Page images


tische. The old lady beat time with the ladder, and whooped and chattered her hands, and chanted Ta, ta, ta, tok." and generally outsimianed the tribes of

Presently the mandolin accompani- monkey-kind. ment forgot to play, the dance grew Pa Rousày having, as I have said, wilder and wilder, and finally resolved been provided with a magenta jacket itself into

pantomime. Pa and the other three danseuses having Rousày, in her magenta coat, with her none, I felt it would be ungrateful to streaked visage, Pa Ntoné, with the let them go bare backs away after so flowers in her hair, the immature bride, laughable an entertainment. I therewith Pa Roup for partner, stood vis-à- fore presented each of them with one of vis, crossing and recrossing (it was the my merino singlets, which reached first figure of the Kitchen Lancers now) well down to their knees. And I canwith marvellous gesticulations, bounds, not say whether they were more deand outcries, till the bamboo floor lighted with the style of the garments skipped beneath us. It did not take or with them considered as a protection long to discover that they were acting against cold. So off they went. I the parts of the forest denizens. First watched them file across the bamboo it was tigers; they fiercely roared and bridge and disappear round a turn of sharpened their nails cat-fashion the bridle-path; the ragged head and against the wall. Most of us have seen gaunt figure of the patriarch, his old a tiger do this, and perhaps have wife carying Pati her grandchild, then stirred him with a patronizing umbrel the magenta jacket and the three new la in Regent's Park. Seen in his own singlets laden with rice bags, then the forest by attentive eyes of fear, how two boys, the bridegroom and his bigger he must have loomed upon one younger brother. Last of all, blow-pipe of these miserable unarmed pigmies, in his fingers, comes Urup, the man of who intruded all unwitting upon his experience. One after one they were manicure, and lived to make a play of re-absorbed by the jungle from whence it! Then with heads stretched out and they came. waving fins they were fish in the And that I thought was my last sight brook, pressing up against the current. of them; but it being a fine afternoon, It was Tigi the snake, and they rolled and another of their household having over and over upon the floor. Sambhur called on some errand or other, we dewas suggested, and before there was cided to go up home with him. We time to be shocked all four were on told him to follow his own jungle their backs with the legs sticking paths. We soon left the bridle-road and straight up in the air, up again and pushed through their track, no wider cantering round the room on all fours, than a deer's track, steep as the side or rubbing the velvet from their ant of a house, then down again, to find lers, which, as I guessed, had been fore ourselves breathless and covered with shadowed by the first part of this re dirt and leeches on the bridle-path markable pantomime. And so with again. The jungle folk are clean huntmany other animals.

I suggested ers. There seemed no squirrels left on monkeys, just giving them a clue, and their demesne-hardly a bird. In one they seized the idea and greatly im place we were shown a blantak, a gin proved upon it, scratching themselves for deer or wild pig, which consisted and destroying imaginary and hopping of a sharp wooden spear, a spring of vermin in the most realistic manner. bent sapling held back by a rattan rope Then they sat down in a row in the laid treacherously across the ground. doorway with their legs dangling over Of smaller game we found & rat

strangled in a noose set on similar a family that hunts for its food over principles, and brought it along with half-a-dozen valleys! Urup has it; but us.

Urup has gone to see our neighbors We came out near the top of their over the hill. The rain through the hole clearing, where the Indian corn was in the roof has put out our fire, and throwing up green heads among the now it is night, and between us and burnt and blackened branches of the hunger are a squirrel and a dozen biz recumbent trees. Scrambling down its fat grubs-raw, and we have no fire. almost precipitous face, we passed For my part I find it hard to realize through a spinney of giant bamboo as the tragedy of the situation. I can't thick as a man's thigh, out upon a help thinking, Could they not rub two ridge which projected half-way across sticks together? Could they not .. a wide and long valley, upon which . ? Surely, living overshadowed by a ridge lived our friends. They lived in million acres of fuel, they could contwo one-roomed huts of about fifteen trive something! It seems absurd to feet by twelve, with floors of split bam- think of such helplessness and misery boo laid a few inches above the wet for want of a trumpery box of Japaearth. The walls were of bertam nese matches, with a monkey stamped thatch, and not more than two feet in red upon it, selling at two for a high, for the thatched roof was steep cent. and not high enough even for them to On such a scene appears my friend in stand upright under except in the mid- his role of Universal Provider. If you dle of the room. In the house we en- count up all their possessions, from red tered were all our friends, besides two blanket to rock-salt, you will see that thin wretched dogs-sharp eared, sharp he has supplied them all, not as a dole nosed, sharp backed, each with its but in return for work. He has given hind-legs tied together to keep it from them clothes, he has made them plant straying. They were all sitting round corn. When it is ripe they and their the two fireplaces; the smouldering friends from far around will make a ends of logs radiating from these cen- mighty orgy, and eat and eat until the tres of warmth gave forth a tingling barn is empty, but no matter. Once smoke which filled the hovel and filtered a-month at least there is ensured to out through a hundred holes. The floor, them a sufficiency of farinaceous food, the walls, the thatch were alive with a whereunto is added tobacco to tickle hundred thousand cockroaches. The their nostrils and betel-nut to comfort wind swept chill down the valley. their hearts. I say it is a good work.

