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termined to go to Bessir, where there are a number of Papuans who catch and preserve them. I hired a small outrigger boat for this journey, and left one of my men to guard my house and goods. We had to wait several days for fine weather, and at length started early one morning, and arrived late at night, after a rough and disagreeable passage. The village of Bessir was built in the water at the point of a small island. The chief food of the people was evidently shell-fish, since great heaps of the shells had accumulated in the shallow water between the houses and the land, forming a regular "kitchen-midden" for the exploration of some future archæologist. We spent the night in the chief's house, and the next morning went over to the main land to look out for a place where I could reside. This part of Waigiou is really another island to the south of the narrow channel we had passed through in coming to Muka. It appears to consist almost entirely of raised coral, whereas the northern island contains hard crystalline rocks. The shores were a range of low limestone cliffs, worn out by the water, so that the upper part generally overhung. At distant intervals were little coves and openings, where small streams came down from the interior; and in one of these we landed, pulling our boat up on a patch of white sandy beach. Immediately above was a large newly-made plantation of yams and plantains, and a small hut, which the chief said we might have the use of if it would do for me. It was quite a dwarf's house, just eight feet square, raised on posts so that the floor was four and a half feet above the ground, and the highest part of the ridge only five feet above the floor. As I am six feet and an inch in my stockings, I looked at this with some dismay; but finding that the other houses were much farther from water, were dreadfully dirty, and were crowded with people, I at once accepted the little one, and determined to make the best of it. At first I thought of taking out the floor, which would leave it high enough to walk in and out without stooping; but then there would not be room enough, so I left it just as it was, had it thoroughly cleaned out, and brought up my baggage. The upper story I used for sleeping in, and for a store-room. In the lower part (which was quite open all round) I fixed up a small table, arranged my boxes, put up hanging shelves, laid a



mat on the ground with my wicker-chair upon it, hung up another mat on the windward side, and then found that, by bending double and carefully creeping in, I could sit on my chair with my head just clear of the ceiling. Here I lived pretty comfortably for six weeks, taking all my meals and doing all my work at my little table, to and from which I had to creep in a semi-horizontal position a dozen times a day; and, after a few severe knocks on the head by suddenly rising from my chair, learned to accommodate myself to circumstances. We put up a little sloping cooking-hut outside, and a bench

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on which my lads could skin their birds. At night I went up to my little loft, they spread their mats on the floor below, and we none of us grumbled at our lodgings.

My first business was to send for the men who were accustomed to catch the birds of paradise. Several came, and I showed them my hatchets, beads, knives, and handkerchiefs; and explained to them, as well as I could by signs, the price I would give for fresh-killed specimens. It is the universal custom to pay for every thing in advance; but only one man ventured on this occasion to take goods to the value of two birds. The rest were suspicious, and wanted to see the result

of the first bargain with the strange white man, the only one who had ever come to their island. After three days, my man brought me the first bird-a tery fine specimen, and alive, but tied up in a small bag, and consequently its tail and wing feathers very much crushed and injured. I tried to explain to him, and to the others that came with him, that I wanted them as perfect as possible, and that they should either kill them, or keep them on a perch with a string to their leg. As they were now apparently satisfied that all was fair, and that I had no ulterior designs upon them, six others took away goods; some for one bird, some for more, and one for as many as six. They said they had to go a long way for them, and that they would come back as soon as they caught any. At intervals of a few days or a week, some of them would return, bringing me one or more birds; but though they did not bring any more in bags, there was not much improvement in their condition. As they caught them a long way off in the forest, they would scarcely ever come with one, but would tie it by the leg to a stick, and put it in their house till they caught another. The poor creature would make violent efforts to escape, would get among the ashes, or hang suspended by the leg till the limb was swollen and half-putrefied, and sometimes die of starvation and worry. One had its beautiful head all defiled by pitch from a dammar torch; another had been so long dead that its stomach was turning green. Luckily, however, the skin and plumage of these birds is so firm and strong, that they bear washing and cleaning better than almost any other sort; and I was generally able to clean them so well that they did not perceptibly differ from those I had shot myself.

