Imatges de pÓgina

tische. The old lady beat time with her hands, and chanted “Ta, ta, ta, tok."

Presently the mandolin accompaniment forgot to play, the dance grew wilder and wilder, and finally resolved itself into

mere pantomime. Pa Rousay, in her magenta coat, with her streaked visage, Pa Ntoné, with the flowers in her hair, the immature bride, with Pa Roup for partner, stood vis-àvis, crossing and recrossing (it was the first figure of the Kitchen Lancers now) with marvellous gesticulations, bounds, and outcries, till the bamboo floor skipped beneath us. It did not take long to discover that they were acting the parts of the forest denizens. First it was tigers; they fiercely roared and sharpened their nails cat-fashion against the wall. Most of us have seen a tiger do this, and perhaps have stirred him with a patronizing umbrella in Regent's Park. Seen in his own forest by attentive eyes of fear, how bigger he must have loomed upon one of these miserable unarmed pigmies, who intruded all unwitting upon his manicure, and lived to make a play of it! Then with heads stretched out and waving fins they were fish in the brook, pressing up against the current. It was Tigi the snake, and they rolled over and over upon the floor. Sambhur was suggested, and before there was time to be shocked all four were on their backs with the legs sticking straight up in the air, up again and cantering round the room on all fours, or rubbing the velvet from their antlers, which, as I guessed, had been fore. shadowed by the first part of this remarkable pantomime. And so with many other animals. I suggested monkeys, just giving them a clue, and they seized the idea and greatly improved upon it, scratching themselves and destroying imaginary and hopping vermin in the most realistic manner. Then they sat down in a row in the doorway with their legs dangling over

the ladder, and whooped and chattered and generally outsimianed the tribes of monkey-kind.

Pa Rousày having, as I have said, been provided with a magenta jacket and the other three danseuses haviug none, I felt it would be ungrateful to let them go bare backs away after so laughable an entertainment. I therefore presented each of them with one of my merino singlets, which reached well down to their knees. And I cannot say whether they were more delighted with the style of the garments or with them considered as a protection against cold. So off they went. I watched them file across the bamboo bridge and disappear round a turn of the bridle-path; the ragged head and gaunt figure of the patriarch, bis old wife carying Pati her grandchild, then the magenta jacket and the three new singlets laden with rice bags, then the two boys, the bridegroom and his younger brother. Last of all, blow-pipe in his fingers, comes Urup, the man of experience. One after one they were re-absorbed by the jungle from whence they came.

And that I thought was my last sight of them; but it being a fine afternoon, and another of their household having called on some errand or other, we decided to go up home with him. We told him to follow his own jungle paths. We soon left the bridle-road and pushed through their track, no wider than a deer's track, steep as the side of a house, then down again, to find ourselves breathless and covered with dirt and leeches on the bridle-path again. The jungle folk are clean hunters. There seemed no squirrels left on their demesne-hardly a bird. In one place we were shown a blantak, a gin for deer or wild pig, which consisted of a sharp wooden spear, a spring of bent sapling held back by a rattan rope laid treacherously across the ground. Of smaller game we found rat strangled in a noose set on similar principles, and brought it along with us.

We came out near the top of their clearing, where the Indian corn was throwing up green heads among the burnt and blackened branches of the recumbent trees. Scrambling down its almost precipitous face, we passed through a spinney of giant bamboo as thick as a man's thigh, out upon a ridge which projected half-way across a wide and long valley, upon which ridge lived our friends. They lived in two one-roomed huts of about fifteen feet by twelve, with floors of split bamboo laid a few inches above the wet earth. The walls were of bertam thatch, and not more than two feet high, for the thatched roof was steep and not high enough even for them to stand upright under except in the middle of the room. In the house we entered were all our friends, besides two thin wretched dogs-sharp eared, sharp nosed, sharp backed, each with its hind-legs tied together to keep it from straying. They were all sitting round the two fireplaces; the smouldering ends of logs radiating from these centres of warmth gave forth a tingling smoke which filled the hovel and filtered out through a hundred holes. The floor, the walls, the thatch were alive with a hundred thousand cockroaches. The wind swept chill down the valley.

What a life! Think what it must be to live like that, huddled together for warmth, in nakedness, without food fit for a dog. Can you realize the position of a family whose house must be built from roof-ridge to flooring out of the growths of the jungle; who yet own not a knife to cut them, because they live twenty miles away from a shop, or because they have not half a dollar? Must they go into the cruel bertam and break off its spiky fronds with their hands? To have no means of winning fire but one flint and steel, perhaps in

a family that hunts for its food over half-a-dozen valleys! Urup has it; but Urup has gone to see our neighbors over the hill. The rain through the hole in the roof ha put out our fire, and now it is night, and between us and hunger are a squirrel and a dozen biz fat grubs-raw, and we have no fire. For my part I find it hard to realize the tragedy of the situation. I can't help thinking, Could they not rub two sticks together? Could they not ..

? Surely, living overshadowed by a million acres of fuel, they could contrive something! It seems absurd to think of such helplessness and misery for want of a trumpery box of Japanese matches, with a monkey stamped in red upon it, selling at two for a cent.

