us into harbor, they tried to do so, assisted by our own boat, but could make no way. We were therefore obliged to anchor in a very dangerous place on a rocky bottom, and we were engaged till nearly dark getting hawsers secured to some rocks under water. The coast of Ké, along which we had passed, was very picturesque. Lightcolored limestone rocks rose abruptly from the water to the height of several hundred feet, everywhere broken into jutting
IN A NATIVE PRAU.
peaks and pinnacles, weather-worn into sharp points and honey-combed surfaces, and clothed throughout with a most varied and luxuriant vegetation. The cliffs above the sea offered to our view screw-pines and arborescent Liliacea of strange forms, mingled with shrubs and creepers, while the higher slopes supported a dense growth of forest-trees. Here and there little bays and inlets presented beaches of dazzling whiteness. The water was transparent as crystal, and tinged the rock-strewn slope which plunged steeply into its unfathomable depths with colors varying from emerald to lapis-lazuli. The sea was calm as a lake, and the glorious sun of the tropics threw a flood of golden light over all. The scene was to me inexpressibly delightful. I was in a new world, and could dream of the wonderful productions hid in those rocky forests, and in those azure abysses. But few European feet had ever trodden the shores I gazed upon; its plants, and animals, and men were alike almost unknown, and I could not help speculating on what my wanderings there for a few days might bring to light.
THE native boats that had come to meet us were three or four in number, containing in all about fifty men. They were long canoes, with the bow and stern ising up into a beak six or eight feet high, decorated with shells and waving plumes of cassowaries' hair. I now had my first view of Papuans in their own country, and in less than five minutes was convinced that the opinion already arrived at by the examination of a few Timor and New Guinea slaves was substantially correct, and that the people I now had an opportunity of comparing side by side belonged to two of the most distinct and strongly marked races that the earth contains. Had I been blind, I could have been certain that these islanders were not Malays. The loud, rapid, eager tones, the incessant motion, the intense vital activity manifested in speech and action, are the very antipodes of the quiet, unimpulsive, unanimated Malay. These Ké men came up singing and shouting, dipping their paddles deep in the water and throwing up clouds of spray; as they approached nearer, they stood up in their canoes and increased their noise and gesticulations: and on coming alongside, without asking leave, and without a moment's hesitation, the greater part of them scrambled up on our deck just as if they were come to take possession of a captured vessel. Then commenced a scene of indescribable confusion. These forty black, naked, mop-headed savages seemed intoxicated with joy and excitement. Not one of them could remain still for a moment. Every individual of our crew was in turn surrounded and examined, asked for tobacco or arrack, grinned at and deserted for another. All talked at once, and our captain was regularly mobbed by the chief men, who wanted to be employed to tow us in, and who begged vociferously to be paid in advance. A few presents of tobacco made their eyes glisten;