Some few were brought me the same day they were caught, and I had an opportunity of examining them in all their beauty and vivacity. As soon as I found they were generally brought alive, I set one of my men to make a large bamboo cage with troughs for food and water, hoping to be able to keep some of them. I got the natives to bring me branches of a fruit they were very fond of, and I was pleased to find they ate it greedily, and would also take any number of live grasshoppers I gave them, stripping off the legs and wings, and then swallowing them. They drank plenty of water, and



were in constant motion, jumping about the cage from perch to perch, clinging on the top and sides, and rarely resting a moment the first day till nightfall. The second day they were always less active, although they would eat as freely as before; and on the morning of the third day they were almost always found dead at the bottom of the cage, without any apparent cause. Some of them ate boiled rice as well as fruit and insects; but after trying many in succession, not one out of ten lived more than three days. The second or third day they would be dull, and in several cases they were seized with convulsions, and fell off the perch, dying a few hours afterward. I tried immature as well as full-plumaged birds, but with no better success, and at length gave it up as a hopeless task, and confined my attention to preserving specimens in as good a condition as possible.

The red birds of paradise are not shot with blunt arrows, as in the Aru Islands and some parts of New Guinea, but are snared in a very ingenious manner. A large climbing Arum bears a red reticulated fruit, of which the birds are very fond. The hunters fasten this fruit on a stout forked stick, and provide themselves with a fine but strong cord. They then seek out some tree in the forest on which these birds are accustomed to perch, and climbing up it fasten the stick to a branch and arrange the cord in a noose so ingeniously that when the bird comes to eat the fruit its legs are caught, and by pulling the end of the cord, which hangs down to the ground, it comes free from the branch and brings down the bird. Sometimes, when food is abundant elsewhere, the hunter sits from morning till night under his tree with the cord in his hand, and even for two or three whole days in succession, without even getting a bite; while, on the other hand, if very lucky, he may get two or three birds in a day. There are only eight or ten men at Bessir who practice this art, which is unknown anywhere else in the island. I determined, therefore, to stay as long as possible, as my only chance of getting a good series of specimens ; and although I was nearly starved, every thing eatable by civilized man being scarce or altogether absent, I finally succeeded.

The vegetables and fruit in the plantations around us did not suffice for the wants of the inhabitants, and were almost always dug up or gathered before they were ripe. It was

very rarely we could purchase a little fish; fowls there were none; and we were reduced to live upon tough pigeons and cockatoos, with our rice and sago, and sometimes we could not get these. Having been already eight months on this voyage, my stock of all condiments, spices and butter, was exhausted, and I found it impossible to eat sufficient of my tasteless and unpalatable food to support health. I got very thin and weak, and had a curious disease known (I have since heard) as brow-ague. Directly after breakfast every morning an intense pain set in on a small spot on the right temple. It was a severe burning ache, as bad as the worst toothache, and lasted about two hours, generally going off at noon. When this finally ceased, I had an attack of fever, which left me so weak and so unable to eat our regular food, that I feel sure my life was saved by a couple of tins of soup which I had long reserved for some such extremity. I used often to go out searching after vegetables, and found a great treasure in a lot of tomato plants run wild, and bearing little fruits about the size of gooseberries. I also boiled up the tops of pumpkin plants and of ferns, by way of greens, and occasionally got a few green papaws. The natives, when hard up for food, live upon a fleshy sea-weed, which they boil till it is tender. I tried this also, but found it too salt and bitter to be endured.

Toward the end of September it became absolutely necessary for me to return, in order to make our homeward voyage before the end of the east monsoon. Most of the men who had taken payment from me had brought the birds they had agreed for. One poor fellow had been so unfortunate as not to get one, and he very honestly brought back the axe he had received in advance; another who had agreed for six, brought me the fifth two days before I was to start, and went off immediately to the forest again to get the other. He did not return, however, and we loaded our boat, and were just on the point of starting, when he came running down after us holding up a bird, which he handed to me, saying with great satisfaction, "Now I owe you nothing." These were remarkable and quite unexpected instances of honesty among savages, where it would have been very easy for them to have been dishonest without fear of detection or punishment.

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