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THE PIRATES VISIT Us.

ing that their small vessels sent trading to the "blakang tana" would be plundered. The Aru natives were of course dreadfully alarmed, as these marauders attack their villages, burn and murder, and carry away women and children for slaves. Not a man will stir from his village for some time, and I must remain still a prisoner in Dobbo. The Governor of Amboyna, out of pure kindness, has told the chiefs that they are to be responsible for my safety, so that they have an excellent excuse for refusing to stir.

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Several praus went out in search of the pirates, sentinels were appointed, and watch-fires lighted on the beach to guard against the possibility of a night attack, though it was hardly thought they would be bold enough to attempt to plunder Dobbo. The next day the praus returned and we had positive information that these scourges of the Eastern seas were really among us. One of Herr Warzbergen's small praus also arrived in a sad plight. It had been attacked six days before, just as it was returning from the "blakang tana." The crew escaped in their small boat and hid in the jungle, while the pirates came up and plundered the vessel. They took away every thing but the cargo of mother-of-pearl shell, which was too bulky for them. All the clothes and boxes of the men, and the sails and cordage of the prau, were cleared off. They had four large war-boats, and fired a volley of musketry as they came up, and sent off their small boats to the attack. After they had left, our men observed from their concealment that three had staid behind with a small boat; and being driven to desperation by the sight of the plundering, one brave fellow swam off armed only with his parang, or chopping-knife, and, coming on them unawares, made a desperate attack, killing one and wounding the other two, receiving himself numbers of slight wounds, and then swimming off again when almost exhausted. Two other praus were also plundered, and the crew of one of them murdered to a man. They are said to be Sooloo pirates, but have Bugis among them. On their way here they have devasted one of the small islands east of Ceram. It is now eleven years since they have visited Aru, and by thus making their attacks at long and uncertain intervals the alarm dies away, and they find a population for the most part unarmed and unsuspicious

of danger. None of the small trading-vessels now carry arms, though they did so for a year or two after the last attack, which was just the time when there was the least occasion for it. A week later one of the smaller pirate-boats was captured in the "blakang tana." Seven men were killed, and three taken prisoners. The larger vessels have been often seen, but can not be caught, as they have very strong crews, and can always escape by rowing out to sea in the eye of the wind, returning at night. They will thus remain among the innumerable islands and channels, till the change of the monsoon enables them to sail westward.

March 9th.-For four or five days we have had a continual gale of wind, with occasional gusts of great fury, which seem as if they would send Dobbo into the sea. Rain accompanies it almost every alternate hour, so that it is not a pleasant time. During such weather I can do little, but am busy getting ready a boat I have purchased, for an excursion into the interior. There is immense difficulty about men, but I believe the orang-kaya, or head-man of Wamma will accompany me to see that I do not run into danger.

Having become quite an old inhabitant of Dobbo, I will endeavor to sketch the sights and sounds that pervade it, and the manners and customs of its inhabitants. The place is now pretty full, and the streets present a far more cheerful aspect than when we first arrived. Every house is a store, where the natives barter their produce for what they are most in need of. Knives, choppers, swords, guns, tobacco, gambier, plates, basins, handkerchiefs, sarongs, calicoes, and arrack are the principal articles wanted by the natives; but some of the stores contain also tea, coffee, sugar, wine, biscuits, etc., for the supply of the traders; and others are full of fancy goods, china ornaments, looking-glasses, razors, umbrellas, pipes, and purses, which take the fancy of the wealthier natives. Every fine day mats are spread before the doors and the tripang is put out to dry, as well as sugar, salt, biscuit, tea, cloths, and other things that get injured by an excessively moist atmosphere. In the morning and evening spruce Chinamen stroll about or chat at each other's doors, in blue trowsers, white jacket, and a queue into which red silk is plaited till it reaches almost to their heels. An old

THE TOWN OF DOBBO.

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Bugis hadji regularly takes an evening stroll in all the dignity of flowing green silk robe and gay turban, followed by two small boys carrying his sirih and betel boxes.

In every vacant space new houses are being built, and all sorts of odd little cooking-sheds are erected against the old ones, while in some out-of-the-way corners massive log pigsties are tenanted by growing porkers; for how could the Chinamen exist six months without one feast of pig? Here and there are stalls where bananas are sold, and every morning two little boys go about with trays of sweet rice and grated cocoa-nut, fried fish, or fried plantains; and whichever it may be, they have but one cry, and that is-" Chocolat-t-t!" This must be a Spanish or Portuguese cry, handed down for centuries, while its meaning has been lost. The Bugis sailors, while hoisting the mainsail, cry out "Vēla à vēla―véla, véla, vēla!" repeated in an everlasting chorus. As "vela" is Portuguese for a sail, I supposed I had discovered the origin of this; but I found afterward they used the same cry when heaving anchor, and often changed it to "hela," which is so much a universal expression of exertion and hard breathing that it is most probably a mere interjectional cry.

I dare say there are now near five hundred people in Dobbo of various races, all met in this remote corner of the East, as they express it, " to look for their fortune;" to get money any way they can. They are most of them people who have the very worst reputation for honesty, as well as every other form of morality-Chinese, Bugis, Ceramese, and half-caste Javanese, with a sprinkling of half-wild Papuans from Timor, Babber, and other islands-yet all goes on as yet very quietly. This motley, ignorant, bloodthirsty, thievish population live here without the shadow of a government, with no police, no courts, and no lawyers; yet they do not cut each other's throats, do not plunder each other day and night, do not fall into the anarchy such a state of things might be supposed to lead to. It is very extraordinary. It puts strange thoughts into one's head about the mountainload of government under which people exist in Europe, and suggests the idea that we may be overgoverned. Think of the hundred acts of Parliament annually enacted to prevent us, the people of England, from cutting each other's throats,

or from doing to our neighbor as we would not be done by. Think of the thousands of lawyers and barristers whose whole lives are spent in telling us what the hundred acts of Parliament mean, and one would be led to infer that if Dobbo has too little law England has too much.

Here we may behold in its simplest form the genius of Commerce at the work of Civilization. Trade is the magic that keeps all at peace, and unites these discordant elements into a well-behaved community. All are traders, and all know that peace and order are essential to successful trade, and thus a public opinion is created which puts down all lawlessness. Often in former years, when strolling along the Campong Glam in Singapore, I have thought how wild and ferocious the Bugis sailors looked, and how little I should like to trust myself among them. But now I find them to be very decent, well-behaved fellows; I walk daily unarmed in the jungle, where I meet them continually; I sleep in a palmleaf hut, which any one may enter, with as little fear and as little danger of thieves or murder as if I were under the protection of the Metropolitan police. It is true, the Dutch influence is felt here. The islands are nominally under the government of the Moluccas, which the native chiefs acknowledge; and in most years a commissioner arrives from Amboyna, who makes the tour of the islands, hears complaints, settles disputes, and carries away prisoner any heinous offender. This year he is not expected to come, as no orders have yet been received to prepare for him; so the people of Dobbo will probably be left to their own devices. One day a man was caught in the act of stealing a piece of iron from Herr Warzbergen's house, which he had entered by making a hole through the thatch wall. In the evening the chief traders of the place, Bugis and Chinese, assembled, the offender was tried and found guilty, and sentenced to receive twenty lashes on the spot. They were given with a small rattan in the middle of the street, not very severely, as the executioner appeared to sympathize a little with the culprit. The disgrace seemed to be thought as much of as the pain; for though any amount of clever cheating is thought rather meritorious than otherwise, open robbery and house-breaking meet with universal reprobation.

JOURNEY TO THE MAIN-LAND.

CHAPTER XXXI.

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THE ARU ISLANDS-JOURNEY AND RESIDENCE IN THE

INTERIOR.

MARCH TO MAY, 1857.

My boat was at length ready, and having obtained two men besides my own servants, after an enormous amount of talk and trouble, we left Dobbo on the morning of March 13th for the main-land of Aru. By noon we reached the mouth of a small river or creek, which we ascended, winding among mangrove swamps, with here and there a glimpse of dry land. In two hours we reached a house, or rather a small shed, of the most miserable description, which our steersman, the orangkaya of Wamma, said was the place we were to stay at, and where he had assured me we could get every kind of bird and beast to be found in Aru. The shed was occupied by about a dozen men, women, and children; two cooking-fires were burning in it, and there seemed little prospect of my obtaining any accommodation. I however deferred inquiry till I had seen the neighboring forest, and immediately started off with two men, net, and guns, along a path at the back of the house. In an hour's walk I saw enough to make me determine to give the place a trial, and on my return, finding the orang-kaya was in a strong fever-fit, and unable to do any thing, I entered into negotiations with the owner of the house for the use of a slip at one end of it about five feet wide, for a week, and agreed to pay as rent one "parang," or chopping-knife. I then immediately got my boxes and bedding out of the boat, hung up a shelf for my bird-skins and insects, and got all ready for work next morning. My own boys slept in the boat to guard the remainder of my property; a cooking-place, sheltered by a few mats, was arranged under a tree close by, and I felt that degree of satisfaction and enjoyment which I always experience when, after much trouble and delay, I am on the point of beginning work in a new locality.

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