On such a scene appears my friend in his role of Universal Provider.

If you count up all their possessions, from red blanket to rock-salt, you will see that he has supplied them all, not as a dole but in return for work. He has given them clothes, he has made them plant corn. When it is ripe they and their friends from far around will make a mighty orgy, and eat and eat until the barn is empty, but no matter. Once a-month at least there is ensured to them a sufficiency of farinaceous food, whereunto is added tobacco to tickle their nostrils and betel-nut to comfort their hearts. I say it is a good work.

Theirs is a poor life at the best. Stil!, as we never know when we are well off, so happily it is possible to be miserable unawares; I do not suppose they are sorry for themselves. They certainly did not look disconsolate as, gorgerl with rice, and cooking more, they sat wrapped up in their new clothes. Pa Ntoné had enveloped Pati in hers, so that his straggling top-knot alone was visible. Rats on such a day were at a discount, but I wanted to see cooked the rat we caught-and in a minute there was nothing I wished to see less. farther to walk in the downpour of rain--of these I will make no long story:

Me list nat of the chaf nor of the stree Maken so long a tale, as of the corn.


And yet it was simple. They tied a string to its tail, and dipped it into the fire, twisting the string. They did not clean it first, and the process may have carbonized the outside, but I am certain it could not have more than warmed the flesh. I am aware that travellers (it is expected of theni) partake of all strange meats; but as I would never taste in China of their gaunt, garbage-fed pariah dogs, so now I refused raw rat.

The encampment was on a ridge, as I have said. This ridge, like a half-completed barrage, partly blocked the course of a long valley, which lay bo. tween the mountains for several miles north and south. Northwards it runs up to the flank of the cloud-capped mountain, where, in the blueness, a brown patch like the one we stood upon was just distinguishable. Between us and it there were only the tree-tops in endless monotony-green-gray, browngray, blue-gray. One forest head stood up at a mile distance, the color of pink hawthorn.

A rainstorm coming up the valley as we watched blotted out the distance, and despatched a chillier breath to forewarn us. They in the hut were intent upon their rice, but they shivered, as it were, mechanically. I could have wished it were possible, a good thick sweater apiece now. .. I looked at the signor, and the same thought was passing through his mind, I verily believe; but he only shivered melodramatically, and all he said wils, "Breeze 'e go!"

So we departed, having shaken hands all round, for my guide is not concerned with the wellbeing of their bodies alone; he also holds himself responsible for his people's manners. Of the series of misfortunes which befell us next day as we went home, and which culminated, as late and hungry we reached the ninth mile, in the non-appearance of our gharries, leaving us so much

If any one familiar with the Upland People were asked to give a description of them, he would, I believe, make first mention of their inoffensiveness. Pugnacity seems to be an idea foreign to them. They possess a deadly weapon, the blow-pipe; but I never heard of its being turned against a fellow

It may be that the severity of their life has been sufficient to keep down their numbers; the jungle being wide enough for all, competition has never enforced the lesson that the fighter alone is fit to survive. The same gentleness governs their household relationships. As they have not to fight for their sustenance, so they need not for their wives, of which there are enough to go round; and their unaggressive nature would revolt from the idea of stealing or ravishing another man's wife from him. I happen to have heard of one case which, under more auspicious circumstances, might have provided sufficient scandal for a six-shilling novel. The signor told it me. In a household that he knew there lived two men, and a girl who was married to one of them. The girl and her husband used to sit side by side, and the other man and his mother sat on the opposite side of the fire. After some weeks of absence the signor revisited that house and found the husband sitting alone, while the man who used to look at the girl sat with her by the fire. “How is this?” he asked the girl; "you sit with a stranger and your husband sits alone.” “Oh," said the husband, “that is as it should be; she is no longer my wife, but is married to my friend." “But how can 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 Chi. dom 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 Enggirls' 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 in.

tended to represent the shoots of bamboo. I tried the experiment of drawing a wild boar and showing it them. It was not worthy of a Rosa Bonheur I know, but still recognizable I thought, on account of the tusks; it was received with the blankest misapprehension. I tried again with an elephant, and this time successfully. "Gajah," they cried, pointing triumphantly to his tail and trunk.

Ignorant, unprogressive, inoffensive, it is very understandable how such a people were dispossessed by the fierce Malays as they came up the rivers into the country, and were driven be. fore them up the mountains. Here they remained, subject to frequent Blackwood's Magazine.

and murderous raids, until, after the lapse of centuries, the English in their turn came up the rivers.

It is now some months since I visited the Upland People, but they are not easy to forget. Their blowpipes I could not ask them to part with-it is not fair to leave them without means of hunting their small deer. Instead I brought back for a keepsake a necklace; it was Pa Ntoné's, a dozen glass beads on a bit of jungle string. The pendant is a coin the size of a sixpence, apparently of tin. On the one side is a lion rampant. On the reverse is HOL-LAN-DIA, 1791. I wish I knew the history of this battered token.

Eduard A. Irring. 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.

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