What a life! Think what it must be Theirs is a poor life at the best. Still, to live like that, huddled together for as we never know when we are well off, warmth, in nakedness, without food fit so happily it is possible to be miserable for a dog. Can you realize the position unawares; I do not suppose they are of a family whose house must be built sorry for themselves. They certainly from roof-ridge to flooring out of the did not look disconsolate as, gorged growths of the jungle; who yet own with rice, and cooking more, they sat not a knife to cut them, because they wrapped up in their new clothes. Pa live twenty miles away from a shop, Ntoné had enveloped Pati in hers, so or because they have not half a dollar? that his straggling top-knot alone was Must they go into the cruel bertam and visible. Rats on such a day were at a break off its spiky fronds with their discount, but I wanted to see cooked hands? To have no means of winning the rat we caught-and in a minute fire but one flint and steel, perhaps in there was nothing I wished to see less.

And yet it was simple. They tied farther to walk in the downpour of a string to its tail, and dipped it rain--of these I will make no long into the fire, twisting the string. They story: did not clean it first, and the process may have carbonized the outside, bat Me list nat of the chaf nor of the stree I am certain it could not have more

Maken so long a tale, as of the corn. than warmed the flesh. I am aware that travellers (it is expected of theni)

If any one familiar with the Upland partake of all strange meats; but as I People were asked to give a description would never taste in China of their of them, he would, I believe, make gaunt, garbage-fed pariah dogs, so now

first mention of their inoffensiveness. I refused raw rat.

Pugnacity seems to be an idea foreign The encampment was on a ridge, as I

to them. They possess a deadly weaphave said. This ridge, like a half-com- on, the blow-pipe; but I never heard pleted barrage, partly blocked the of its being turned against a fellowcourse of a long valley, which lay be. man. It may be that the severity of tween the mountains for several miles their life has been sufficient to keep north and south. Northwards it runs down their numbers; the jungle being up to the flank of the cloud-capped wide enough for all, competition has mountain, where, in the blueness, a never enforced the lesson that the brown patch like the one we stood upon fighter alone is fit to survive. The was just distinguishable. Between us same gentleness governs their houseand it there were only the tree-tops in hold relationships. As they have not endless monotony-green-gray, brown to fight for their sustenance, so they gray, blue-gray. One forest head stood need not for their wives, of which there up at a mile distance, the color of pink are enough to go round; and their unhawthorn.

aggressive nature would revolt from A rainstorm coming up the valley as the idea of stealing or ravishing anwe watched blotted out the distance, other man's wife from him. I happen and despatched a chillier breath to to have heard of one case which, unforewarn us. They in the hut were in- der more auspicious circumstances, tent upon their rice, but they shivered. might have provided sufficient scandal as it were, mechanically. I could have for a six-shilling novel. The signor wished it were possible, ... a good told it me. In a household that he thick sweater apiece now. . . I knew there lived two men, and a girl looked at the signor, and the same who was married to one of them. The thought was passing through his mind, girl and her husband used to sit side I verily believe; but he only shivered by side, and the other man and his melodramatically, and all he said wils, mother sat on the opposite side of the "Breeze 'e go!"

fire. After some weeks of absence the So we departed, having shaken hands signor revisited that house and found all round, for my guide is not concerned the husband sitting alone, while the with the wellbeing of their bodies man who used to look at the girl sat alone; he also holds himself responsible with her by the fire. “How is this?” he for his people's manners. Of the series asked the girl; "you sit with a stranger of misfortunes which befell us next day and your husband sits alone.” “Oh," as we went home, and which culmi- said the husband, “that is as it should nated, as late and hungry we reached be; she is no longer my wife, but is the ninth mile, in the non-appearance married to my friend.” “But how can of our gharries, leaving us so much that be?" "Why," said the good, easy

man, “her heart think one, my heart portionate size to their heads, and so thinks other, how can we live together? making them look still more like chilWe must fall ill! Oh, very sorry.” So dren. On the whole, they are far from the difficulty arranged itself without ill-looking, though their foreheads are calling any high passions into play. low, with heavy superciliary ridges; Divorce being without rancor and so their noses are flat, insignificant and easy, jealousy is a superfluous emotion negroid. Their mouths are wide, but among these people, and the women often beautifully shaped, and they in consequence enjoy a social free- differ noticeably from Malays and Chidom that is almost emancipation. I nese by keeping them habitually shut. forgot to say that the formation of the But that which most strikes an Eng. girls' dance above described was inter- lishman on coming into contact with rupted by the arrival of a stranger these little creatures, and which draws Sakai, who stalked in between them, him at once towards them, is the reHalf in fun, half anger, they fell upon markable openness and candor of their him and buffeted him heartily with expression. They look at a stranger their bunches of leaves. I instantly neither defiantly nor in any way looked at their husbands for some sign cringing, but carefully and steadily, as of disapproval; but not a bit.

if ready for unforeseen action on his But the signor's approval of them part; but when they are reassured, goes further than anything I have yet with an expression that is dignified in said. His father fought under Gari- its simplicity. baldi, and the son, earnestly hopeful of Their language, as far as my infantile a new dispensation, found here in the vocabulary goes, seems monosyllabic mountain the archetype of all he and dissyllabic; it is spoken in a jerky, dreams that Italy shall become, “no explosive manner, and contains many name of magistrate, nor of politike nasal sounds. Some words sounded superioritie; no use of service, of riches, very like Chinese, and I strongly susor of povertie,” no soldiery, no police, pect that it is connected through Siamno Pope. It is the true Socialism, and ese with that language. There do not they the Primitive Socialists.

seem to be any inflexions. I experiWith all respect to Mr. Rudyard Kip- enced the usual difficulties in composling, a free life in the forest does not ing my vocabulary. Thus: I asked the appear to me calculated to produce the Sakai for “I” and got the reply "eng" physique of a Mowgli. Of these people at once, but when I tried to get "we" I only saw one much over five feet they were quite at a loss; and when to high, the women being proportionately explain myself I said in Malay, “For smaller. While capable, as might be instance, we have all come from the expected, of long fasts and forced river," they answered No or Yes as the marches, they are far from muscular, case might be, and we became involved with skinny arms and legs no bigger in a spillikin-heap of cross-purposes. than an English boy's of fourteen. They have only the first three numerGenerally speaking, the men's develop- als, nenok, nar, nir, in their own ment appears arrested,-narrow shoul- tongue; the rest they borrow from the ders, feminine hairless features. In Malay. color they are of a brown rather lighter Beyond a love of beads and bright than the Malays, with glossy black colors, their æsthetic faculties seem unhair (when clean), which hangs in developed; only on the butts of their curls over their ears and upon their bamboo combs and on their blowpipes necks, giving an appearance of dispro- they scratch patterns obviously intended to represent the shoots of bam- and murderous raids, until, after the boo. I tried the experiment of drawing lapse of centuries, the English in their a wild boar and showing it them. It turn came up the rivers. was not worthy of a Rosa Bonheur I It is now some months since I visited know, but still recognizable I thought, the Upland People, but they are not on account of the tusks; it was received easy to forget. Their blowpipes I with the blankest misapprehension. I could not ask them to part with—it is tried again with an elephant, and this not fair to leave them without means time successfully. "Gajah," they of hunting their small deer. Instead I cried, pointing triumphantly to his tail brought back for a keepsake a neckand trunk.

lace; it was Pa Ntone's, a dozen glass Ignorant, unprogressive, inoffensive, beads on a bit of jungle string. The it is very understandable how such a pendant is a coin the size of a sixpence, people were dispossessed by the fierce apparently of tin. On the one side is Malays as they came up the rivers a lion rampant. On the reverse is into the country, and were driven be- HOL-LAN-DIA, 1791. I wish I knew fore them up the mountains. Here the history of this battered token. they remained, subject to frequent

Eduard A. Irring. Blackwood's Magazine.

Perak, 25th April, 1900.


We roamed together in the spring,

In early spring we roamed together,
By copse and hedgerow wandering,

Before the thrush began to sing,

In sunshine or in stormy weather.
We roamed together in the spring,

And Love, that should be Lord and King,

Fast knit us in a silken tether,
By copse and hedgerow wandering.

Ah, me! the months their poppy fling,

And 'twas beneath Love's flying feather
We roamed together in the spring.

Vanished, long since, on Time's broad wing

The days we knew beyond the heather,
By copse and hedgerow wandering.

Until-the years such Lethe bring

You wholly have forgotten whether
We roamed together in the spring,

By copse and hedgerow wandering.
Pall Mall Gazette.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »