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Title: In the Andamans and Nicobars - The Narrative of a Cruise in the Schooner "Terrapin"
Author: Kloss, C. Boden
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    "Where, beneath another sky,
    Parrot islands anchored lie."







The following pages are the result of an attempt to record a cruise, in
a schooner, to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bengal Sea, the
main purpose of which was to obtain good representative collections (now
in the National Museum, Washington, U.S.A.) of natural history and
ethnological objects from the places visited. Special attention was
given to the trapping of small mammals, which, comprising the least
known section of the island fauna, were the most interesting subject for
investigation. Sixteen new varieties were obtained in the Andamans and
Nicobars together, thus raising the known mammalian fauna of those
islands from twenty-four to forty individuals, while the collections
also included ten hitherto undescribed species of birds. All the
collecting and preparation was done by my companion, whose guest I was,
and myself, for we were accompanied by no native assistants or hunters.
Broadly speaking, one half of the day passed in obtaining specimens, the
other in preserving them; and such observations as I have been able to
chronicle were, for the greater part, made during the periods of actual
collecting and the consequent going to and fro.

In order to give a certain completeness to the account, I have included
a more or less general description of the two Archipelagoes, their
inhabitants, etc.; the chapters of this nature are partly compiled from
the writings of those who had had previous experience of the islands,
and for the most part the references have been given.

I cannot but regard the illustrations, which are a selection from my
series of photographs, as the most valuable part of this work, but I
hope that my written record, in spite of its imperfections, may
stimulate some more competent observer and chronicler than myself to
visit the latter islands--for the Andamans have already been
described[1] in an admirable monograph by one who dwelt there for many
years--before it is too late. Ethnically, much remains to be done, and
every day that goes by produces some deterioration of native life and
custom. To this end I have added many details about supplies,
anchorages, etc., that might otherwise seem superfluous.

Of those who entertained and assisted us during the voyage, thanks are
specially due to Mr P. Vaux of Port Blair, for his hospitality to us
during our stay in that place;[2] and I am greatly indebted to Messrs
O. T. Mason, G. S. Miller, and Dr C. W. Richmond, respectively, for the
photographs of the Nicobarese pottery and skirt, for permission to
include here much information from the report on the Andaman and Nicobar
mammals, and for a list of the new species of birds obtained, which,
however, up to the present, have not received specific designations.
I have also to gratefully acknowledge the help rendered me by Mr E. H.
Man, C.I.E., who, besides volunteering to read through the proof sheets,
has given me much information, and corrected a number of inaccuracies.
To my sister, for her superintendence of the book since my departure
from England, and to my publishers for their kindness and assistance in
many ways, I must not omit to offer my thanks.

_October_, 1902.



    The _Terrapin_--Crew--Itinerary of the Cruise--Daily
    Routine--Provisions and Supplies--Collecting Apparatus--
    Scene in the Tropics--Native Indolence--Attractive Memories      1


  BARREN ISLAND AND THE ARCHIPELAGO                                  9

    Shipboard Monotony--Edible Sharks--Calm Nights--Squalls--Barren
    Island--Appearance--Anchorage--Landing-place--Hot Spring--
    Goats--The Eruptive Cone--Lava--Paths--Interior of the Crater--
    Volcanic Activity--Fauna--Fish--The Archipelago--Kwang-tung
    Strait--Path-making--The Jungle--Birds--Coral Reefs--Parrots--
    Two New Rats--Inhabitants.


  PORT BLAIR                                                        19

    We enter the Harbour--Surveillance--Ross Island Pastimes--
    Visit the Chief Commissioner--The Harbour--Cellular Jail--
    Lime-kilns--Phoenix Bay--Hopetown--Murder of Lord Mayo--
    Chatham Island--Haddo and the Andamanese--Tea Gardens--Viper
    Island and Jail--The Convicts--Occupations--Punishments--



    Gunboat Tours--South Andaman--Rutland Island--Navigation--
    Landing-place--Native Camp--Natives--Jungle--Birds--
    Appearance of the Natives--Our Guests--Native Women:
    Decorations and Absurd Appearance--Trials of Photography--
    The Village--Food--Bows, Arrows, and Utensils--Barter--
    _Coiffure_--Fauna--Water--New Species.


  THE CINQUES AND LITTLE ANDAMAN                                    36

    Position of the Cinques--Anchorage--Clear Water--The
    Forest--Beach Formation--Native Hut--Little Andaman--
    Bumila Creek--Natives--Flies--Personal Decoration--
    Dress and Modesty--Coats of Mud--_Coiffure_--Absence of
    Scarification--Elephantiasis--A Visit to the Village--
    Peculiar Huts--Canoe--Bows and Arrows--The Return
    Journey--A slight _contretemps_--Andamanese Pig--We
    leave the Andamans.


  KAR NICOBAR                                                       44

    To the Nicobars--A Tide-race--A Change of Scene--
    Sáwi Bay--Geological Formation--V. Solomon--M[=u]s
    Natives--Headman Offandi--"Town-Halls"--Death-house--
    Maternity Houses--Hospitals--Floods--"Babies' Houses"--
    Birds--Oil Press--Canoes--Offandi--"Friend of England"--
    "Frank Thomson"--"Little John"--Thirst for Information--
    Natives' Nick-names--Mission School Boys' Work--A Truant--
    The Advantage of Canoes--A Spill--Our Method of Landing--
    Collecting Native Birds--A New Bat--Coconuts--V. Solomon--
    The Nicobarese and Christianity--Water--Area of Kar


  TILANCHONG                                                        66

    Batti Malv--Tilanchong--Novara Bay--Terrapin Bay--Form and
    Area of Tilanchong--Birds--Megapodes--A Swamp--Crocodile--
    Megapode Mound--Wreck and Death of Captain Owen, 1708--
    Leave Tilanchong--Foul Ground--Kamorta.


  TRINKAT                                                           73

    Beresford Channel--A Deserted Village--_Jheel_--Bird Life--
    Wild Cattle--Scenery--Photographs--Port Registers--Tanamara--
    Population--Customs--The Shom Pe[.n]--The Sequel to a Death--
    Interior of the Houses.


  NANKAURI                                                          78

    The Harbour Shores--A Village--_Kanaia_--Canoe--Feeding the
    Animals--Collecting-ground--Mangrove Creeks--Preparations
    for a Festival--Burial Customs--Malacca Village--Houses--
    Visit Tanamara--Furniture--Talismans and "Scare-devils"--
    Beliefs--Festivities--A Dance--An Educated Native--Tanamara
    and his Relations--Cigarettes--Refreshments--The


  KAMORTA                                                           95

    The Old Settlement--The Cemetery--F.H. de Röepstorff--
    Mortality--Birds--The Harbour--Appearance of Kamorta--
    Dring Harbour--Olta-möit--Buffalo--Spirit Traffic--
    Cookery--Ceremonial Dress--A Visit from Tanamara--


  KACHAL AND OTHER ISLANDS                                         103

    Heavy Surf--Teressa--Bompoka--A Native Legend--Hamilton--
    Chaura--Wizardry--Pottery--Kachal typical of the Tropics--
    Nicobarese Dress--West Bay--Lagoon--Mangroves--Whimbrel--
    Formation of Kachal--Birds--Visitors to the Schooner--
    Fever--Chinese Junks--Thatch--Relics--The Reef--Megapodes--
    Monkeys--Full-dressed Natives--Medicine--A Death Ceremony--
    Talismans--Fish and Fishing--Geology.


  LITTLE NICOBAR AND PULO MILO                                     118

    A Tide-rip--Islets--A Cetacean--Pulo Milo--Timidity of the
    Natives--Little Nicobar--Geology--Flora--Population--Site
    for a Colony--Jungle Life--Banian Trees--The Houses and
    their Peculiarity--The Natives--Practices and Beliefs--The
    Shom Pe[.n]--The Harbour--We ascend a River--Kingfishers--
    Water--Caves--Bats and Swallows--Nests--A Jungle Path--
    Menchál Island--Collections--Monkeys--Crabs.


  KONDUL AND GREAT NICOBAR                                         131

    The Anchorage--The Island--Villages--We leave Kondul--Great
    Nicobar--Anchorage--Collecting--Up the Creek--A Bat Camp--
    Young Bats--Traces of the Shom Pe[.n]--Bird Life--Fish--
    Ganges Harbour--Land Subsidence--Tupais--We Explore the
    Harbour--A Jungle Pig--"Jubilee" River--Chinese Navigation--
    Rainy Weather--Kondul Boys--Coconuts--Chinese Rowing.


  GREAT NICOBAR--WEST COAST                                        141

    Pulo Kunyi--Area of Great Nicobar--Mountains--Rivers--The
    Village--The Shom Pe[.n]--Casuarina Bay--An Ingenious
    "Dog-hobble"--In the Jungle--A Shom Pe[.n] Village--Men
    of the Shom Pe[.n]--A Lazy Morning--The Shom Pe[.n] again--
    Their Similarity to the Nicobarese--Food--Implements--
    Cooking-vessel--The Dagmar River--Casuarina Bay--Pulo Nyur--
    Water--A Boat Expedition--The Alexandra River--Shom Pe[.n]
    Villages--Kópenhéat--More Shom Pe[.n]--Elephantiasis--Pet


  GREAT NICOBAR--WEST AND SOUTH COASTS                             154

    "Domeat"--Malay Traders--Trade Prices--The Shom Pe[.n]
    Language--Place Names--Pulo Bábi--The Growth of Land--
    Climbing a Palm Tree--Servitude--Population--Views on
    Marriage with the Aborigines--Towards the Interior--A Shom
    Pe[.n] Village--The Inhabitants--Canoe-building--Barter--
    The West Coast--South Bay--Walker Island--Chang-ngeh--Up
    the Galathea River--Water--We leave the Nicobars and sail
    to Sumatra.




    Andaman Mountains--Little Andaman--Rivers--Coral Banks--
    Aborigines--Convicts and the Penal System--Growth and
    Resources of the Settlement--Products and Manufactures.


  THE NICOBAR ISLANDS AND THEIR ABORIGINES                         201

    The Nicobar Islands and their Aborigines--The Islands--Coral
    Banks--Nankauri Harbour--Population--Geology--Earthquakes--
    Climate--Flora--History--The Shom Pe[.n]: their Derivation,
    Appearance, Houses, Gardens, Cooking-vessel, Domestic
    Animals, Manufactures, Trade, Clothing, Headmen, Position
    of Women, Disposition, Diseases.


  THE NICOBARESE                                                   221

    The Evolution of the Nicobarese--Description--Character--
    Language--Legends of Origin--Origin of Coco Palms--Invention
    of Punishments--Superstitious Beliefs--Diseases--Medicines--
    Marriage--Matriarchal System--Divorce--Polygamy--Courtship--
    Property--_Takoia_--Headmen--Social State--Position of Women
    and Children--Domestic Animals--Weapons--Tools--Fishing--
    Turtle--Food--Beverages--Narcotics and Stimulants--
    and Industries--Cultivation--Produce--Traders and Commerce.


          ACHEEN IN A CANOE                                        254


  AN OLD ACCOUNT OF KAR NICOBAR                                    276


  SOME CUSTOMS OF THE KAR NICOBARESE                               285

    The Feast of Exhumation--A Scene in the Graveyard--
    "_Katap-hang_"--"_Kiala_"--"_Enwan-n'gi_"--Fish Charms--
    Canoe Offerings--"_Ramal_"--"_Gnunota_"--Converse with the
    Dead--"_Kewi-apa_"--"_Maya_"--"_Yintovná Síya_"--Exorcism--
    "_Tanangla_"--Other Ceremonies--The "_Sano-kuv_"--The
    "_Mafai_"--The "_Tamiluana_"--_Mafai_ Ceremonies--Burial--
    Mourning--Burial Scenes--The Origin of Village Gardens--
    Destruction of Gardens--Eclipses--Canoe-buying--Dances--
    Quarrels--"_Amok_"--Wizardry--Wizard Murders---Suicides--
    Land Sale and Tenure--Dislike to Strangers--Cross-bow
    Accidents--Canoe Voyages--Commercial Occupations--Tallies.


  THE FAUNA OF THE ANDAMANS AND NICOBARS                           320


  A.--AVERAGE WIND AND WEATHER IN THE ANDAMANS                     335

  B.--PRINCIPAL FOREST TREES OF THE ANDAMANS                       336


  D.--CENSUS, ANDAMAN ISLANDS, 1901                                342

  E.--GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS AT PORT BLAIR                             343


  G.--PRINCIPAL FLORA OF THE NICOBARS                              345

  H.--CENSUS, NICOBAR ISLANDS, 1901 AND 1886                       350


          _TERRAPIN_                                               352


      INDEX                                                        359


  The "Terrapin" in Kwang-tung Strait                   _Frontispiece_

  Andaman and Nicobar Islands                  _To face page_        8

  The Landing-place, Barren Island                "      "          10

  The Eruptive Cone, Barren Island                "      "          12

  Ross Island (northern extremity)                "      "          20

  Andamanese Men                                  "      "          22

  Andamanese Women                                "      "          24

  Andamanese Shelter                              "      "          28

  Öngé Hut, Little Andaman                        "      "          40

  In the Village of M[=u]s, Kar Nicobar           "      "          44

  Kar Nicobarese Family and Dwelling-house,
    with Lounge beneath                           "      "          46

  A Kitchen House, M[=u]s Village (showing method
    of construction)                              "      "          48

  Death House, Hospitals, Maternity Houses, and
    Burial-grod, M[=u]s Village                   "      "          50

  "Talik N'gi" (The Place of the Baby), M[=u]s
    Village                                       "      "          52

  Kar Nicobarese                                  "      "          54

  "Friend of England"                             "      "          56

  Mission Boys and Burmese Teacher, Kar Nicobar   "      "          60

  Women and Children, Kar Nicobar                 "      "          64

  Terrapin Bay, Tilanchong                        "      "          66

  A Megapode                                      "      "          68

  A Megapode Mound                                "      "          70

  Inúanga Village, Nankauri Harbour               "      "          78

  Nankauri Canoe, with Festival Decorations       "      "          80

  Kitchen and Dwelling-house, with Festival Tree,
    Nankauri                                      "      "          82

  Tanamara's "Kareau"                             "      "          84

  Nankauri Man with Dancing Collar and Painted
    Nose                                          "      "          86

  Group of Dancers, Nankauri Harbour              "      "          88

  Nankauri Man with Silver Necklace               "      "          90

  Objects from Nankauri Harbour                   "      "          94

  Dwelling-houses, Dring Harbour, Kamorta
    (partially constructed, and complete)         "      "          98

  Fig Tree with Aëreal Roots, Little Nicobar      "      "         122

  Houses, Pulo Milo                               "      "         124

  Jungle Vegetation, Little Nicobar               "      "         126

  Man with Pandanus Fruit, Kondul                 "      "         132

  Boys of Kondul                                  "      "         138

  West Coast of Great Nicobar                     "      "         140

  Man and Woman of the Shom Pe[.n], and
    a Nicobarese                                  "      "         142

  A Village of the Shom Pe[.n]                    "      "         144

  Women and Girls of the Shom Pe[.n]              "      "         146

  Men of the Shom Pe[.n]                          "      "         148

  Men of the Shom Pe[.n] (in profile)             "      "         150

  Hut of the Shom Pe[.n]                          "      "         152

  Canoe at Pulo Nyur, Great Nicobar               "      "         154

  Huts of the Shom Pe[.n]                         "      "         158

  Men and a Boy of Great Nicobar                  "      "         160

  On the Galathea River, Great Nicobar            "      "         162

  Galathea River (highest point reached)          "      "         164

  Hydrographical Chart of the Andaman and Nicobar
    Islands                                       "      "         166

  Öngé Man, Little Andaman                        "      "         186

  Andamanese Objects                              "      "         188

  Öngé Visitor at Rutland Island                  "      "         190

  Andamanese Bamboo Buckets and Cane Baskets
    (conical); also Nicobarese Cane Baskets (5),
    with Tray and Bucket of Spathe                "      "         200

  Men of the Shom Pe[.n]; Men of the Shom Pe[.n]
    (in profile)                                  "      "         214

  Women of the Shom Pe[.n]; Women of the Shom
    Pe[.n] (in profile)                           "      "         216

  Women of the Shom Pe[.n]; Women of the Shom
    Pe[.n] (in profile)                           "      "         218

  Huts of the Shom Pe[.n]                         "      "         220

  Man of Nankauri; A Headman of the Shom Pe[.n]   "      "         222

  "Tanamara" of Nankauri; "Tanamara" of Nankauri
    (in profile); A Headman of the Shom Pe[.n];
    Headman of the Shom Pe[.n] (in profile)       "      "         224

  Man of Kar Nicobar; Woman of Kar Nicobar; Kar
    Nicobar Boy (showing Epicanthus); Kar Nicobar
    Boy (in profile, showing Prognathism)         "      "         226

  Woman and Man Wearing the "Tá-Chökla," Kar
    Nicobar                                       "      "         228

  Man and Woman of Kar Nicobar (in profile)       "      "         230

  Specimens of "Hentá-kói," made and first used
    in times of sickness to frighten away the
    offending evil spirits                        "      "         232

  A "Hentá," painted and first suspended inside
    hut in time of sickness, to gratify good
    spirits and scare away demons.
    (Specimen from Nankauri)                      "      "         234

  Old Nicobarese Skirt, "Ngong"                   "      "         248

  Baskets, Troughs, and Areca Spathe
    Feeding-dish, Nicobar Islands                 "      "         252

  Group of Kar Nicobarese                         "      "         284


  Little Andaman Canoe                                              41

  "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits              44

  Oil Press (Kar Nicobar)                                           53

  "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits              78

  Chaura Pottery                                                   108

  Shom Pe[.n] Cooking-vessel (Great Nicobar)                       148

  Iron Buffalo and Pig Spears                                      221

  "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits (Kachal)    231

  Nicobarese Talisman                                              232

  "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits (Kachal)    232

  Female Talisman (Kachal); Female Talisman, "Kario" (Nankauri)    234

  1, Shom Pe[.n] Spear (Great Nicobar). 2 and 3, "Hanoi cha,"
    Canoe Decorations for bow, stern, and outrigger (Kar Nicobar).
    4, Turtle Spear. 5 and 6, Wooden Fishing Spears. 7, Ornamental
    Canoe Stern-piece, "Misoka ap" (Kar Nicobar). 8, 9, and 10,
    Iron Fishing Spears                                            244





    The _Terrapin_--Crew--Itinerary of the Cruise--Daily Routine--
    Provisions and Supplies--Collecting Apparatus--Guns--Shooting--
    Path-making--Clothing--Head-dress--A Scene in the Tropics--
    Native Indolence--Attractive Memories.

The _Terrapin_, captain and owner Dr W. L. Abbott, is a Singapore-built
teak schooner of 40 tons register and 67 tons yacht measurement. She is
65 feet long on the water-line, and 16 feet broad, and has been given an
almost box-shaped midship section, partly to afford sufficient inside
space for the ballast (iron), but principally with the idea that when
she takes the ground she may not heel to any uncomfortable extent. The
draught is 7-1/2 feet, but two years' experience has proved that this is
too much for the class of cruising she is engaged in. The crew are
berthed forward, and aft is a large hold where tanks containing about 3
tons of water, supplies, cables, etc., are stored. A large raised trunk
hatch about 2-1/2 feet high covers the central third of the boat,
leaving 3-feet gangways on either side. This structure affords ample
head-room below, and gives coolness and abundant ventilation by means of
windows which open all round it. Sailing in the tropics, with the
thermometer constantly standing at 84° or so in the shade, necessitates
for any comfort a very different arrangement from what would be fitting
at home. Whenever possible, the boat, while anchored, is covered with
awnings from stem to stern. Under the hatch are a large saloon, two
cabins, pantry, etc.

The crew--five ordinary seamen, a _serang_ (boatswain), and
sailing-master--are Malays; for natives are far more satisfactory in
nearly every way on a small boat in the tropics than white men, even if
the latter could be obtained. They can put up with more restricted
quarters, are less inclined to grumble under the peculiar circumstances,
or be disobedient, are more at home in every way in the surroundings and
with the people one meets, are little trouble to cater for, and, most
important of all, keep in good health and can stand the sun. A Chinese
"boy" and cook are also carried.

Forward on deck there is a small iron galley for the preparation of
meals, and aft repose two boats--an 18-feet double-ender for four oars,
and a beamy 10-feet dinghy that best carries a crew of three. The
schooner steers with a wheel.

The _Terrapin_ left Singapore in October 1900 and, subsequent to calling
at Penang, cruised off the coast of Tenasserim and among the islands of
the Mergui Archipelago until I joined her late in December. A few days
were then spent in the peninsula, where several deer and wild pig were
obtained; then visiting High Island--where an unsuccessful search was
made for Sellung[3] skeletons, and a number of birds and small mammals
added to the collection--she left for the Andamans.

On the return voyage from the Nicobars we called at Olehleh, the
port for Kota Rajah, Dutch capital of Acheen. Even a dissociation
from them of only three months made the pink-white skins of the
Europeans--sun-avoiding Dutch--seem strange and unhealthy.

Having spent a day or two at this place, where we first heard of the
accession of King Edward VII., we skirted the north coast of Sumatra,
with its park-like stretches of grass and forest, drifting along almost
in the shadow of its great volcanic mountains, and then, crossing the
northern entrance of the Malacca Straits, anchored once more in the
harbour of Penang.

At Klang, in Selangor, we stopped a night to visit the museum at Kwala
Lumpor, and were passed by the _Ophir_ and her consorts as they steamed
to Singapore; which place we ourselves reached, after a slow passage
down the coast, on the 27th of April 1901, thus bringing the cruise to
an end.

The day's programme during the voyage was simple. We rose before 5 A.M.;
and after a hurried _chota hazri_, rowed ashore the moment it grew at
all light. The next five hours were passed collecting in the jungle; and
then returning on board, after a bath, change, and breakfast, the
preservation of specimens went on until two o'clock; next came tea, then
more work until about 3 P.M., when we once more rowed ashore and sought
for fresh material until darkness set in. Then after another bath and
change came dinner, and by the time the second batch of specimens was
disposed of, we were quite ready for mattress and pillow on deck; for
unless it rained we never slept below. The development of photographs
often kept me up till midnight, since they had to be manipulated in a
small pantry which could only be thoroughly darkened after sunset. I
have seldom been in a warmer place.

Some consideration should be given to the provisioning of a boat when
cruising away from regular supplies for health is largely dependent on
this point.

For so long as flour will keep good it is pleasant to have fresh bread,
but experience on this and other cruises is that it gets full of weevils
after three months in a small boat. While tinned provisions and bottled
fruits are very well for a time, one rapidly tires of them, and then
there is nothing like the old stand-bys of salt beef and pork, ship's
biscuits, rice, etc. Potatoes and onions will keep well for six months,
and "sauerkraut," or Chinese preserved greens, are useful articles. Many
of the birds shot for specimens--on this cruise, megapodes, pigeons, and
whimbrel--form welcome additions to the table, and one gets occasionally
wild pig and deer; while even of such unorthodox animals as squirrels,
the larger kinds--_Sciurus bicolor_ attains almost the size of a hare,
which it much resembles in flavour--are by no means despicable. When we
were under sail, there were always lines towing astern of the vessel,
which often produced bonito, dolphin, barracouta, edible shark, and
other varieties, and we carried a seine, which, when stretched across
the mouth of a tidal creek, was nearly always certain to entangle some
kind of fish in its meshes, while with a casting-net catches of what one
might call "whitebait" were often made.

One is rarely able to obtain much else than fowls from natives, and
except in towns and large villages, where there are regular bazaars and
markets, even fruit other than coconuts and bananas is scarce. Tinned
and bottled preserves soon become insipid to the palate, but dried
fruit, such as apples, apricots and prunes, we found far more
attractive, and they should always be carried when native supplies are
uncertain. In fact, beyond a few necessaries such as milk, butter, jam,
tea, coffee, sugar, cheese and curry stuffs, and a few more luxurious
articles, like soups, pickles--but those who have tried a well-seasoned
piece of salt junk will admit that these and mustard are almost absolute
necessities--sauces, etc., the fewer tinned provisions there are the
better, so far as health in the tropics is concerned. When one can keep
the hen-coop well stocked, and there is plenty of rice on board, one
never feels like grumbling while there is any amount of work to be done.

In the matter of collecting apparatus, the newer powders are preferable,
as with them there is less chance, through absence of smoke, of losing
sight of the specimen as it falls, which is often the case otherwise. It
is well to have cartridge cases of different colours for ease in
selection, and the sizes of shot most useful seem to be:--SSG for pigs,
deer, and large monkeys; AA and II for monkeys, eagles, and other large
birds; V for pigeons, and others of similar size in high tree tops; VIII
for the same at moderate range, and for smaller birds and squirrels,
etc., when distant; while 2 drams of powder and 1/2 ounce of XI
shot--the cartridge filled out by several wads between the two--is most
useful for small birds and animals up to 20 yards, and for others at
proportionate distances. For such little things as sunbirds, and for
snakes, lizards, or for point-blank shots, we carried auxiliary barrels,
about 9 inches long, that can be slipped in and out of the gun like an
ordinary cartridge, and which fired an extra long .32 calibre brass
cartridge loaded with a pinch of dust shot (No. XIII). These were
invaluable for obtaining the smaller specimens without smashing, and had
a killing range of about 12 yards.

There is no more perfect weapon for the collecting naturalist than the
three-barrelled guns that we used--shot barrels fully choked, and the
third, placed beneath the others, rifled for long .380 cartridges. With
one of these, the auxiliary barrel, and a proper selection of
cartridges, one is ready for anything that may turn up other than the
larger "big game," for the equipment is so portable that there is no
temptation ever to leave part of it behind.

The only drawback to such an outfit lies in the time lost in selecting a
suitable cartridge for each shot, but the perfect specimens obtained by
this method are ample compensation for the extra trouble involved. Even
in this way accidents sometimes happen however, as when on one occasion,
while walking through some grass, a tiny button-quail sprang up, and was
knocked over at close range with what was thought to be a small charge
of No. XI shot. The specimen was not found at once, but as it was the
first of the kind obtained (and has since proved to be of a new
species), the search was persisted in until after a quarter of an hour a
little purple pulp attached to a wing was discovered. The collector had
forgotten which barrel contained the smaller cartridge, and, pulling the
wrong trigger, had fired a full charge of No. VIII from about that
distance in yards, at a wretched little bird about the size of a

To fire at flying birds in the jungle is both wasteful and unprofitable,
for while a bird is only to be seen for a moment as it flashes between
the branches, even if hit, it infallibly becomes lost in the dense
luxuriance of vegetation. The chances in the favour of the quarry are,
however, largely increased by a careful selection of the smallest
cartridge possible on each occasion, often a tiresome stalk, and a large
amount of dodging about to get a clean shot through the leaves and
branches, so that the event is by no means a more foregone conclusion
than sport in the open.

Besides bags for cartridges and specimens, with extractor, knife,
string, cotton-wool, and wrapping paper, it is absolutely essential, if
it is intended to penetrate the jungle at all, that one should carry
some sort of implement--cutlass, _parang_, or _macheté_--to hew a way
through the tangled undergrowth.

It is far the best plan, when shooting in the tropics, not to indulge in
a too elaborate outfit. The most suitable and common-sense clothing
consists of a stout cotton suit of pyjamas, grey or brown in colour for
preference, with pockets; the ends of the trousers should be tied round
the ankles with string, to keep out the ants and leeches, and only when
these and thorns are very bad need stronger trousers and puttees be
worn. Such clothes are easily put on and off, are comfortable, and are
not heavy when soaked with water, rain, and perspiration.

On board ship, when away from civilisation, we invariably wore a similar
dress, or the national garment of Malaya, the _sarong_, than which
nothing is more comfortable in a hot climate, unless it be the
exceedingly sensible dress of the tropic-dwelling Chinese.

For head-dress there is no better gear than an old felt hat (_terai_),
which can be rolled up and put away in the game-bag when one is in the
shade of the forest. In one of the most delightful books that has been
written about the East, the following lines occur:[4] "Given a thick
jungle, trees 200 feet high, and a mushroom-helmeted sportsman, it will
be seen that comfort and a large bag are incompatible. A long training
in the Sistine Chapel is necessary for this work. Absurd as it may seem,
my spine in the region of the neck eventually became so sore that I was
on more than one occasion compelled to give myself a rest." With the
latter part of the passage I perfectly concur, for one often stands for
minutes at a time staring vainly upwards, to where, right overhead, the
specimen that one knows is there, is vocally proclaiming its presence,
and the effect on the back of the neck is, after a time, often one of
excruciating agony. Strangely enough, large birds like parrots and
pigeons are often the most difficult to see.

But why the helmet in the shade of the forest? We ourselves never wore
hats except when out in the open or going to and fro between the
schooner and the shore, while the sun was high, and experienced no ill
effects from being without them at other times, although one of us made
it a practice to keep his head shaved for the sake of coolness. Though
they perhaps lay me open to an accusation of thick-headedness, I mention
these facts to show that it is not necessary to burden oneself with an
awkward _sola topee_ with the idea of evading danger from the sun in
such circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

A cloudless sky and a blazing sun; a long stretch of yellow beach lapped
by a calm sea of brilliant green above the reef, verging into an intense
sapphire in the distance. Inland, swelling hills clothed in densest
jungle--the topmost ridge capped by a delicate tracery of foliage that
stands out clear cut in the pure atmosphere. Adjoining the sandy shore a
grass-grown level expanse, with a grove of stately palm trees, through
which runs a rippling brook, and lastly, two or three native huts and
their occupants, so that one can lie, pyjama-clad, in the shade, and
consume young coconuts without first having to climb for them.

  "Only to hear and see the far-off brine,
  Only to hear were sweet, stretched out beneath the pine."

Is it fair that we should call the native of the tropics lazy because in
some parts of his domain the labour of an hour supplies his daily wants?
The working man of colder climates, by eight and even twelve hours'
occupation, obtains no more, and often less. The others are the true
lotos-eaters, and when one is amongst them one often feels, as
doubtless they do themselves, could they formulate their sensations:

                "... Why should we toil alone,
  We only toil who are the first of things,
  And make perpetual moan,
  Still from one sorrow to another thrown:
   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·
  'There is no joy but calm!'
  Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?"

These are one's thoughts, while captivated by the charm of the islands,
and if feelings change when analysed in more virile countries, the
transformation of ideas only goes to show how relative to circumstances
are such things as industry and idleness.

The foregoing are a few prosaic items about a form of life which,
although when indulged in too long, it perhaps causes now and again a
desire for the amenities of civilisation and a shirt-front, yet when it
is over, always leaves a longing for further experiences whenever one is
haunted by thoughts of the palms, the sunlight, and the sea; wanderings
in the jungle; strange birds, animals, and vegetation, and pleasant
memories of easy-going islanders.



    Shipboard Monotony--Edible Sharks--Calm Nights--Squalls--Barren
    Island--Appearance--Anchorage--Landing-place--Hot Spring--Goats--
    The Eruptive Cone--Lava--Paths--Interior of the Crater--Volcanic
    Activity--Fauna--Fish--The Archipelago--Kwang-tung Strait--
    Path-making--The Jungle--Birds--Coral Reefs--Parrots--Two New

We were six days out from land before Barren Island hove in sight. Since
New Year's Day,[5] when we got up anchor amongst the islands of the
Mergui Archipelago, the schooner had been carried by the lightest of
breezes towards the Andamans. The days slipped by, each one as
monotonous as its predecessor; there was no change in the wind, save
when it fell calm for a space, and the sun was so hot that we gladly
sought shelter in the cabin, where occupation might be found with a
book. Once we harpooned a porpoise, but he broke away from the iron, and
now and again, on a line trailing astern, we caught a small shark,
immediately claimed by the cook, to appear later on the table; for
although the name seems instinctively to prejudice one against them, all
sharks are edible, and the smaller species, which can scarcely include
human material in their dietary scale, are by no means to be despised
when fresh provisions are unobtainable, in spite of being often somewhat
dry and flavourless.

But the nights were ample compensation for any possible discomfort by
day. Around was the calm flat sea, and overhead a pale blue sky, across
which swung the tropic moon, so bright that all but the larger stars
were drowned in light. Then, when the heat of day was over, we would
take our pillows on deck and--in a perfect silence but for the creaking
booms and the water gurgling in the scupper-pipes--watch mast and stars
swing slowly to and fro until sleep brought unconsciousness of the night
and its beauty.

But it is not always so even in the tropics, and the contrary, and not
infrequent, experience, without going to extremes, is the squall of a
moonless night.

As the dense clouds rapidly advance from the horizon and blot out the
stars, one is left in inky darkness broken only by the glimmer of the
lamps in the binnacle. Soon the wind comes tearing down and whistles
loudly in the rigging, while with lowered sail, the vessel seems to fly
through the water--judging by the rolling wings of foam that stream from
her shoulders and gleam weirdly in the green and red rays of the
sidelights. Presently the rain falls in a stinging chilly torrent,
killing the breeze and leaving the boat rolling uncomfortably on the
surface; and when the furious downpour is over, and the night is quiet
once more, all that remains to show the past disturbance is sodden
canvas, stiffened cordage, and the uneasy heave of the wind-whipped sea.

So the squall passes--generally leaving a calm behind it--having in a
little space squandered enough unavailing breeze to have helped the
vessel on her course for hours to come.

At last, one evening, we saw Narkondam from the masthead, about sixty
miles away; and next morning Barren Island had risen above the horizon.
These two little islands, eastern outliers of the Andamans, and
connecting links between the eruptive regions of Burma and Sumatra, are
both of volcanic origin, though the former is now extinct.

Barren Island, about two miles in diameter, is merely the crater of a
volcano rising abruptly from the sea, which, a quarter of a mile from
shore, is nearly everywhere 150 fathoms or more in depth.

Approaching from the east, we caught a glimpse, while still some
distance off, of the black tip of an eruptive cone, showing above the
rim of the crater, which at a nearer view proved to be of igneous
basalt, clothed on the outer slopes with a growth of creepers, bushes,
and of trees 50 to 60 feet high, frequented by numbers of fruit pigeons.

On the north-west side of the island the wall of the old crater has been
broken down, and a large gap about a hundred yards wide at the base
affords an easy means of access to the interior. It is through this
opening that the best view of the cone is obtained from seawards.

As we sailed past the gap that afternoon the scene was one of striking
beauty. Against a background of bright blue sky the little island rose
from a sea of lapis-lazuli, which ceaselessly dashed white breakers on
the rocky shores. The steep brown slopes, part clothed in brilliant
green, framed in the cone--a black and solid mass, round which a pair of
eagles circled slowly.

Fortunately for those vessels which may visit the island, there is one
place off-shore where soundings can be obtained with the handline, and
there we came to anchor in 15 fathoms, a little beach and clump of
coconut palms bearing N.N.E., a quarter of a mile away.

Sails were soon stowed and we rowed off to reconnoitre the gap, which is
the only practicable landing-place; everywhere else the land slopes
steeply to the sea. To the south a heavy swell was breaking on the
shore, but in the little cove formed here the sea was perfectly calm,
and so clear that as we passed into shallower water the coral bottom, 10
fathoms down, was plainly visible.

A rough wall of lava about a dozen feet high stretches across the
opening, and to the left of this, among the stones and boulders of the
shore, we found, below high-water mark, a little stream of fresh water
trickling to the sea; it is the only water on the island, and at that
time was at a temperature of 97.5° F.[6]

The only inhabitants of any size that the island can boast of are a
large herd of goats, whose well-worn tracks show plainly on every slope
and cliff. A score of these animals, left in 1891 by the station steamer
from Port Blair, have so thriven that their descendants must now be
numbered in hundreds, and are so free from fear, and unsuspicious, that
had we needed them we could have butchered any quantity.

From the landing-place the ground slopes gently upward to the floor of
the crater, which is about 50 feet above sea level. In the centre of
this rises the little cone of slightly truncated form. Symmetrical in
outline, 1000 feet high and perhaps 2000 feet in diameter at the base,
there is nothing it reminds one of more closely than a huge heap of
purplish-black coal-dust, with patches and streaks of brown on the top.

To right and left of the base, and thence towards the sea, flows a broad
black stream of clinkery lava, the masses of which it is composed
varying in dimensions from rugged blocks of scoriæ a ton or more in
weight to pieces the size of one's fist. The journey across it would be
one of some difficulty, were it not that the goats, coming from all
parts of the island in their need for water, by constantly travelling to
and fro in the same line, have worn a smooth and deep path from side to
side, some 200 yards distant from the sea.

The level ground at the base of the cone, widest on the southern side,
is covered with tall bamboo grass and various kinds of low bushes. On
the inner slopes of the crater, the south and east sides, which are of
rocky formation, support a certain amount of small forest, in which we
quickly noticed the absence of such tropical forms as palms, rattans and
lianas, and of trees more than 60 or 70 feet high and 4 or 5 feet in
diameter;[7] the remaining sides, composed mainly of volcanic ash,
afford foothold only to a coarse tussocky plant growing in clumps on the
loose black dust. We found these latter slopes not at all an attractive
scene of operations, for the feet sank and slipped at every step, and
raised at the same time clouds of fine black dust.

During the day the heat in the interior was extreme, for the sun's rays
beat down upon, and were reflected from, the dark slopes, while the wall
of the crater completely cut off any sea breeze. We did not ascend the
cone, for our stay was to be short, and we wished to investigate the
fauna as fully as possible; but from reports of the visits paid to the
island once every three or four years from Port Blair, it would seem
that the slight signs of activity still existent consist of an issue of
steam and the continued sublimation of sulphur; while of the two cones
which form the top, one is cold, and already bamboo grass and ferns are
beginning to clothe the entire summit. There is ample proof in those
details which have been recorded of the island during the last century
that the volcano is rapidly becoming quiescent, and is indeed, perhaps
verging on a condition of extinction, as has long been the case with

Captain Blair, who passed near in 1795, writes of enormous volumes of
smoke and frequent showers of red-hot stones. "Some were of a size to
weigh three or four tons, and had been thrown some hundred yards past
the foot of the cone. There were two or three eruptions while we were
close to it; several of the red-hot stones rolled down the sides of the
cone and bounded a considerable way beyond us.... Those parts of the
island that are distant from the volcano are thinly covered with
withered shrubs and blasted trees."

A few years later Horsburgh records an explosion every ten minutes, and
a fire of considerable extent burning on the eastern side of the crater.
In the next thirty years, the subterranean forces had considerably
diminished in activity, and at the end of that period only volumes of
white smoke with no flame were to be seen. Drs Mouat and Liebig, who
visited the island within a few months of each other in 1857, write
respectively of volumes of dark smoke, and clouds of hot, watery vapour.
In 1866, a whitish vapour was emitted from several deep fissures, and
about 1890, steam was seen to be issuing at the top from a sulphur-bed,
which was liquid and pasty, and a new jet was coming from a lump on the
sloping side of the cone; while the sole evidence of activity now to be
observed is the deposition of sulphur, and an escape of steam that often
condenses on the surface rocks.

Concerning the fauna of the island, birds--inside the crater--were not
numerous: commonest were a little white-eye (_Zosterops palpebrosa_),
and the Indian cuckoo, which swarmed everywhere, its loud cries, "ko-el,
ko-el," resounding in all directions. The only mammals other than the
goats were rats, which, while of one species (_Mus atratus_, sp. nov.),
afford a rather curious example of range of colouring, for while many
were of the usual brown shade, a great number were of a glossy
coal-black, much resembling in tint the lava and volcanic dust in which
they made their homes. The island is everywhere riddled with their
holes, but though so numerous, the land-crabs may fairly claim to divide
the place with them. Trapping for rats was a failure, for no sooner was
one caught than it would be torn to pieces by the crabs, who in other
instances would spring the trap long before the others were attracted by
the bait.

Altogether we landed four times, but soon found that very little variety
was to be obtained: the sea, however, swarmed with fish, and many fine
catches of rock-cod, trigger-fish, and mullet, 20 to 70 lbs. in weight,
were made by the crew.

Late one evening we left Barren Island, and with a fair though moderate
breeze, which, however, soon drew round against us, covered the 36 miles
to the Andamans proper, and anchored before noon next day in the
Kwang-tung Juru.

From a distance, all the islands of the Archipelago appear to rise to
about the same height,--between 500 and 600 feet--presenting a fairly
level sky-line from north to south, and with the exception of East
Island, which shows a white sandy beach, all seem fringed with thickets
of mangroves.

The strait, which is about a mile wide, separates the islands of John
and Henry Lawrence, and with its smooth water and low banks, on which
the veil of mangrove and jungle, extending to the water's edge, is
broken at short intervals by small bluffs of pale clay shale, might
easily, but for its brilliant blue colour, be mistaken for a quiet

We landed in the afternoon on the eastern shore, and at once set to work
cutting a path, for here was the densest kind of Andaman jungle, and
although within it one comes across little patches where the bush is
fairly open, it is, on the whole, a wild tangled mass of trunks and
branches, bound together by countless ropes of creeping bamboo and
thorny rattan.

Cutting right and left, avoiding a thick bush here and a hanging screen
of creepers there, perspiring at every step, we forced a sinuous way in
from the beach, until, coming upon a well-trodden pig-track, we found
progress so much easier, that, with a little chopping now and again, we
were able to move about with some degree of freedom, and along the path
so slowly made, a long line of traps was set and baited in readiness for

Such a performance is one that regularly occurs during the first visit
to each fresh locality in which one collects, and on these occasions the
noise caused by chopping away branches and crashing through the bushes
very naturally makes the denizens of the jungle conspicuous by their

Afterwards, however, as you move quietly along the path, with all the
faculties freely given to the detection of those various objects to the
desire for possession of which your presence is due, the jungle seems a
much less lonely place, and after days spent in wandering in its shade,
during which a bit more path has been cut here, and a few more yards of
open space added there, you find that you can take quite a long walk,
entirely uninterrupted by use of the _parang_ hanging at your side.

Among the few birds shot that first afternoon were the beautiful
Andamanese oriole, with gorgeous plumage of black and yellow, and a
peculiar cuckoo--_Centropus andamanensis_--soberly clad in brown and
grey. This bird was a source of much disappointment on one occasion.
There are no squirrels known to the Andamans, and seeing what I took for
one, without waiting, in the momentary excitement of an apparently fresh
discovery, to look more closely, I made a rapid snap-shot, and down
tumbled a cuckoo; my consequent disgust may be imagined. The bird,
however, can easily be mistaken for a small mammal, for besides
resembling one, with its dark brown plumage and fairly long tail, its
habit is to spring from bough to bough and creep along the branches in a
very rodent-like manner.

Warned by the fading daylight, we returned to the shore, and found a
quarter of a mile of dry coral between ourselves and the water, with the
dinghy high and dry, so, after making it fast to the mangroves, we
picked a way across the reef and hailed the schooner for another boat.

These coral-reefs, although their beauty of form and colour--an endless
change of myriad shapes and tints--when seen through the clear water
from a boat above is quite beyond description, awaken far less
admiration when they have to be crossed on foot while the tide is low.
It is impossible for even natives to cross them barefooted. Nearest the
shore comes first a belt of mud and coral _débris_ that is easily
traversed; next lies a broad strip of sharp and brittle madrepores which
break and crumble beneath one's weight; while, seaward, rise from deep
water the Astræas--great solid masses of which the reefs are mostly
built; and as one jumps from mound to mound, one vaguely wonders at
which of those in front a slip may occur, and as the least result plunge
one head over heels into the pools around. With a small boat, however,
shallow and quick-turning, it is generally possible to pass through
these latter and reach a point, where, protected by boots, the shore
may be attained at the slight expense of a wetting below the knees.

To escape this unpleasant little journey, we moved a day or two later
farther up the strait to where the shore was free from coral, and
therefore more accessible, although having reached it, we were
confronted by a precipitous cliff of crumbling earth, but when the top
was gained, after a zigzag climb, we moved on level ground covered with
heavy jungle.

The smaller species of birds were very rare here, but we got almost
immediately the first specimen of the island parrots--the brilliant
green _Palæornis magnirostris_. This bird is the local representative of
a continental form, from which it differs only in the enormous size of
the bill, which in the male is of bright scarlet.

It is a somewhat callous thing to attempt to do, but should one succeed
in only severely wounding a parrot, others of the species are sure to be
obtained. The cries of the injured bird so attract its companions that
they will gather near from all parts within hearing, and seem so
possessed with curiosity to know what is wrong, as to be, for the time,
perfectly oblivious of the collector and his gun, while they sit around
or fly nearer and nearer to their wounded companion and answer its loud
croaking notes with others equally harsh.

Parrots of three species were very numerous, and perhaps the most
frequent noise in the jungle was their shrill scream, uttered as they
flew from tree to tree. Many big black crows, too, flopped--a word which
exactly describes their movement--noisily about, and, when hidden by a
screen of leaves, we mimicked their cawing notes, more bewildered birds
it would be difficult to find. In these woods the larger birds were
fairly common, and the traps obtained for us numerous rats of two
varieties, one of which squealed pitifully when approached (_Mus
stoicus_, sp. nov., and _M. flebilis_, sp. nov.).

The Archipelago is inhabited by a tribe known as Aka-Balawa, now on the
verge of extinction, as it numbers only twenty individuals; but the
sole traces of occupation we came across were the decayed remains of a
canoe, lying up one of the mangrove creeks that branch off from the

We remained here three days, all that could be spared from the time
given to the cruise, and early on January 11th left for Port Blair.



    We enter the Harbour--Surveillance--Ross Island Pastimes--Visit
    the Chief Commissioner--The Harbour--Cellular Jail--Lime
    Kilns--Phoenix Bay--Hopetown--Murder of Lord Mayo--Chatham
    Island--Haddo and the Andamanese--Tea Gardens--Viper Island and
    Jail--The Convicts--Occupations--Punishments--Troops--Departure.

A fresh breeze from the north raised an army of dancing white-caps on
the sea, as, rolling along with the wind astern, we made the run to Port
Blair in about seven hours.

Easily picking up the Settlement while some distance off, on account of
its proximity to Mount Harriet--a pointed hill rising about 1200
feet--we came to anchor to the south of the jetty inside Ross Island,
and were immediately boarded by one of the native police--a
representative of which body was always on board during the day
throughout our stay. This measure is taken to see that the crews of
vessels in the harbour hold no communication with the convicts, and also
for the prevention of smuggling.

Soon afterwards the doctor and port officer came aboard: both these
gentlemen seemed at first to regard us with some suspicion, and indeed
by this time, more than two months out from port, we were certainly a
rather ruffianly looking party.

The island of Ross is situated at the mouth of the harbour, and tends
greatly towards its protection. It is hilly, about 200 acres in area,
and is divided into two almost equal parts by a wall running east and
west across it; the southern portion is occupied by the barracks of the
convicts, and the other contains the headquarters of the Settlement.

On the summit stands the pleasant-looking residence of the Chief
Commissioner; the church, and the barracks (architecturally modelled on
Windsor Castle) for European troops; both the latter built of a handsome
brown stone quarried on the mainland. Below these come the mess,
containing a fine library and some beautiful examples of wood-carving
executed by Burmese convicts; then the brown-roofed bungalows of the
Settlement officers, all bowered in tropic foliage, amongst which
graceful palms and traveller's trees stand prominently forth; and lower
still, near the sea, are the treasury, commissariat stores, and other
Government buildings. The whole place--in itself of much natural
beauty--is kept in most perfect condition by a practically unlimited
supply of convict labour.

At first sight, it seemed an altogether delightful spot to find in such
an isolated corner of the earth; but its melancholy aspect is quickly
and forcibly brought home to one by a visit to the jail on Viper Island,
and by the continuous presence of the convicts, who are rendered
conspicuous by their fetters, or neck-rings, supporting the numbered
badges by which the wearers are distinguished.

As usual with our countrymen, "when two or three are gathered together"
in distant portions of the world, plentiful facilities for outdoor
amusements have come into being. There are cricket and tennis
grounds--the latter both concrete and grass--near which a band of
convicts discourses very fair music several times a week. There is a
sailing club too, and nearly every Saturday throughout the year races
for a challenge cup are held in the breezy harbour, at which a score of
various craft are often found competing; and the Volunteer Rifle Corps
has some thirty members, who compete with gun and revolver for a
numerous list of prizes and trophies. Good salt-water fishing is to be
had with the rod, for fish in great variety are everywhere abundant; and
on the mainland, near Aberdeen, golf and hockey are played.

With all this, it is probable that the gentler sex find things somewhat
dull at times, for shopping, in the feminine sense of the word, is
impossible. There are no shops, and the wants of the community are
supplied by a co-operative store, at which, it is reported, in more than
one year recently, articles have been sold at a price considerably under
cost. Besides this, there is only the native bazaar, which is, of
course, ubiquitous in the East.

Before visiting the Nicobars, it is necessary for all vessels to obtain
a permit, so, in duty bound, we called one morning on the Chief
Commissioner, and to him we are indebted for much information that
became valuable in the next few months.

Colonel Temple, who takes much interest in the natives of his district,
particularly from a philological standpoint, possesses a very complete
ethnological collection of Andamanese and Nicobarese articles, and an
aviary containing a great number of the birds inhabiting the two groups
of islands. All these objects we were fortunate enough to see, and so
gained at the outset a very good idea of those things we were so anxious
to obtain specimens of for ourselves.

One morning, in the company of Mr P. Vaux, acting port officer, we made
a delightful tour round the harbour in one of the Government launches.

Port Blair is a long, ragged indentation, about seven miles from head to
mouth, broken and diversified by numerous little bays and promontories.
The shores--intersected by numerous roads--are almost entirely cleared
from jungle, and since they have been in this condition, fever has been
practically unknown amongst the European community.

Passing first close by the suburb of Aberdeen, which is on the mainland
just opposite Ross, we obtained a good view of the Cellular Jail, a huge
building of red-brown bricks, with long arms--three storeys in
height--stretching from a common centre like the rays of a starfish. It
has been built almost entirely from local resources, and with local
establishment and labour, and holds 663 cells and the accompanying jail
buildings. Here each newcomer is incarcerated in solitude for six
months, with the double intention of such confinement acting both as a
moral sedative and a warning of what may happen again if his behaviour
is not satisfactory in future.

We steamed along past the brickfields; the kilns, where, from the raw
coral, lime is manufactured; but as the salt cannot be thoroughly washed
out, and subsequently effloresces from the mortar, the result is a
rather inferior quality.

At Phoenix Bay, a little farther up the harbour, where we landed to
inspect the shipyard and workshops, are sheds fitted up with apparatus
for blacksmiths and latheworkers, carpenters and woodcarvers, where
occupation is provided for more than 600 skilled workmen. The numerous
boats one sees passing to and fro in the harbour are built here, for the
shipyard can undertake anything from a 250-ton lighter or 70-feet
steam-launch down to a half--rater or the smallest dinghy. The materials
for construction are close to hand, since the woods used (_padouk_ for
the planking and _pyimma_ for frames) are obtained from the neighbouring

Some years ago Phoenix Bay was a swamp, but now large, brick, steam
workshops and wooden sheds of the marine yard, in which the lighters and
launches are constructed and repaired, stand on the land reclaimed; and
connected with these is a slipway, one of the largest in India, that is
entirely of local construction--the whole of the ironwork of the
carriage, rails, wheels, and ratchet, having been cast on the spot.

Almost opposite Phoenix Bay, the station of Hopetown, conspicuous by
its aqueduct, stands on the northern shore. It was here that in 1872
Lord Mayo, the most popular of Indian Viceroys, was murdered by a
fanatical prisoner.

The Viceroy had visited Mount Harriet in order to judge of its
suitability as a sanatorium, and had just finished the descent. "... The
ships' bells had just rung seven; the launch, with steam up, was
whizzing at the jetty stairs; a group of her seamen were chatting on the
pierhead. It was now quite dark, and the black line of the jungle seemed
to touch the water's edge. The party passed some large loose stones to
the left of the head of the pier, and advanced along the jetty, two
torchbearers in front ... and the Viceroy stepped quickly forward before
the rest to descend the stairs to the launch. The next moment the people
in the rear heard a noise, as of 'the rush of some animal,' from behind
the loose stones; one or two saw a hand and a knife suddenly descend in
the torch-light. The private secretary heard a thud, and instantly
turning round, found a man 'fastened like a tiger' on the back of the
Viceroy. In a second, twelve men were on the assassin; an English
officer was pulling them off, and with his sword hilt keeping back the
native guards, who would have killed the assailant on the spot. The
torches had gone out; but the Viceroy, who had staggered over the pier
side, was dimly seen rising up in the knee-deep water and clearing the
hair off his brow with his hand, as if recovering himself. His private
secretary was instantly by his side in the surf, helping him up the
bank. 'Burne,' he said quietly, 'they've hit me.' Then in a louder
voice, which was heard on the pier--'I'm all right, I don't think I'm
much hurt,' or words to that effect. In another minute he was sitting
under the smoky glare of the re-lit torches, on a rude native cart at
the side of the jetty, his legs hanging loosely down. Then they lifted
him bodily out of the cart, and saw a great dark patch on the back of
his light coat. The blood came streaming out, and the men tried to
stanch it with their handkerchiefs. For a moment or two he sat up in the
cart, then he fell heavily backwards. 'Lift up my head,' he said
faintly; and said no more."[8]

Leaving Phoenix Bay, we steamed past Chatham Island, where the
sawmills are situated, and where a number of hospital convalescents are
kept busy with the easy task of manufacturing rope and mats from the
coir prepared in Viper Jail. On the approach of a hurricane, vessels in
port proceed up harbour and anchor above this island, where they are
secure from all danger.

Our next stopping-place was at Haddo, where we visited the Andamanese in
their Homes, and out on the water saw a number of natives fishing from

The sheds in which the aborigines are domiciled are substantial
structures of attap, standing near the sea in the shade of coco palms.
We found present eight or nine women, and twice that number of men and
boys, who, on catching sight of our advance, ran out of doors to meet
us. Two or three babies present were carried by the mothers in a broad
band suspended from forehead or shoulder. The first thought that flashed
into one's mind on perceiving them, with their small stature, sooty
skins, and frizzly hair, was that here were a number of juvenile negroes
("niggers"): they are, however, far better-looking than that people, and
some of the women might almost be called pretty, even when judged from a
European standpoint.

For clothing, the men wore breech-clouts of red cotton, and strings of
beads or small shells about the neck: the ornaments of the women
consisted of similar necklaces, and several girdles of beads or bark, in
the lowest of which a green leaf was inserted, by way of apron. The hair
of the women was slightly shorter than the men's, but worn in a similar
fashion--all but a circular patch on the top of the head, like a
skull-cap, was shaved away, and this was often divided by a broad band
of bare skin running from back to front. Chest and back were covered
with skin decoration of the cicatrice type, which, healing without any
tendency to keloid, left a smooth mark, distinguished by its lustre only
from the normal surface. Many had smeared themselves with fat, which
gave the skin a very shiny appearance.

The bows carried were of the recurved paddle type that attains its
greatest development in the Andamans,[9] and the arrows were armed with
formidable iron points and barbs: the heads of these are detachable, and
are connected with a shaft by a short cord of fibre, which is wound
about the arrow by twisting the head in its socket. These arrows are
used in shooting pig, and of course much impede the escape of any
animal, by the shaft disengaging from the head and catching in the
undergrowth of the jungle. The bows were constructed of white wood, and
handled with the recurved end downward.

The foreheads of some of the women were daubed with white clay, and one,
in addition to a quantity of coral ornaments, wore suspended from her
neck a human skull daubed with red earth. This, however, is not, as was
long supposed, a sign of conjugal mourning, for any of the relatives or
intimate friends of a deceased person are qualified to wear his
disinterred bones, and the skull often passes round amongst a
considerable number of people.

We were agreeably surprised at the appearance of the natives, as they
were clean, pleasant-looking, and merry, apparently somewhat childish in
disposition, and much given to chatter and laughter.

On leaving, we flung a number of small coins amongst them, and these
were scrambled for with great noise and excitement.

The Homes are occupied from time to time only by the natives, who are
allowed to go and come as they please, and while dwelling in them are
supplied with provisions. Love of the jungle, and the life to which they
are born, is so deeply rooted in the aborigines, that although they
occupy the sheds intermittently for varying periods, few have been found
who are sufficiently attracted by the neighbouring civilisation to
become permanent residents.

As we proceeded up the harbour we caught a glimpse, at the head of Navy
Bay, of the tea gardens which have for some time been established there.
The product is very coarse and strong, and finds favour with the
European troops in India, and with the Madras Army.

Lastly we came to Viper Island, which has been not inappropriately
christened "Hell," for in Viper Jail are kept the very worst of the
prisoners in the Settlement, and it must not be forgotten that here are
collected the scum of the whole immense Indian Empire and of Burma as
well. No one is sent to the islands who has less than seven years to
serve, and many here, perhaps, are those, who, but for some flaw in the
evidence which convicted them, might long ago have paid the last penalty
for their crimes.

Viper Island is elevated in parts with a somewhat broken surface, and
the Jail, with its grey-and-white walls, standing among a group of
trees, shows picturesquely from the summit of a hill. A number of
convicts are confined to the island, besides those in the prison, and to
accommodate them barracks have been erected in various spots.

We landed on a jetty, and, passing by the guardhouse at its foot, soon
climbed the little hill, on the top of which the prison is situated.
First, and grimmest sight of all, came the condemned cells and the
gallows, and then we passed--accompanied by a guard of police--through
room after room full of men reclining on slabs of masonry. The shackled
inmates of these wards, who rose unwillingly with clanking irons at the
word of command, are under the control of promoted convicts made
responsible for their behaviour. The effect of our entrance varied with
different individuals; some, apparently apathetic and sullen, took no
notice whatever, while others seemed to evince the liveliest curiosity.

As the day of our visit was a Sunday, no work was being done: all the
inmates were undisturbed, save a few whose heads were being cropped, and
some convalescents receiving their midday ration--a _chapátí_, and an
ample portion of coarse boiled rice.

The scope allowed for employment in the prison is somewhat limited, for,
while the work must be of sufficient severity to act as a punishment, it
must of necessity be of such a nature that the tools accessory to it are
not of a kind that can be used by those handling them in an attack on
jailers or fellow-prisoners. Among the tasks set are coir-pounding, in
which a certain quantity must be produced and made into bundles every
day: the heavy mallets used are fastened, for safety, by a short lanyard
to the beam on which the husk is broken up. Again, oil has to be
expressed from a given weight of _copra_ by pounding the material in
iron mortars with unwieldy wooden pestles. Wool-teasing is yet another
form of occupation.

Besides the wards, there are a number of cells for solitary confinement;
some of these were occupied by prisoners suspected of malingering,
others by those awaiting punishment.

This last, of course, takes various forms, from--for instance--the dark
cell, where an offender may be incarcerated for twenty-four hours, to
castigation with a rattan, in which, it is said, the maximum sentence of
thirty strokes can be applied so severely as to be fatal to the
recipient. Lastly, of course, comes execution by hanging, which is
inflicted in the case of those prisoners, who, being already under
severe sentence, attempt the lives of their fellows, their warders, or
the officials of the Settlement.

The transportation of European offenders is now discontinued, but a
large number of female convicts are engaged mainly in turning the wool
prepared in Viper Jail into blankets.

Caste--a most important point in connection with people of India--is
carefully respected, and the Brahmin prisoners are nearly all employed
as cooks.

The majority of the convicts are from the Indian Peninsula, and are
resident for life. Of the Burmese, however, the greater part are serving
sentences of ten years, for engaging too recklessly in the national
pastime of dacoity, and many of them are employed in the jungle and as

To maintain discipline, and for the protection of the Settlement, a
military force of about 440 men is stationed at Aberdeen, Ross, and
Viper--two companies of European and four of native troops--and a
battalion of military police.

After leaving Viper Island we returned to the headquarters of the
Settlement, where next day we left behind the last post of civilisation
met with, until three months later we reached Olehleh, the most
northerly of the Dutch colonies in Acheen.



    Gunboat Tours--South Andaman--Rutland Island--Navigation--
    Landing-place--Native Camp--Natives--Jungle--Birds--Appearance
    of the Natives--Our Guests--Native Women: Decorations and Absurd
    Appearance--Trials of Photography--The Village--Food--Bows,
    Arrows, and Utensils--Barter--_Coiffure_--Fauna--Water--New

After leaving Port Blair, where we got up anchor at half-past three in
the morning to make the most of a light breeze, we sailed slowly along
the coast of South Andaman, until, rounding the point of the south-east
corner, we came to anchor in Macpherson Strait.

Just outside the port we met the R.I.M.S. _Elphinstone_ returning from a
census-taking visit to the Nicobars; three or four times a year she
makes a ten days' trip round the group, stopping at a few of the more
important places; and these cruises are almost the only thing that
brings home to the natives the fact that they are under the British raj.

For some distance south of the Settlement the land consists of
undulating grassy hills, dotted with coco palms, and streaked by
gullies, in which dark clumps of jungle still remain. It is an ideal
country for game, and some years ago hog-deer were introduced; but,
although they have multiplied, they are very rarely seen, and have
afforded but little sport.

Nearer the strait, the hills by the coast are still covered with forest;
and between the stretches of sandy shore at their feet grow luxuriant
thickets of mangroves.

Rutland Island, rising on the east in tall precipitous cliffs, on the
north slopes gently to the strait, which on both sides is bordered by
alternate tracts of yellow beach and bright green mangrove.

We hauled round Bird's Nest Cape--a bare rocky headland of serpentine,
still producing those edible delicacies which are responsible for the
name--and, with a man aloft to con a passage along the coral-reef,
carefully avoided a rock near mid-channel, and took up a berth in quiet
waters about a mile from the entrance of the strait.

When sailing along little known shores, especially in the tropics, a
look-out man should always be stationed at the masthead, for from that
place dangers of reef and rock unnoticed from the deck are plainly
visible. Year by year coral-reefs increase, and banks alter so greatly
that entire reliance cannot be placed on the chart, even though it be of
comparatively recent date.

We landed on South Andaman in a little bay, whose waters lapped a beach
of golden sand. It was, as usual, nearly filled with coral, but
fortunately the tide was never so low that we could not land directly on
the shore. To left and right the land rose in gentle hills, on the one
hand forest, and on the other grass-clothed, but beyond the centre,
where it was flat, lay an expanse of tangled swamp.

Although their tracks, made since the last high tide, ran all along the
beach, we saw no natives then or later; but just within the bush we
found an old camping-place--cold ashes, heaps of broken shells, and a
dilapidated hut about 6 feet square and high, made of light branches
stuck in the ground, with tops drawn together and covered with a few
palm leaves laid stem downwards.

That night a fire shone brightly on the beach of Rutland Island; and so
next morning, while Abbott in the dinghy went north to make the round of
the traps, I, with a crew in the whaleboat, rowed across the strait, and
when we were within two or three hundred yards of the shore, a tall
native ran down the beach and commenced waving a flag on the end of a
long pole.

As the sea was pounding heavily on the reef, a couple of men were left
in the boat to keep it off shore, and the rest of us, jumping overboard,
waded to the beach. Two or three other natives now arrived, and we
showed our good intentions by slapping them on their backs, with broad
grins, to the latter part of which process they responded most heartily.

It was too early in the day to get to work with the camera, so, after
fetching my gun from the boat, I struck into the jungle and spent an
hour with the more clothed of its inhabitants.

The jungle was of the kind that may perhaps be best described as forest:
that is to say, it was fairly free from the usual superabundance of
rattans, lianas, and all those creeping growths which close the
intervals among the trees with a thorny network of vegetation, and
compel the intruder to go where he can and not where he will. Mighty
trees towered upwards, branches interlacing and shutting out the sun,
while down below, in the aisles of tree-trunks, stood the smaller
brethren and the saplings, waiting the fall of some neighbouring giant
to give them in turn room to lift their branches towards the light.

Little blue fly-catchers, utterly fearless, flitted about in the lower
bushes, and, higher up, golden-billed grackles hopped or flew from
branch to branch, their loud clear whistles resounding through the
forest, whilst from the tops of the biggest trees came the deep "boom,
boom," of the great fruit-pigeons. However, although birds were fairly
numerous, I got but few prizes--best among them, perhaps, a pretty
little olive-green and yellow minivet (_Pericrocrotus andamanensis_),
and a black racquet-tailed drongo (_Dissemuroides andamanensis_), a bird
whose flight, as its long tail feathers stretch out behind, is extremely
graceful, and who possessed one of the sweetest combination of notes
heard in the jungle.

With such specimens in my bag, I presently came on a little stream, and
after following its course to the sea, tramped along the shore, and so
came back once more to the boat.

A large fire had been made on the beach, and near it, in spite of the
hot sun, the men sat fraternising with the members of the native
party--five men and boys, three women, and three children.

In this little company there proved to be the three biggest men we saw
among the Andamanese; in height, they stood 5 feet 4-3/4 inches, 5 feet
3-1/4 inches, and 5 feet 2 inches respectively.[10] Although possibly a
little weak proportionately in the legs, where the skin covering the
knee was so thickened and corrugated as to almost resemble callosities,
the members of the party were well built and not ungraceful, but spoilt
in most cases by a varying degree of distension of the abdomen: this
state of things is caused by the immense amount of food they will, when
possible, consume at a sitting; but the striking appearance of the
eldest matron of the tribe was a more or less temporary feature,
principally due to the interesting condition in which she was.

It was a pleasure to photograph these people, for they submitted to the
operation most docilely; and when, after taking a series of pictures, I
gave a graphic invitation to breakfast--pointing to my mouth, and
rubbing that portion of the figure situated in the middle front--the men
of the party all accepted the offer, and, reinforced by them, we
returned to the _Terrapin_.

Arrived on board, they were at first rather inquisitive, but after
inspecting the schooner and spending a little time below watching us at
work, they went forward, and seemed quite comfortable amongst the men.
As soon as it could be prepared, a large pailful of boiled rice was
placed before them, and this was finished without any sign of flagging
being shown. What a convenience the absence of tight clothing must be at
such times!

The next few hours were passed by them lying on deck in the sun, where,
out of regard for their feelings, we left them undisturbed, except for
the few moments during which they were measured. To a second bucket of
rice, offered before they left, they failed to do proper justice, but
took what remained ashore, where the women probably had their share.

We ran across the strait under canvas, before a light breeze, and the
sail was a source of huge amusement to all but the youngest of the
party, who was intermittently busied in returning to daylight all the
food he had previously consumed.

Following what seems a wide-spread custom, the ladies ashore, had, to
some extent, got themselves up for the reception of visitors. Although
the previous dress--a small bunch of grass slung from the waist by a
cord--fulfilled all requirements, they were now further decorated with
an almost complete coating of ochreous clay, through which black eyes,
nose, and lips showed below a bald pate with ludicrous effect. The
babies, too, had been glorified in the same manner, and we felt quite
bashful and shabby in our old pyjamas.

So absurdly comical did they appear, that it was only by much
perseverance I was able to photograph them again, for whenever I
attempted to adjust the focus, the picture on the screen gave rise to
such fits of laughter that the camera was in danger of being upset. Even
the boat's crew, unemotional Malays as they were, lay about, doubled up
in paroxysms of laughter, which, increased by the looks of wonder and
the ingenuous smiles with which my subjects persisted in regarding us,
continued until the point of sheer exhaustion was reached. The old lady
of the party and myself became great friends, and when on our departure
I presented her with my handkerchief (all that I then had left) as a
souvenir of our visit--as I gravely tied it about her head, I am sure we
made an impressive picture.

The huts, or _cháng_, were four in number, and stood side by side just
within the jungle, with the fronts facing inland. On a sloping framework
of thin branches, raised about 4 feet at the upper edge, and covering a
piece of ground 6 feet square, were laid sufficient palm leaves to make
a rain-proof shelter. The front and sides were left completely
unprotected, the earth below was covered with more palm leaves, and a
small fire was burning on the ground below an upper corner of each roof.

The only food they appeared to be supplied with was obtained from the
large trees beneath which the camp stood--a small round fruit with a
green skin, and a pleasantly-flavoured pulpy flesh; a large quantity of
dark-coloured beeswax was lying about, so honey was probably plentiful
and easily obtained.

By signs, we gave the men to understand that we wished to purchase bows
and arrows, and while these were being produced from some hiding-place
in the jungle, whither the natives requested us not to accompany them,
the women and children regaled themselves with a parcel of sugar which
had been brought for their special benefit.

We eagerly bought up all visible belongings that could be carried off.
Among these were small pots made from the joints of the giant bamboo,
conical baskets of rattan fibre, and large buckets carved from solid
wood, any cracks being sewn up with rattan and luted with wax; all these
were furnished with slings for ease in carrying.

The bows were not of the kind regarded as typical of the Andamanese, but
are fashioned in the style to which we are accustomed at home, with this
peculiarity--that instead of the rounded side or "belly" being nearest
the string, it is away from the archer when the weapon is held ready for
use. They are about 5 feet long, and of a material resembling rosewood;
the tips are cut away, so as to leave a shoulder for the string to rest
on, and below these points the bow is whipped for an inch with fine
cord. The string is of twisted fibre, with a loop at either end, made by
taking a half-hitch and then twisting in the loose end for a short

Arrows have the shaft of bamboo, to which is attached a long point of
hard wood, and the joint is whipped. Some of the arrows used for
fishing are triple-headed. A fairly deep notch is made to receive the
bowstring, and the butt of the arrow is tightly scored transversely,
with the idea of affording a better grip. The lengths varied from 45 to
66 inches.

While being strung, the bow is held almost vertically, with one end
resting on the ground. A foot is then placed on the centre, and the
upper end drawn towards the operator until the loop can be slipped over

The pull used may be anything between 50 and 60 lbs., and though in the
jungle, with their silent step and quality of remaining unseen, the
Andamanese are dangerous as enemies, in the open they would be less
formidable, for it is doubtful whether their arrows will carry more than
a hundred yards, and certainly their shooting, as we ourselves saw,
possessed little accuracy at more than a quarter of that distance.

In return for the various articles obtained, we gave an axe, a _parang_,
a file, a number of long French nails, and a quantity of red cotton,
with which things they seemed very satisfied; and we left behind, as a
parting gift, a good supply of rice and leaf tobacco.

The dress of the women I have already described: their heads were bald,
entirely shaved of hair. The men were only partially cropped, and what
hair was left was short, and had much the appearance of a small
skull-cap. Those who were ornamented with clay had applied it in long
stripes down arms and body, and across the face, while for further
decoration some wore a cord about the waist, or armlets of fibre tightly
fastened round the biceps.

We found the shores of South Andaman a splendid locality for collecting.
One morning in particular I remember. On landing we saw all about the
beach the tracks of numerous pigs that had come down in the night to
obtain a meal of the trepang, crabs, and molluscs left exposed by the
ebb tide; and I had not been five minutes ashore before I knocked over
an equal number of beautiful parrots (_P. faciatus_), a species we found
everywhere very common throughout the Andamans.

A little group of coco palms, in a corner of the bay, marks a spring
from which we obtained good water, and adjacent stood a small leafless
tree, whose branches, however, bore quantities of a brilliant red
blossom (_Ixora_, sp.?). To this came birds in such numbers that I
remained beneath it all the morning. Here I obtained our first specimens
of the Andaman sun-bird, a tiny thing with olive back, blue throat, and
yellow breast, and also one of the most beautiful of kingfishers
(_Halcyon saturatior_), a glorious combination of bright chestnut,
white, and vivid blues that one could never tire of admiring. Common was
the little crested bulbul, clothed in black and white, with crimson
ear-coverts, and equally so the brilliant-plumaged oriole, while the
sleek-looking Andaman myna, soberly feathered in black and white,
occurred in no small numbers. Indeed, birds came and went so quickly,
that I was often hard put to it to select the proper cartridge, and
frequently three or four specimens at a time lay waiting to be stowed
away in the game bag.

Time and place combined to make a naturalist's paradise, and I did not
desist from collecting until my stock of wool, paper, and ammunition
were exhausted. It must not be thought, however, that such an experience
is in any way common, for it is seldom that the work is so easy or the
harvest so large.

Amongst the birds obtained on South Andaman was a pigeon that has since
proved to be new (_Osmotreron_, sp. nov.); while, as far as mammals were
concerned, rats of two species--one hitherto unrecorded, _Mus
taciturnus_, sp. nov., and _M. andamanensis_--were fairly common; and we
were fortunate in obtaining a palm-civet, of the species peculiar to the
islands, which for several nights had been committing depredations along
the line of traps; and also a single example of a new shrew (_Crocidura



    Position of the Cinques--Anchorage--Clear Water--The Forest--Beach
    Formation--Native Hut--Little Andaman--Bumila Creek--Natives--
    Flies--Personal Decoration--Dress and Modesty--Coats of Mud--
    _Coiffure_--Absence of Scarification--Elephantiasis--A Visit to
    the Village--Peculiar Huts--Canoe--Bows and Arrows--The Return
    Journey--A Slight _contretemps_--Andamanese Pig--We leave the

The channel that separates Rutland Island from Little Andaman is about
28 miles wide, and is everywhere less than 50 fathoms in depth. Several
small wooded islets rise above its shallow waters, leaving in the
centre, however, a clear stretch of sea--the Duncan Passage--which is
sometimes traversed by ships passing through the Archipelago.

At the northernmost group of these islets, the Cinques, we spent a day,
before visiting the coast of Little Andaman. The two islands, which are
narrow and hilly, stretch for about 6 miles in an almost N. and S.
direction, and are almost joined by a reef of rocks awash at high tide;
they are only 3 miles distant from the south-east end of Rutland Island,
and 9 miles from Macpherson Strait. We anchored between the islands, in
a little bay in the shore of the northernmost, with the reef of rocks to
the eastward.

Here, as in all such islands where there are no streams or mangrove
swamps, the water was excessively clear--so clear that we could perceive
fish swimming amongst the coral, and the anchor lying on the bottom 10
fathoms below.

The forest on the southern and western shores presents a striking
contrast to the jungle of the other islands, and bears witness to the
strength of the south-west monsoon. The slopes of the hills are scantily
covered with grass, and on the lower ground, amongst the starved and
twisted trees, numerous dead branches show white against the scanty
foliage of the other wind-warped limbs. Below, the effect is stranger
still, for the shrubs and bushes grow in rows running inland from the
beach, so that one can walk up and down between them as in the lines of
an artificial plantation.

The beach on which we landed was composed entirely of white coral sand,
and upon it we found graceful branches of a brown and white coralline
(_Isis hippurus_), and numbers of pearly-chambered spirulas. After
forcing a way through the matted foliage, we reached the more protected
parts of the island, where the jungle was of a more luxuriant
description; but animal life was very scarce everywhere, and our list of
the avifauna contains the names of ten species only.

There are no permanent inhabitants, but the Cinques are occasionally
visited by the natives (Öngés of Little Andaman and natives from Port
Blair), who probably find it a good locality for turtle and fish. We
picked up in the jungle an arrow of a kind afterwards obtained at Little
Andaman, and discovered a path that ran from south to north, where, on
the shore of a little sandy cove, stood a hut similar to those already
seen, save that sides had been added, thus making a semicircular
shelter, and a small platform of sticks erected above the fireplace. A
number of baskets hung from the roof, and for flooring, instead of palm
leaves, there was an old teak grating and some planks--flotsam, perhaps,
from a shipwrecked vessel.

At midnight a fair breeze sprang up and we made sail, crawling slowly
southward by its help, until, twelve hours later, we dropped anchor off
the coast of Little Andaman.

Eyubelong, as it is called by its inhabitants, the Öngés--a tribe, who,
by their bows, absence of scarification, and other indications, seem to
be closely akin to the Jarawas--is in shape an irregular ellipse, with
an area of rather more than 250 square miles, and a level verdure-clad
surface that rises gradually to a height of 600 feet in the interior
towards the south. It has no harbour on its coasts, but on the northern
shores two or three creeks run inland for short distances. We brought up
off the northern of these, by name Bumila, which seemed to offer a
well-protected anchorage; but when the boat was sent off with a
sounding-line to make observations, we found that coral reefs,
stretching from either side, so narrowed and complicated the entrance
that it would be a task of some difficulty to take the schooner in, and
one still more so to get her out, against the prevailing breeze. The
lead, too, at low tide, gave the greatest depth as 8 feet, and even in
the channel large coral heads rose irregularly from the bottom: it was,
therefore, decided that we should make a short stay only, and that
during it the _Terrapin_ should remain outside.

Already a group of natives had gathered on the beach, all waving bunches
of leaves, and since we had been warned that all the tribes but those at
the north end were still hostile, we concluded that this particular band
were displaying that token of friendship common to nearly all
savages--the green branch of a tree. Very soon, however, we found that
the waving leaves were for a far more practical purpose, and that the
creek thoroughly deserved its name. Bumila is S. Andamanese for "fly,"
and I don't think I ever saw so many of those pestiferous insects
together at one time. They swarmed round the natives and settled on
their naked bodies in hundreds, and no sooner had we landed than we were
assailed in so impartial a fashion that we quickly followed the example
of the inhabitants and supplied ourselves with defensive branches.

The Andamanese were quite friendly--although they are said to be
treacherous and scarcely to be trusted in the south-western portion of
the island--so, after a short survey of the creek, we returned to the
_Terrapin_, accompanied by a legion of flies, together with as many
natives as the boat would hold, and the latter were soon at work on as
hearty a meal as that made by their countrymen at Rutland Island. The
party met at Rutland Island were also Öngés and were merely visiting
Rutland Island on their way to or from Port Blair.

By the time we landed again in the afternoon, the number of waiting
natives had increased to about thirty, and they continued to arrive
until between sixty and seventy were present, of all ages and both

One of our party, who stands some inches over 6 feet in his socks, and
is proportionately built, was a contrast to a group of natives, none of
whom were more than 5 feet in height; and nothing impressed my mind more
forcibly than this sight with the racial diminutiveness of the Negrito

By way of ornament, the men rang the changes on chaplets and armlets
made from the inner bark of a tree, and necklaces and girdles of cord,
in which was twisted some bright yellow material of a straw-like nature.
Similar ornaments were worn by the women, who, in addition, wore for
dress an apron, or bunch of a fibre resembling bass, suspended in front
from the centre of the girdle. Everything but the aprons was freely
parted with, but the modesty of the women was so strong--although the
men go completely unclad--that we could not obtain them until we thought
of tendering sufficient cloth beforehand to serve as a skirt, and then,
after draping this about themselves, they were able to remove the girdle
without doing violence to their praiseworthy scruples. Both sexes wore
also about the neck a small reticule or purse, of netted twine, which
served as a hold-all, and often contained tobacco, pipes, and fruit.

Both men and women cover themselves with a thick wash of reddish clay,
which, when fresh, gives them a very striking appearance. On one of the
men thus ornamented, the coating was applied in this wise:--On the face
a circular patch extending from brow to chin, but leaving nose and lips
black; on the front and back of the body large elliptical patches,
through which, while wet, the fingers were evidently drawn, leaving
broad bands of four black stripes; the arms were covered to half-way
down the forearm, and the wash was applied to the legs from mid-thigh to
shin. Several natives, besides this simple adornment, were daubed on
head and shoulders with a greasy mixture of red pigment and fat.

The heads of both sexes were in various stages between baldness and a
covering of hair of fair thickness: they shave, however, before the
tufts reach the spiral state seen in the natives frequenting Port Blair,
and the hair is never allowed to attain any length on temples and nape.
Like those seen at Rutland Island, their bodies were free from the
tattooing or scarification so noticeable on the South Andamanese. The
man who seemed to be chief of the tribe provided the only case of
elephantiasis remarked among these islands: it occurred with him in a
very mild form--merely a slight swelling of the left leg.[11]

Having taken a series of photographs, during which operation the women
were the cause of much laughter, as they stood in a row before the
camera, we started off westwards along the beach to visit the village
and obtain more curiosities. We set a rattling pace along the hot sand,
to see what the little people could do; but when, after travelling
nearly four miles, we reached the huts they occupied, those who had
started with us were still up, although they had to break into a jog
trot now and then to keep their position. They moved with a very springy
action, and a swing of the body from the hips.

The huts stand singly, at distances of several hundred yards from each
other, just within the shade of the jungle where it comes down to the
beach, and are very different in style and construction from the
majority of those of the northern islands. They are built to the shape
of a somewhat flattened cone, about 13 feet high, and 30 feet in
diameter. On a framework of light sticks, supported by twenty or more
upright poles planted irregularly about the interior, a thick covering
of large mats is laid. The mats are made by fastening the stripped
mid-ribs of a species of fern-palm side by side with a rattan lashing
after the style of a "chick," and then securing at right angles to the
foundation thus constructed a thick layer of the pinnæ of the same
plant. For doors, several of the lower mats are arranged to roll up, and
leave an opening about 4 feet square. Sleeping platforms are formed by
laying split bamboos lengthwise on a framework, measuring about 5 feet
by 4 feet, which is raised above the ground on legs 6 to 18 inches high.
Each hut contains a number of such bed-places, and beside each of them
were the ashes of a small fire.[12]

[Illustration: Little Andaman Canoe.]

Near the hut lay a nearly completed dug-out canoe (of the wood of
_Sterculia campanulata_), about 28 feet long by 3 feet wide and deep, of
the usual Andamanese form, with sawed-off ends, and projecting platforms
at bow and stern, forming convenient places to stand on when spearing
turtle and fish. The sides were left about 1-1/4 inches thick; and
although the canoe was constructed from soft wood, even now, when they
possess a few iron tools, such as small axes and files, the work must be
one of painful slowness.[13]

Their bows and arrows were like those from Rutland Island: many of the
former, however, were only 5 feet in length, while of the latter some,
in addition to the hardwood tip, had a bent nail lashed on in such a way
as to form both point and barb, and the butts of all were left smooth.

By the time we had finished at the encampment, night was drawing near,
but fifteen or twenty men accompanied us when returning. In the growing
darkness the journey back was far from easy: now we were ploughing
through loose sand and climbing over fallen trees, now dodging among
mangrove roots, or splashing thigh-deep through the water, which had
risen with the incoming tide. In such circumstances the natives showed
their superiority to ourselves by their agility in making a way amongst
roots and fallen trees, and by either their better eyesight in the dark
or familiarity with the path. Evidently they had come with the intention
of accompanying us on board; for when the boat was reached, all got into
it, and we had some trouble in persuading them to leave. The coral
bottom at the anchorage was very bad holding-ground, and had it come on
to blow, we might have been compelled to put to sea, in which case we
did not wish to return. The natives were perfectly harmless, as they had
no weapons; but we had no desire to leave an unpleasant impression for
the benefit of future visitors, so had recourse to gentle measures only.
All, however, clung to the sides and thwarts of the boat, and gave vent
to a chorus of refusal, "Nai, nai," and the childish behaviour
continued, until one, more hardly pressed than the others, jumped
overboard with a yell of rage, when the rest immediately followed suit.
We then found that a rowlock had been carried off; but when we turned
towards the shore with the momentary idea of recovering it, the natives
all disappeared into the jungle, so we rowed off with three oars, and
reached the schooner about 7.30 P.M.

Next morning, on landing to shoot, we found the little _contretemps_ of
the night before entirely ignored, for a party of natives was waiting
for us at the creek.

Although, probably, not collected on before, the island, during the few
hours we spent on it, produced nothing fresh in the way of birds.
Abbott, however, bagged the pig peculiar to the group (_Sus
andamanensis_), which, like the human inhabitants, is diminutive in
stature. Our specimen, although a full-grown boar, stood only 20 inches
high at the shoulder, and was just double that in length of head and
body. He was skinned on the spot, and the carcase, together with a
viviparous shark we had caught during the night, and a quantity of red
cotton, we presented to the natives as a parting gift, and then, shaking
hands with them all round, we said farewell to the Andamans and put to

[Illustration: "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits.]



    To the Nicobars--A Tide-Race--A Change of Scene--Sáwi Bay--
    Geological Formation--V. Solomon--M[=u]s Village--Living-Houses--
    Kitchens--Fruit-Trees--The Natives--Headman Offandi--
    "Town-Halls"--Death-House--Maternity Houses--Hospitals--Floods--
    "Babies' Houses"--Birds--Oil Press--Canoes--Offandi--"Friend
    of England"--"Frank Thompson"--"Little John"--Thirst for
    Information--Natives' Nick-names--Mission School Boys' Work--
    A Truant--The Advantage of Canoes--A Spill--Our Method of
    Landing--Collecting Native Birds--A new Bat--Coconuts--
    V. Solomon--The Nicobarese and Christianity--Water--Area of
    Kar Nicobar--Geology--Flora--Supplies.

"_21st January 1901._--The American yacht _Terrapin_ anchored at Sáwi
Bay about 7 P.M. I sent men to inquire about the vessel, and the
gentlemen on board informed me that they had come _via_ Port Blair, and
would land early next morning.

"_22nd January 1901._--Early this morning Dr Abbott and Mr Kloss landed
and came to 'Temple Villa,' and gave me to understand the object of
their visit. They remained here till the 27th inst., and I gave them
every possible help. They left the island well pleased with their visit.
Many Nicobarese came from other villages with articles in the hope of
purchasing rum, but they were sadly disappointed: as I had begged the
gentlemen not to encourage the people with spirits, and they complied
with my request."--_From the diary of Catechist V. Solomon._

The wind was fair, but light, as, on 20th January 1901, we left Bumila
Creek for the Nicobars, and we sailed slowly along the western coast of
Little Andaman with the shore in full view. A sandy beach ran all along,
with here and there a crop of rock breaking out, and behind it,
stretching right across the island, spread dense unbroken jungle.

At distant intervals along the shore stood several of the peculiar
conical huts, and as we proceeded southward the forest gradually assumed
the grey and twisted look due to the force of the south-west winds.

Now, however, all was calm and still, and the _Terrapin_ sailed on such
a steady upright keel, that photographs taken the day before were
developed without spilling any of the solution used from the shallow
dishes. Heavy rain, with which we filled the tanks, fell during the
night, and at noon next day we sighted the low island of Kar Nicobar,
lying some 22 miles away.

As we neared the north-west part, after an 80 miles' sail, a large
village of beehive huts on posts came into view, and the immense number
of coconut palms along the eastern shore was very striking.

West of the point, we sailed into a strong tide-race, the current
running against the wind at a rate of 4 to 5 knots, and knocking up a
heavy, broken sea, in which the schooner yawed and rolled about, taking
water on board from every direction. Although the wind was dead aft, it
was long before we made any way. With the fore-topsail down, we remained
stationary; with it up, we gradually moved ahead. After a time, however,
the tide slackened, and we sailed slowly into Sáwi Bay, where we found a
Moulmein brig, the _Princess of Wales_, loaded to her bulwark rail with
coconuts, and passing close by we anchored inshore of her, in 7 fathoms,
just as night fell.[14]

An hour or two later, a large outrigger canoe brought alongside a party
of men--some of whom spoke English fairly--to ascertain what we were;
and by the rays of a lantern, we obtained our first glimpse of the
Nicobarese, who appeared, with yellow-brown skin, straightish hair, and
medium stature, to be somewhat akin to Malays.

Here was a change indeed, both in place and people. From islands densely
jungle-covered to open stretches of grass-land and groves of coco palms:
from a little, black-skinned, frizzly-haired race, in an exceedingly low
plane of existence, to a brown-complexioned, lank-haired people, of fair
height, who are almost semi-civilised, live in good dwellings, cultivate
food products, and possess domesticated animals.

The houses alone were typical of the change of race: those of the Negro
peoples--the stock to which the Andamanese belong--are built directly on
the ground, while here, among a group of (practically) the Malayan race,
the dwellings were universally raised on piles.[15]

We landed next morning by wading through the surf, for the sea, though
smooth off-shore, was breaking on the beach.

The shores of the bay rose precipitously from a beach of sand to an
average height of 30 feet, and showed plainly the island formation of
grey clay, sandstone, and overlying beds of upheaved coral. Here and
there, buttresses of sandstone stood out boldly from the softer cliff,
which had crumbled away between them. Above, the land ran inward in a
level, unbroken stretch.

We were met almost immediately by Mr V. Solomon, a Christian Madrassi,
who fills the positions of meteorological observer, port officer,
schoolmaster, and catechist, and acts unofficially as magistrate and
amateur doctor. When we had satisfied him that we were not the
proverbial filibustering American schooner--or still more heinous,
laden with a cargo of spirits--he offered every assistance in his power,
and put the schoolhouse at our disposal, should we care to live ashore.

A flight of broad stairs, built against the cliff, led to its top, and
then, after traversing two or three hundred yards of broad road, the
agent's bungalow--"Temple Villa"--and the schoolhouse, both standing on
an open piece of land purchased from the natives, were reached.

In the clearing were sheds for the meteorological instruments, a very
deep well, the only one in Kar Nicobar, and enclosures for several
Indian cows that were kept by the agent. The Nicobarese do not use milk,
and a herd of cattle given to them when the settlement at Nankauri was
abolished, are now roaming over Trinkat in a semi-wild state, very
occasionally losing one or two of their numbers by the spears of the
natives, to whom, at times, they afford a welcome supply of food. The
common pigeon was introduced into Kar Nicobar in 1898, and numbers of
them were to be seen in the vicinity of the bungalow.

The village lay just beyond, on the eastern shore, for this part of the
island is merely a narrow arm projecting from the main portion in a
northern direction.

M[=u]s has a population of 530, and covers about half a square mile of
ground, the various groups of houses being scattered irregularly about
in picturesque disorder amongst thickets of fruit-trees and fenced-in

All the buildings stand on thick piles,[16] about 7 feet high, but vary
in architectural type. The living-houses (_pati_), roughly about 20 feet
in diameter, and 15-20 feet in height from floor to apex, are in shape
something between an inverted basin and a pie-dish, covered with a heavy
thatch of lallang grass. Without windows or visible entrance, the
interior is reached by a neatly-made ladder of bamboo, or notched pole,
through a trapdoor in the floor, which works on hinges and has an
alarum attached, so that any nocturnal intruder will make his presence

The top of each pile is fitted with a large, circular, wooden disc, to
prevent the entry of rats and reptiles,[17] and beneath the house, in
the shade, there is generally a swing, and also a platform of springy
cane that serves the native for a lounge. Baskets, bag-shaped and
wide-meshed, hang from the piles, and in these the hens are put when it
is laying-time.

Inside, the walls are generally neatly lined with thin battens of areca
palm attached horizontally; up in the roof, a kind of attic is formed,
by means of a light shelving of areca or other palm wood, having a
square aperture left in the centre for entrance. On the floor, which is
also grated, are the wooden clothes-chests that contain the family
possessions, betel-boxes, the mats of areca palm leaf, and the wooden
head-rests which are used when sleeping; and from the walls hang
baskets, spears, crossbows, suspensory contrivances made from small
branches with part of the twigs left on, and also some tobacco,
coconuts, and a piece of pork--the offering to the spirits.

The other type of building (_kamun telika_) is used as a kitchen; it has
a ridged but curved roof, an oblong floor, rounded at the back and in
front, and a platform, and a semicircular projection of the roof to
shade the doorway.

At the further end the fireplace is situated. A flat block of wood is
hollowed out and covered with sand or clay, and huge clay pots--often
with a capacity of many gallons--stand above it, on pieces of stone,
raising them clear of the coconut husks which are the principal fuel.
Around lie pandanus fruit, the boards and shells with which it is
prepared for eating, and the thorn-armed leaf-stems of the rattan, which
the natives use for grating up coconut. Up in the roof, are stuck,
between the thatch and the rafters, hollowed-out wooden troughs, in
which the food of the pigs, dogs, and other animals is prepared; flat
wooden dishes, provision baskets, and fans for blowing up the fire, made
of the sheathing petiole of palm trees, while, across the beams, are
hung coconut shells--joined in pairs by a short rattan handle--which
contain the day's supply of water.

The thatch of the houses--generally of lallang grass, but sometimes of
palm leaf--is fastened to a framework, built with vertical rafters of
the mid-ribs of the coco palm, joined crossways by battens of areca
wood, of which material the grated floor is also made. Until recently,
the whole structure was held together by careful mortising and lashings
of cane, but now it is evident from the newer buildings that nails are
coming into use among the natives of this island for such work.

The houses stand in groups, on open sandy ground, and interspersed with
them are plantations (_ya_) of bananas, melons, and sweet
potatoes--protected from the numerous roving pigs by zigzag fences of
rails piled horizontally between double posts--and clumps of fruit-trees
of many varieties--coconut, orange, lime, shaddock, soursop, jack
champada, tamarind and papaya.

Sturdy brown-skinned natives, clad in the scantiest _kissáts_[18] of red
cotton, and wearing picturesque chaplets of white palm leaf with long
projecting ends (_tá-chökla_), stared at us as we walked through the
village; children and women, with a piece of cotton cloth hitched round
the waist, disappeared in the houses as we approached. The teeth of all
were stained by constant betel-chewing, and, since the blacker the
colour the more beautiful is the owner according to local standard, to
produce this effect the teeth are never cleaned.

The dwelling-place of the headman (_mah_), who is named Offandi, in no
way differed from the others. We made our presence known from below.
"Wait," came a voice, "wait till I've got my clothes on," and soon after
the chief appeared in a rusty suit of black broadcloth, and a damaged,
bowler hat. He was a short but exceedingly strong-looking man, with a
thick neck and bullet head, and wore a very slight moustache. We shook
hands all round, and commenced asking each other questions in English as
we strolled through the village. Then, after ascertaining that we should
be pleased to see him on board later, and provide spirituous
refreshment, Offandi left us.

He was said to be very well off, possessing large numbers of coco palms,
but the other staple of wealth (pigs) he has to buy.

We presently reached, near the shore, a group of buildings known as
_Elpanam_ (The Place).[19] Principal among these were two buildings, in
which feasts and meetings take place. While of the same shape as the
living-houses, they were much larger in every way. The roof and floor
are built on the ground, and then, by the combined efforts of the whole
village, are raised to the supports on which they rest. They were
constructed inside of laths of areca, closely bound together, and
fastened horizontally to a framework covered with grass thatch, a foot
or more in thickness.

The floors were gratings of split palm wood, but a great portion was
planked, and on this solid part a large fireplace was built of clay.

In the centre hung a rack, from which the joints of pork are suspended
at feast-times, and beneath were placed boards to catch falling fat and

Strings of pigs' jaws were hung across the upper part of the roof, and
showed the number of animals consumed at the last feast--a ceremony that
sometimes lasts a month.

The pigs, which are killed for these occasions by being speared through
the heart, are doubtless an introduced species, for they attain immense
proportions and are of many colours:--black and white, brown, brown and
white, etc. The young, however, are all striped when born.

Adjacent to these "Town Halls"[20] are the stores of the Burmese
traders, some buildings which are equivalent to the hospital of
civilisation, and several maternity houses, where women take up their
residence shortly before confinement.[21]

The starting-point in life, and also the place of departure, is for the
Nicobarese of this village one and the same, for next to the house
appointed for his birth is another--the "House of Pollution"--to which
he is carried to die; and yet a few paces further is the burial-field,
with its group of grave-posts, where his body will be bestowed for a
time. Not for long will it rest even there, for in a few years the
skeleton will be disinterred and cast into the jungle--the skull alone,
if he has been a man of some importance in life, being allowed to find
in the grave an abiding place.

The shores of Kar Nicobar are in places very low, and during bad weather
the waves have been known to roll up the beach and flood _Elpanam_ a
foot in depth, carrying away canoes, etc. To subdue the sea on these
occasions, _tamiluanas_ (medicine-men) and their followers, adorned with
garlands, walk in procession along the beach, with devil-destroying rods
and leaves, with which they strike the water, and then surround
_Elpanam_ with palm leaves, and perform other ceremonies.

On the outskirts of the village, we saw here and there small huts called
_Talik n'gi_--the place of the baby. To these, mothers come from
_Elpanam_ with the newborn child, and spend several months in solitude,
attended only by their husbands, before returning to the village--a very
sensible proceeding, and one worthy of imitation in more civilised
communities. It seems only common justice that any unpleasantness caused
by ourselves in our earliest moments should be confined to those most
responsible for our appearance. So the Kar Nicobarese appear to think,
and have accordingly taken measures to prevent new arrivals becoming a
nuisance to their future companions, for many of the houses in the
village contained perhaps twenty inmates; doubtless, also, it is well
for babies not to be subjected to too much companionship and

Again in the village we made the acquaintance of the oldest inhabitant,
yclept "Friend of England," who, judging from the number of his _chits_,
is a man of some note and many acquaintances.

Clothed at first in an infinitesimal native garment, he retired for a
few moments, and then appeared in white jacket, knickerbockers, and top
hat, carefully brushed in the wrong direction. He, too, would pay us a
visit on board, provided that liquid sustenance were afforded; and
having satisfied himself on this point, he intimated that we might count
on his appearance that afternoon.

Our attention was attracted by a somewhat rude mechanical contrivance,
beneath a tree, which we were told was a press for extracting oil from
coconuts. Two large blocks of wood, one above the other, were placed
closely against the trunk. In the upper surface of the topmost log a
shallow depression had been made, and from this a channel ran to one
edge, which ended in a kind of lip. In the trunk itself a hole had been
scooped, to receive the end of a long beam of wood.

A quantity of coconut kernel having been placed in the basin, the beam
is inserted in the tree, and a native standing on the outer end, by
jumping up and down exerts so much pressure on the coconut that the oil
oozes out, and running down the channel, drips from the lip into an
earthenware pot placed beneath.

Here and there about the houses stood a kind of bench-seat, that was
merely the limb of a tree with several of the branches left projecting,
and trimmed in such a way that the whole piece would balance firmly.

We obtained a number of birds in the trees about the village; one in
particular (_Ixora_, sp.?), whose leafless branches bore a quantity
of large red flowers, was frequented by flocks of white-eyes
(_Zosterops_(?), sp. nov.), munias, and sunbirds, (_Arachnechthra_(?),
sp. nov.), and by the chestnut-rumped myna (_Sturnia erythropygia_), a
bird only known from this island, although we later collected on Kachal
a new species that closely resembles it.

[Illustration: Oil Press (Kar Nicobar).]

The canoes (_áp_) belonging to the village were drawn up on the shore of
Sáwi Bay, for the other beach is fully exposed to the monsoon, and also
fronted by an awkward reef. These vessels--all dug-outs--constructed
from a single trunk (_Calophyllum spectabile_),[23] are very narrow in
proportion to their length, and of graceful shape. After the canoe is
hollowed, it is somewhat spread out by cross-pieces of wood, which are
lashed from gunwale to gunwale, at intervals of about a foot. To give
the requisite stability, an outrigger is attached:--To two projecting
spars or wings lashed to the canoe, a log of very light wood
(_Sterculia alata_), about three-quarters the length of the hull, and
sharp at either end, is fastened, and the correct level of this float is
maintained by each wing being bound to, and resting in, the angle made
by three intersecting pairs of hardwood pegs, which are driven into the
outrigger. The vessels are further provided with ornamental projecting
stem- and stern-pieces (_C. inophyllum_), carved in a variety of
designs, and sometimes painted red. No paint or wood-oil is used on the
canoes, but the outer surface of the hull is charred all over, with the
idea of protecting it from the effects of the water.

The paddles are about 4 feet long, very light and thin, made of a hard
red-brown wood (_Garcinia speciosa_), with lancet-shaped blades, and
handles without any form of cross-piece, but flattened at the top.

In the afternoon, Offandi came on board, and after drinking a glass of
rum, begged for a bottleful to take ashore. As this request was not
complied with, he cried threateningly in a menacing tone, "What, you
refuse me then?" but calmed down on learning, that, although we were not
at liberty to supply him with spirits "for consumption off the
premises," he could have what he wanted whenever he liked to come
aboard. A bottle of Eno fully restored his good humour, and drew forth
expressions of friendship: "You good man, I love you; you do me good
turn, I make return." This reciprocity is the basis of Kar Nicobarese
relations with strangers--value for value, and no gifts; although
Offandi once presented us with an edible bird's-nest without asking for
an equivalent.

One man, "Sweet William" of Lapáti, carried this trait so far, that he
wanted a steamer to take him to England, in order that he might there
build a house for himself, and occupy a piece of land in lieu of the
plot at M[=u]s that has been purchased by the Indian Government.

The headman was, for a Nicobarese, a very travelled individual, for he
had spent a month in Calcutta, ten days in Penang, and various periods
at Port Blair; and as a result, had a really working knowledge of
several languages. English, Hindustani, and Kamortan, he speaks well,
and has some acquaintance with Malay and Burmese.[24]

Visits to the _Terrapin_ occurred frequently during our stay, but none
were of long duration, for a growing squeamishness on the part of our
guests generally cut them short.

Although accustomed to travel in canoes, they could not withstand the
motion of the schooner. Indeed, for the whole time we lay in Sáwi Bay,
the _Terrapin_, on account of the swell that set into the bay, so rocked
and rolled at her anchor that life on board was scarcely comfortable.
The fiddle was always on the table, the preparation of our specimens
went on under difficulties, and at night sleep was almost impossible
unless we wedged ourselves on our mattresses by means of extra cushions
and pillows. The vessel frequently took water over her sides, until at
times it almost seemed that she would roll her masts out. We generally
had to exercise the greatest care in leaving or boarding the ship,
and yet with it all the sea was quite unbroken save for the line
of surf along the beach. The bigger trading-vessels--brigs and
barquentines--anchored more off shore, and, because of their greater
size, were scarcely affected by the motion.

Whenever the tide was low, the reef-bordered portions of the coast were
always frequented by various parties of natives, busily occupied in
searching in the pools and under the coral boulders for fish, crabs, and
molluscs; at night, when the sea was calm, bright fires blazed on the
water and the shore, and marked where fish-spearing was going on from
sheltered ledges of rock or slowly-moving canoes.

Of all the people, "Friend of England" was perhaps the most amusing. He
was infected with the garrulity of old age, and made the most of his
opportunities by unblushing mendicancy.

As he came alongside, sitting--a very dignified figure in top-hat and
white knickerbockers--upright and motionless in his canoe, which was
manned by juvenile paddlers, he always, as he neared the schooner, took
from his pocket an old silk cravat and arranged it round his neck.

After a few coconuts or oranges had been handed up, the old man would
come below and shake hands all round. "I want smoke cigar, I want drink
rum," was followed by a prompt refusal of anything smaller than a
tumbler. Then would come the invariable preamble: "You my friend, I your
friend; we give presents and make return,"--with reference to the
coconuts; followed by demands for medicine, turpentine, camphor,
quinine, scent, and Eno; and as all his wants could not be satisfied, he
professed he could not understand why on earth we had come without these
things. When we came again we were to bring all of them, and we should
then be great friends. He desired that we would convey the following to
every one at home--foreigners he did not like:--"You go tell all
men--Come here, come here, come here. I Friend of England, I good man.
You bring much medicine, you give me--we be great friends, I make
return. I plenty good man; I speak true, I no lie!"

He carried a large number of _chits_ from officers of ships that had
called here during many years past, and was very anxious that we should
add to the number.[25]

Poor old "Friend of England"! his lines are no longer cast in pleasant
places. His last wife, the widow of a friend, became blind, and he can
no longer obtain another on account of his old age; he has become
estranged from his son because of his too amorous conduct towards the
latter's wife, and has had to pay several fines on account of similar
behaviour towards other neighbours.

Our last glimpse of him as he made for the shore, after having been
assisted to his canoe, generally caught him in the act of undoing his
cherished necktie and restoring it, carefully folded, to his pocket.

One day--when we had so far broken through our rule as to give him a
bottle of rum and water to take ashore "for medicine after we had
gone"--going a couple of hours later into the village, we found "Friend
of England" tottering up a path, and tried to take his portrait. But the
old scamp, who all his life had lived in the sun, refused on this
occasion to come out of the shade, and was so afflicted with involuntary
staggers, that the result of several exposures was a very qualified
success, and lost much of the impressiveness of the original, through
his unwillingness to don his necktie in the customary Byronic style.

One of our guides about the island was "Frank Thompson," one of Mr
Solomon's "most promising pupils, and a sincere Christian"--a rather
stupid-looking youth, who had spent some years at the Port Blair School.
I fear that we regarded him with some contempt, for he seemed to have
developed into nothing better than a hanger-on at the Agency, and
although he spoke English fairly well, and could doubtless read and
write a little, in the jungle he proved to be quite useless. Birds he
could scarcely ever see; he did not know the way about, and after a few
miles, he was blowing and panting, and groaning inquiries as to how much
farther he was to go. Thompson however could beg as well as the rest,
nor was he out of his element when the rum and cigars were being passed

A very different character was my _shikari_ "Little John," native name
unknown. This man was perhaps, on the whole, the best specimen
physically of a Nicobarese that we came across. A handsome, rather
scornful, face, with aquiline nose, was only spoiled by the occurrence
of the Mongolian fold in the inner corner of the eyelids. His curly
black hair was worn long, in a thick bushy mass, as far as his
shoulders, where it was cut off straight across. Though only 5 feet 6
inches in height, he was splendidly built: was 40 inches round the
chest, 13-1/2 inches round the biceps, and 15 inches round the calf. The
natives admitted that he was about the strongest man in the village of

He was awfully keen on collecting; could creep noiselessly through the
jungle, and saw birds that I took long to distinguish, even after he had
pointed them out. He was also a good "pot-shot," and nothing delighted
him more than to carry the gun, and after having it loaded with
cartridge suitable to the occasion, to fire at and bring down the
specimen, when he would hand the weapon to me and dash away amongst the
undergrowth to retrieve his booty, bringing it back with the greatest

He was an unwearying hunter, and would often creep about for ten minutes
at a time, under some tree, in order to point out for my approval, and
get a clear shot at, some bird whose presence he had discovered in the
dense foliage.

He used to accompany us on board the schooner, and after having
breakfasted with the crew, would sit in the cabin with a cigar, watching
us as we worked at the skins, and improving his little English by
constant inquiries: "How you call dis? What you call dat?"

The desire of the Nicobarese to learn words, and acquire the name of
anything they do not know, is great, and their powers of memory are
astonishing. The exercise of these linguistic abilities is most marked
in the headmen, or "captains" as they love to be called--a title
inherited from the times when English skippers used to trade amongst
these islands, and bestow by request their own names (and others less
complimentary, but more pointed) on the natives they particularly
favoured in their commercial transactions.

Nor were these our only acquaintances. "Sweet William" (who had a mouth
and teeth like a shark's), W. L. Distant, Tom Noddy, Lady Clara, Sam
Weller, and many others, came to see us. There was, too, Mr Corney
Grain, who, many people may not be aware, is chief of a village in Sáwi
Bay, and who dresses in two yards of pink ribbon.

In this way we were never at a loss for company, for when the above were
engaged, there was always a reserve in the persons of Jack Robinson, Tom
Tuson, Kingfisher, Young Edwin, James Snooks, Lorenzo, Lady-killer, and

Mr Solomon's efforts in education have received little support from the
community; for by handing over their children to his discipline, the
parents lose their assistance in the routine of daily work, no small
portion of which falls to the younger generation, since almost all
special work is done by small boys. These are very helpful in climbing
the coco palms for the nuts required for barter, and they are of much
assistance to the foreign traders also, who, to induce the boys to aid
them, supply them with food, and give them presents of tobacco and other
things. However, some fifteen or twenty boys, from 8 to 14 years of age,
have now been given up to the mission school,[27] to receive a little
daily instruction and drill, on condition that the onus of feeding and
clothing them shall not fall upon the parents.

Out of school hours these boys make themselves generally useful by
fetching and carrying, preparing food, etc., and acting as crew of the
agent's canoe.

That such a life is not universally pleasing to the youngsters
themselves, is witnessed by the fact that a short time ago one of them
ran away to the jungle, where he remained, and was able to support
himself, until caught and brought back after a three months'

He was a mischievous-looking boy, who found it hard to refrain from
grinning while his portrait was being taken, for I secured his likeness
as affording a marked example of the features of prognathism and
epicanthus as occurring among the Nicobarese.

We found the services of these boys most welcome on several occasions.
Frequently the surf in the bay was sufficient to promise at the least a
thorough wetting when leaving shore for the schooner in our own boat. It
was, as a rule, simple enough to land, but the reverse proceeding was a
less simple matter. In such a case, we used one of the native canoes and
a crew of mission lads.

After loading the light hull with our impedimenta, it was an easy
business to place it at the water's edge, and, at a suitable
opportunity, run it out into waist-deep water, jump on the almost
uncapsizable hull, and with quickly-grasped paddles--no troublesome
operation of shipping lengthy oars in row-locks--force the slender craft
beyond the breakers. Arrived at the schooner, a biscuit apiece seemed to
be considered ample reward by our young friends (biscuits, stale bread,
and old crusts are in great request among the Nicobarese), who, after
disposing of them, would return to their canoe and disappear into the
darkness with cheery farewell cries: "Good-_night_; good-night, sar;

Early in our visit, we one morning met with a mishap when landing in our
stumpy dinghy through some more than usually heavy surf. The
surroundings were scarcely such as one would connect our late Laureate
with, but at the moment of catastrophe, some lines of his flashed into
my mind:

  "'Courage,' he said, and pointed to the land,
  'This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon,'"

and indeed it did. A big breaker rose under the stern, and flung the
boat, its contents, and ourselves, far up the beach. Fortunately our
guns and cartridges were made up into bundles with waterproof canvas, so
no harm was done beyond losing a rowlock.

From the incident we learned a lesson, and thereafter, had the
proverbial New Zealander been on the beach in the early mornings, he
might have seen a little boat approach the shore, with a blue-clad,
brown-skinned Malay and a couple of white men _in puris naturalibus_.
Outside the belt of surf, the latter would jump overboard, and, seizing
favourable opportunities, wade to and fro with sundry bundles. Presently
the dinghy would return, with a solitary occupant, to a schooner in the
bay, while the others, after assuming a simple toilet and a peculiar
sporting equipment, would disappear from his view, leaving the
Antipodean observer alone on the shore. Although a little farther from
the village, the best landing-place when the sea is rough is on the
stretch of sand next to that adjacent to M[=u]s, and just to westward
and inside the rocky point that separates the two strips of beach.

Sometimes we shot in the scrub and plantations surrounding the village,
and sometimes we went a few miles along the bay towards Sáwi, now
walking on the beach, now along the brow of the cliffs. The view from
these last was very beautiful: on the one hand a forest of palms,
pandanus and casuarina trees, on the other a line of waving grass; and
below, the blue sea breaking in snowy rollers on a golden beach.

At times we met parties of natives proceeding from village to village in
picturesque groups--the men carrying nothing but a _dáo_, their
warm-brown stalwart figures relieved only by the red _kissát_ and white
chaplet of pandanus with which their hair was bound; and the women
draped in scarlet cotton, and adorned with chains of rupees and numerous
silver bangles.

All would stare stolidly, and pass in silence; for in the Nicobars,
where one man is as good as the next, and no degrees of rank are known,
there are no words of greeting or graceful salutes such as one would
meet with amongst strange Malays or natives of India.

The forest at Sáwi was open, and although of a heavy description, grew
on land that seemed of very recent formation. It contained some of the
finest specimens of urostigma trees we had ever seen, whose many aëreal
roots, springing from a wide expanse of ground, met far overhead in
support of immense masses of foliage.

In this heavy jungle we obtained specimens of _Astur butleri_, a little
forest hawk with back and wings of a beautiful dark grey, allied species
to which are found in several of the other islands. Here, too, we met
with _Carpophaga insularis_, a variety of a widely-spread fruit-pigeon,
_C. ænea_, from which it differs only in having a plumage slightly less
bright. We made acquaintance also with _Palæornis erythrogenys_, an
exceedingly pretty parrot, and the only bird of its kind occurring in
the Nicobars until _P. caniceps_ is reached in the southern islands; but
of the mound-building megapodes we had expected to find, there was no
trace, although it was said they occurred in the middle of the island.

We obtained in the jungle one specimen of a hitherto unknown fruit-bat
(_Pteropus faunulus_); but of rats, although they are probably numerous,
one only was trapped (_Mus burrulus_, sp. nov.); crabs in nearly every
instance making off with the baits.

As a rendezvous after our collecting excursions, we generally chose
"Temple Villa," where we could sit and chat with the agent on the
manners and customs of the natives among whom he lived, and drink the
water of young coconuts freshly plucked from the trees surrounding the

The coconut of the Nicobars, although small, is nowhere excelled for
sweetness and flavour, and on reaching the schooner, drenched with
perspiration after a morning's wandering in the forest, and perhaps a
long row under the hot midday sun, we daily made appreciative trial of
them the moment we stepped on board.

The natives are very expert in opening them with the _dáo_. Holding the
nut in the palm of the left hand, they slash off a portion of the husk,
toss it round and remove another slice, until, with three or four cuts,
the tender shell at the upper end is exposed, and only requires a slight
tap to be broken through and allow the delicious water inside to reveal
itself with a spurt.

The life of the Nicobarese is full of curious observances and
ceremonies, of which, perhaps, no man knows more than Mr Solomon, who
has spent five years among the people, and is engaged in the preparation
of a vocabulary of their language.

In his capacity as catechist, he has not succeeded in converting any of
his adult neighbours to Christianity, although one or two are
occasionally present at his Sunday services. We met with one proselyte
to Mohammedanism among them, but he, having been adopted by a trader
when a boy, was taken to the Maldives and spent some years there. The
natives as a body are still as averse to foreign influence on this point
as they have been in the past, when missionary endeavour--Moravian and
Jesuit--time after time met with complete failure. In the second quarter
of the last century they expelled two priests of the latter sect from
the island, and Captain Gardner, in 1851, gives an account of the same
fate befalling a pair of Moravians.[28] "Having converted a few natives,
disputes arose between these and their heathen countrymen. They were of
such a serious nature that it was determined to hold a general council
of delegates from every village to consider a remedy for the evil. They
came to the conclusion, that, as they had always lived in love and amity
with each other before the arrival of the missionaries, with their
strange story of the first woman stealing the orange, etc., the obvious
remedy was to send them away. Accordingly, the missionaries were waited
on, and told respectfully that they must leave at the first opportunity:
that the natives were not to be joked with, and must be obeyed. The
mission house was then burnt down, and a fence erected round the spot,
inside which no native will step. It is unholy ground, they say, where
the devil first landed; for, until the missionaries brought him with
them, he had never been in the island, or knew where it was. I was told
that a day is now set apart in the year when all the inhabitants
assemble to drive the devil out of the island."

On the fourth morning of our visit our sympathy was due to Mr Solomon on
the occasion of his wife's death--an event that occurred with some
suddenness as the result of an apoplectic fit. One sequel to this was,
that on the following night the entire village was engaged in expelling
the spirit of the deceased from the neighbourhood with much ceremony and

Kar Nicobar has an area of about 50 square miles, with a surface that is
exceedingly level, as the highest point it attains is barely 200 feet
above the sea-level; only in the north does the coast rise in low
cliffs, and all round the shore is a fringe of coral-reef.

The geological formation consists of a foundation of serpentine, on
which rest thick clay beds and layers of sandstone, exposed in parts,
and in some places overlaid by upheaved coral banks, the whole having
acquired a covering of sandy alluvium and drift, which was deposited
before upheaval, with an additional layer of vegetable _débris_ since

With the exception of an indigenous coco palm zone, where coralline
alluvium has formed, the beach forest of Casuarinas, Barringtonias,
Ficus, Pandani, Hibiscus, Calophyllums, and other characteristic
species, and irregular strips of inland forests, containing canebrake
and bamboo, with Terminalias and Sterculias, the whole island appears to
be covered with stretches of coarse lallang grass, dotted with tall
screw-pines (_Pandanus mellori_), bearing the large globular fruit that
supplies the inhabitants with their staple food; or with the natives'
plantations of coconuts, betel, plantains, and yams. The nature of the
forests depends entirely on the character of the soil and on the
composition of the underlying rock.

Although ranking only fourth or fifth in point of size, Kar Nicobar
contains nearly three-fifths of the total population of the group; the
number of its inhabitants has remained stationary for many years, and
has lately been ascertained to stand at a trifle under 3500.

"The people of Kar Nicobar ought to be among the most contented in the
world. Everyone lives on terms of perfect equality with his neighbours.
Beyond occasional illnesses, they have no cares or troubles, and there
is absolutely no struggle for existence, coconuts and pandanus, their
staple foods, being in such profusion that a child old enough to climb a
tree could support himself without exertion."[29]

Our sojourn at Kar Nicobar lasted from the 21st to 27th of January, and
was spent in making a collection of the fauna (which was not entirely
without result in the way of new species), and in obtaining as much
information as possible about the natives during the opportunities open
to us. Besides this, we secured, through the agent, a fairly
representative series of such articles as are used by the islanders in
their daily occupations and pursuits.

The well from which we filled our tanks was situated near the agent's
house: no good water was to be obtained elsewhere in the bay. In this
well the water rose and fell with the tides, the explanation of which
is, not that the sea-water is filtered by the coral sand, but that fresh
and salt water do not combine; the former rests on the latter, which is
of course heavier, and the close and porous coral rock prevents the
mixture of the two.

Having given all the time we could spare to Kar Nicobar, and found it a
most interesting locality and one worthy of far more protracted
attention, it was with feelings of regret that on the 26th we, as
Dampier would say, "refreshed ourselves very well with hens, coconuts,
and oranges, and the next day sailed from thence."



    Batti Malv--Tilanchong--Novara Bay--Terrapin Bay--Form and Area of
    Tilanchong--Birds--Megapodes--A Swamp--Crocodile--Megapode Mound--
    Wreck and Death of Captain Owen, 1708--We leave Tilanchong--Foul

On our course to Tilanchong, we passed, after leaving the south end of
Kar Nicobar, within a few miles of the little island of Batti Malv. It
is scarcely more than a mile in length, and except towards the N.W.,
where it is somewhat flattened, falls steeply to the sea from a height
of 150 feet. It is uninhabited, but the low jungle with which it is
covered is the abode of countless numbers of pigeons--principally of the
Nicobar variety--which are said to be so tame and fearless that they can
be killed with sticks.

A little later Teressa hove in sight, a grey cloud on the horizon, and
soon after we caught sight of our destination right ahead. It was
midnight before the island was reached, and not caring to find an
anchorage in the dark, we drifted gently northward under jib and
mainsail, until at daybreak we were opposite the extreme point, where we
turned and ran slowly south, keeping close inshore.

All the way along until the centre is reached, the island, 500 feet high
and nowhere more than a mile and a half broad, rises in almost
precipitous cliffs of serpentine, with deep water at their feet, while
the principal vegetation consists of thickets of pandanus in the
gullies, and here and there, in spite of the rocky ground, patches of
luxuriant forest. We passed three small beaches, above which grew a few
coco palms, and then came to Novara Bay, about 3 miles from the north
end of the island, where the Austrian frigate anchored in 1858. It was,
however, on account of the steepness of the land, an impracticable place
for collecting. South of this point the island is everywhere covered
with dense jungle, and for the next 4 miles expands to a breadth of more
than a mile, attaining in the centre its greatest elevation in Maharani
Peak, a little over 1000 feet in height. A short distance further on,
and opposite two rocky islets, each about 80 feet high, we found a good
anchorage, which, being unnamed on the chart, was promptly christened
"Terrapin Bay." It affords fair protection in the north-east monsoon,
and shoals gradually from 12 fathoms to the beach. The latter is about
three-quarters of a mile long, and is divided by a huge mass of rocks
covered with casuarina trees, behind which is a small stream of brackish
water. Numerous coco palms shade the beach, and beyond them is a stretch
of flat, jungle-covered land. Good water may be obtained at a little
sandy spot beyond the rocks forming the northern point of the bay. There
is also an anchorage on the other side of the island in Castle Bay.

Tilanchong is 9 miles long and 1-1/4 miles broad at its widest point,
and has an area of about 7 square miles. It is rocky, and everywhere
covered with jungle, except in the north, and in shape resembles a
flying bird with the north and south extremities as wings, and the
broader part in the centre, head, and body.

Our landing at midday was a pleasant contrast to the experiences of Kar
Nicobar; the sea was fairly calm, and damage to guns and ammunition was
no longer to be feared. On entering the jungle, which at first was
somewhat thin, we were immediately struck by the extreme fearlessness of
the birds, and the immense number of lizards, of a species peculiar to
this island (_Gonyocephalus humeii_), which abounded everywhere. Every
tree-trunk in the forest was the resting-place of two or three of the
latter, and as one moved along it was to an accompaniment of scurrying
reptiles that dropped from the adjacent branches and darted off to a
less immediate neighbourhood. Especially did they swarm in the jungle
growing on the dry coral sand above the beach. Besides this small
species we found a _Varanus_ lizard, 5 to 6 feet long--very common. We
frequently saw them, or heard their noisy rush through the bushes, as,
disturbed by our approach, they galloped out of danger. Of the birds,
the splendid fruit-pigeons (_Carpophaga insularis_), generally so wary
and unapproachable, denizens of the highest tree-tops, were so
unsuspicious that time after time we knocked them over with a pinch of
dust shot, and parrots and Nicobar pigeons were obtained with almost
equal ease. The latter, whose range extends from these islands eastward
to the Solomons, are extremely beautiful birds. The feet are
plum-coloured, and the stumpy tail, which is almost hidden by the wings,
is snow-white. The head and neck are a delicate grey, while the long,
flowing hackles and the rest of the plumage are of a glorious metallic
green, iridescent in the sunlight, with shining tints of gold, purple,
and blue.

We had not long separated before I caught sight of two megapodes
scuttling through the bushes--dull-brown birds about the size of a
six-months'-old chicken. They disappeared before I could shoot, but,
close by to where they had been, I found one of their laying-places, a
mound of fresh earth about 4 feet high and 12 feet in diameter,
disturbed by recent working.

For a few hundred yards beyond the beach the soil is very light and
friable, a mixture of vegetable loam and disintegrated coral; but behind
this it becomes swampy, supporting a densely-matted growth, and while
collecting amongst this, I lost my bearings and spent a warm half-hour
cutting a way back to the more open forest in the vicinity of the boat.

"_January 30._--This morning got my first megapode. Soon after landing,
I saw a Nicobar pigeon on the ground, and while stalking it to get a
close shot, noticed near by three birds, of much the same size, dancing
about amongst some bushes. They were out of sight most of the time, but
I 'browned' the place with a heavy charge, and running up found a cock
megapode lying dead. In appearance the bird is not unlike a partridge,
though larger, and it has the same drooping tail; the feet, however, are
out of all proportion, and are remarkable for their extraordinary
strength and size; the plumage is olive-brown in colour, except on the
head, which is thinly covered with pale greyish feathers, while the
cheeks are naked and of a bright vermilion.

"Going further south than yesterday, I found beyond the rock, in the
middle of the beach, what was probably once a fair-sized lagoon, but is
now an open swamp nearly overgrown with grass and nipah palms. Several
small water-birds and a couple of herons were flying about, and of the
latter I obtained a white variety.

"We spent about an hour on shore in the afternoon and saw some more
megapodes, but failed to get a shot at them: they frequent the open
jungle directly bordering the shore, where the soil is so light that
they can build their mounds with ease."

"_January 31._--On leaving the _jheel_ this morning, as I walked over
the rise of ground that separates it from the sea, I saw a crocodile
lying half-in and half-out of the water, but before I could get near
enough for a shot-cartridge to take effect he turned and swam off; as he
rose and fell with the waves, he looked like a log of wood, but all the
while made steadily seaward; he was about 10 feet long, and brilliantly
marked with yellow.

"In the afternoon I took the camera ashore to get photos of a
nest-mound. Just as I was entering the jungle by the mound, I noticed
that earth was being thrown in a continuous shower from the top. Soon a
bird ran out from a depression there; I shot it, and at the noise
another jumped out for a moment and then went on digging, but appearing
again a few seconds later, I got it also. It was about to lay, but the
shot had unfortunately broken the egg: there is no external difference
in the appearance of the sexes, but these were a pair, and it is
therefore evident that when the hen is about to deposit the egg, the
male assists in excavating the hole in which it is to be buried for
incubation. The mound on which they were busy was between 7 and 8 feet
high, and rather more than 100 feet in circumference, and had a large
coco palm growing through the centre. It would certainly be the work of
a number of birds, and must have taken many years to build."

We got four more megapodes on February 1, one of them containing an
unbroken egg of a size remarkable for so small a bird; it measured 3-3/8
inches by 2-3/16 inches.[30] The shell is very thick, and when new of a
pinkish colour, which changes in the earth to a dirty buff. The
temperature of a nest-mound, which we dug into without success in a
search for eggs, rapidly increased towards the centre: it was composed
of light sandy soil, with apparently no addition of leaves or grass
other than that lying about on the earth employed by the birds; the
species does not seem purposely to include vegetable matter for causing
heat by fermentation.

We failed, whilst here, to obtain a single specimen of a rat; the island
is much cut up with holes, high and low, but they are those of crabs,
who here also--as on Barren Island and in Kar Nicobar--made off with our
baits, leaving behind in some of the traps a quarry we did not at all
desire. The only mammal obtained was a large fruit-bat (_Pteropus
nicobaricus_), of which Abbott found a camp up the stream and shot
several for specimens. Tracks of pig were seen.

The island is uninhabited, and seems to have been in the same state for
some time. In Hamilton's _Voyages_ some account is given of the
adventures of a shipwrecked crew, whose vessel, commanded by a Captain
Owen, was lost there in 1708. They found the place unpeopled, and,
making fires in the night, were taken off by several canoes that came
across from the Nankauri group.

Their further adventures, although more properly appertaining to the
history of the central islands of the Nicobars, may as well, for the
sake of continuity, be given here.

     "The natives," writes Hamilton, "... very courteously carried the
     shipwrecked men to their islands of Ning and Goury, with what
     little things they had saved of their apparel and other

     "The captain had saved a broken knife about four inches long in the
     blade, and he having laid it carelessly by, one of the natives made
     bold to take it, but did not offer to hide it. The captain, finding
     his knife in the poor native's hand, took it from him and bestowed
     some kicks and blows on him for his ill manners, which were taken
     very ill, for all in general showed they were dissatisfied with the
     action; and the shipwrecked men could observe contention arising
     among those who were their benefactors in bringing them to the
     island, and others who were not concerned in it: however, next day,
     as the captain was sitting under a tree at dinner, there came about
     a dozen of the natives towards him and saluted him with a shower of
     darts made of heavy wood, with their points hardened in the fire,
     and so he expired in a moment.

     "How far they had a mind to pursue their resentment I know not, but
     the benefactors of the shipwrecked men kept guard about their house
     till next day, and then presented them with two canoes, and fitted
     them with outleagers to keep them from overturning, and put some
     water in pots, some coconuts and dry fish, and pointed to them to
     be immediately gone, which they did.

     "Being six in company, they divided equally, and steered their
     course for Junkceylon, but in the way one of the boats lost her
     outleager and drowned all her crew. The rest arrived safely, and I
     carried them afterwards to Masulipatam."

People from Kamorta, from which it can be seen, and who own the
plantations on it, come to the island from time to time for the sake of
the coconuts, of which there are a fair quantity, and we found traces
of visitors in the remains of two tumble-down huts and a liberal
scattering of pigs' skulls.

We weighed anchor at 10 A.M., but it was an hour and a half later before
we passed the two off-lying islets, for, every few seconds, flaws of
wind, coming over the high land, so changed in force and direction that
we could get no steerage way, but helplessly boxed the compass all over
the bay before we caught a steady breeze. We found deep water between
the islets close to the southernmost; everywhere else the ground seemed
foul. With a 3-knot breeze we sailed along the western shore, which at
this end is much lower than the north, and densely wooded, presenting to
view several white beaches and groves of coco palms, while not far from
shore are numerous off-lying rocks that continue in a south-easterly
direction for about 3 miles from the end of Tilanchong and terminate in
a fair-sized islet, named Isle of Man.[31]

The island of Kamorta lies some 12 miles to the south, the adjacent part
rising in low grass-covered hills, with occasional trees dotted about:
along the coast runs a fringe of vegetation and coconut trees, while in
the centre, where the island is about 450 feet high, it is more thickly
covered with forest. Trinkat, closely adjoining it on the east, is very
low, and from the sea, seems overgrown with jungle. Darkness had fallen
before we reached the southern entrance of Beresford Channel, that runs
between it and Kamorta, and proceeding inwards for a short distance, we
anchored at 9.45 P.M.



    Beresford Channel--A Deserted Village--_Jheel_--Bird Life--
    Wild Cattle--Scenery--Photographs--Port Registers--Tanamara--
    Population--Customs--The Shom Pe[.n]--The Sequel to a Death--
    Interior of the Houses.

Trinkat is a low, flat island about five miles long and one wide,
separated from Kamorta by the narrow strait in which we anchored. This
is much choked with coral-reefs, on which every now and then the sea
breaks unexpectedly in low waves which run along their edges throwing up
clouds of spray. Several villages, fronted by rows of streamer-decorated
poles, were in sight on the western shores, and further up the channel a
junk from Penang was anchored, the first we had seen. The island is
nowhere higher than 80 or 90 feet, and is superficially of limestone
formation--raised coral: the shores are fringed with jungle and coco
palms, while the latter are frequent also in the patches of jungle
occurring in the interior,[32] which, however, consists mainly of open
undulating grassy land.

We landed, after crossing the reef, near a couple of huts, built of palm
leaves and rough planks, that seemed deserted. A great number of pigs
were roaming about in company with dogs, fowls, and a cat. The huts were
surrounded for some distance by palm trees growing in thick scrub
undergrowth. A little way along a path we arrived at a small _jheel_, on
which were a diver and several whistling teal. Birds were numerous
amongst the trees, where parrots (_P. erythrogenys_) and pigeons dwelt
in flocks, and on the ground megapodes ran about calling to each other,
but were too well concealed, by the tall grass and bushes that grew
everywhere, for successful collecting. We got here the Nicobar
fly-catcher, in plumage of dark chestnut, with steely-black head, and
_Geocichla albigularis_, a pretty grey, olive and cinnamon thrush, a shy
bird that kept down on the ground or hid itself in low bushes. Out in
the open, amongst the grass, we found numbers of small warblers
(_Cisticola cisticola_), an occasional snipe or two, and flocks of
little button-quail (_Excalfactoria_(?), sp. nov.), while a herd of
about fifty semi-wild cattle roamed about, most of them descendants of a
number turned out here in '88, when the settlement at Nankauri was given
up. They suffer but little loss in numbers at the hands of the natives,
for the Government allows no guns in the islands, and it is only very
occasionally that a number of men will combine and slaughter a beast
with spears.

From the interior the scene was very beautiful; rolling grassy downs
were dotted with numerous dwarf pandanus trees (_P. furcatus_), amongst
which the cattle, black, white, and brown, moved slowly. All around was
thick jungle, through breaks in which the sea was visible on either
hand, and in the west, the sun, shining from behind a dark cloud,
painted the hills and harbour of Nankauri in tones of grey and gold. The
photographs which I took of this scenery were spoilt, thanks to a
liberty taken by the too inquisitive Chinese "boy," who privately
satisfied his curiosity as to the appearance of the plates before they
had been removed from the slides and developed.

In the evening the Government Agent, who is a native of India, came
across from the harbour and brought the Port Register, in which we
entered our arrival. These registers, bound in heavy brown leather,
stamped with the arms of the Indian Government, we were often to meet
with in future; one is in the possession of nearly every coast village
except those of Great Nicobar, and some of the remarks in them are very
interesting; others are equally amusing, as when some _Nakodah_, vain of
his proficiency in English, tries to express himself in that language,
to the utter bepuzzlement of any one who may come after and see what has
been written.

In crossing the island next day, I stampeded the cattle, who are rather
shy of any moving object, although later I was able to crawl to within
five or six yards of the herd, thus learning how simple a matter it
would be for the natives to exterminate it. In the interior there are
several deep ditches of running water leading into small swamps where
the cattle drink. The shore on the eastern side is formed in places by
small bluffs of clay marl, above which can be traced the overlying beds
of coral.

That afternoon, while preparing specimens, we received a visit from a
swarthy gentleman in a suit of white drill--the trousers "a world too
_long_," gracefully falling in concertina-like folds about his naked
ankles. He saluted us gravely, and tendered a small pocket-book. "What
is your name?" said we. "You will find it," said our dignified visitor,
"in the book." So the book was referred to, and he stood revealed as
Captain Tanamara, Headman of Malacca, recommended by Mr E. H. Man,[33]
as intelligent and willing to be useful to whoever should stop at
Nankauri Harbour. He is certainly more ingenious than the majority of
the natives, and speaks English, Hindustani, a little Burmese, Kar
Nicobarese, and Malay, which last indeed is known by most of the people
from here southwards.

The population, he told us, was decreasing: formerly each house was
occupied by a number of people, as is still the condition of things in
Kar Nicobar, but now there are at most three or four to a hut.[34] He
and many other men have no children, the usual number of which is but
one or two in each family. Occasional polygamy and easy arrangements for
divorce prevail here, and the custom of the husband residing at his
wife's house is also in vogue, but in the case of an influential man, or
a headman, it is otherwise. He was much interested in a kingfisher (_H.
occiputalis_) that was being skinned, and begged for the eyes, which, he
said, formed a valuable specific in cases of sleeplessness!

One of the most attractive features of the Nicobars is the existence of
a wild inland tribe--the Shom Pe[.n][35]--in the interior of the
southern island. These people are known by reputation all over the
group, and seem to fill the part of a national "bogey man." From
Tanamara, who has visited Great Nicobar in the station steamer, we
obtained a few details. He had never seen them, and owned with much
candour that he was "plenty 'fraid," and for that reason did not go on
shore. He told us, however, that they are similar in appearance to the
Nicobarese, but wear garments of rattan and bark only. They are friendly
until they see any article belonging to the coast people which they may
covet, and then a raid is made, and murder generally ensues in getting
possession of it.[36]

The abandoned condition of the houses near which we landed was caused by
a death which took place in one of them a short time previously. This
was followed by immediate desertion, which, however, is only temporary.
Everything going on seemed to have suddenly stopped; _dáos_ were lying
on the floor, clothes hung from pegs in the walls, food, half-cooked,
still stood in the pots. The animals wandered about uncared-for, cats
and dogs in a very famished condition.

Inside this house was quite a small museum: there were large figures,
daubed with red and black paint, of men and women with eyes of pearl
shell, Polynesian fashion, and drapings of palm leaf and cotton; smaller
images and various grotesque heads, sharks, birds, and crocodiles, all
carefully carved, and painted in red and blue; painted turtle skulls by
the dozen. Spears, cross-bows, and water-vessels hung from the walls,
with boards on which were human figures, pigs, fish, fowls, and palm
trees, all very well drawn, and not conventionalised in design. On a
shelf above the fireplace were piles of wooden plates, dishes, and
food-baskets, and below them the big Chaura pots were standing on blocks
of stone above the ashes.[37]

We only obtained one megapode on Trinkat, and it was found in a trap.
They are probably numerous, for we saw several, and heard frequent
calls. The undergrowth is very thick, and the ground covered with tall
grass, and although to move about is easy, it is not easy to see these
birds until one is almost upon them, when they disappear before one can
get a shot. A few rats (_Mus burrus_, sp. nov.) were caught in the
traps, and we shot a few additional specimens, and this is the only
island we visited in the Nicobars where they seemed other than extremely

[Illustration: "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits.]



    The Harbour Shores--A Village--_Kanaia_--Canoe--Feeding the
    Animals--Collecting-ground--Mangrove Creeks--Preparations for
    a Festival--Burial Customs--Malacca Village--Houses--Visit
    Tanamara--Furniture--Talismans and "Scare-devils"--Beliefs--
    Festivities--A Dance--An Educated Native--Tanamara and his
    Relations--Cigarettes--Refreshments--The Collections--Geology--

On the morning of the 5th we weighed anchor, and proceeded to Nankauri
harbour. The entrance is about a quarter of a mile wide, and its
northern coast, once the site of the Government settlement, is the only
open grassy portion of the harbour shores. Just within the point stands
the flag-staff, and above it, on the crest of a low hill, a little
graveyard lies within the shade of casuarinas. A long jetty of coral
blocks runs out from the shore, and near by is the house of the agent.
Opposite, on either side of Mayo Point, are the villages of Malacca and
Inúanga, and behind them the forest-clad slopes stretch to grassy

We sailed into Spiteful Bay, which lies just behind the southern point
of the harbour entrance, and anchored in 12 fathoms, mud and sand, close
to a little village of a dozen houses standing above the beach.[38] In
front of these and planted in shallow water, rose a number of tall
poles, each made of several spars bound end to end with rattan, and
ornamented at intervals with bunches of palm leaves. These the natives
call _kanaia_: they have, we were told repeatedly, no superstitious
significance; one is put up for each inhabited house in the village, and
renewed periodically.[39]

Landing at the village (_matai_) is easy, for below the water-level the
sandy shore slopes downwards at an angle of 45°, a condition made
possible by the tranquility of the harbour water. The houses, (_n'gi_)
are less solidly built than those of Kar Nicobar, possess a small
side-wall about 4 feet high, of boards, and a pointed finial crowning
the conical roof; but do not have the protective discs on the supports:
the door, too, and a number of small windows open in the sides, and the
latter are all supplied with shutters that swing freely on a wooden

A new and very large canoe was lying on the beach, the dug-out portion,
without additions, measuring 42 feet long by 3 feet wide and 3 feet
deep. The hull was charred, and decorated by grooved bands running at
short intervals from gunwale to gunwale round the outside. Canoes are
fitted, according to size, with from one to four short bamboo masts,
each supported by four wide-spreading stays of rattan, and on these are
hoisted lateen sails with a short tack of about 12 inches, made of
cotton or pandanus leaves. The masts are never stepped on the floor of
the canoe, but always on one of the crossbars or thwarts.

The people about the village were feeding their dogs and pigs with a
kind of gruel in wooden troughs, and as the animals were judged to have
enough, each was smacked on the head and sent off; no greediness nor
crowding was allowed, and the pigs were far better behaved than the
generality of their species.

We found the jungle near the houses quite impracticable, both from its
tangled nature and the steepness of the ground it covered. A walk along
the shore produced only a whimbrel (_Numenius phoeopus_), which,
although not bad for the pot, is too wide-spread a species to be of much
value ornithologically.

Experiences next day on the opposite side of the bay were little more
encouraging. Scrambling up a steep hill, we found a small stretch of
flat land on the top, where ran one or two faint paths, along which the
traps were placed. Birds were very scarce, and as it began to rain, we
returned to the dinghy, and rowed round the bay, looking for
kingfishers. The boat was paddled up all the creeks in the thick belt of
mangroves that fringe the shores, but there was no sign of the bird we
were after--the large stork-billed _Pelargopsis_--and we had to be
content with whimbrels. The creeks, which in many cases are only just
broad enough to row in, often wind for long distances among the
mangroves, and on a dull day are depressing places, with but little life
in them. In the bay itself we saw many beautiful branching corals of
kinds far too delicate to grow in the more disturbed water of the sea;
much of the growth which spreads all over the bottom was, however,
killed by the mud and fresh water that comes down through the mangroves.

Our arrival in the harbour was coincident with the beginning of a feast,
which was to continue for a week or so. Two new canoes, decked with most
gorgeous banners, flags, and streamers flying from small poles,[40] were
launched on the first day, and, to an accompaniment of singing, rowed
across to the northern shore to obtain young coconuts for the coming
festivity. These joyous occasions the natives call, in imitation of our
English custom, "making Christmas"; and over the door of those houses
where the gatherings are held they fasten a number of branches.[41] We
entered one of the houses thus decorated. Outside were large heaps of
green coconuts, and inside other refreshment in the shape of several big
jars of toddy; the interior was prepared for dancing. Immense quantities
of cotton print, of every pattern and colour imaginable, were hung from
rattans crossing the upper portion of the roof to within about 7 feet
from the floor; the upper part was a nearly solid mass of cotton. On a
framework in the centre of the floor, covered with alternate strips of
red and white cotton, so that it seemed to be made of barbers' poles,
were suspended a large number of spoons, forks, and soup-ladles.
Everything else in the house was pushed back against the walls in order
that the floor might be clear, and as the place was rather dark, it was
illuminated by a lamp made from half a coconut-shell, containing melted
pigs' fat and a strip of rag. The spoons and forks, in which the natives
invest nearly all they obtain by the sale of their coconuts, are
purchased from the Burmese and Indian traders. For soup-ladles they give
20 rupees; table-spoons 10 rupees, and smaller sizes 5 rupees. They are
of electro-plate and German metal, but the people apparently think them
silver, and did not seem to believe us when we told them otherwise, so
we did not press the point. Considering the large number they possess,
the knowledge might be painful, and since they are destroyed at the
owner's death, it perhaps does not matter much. "It's an ill wind that
blows nobody good," and the traders ought to do very well at such

The large public dances of the northern island are not held here, but
two or three private houses are prepared for the occasion as above

The people of these islands employ in everyday life far more clothing
than the Kar Nicobarese, and a great proportion of them wear some other
garment--trousers or jacket--in addition to their national apparel.
Formerly, they wore the white palm-leaf head-dress, but it was given up
when imported garments became common.

A custom of partially exhuming the bodies of the dead exists here, and
whenever celebrated is the occasion of a special feast (_Koruâk_). In
the Northern Islands the entire remains are disinterred, carefully
cleaned, wrapped up once more, and reburied; here, the skull and jawbone
only are retained.

The local population greatly deprecates the method of their northern

It would appear, by the way, that the present custom is no degradation
of the past, for more than a century ago the head only was disinterred
and cleansed.

     "On the anniversary of the festival--if it can be so called--their
     houses are decorated with garlands of flowers, fruit, and branches
     of trees. The people of each village assemble, dressed in their
     best attire, at the principal house in the place, where they spend
     the day in a convivial manner. The men sitting apart from the
     women, smoke tobacco and intoxicate themselves, while the latter
     are nursing the children, and employed in preparation for the
     mournful business of the night. At a certain hour of the afternoon,
     announced by striking the _goung_ (an instrument of brass somewhat
     like the _gurry_ of Bengal--it sounds more hollow), the women set
     up the most dismal howls and lamentations, which they continue
     without intermission till about sunset, when the whole party gets
     up and walks in procession to the burying-ground. Arrived at the
     place, they form a circle round one of the graves, when a stake,
     planted exactly over the head of a corpse, is pulled up. The woman
     who is nearest of kin to the deceased steps out from the crowd,
     digs up the skull and draws it up in her hands. (The office is
     always performed by the women, whichever sex the skull belongs to.
     A man in a fantastic garb officiates as priest.) At sight of the
     bones her strength seems to fail her; she shrieks, she sobs, and
     tears of anguish abundantly fall on the mouldering object of her
     pious care. She cleans it from the earth, scrapes off the festering
     flesh, and laves it plentifully with the milk of fresh coconuts,
     supplied by the bystanders; after which, she rubs it over with an
     infusion of saffron, and wraps it carefully up in a piece of new
     cloth. It is then deposited in the earth, and covered up; the stake
     is replanted, and hung with the various trappings and implements
     belonging to the deceased. They proceed then to the other graves;
     and the whole night is spent in repetitions of these dismal and
     disgustful rites.

     "On the morning following, the ceremony is concluded by an offering
     of many fat swine, when the sacrifice made to the dead affords an
     ample feast to the living: they besmear themselves with the blood
     of the slaughtered hogs; and some, more voracious than others, eat
     the flesh raw."[42]

A few hundred yards from the houses in the bay, and on the seaward side
of the same point, is situated the larger village where the headman
resides; the path connecting the two crosses the site of one of the old
Moravian mission establishments, where the brick foundations of some of
the buildings once standing there may yet be seen.[43]

This larger village[44] contains fifteen to twenty houses closely packed
together, and fronted by a tall row of _kanaia_ standing in the water.
Bamboo posts, too, split at the upper end and spread out fanwise, are
planted at intervals along the beach; they are put up yearly by every
man in the village, to keep fever and devils (_iwi_) away; and several
grotesque figures of crocodiles (_yéo_), placed in little shelters,
raised on poles, prevent their living counterparts from attacking the
villagers when they enter the water.

The houses are of two kinds, round and rectangular; the latter are used
as kitchens and storerooms, but there is a fireplace in the others,
where much of the cooking is done. The conical roofs are made of attaps
of nipah palm, neatly fastened to a framework of thick rattan by
lashings of cane, the sides and floor are generally of roughly-hewn
boards; inside, about 3 feet from the wall, a circle of posts helps to
support the roof, which, in some cases, is entirely lined with
horizontal laths of wood. The apex is crowned outside by a high, carved
finial. Access is obtained by means of a notched pole, and to permit the
entrance of domestic animals, a tree trunk, split and hollowed out to
form a trough, slopes gently up from the ground to door or window.
Beneath the houses are platforms on which the natives keep their store
of pandanus and coconuts, their spare pots and baskets, and peculiar
bundles of wood. This latter is neatly cut into billets about 1 foot
long, and packed into circular bundles, 2 or 3 feet in diameter, by
means of a tight lashing of cane.[45]

One afternoon we paid a visit to Tanamara. He and his wife have no
children, but have adopted a little girl from Chaura, whose parents are
dead. This custom of adoption is, he says, not at all uncommon.
Tanamara's father and mother live with him; the former, "England" by
name, is an old, white-headed man, who is nearly eighty; he professes to
know nothing about the piratical atrocities which formerly occurred in
this group of islands, although many of them happened at a period
sufficiently late in his life for him to have fully comprehended such

The interior and contents of the house were very similar to what we had
already seen in Trinkat. Opposite the door stood the fireplace--a bed of
clay on the floor--above which was a mantle-shelf or rack, where are
kept pots, baskets, trays, etc. A grated floor formed a small chamber
immediately under the roof, where baskets and odds-and-ends are stowed
away. Several boxes, packed with the family possessions of cotton and
spoons, stood against the walls, on which hung various charms--small
figures (_kareau_), carved scrolls, tassels of palm leaf, and pigs'
skulls--all for scaring away devils. Hanging in the centre was a grass
string, with a few small coconuts attached: these are for the purpose of
feeding the house, and are periodically renewed: the object so nourished
does not seem possessed of much acumen, however, for small green nuts,
which have been blown down or have fallen from disease, seem quite good
enough to sustain it. The house also contained some almost life-sized
human figures (_odiau_), carved from wood, painted and clothed. These
were not at all badly shaped, and show an appreciation of anatomical
detail unusual among uncivilised people. The shape of the Nicobarese
head, and the peculiar angle at which the teeth are set, were well
noticed: the swelling muscles, the toes and fingers, even the sharpness
of the shin-bone in front of the leg, and the form of the knee-cap, were
faithfully copied. They were all supplied with a piece of rancid pork
hung from the neck or placed in the mouth.[46]

Several pictures (_hentá_) drawn on slabs of wood were placed against
the walls. These originate from an attack of fever. They are drawn by
the village artist by order of the doctor (_menlúana_), who tells him
what he should make. The latter is paid in kind for his work. Of
frequent occurrence are pigs, crocodiles and coconut trees, whilst
almost always there appears a scene of men seated at a table and
drinking rum from large glasses. If the patient make a good recovery,
the picture is kept as a potent charm, since it has been successful in
scaring away the spirits of illness; otherwise, it is thrown away. A
bird (_kaláng_)[47] commonly made during fever will also produce

We could not persuade the people to part with any of these, neither
would they sell one of the large figures. Tanamara has a life-sized
statue, painted black, with a white face, and although he was offered in
exchange a dress-suit and a white sun-helmet, which he much coveted, he
would not part with his double: its price was far above rupees. I was,
however, permitted to photograph both pictures and figure; although,
while the latter was being moved from the house to the beach, he was in
an agony of apprehension, for he believes that if any accident should
happen to it, illness on his part would follow, while, had we broken it
or taken it away, he himself would certainly die. The object of these
figures is to keep devils from working harm to their owners. Some people
have none, while others sometimes possess two or more.

"_February 7._--The people are far too occupied with their feasting to
take much notice of our presence: on shore I found them so busy and
excited that the photographs I had hoped for could not be obtained.
Every day four large canoes go across to the other side of the harbour
for coconuts, of which very few grow about the village: all the vessels
are gaily decorated, and the paddlers are in holiday attire--collars of
split banana leaf (_f[=u]m_), beads, new cottons, and red paint on their

"Tanamara came on board to tell us that the dance, at which by
arrangement we are to be spectators, will be ready to-morrow morning;
but that, to give a proper dance, the performers require to be jolly,
and to be jolly needs a bottle of rum, which under the circumstances it
was our duty to supply. He only stopped to beg for a glass of spirits,
and then returned to the amusements on shore. Laughter, cheers, and
singing have been going on in the village all the evening."

"_February 8._--About nine o'clock this morning, taking with us a supply
of liquid--half water, half rum--we landed at the village, and were
received with a cordiality which doubtless owed its warmth partly to the
presence of the bottles. In the banqueting-house we found dancing still
in progress, that, judging from the noise made, had lasted throughout
the night. All the cottons had been taken down, but the stand of spoons
still remained in the centre of the floor. Every one still on his legs
was very hilarious; we were shown large jars which last evening were
full of toddy. Lying about the sides of the floor people were sleeping,
some from sheer weariness, some from intoxication. All were gaily
dressed; bright cottons hung from the shoulders like a cloak, round the
neck were strings of beads and collars of frilled banana-leaf, now
faded; many wore ear-stretchers of red and white cotton made into
rosettes, and the men were crowned with chaplets of twisted print: we
saw several handsome belts, made of silver wire and rupees (almost the
only use to which money is put), and some wore armlets of silver not
unlike those brass-wire ornaments affected by Dyak women.

"In dancing, the people--men, women, and children--form a circle, or
portion of a circle, round the spoons, and, with arms intertwined and
hands on each others' shoulders, move slowly towards the right, with
measured step, to the accompaniment of general chanting--to me it
sounded like 'ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah,' _ad infinitum_, only varied
in tone and rhythm.[48] The regularity of the movement is broken at
intervals by a step or two in the opposite direction, or a pause with a
pirouette on one leg, and now and then a heavy stamp on the floor. One
old woman, who danced most perseveringly, was so intoxicated, that,
whenever her neighbours took away the support of their arms, she fell
over, and was too helpless to rise unaided.

"Seated on boxes we watched the performance, and the doctor, presiding
over the rum bottles, repeatedly filled a small glass, from which each
imbibed, turn and turn about. At our feet squatted a number of
half-drunken people, gabbling away in a mixture of Nicobarese, Malay,
and English; not all so stupid, however, that some could not detect the
water in the tipple.

"Tanamara, who was fairly clear-headed at first, received the finishing
touch from the rum, and before we left embraced Abbott with fervent
gratitude: 'You good man, I love you; you make us all nice and drunk.
Oh, I feel so nice!'

"The dancing was very monotonous, and before long we were glad to get
out to the open air: the hut was ventilated by a small doorway only, and
the vitiated atmosphere in which people had been moving for the last
twelve hours was by no means pleasant. Children and boys were present,
but no young women; in fact, at all times we only caught sight of the
latter as they bolted into the houses on our approach, and none were
forthcoming for the camera."

"_February 9._--Everything is quiet on shore to-day after the
dissipation which left off yesterday. Tanamara came on board with a
headache; he was sure it could be cured with rum, but got a heavy dose
of Eno instead. We gave him a few ducks he was very anxious to possess.
It is to be hoped there is a drake among them--a point that was somewhat
doubtful--for then we shall have benefited the community to the extent
at least of introducing a new domestic animal to the islands."

"_February 10._--Gave Tanamara a watch this afternoon, to spur him to
further efforts in collecting curiosities. His wife, whom he calls 'my
Mary,'[49] desires to visit the schooner this evening; but although she
is uninvited, and comes by her own wish, she has bargained for two
fathoms of red cotton in payment for the honour done us.

"We met a man on shore who was for a time at the school formerly kept
for natives at Port Blair. He lays claim to the name of William Brown,
and speaks English very well; his education otherwise has resulted in
giving him a contempt for the native superstitions, of which he speaks
with sneers, and meanwhile has replaced them by no other tenets. The
train of events that brings such a condition of things about seems
somewhat injudicious. A knowledge--a small knowledge--of the 'three R's'
is of very little use to a native who has sooner or later to return to
his national mode of existence. His experience may unsettle him, and is
no suitable training for his future life, while it must leave him at a
disadvantage among his countrymen, who have been bred to the conditions
under which their existence will be passed."

"_February 11._--Tanamara came on board last evening with his
brother-in-law (Hamól) and nephew (Térrok). He was half-drunk with
toddy, and brought--it was quite a family party--his wife (Helpak) and
mother (Mert). A canoe-load of dishes, spears, and charms, which
accompanied them, we purchased with old clothes, wire, and rice. The
headman is as great a beggar as the others, perhaps more so, by virtue
of his position and his English. Our conversation was continually
interrupted by demands for one thing or another as he remembered them:
things for his father, mother, wife, each request insinuatingly prefaced
by the words 'my friend.' 'My friend, you give me--; My friend, I
want--.' But for this fault, he is a fairly favourable specimen of a
Nicobarese, and is certainly more intelligent than the rank and file;
but, like many that we met, he is somewhat spoilt by contact with more
civilised conditions.

"We had on board a quantity of American cigarettes, packed in cardboard
boxes, each containing a dozen, and a coloured picture of a young woman
in an evening gown! These packets were very useful as small presents, or
as an answer to a request for a smoke. 'Oh, my dear!' exclaimed
Tanamara, as he lovingly gazed at the picture from his packet. But he
soon became dissatisfied, for she was a blonde and he likes brunettes,
while what he was most anxious to obtain was the portrait of a Malay

"Our small supply of spirits coming to an end, Abbott manufactured a
new kind of cocktail from the medical stores--tincture of cardamoms,
essence of ginger, sugar, and water, with a few spoonsful of rum to give
the mixture a bouquet. This fiery liquid was received with some
suspicion at first; but when I told them it was the favourite tipple of
the C.C. at Port Blair (may I be forgiven), Tanamara and his brother--it
was too stiff for the others--drank it down, although the tears stood in
their eyes."

Of the fauna, we obtained from day to day little of interest: the jungle
was without paths, and too thick even to see much in. No rats were
trapped, but one specimen was brought us in a bottle by a native, and
this has proved to be _Mus alexandrinus_, totally unrecorded until now
from the Andamans or Nicobars. Pigeons were common, but megapodes
scarce, and the only one obtained was caught in a trap. The vicinity of
the harbour, though a somewhat unproductive hunting-ground for the
ornithologist, for those interested in the natives, is, like Kar
Nicobar, a most satisfactory locality.

Nankauri is a heart-shaped island, with an area of 19 square miles, and
a maximum height of 534 feet. The bed rock consists of serpentinous
magnesian, which is exposed in places. It is covered by a plastic white
or yellowish clay and clay marl, with intervening beds of quartz
sandstone, formed, like the clay, by the disintegration of the plutonic
rock. The clay beds are similar to those which cover most of the
northern islands, and contain silica, alumina, magnesia, and iron, but
usually no lime, except in the form of gypsum, found in crevices.
Portions of the clay cliffs exposed to the sun are covered with a fine
efflorescence of sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salts). Professor Ehrenberg
found in 1850, on examining specimens sent him by Dr Rink (_Galathea_
Expedition), that this formation is a polycistina clay similar to that
of Barbadoes.

About one-third of the island is covered with grass: a belt of forest
runs all round the coast, but in the interior is restricted to the
valleys and more sheltered slopes. The most useful species are:
_Garcinias_, _Calophyllums_, _Myristica irya_, which yields good
timber; _Sterculia campanulata_ and _Terminalia procera_, which grow to
immense sizes. The Nicobar and many other palms occur in numbers, and a
wild species of cinnamon is common, as also is _Amomum fenzlii_, the
leaves of which are used for cigarette wrappings, and the fruit much
eaten by the natives.

But little fruit is grown about the villages: limes, guavas, and
soursops are commonest. In the way of supplies, coconuts, pigs, and a
few fowls might be obtained from the natives, and beef by shooting the
wild cattle. Water in the harbour is very bad, and scarce.[50]

By a comparison of the census returns (1886 and 1901), the population
would seem to have been stationary for many years: it now consists of
224 individuals.

The central group of islands was once notorious for the frequent
disasters occurring to vessels calling there. It was for long thought
that the numerous total losses that occurred in the Bengal Sea were due
to storms and cyclones; but at length the discovery was made, that, from
the beginning of the century until the British occupation, the vicinity
of Nankauri Harbour was the _habitat_ of a band of pirates, who cut off
and murdered the crews of many vessels calling to trade and supply
themselves with water or provisions. The headquarters of the band appear
to have been in Expedition Harbour, and from there, whenever a vessel
anchored at the islands, they sallied out, and either getting on board
under the guise of peaceful natives, took the crews by surprise with a
sudden attack, or else cut up landing-parties, and then captured the
weakened vessel.

In this way, always by treachery and never in open warfare, they
succeeded in capturing ship after ship.

There is some ground for belief that, for a time, the piratical
goings-on were carried out under the leadership of an Englishman named
William Worthington. The dates given in the various accounts of him are
contradictory; but it appears that, about 1808, Worthington deserted at
Nankauri from the frigate _Bucephalus_, and that for some years
subsequently the pirates were directed by a man who gave that name as

In 1814, the _Ceres_ was boarded by an Englishman, who stated that he
had been left behind by a man-of-war. After inspecting the vessel, he
left, and next day, as the anchor was being hove up, he arrived at the
head of about thirty canoes, and made a futile attack on the ship.

A short time after, the brig _Hope_ was cut off. An Englishman, who had
previously stated he was Worthington, deserter from the _Bucephalus_,
murdered the captain and mate, and the natives despatched the crew, with
the exception of two or three, who escaped in a boat and in some way
arrived at Rangoon.

At length Worthington was either expelled from the harbour, or left with
some home-going Bompokans; but be that as it may, a man of that name
lived for some years on Teressa and Bompoka, where several captains met
with, or received letters from, him. Their opinions of his character
differed. He was last seen in December 1820, when he reported that a
ship from Bengal had been cut off and massacred at Nankauri, with
several others previously, by natives led by Kafirs. He stated that
after he deserted at Nankauri, he was unable to leave until he had paid
a ransom to the natives. His death took place the same year, and the
natives with whom he lived afterwards gave him the best of characters:
that "John," as they called him, had long dwelt quietly and amicably
amongst them. His seems to have thus been a case of "devil turned monk,"
and his career amongst the natives akin to the records of the
better-known "beach-combers" of the early days in the Pacific.[51]

In a paper contributed to the _Journal of the Indian Archipelago_, 1847,
the missionary, Chopard, says that silver had a peculiar attraction for
the natives, and was the chief article which induced them to butcher, by
treachery always, crews of vessels calling at the harbour. He knew a
Kamortan, thirty-five years of age, who recollected eight vessels which
had been cut off there in that manner.

In 1833, a Cholia vessel was cut off in the false harbour of Nankauri
(Expedition Harbour) and everyone murdered. In 1844, Captain Ignatius
Ventura, from Moulmein, commanding the _Mary_, anchored on the north
side of Teressa at two o'clock, and an hour later he and his crew were
murdered. In the same year, Captain Law met the same fate on Kamorta. In
1845, a vessel, having taken in part of her cargo at Kachal, sailed to
the false harbour at Nankauri to complete, and all hands were

"While I was at Kar Nicobar," Captain Gardner writes in 1857,[53] "two
vessels were cut off at Nankauri, the crews massacred, and the ships
plundered and scuttled." In 1840, the _Pilot_, South Sea whaler, was cut
off there, and the captain, mates, and twenty-five men murdered; the
third mate, surgeon, and seven men escaped to sea in a boat.[54] In
1844, the cutter _Emilia_ visited Nankauri, and her captain was murdered
within an hour of landing, but the boat escaped.

Piracy in the Nicobars came to an end with the occupation of Nankauri
Harbour by the Indian Government in 1869; but two years previous to that
it had been necessary to send there a British punitive expedition, on
account of the atrocities committed by the natives. A notification of
the event was made by Captain N. B. Bedingfield, who commanded the
expedition, in the first of the Port Registers entrusted to the Nankauri


     "Whereas the natives of these islands have been guilty of several
     acts of piracy; the crews of no less than four vessels have been
     massacred; a white woman and two children have been kept prisoners
     for about two years and a half, and after being most cruelly
     treated, the poor woman, used for the very vilest purposes, was,
     with her children, first poisoned and afterwards knocked on the
     head: Her Majesty's ships _Wasp_ and _Satellite_ were sent to
     endeavour to liberate any captives that might still remain on the
     Islands, and to punish the natives for their crimes.

     "Several towns implicated have been burnt, all the war canoes
     destroyed, and other punishments inflicted ..." etc., etc.

Nor was this the only case of the kind, for although most of the vessels
disposed of were native, the total included not a few European. There is
another instance on record, in which a European woman was taken ashore
and so brutally abused by the band of pirates that she died next day.

It is believed that the origination of these practices cannot be traced
to the natives, but is due to the settlement of a body of Malays, who
attracted a number of the inhabitants to themselves, and then formed a
gang to plunder all vessels calling at the harbour, consequent upon a
successful massacre of the crew.



    The Old Settlement--The Cemetery--F. A. de Röepstorff--Mortality--
    Birds--The Harbour--Appearance of Kamorta--Dring Harbour--
    Olta-möit--Buffalo--Spirit Traffic--Cookery--Ceremonial Dress--
    A Visit from Tanamara--Geology--Flora--Topography--Population--
    Hamilton's Description.

On several occasions we crossed the harbour and visited the locality of
the convict settlement formerly established on Kamorta, but given up in
1888, when the buildings were dismantled, and sepoys and prisoners
withdrawn to Port Blair.

The jetty on which one lands is more than a hundred yards long, and
although solidly constructed of coral blocks, is now in need of partial
repair. To the right is a long sea-wall, and on the other hand a small
boat harbour, both built of coral. Beyond the agent's house at the foot
of the jetty, one walks along a grass-grown road shaded by an avenue of
tall casuarinas, and passes several large wells of strong brickwork, and
a large tank for rain water, with various other traces of past
occupation, till on the hill-top one comes on the remains of the
Government bungalow, of which only the foundations are now to be seen. A
little farther on is the only building now standing--the old powder
store--"where nothing's here that's worth defence, they _leave_ a

On another hill close by--from which are to be seen the whole stretch of
the beautiful harbour, the distant forest-clad slopes of Kachal and the
grassy interior of Kamorta--lies the little cemetery with its two
occupants--Nicolas Shimmings, chief engineer of the R.I.M.S.
_Kwangtung_, and Frederick Adolph de Röepstorff, a Dane by nationality,
and for some time superintendent of the settlement. Tanamara told us of
his death, which occurred in 1883. Complaint had been made that one of
the sepoys of the small force stationed here was in the habit of
stealing the natives' coconuts; him the superintendent reprimanded, and
threatened to send to Port Blair for punishment. Next day the sepoy shot
at and wounded de Röepstorff while the latter was in the act of mounting
a horse. The injured man despatched a letter to the Andamans by a
Burmese trader, but died before the arrival of a steamer, five days
later. He was nursed and buried by the Nicobarese, who would not allow
the Indian servants to approach him.[55] "He was," said Tanamara, "a
good man, a very good man." He took much interest in all that surrounded
him, and besides contributing accounts of the Andamans and Nicobars to
the journals of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, he made large collections
of lepidoptera for the Calcutta Museum, and compiled vocabularies of
several of the local languages.[56]

Nowadays, all that marks our possession of these islands is the Colonial
Jack, presided over by a Hindu; all that shows our past occupation,
fallen brickwork, grass-grown roads and graves: these things, and the
result of our contact with the native inhabitants. In the north, some
knowledge of the English speech, and the beginning of education; here
the suppression of piracy.

The agent told us that in the group people were dying almost day by day;
the cause, from his description, ague and malaria.[57] Beyond two or
three slight cases of elephantiasis, we ourselves noticed no symptoms of
disease amongst the adults, but the children nearly all seemed to be
suffering from yaws.

The country around the settlement is very undulating, and covered with
long grass growing on a sterile clay. It was almost lifeless, for we saw
little more than wagtails, pipits, and an occasional button-quail
(_Turnix albiventris_ and _Excalfactoria_, sp. nov.); but in one of the
numerous gullies between the hills we found a little _jheel_ where
formerly paddy had been grown, and floating on its surface was a small
flock of whistling teal (_Dendrocygna javanica_). A couple were dropped
before they flew out of range, and next day we met in the same place a
larger number, which all got off scot free; but a falcon (_F.
peregrinus_), that like ourselves had just made an unsuccessful attack,
was soon reposing in a game-bag, in company with a chestnut heron (_A.
cinnomomea_), and a redshank.

On February 11th, when we left our anchorage, the breeze was very light,
and bore the schooner slowly through the calm waters of the harbour as
we steered for the western exit.

All around, the shores sloped downward, covered with dense forest, but
now and again the inland hills rose grass-clad above the tree-tops; on
either hand we passed small villages, Itoë (six houses), and Pachoak
(five houses), placed just above the edge of the water.

The western opening is bold and rocky, but very narrow; and among the
boulders of the shore are several blow-holes, from which, when the sea
rolls on the beach, spouts of water fly upwards and break into showers
of spray.

Outside, the wind was still light, and we tacked along the coast for
some hours before it strengthened. Much of this side of Kamorta consists
of low broken hills with pointed summits looking like volcanic cones--a
grassy country, varied by occasional small patches of forest--while
along the shore low bluffs and stretches of coco palms succeed each

Soon we passed the entrance of Expedition Harbour, a deep, land-locked
bight, separated from Nankauri Harbour by a narrow strip of land; this
was the reputed headquarters of the band of piratical savages who
formerly committed so many depredations in this neighbourhood. Near by,
Mount Edgecombe, of a very volcanic appearance, rises about 400 feet.

This shore seems but little inhabited, for until we reached our
destination at 4 P.M., we saw only one small village of four or five

The wind was off the land when we arrived at Dring Harbour, and since
the entrance was narrowed by rocks and reefs projecting from either
side, we lowered all sail and warped in.

The bay is about half a mile square, and the head, which is slightly
wider than the mouth, is bordered by a long sandy beach, backed by a
belt of scrub and palm trees, from a quarter to half a mile in depth.
The other shores are partially formed by small cliffs, with a thin
fringe of jungle, bounding grassy hills and downs.

The village of Olta-möit (fifteen to twenty houses), "Captain John,"
headman, lies along the beach, which abuts at the southern end upon a
fair-sized creek leading to a mangrove swamp at the back of the houses.
Several natives came on board at once, in expectation of a feed; none
spoke English, but all understood Malay.

The patch of jungle about the village is rather small, and to reach more
necessitated a walk of some miles; we succeeded, however, in adding to
our collection a diminutive serpent-eagle (_Spilornis minimus_), and
caught sight in the denser jungle of a fresh variety of a little forest
hawk. Specimens were also obtained of a small bat which has since been
named _Pipistrellus camortæ_.

The neighbourhood of the harbour has for long been frequented by
descendants of buffaloes, turned loose by the Danes when they abandoned
their settlement at Nankauri. Formerly it is said that large herds were
to be met with in the neighbourhood; but we learnt, both from the
inhabitants and from the Port Register, that the animals are now
becoming very scarce, and only a few have recently been killed by
visitors from the station gunboat.

I was out after them on two consecutive days. Both had been preceded by
nights of rain, through which tracking was much facilitated. The country
round is very undulating, often broken by deep gullies, and covered here
and there with small patches of jungle, while everywhere are scattered
pandanus trees, either in clumps or singly. On both occasions I picked
up fresh tracks in the red clayey soil when some distance from the
village, and after following them for several miles lost them in distant
jungle. There seemed to be only two animals in the neighbourhood--one
very large indeed, and the other of much smaller size. This decline in
numbers is not due to the natives, who, with their spears only, could
cause little destruction, and who evince no eagerness to pursue.

Tracks of pig were innumerable, and every now and then a bunch of little
quail whirled away from beneath my feet. Although out by 5 A.M., I was
not early enough; at three o'clock on a moonlight night one would
probably be more fortunate.

In 1870, chital and sambhar were turned out on Kamorta, but nothing is
now seen of them, except by the natives, who state that from time to
time a few have been perceived here, and at Trinkat, which they reached
by swimming the narrow channel intervening.

One afternoon was devoted to the exploration of the creek, which is
rather deep at the mouth, and navigable by boat for several miles; all
this distance it is bordered by the usual wearisome mangrove forest, in
which, however, we saw numbers of parrots, whimbrel, and pigeons.

The proportion of old men among the people of the village seemed even
greater than was the case at Malacca. On the headman, John, we met with
the only case of tattooing found in the islands--probably the work of
some Burmese trader, for neither Nicobarese nor Shom Pe[.n] tattoo or
scarify themselves.

A second junk joined that already in the harbour the day after our
arrival, and everybody on shore was soon drunk. The inference is
obvious. The authorities at Port Blair prohibit the supply of
intoxicants to the natives, and whenever they are found on board trading
vessels, spirits are confiscated, and a small fine levied, in cash or
articles of barter to the value of about a hundred dollars. This,
however, is not always a sufficient deterrent, and on a second
conviction, the Chinese skipper is awarded six months' rigorous
imprisonment in the jail at Viper Island, Port Blair. The spirit is
invaluable to the traders in their dealings with the natives, and is so
inexpensive, that they can afford to risk its loss, since the chance of
discovery is about one in a hundred.

A small feast was held during our visit, for which a number of pigs were
prepared. Torches, made by binding immense palm leaves together, were
set fire to, and the bristles singed off by fanning the flame on to the
animals as they lay on the ground.

"Captain John" was resplendent for the occasion in a _neng_ and
dress-coat, and a friend of his looked very imposing in an officer's
frogged and braided tunic.

The day before we left we were surprised by the appearance of Tanamara,
who arrived with one companion in a small canoe. He had declined to come
up in the schooner, on the excuse that fever-devils and other evil
spirits were very active in this locality. He was, he assured us, very
sorry for us alone up here, and had had a dream which resulted in his
setting out. (I am uncharitable enough to think that that dream had
something to do with rum!) He did not wish to be seen by the shore
people, of whom he seemed afraid, for he stayed aboard all day, and in
the evening, when some of them came off to the ship, left for a time in
his canoe. Next morning he departed at daybreak, that he might not be
observed from the village.

We ourselves made sail a few hours later, with the intention of visiting
Teressa. We took in water at Dring, but the only supplies obtained were

Kamorta is 15 miles long, and of a general width of 4 miles: it attains
in the extreme south-west a height of 735 feet, and in the centre rises
435 feet, but the average elevation is about 200 feet. It is of the same
geological structure as Nankauri, but is covered with far less forest,
and its extensive grassy downs are dotted with patches of scrub,
bracken, and pandani. The presence of casuarinas high up in the middle
of the island is peculiar. This species as a rule is found only on the
coasts, but here they were planted by the Settlement authorities at the
Government cattle-stations (between 1869-88), as it was found that this
tree delights in the polycistina clay. The neighbourhood of Dring
Harbour is extremely well watered, as nearly each one of the many
gullies has either a stream or pond in it. A stratum of a sandy nature
underlies the surface clay of this district, and by washing away, causes
the latter to fall in, with the result that a number of curious hollows
are formed on the tops of the rolling hills. This tendency leads to
parts of the downs becoming terraced as if by artificial agency. Some
thirty villages are scattered along its coasts, and the population,
according to the census, has increased, principally by immigration from
Chaura and other islands, from 359 in 1886 to 488 at the present day.

Of the central group of islands, Hamilton writes:--

     "Ning and Goury are two fine, smooth islands, well inhabited, and
     plentifully furnished with several sorts of good fish, hogs, and
     poultry; but they have no horses, cows, sheep, nor goats, nor wild
     beasts of any sort but monkeys. They have no rice nor pulse, so
     that the kernels of coconuts, yams, and potatoes serve them for

     Along the north end of the easternmost of the two islands are good
     soundings, from 6 to 10 fathoms sand, about 2 miles offshore. The
     people come thronging on board in their canoes, and bring fowl,
     cocks; fish, fresh, salted, and dried; yams, the best I ever
     tasted; potatoes, parrots, and monkeys, to barter for old hatchets,
     sword-blades, and pieces of iron hoops, to make defensive weapons
     against their common disturbers and implacable enemies the
     Andamaners; and tobacco they are very greedy for; for a leaf, if
     pretty large, they will give a cock; for 3 feet of an iron hoop a
     large hog, and for 1 foot in length, a pig. They all speak a little
     broken Portuguese, but what religious worship they use I could not



    Heavy Surf--Teressa--Bompoka--A Native Legend--Hamilton--Chaura--
    Wizardry--Pottery--Kachal Typical of the Tropics--Nicobarese
    Dress--West Bay--Lagoon--Mangroves--Whimbrel--Formation of
    Kachal--Birds--Visitors to the Schooner--Fever--Chinese Junks--
    Thatch--Relics--The Reef--Megapodes--Monkeys--Full-dressed
    Natives--Medicine--A Death Ceremony--Talismans--Fish and

For some hours after we left Dring the breeze was very faint, but at
midday a heavy squall with rain overtook us and carried us onward, so
that we were soon sailing along the southern shore of Teressa.

The island of Bompoka, which lies but a short distance from its
south-east end, is high, with a central tableland, whence the ground
slopes gently downwards in every direction, and is covered with forest
and grass.

Seen from a distance, Teressa looks like two islands, for it is elevated
at either end: the northern part is covered with forest; the southern
end is all grass-land, save for a fringe of scrub and large coco-palm
groves along the coast. This portion of the shore is very rocky in
places, and numerous points of off-lying reefs project from the water.

A heavy swell was running from the south-west, and rank on rank of
breakers--10 feet or so in height--were rolling shorewards, throwing up
clouds of smoke-like foam. It would have been impossible to land without
danger of losing guns, camera, etc., so we decided not to make the
attempt, and therefore put about for Kachal, with the less regret in
that the locality did not seem to hold out much promise as a collecting

There is no harbour on its coasts, for the shores of the island, which
is crescent-shaped, are almost unbroken. We afterwards heard that, two
or three months previously, a Chinese junk, whose crew all reached the
shore, had been wrecked on the reefs fronting this part of the island.

In their customs, style of architecture, and in the more general absence
of talismans and demon-exorcising regalia, the people of Teressa and
Bompoka are said to resemble those of Kar Nicobar, but their language
possesses great dialectical variation.

Teressa is 34 square miles in area, and rises in the north to nearly 900
feet. The bed rock is serpentine, covered with sandstone, and there is a
fringe of recent coralline alluvium round the shore, while beds of coral
on the high land of the interior indicate upheaval since the formation
of the older alluvium.

The soil of the grass-lands is of an igneous clay formation--magnesian
clay, formed by disintegration of the plutonic rocks, whose upheaval in
two successive stages brought the Nicobars into existence. Overlying it
in many places are the beds of coral, and to these formations the grassy
downs of the island are confined--lallang, with occasional screw-pines,
a bracken-like fern (_Gleichenia dichotoma_), delicate ground orchids,
and various scrubby plants (_Kydia calycina_), which point to the
occurrence of annual fires. The transition from grass-land to high
forest, which appears on the sandstone, is very sudden.

The graceful Nicobar palm (_Ptychoraphis augusta_) is common in the
jungle. Whole groves of this beautiful tree fill the moister ravines,
and give a characteristic appearance to the forest. Nearly equally
conspicuous are large numbers of _Sterculia campanulata_.

Fruit and vegetables are the same as are found on Kar Nicobar, with the
addition of tobacco, of which several small fields have been raised from
seed imported from the west coast of India.

The census returns of 1901 give the population of Teressa as 624, making
the number of inhabitants 50 more than in 1886.

Bompoka, having the appearance of a truncated cone, and 634 feet high,
is an oblong-shaped island, about 4 square miles in area, separated from
Teressa by a channel 50 fathoms in depth, and scarcely more than 2 miles
wide. Its inhabitants, who number less than a hundred, and the people of
Teressa, have an interesting legend to account for the formation of the
island. Once upon a time a vessel, having a prince for its captain,
visited Teressa, where he, on landing, was murdered by the inhabitants.
His wife was taken on shore and treated with the greatest respect; but,
since the spot on which her husband's blood was shed was always before
her eyes, she was very miserable. One night, however, she was advised in
a dream, by her mother, to remove the bloody spot from Teressa if she
would be happy. This she did, and Bompoka was thus separated from that

The geological formation and the vegetation are similar to those of
Teressa. The inhabitants have good plantations of fruit-trees--papaya,
plantains, and limes--neatly fenced to keep out the pigs. At Poahat, on
the west coast, good water is to be obtained from a stream at the back
of the village.

These two islands, with perhaps Chaura, seem those referred to by
Hamilton as the Somerera Islands, so called because "on the south end of
the largest island is a hill that resembles the top of an umbrella or
somerera. They are fine champaign ground, and, all but one, well
inhabited. The island Somerera lies about 8 leagues to the northward of
Ning and Goury (the Nankauri group), and is well inhabited for the
number of villages that show themselves as we sail along the shores. The
people, like those of Ning and Goury, are very courteous, and bring the
product of their island aboard of ships to exchange for commodities.
Silver nor gold they neither have nor care for, so the root of all evil
can never send out branches of misery, or bear fruit to poison their
happiness! The men's clothing is a bit of string round the middle, and
about 1-1/2 feet of cloth, 6 inches broad, tucked before and behind,
within that line. The women have a petticoat from the navel to the knee,
and their hair close shaved; but the men have their hair left on the
upper part of the head and below the crown, but cut so short that it
hardly comes to their ears."

Chaura, which lies 7 miles north-westward of Teressa, has an area of
about 3 square miles only. It is generally low, and the only jungle it
possesses is a little at the south end, where it rises almost
perpendicularly in a rocky pinnacle to a height of about 350 feet,
having the appearance, with the contiguous low portion, of a
broad-brimmed hat. It was on this account termed Sombrero by the
Portuguese navigators of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who
were probably the first Europeans to have any commercial dealings with
the Nicobarese.

The people are very well off, on account of their trade in canoes and
pottery: but to obtain the articles imported by the traders, canoe
voyages are made to other islands, as the anchorage at Chaura is
exceedingly precarious, and after the native requirements are provided
for there are but few nuts to spare for trade, so that vessels are
hardly ever known to call. The island is the best cultivated in the
group, and besides abounding in oranges, limes, and other fruit, is
covered with coconuts; and toddy being common, drunkenness is fairly
prevalent. One of the institutions of the place is the door mat; for a
large flat sponge, which is found in numbers on the reefs, is placed at
the bottom of every house-ladder, for the natives to wipe their feet on!

Although the smallest, it is at the same time the most densely populated
of the islands, for, in spite of decreasing numbers, which may perhaps
be due to emigration, the people of Chaura number (January 1901) some
522 in all; in 1886 the population fell only a few short of 700. We were
told that they are taller, more powerful, and darker-skinned than the
other Nicobarese, and also dolichocephalic.

Through an exaggerated reputation for magic, they are greatly feared
throughout the group, and have for this reason developed a most
independent and overbearing demeanour. Various circumstances assist the
cultivation of these traits--the value in which their canoes[60] are
held throughout the Archipelago, for one; but the most important of all
is the monopoly[61] which the island of Chaura possesses in the
manufacture of pottery.

Throughout the Nicobars there is an inherent belief that should
anyone--other than a native of Chaura in Chaura--attempt to make a
vessel of clay, he is doomed to almost immediate destruction. This fate
was formerly supposed to follow the act of even eating food cooked in
any pottery other than manufactured on the island, but this part of the
superstition is now losing force, and the Nicobarese freely provide
themselves with pots made at Port Blair.

The women of Chaura--for the men take no part in the construction of the
pots--cleanse and prepare the clay, by washing out the rougher particles
and kneading it with fine sand. The operator seats herself on the ground
by a slab of wood, on which she lays a ring of coco-palm pinnæ neatly
bound together. Upon this ring she sets a shallow dish, neatly lined
with a circular piece of plantain leaf. With a lump of clay, the bottom
of the vessel to be constructed is moulded in the dish, and upon this
basis, by means of ropes of clay, the work is built up, the operator
turning the pot round and round, and shaping it with her eye and hand.
The vessel is set aside on a platform under the hut for a day or so, to
dry: only the smallest kind can be prepared for the kiln without an
interval of waiting.

The pot when dry is scraped with a shell, and then reversed, and all
superfluous material removed by means of a fine strip of bamboo
moistened with water, while the fingers, also wet, are gently passed
over the inner and outer surfaces in order to smooth them. The pot is
then replaced on the platform for ten days more.

[Illustration: Chaura Pottery.]

The kiln is prepared by sticking bits of broken pottery in the ground, a
few inches apart, and on these the pot is set upside down. In the space
beneath it, a layer of fine wood ash, and a quantity of coconut-shells
and scraps of firewood, are heaped. A wheel-like object, larger in
circumference than the pot, is placed on its upturned base, and against
this rest sticks of firewood stood on end. When the fire is kindled, two
or three women fan the flame, and with wooden pokers prop up and replace
the fuel. When the vessel is baked, it is removed with the same
implement and placed on dry sand.

Coloured stripes are laid on by means of strips of unripe coconut husk
pressed against the vessel while hot--the acid juice turning black the
moment it touches the heated surface. Finally a handful of moist husk is
passed over the inner and outer sides, imparting a light-copper colour
to the parts not stained by the deeper dye, and the vessels are stored
for a time to season.[62]

The pots vary in size, from a capacity of half a pint to five gallons or
more, and also in shape, some having a perfectly straight plain lip,
while in others the edge is turned out or rounded, but all are alike in
having a more or less rounded base.

After leaving Teressa, we encountered fresh breezes and squally weather
until we anchored in darkness near the shore of Kachal. At daybreak next
morning we weighed, and again started--with scarce a breath of wind--for
the bay on the west coast where we intended to stay.

With Kachal we returned again to the tropical island of common type in
these seas, for it is entirely jungle-covered, with no traces of
grass-land visible.

On account of their geological structure, the Nicobars fall botanically
into two divisions--the northern islands, including perhaps Nankauri,
are largely covered with grass, with coco palms and pandani growing in
the interior; while the southern group, consisting of Kachal, with Great
and Little Nicobar, are entirely forest-covered. Tilanchong, although
belonging to the others by position, should nevertheless be classed with
the latter islands.

Several canoes from a small village on the north-west coast came off to
inspect the schooner as we slowly drifted along. Their occupants seemed
less prepossessing than those people we had just left, for they looked
somewhat dirty in person and were dressed in discarded old clothes, or
the cheap cottons and loose trousers supplied by the Chinese. The
Nicobarese are not so partial to water as the Malays, and they by no
means improve matters by unnecessarily clothing their bodies with
cast-off garments and once gaudy cottons, which they never, or rarely,
dream of washing.

We reached West Bay by midday, and anchored in 2-1/2 fathoms. A junk was
lying farther in, the fourth we had seen. From the southern shore,
coral-reefs project for some distance, both into the bay and seaward,
and at low tide the swell breaks upon them heavily; while, at the same
time, two rocks project above water inside the harbour, near the north
beach, and must be borne in mind when choosing an anchorage. Fifteen or
sixteen houses, surrounded by coconuts, are scattered along half a mile
of beach, and at its head the bay narrows and then extends inland among
mangroves and their attendant swamps.

Our first expedition was up the bay, which we found opened out into a
shallow lagoon nowhere more than 2 or 3 feet deep. The dinghy grounded
often, and we were unable to reach firm land anywhere, so thick was the
belt of mangroves. Rowing up some of the small creeks winding among
them, we saw several flocks of herons (_Sumatranus javanica_), while
sandpipers, curlew and whimbrel were common on the mud-banks, and
pigeons and parrots in the taller trees.

In several places occur those stretches of dead mangroves only seen when
the trees are large, and which are infallible evidence of the growth of
land; for when such trees first took root, a certain amount of salt
water must have been present, while, when they are found dead, the roots
are nearly always silted up with solid matter, which first causes the
water to become stagnant, and finally replaces it. Having served their
purpose, they die, and stand white and gaunt until brought down by the
wind or gradual decay.

At sunset, large flocks of whimbrel, travelling seaward down the mouth
of the lagoon, afforded some fair shooting, for they were very wild, and
flew past us at an amazing pace as we fired at them from the boat hidden
in the mangroves.

On the northern side of the bay, where much of our collecting was done,
we found, behind the houses, a number of paths leading among coconut and
pandanus palms, tangled grass, and bushes. Beyond this scrub, in which
gaudy-leaved crotons were not uncommon,[63] was the jungle, fairly open,
but without any large trees.

The land in the neighbourhood of this coast, and probably as far as the
hills inland and on the eastern side, which rise 800 feet, is of very
recent formation, and consists of almost undecayed coral _débris_ mixed
with sand and vegetable loam, a compound scarcely sufficiently fertile
to support a heavy forest at present.

Pigeons and glossy starlings were common, and we obtained specimens of a
small forest hawk which had not been met with on the more open island
(_Astur_, sp. nov.): we shot also a new chestnut myna (_Sturnia_, sp.
nov.), somewhat similar to that met with on Kar Nicobar. Grackles
(_Eulabes intermedia_), of which only one specimen on Nankauri had yet
been seen, were fairly numerous, and the presence of a drongo, the first
of its kind observed since leaving the Andamans, was recorded.

Numbers of Blyth's dove (_Macropygia rufipennis_) frequented the scrub
near the village. We were astonished to find the crops of all those shot
completely filled with large red chillies only. It is almost impossible
to conceive anything more pungent than a red pepper, and the bird must
have an extraordinary interior to patronise such a diet exclusively.
This unusual food had no effect on the flesh, for its flavour in no way
differed from more rationally feeding members of the same species.

Now and again we would have visitors on the schooner, for in the evening
people often came on board to watch us as we sat preparing specimens,
and although on these occasions we generally obtained information from
the natives concerning the locality and their customs, they were, as a
rule, more bent on satisfying their own curiosity than our desire for

One man showed us a ring, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, of a bone-like
substance, and related a story about it of some large jungle-dwelling
animal, from whose eye, or eye-socket, it was made. "This animal," he
said, "was bigger than a pig, and very scarce"; further than that he was
not intelligent enough to give a description!

Another native, "Yassan" by name, brought a letter originally belonging
to his father, and written by de Röepstorff, who is now almost
forgotten. Yassan was more intelligent than his companions, and we made
arrangements with him to obtain for us a collection of charms and

He was a man of some standing locally, was thrice-wedded, kept each of
his "better-halves" in a separate house, and was at the time blessed
with three children, all the offspring of one proud mother. Our
conversation was carried on in Malay; but on one occasion, when we were
at fault as to his meaning, he was asked to explain himself in
Hindustani. He smiled rather wickedly, and immediately surpassed a Kling
in volubility. Thereafter we stuck to the easier language, and guessed
what we did not understand. These natives undoubtedly include some
wonderful linguists among their number.

Once or twice the _chinchews_[64] of the junks brought for treatment
Chinese suffering from malaria; the crews, they said, always contracted
fever when visiting the Nicobars, and even if they do not suffer from it
on the spot, it invariably occurs before reaching Penang. These
particular vessels had been only a month at Great Nicobar, and a
fortnight at this place, obtaining copra and rattan, but already several
members of the crews were incapacitated from hard work.

Those junks trading at the Nicobars--where they remain during the
greater portion of the north-east monsoon--that come immediately from
Singapore, but originally from China, make the voyage and return between
the last-named two places in the other (south-west) monsoon, which is
the bad weather season in these waters, but the contrary in the China

The houses in the village were very similar in appearance to those we
had just left, but were roofed with attaps of pandanus leaf. The process
of thatching cannot be an enjoyable occupation, for either edge of the
pandanus leaf is armed with a row of thorns, while the lower side of the
mid-rib is provided with a third row set in the reverse direction; thus
in brushing against a clump of young pandanus one is not only pricked
when approaching, but scratched while getting away.[65]

Behind the village we found a fairly recent grave, around which the
possessions of the deceased had been deposited--a wooden chest with the
lid wrenched off, clothing, spoons, forks, tools, axes, _dáos_, and
other things, forming a miscellaneous collection that was rapidly
rotting away. There they would stay until destroyed by the exposure, for
no one would venture to help himself, however valuable or useful the
articles might be.

In front of one house was a solitary example of _kanaia_, set up on
land, however, instead of in the water: possibly the south-west monsoon
blows too strongly on this coast for their general erection. The name of
this village is Ol-kolo-kwák.

To reach land on the southern side of the bay we had to cross a broad
reef of coral and coral sand, thickly overgrown with grass and
corallines, and dotted with various species of _holothurians_. The
forest on shore came right down to the water; and once inside it, we
found ourselves in very truth in the home of the megapode.

No sooner were we under the trees than we immediately saw the birds--for
the jungle is very open--running about, singly or in parties of twos or
threes. From all round came their cries, perhaps best described as loud,
ringing calls ending in a rapid cackle, to the sound of which the
following syllables bear some resemblance--"[=u]rr-rak, [=u]rr-rak,
ur-r-rak, rak, rak, rak, rak!" The megapode hardly ever takes to flight
when startled, but runs quickly away among the bushes; the only occasion
on which I ever saw these birds use their wings was when once I suddenly
walked into a party of four, scratching at the foot of a large tree. Two
ran off, but the others rose clumsily in the air, and after flying a
short distance, attempted to settle on a low branch, on which they
alighted very awkwardly, and immediately lost their balance and fell
off. The feet, although very large and strong, are not adapted for
grasping, and the tail is far too short to be of any use as a balance.

Several birds seem to occur somewhat locally: it was on this side of the
bay only that we obtained _Spilornis minimus_, while the little forest
hawk seemed confined to the northern shore.

We were unable to reach the hills in the centre of the island from the
harbour, as the swamp at its head stretches out long arms to right and
left, cutting off the land bordering the coast from the interior.

Kachal is the most northerly of the Nicobars in which monkeys are
present, and, taking into account the scarcity of other mammalian fauna
and the absence of this genus from the Andamans, it seems certain that
they have been introduced. Their non-occurrence in Tilanchong--an island
eminently suited to their requirements--goes to bear out this statement;
for, so far as we know, it has never been permanently inhabited, and
thus, unlike the other islands, offers no reason for monkeys being
brought there.

The people of Ol-kolo-kwák told us these animals were very numerous in
the jungle round the village, but several days passed before we met with
them. On the first occasion, we each obtained a specimen from the same
herd. They turned out to be macaques--one was a fine old male, weighing
21 lbs., an unusually large size--with fur so dark as to be almost
black, but greyish-white on the under parts. Having regard to the
colour, the species has since been named _Macacus umbrosus_.

We saw them only once again, and then I found myself within a few yards
of an immense male who was on the ground. My cartridge missed fire, and,
immediately the click of the falling hammer caught his ear, he bolted.
This proved to be our last chance of obtaining another example from
Kachal. That one always loses the best specimens, is proverbial: this
monkey was the biggest macaque I had ever seen.

Such mishaps during one's earlier opportunities are always most
vexatious; later we found monkeys very numerous in the other islands.

On 22nd February a Chinese junk passed northward, and the same day
another arrived, and anchored in the harbour; that night there was
carousal in the village and the noise of much singing.

Visitors to the _Terrapin_ were fairly continuous during our stay here,
and the appearance of some of them was as ludicrous as it was striking.

One man, who wore a battered "billycock" on his head, had encased his
feet and legs in a pair of rubber jackboots; between these extremities
he sported a sailor's jersey, and the usual #T# bandage.

But, impressive as was this man's apparel, it was quite put out of the
running by the _grande parure_ of a fellow-dandy who arrived later. A
top-hat worn sideways, and draped with a spotted cotton handkerchief
where a mourning band might be, a gunner's jacket, thickly laced with
yellow braid, and a light-blue pair of Chinese breeches, combined
harmoniously (!) with heavy bead necklaces, and a face profusely
bedaubed with red oil-paint. This gentleman's idea of refreshment was
brandy, and to obtain it he had furnished himself with a supply of
fowls, with which he was prepared to purchase it at the rate of a
chicken a drink.

When not arrayed in these exotic costumes, everyone wore merely the
_neng_, and perhaps a fillet of twisted cotton about the head.

A man who came to be doctored was treated with a glass of Eno, and an
aloes pill, which he slowly sucked! This latter is the sort of medicine
natives like, and as the awful bitterness of the drug became evident to
his palate, the fellow doubtless thought it very effective treatment
indeed. Give a native 10 grains of quinine in sugar-coated tabloids, and
he probably holds you a very poor sort of doctor; but dissolve that same
quinine in a large glass of water, and make him drink the solution
slowly--he will perchance recover on the spot! Faith and imagination,
both in savagedom and civilisation, have a lot to do with these matters.

The women of the village were very shy and timid, but we now and again
saw one or two going about their daily business; the children, however,
could not get used to us, and fled screaming whenever we appeared.

A few days before we arrived at the village a woman had died there, and
during our stay a performance for ridding the place of the ghost was
gone through.

A large catamaran was constructed and rigged like a schooner, with sails
made of green coco-palm leaves. The local doctor or _bobo_[66] then went
through certain ceremonies, at which we were not present, and finally
seized the ghost or devil and threw it into the boat, which was pushed
off, and drifting away, was carried out to sea, where it disappeared.

The Malays have an almost similar custom to this, in the employment of
the _kapal hantu_ (ghost ship). This they use during times of
pestilence, or in cases of individual sickness; but instead of forcing
the evil spirits into it, they are attracted by a show of coloured rice,
etc. Once they are cajoled on board, the vessel is pushed off, and
carries the illness to whatever fresh locality it may reach.[67]

The day before we left, Yassan, who had promised to collect, brought in
a number of charms--figures of crocodiles, birds, women, men, and some
fever pictures, called here _dé[=u]shi_ (derived from the Portuguese for
God, and is applied to the representations of the Deity in the pictures
on boards and spathes). The people had but few scruples with regard to
parting with such things. After being paid, he asked for a _chit_ and a
bottle of rum, "to use, mixed with eggs, as a medicine for his stomach!"

In the waters of the bay we caught quantities of small fish, which,
although easily obtained by us with the seine, cannot be a staple of
diet in the case of the natives, who have no nets. I once observed a
native in a canoe following a shoal, and making casts with a
many-pronged fish-spear; he continually threw his weapon, but during the
ten minutes I watched him, he caught nothing at all.

There is no good water here, and to fill our tanks we dug holes just
above high-water mark; the liquid that filtered in was slightly
brackish, and gave a heavy deposit of earthy matter.

Any quantity of coconuts may be obtained, with a few chickens and
perhaps a pig or two.

Kachal is about 62 square miles in area, and reaches a height of 835
feet on the eastern side, which is composed of hills of calcareous
sandstone and marbly slate, formed in deep seas during the Tertiary
period. The western side, which is of very recent formation, consists of
a flat shore plain of coralline alluvium, mixed with decayed vegetable
matter and loam brought down from the hill. It is covered with dense
forest throughout. The population is stated to be 281--an increase of
100 in the last fifteen years.



    A Tide-rip--Islets--A Cetacean--Pulo Milo--Timidity of the
    Natives--Little Nicobar--Geology--Flora--Population--Site for
    a Colony--Jungle Life--Banian Trees--The Houses and their
    Peculiarity--The Natives--Practices and Beliefs--The Shom
    Pe[.n]--The Harbour--We ascend a River--Kingfishers--Water--
    Caves--Bats and Swallows--Nests--A Jungle Path--Menchál

Sailing across the Sombrero Channel, some 30 miles wide, between Kachal
and Little Nicobar, we passed the islet of Meroë. It is low-lying, and
about 1 mile in length. A yellow beach separates the dark crown of
jungle and coconuts from the sea, except at the southern end, which is
slightly elevated and rocky.

On its western side, a tide-rip--to which the chart ascribes a strength
of 5 knots an hour at times--caught us, and we were in some danger of
being carried inshore, but that the breeze was just strong enough to
bear the schooner safely past. The tides in the channel set strongly,
and are said to attain in parts a velocity of as much as 5 knots at

South of Meroë are the islets of Trak and Treis, and from the deck the
red sandstone cliffs of the latter could be seen with much distinctness.
Little Nicobar, rising 1400 feet, showed broken and hilly, completely
covered with dense jungle, and beyond it Great Nicobar loomed faintly
above the horizon.

During the afternoon, when in the vicinity of Meroë, we were somewhat
excited by a glimpse at what was perchance a specimen of the killer
whale (_Orca gladiator_). The first hint we obtained of the presence of
such an animal, was conveyed by the sight of a long black fin showing
above the water immediately in the course of the schooner.

As we sailed over the spot where it had been, we perceived, while
looking over the side, a stout, rotund body of a deep black colour,
marked with large patches of a yellowish hue about the head and the
posterior portion of the back. Only a momentary glance was obtained
before it faded from sight in deep water, but we judged it to be some 15
feet in length.

The dorsal fin distinctly differed in shape from that figured in
descriptions of the killer; instead of being more or less triangular, it
was sabre-like, long, narrow, and curved.[68]

We were all day journeying from Kachal to Little Nicobar, and had to
anchor for the night somewhere west of Pulo Milo. As it became dark,
immense flocks of pigeons left the forests of Little Nicobar for Trak
and Treis, where they roosted for the night, and when day dawned we saw
them passing back again. That morning, however, we made sail again, and
reached our anchorage in a very short time.

The harbour is a fairly good one, and is formed by the coast of the
island here bending to form a right angle, and by the island of Milo,
which forms a protection on the west. Good shelter is afforded during
the south-west monsoon--the most important consideration; and at other
times only strong northerly winds need be feared.

We found 7 fathoms sand in the centre of the channel where we rounded
to; and soon after the sails were down, three wild-looking fellows in
black Chinese jackets came alongside, followed presently by a couple of
old men clothed in red cotton.

For some unexplained reason, they seemed much afraid, and were with
difficulty induced to believe that our intentions were nothing but good.
From answers to questions, we learned that the people of Little Nicobar
have nearly all died--a piece of information that one seems to obtain
everywhere but in Kar Nicobar and Chaura. The name of the island they
gave as Pulo Panjang (_Malay_=Long Island); it is called "Ong" in their
own language; among themselves the Nicobarese do not employ the names
familiar to us.[69]

Little Nicobar, the second largest island of the Archipelago, has an
area of 58 square miles. It is broken up into hilly ranges, the highest
summits being Mount Deoban, 1428 feet, near the centre of the island,
and Empress Peak, 1420 feet, at the north-east corner.

The bed rock is a calcareous sandstone, easily disintegrated, and
overlaid by a deep soil capable of sustaining a rich and varied
vegetation. The hills are thickly wooded from base to summit, and there
are no grassy spaces like those found on the northern islands.

The nature of the forest varies according to position and soil. In the
beach forest, _Pandanus larum_ and _P. odoratissimus_, _Hibiscus
tiliaceus_, _Barringtonia speciosa_, _Terminalia catappa_, and
_Calophyllum inophyllum_, are extremely plentiful; in the littoral
forest of the level inlets, _Mimusops littoralis_, _Calophyllum
spectabile_ (canoe wood), and _Eugenias_, are the best represented
species; while palms (_Ptychoraphis augusta_ and _Areca catechu_) and
cane-brakes are common in the moister parts. The high forest of the
hills contains fine specimens of _Terminalia procera_, _C. spectabile_,
_Myristica irya_, _Artocarpus lakoocha_, and _Garcinia speciosa_. No
Dipterocarpus trees occur.

The population of Little Nicobar and Pulo Milo is 67: in fact, with the
exception of Kondul, the inhabitants are fewer than those of any other
island of the group. Its people speak, with some variations, the dialect
of Nankauri: only for certain objects, and these, singular to say, of
first necessity--coconuts, palms, pandanus, etc.--do they employ
different expressions.[70] The same language is spoken by the people of
Great Nicobar. According to Hamilton, they all partook, two hundred
years ago, of the unpolished nature of their mountainous islands, and
were more uncivil and surly than those of the northward!

Should the group again receive a European settlement, I know of no spot
more suited to the purpose than this: in accommodation for shipping only
is it excelled by the splendid harbour at Nankauri; in all else it is
far superior--in the formation and greater area of ground, in fertility
of soil, and in the presence of water.

We landed first on Little Nicobar near some ruined huts which once
formed the village of Makachia[.n], deserted since 1898, when the few
remaining people either died or removed elsewhere; and after passing
through a belt of coco palms, found ourselves in the jungle.

Much of the surface was level; but here and there little chains of
sandstone hills, rising two or three hundred feet, wound about. The
trees were of immense height, and in many places beneath them one moved
about as freely as in an English forest.

Although this open vegetation is much more pleasant to traverse, it is
not half so satisfactory for collecting purposes as the denser jungle,
for it contains far less, both in variety and numbers, of birds and

Megapodes, singly, in pairs, or in little flocks, ran about and sought
busily for food, calling to each other meanwhile, until, alarmed by the
sight of such unwonted intruders as white men, they scurried swiftly
away. Overhead, so high as to be almost out of shot, pigeons, grackles,
and parrots fluttered and cried, while, running up and down the
branches, we saw, for the first time, the Nicobar tupai or tree-shrew, a
little insectivorous animal, which, at a casual glance, might be taken
for a squirrel. They were very common; but, unlike their representatives
in the Malay Peninsula, etc., which are ground animals, we saw them only
in the trees.[71]

It was soon evident that we had no cause to regret not having obtained
more monkeys at Kachal, for here they abounded; and after discovering
how common they were we would cold-bloodedly arrange every morning as to
who should murder the specimen for the day.

Here a new bird was added to the islands' fauna (and to science) in the
shape of a little _Rhinomyias_, quietly clothed in dull-brown plumage,
which frequented the undergrowth of dense jungle and possessed a rather
sweet note.

A momentary glance of a pitta gave for a few days (until we obtained a
series of specimens) a fresh zest to collecting; this bird also was
hitherto unrecorded from the locality, and proved to be a new species,
although closely resembling _P. cucullata_.

A short distance from the shore, some immense banian trees grew so high
that the pigeons and parrots which swarmed in their branches for the
fruit were often completely beyond reach of the gun. The trees
possessed, moreover, some wonderful aëreal roots (70 feet high), and,
standing on the edge of an open space within the jungle, offered an
opportunity for photography too good to be passed by. While the plate
was being exposed--an operation of some minutes--a diminutive pig,
bearing a striking resemblance to the Andaman species, trotted out from
the surrounding foliage and leisurely inspected the camera. It was the
first of the kind we had seen, and I had to reproach myself with leaving
my gun at the boat.

Pulo Milo is only about half a square mile in area, but is thickly
covered with a growth of pandanus and coconut trees and jungle, above
which hundreds of tall slim palms have forced their heads.

The little village of four houses lies on its eastern shore, fronted by
a coral-reef that offers but little impediment to a landing-party: one
tall pole, with bunches of palm leaf, stood on the beach--the last we
met with.

The houses were all of quadrangular form, but with a peculiar feature
about the roofs; for the slope from apex to eaves, instead of being
straight, was in some markedly rounded, and in others the curve ran
unbrokenly across the top from edge to edge. They were thatched with the
leaves of the nipah palm, and the side walls, 2 to 4 feet in height,
were built of rough-hewn planks laid horizontally, or of slabs of bamboo
split and flattened out. The doors were closed by _chicks_ of palm leaf,
which in the daytime were propped out to shade the interior from the

The natives soon overcame their distrust of us, and one evening
"Shongshire," the headman, and others from the village, came on board.
The former was a stately old gentleman, in spite of his top-hat, and
somewhat resembled our old acquaintance, "Friend of England." With him
was another old man of a most vivacious temperament, who gave us
information in a very graphic manner as we all sprawled, chatting, on
the cabin roof.

"There were only about a dozen people in the harbour," he said,
"although in his boyhood many lived there; all however, were now dead
from sickness and the 'orang bubu.' The former, he believed, was caused
by eating turtle, and a kind of large fish that appeared near the shore
at that period. The latter (apparently) were evil spirits that eat men,
and are let loose by a wizard."[72]

Although the belief in evil spirits is quite as strong as in the
central group, there is a great falling-off both in the elaboration and
in the abundance of the instruments employed in exorcising them. In none
of the houses was there either a large figure or a picture, or more than
one or two of those minor charms which are met with in such abundance at
Nankauri, while outside the dwellings the only representative of the
signs and warnings to demon trespassers to "Keep off the grass," so
numerous in that place, was a rudely-carved post daubed with paint.

The dead here, once buried, are left to rest in peace, and the somewhat
loathsome process of digging up and cleaning the bones is not gone

It is probable that all this is a case of desuetude rather than the
original absence of custom, and that such decay of ceremonial is due to
the little value of public opinion, which is of no weight now that the
population is so small. Taking into account that such religious
accessories as they do possess, and that similar articles in Great
Nicobar, together with the architectural type, etc., occur also at
Nankauri, it is to be inferred that there was a time when these people
in no way differed in observances from the inhabitants of that locality,
who still retain in full the paraphernalia by which they outwardly mark
the practice and maintenance of their superstitions.

Concerning the Shom Pe[.n], we heard that though resembling the
Nicobarese in appearance, they use a different language.

They are fairly numerous, and those living near the shore are on
friendly terms with the coast people, bartering jungle produce and
rattans. It is not wise, however, to go into the interior of Great
Nicobar, as the wild men (orang utan) will murder strangers for the sake
of their clothes and ornaments. They themselves are clothed in bark
apparel. Their houses are either light shelters, the materials of which
they carry about in their journeys, fitted with bunks one above the
other, beneath the lowest of which a small fire smoulders; or are of a
more substantial construction, with a fence[73] surrounding each house

In shape, Pulo Panjang is roughly a parallelogram, but its north-west
side is somewhat eaten away; and the bay thus formed makes, together
with Pulo Milo, a most effective harbour.

At the apex of this is a small secondary bay, where a little river,
rising in the hills inland, debouches through a broad belt of mangroves.
The salt-water basin, although partially choked with coral, would, in
the event of settlement, serve well as a small boat harbour.

We ascended the stream several times in search of the big storkbilled
kingfisher (_Pelargopsis leucocephala_), which, strangely, occurs again
in Borneo, and at no spot between that island and the Nicobars; the case
of the megapode is exactly parallel.

The river at first ran through a forest of young, but lofty, mangroves
(_Bruguiera gymnorhiza_), whose straight stems, leaning towards each
other across the stream, bore a certain resemblance to an assemblage of
scaffold-poles. At length, when the land became less swampy, they gave
place to a fringe of nipah or attap palms, the fruit of which looks like
an exaggerated pine cone, and is sometimes eaten by Malays, while from
the tender inner shoot, the same people obtain a wrapper for their

Finally, where the banks became dry and solid, they were overgrown by
luxuriant jungle--a mixture of forest trees, bamboos, palms and rattans,
with here and there bordering the stream, a many-footed, white-skinned
pandanus, and often a beautiful tree fern (_Alsophila albasetecea_),
that immediately brought to my mind the blue hills and equally lovely
valleys of New Zealand.

The stream, although maintaining a depth of 5 to 10 feet, at length
became very narrow, and we were compelled, in order to proceed, to chop
away the network of vegetation that overhung the water. Now and again it
ran through open spaces covered with tall and matted grass, and then
between banks a dozen feet high; but when we were forced to stop, unable
to proceed further, the water was still brackish, although we had almost
reached the hills in which it takes its source. The banks were
frequented by herons, redshanks and other waders, and kingfishers (both
_P. leucocephala_, with sandy head and body and blue wings, and the tiny
_bengalensis_, the counterpart of our English bird). Several beautiful
butterflies were seen, a rather common species, with velvety black
wings, blotched with turquoise, constantly flitting up and down the
course of the stream.

We obtained good water in the harbour; slightly to the west of the
little bay, a rocky hill makes an angle with a little beach of bright
sand, and at the point of junction a path leads to the spring a few
yards inland, where, in the jungle, the trickling water runs down a face
of black rock, and collects in a stony basin. By forming a slight dam at
the foot of the rock, any quantity can be collected.

In the rocky hill just mentioned, we discovered several caves, which run
inwards from mouths situated at the water's level. These are the homes
of thousands of tiny leaf-nosed bats (_Hipposideros nicobarulæ_, sp.
nov.), and immense numbers of the bird's-nest swift (_Collocalia

The largest of these caves is about 50 feet deep, and 20 feet high at
the entrance; but at the back the accumulation of guano is so great that
there is barely room to stand. As we entered with a lantern, our feet
sinking ankle-deep into the soft chocolate-coloured floor, there was a
continual rush of little bats and birds overhead as they sought to
escape, and with a leafy branch we knocked over a number of each kind
before going to the end.

The rock at the back was covered with countless numbers of the shallow
cup-shaped nests of saliva-gummed moss: so closely were they built, that
in many cases one could not place a fingertip on the rock between them,
and often they were constructed one on the side of the other. Nearly
every one contained two comparatively large, white eggs, or ugly,
unfledged nestlings. Fortunately for the birds, they are builders of the
green variety of nest; for had these been white, they would not long
have remained undisturbed by the Chinese.

Swifts and bats--the one as graceful as the other is hideous--would seem
queer neighbours, although there is a certain affinity between the two,
for both enjoy the same food--flies and other insects--and obtain it on
the wing without mutual interference; for the first hunt by day, and the
others are nocturnal. In the cave, the swallows breed at the inner end,
while the bats congregate near the mouth.

Another small cave was inhabited by bats only, and so thickly were they
suspended from the walls, that one could kill a dozen at one blow. For
long after we left the spot, clouds of swifts whirled about the
entrance; but the bats, when disturbed, immediately disappeared in the
jungle above.

The only path on Little Nicobar runs across its northern peninsula. It
starts near a couple of dilapidated huts opposite Pulo Milo, and,
running first through a belt of tangled scrub, crosses the little range
of hills near the western coast, and then, traversing a stretch of rich
flat soil, covered with splendid open forest, and great numbers of the
Nicobar palm (_P. augusta_), finally comes out on the east coast
opposite the small island of Menchál, which lies a mile or so distant,
and is only half a square mile in area. It is covered with forest,
containing many coco palms and tree ferns, and also clumps of two
species of giant bamboo (_Bambusa brandisii_ and _Gigantochloa
macrostachya_). It is of sandstone formation, covered with deep soil or
sharply-worn coral. Somewhat farther down the coast is a small village,
and the path has been made to connect this with Pulo Milo.

The forest through which the path ran was our favourite collecting
ground. We met there for the first time the beautiful little sunbird
_Aethopyga nicobarica_, with crown and tail dark shining blue, throat
and breast scarlet, through which ran two moustachial streaks of
brilliant blue, the remaining plumage olive grey, but further
ornamented by patches of bright yellow beneath the wing and on the back.
This is the male, for the hen bird, as in all sunbirds, is of very
inconspicuous plumage. This species is very local in distribution, and
does not occur in the northern islands.

_Astur soloensis_, the forest hawk, was not uncommon, but took pains to
obtain, for it was very wary. Before beginning to call, one had to hide
in a bush, or behind a tree trunk, and the chances were that when the
bird did arrive it would perch behind you, and then, since its swooping
flight is perfectly noiseless, one remained in ignorance of its
proximity. Then, too, it might rest five yards away or fifty: in the
former case, if you were not prepared with a suitable cartridge, the
bird was lost, for there would be no time to reload; in the latter
event, it was better to knock it over straightway than run risks in
bringing it closer. Once they become frightened, or see what is making
the call, they are off, not to return, "charm you never so wisely."

A parrot--_Palæornis caniceps_--restricted entirely to the two southern
islands of the Nicobars, was very common about here, where its screams
and chattering often broke the prevailing silence of the jungle. For
such a bird, it was clad in sober colours; for, saving a grey head,
across the front of which--like a pair of spectacles--there ran a patch
of black feathers, the plumage was of green only. The whole scheme was
somewhat relieved in the male by an upper mandible of scarlet.

Monkeys abounded, and on some days we might see as many as fifty or a
hundred. They are so numerous that in both Little and Great Nicobar the
coco palms, except in the neighbourhood of villages, are altogether
unproductive, and this, according to the natives, is because the monkeys
screw off every nut the moment it begins to form.[75]

They, too, are very timid in some ways, but one is able to get at them
through their intense curiosity. The attempt to stalk a herd of these
animals is often a futile proceeding; but if, when you have seen them,
you keep quite still, and attract their attention by some unusual noise,
such as a continued tapping on your gun-barrel, you will generally have
them all round you in a very short time.

The effect, on the monkey, of man's appearance, is most interesting. The
expression of their emotions is certainly almost human, as they sit and
stare at him, coughing and snarling with anger and contempt, drawing
back their heads and throwing the hand before the face with a gesture of
abhorrence, and other movements indicative of shocked and outraged
feelings. But predominant is the expression of absolute horror, which,
coming from those we consider our still degraded cousins, is to our
superiority very aggravating.

A troop of monkeys travelling through the forest and feeding as they
move, is also worth watching. Their presence is plainly indicated, even
when some distance off, by the crashing noise made as they leap from
tree to tree. Having reached the extremity of one branch, the monkey,
with a swing and a flying leap, conveys himself to another, not
alighting as a rule on a bough of any size, but generally coming down on
all fours amongst the small twigs, a bunch of which is immediately

In their manner of feeding they show a perpetual craving for change, the
most fruitful tree not detaining them for many moments; while for each
fruit from which a single bite is taken, half a dozen are plucked and
thrown down.

Crabs swarmed nearly everywhere: scarlet hermits, that dragged about
their variously-shaped domiciles in which they shut themselves up and
lay inert when disturbed; and the hideous, purplish land-crabs, that
scrambled away waving threatening claws at sight of a stranger. So
numerous and rapacious were all these, that a week's assiduous trapping
for mammals only produced one specimen, since the baits were always
immediately discovered and devoured by the unwelcome and valueless

Before we left, a number of men from Great Nicobar arrived in a large
canoe: they were proceeding to Nankauri on one of the expeditions
undertaken by the Nicobarese when they desire to obtain the pottery
manufactured only by the women of Chaura.

We weighed anchor at sunrise on March 4th, having added a pitta, an owl,
and the _Rhinomyias_--all new species--to the avifauna of the islands
during a most satisfactory visit of seven days.



    The Anchorage--The Island--Villages--We leave Kondul--Great
    Nicobar--Anchorage--Collecting--Up the Creek--A Bat Camp--
    Young Bats--Traces of the Shom Pe[.n]--Bird Life--Fish--Ganges
    Harbour--Land Subsidence--Tupais--We Explore the Harbour--A Jungle
    Pig--"Jubilee" River--Chinese Navigation--Rainy Weather--Kondul
    Boys--Coconuts--Chinese Rowing.

On the same day, we anchored as night fell, close to the island of
Kondul, having sailed down the west side of Little Nicobar--a coast of
sand-beaches and steep jungle-covered hills--and crossed the St George's
Channel, which divides the latter island from Great Nicobar.

Kondul is 2 miles in length, and half a mile wide, and, while running
N.N.E. and S.S.W., lies too far from the larger island to form a
harbour, although sheltered water is nearly always to be found on its

We dropped anchor in 7 fathoms, opposite a little beach and some coconut
palms on the western shore, and next morning rowed to the village on the
other side, meeting on the way a strong tide-rip, off the south-east
point, that for long kept us from making any progress.

The island is about 400 feet high, and its grey cliffs of slate and
sandstone rise steep and bare until they meet the dense jungle with
which the upper part is covered. Only on the east is there any flat
land, and there, on a stretch of coral soil, are situated the houses and
gardens of the natives, who now number some 38 individuals.

We landed behind a projection of the reef which afforded shelter from
the swell, and were met by the headman "Dang," who brought with him the
shipping register.

Some of the buildings were round, others rectangular in shape, and
supported by leaning-posts in addition to the piles; and here and there
were erected a few slightly carved and painted stumps, draped with
bunches of palm leaves.

The headman's house contained small figures of a man, woman, and child,
and some painted nuts, also a large mirror in a gilt frame--a useless
object probably obtained from the Chinese in return for some thousands
of coconuts. We learned that there were many Shom Pe[.n] on the
neighbouring coast, but that they were very nomadic, and badly disposed
towards strangers.

Our talk over, we left the house and rambled about, behind the village,
in a plantation of coco palms, bananas, and limes growing in rich
alluvial soil; and then, proceeding along the shore, crossed a little
stream, and making a détour round a mass of broken rocks, reached a
further village of three houses. Here the people were rather nervous at
first, especially when asked to stand for their photographs, and needed
much reassuring before we got on satisfactory terms; but _Jangan takot,
kita orang baik_ (Don't be afraid, we are good men), and similar
expressions, before long brought about more friendly relations.

After purchasing a supply of coconuts, limes, and as many chickens as
could be obtained, we returned to the schooner and sailed for the north
coast of Great Nicobar, known to the natives as "Sambelong," or

With the wind ahead, it was once more evening before we reached the
little bay where we had decided to stop. Anchoring, at first
temporarily, at the mouth, in 5 fathoms, the dinghy went off to sound,
and ascertain whether we might enter. The bottom was sand and coral, and
shoaled rapidly, until at the mouth we found a sandbar that almost dried
at low tide. Of a village which we expected to see, since it was marked
on the chart, there was no trace.

On the morning following our arrival, we set to work, on the right shore
of the bay, to cut a path up the steep hills which rise immediately from
the water. This caused so much noise, however, that nearly every animal
and bird was scared from the neighbourhood; and since we could only
proceed along the summit of the hills, where such specimens as were shot
were in danger of rolling down the steep sides and being lost, after
setting a number of traps, we returned to the boat and set out to
explore the bay.

The little basin at its head was surrounded by steep hills, but on the
right a stream flowed through a gap in the latter. Beyond this the land
sank, and opened out into a seemingly interminable mangrove swamp,
through which the river wound deviously.

From the mangroves overhanging the stream we obtained several nests of a
sunbird (_Arachnechthra_, sp. nov.). These in shape were something like
an old-fashioned net purse, covered with lichen, and were suspended from
the ends of branches. The entrance was in the side, and in each we found
two pale-brown eggs mottled with a darker pigment.

Half-an-hour's row brought us to the end of navigation, and at that
point we met with a vast colony of fruit-bats (_Pteropus nicobaricus_),
occupying the mangroves on either side of the river.

At a small computation, several thousand animals must have been hanging
head downwards from the branches, and the surrounding atmosphere was
impregnated with the musty odour of their bodies. When we disturbed
them, they gave vent to a continuous "skirling" noise, somewhat like the
song of cicadas, but less shrill in tone.

By nature they are very fearless, and the majority merely stared
inquisitively; a few spread their great wings and flapped heavily away
for a short distance, and others crawled actively along the branches
back downwards.

All the females carried, clinging to the breast, a young one of about
one-third full growth; these the mothers hugged to themselves with a
folded wing, but when unsupported, the young found no difficulty in
maintaining its position, by means of its excessively sharp claws and
its suction grip on the parent's teat. When the latter crawled about,
the baby was supported in the membrane of the wing, which bagged
slightly with the weight. I should imagine that it is not thoroughly
weaned until the birth of a fresh offspring.

The action of these bats when climbing a vertical branch, is similar to
a man's in shinning up a pole. The wings are first raised and a tight
grip taken with the claw on the thumb, then the feet are drawn up, and,
after they obtain a hold, the wings are once more lifted. When taking to
flight, they swing to and fro once or twice, and then let go in a
backward direction.

Several were obtained for specimens, and amongst them were two old
females, which were shot without damage to the accompanying young. These
latter I afterwards attempted to rear. At first they made no effort to
escape, but clung tightly to the mother's teat. When they arrived on
board, I put them into a box, fitted with a perch, from which they could
suspend themselves, but I found they had barely strength to sustain
their position by means of the hind feet only.

For food I gave them bananas mashed into a pulp, and a weak solution of
condensed milk. The former, after masticating and extracting the juice,
they would eject, but the milk was readily lapped up, or sucked from my
finger tip.

The two did not agree well, but remained during the day in opposite
corners of the box. At night they were very restless and noisy,
continually uttering shrill cries, and often fighting. When I had owned
them a few days, they escaped one night from their rough cage, and at
daybreak were found high in the rigging. Later they escaped again and
disappeared; reaching, I believe, the adjacent shore.

After exploring the neighbourhood, we found a good patch of flat jungle
on the east shore of the bay, and near the sandbar across the mouth
discovered a faint path leading inward. Following this across some damp
ground, we saw numerous tracks of men and dogs, which certainly pointed
to the presence of Shom Pe[.n], as the Nicobarese said they themselves
never went inland; but although we searched the locality thoroughly, we
failed to obtain more pronounced signs of occupation.

The forest abounded in life. Nearly every morning--generally the first
bird obtained, and only seen thus early--a beautiful pitta was shot.
Nicobar pigeons, sometimes in large flocks, every now and then rose with
loud flight from the ground, where they were busy searching for food;
for, unlike the big grey fruit-pigeons, with green-bronze back and wings
(_Carpophaga insularis_), these birds are ground-feeders. The little
brown _Rhinomyias_ was very plentiful, as was the tiny kingfisher, _Ceyx
tridactyla_, a most gorgeous bird, with coral-red feet and bill, and
plumage of brilliant yellow, orange, blue, and lilac.

In a deep rocky ravine (that in the wet season must be filled with
running water), arched over with tall jungle trees, and containing
beautiful tree ferns, whose waving heads rose above the edge, I shot our
first full-plumaged specimen of the Nicobar fly-catcher. Though not of
brilliant colouration--for the slightly-crested head is of steely
blue-black hue, and the remaining plumage of a silky-white (saving the
large feathers of the wings, which are delicately pencilled with black,
and the quills and edges of the tail feathers, the two central being
several inches long, which are marked with the same colour), with blue
bill and feet--this bird is to me perhaps the most beautiful of all the
Nicobar avifauna; and while there are many of far more gorgeous plumage,
none can approach it in delicacy, and the quiet beauty of its colouring.

Tracks of pig were very numerous in the low ground, and we often met
with herds of monkeys making their way through the jungle; no rats,
however, were trapped in this place, although crabs were scarcer than

Water we obtained on the east side of the basin, just within the
sandbar, but we had some difficulty in discovering it. The skipper,
while engaged in the search, reported having found a number of spiked
stakes planted in the jungle, similar to the _ranjows_ of the Dyaks.

An old man, named Barawang, arrived one day in a canoe. He spoke
English fairly, and said he was headman for the west coast, producing a
Port Register in support of his statement. He formerly lived at Pulo
Pét, but fled thence with his family to Kondul to escape a raiding party
of Shom Pe[.n].

The waters of the bay swarmed with shoals of little fish, which were
much preyed upon by the _ikan parang_,[76] a long, thin, sabre-shaped
fish with a formidable set of teeth; it is often seen darting along
above the surface of the water, which it just flicks with its tail. Of
the small fry we caught immense quantities with a casting-net, and
obtained larger varieties with the seine, by fixing it on stakes across
the mouth of the creek at high water; by the time the tide had fallen,
several fish had invariably become entangled in the meshes.

On the 10th we made sail, and proceeded a little further along the coast
to Ganges Harbour, anchoring just within its eastern point. If the chart
is correct, changes have taken place on the coast since the last survey.
We lay opposite a small stretch of flat land, and where the plan gives
the coast-line nearly straight, a little bay now exists, where stand
stumps of dead trees, about which the low tides expose a broad expanse
of black mud.

After wading through the mud to reach the shore, we found that much of
the low-lying ground was merely swamp. Part however, was covered with
tall, open jungle, in which were numbers of pigeon and parrots. There
were no monkeys, but tupais (_Tupaia nicobarica_) were plentiful. These
appear to be entirely arboreal in habits, and are quite as active as
squirrels in running along branches, or climbing about amongst smaller
twigs in search of insects. Their cry is a sort of trilling squeak,
which is easily confounded with the call of a bird.

In crossing to the further side we found plentiful traces of Shom
Pe[.n]--a faint path, a ruined hut, heaps of shells, and split
seed-cases of the _Barringtonia speciosa_. The edge of the land was
rapidly being eroded, and many tall casuarina trees, with roots
undermined by the water, lying prostrate in the sea. At either end,
this disappearing beach was hemmed in by rising ground and rocks, which
at its eastern termination contained a little stream and basin of good

On the 12th we rowed about the shores of the harbour, landing every now
and then to search for the aborigines. The only signs of man's presence
discovered, however, were rows of stakes set up across the creeks in the
mangroves. One of these rows we utilised to hang our own net on, and
obtained there such an abundant catch of small fish that we returned the
greater part to the sea.

The shore-line is much more indented than the outline given on the
chart, and in the shallow water and mud of a little bay, rows of tree
trunks still stood, two or three hundred yards from the land. This
subsidence, however, is local in its occurrence, for everywhere else in
the Archipelago signs of elevation are markedly present, and it is to be
attributed to seismic agency--earthquakes having several times been
experienced in the group--and not to a general depression of the land.

The following day we went still farther afield, and crossed the harbour
to a beach where stood a grove of coconut trees and a small hut. The
trees were without fruit, and the house, though deserted, contained a
number of bundles of split rattan, such as a small section of the Shom
Pe[.n] trade in with the coast people. The plantation was surrounded by
hilly country, covered with tall, open jungle: birds were scarce, and a
hawk and a megapode were all we obtained in the way of feathered booty;
but, immediately on landing, Abbott caught sight of a couple of pigs,
and knocked over the boar with a bullet. Though very similar to the
Andamanese pig in size and appearance, it had patches of white on the
feet. From it a new species has been described, under the name of _Sus

While rowing back to the _Terrapin_, we were overtaken by a blinding
squall of wind and rain, which half-filled the boat and made the men
(who sat with their feet on the thwarts) very uneasy, lest they should
be polluted by contact with the blood and water that swished about in
the bottom.

Next day we extended our search still farther, and ascended a little
river, to which the name of "Jubilee" has been given by the surveyors.
We rowed up several arms of this stream that wound to and fro in the
mangroves, but only found a small fishing weir constructed of rattans.
The muddy shores swarmed with water-birds--herons, whimbrel, redshanks,
and others--and we surprised a monstrous crocodile, little less than 20
feet long, who rushed into the stream long before our guns were ready.
Returning to the mouth, we landed and walked for a couple of miles along
the beach; but the shore was everywhere covered with dense tangled
scrub, behind which lay the swamps of the river.

On the last day of our stay, a junk arrived from Dring, where it had
taken in a cargo of coconuts. It was handled very clumsily, and nearly
ran on the reef before the anchor was down, eventually having to make
sail again and beat up to a more suitable place. Considering the
happy-go-lucky manner in which these junks are navigated, it must be
admitted that they have good fortune--they have a compass, indeed, but
all those we met were totally unprovided with charts.

Our mornings in this place were spent in searching for Shom Pe[.n]; the
afternoons were passed in adding to the collections. The traps produced
a couple of rats only; but we obtained several specimens of the
storkbilled kingfisher, which was common about the shores of the bay.
Several turtle were observed on the sea, but the harpoon never being at
hand when requisite, they always escaped unmolested.

Possibly because of the proximity of high land--for Mount Thuillier,
2100 feet, the highest point of the Nicobars, rises near the northern
end of the island--a good deal of rain fell every day, and somewhat
spoiled the enjoyment of wandering in the jungle. At night when we lay
in Ganges Harbour, it was nearly always calm, and many mosquitoes came
from shore to plague us.

Traps were set on the shore throughout our stay, and we thus obtained a
specimen of a new shrew (_Crocidura nicobarica_), the largest known
Oriental member of the sub-genus; while two rats--all that were
caught--were both undescribed varieties, and have been named _Mus
pulliventer_, and _Mus burrescens_.

Having filled up with water--obtained from a little stream trickling
down a cool rocky ravine at the inner corner of the bay--we made sail
early on the 16th, and returned to Kondul.

Two hours' run before the wind brought the schooner to our former
anchorage, where we were immediately joined by a junk from the north,
and shortly afterwards by our companion of Ganges Harbour. After
breakfast we reached the village, subsequent to a hard pull in the
whaleboat against wind and tide, and found the junks' crews busily
loading their boats with bundles of rattan; and by a chat with one of
the skippers, supplemented the scanty information of the _Sailing
Directory_ anent the west coast of Great Nicobar.

Very few people were about, and the headman, suffering from an attack of
inflammation of the eyes, had wisely confined himself to the shade of
his house. Four jolly little boys, however, bestirred themselves to get
us a supply of coconuts. One, after putting a loop of fibre round his
ankles, climbed a palm tree and hacked off all the fruit, and then we
all set to and carried the plunder down to the boat--a very awkward
task, unless one knows the correct method, for the coconut is both heavy
and bulky. With a _dáo_ a notch is made in the husk and a strip of fibre
pulled out, with which the nuts are tied together two by two, and slung
across a pole, to be comfortably balanced on the shoulders. To the owner
of the tree we gave a bucket of rice, and to our juvenile assistants a
length of bright cotton, which one, a bald-headed youngster, immediately
annexed and wrapped round his shaven pate.

Towards evening they came to the schooner with an old man, bringing some
more nuts and a few fowls; they joined the crew at the evening meal, but
were very nervous, and one boy, whom the men wickedly pressed to stay,
eventually took refuge in his canoe.

That night quite a small fleet--the two junks and ourselves--lay in the
quiet anchorage. The cook and boy, smartly attired in black oiled
calico, went off in the dinghy to visit their compatriots. The style of
their garments must be held to excuse the absence of that quality in
their rowing, for each man's stroke was a thing to itself, as he
painstakingly illustrated the famous maxim of Mr Charles Bouncer, "Dig
your oar in deep, and pull it out with a jerk!" Perseverance and a
devious course brought them to their goal; but we retired to sleep with
dubious opinions as to their safe return.



    Pulo Kunyi--Area of Great Nicobar--Mountains--Rivers--The Village--
    The Shom Pe[.n]--Casuarina Bay--An ingenious "Dog-hobble"--In the
    Jungle--A Shom Pe[.n] Village--Men of the Shom Pe[.n]--A lazy
    Morning---The Shom Pe[.n] again--Their Similarity to the
    Nicobarese--Food--Implements--Cooking-vessel--The Dagmar River--
    Casuarina Bay--Pulo Nyur--Water--A Boat Expedition--The Alexandra
    River--Shom Pe[.n] Villages--Kópenhéat--More Shom Pe[.n]--
    Elephantiasis--Pet Monkeys--Anchorage.

"_March_ 17, 1901.--At 6.30 A.M. both junks left, and we followed half
an hour later. The breeze was light, the sea smooth, and the Chinese
kept ahead all the way: in fact, we only caught up the smaller just
abreast of Pulo[77] Kunyi, our destination on the west coast, where we
anchored shortly after the big junk about midday; the other boat did not
stop, but sailed on for another village more to the south.

"Great Nicobar is the southernmost and the largest of the islands of the
group, having a length of 30 miles north and south, and a breadth of
from 7 to 14 miles, while the area is 334 square miles. The highest part
of the island is that to the north, where Mount Thuillier attains an
altitude of 2105 feet. A continuous range of hills runs down the east
side of the island close to the coast, making the surface hilly; and
near the centre a range 1333 feet high extends crossways in an E.N.E.
direction. On the west side the hills are much more irregular in
disposition, and there are broad alluvial plains between their bases and
the sea.

"Both in vegetation and geological formation it resembles Little
Nicobar, but is the only island of the group that possesses navigable
rivers; for, when their bars are passable, the Dagmar and Alexandra
rivers on the west, and the Galathea River in the south, can be ascended
some distance towards the interior.

"The coastal population is barely two-thirds what it was computed at in
1886, and now numbers 87 only. In the interior are the Shom Pe[.n], who,
liberally estimated, may number from 300 to 400; but, as a few friendly
families alone are all with whom communication has been held, it is
impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion.

"Great Nicobar is the least known of all the islands; the Government
steamer seldom visits it, on account of its few inhabitants, the rough
weather frequently met with on its coasts, and the absence of harbours
near the populated districts.

"As we sailed along the north-west portion, we perceived it to be low
and flat for some distance inland, but towards the south the land rose
in irregular forest-clad hills.

"The village of Pulo Kunyi lies along the shore of a small bay, from
either end of which two long reefs of coral stretch out seaward to form
the harbour. This is further protected by a submerged coral bank which
lies across the mouth, leaving only two narrow passages to north and
south, of which the former is the more practicable.

"With a man in the cross-trees and a lead from the junk, we got in
safely--finding 6 fathoms in the middle of the entrance--and brought up
in 3-1/2 fathoms, in a well-sheltered anchorage where there was plenty
of room for several small vessels to lie.

"As soon as all was shipshape on board, we went ashore with our guns. In
the village, which consists of five buildings (sheds and houses), we met
but two men--women and children had disappeared from fear of the Chinese
and ourselves; but there are probably not more than ten inhabitants

"The Chinese were already at work, busily appropriating all the
coconuts that lay about. When purchasing these, they give a bag of rice
for 530 nuts, which sell at Singapore for $15. Barter worth $1 is given
for half a dozen bundles of rattan, which fetch about $12 in the same
market. The trade of this island is mostly in canes, for very few more
coconuts are produced than suffice for the wants of the inhabitants.

"The one beehive hut in the village was occupied by an old man named
Awang, with his wife and child. A large charm hung in the centre of the
house--a frame about 8 feet by 6 feet, covered with palm leaves, across
the top a row of birds, and at the foot a line of wooden men, each
supplied with a ration of fat pork.

"Our persistent inquiries about the Shom Pe[.n] seemed to amuse Awang
excessively; but we were delighted to find we had arrived in their
neighbourhood at last. The aborigines live a short distance in the
interior, and often come down to the coast; as they would do on the
morrow, when we should have an opportunity of meeting them, since notice
had been sent that the traders were waiting to purchase their stock of

"The inland tribe is split into two main divisions. The larger inhabits
the interior proper, and is still hostile (there was a man in the
village with some ugly open wounds beneath the shoulderblades, who had
been speared by them close to the houses a year ago); the members of the
other division, who form small settlements near the coast villages, are
known as "mawas Shom Pe[.n]" (quiet, or tame Shom Pe[.n]), and are on
intimate terms with the Nicobarese, fearing equally with them the wilder
natives. When the latter are out on the warpath, the friendlies come
down to the shore, and, with the coast people, leave the district by
canoe until it is safe to return.

"The village is surrounded by open scrub and jungle, in which large
numbers of screw-pines flourish. The little scarlet-breasted _Aethopyga_
was common here, and numbers of them were flitting about the crowns of
the coco palms, searching the fruit-stalks and bases of the leaves for

"Good paths ran through the jungle, and following one to the southward,
we reached the shore of Casuarina Bay, so named from the long grove of
dark-foliaged trees that extends right along the coast. All round the
head of the bay white surf rolled on the flat sandy beach, but there was
a fair landing-place within the point, protected by a reef, and free
from breakers.

"Before returning to the village we shot a number of tupais, some
sunbirds, and a serpent-eagle. The local dogs all wore a large coconut
slung loosely about the neck. This heavy burdening would hardly meet
with the approval of the S.P.C.A.; but it prevents the dogs from chasing
sows and their litters, and is a most effective hobble, as it hangs
right between the fore-legs.

"Darkness was approaching as we passed through the village, and the
fowls were all retiring to rest in the branches of the trees--a return
to early habits that they may indulge in with security in these islands,
where no mammal more dangerous than the monkey exists.

"The boat soon came off to fetch us in answer to a hail, and we returned
to the schooner, where, after a bath and a dinner, we settled down to an
evening's work."

"_March_ 18.--Armed respectively with guns and camera, we struck inland,
at sunrise, along a path running eastward through beautiful open forest.
The ground was level, and our way lay for some time within sound of the
breakers of Casuarina Bay. Picking up a bird now and again as we went
along, we had proceeded some three or four miles when we heard the sound
of voices in the bush. We stopped for a moment to listen, and then moved
on. Presently the roof of a hut appeared between the trees. "Shom
Pe[.n]!" we whispered, and, creeping down the path with the idea of
getting among them before they could run, did they feel inclined,
walked--oh, miserable swindle!--into a camp of Nicobarese
rattan-gatherers; for the numerous bundles of canes hanging from the
trees, and the heaps of scrapings, showed plainly what their occupation

"In a clearing about 30 yards across, surrounded by jungle, and standing
in the shade of a few isolated trees, five huts stood along the bank of
a little brook.

"Women and girls in waistcloths, busy preparing food from pandanus
fruit, dropped their work when they caught sight of us, and rushed away
for more clothes!

"Pigs, chickens, and dogs wandered about beneath the houses, and the
only representative of the stronger sex was a young man, whose activity
was much handicapped by a leg swollen with elephantiasis.

"The houses were small structures built on piles, 4 to 6 feet high, with
open sides, and roofs of attaps.

"After taking photographs of the village, we returned to the shore,
where consolation awaited us in the persons of three Shom Pe[.n] men,
who had come in and were detained in Awang's house. Thither we
proceeded, and took photographs and measurements of each. They were very
docile, and stood like statues before the camera; neither did they
object to being measured. We obtained from them a roll of coarse
cloth--made from the inner bark of a tree,[78] which is stripped from
the trunk and pounded--and a rattan basket, giving in return an extra
quantity of red cotton, in token of goodwill, for they had been inclined
to bolt when they first heard we were coming.

"In general appearance these men resembled the Nicobarese, but were of
slightly darker complexion--muddy-coloured--and physically of more
slender build, and leaner: they wore cotton _kissáts_, and large wooden

"Through Awang, who enacted the part of interpreter, we arranged with
them to come down the next morning, and bring their whole party,
baskets, spears, and more cloth."

"_March_ 19.--We did not shoot for long this morning, for fear of
frightening the Shom Pe[.n]; but though we waited about till 10 o'clock,
they had not appeared, and we then returned to the _Terrapin_.

"But for flies, which were rather numerous about the village, it was
very pleasant lying in the shade of the palms, lazily watching the many
butterflies which floated about, listening to the cries of oriole,
calornis, and sunbird, and often catching glimpses of their brilliant
plumage as they flew from tree to tree. In the clear waters of a little
stream that flowed behind the village, we could see shoals of fish
slowly drifting about, or poising themselves in the shade of the
overhanging branches. The mouth of this stream is closed by the
coral-reef, but a few small canoes are kept on its surface to carry the
natives to the other bank. We were too lazy even to explore its course,
but loafed drowsily beneath the coco palms, while

  "All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
  Breathing like one that hath a weary dream,"

until, stirred by prosaic thoughts of breakfast, we returned to the
schooner. Hardly had we done so when we caught sight of a string of
people walking along the beach, whereupon, gathering together the
necessary paraphernalia for an interview, we jumped into a boat and were
soon on shore again.

"The party consisted of five men, three women, and three girls--there
were no boys or babies in it. They had brought with them several rolls
of new bark cloth--pieces about 4 feet by 6 feet--which, when fresh, is
much lighter in colour than the old piece we got before; some rattan
baskets of various shapes, ear-distenders, and a bundle of spears made
of the hard wood of the nibong palm. These spears are about 8 feet long,
and half an inch in diameter, tapering towards the butt. The makers have
grasped the principle of the sail and surgeon's needle, for the points
are triangular, with sharp edges; immediately below them, slight barbs,
generally six in number, are carved on the shaft.[79]

"In physique, the men were less robust than the coast people, but at the
same time were tough and wiry-looking--the lesser chest and arm
development being probably accounted for by the absence of paddling
exercise, for they own no canoes.

"In person they were somewhat dirty, more markedly in the case of the
women, to whose clothes the odour of stale pandanus-bread clung
strongly. All chewed quids of betel, lime, and sireh leaves.

"The teeth of one woman presented a most extraordinary appearance, that
at first sight appeared to be a case of macrodontism; the upper row
projected outwards at an extreme angle, and, when closely examined,
proved to be concreted together by a substance that was apparently a
deposit of lime from the ever-renewed quid.

"Their hair, like that of the Nicobarese, varied from wavy to curly, and
so slightly did they differ from the coast people that if one did not
know who they were, they would pass, unless carefully examined, for
ordinary Nicobarese, so far as appearance and mode of life are

"In proof of this statement it will suffice if I say that the settlement
which--with minds primed by tales of bark-garments and triple-storied,
fenced-in huts--we had thought to be a camp of the coast people
gathering rattan, was, in truth, the village of this identical party.

"Such a mistake was, under the circumstances, almost justifiable--their
food, utensils for its preparation, cooking-pots, clothing, and domestic
animals, were all exactly similar to those of the Nicobarese.

"It would appear, that, from constant intercourse with the shore people,
the Shom Pe[.n] have adopted many of their customs, and become possessed
of similar property. The leader of this party even spoke a few words of

"All of them willingly submitted to be photographed and measured,
especially when they saw that after the process there was a reward of
red cotton, or brass cartridge cases, to be used as ear-plugs. Such
things as they received in this way, or in payment for baskets and other
articles, were immediately handed over to the women.

"They seemed to indicate time by pointing to the sun, and by such a
method we made them understand that we should pay another visit to their
camp on the morrow."

"_March_ 20.--We reached the Shom Pe[.n] village early in the morning,
and found its occupants variously engaged--some sitting listlessly
about, and others busied in splitting and cleaning the rattan which they
trade with the coast people.

"The community was well supplied with food, in the shape of coconuts,
bananas, and various tubers, besides possessing a plentiful store of
pandanus fruit. Several young pigs, all obtained from the litters of
wild sows, which are chased with a view to capture, were domiciled in
cages within the houses.

[Illustration: Shom Pe[.n] Cooking-vessel (Great Nicobar).]

"Principal amongst the articles in use were iron-pronged fish-spears,
axes, and _dáos_, with baskets, of which we purchased a selection; but
the most interesting object visible, and one that had been overlooked
during our former visit, was an apparatus for preparing the food of
pandanus paste.

"Some 6 inches above a clay hearth on the floor of the huts, a
receptacle, about 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 inches, was formed of five
sheets of thin green bark. These, two on a side, and the fifth doubled
at the bottom to form a trough, were inserted at either end between
split stakes, which--bound tightly together with rattans--pressed the
edges of the sheets against each other. The lower part was thickly luted
with clay, and where the edges of the bark overlapped, a strip of cane
was stretched from stake to stake to compress the join. This ingenious
vessel was narrow at the bottom but gaped widely at the mouth.

"In cooking the pandanus, a little water is first poured in, and the
fruit piled above it and steamed; when sufficiently done, the bread is
prepared by the same method as practised on the coast.

"Several paths led beyond the camp; and following one, we crossed a
small stream by a tree bridge (a couple of saplings laid side by side),
300 or 400 yards beyond which we arrived at the bank of the Dagmar
River, here a stream about 40 yards wide flowing between low
jungle-covered banks.

"Once more by the sea we photographed Awang and his family, bought some
of his belongings, and also took possession of about twenty megapodes'
eggs which he had collected for us.

"The Shom Pe[.n] we had seen, he informed us, were all there were in the
neighbourhood, although far back in the interior were other, but
unfriendly, groups. The only child in the village was his own son, and
the same old story was repeated--that where formerly there were two or
three men with their families in each house, now there was only one.

"In the afternoon we walked along the shore of Casuarina Bay to the
mouth of the Dagmar. Fortunately the tide was low, and exposed a broad
strip of hard wet sand, which made the tramp very pleasant, in spite of
the hot sun. On the way, we passed the half-dry bed of a small stream,
crammed with thousands of a little black red-bellied mud-fish, so
crowded together that numbers had died.

"The Dagmar River emerges suddenly from jungle, with banks almost free
from mangrove and nipah, and makes its way to the sea through a curving
channel in the sand, where at low tide it is very shallow.

"Bundles of rattan hung from several trees, and a small hut full of the
same material stood near a path that evidently led to the Shom Pe[.n]
village. More cane was to be seen across the river, and a canoe lay on
the bank.

"So much we discovered by a little exploring; then, after climbing a
palm and refreshing ourselves with stolen coconuts, we set out on the
return walk, in order to avoid being overtaken by darkness."

"_March_ 21.--A light breeze set in shortly after 8 A.M., and we weighed
anchor. It soon freshened somewhat, and we worked down the coast,
tacking on and off. First we passed the point forming the north
extremity of Casuarina Bay, distinguished by a single palm tree which
rises high above the jungle, and next came abreast of Kópenhéat, marked
by a grove of palms and a hut, finally bringing up at 1.15 P.M. in 9
fathoms, at a spot well protected by a reef from the S.W. swell, with a
conspicuous round house bearing E. This anchorage was a little bay
formed by the shore running roughly N. and W., and we were in an
indentation of the reef, which, when the latter dries at low tide, is
about 300 yards wide.

"The village here is called Pulo Nyur (_Malay_ = Coconut Island), seven
houses in all, and lies in the shade of palm trees broken into groups by
intervening stretches of jungle.

"Going ashore in the afternoon we met in the largest house several men
and boys from Pulo Bábi, the next village southward. Of the other
buildings, four or five are uninhabited and falling to pieces. There was
only one regular inhabitant in the place--a man whose father, brother,
and wife had all died six months previously, and who, unless he could
get another wife shortly, intended to leave the spot, which will
probably soon be deserted, for his female acquaintances--not
unnaturally--objected to such a lonely life.

"A year ago a man was killed by the Shom Pe[.n] on the outskirts of the
village, and at the same time the man we saw at Pulo Kunyi barely
escaped with his life.

"Several paths lead towards the interior, but the village has no
(friendly) relations with the aborigines.

"Behind, and to one side, lay a large stretch of grass-covered swamp, on
which a herd of monkeys was playing until we appeared, while numbers of
herons, big and little, were perched in the surrounding trees. The
morass was composed of a sort of sawdust-like paste, into which one
sank up to the knees, yet the feet, when withdrawn, were not in the
least soiled. In the jungle we got Nicobar pigeons, and a serpent-eagle
that seemed to differ from the variety of Little Nicobar and Kachal
(_Spilornis_, sp. nov.).

"A path from the beach led to a water-hole, which only required clearing
out to afford a plentiful supply; the men set to work at this, and when
they had got rid of the water, took from the hole a pailful of mudfish
and eels.

"Learning in the evening, from people who came on board, that there were
Shom Pe[.n] on the Alexandra River and at Kópenhéat, we determined on an
expedition in search of them next day."

"_March_ 22.--At sunrise we put off in the whaleboat, and now rowing and
now sailing, as the wind served, and all the time keeping well out from
shore, to clear the rollers that occurred at irregular intervals in most
unexpected places, reached Casuarina Bay (about 6 miles) at 8 A.M.

"The breakers at the mouth of the Dagmar were too big for us to enter
the river without an almost certain wetting, to avoid which we pulled
back to the south end of the bay, and first wading ashore with the
contents, ran the boat through the surf and quickly beached her. Almost
at once we perceived within the jungle a deserted Shom Pe[.n] village of
three huts, of a kind similar to those beyond Pulo Kunyi. In the camp
were two or three platforms or lounges, roughly shaded by a few palm
leaves, and some odds and ends were lying about; a small pig cage, food
baskets made from the butt of a palm leaf, and a rude lamp--a shell, in
which lay a bit of greasy rag supported on half a coconut.

"Several paths converged at the village, and these we followed up until
each gradually came to an end--bundles and strips of rattan lying along
them, showing plainly their _raison d'être_.

"One path, however, led past a second camp. Some of the huts were merely
rough platforms built against the trunk of a tree; but others were
evidently of the kind we had been told about at Pulo Milo--one platform
above the other, respectively 3 and 7 feet above the ground, both
partially protected by a number of long palm leaves leaning butt
downwards against the structure. Continuing onward beyond this village
we reached the Dagmar River, and searched along the bank for further
paths without success.

"By midday, having thoroughly explored the locality, we returned to a
tiffin of biscuits and sardines, with unlimited numbers of young
coconuts, which one of the men quickly obtained from an adjacent tree.
Then the boat was launched and loaded, and with the wind helping for
part of the distance we travelled back to the _Terrapin_.

"As we passed Kópenhéat two men put out in a canoe with palm-leaf sails
to inform us that a party of Shom Pe[.n] was then at their house. But it
was now getting late, and the plates for the camera had all been
exposed, so, after arranging for the aborigines to remain until next
day, we parted from the canoe and proceeded to the schooner."

"_March_ 22.--Off again by boat in the morning to Kópenhéat and met the
Shom Pe[.n], who had remained overnight; they having come a distance
variously estimated at from half a day to two days' journey (!) down the
Alexandra River in small canoes of Nicobarese construction.

"The headman, who was of the darkest complexion yet met with--a dull
chocolate--spoke a little Malay. All were clothed--in far more garments
than the Nicobarese--and generally very dirty.

"Most of these people were afflicted with elephantiasis in various
stages--none seriously, however. Nicobar water is reported to be bad;
but, considering the state of the water-holes that the Shom Pe[.n] paths
lead to, no surprise can be felt that those who use such a supply should
be suffering from this disease. Often the water of the coast natives is
unsatisfactory enough in quality, but having plenty of coconuts, they
hardly ever use it for drinking purposes.

"After we had finished with the people we gave them presents of cotton
and sheath-knives, and then followed a path leading to the Dagmar
through forest of a very open character. A walk of half a mile brought
us to the bank of the river, here about 30 to 35 yards wide. There was
very little current, owing to a sandbar across the mouth, which the
natives say is dry at half-tide. The banks were jungle covered, and free
from mangroves.

"Before leaving the village we bought some fowls, and a pair of young
monkeys, said to be only three or four months old. They were imprisoned
in a pig cage, and seemed half-starved, and were certainly very
frightened as they sat clinging convulsively to each other.

"There is clear water, 300 or 400 yards wide, before Kópenhéat, with a
reef on either side where the sea breaks heavily at high tide, but the
anchorage is not so good as at Kunyi or Nyur."



    "Domeat"--Malay Traders--Trade Prices--The Shom Pe[.n] Language--
    Place Names--Pulo Bábi--The growth of Land--Climbing a Palm Tree--
    Servitude--Population--Views on Marriage with the Aborigines--
    Towards the Interior--A Shom Pe[.n] Village--The Inhabitants--
    Canoe-building--Barter--The West Coast--South Bay--Walker Island--
    Chang-ngeh--Up the Galathea River--Water--We leave the Nicobars
    and sail to Sumatra.

We hove up anchor at 8 A.M.--the hour at which a breeze usually sprang
up--and sailed for Pulo Bábi, a few miles down the coast, taking as
passenger an old man named Domeat who had been staying at Kópenhéat.

He produced a number of _chits_ for our perusal, and from one we learned
that it was Domeat--now a toothless, but sturdy old gentleman, with
nutcracker jaws and a benevolent expression--who brought news of the
recovery of the body of Captain Elton, commander of the station gunboat,
who was drowned in the surf while attempting to land at Trinkat
Sambelong[80] village, on the east coast, in March 1881.

Most of the letters were written by Asiatics, and from them it seemed
that the last Malay vessel to call at the islands arrived in 1877. Many
formerly came to purchase coconuts, but this people, like our own
nation, has been ousted from the trade by the inhabitants of China and
the Indian Empire.

According to our informant, the Chinese pay the coast natives one packet
of tobacco (value 2-1/2d.) for three bundles of rattan, while the
Nicobarese, who act merely as middlemen, and have the export trade in
their hands, only give the Shom Pe[.n] one packet for six bundles! The
bush aborigines have no settled dwelling-places, but wander about,
although they have good gardens established in various localities. Their
language is quite distinct from the Nicobarese,[81] but each knows
enough of the others' speech to make themselves mutually understood.
Asked, however, whether further south we could get a man who knew the
Shom Pe[.n] language, Domeat replied: "When one of us sees a Shom Pe[.n]
he runs away, and when a Shom Pe[.n] sees a Nicobar man he spears

Misunderstandings frequently occurred when we talked to him about the
various places on the coast. The name given on the chart is often not
known to the natives: the Chinese have another name, which is not given
on the chart, and the natives have a third, but are generally familiar
with that used by the traders.

I believe the following to be correct:--

  _Chart._                _Trade Name._            _Native Name._
  Pulo Kunyi,             Pulo Kunyi,              Pulo Kunyi.
  Casuarina Bay,          ----                     Teh-hmeul.
  Dagmar R.,              ----                     Ta-tí-al.
  Kópenhéat,              Telok Bintang,           Kópenhéat.
  Táeangha,               Pulo Nyur,               Kassandun.
  Koé,                    Pulo Rotan,              Koé.
  ----                    Pulo Bábi,               Kánal.
  Henpoin,                Pulo Bharu,              Henpoin.
  Megapode Island,        Pulo Kotah,              ----
  Henhóaha,               Pulo Paha,               Henhóa.
  Chang-ngeh,             Pulo Chaura,             Chang-ngeh.
  Galathea R.,            ----                     Sakheer.
  ----                    ----                     Badói.

We arrived off the village at 11 A.M., and worked in to an anchorage
against a land breeze. The junks in whose company we had been at Kondul
were already in the harbour--a square indentation, fringed with coral.
With a look-out at the masthead we got in without accident, and anchored
in a fairly sheltered position, but some distance outside the other
vessels. Small streams debouch in either corner of the bay; but the
village, which consists of a dozen or more houses, and is the largest on
the west coast, lies to the south of the harbour, with the usual
accompaniment of numerous coco palms.

As a heavy surf was breaking on the reef fronting the houses, we rowed
up the bay and landed by a small hut, beside which was a well of good
water, and from thence reached the village by a path leading through
scrub and many screw-pines.

Interviewing the headman, we learnt that a Shom Pe[.n] settlement lay
half a day's journey in the interior, and having arranged with Nyam (the
headman) to guide us on the morrow, we set out, accompanied by his
brother Puchree, on a stroll through the village.

This really consists of two settlements--that nearest the bay, Pulo
Rotan or Koé, and the other to the south, which at high tide is cut off
from the mainland by a marshy channel--Pulo Bábi or Kanal. There are
more houses, both round and square than appear from seawards, but
several are uninhabited and falling to pieces. Graves, placed between
the houses, were marked by peeled sticks and young saplings, on which a
foot or so of the branches had been left.

The land on which the village stood was of very recent formation,
consisting entirely of sand, coral blocks, and _débris_ of the roughest

It would seem that the Nicobars are not only an area of elevation (as
shown in Kar Nicobar, Trinkat, etc.), but also one of growth, as appears
to be the case in the islands where there is a central mountain mass
with radiating arms and shore plains; in these the central high land was
first elevated, and formed a core for the extension of land by the
agency of fringing reefs where the surrounding sea-bottom has only a
slight inclination.

Of this latter phenomenon Pulo Bábi appears to be an example, since, for
some distance inland the shore is flat, and composed of coral sand and
_débris_, with a substratum of fresh-looking coral rock. The bay is
becoming choked with coral, and between living reef and shore are broad
belts of slimy mud, a little lower than some of the coral heads beyond,
where the reef, having reached low-water level, has stopped in its
growth and died. Meanwhile it is extending outward on its own talus, and
at the same time _débris_ and sand are cast continually shoreward, and,
with the help of smaller coralline growths, fill up the interstices of
the shore coral until a solid bank is formed, which, by further aid from
the waves of the sea, and from the land and its vegetation, is raised
above high water and in time becomes dry land.

Such action depends on the tides, slope of the sea-bottom, and the
relation of one part of the shore to another in regard to contour and
position, but particularly on the currents, which in some places would
accumulate material and in others remove it.

The crowns of the palm trees were frequented by flocks of the black and
white nutmeg-pigeon (_Carpophaga bicolor_), an uncommon bird in such a
situation. Of those we shot, several lodged in the trees and were
fetched down by the natives, who climbed with the ankles joined by a
belt or piece of rattan, and who, when lifting the feet, did not clasp
the trunk with the arms as we should, but placing one round it, pressed
against it with the other hand.

We found two Shom Pe[.n] youths in the village, who seemed to be in a
state of easy servitude, and were used for such work as carrying nuts or
fetching water.

There were between twenty and thirty men and boys dwelling here, and the
skipper (with whom the people were more communicative than with us)
said, only four women! Although, by going to Naukauri Harbour, said
Puchree, they could obtain wives,--who, however, refused to leave their
own homes,--he lamented the almost total impotence of himself and
neighbours in the way of offspring. Asked if they ever married Shom
Pe[.n] women, he said, "No, they didn't like them; they were dirty and
didn't wash"; and when we suggested that he should catch (_tangkap_) a
young one, and first train her for a year or two, and teach her
manners--"Too much trouble."

"_March_ 25.--We met Nyam and a companion at his house about six
o'clock, and after a walk of half a mile reached the bank of a little
river some 30 feet wide. Here lay a canoe, and paddles being produced we
travelled up-stream, wading now and again over the shallows, until,
having progressed a mile or so, we landed on the same bank at a spot
where a second path commenced. This we followed for 2 miles in a
northerly direction, crossing by the way the stream itself and a little
tributary by bridges of sapling, and so arrived at the Shom Pe[.n]

"We had already seen two kinds of buildings amongst these people; here
we met with a third.

"The houses--five in number, and recently constructed--stood on piles
about 12 feet high; in several cases a live tree being built in. These
supports were strengthened by diagonal struts--a most uncommon form of
scaffolding among savages. The floors were made of saplings placed side
by side, and the side walls, about 3 feet high, of split nibong palm;
while the roofs, which just afforded head-room at the apex, were roughly
thatched with whole palm leaves, piled on butt downwards.

"Each house was about 8 feet square, and at one end of each a small
platform was attached, on which was the fireplace, with cooking
apparatus of bark sheets covered with large green leaves, to prevent
charring. In a corner of each hut was a shelf of split sticks, and a
long trough of split and hollowed palm trunk sloped from ground to floor
for the dogs and other animals to mount by. The ladders for human use
were about 18 inches wide, with cross-pieces fastened on by rattan

"The village lay at the foot of a hill, above which the sun appeared
between nine and ten o'clock, and was bounded on the other side by the
bed of a stagnant brook. The trees about the houses were festooned with
bundles of rattan, and the ground round them was littered deeply with
the refuse scrapings. A few chickens and a miserable pariah cur or two
wandered about, and several little pigs were caged in the huts.

"This party seemed less well-to-do than the others we had seen, for
their only dress was cotton _kissáts_ and waistcloths, and while
possessing several pieces of bark cloth, in which they wrapped
themselves at night, they had apparently no further clothing. Strings of
coloured beads were worn about the neck, and their ear-lobes were
distended by wooden plugs from 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

"They were of a most apathetic disposition. A few words were exchanged
with our guides, whom the women immediately supplied with lime and
sireh, and then, renewing their own quids, sat crouching in the doorways
of the huts, or perhaps attended by request to the head of a neighbour
who might be troubled with a parasitical itching. Although free from
elephantiasis, the body of each individual was covered with the scaly
symptoms of ringworm--_tinea circinata tropica_.

"After we had measured the whole party, there was sufficient light to
photograph the village, to which, in the dark shade of the jungle, I
gave an exposure of ten minutes. The portraits of the natives were taken
under difficulties, for the only rays of sunlight that filtered through
the branches shifted slowly with the rays of the sun, so that by the
time the subject was posed and focussed, he was generally outside the
patch of sunshine.

"We bought all the little property visible, and then returned to the
schooner by path and canoe, having found that the so-called 'half-day's'
journey resolved itself into a matter of little more than an hour.

"Later in the day we strolled through the coast village to watch the
progress towards completion of a partially-finished canoe we had
purchased. With a little supervision it was only a short afternoon's
work for three or four men to cut and fit, by means of their _dáos_, the
stem and stern, cross-pieces, outriggers, and float, and quickly do all
the fastening required with tough strips of rattan.

"Our guides of the morning were rewarded with a _sarong_ apiece and we
purchased with rupees a pair of captive nutmeg-pigeons--somewhat
uncommon pets--and a couple of grey-headed parrots (_P. caniceps_) that
had been obtained as fledglings by the villagers.

"Once again on board we found canoes arriving with loads of coconuts and
numbers of fowls. Old shoes were the principal articles demanded, but
the skipper got six chickens for a white linen coat. Our estimable
captain is actuated by a commercial spirit; his invariable greeting to a
new arrival is 'Ah, _hang sudah datang_! _apa hang bawa_?'--'Ah, you've
come! what are you bringing?'"

"_March_ 26.--Spent an hour on shore, and then left with the breeze at 7
A.M. Sailing slowly down the coast we passed Henpoin, Pulo Kotah, and
Henhóa, at all of which places are many coco palms, with one or two
houses visible. Two or three miles inland a range of hills runs down the
coast, and must form the eastern slope of the Galathea Valley; until
their foot is reached, the country is low and level.

"Off South Point the wind became very light at midday, and subsequently
we worked up and down against a strong north-westerly tide, barely
maintaining our position. After a small advance, at 10 P.M. we were back
again where we had been at noon, so, getting soundings of 9 fathoms, we
anchored for the night."

"_March_ 27.--At daybreak the current was running S.S.W., at 2 knots.
This slackened at nine o'clock, and with a light breeze from the N.E. we
gradually made our way towards South Bay, until, the wind becoming more
easterly, we tacked up it, and anchored towards the top in 7-1/2

"The head, where the Galathea River debouches, is low and flat, but on
either side the shores are a continuation of the hills, containing the
river. The eastern cape is hilly and broken, but the western extremity
tails off in a low stretch of flat land.

"Close to the western shore is Walker Island, a small grey block of rock
that has been likened to a fort with sentries--the latter represented by
columns of stone protected from detrition by boulders of harder
formation, which once, of course, rested on the surface of the islet.

"Coconut trees grow all round the bay, and on the starboard hand we saw
a dozen houses forming the village of Chang-ngeh, from which a canoe put
off with two men. They, and two others far advanced in decrepitude, are
the sole inhabitants of this portion of the island. Formerly there was
on the eastern shore a village called Badói, but after some of its
inhabitants had been killed by Shom Pe[.n], it was deserted.

"We got ashore near the village at a spot sheltered from surf by a
projecting reef. Close inspection showed that the houses were far more
dilapidated than they appeared to be from the sea.

"Having obtained megapodes, dongos, and sunbirds by a short excursion
into the jungle, we walked along the beach to examine the river mouth,
in view of a journey up-stream next day.

"Coming from the right, where it runs for some distance parallel to the
shore, the river turns suddenly and makes its way to the sea through a
stretch of sand, leaving on the left a quiet backwater into which the
current swirls. A continuous line of surf broke across the entrance,
which was very narrow."

"_March_ 28.--At sunrise, having made all preparations overnight, we
loaded the boat with food and bedding, mosquito nets, and collecting
apparatus, and put off for the expedition up-river.

"First we pulled ashore and landed some of the cargo, for with it all on
board and a crew of five, the boat was too heavy to negotiate the
breakers safely. Then we lay off the river's mouth watching the sea;
swell after swell came sliding in, until one larger than the rest swung
by, leapt up, and with the white foam rippling along its summit, fell
over with a thunderous crash. Pulling hard all, we swept along on its
top, then passed through the surf, and lay a few moments later on the
quiet surface of the river without having shipped a drop of water. When
the things landed had been fetched, we reloaded and pulled up-stream;
the last glimpse of the sea showing a Chinese junk rounding the eastern
extremity of the bay.

"At first the river was about 30 yards wide and ran between low banks
covered with stretches of mangroves and forest alternating, both fronted
by a border of nipah palms. About 2 miles onward the shores rose a
little, and the vegetation changed to a tangle of jungle, with a network
of climbing bamboo, rattans, and various kinds of creepers. The course
of the stream ran through no heavy forest, and in many places the banks
were fairly open, covered with scrub and patches of thick grassy

"Never was such a river for twisting and turning, and often as we
steered round its #S#-shaped bends we seemed to swing the sun right
round us.

"We rowed along steadily for a couple of hours, and then seeing a lime
tree overhanging the stream, stopped to gather a hatful of fruit. A few
yards further on--the bank about 12 feet high--one of the men spied a
rough hut, a mere platform with a shade of palm leaves; but when we
landed, although odds and ends of rattan lay about the ground, it was
evident that it had been unoccupied for some time.

"Now and again along the river we saw coco palms and bananas, while
_kaladies_ or yams grew plentifully at the water's edge. The banks were
covered here with jungle and there with stretches of reeds, looking not
unlike clumps of Indian corn.

"Flocks of parrots flew screaming overhead, herons flapped lazily away
in front, and now and then a monkey, startled by the unusual sight,
cursed us vigorously from a tree. Often a tiny _ceyx_--a flash of lilac
and orange--darted across the stream, and oftener still the little blue
_bengalensis_ flitted away before us.[83]

"Once we ran aground on some rocks, and twice had to scramble on fallen
tree-trunks spanning the river, and force the boat beneath them. But for
such incidents we progressed steadily upwards until eleven o'clock, when
we pulled to one of the banks, here only some 15 yards apart, and tying
up the boat, proceeded to camp during the heat of midday.

"Then, after breakfast had been disposed of, it was delightful to lie on
one's back in the shade of the jungle and watch the waving leaves
against the sky; to search with the eyes for graceful ferns and orchids
drooping from the branches overhead, and in a dreamy semi-slumber to
listen to the calls of the birds, and the faint voices of the men as
they rambled about in the forest. Presently, as the sun reached its
highest point, all became quiet, and we dozed an hour away, to wake up,
and--after boiling the kettle for some tea--start off once more.

"Gradually narrowing, the river maintained the same character, save that
the banks became more open. At one fallen tree we had to unload the boat
and haul it bodily over; several times we got round or under such
obstacles with difficulty; and so, rowing and poling as the stream
lessened, we went on, until at about five o'clock, the river, now only
25 feet wide, became so shallow and obstructed by fallen branches that
we were forced to cease all attempt at further progress, and so made
camp at a spot about 16 miles up-stream, almost in the latitude of Pulo
Bábi. In the rainy season it would perhaps be possible to ascend a few
miles higher.

"While daylight lasted, the boat was partly unloaded, sticks cut to
support the mosquito nets, and supper prepared--heaped-up plates of
snowy rice, eked out by various tinned commodities. Then after
re-charging the dark slides beneath a rug, and covering the baggage with
a tarpaulin in case of rain, we turned in.

"It was a glorious moonlight night and the cicadas sang us to sleep
from the trees, while the mosquitoes hummed away vainly and viciously
outside the net.

"Now and again, for a time, came the cry of some startled bird and the
croaking of the tree-frogs; but when these died away the prevailing
silence was broken only by the sound of the dew dripping from the trees,
and the occasional fall of dead leaves or rotten branches."

"_March_ 29.--We turned out at daybreak while the river was shrouded in
mist, and after _chota hazri_, started down-stream.

"The water had fallen a foot during the night, and for some distance we
could only use the oars to pole with. Presently, however, we were
paddling quickly down the river, until we came to the fallen tree, where
it was again necessary to unload.

"All the contents were stacked on the bank, and then, while the boat was
on the trunk, I walked along the latter to take a snap-shot of the scene
from the shore. Just as it was half-way across, our craft stuck fast;
all, gathering themselves together, gave a mighty heave, and suddenly it
slipped over, taking everyone by surprise. 'Din fell into the water,
'Dul fell into the boat, Mat straddled the tree, and Abbott, by a
display of flying, gibbon-like agility, succeeded in landing safely in
the stern. It was all very amusing to see from the shore; far too funny,
indeed, at the time for me to get my photograph.

"This was the only obstacle, for, thanks to the low tide, we found no
difficulty in passing beneath the other fallen trunks. About ten o'clock
we were back at the hut and lime-tree, and stopped there for breakfast;
then, after gathering a bucketful of fruit, were off again.

"With the sun almost overhead, it now became very hot on the water; but,
pushing on, we reached the river-mouth soon after one o'clock and
unloaded the boat once more before taking it through the breakers. From
inshore they seemed much more formidable than from seaward, whence their
height and the curl of falling water were hidden. We lay a short
distance from the long, white lines that travelled across the bay, and
watched them, backing and pulling to keep our place.

"A series of breakers fell, then in rolled a monster, and as it broke
before us, we dashed in the waiting oars and sped forward at the next.
Up went the prow, and we were over and in the hollow before a second;
then over that and yet another, and we lay on the gently-heaving surface
of the bay.

"Back once more beneath the schooner's awnings, we found a welcome
supply of thirst-quenching coconuts, brought freshly from the village.

"The junk, after taking in a supply of water, had left the day before.
It is customary for these vessels, after their business on the west
coast is over, to sail round the north end of the island when leaving
for Acheen, in order to make a slight gain to windward; but this one,
having learned that we were going direct, decided to take a similar

On March 30 we went ashore for the last time and found a good supply of
water at Badói, about 100 yards inside the jungle. The stream dies away
before reaching the sea, but above the watering-place it can be followed
for some distance by wading up the rocky bed.

We were now full up with wood and water, and having obtained a good
supply of fowls and coconuts from the village, were ready to put to sea,
so left at ten o'clock in the evening, with a light wind, and a tide
running S.W.

"_March_ 31.--At 9 A.M. the point below Mataita-â[.n]la bore W. about 7
miles. Squalls of wind and rain occurred, and a succession of
waterspouts travelled across the horizon; between-times and for the rest
of the day, we experienced a dead calm, and rolled about on the swell.
Position at 4.30 P.M., 8 miles east of Campbell Bay."

"_April_ 1.--There has been scarcely any wind, and we drifted N. by E.
until Menchal and Kabra hove in sight. A school of sharks visited the
schooner, and one about 7 feet long that was hooked, was given his
quietus with a revolver bullet when hauled to the surface.

"Our live stock is flourishing. The three sober-looking parrots down in
the cabin are becoming tamer day by day, and the pair of nutmeg pigeons
will already eat chopped coconut from our hands.

"The monkeys, however, are of most interest, and are given daily
exercise on deck. The male is an adept at the most horrible grimaces,
but is an arrant coward, and, when startled, rushes to his companion,
and, although the heavier of the two, puts his arms around her and is
carried back downwards all over the place. When it is time to re-cage
them, we have only to drive them together and they run into each other's
arms, clasp convulsively, and incontinently roll over, when, as they lie
squealing and grimacing on deck, they may be picked up and put back in
their box. On one occasion this manoeuvre was executed on the rail,
and they fell overboard, sinking without a struggle, locked in a close

"Fortunately for them, the _Terrapin_ was becalmed at the time, and they
were recovered, to be very subdued for a time after the rescue, but none
the worse for their experience.

"At 6 P.M. a light breeze sprang up, with signs of a squall from the
north, and carried us along at a 2 to 3 knot pace through the night. A
porpoise was harpooned under the bow, but broke away before it could be

"On the 2nd the wind was light all day, save for a squall that compelled
us to lower the foresail. Towards evening, Mount Thuillier, bearing W.
by N., was just visible 50 miles away. The breeze freshened, and with
darkness the last sign of the Nicobars dropped below the horizon, while
daybreak revealed ahead of us the rounded summit of Pulo Bras."




    Position--Soundings--Relationship--Islands--Area--Great Andaman
    Mountains--Little Andaman---Rivers--Coral Banks--Scenery--
    Subsidence--Earthquakes--History--Aborigines--Convicts and the
    Penal System--Growth and Resources of the Settlement--Products
    and Manufactures.

The Andamans, which together with the Nicobars form one of the minor
dependencies of our Indian Empire, are situated in the Bengal Sea,
between the parallels of 10° 30' and 14° 15' N. latitude, and the
meridians 92° 10' and 93° 30' E. longitude, where they lie in a N. by E.
direction. To the west the coast of Madras is some 700 miles distant,
and eastward Tenasserim, bordered by the islands of the Mergui
Archipelago, lies about 320 miles away. Intervening between them and
Sumatra to the south lies the Nicobar group, and before Cape Negrais in
Burma is reached the little island of Preparis must be passed.

Close to Cape Negrais terminate the Arakan Hills, one of a series of
ranges that run down from the Eastern Himalayas; and just south of
Acheen Head we have the Gunong Mas, Batu Mukuruh, and other mountains;
therefore, looking at a map of the district, it seems difficult to avoid
the conclusion that the whole of the islands last enumerated are nothing
less than a continuation southward of the Arakan Hills.

But although they form a chain that seems to indicate a past union of
Sumatra and Burma, investigation proves that this is far from being the
case. For soundings in this part of the ocean show that between the
Nicobars and the group of islands adjacent to the north-east point of
Sumatra--entering from the open sea to the west, and thence trending
north between the Andamans and Malay Peninsula almost as far as the
latitude of Narkondam--there runs a long tongue of depressed ocean bed
with depths everywhere over 1000 fathoms. This fact, together with the
shallowness of the sea-bottom around and connecting the Andamans with
the Arakan Yoma Peninsula, suggests the inference that the former were
at one time past the termination of a seaward extension from Cape
Negrais of the Arakan Yoma Range--a conclusion that is in some degree
emphasized by the zoological and botanical conditions common to the two.

The principal islands are, Great and Little Andaman, Rutland and the
Labyrinths, the Archipelago, North Sentinel, Interview Island, Landfall
Island, and the Cocos, but there are many smaller adjacent, while to the
eastward are the off-lying volcanic islets of Narkondam and Barren
Island. The total area of the group is 2508 square miles.[84]

Great Andaman--in which may be included Landfall and Rutland Islands,
for the whole land mass is so compact and divided up by such narrow
shallow straits that it appears to be one single island that has been
broken up by subsidence and adjoining volcanic action--is 142 miles
long, and 17 miles broad at its widest point.

There are generally stated to be two straits, but as one of them
bifurcates, the Great Andaman proper is really cut into four parts.

Austin Strait, which divides North from Middle Andaman, is very narrow
and intricate, and not to be traversed by boats at low tide; but the
Andaman Strait,--generally 2 to 3 cables wide--which separates South
from Middle Andaman at a spot where the hills are lower than elsewhere,
although intricate, and possessing a bar at its eastern mouth with a
depth of 9 or 10 feet at low water, has depths from 10 to 14 fathoms
throughout the narrower part, and nowhere less than 3 fathoms at low
water. The stream is never strong, and the R.I.M.S. _Investigator_
passed through three times while surveying the islands in 1888.

Homfray Strait cuts off Báratáng Island from Middle Andaman, and joins
the Andaman at its western mouth. It is intricate and rocky, but has
good depths, except at the eastern entrance, where there is a broad bar
of 8 feet. The tidal stream is weak, and the narrowest part is 60 yards

The surface of Great Andaman is extremely irregular, and a central range
of mountains runs from north to south, with an escarped face on the
east, and a sloping declivity on the west, where marshy localities

The highest point is Saddle Hill (2400 feet) in North Andaman: Mount
Harriet (1200 feet) stands on the north shore of Port Blair; and Ford's
Peak, in Rutland Island, rises 1400 feet; while there are half a dozen
unnamed summits with heights between 1000 feet and 1700 feet.

Narkondam rises 2330 feet, from an oval-shaped base whose greatest
diameter is 2 miles, and the crater walls of Barren Island, 2 square
miles in area, attain an elevation of 1158 feet.

Little Andaman, some 25 miles south of Rutland, 23 miles long and 17
miles wide, with an area of about 220 square miles, is, on the contrary,
level throughout, and gradually rises to a height of 600 feet in the
centre. None of the other islands save Rutland attain this elevation.

Owing to its shape and conformation, there are no rivers and but few
streams on Great Andaman, and during the dry season--January to
April--there is some scarcity of water. Several creeks, however, are of
sufficient depth to allow passage of boats for some distance into the
interior. In the South Andaman the greater part of the drainage runs
into the creeks, which ultimately leads off to the eastern shore, and in
the North and Middle Andaman the bulk of the drainage seems to flow
through gaps in the eastern range.

Little Andaman is swampy in many parts, and possesses a few small

On the western side, in which direction Great Andaman slopes gradually,
banks of coral occur at distances of 20 and 25 miles from land. There
are three of these, varying in length from 9 to 25 miles, all composed
of dead coral and sand, with here and there single bunches of live coral
1 or 2 feet high. The water, which is so clear that on a calm day 8 or 9
fathoms looks like 20 feet, varies in its least depths from 3-3/4 to 6
fathoms, and, judged from the appearance of the bottom and the absence
of reef-building coral, it seems probable that the surface _débris_ of
the banks is disturbed by the send of the sea, and that the rollers
topple and break on the middle bank in the south-west monsoon, though
they may not do so on the others.

This western coast is fully exposed to the south-west monsoon, and is by
no means a desirable locality to be in at that season.

Dalrymple Bank, of the same nature, lies adjacent to Little Andaman, on
the same side; but Invisible Bank, to the eastward, has depths of 17 to
50 fathoms, with a rock awash in the centre. This is of bluish-grey
sandstone, so that the Bank, taking into account its irregular surface
and the rapidly-increasing depths around, may be considered a submerged
mountain-range, of the same formation as the oldest part of the
Andamans--of which, Flat Rock, an isolated peak, rises alone above the
sea. All these banks probably formed islands, or part of the Andamans,
when the latter stood at a higher elevation than they do to-day.

Throughout the Archipelago the scenery is of exceeding beauty. The
picturesquely undulating surface is clad everywhere, save where
artificial clearings have been made, with the most luxuriant jungle,
for, situated within the tropics, with a fertile soil, and a climate
that for two-thirds of the year is somewhat moist, the islands are
covered from hill-top to sea-beach with an unbroken mantle of dense
vegetation, rendered almost impenetrable by cane-brakes and undergrowth
of rattans and other creepers. All along the shores are either stretches
of yellow sand or brilliant green mangroves, and the seas round the
islands are of the clearest water imaginable.

The coast-line is everywhere deeply indented, and affords a number--most
unusual for such a small group--of deep-water harbours and other
anchorages, where complete shelter can be found for large ships in all
weathers and seasons. The most known and the best--although Port
Cornwallis is nearly as good, and has the advantage of being some twelve
hours' steaming nearer to Calcutta and Rangoon--is Port Blair, where the
Settlement has been placed; but on the same coast of Great Andaman are
many others, the more important being, Macpherson's Straits, Shoal Bay,
Port Meadows, Colebrooke Passage, and Stewart's Sound. On the west coast
are situated, Port Andaman, Kwang-tung Harbour, Ports Campbell and
Mouat, while in the Archipelago perfect anchorage is to be found either
in Outram Harbour or in Charka-Juru,[85] Kwang-tung Strait, or

These are well distributed all along the coasts, and were the Andamans
situated in some position of greater political or commercial importance,
they would form an invaluable possession for this reason. As it is, the
islands are exploited merely as a convict establishment--an Indian
Botany Bay--and the only industry of any magnitude appertaining to them
is that of timber, for which indeed the harbours are very convenient, as
the forests worked are all in the neighbourhood of the seashore, or are
so placed that after the trees are felled the logs can be hauled by
elephants to the many creeks, and floated down to where the vessels
engaged in the business are anchored.

The geographical conditions, and more especially the Tertiary sandstone
of which the large area of the islands consists, point to a former
connection with Arakan, and, in accordance with these indications, it is
found that the bulk of the flora is Burmese; but the forest trees are
finer, being very lofty and straight, while not a few purely Malayan
species find their northern limit in the Andamans. The flora is not
related to that of Hindustan and India proper--a coincidence which can
be partly explained by the insular climate and difference of soil.

The forests produce valuable woods, which can be used for many trade
purposes--furniture; ship, boat and house building; railway carriages
and sleepers; paving blocks, boxes, gun-carriages and stocks, pianos,
etc.; and as profitable minor products, there are canes for furniture,
rattans for walking-sticks, and gurjan oil. Some of the woods can be
obtained in extremely large quantities; all possibly in sufficiency for
any trade that may arise with the islands.

Palms abound; the banian and padouk, that resembles mahogany;
marble-wood, of a black, mottled appearance; satin-wood; and the iron
tree, which turns the edge of an axe, are all found in the forests, in
beautiful confusion with cotton-trees, screw-pines, and arborescent
euphorbias, and with large clumps of bamboos, 30 and 40 feet high; while
all round the coasts, mangroves, the most satisfactory of firewoods,
give shelter to lovely orchids.

A very conspicuous feature of the forests is the distribution (apart
from the strictly littoral vegetation) into evergreen forest, very full
of large gurjan trees (_Dipterocarpeæ_), and a leaf-shedding forest,
containing a large proportion of padouk (_Pterocarpus dalbergioides_),
or into a mixture of these two types.

The great peculiarity of the Andaman flora is that, with the exception
of the Cocos Islands, which are covered with them, and thence indeed
derive their name, no coconut palms naturally propagated are found in
the Archipelago.[86] This is the more strange when it is remembered that
all the shores of the Bengal Sea are the home of this tree, and that it
simply teems in all the islands of the Nicobar group to the south.
During the past thirty-five years advantage has been taken of trips in
the Station steamer (or by other means) to plant coconuts at suitable
localities[87] along the coasts of Great Andaman, and in recent years at
Little Andaman. Great numbers of the nuts were consumed by the
aborigines, or by wild pigs, but at several places fruit has been
obtainable, for many years past, from trees which escaped destruction.

The climate of the Andamans is equatorial in its uniformity, and greatly
resembles that of Tenasserim and Mergui. It is not generally healthy for
Europeans, but improves from a hygienic point of view when the forest is
cleared from any locality. During the first two months of the dry season
strong winds blow from the north-east, causing sickness, and damage to

As the islands are exposed to the full force of the south-west monsoon,
only four months of fair weather (January to April) can be counted on.
December and January are the coolest months, with a mean temperature of
79° and a mean minimum of 75°, while March and April are the warmest,
with means of 82° and 83° respectively, and a mean daily maximum of 92°
at Port Blair, where throughout the year the mean is 80°, the highest
96°, and the lowest 66°; so that the absolute range is 30°. The mean
diurnal range is as much as 14° to 15° in February, March, and April,
while between June and September it is only 8° or 9°. The mean
temperature throughout the year is about 80°.

The south-west monsoon sets in, accompanied by heavy rain, in the early
part of May, but occasionally in April, and lasts till October. March is
the driest month, and January and February somewhat less so; but the
rainy season lasts from the middle of May till the middle of October,
and what is called the moderate season, from October to January. During
the latter the average monthly rainfall is about 8 inches; in the rainy
season it is 16 inches, with twenty-four rainy days per month; while, on
the average, throughout the dry season rain falls on ten days to an
extent of 5 inches. At Port Blair the mean humidity is 83 per cent, and
the average annual rainfall is 117 inches; but elsewhere it varies from
100 to 155 inches, and there are about 180 wet days in the year.

At the change of the monsoons stormy weather is common, and the
neighbourhood of the Andamans is considered to be the birthplace of many
of the violent cyclones that occasionally visit the Indian and Burmese
coasts of the Bay of Bengal.

The hurricanes generally both originate either between Ceylon or the
N.W. portion of the bay, and take various courses, according to the
season; but, although situated near the cradle of these storms, the
islands are not often traversed by them. In 1864 one is recorded as
having visited the locality, and on the night of November 1st, 1891, a
violent cyclone passed over Port Blair, which, after travelling
north-westward across the bay, did much further damage at the mouth of
the Hugli and on the Orissa coast. The maximum velocity of the wind
registered at Port Blair on the latter occasion was 111 miles.

Concerning the geology of the islands, it is curious that in the valley
of the Irrawadi hot springs and other evidence of volcanic action occur
in the same relative position to the Arakan Hills as the two islands of
Narkondam and Barren Island occupy in respect to the Andamans. There
seems little doubt that these two islands--now respectively extinct and
quiescent--belong to the great line of volcanic disturbance that appears
in Lower Burma and extends right through Sumatra and Java and the
further islands of the Malay Archipelago. Thus it would seem that the
Andamans proper, possessed of no volcanoes themselves, lie just outside
the line of activity, and, with the Nicobars, occupy the same position
with regard to the volcanic track as do the chain of islands west of

Possibly the land now constituting the Andamans first appeared above the
sea as an extension of Cape Negrais in the latter part of the Tertiary
epoch, at which time occurred the elevation of the Arakan Yoma Hills,
and later became isolated by subsidence due to neighbouring volcanic
action. As Mr A. R. Wallace points out,[88] the presence of active
volcanoes produces subsidence of the surrounding area by the weight of
every fresh deposit of materials ejected either in the sea or on land.
"The subsidence such materials produce around them will, in time, make a
sea if one does not already exist."

The Andamans are of Tertiary formation, and of similar geological
structure to the Arakan Yoma Range, the line of elevation connecting
them with which is represented by the Alguada Reef and Preparis Island.
(The Cocos are an integral part of the Andamans.)

Two sedimentary formations have been distinguished up to the present,
the one older, the other newer than the serpentine which intrudes in
various localities. They have been called the Port Blair and Archipelago
series respectively.[89]

The former, occurring in the south, consists of fine grey sandstone--the
characteristic rock, generally non-calcareous--and beds of conglomerate
and limestone as subsidiary members; red and green jasper also occur;
possibly, however, of an older series than the sandstone in which they
crop out. This series seems to be of early Tertiary or later age.

The second series,--Miocene, or even newer--of which the whole of the
islands of the Archipelago are formed, consist typically of soft
limestone, of coral and shell-sand, soft calcareous sandstones, and soft
white clay, with occasionally a band of conglomerate, the pebbles of
which seem to have been coral.

The intrusive rocks of the Andamans--similar to those of Manipur and
Burma in the north, and the Nicobars to the south, and of later date
than the Port Blair series--are of serpentine, often passing into
crystalline diorite and gabbro.

The Archipelago series seem to cover a large area of the Andamans, while
the Port Blair formation is restricted to the south. The greater part of
Rutland Island is formed of serpentine, in which small layers of brown
opal have been met with, and which throughout the group seems
disseminated with minute crystals of chromium. The Cinques consist of
intrusive rocks of serpentine, associated with metamorphosed, indurated,
and sedimentary series, mostly calcareous. The rocks of Little Andaman
are chiefly lime and sandstone, with a good deal of actual coral rock on
the east and south coasts; while occasionally occur outcrops of an
igneous nature. At Entry Island and Port Meadows, beds of volcanic
origin exist.

In view of the connection with them, the apparent barrenness of the
Arakan Hills goes to show that little may be expected from the Andamans
in the way of mineral products. Amongst others, however, discoveries
have been made of lignite, and the ores of chromium, copper, iron, and
_sulphur_,[90] although not in quantities that would pay commercial

It is indubitable, as Kurz has shown,[91] that the Andamans are now
undergoing subsidence; but there is ample evidence, in the raised coral
beaches that fringe the shores, to show that in the immediate past this
has been exceeded by elevation.

The islands have been subjected to earthquakes from time to time. The
first recorded took place in August 1868, the next in February 1880, and
several slight shocks occurred until December 1881, when a severe
earthquake visited the group, made itself felt over a large area of the
Bengal Sea and surrounding countries, did much damage to masonry at Port
Blair, and raised waves 3 feet high, following each other at
fifteen-minute intervals for a period of twenty-one hours. Another
slight shock was experienced in February 1882.

       *       *       *       *       *

The origin of the name Andaman appears to be somewhat doubtful, and it
is, of course, a word unknown to the natives. It is, however, very old,
and may--as Sir Henry Yule suggests in his Commentary on Marco
Polo--perhaps be traced to Ptolemy (who flourished at Alexandria soon
after the commencement of the Christian era), and if so, we have by him
the first-known reference to the Archipelago, for he mentions a group
of islands under the name of Good Fortune, [Greek: Agdaimonos Nêdos], or
the like--"The Angdaman Islands"--whence have come the names Agdaman,
Angdaman, Andaman. Even at this early date the inhabitants were said to
be cannibals.

Doubtless the Chinese knew of the group in comparatively early times,
for they have records of the neighbouring Nicobar Islands going back for
more than a thousand years.

Skipping a long period, we next come to the ninth century, and there
have the accounts of Arab travellers (A.D. 871), which, although of an
alarming description, are tolerably correct in some details. "The people
eat human flesh quite raw; their complexion is black, their hair
frizzled, their countenance and eyes frightful, their feet very large,
and almost a cubit in length, and they go quite naked." Those ships, the
story goes on to say, which have been set back by contrary winds, and
compelled to anchor for the sake of water, commonly lose some of their
men on these barbarous coasts, and it is fortunate that the natives have
no ships or other vessels, otherwise they would seize and devour all the

Reference to the Andamans in the thirteenth-century narrative of Marco
Polo is very much of a traveller's tale. "Angamanain is a very large
island. The people are without a king, and are idolaters, and no better
than wild beasts. All the men of this island have heads like dogs, and
teeth and eyes likewise; in fact, in face they are just like big mastiff
dogs! They have a quantity of spices; but they are a most cruel
generation, and eat everybody they can catch not of their own race. They
live on flesh, and rice and milk, and have fruits different from ours."
Colonel Yule suggests that Angamanain is an Arabic (oblique) dual,
indicating "The two Andamans," viz., "The Great and the Little."

In 1563, Master Cæsar Frederike set out on his travels, and returning
homeward three years later, passed near the Nicobars on his way from
Malacca to Goa. "From Nicobar to Pegu is, as it were, a row or chain of
islands, an infinite number, of which many are inhabited with wild
people; and they call those islands the Islands of Andemaon, and their
people savage or wild, because they eat one another. Also, these islands
have war one with another; for they have small barques, and with them
they take one another, and eat one another: and if by evil chance any
ship be lost on those islands, as many have been, there is not one man
of those ships that escapeth uneaten or unslain. These people have not
any acquaintance with any other people, neither have they trade with
any, but live only on such fruits as the islands yield."[93]

An Italian doctor, John Francis Gemelli, who made a voyage round the
world, touched at the Nicobars in 1695, and refers incidentally to the
neighbouring group. "Friday the 3rd, we were in sight of the island of
Nicobar. The island pays an annual tribute of a certain number of human
bodies to the island of Andemaon, to be eaten by the natives of it.
These brutes rather than men, use, when they have wounded an enemy, to
run greedily to suck the blood that runs. The Dutch are witness of this
cruelty of theirs; for they, going with fire-ships to subdue them, and
landing 800 men, though they were well entrenched to defend themselves
against those wild people, yet they were most of them killed, very few
having the good fortune to fly to their ships.... The chief motive of
the Dutch to attempt the conquest of that island, was a report spread
abroad that there was a well in that island whose water converted iron
into gold, and was the true philosopher's stone.... No man in Europe or
Asia can give any certain account of it, because those people have no
commerce with any nation in the world." This vanished wonder was
discovered by an English vessel that was driven to the islands; for a
native who was carrying a shell of water accidentally spilt some of the
contents on the anchor, and the part so wetted immediately turned into
gold! The narrative goes on to say that the unhappy native, who thus by
his clumsiness revealed the priceless secret, was immediately killed,
not by his countrymen, as might perhaps be expected, but by the
strangers! There is no mention of torture; but the well was neither
discovered then nor since.[94]

The next historian is an Englishman, for Captain Alexander Hamilton, in
his _Account of the East Indies_,[95] written about 1700, devotes some
space to these islands. "The Andamans are surrounded by many dangerous
rocks and banks, and they are all inhabited with cannibals, who are so
fearless that they will swim off to a boat if she approach near the
shore, and attack her with their wooden weapons, notwithstanding the
superiority of numbers in the boat and the advantages of missive and
defensive arms of iron, steel, and fire."

As an example of this, Hamilton tells of one, Captain Ferguson, whose
ship, bound from Malacca to Bengal, in company with another, was driven
by a strong current on some rocks, and lost. The second vessel was
carried through a channel, and was completely powerless to aid those
shipwrecked, "which," says our author, "gave ground to conjecture that
they were all devoured by those savage cannibals."

This same chronicler met a native of the Andamans at Acheen in 1694, and
says of the incident: "The Andamaners had a yearly custom to come to the
Nicobar Islands with a great number of small praus, and kill and take
prisoners as many Nicobarians as they could overcome." During one of
these raids, however, the long-suffering Nicobarese armed themselves--it
does not seem to have been their custom to resist--and, gathering
together, gave battle to the invaders, and utterly defeated them; and on
this occasion the man under discussion, then a boy of ten or twelve
years, who had accompanied his father, was taken prisoner, and, spared
on account of his youth, was made a slave.

Some years went by, and he was sold to the Achinese, who, being
Mohammedans, taught him their religion; and he remained in Sumatra,
until, on the occasion of his master's death, he was manumitted.

He had now become very homesick, and so, obtaining a boat, he set out
during the fine season from the islands of Gomus (Pulo Bras) and
Pulo-weh. "From here the furthermost of the Nicobars may be seen, and so
one island may be seen from another, from the southernmost of those to
Chitty-Andeman (Little Andaman), which is southernmost of the Andamans,
distant from Acheen about a hundred leagues." Once home, and made much
of by his relatives, who recognised him although he had long been
considered dead, he acquainted them with his knowledge of God, "and
would have persuaded his countrymen to learn of him how to adore God and
to obey His laws, but he could make no converts."

After a month or so of the old life, he returned to Acheen with a
quantity of quicksilver, which, he said, abounded in some of the
Andamans; and thereafter he made several other voyages, always returning
with a similar cargo. "Some Mohammedan faquirs would have accompanied
him, but he would not suffer them, because, he said, he could not engage
for their safety among his countrymen. When I saw him he was in company
of a seid, whom I carried as a passenger to Surat, and from whom I had
this account of his adventures."

Trustworthy history of the islands now begins; for, at the close of the
eighteenth century, the Honourable East India Company sent small
expeditions, under Colonel Colebrooke and Captain Blair, to report on
the possibilities of the group. Their accounts were so satisfactory,
that, in 1789, the latter was sent to establish a penal settlement in
what was then called Port Cornwallis--now Port Blair.

All went well with Blair and his colony until 1792, when orders were
received from Calcutta to transfer the whole establishment to the
harbour in North Andaman, which, in turn, was to be known as Port
Cornwallis. The first place of that name was henceforth for a time
dubbed Old Harbour.

Colonel Syme, who was sent on a mission to Ava in 1795, visited the
establishment on his voyage out, and found there a population of 700,
including a company of sepoys. He estimated the aborigines at 2000 to
2500, and gives a very unflattering description of them. They then used
rafts of bamboo in addition to canoes.[96]

The new settlement proved so unhealthy, that, after an existence of four
years, its abandonment was decided on: the prisoners were transferred to
Penang, and the troops returned to Bengal.[97]

For many years now, the group remained untenanted by a foreign element,
and its isolation was broken only by the rendezvous at Port Cornwallis,
in 1824, of the fleet carrying the army of Sir Archibald Campbell to
Rangoon for the first Burmese war; by the murder, while ascertaining the
mineral possibilities of the islands, of Dr Heifer, a Russian scientist
employed by the H.E.I.C.; and by the simultaneous wrecks in 1844, on Sir
John Lawrence Island, of the troopships _Runnymede_ and _Briton_, which,
in a hurricane one inky night, were flung, unknown to each other until
morning dawned, right over the reef in among the trees of the jungle.
Hardly a life was lost.

Before the Andamans again became the field of Government activity, the
Cocos group, which lie 20 miles to the north of Great Andaman, were the
scene of an unofficial attempt at colonisation.[98] The first settlers
were two men on their way to Australia, who, struck with the beauty of
the Great Coco, with its shore covered with innumerable coco palms and
other trees, gave up their original plan, and were left there in the
early part of 1849. There were no inhabitants; but the islands were
frequented during the north-east monsoon by people from Tenasserim and
Arakan, who came for the coconuts that were so plentiful. The only
animals were rats; but the bays abounded with fish and turtle, and water
was obtained by sinking wells in the beach.

In the middle of July, the _Flying Fish_--the ship that had landed the
first settlers--brought a second batch from Moulmein, and the population
then consisted of four men, two women, and four children, with a small
number of Burmese and a few Lascars.

Some months passed, and the island remained unvisited; and the whole
story of that time is one of incompetence, laziness, sickness, and
starvation. Stores failed; while food procurable on the island only
consisted of turtles, turtles' eggs, fish, and coconuts. The settlers
were, besides, suffering from dysentery, fever, and other complaints,
brought on by an unaccustomed mode of life, in dwellings that were mere
hovels, and subjection to the inclemency of the rainy season. Their
spirits became depressed, and despair succeeding discontent, they were
more like an unfortunate shipwrecked party than immigrants who had
landed to make a new home. Several of the colonists fell a prey to
despondency, that in some cases amounted almost to mental derangement.
Some of them died, and those who were rescued from that fate were
brought away from the island in an utter state of destitution, emaciated
in body and almost silly in intellect.

On October 29 the remaining settlers--of whom seven had died--were taken
off, and reconveyed to Moulmein by the Company's ship _Proserpine_.[99]

In 1855, measures were proposed at Calcutta--for the Andamans were then
an appanage of the East India Company--for the repression of the
outrages practised by the Andamanese on those crews shipwrecked on their
shores, and two years later--on the conclusion of the Mutiny--it was
determined that a penal settlement should once more be established in
the group; thus combining a headquarters, from whence the pacification
of the aborigines might be undertaken, with an abode of punishment for
such mutineers and others whose offences had not merited the death

It was at this date that Dr F. J. Mouat, who has given an account of his
visit in _Adventures and Researches among the Andaman Islanders_, was
sent, as head of a Commission, to examine the islands and select a
suitable locality for the establishment of a penal settlement. The
Commission spent about three weeks steaming about the coasts of the
Archipelago, and finally decided on Old Harbour, to which they gave the
name of Port Blair, in honour of its former resident.

A rather amusing incident occurred during the visit:--A nervous and
imaginative member of an exploring party brought news of the proximity
of a native village and a lurking body of aborigines. The doctor,
without waiting for further information, or to be attacked, addressed
his followers in a warlike speech, and gave the order to charge, which
the company forthwith did with such vigour that two fiery spirits were
knocked senseless by contact with burnt tree-stumps--a number of which
the party had mistaken for natives. The expedition had, however, several
serious conflicts with the aborigines, in which a few of the latter were

On return of the Commission to Calcutta their advice was soon acted on,
and the late General (then Captain) H. Man was sent to Port Blair to
formally re-annex the Andamans and put matters in train, and following
him a body of convicts arrived in charge of Dr J. P. Walker, who was
appointed first Superintendent.

For some years the death-rate was excessive (averaging 18 per cent.),
owing to the necessity of pushing forward clearing and building
operations, and it was not until 1868, soon after the appointment of
Colonel Man as Superintendent, that it fell to a more normal level
(average for ten years, 2.7 per cent.).

The pacification of the natives, by means of Homes, a school, and visits
paid to the tribes by the Station gunboat, went steadily on, until
there now remain but two or three groups of Andamanese from whom any
hostility is to be feared.

In 1872-3 the Andamans were formed in a Commissionership with the
Nicobars, and a year later general attention was drawn to them by the
death of Lord Mayo, Viceroy of India, at the hands of a convict.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Andaman Islands are inhabited by people of pure Negrito blood,
members of perhaps the most ancient race remaining on the earth, and
standing closest to the primitive human type.

Geologically, the islands are connected with the opposite mainland, so
that in remote times migration was probably possible; and we find in the
Malay Peninsula, and in the Philippines, which were at one time
connected with it, aborigines who--known by various names, such as
Semang, Jakun, etc., and Aeta--are the nearest existing relatives of the

There is no reason to consider the Andamanese any other than the
aborigines of the islands, for we know from their kitchen-middens, which
are found throughout the group, that they occupied it in very remote

From the examination of fragments of pottery, arrowheads, and other
stone implements discovered in the shell-mounds, it is now believed that
the locality was settled some time during the Pleistocene period, and
certainly not later than the Neolithic age.

     "In the Andaman kitchen-middens have been found shells, pig-bones,
     pottery (referred to a stone age--at least to the Neolithic
     period--and almost identical with the fragments found in the Danish
     kitchen-middens), and stone implements. Every second stone picked
     up showed indications of being used in some way; some as hammers,
     others fastened to wood as rude hatchets, knives, etc.: a beautiful
     polished celt was found, indistinguishable from European or Indian
     celts of the Neolithic period, also a typical arrow-head--all of
     Tertiary sandstone."--Stoliczka.

The possession by the natives, in recent times, of implements and
weapons manufactured from wood and shells only, is easily accounted for
by their having found these equally suitable to their needs, and far
easier to construct.

It would be impossible to find anywhere a race of purer descent than the
Andamanese, for ever since they peopled the islands in the Stone Age,
they have remained secluded from the outer world, and to this isolation
is due the uniformity so marked in their physical and mental

In stature they are far below the average height; but although they have
been called dwarfs and pygmies, these words must not be understood to
imply anything in the nature of a monstrosity. Their reputation for
hideousness, like their poisoned arrows and cannibalism, has long been a
fallacy, which, although widely popular, should now be exploded.

The average heights of Andamanese men and women, computed from a large
series of measurements, are found to be 4 feet 10-3/4 inches and 4 feet
7-1/4 inches respectively, and their figures which are proportionately
built, are very symmetrical and graceful. Although not to be described
as muscular, they are of good development, the men being agile, yet
sturdy, with broad chests and square shoulders.

The abdomens--although on the whole not to a greater extent than those
of other savages--are sometimes protuberant, in the women more so than
the men, and it is probably owing to this feature that they have been
described as figureless, a statement by no means wholly correct.

In both sexes, the small of the back is very hollow and the buttocks
prominent. The feet are rather large, and occasionally occurs a case of
the great-toe being placed with relation to the others in an almost
simian or thumb-like way. Hands are of moderate size and well shaped,
with long thin fingers.

Viewed from a distance, the skin appears of a jetty colour, especially
when shining from the fat with which it is often bedaubed: a close
examination shows, however, that it is not absolutely black, although
these people are amongst the darkest of mankind.[100] Soles, palms, and
nails are pale pinkish-brown, and while the lips of some show a slight
purplish tinge, those of the majority scarcely differ in tint from the
skin of the face.

The hair, which is similar in colour to the skin, and lustreless, is
woolly, and of what is known as "pepper-corn" type, for, when kept
short, it assumes the form of little knobs with bare spaces between,
giving to the head an appearance that has been rather aptly likened to
that of an old worn-out shoe-brush. When long, the tufts take the form
of a cone-shaped frizzly spiral. The body is glabrous, but there are
traces of hair about the armpits and other parts, and adult males
possess sometimes an excessively slight moustache, and about a dozen
hairs on the tip of the chin.

The skull is mesocephalous, with an index of about 82; the forehead of
good size, round and prominent; the face rather short, and often
quadrilateral. The nose is somewhat broad, with rounded tip and
nostrils, often short, and, when not straight, as is most common, is as
frequently convex as concave. The eyes are large, horizontal, and placed
widely apart, with black pupils and muddy yellow sclerotic; and the
lips, which are well-formed and neither excessively prominent nor thick,
are kept closed when at rest, and cover teeth strong though irregular
and often stained from use of tobacco. The ears are of good shape,
small, and lie close to the head.

Their speech is rapid and vivacious. Each tribe possesses a distinct
dialect, traceable, however, to the same source.

     "The Andamanese languages are one group, and have no affinities by
     which we might infer their connection with any other known group.
     They belong to the agglutinative stage of development, and are
     distinguished from other groups by the presence, in full
     development, of the principle of prefixed and affixed grammatical
     additions to the roots of words. Their form of speech is extremely
     intricate; for instance, the possessive pronouns have as many as
     sixteen possible variants according to the class of noun with which
     they are in agreement. There is also a distinct poetical dialect,
     and in their songs they subordinate to rhythm, not only the form of
     words, but even the grammatical construction of sentences."[101]

They have words for the numerals "one" and "two" only, but can count to
ten by tapping the nose with the finger-tips of both hands, uttering for
each in turn the word _an-ká_ = "and this," until, when the last is
reached, the expression _árdúru_ implies "all."

In disposition they are childish, but bright and merry, though petulant,
quick-tempered, and restless, and not capable of much perseverance.
Great affection is lavished on children and the young; old or helpless
are held in high consideration. Women are well treated, and not used as
drudges or slaves, but are assisted by the men, who assume a fair share
of the day's work.

In the school that at one time existed at Port Blair for the Andamanese,
it was found, that, as with all savages, the children, when educated
were as proficient up to a certain age as the children of civilised
peoples, but that point reached, they possessed no capacity for imbibing
further knowledge.

As the natives gain by education in intelligence and tractability, they
become fat and indolent, while their morals undergo much deterioration
through contact with the convicts. The clearance of the jungle has been
prejudicial to their health, and excessive tobacco-smoking among both
sexes, which has been unrestricted, has seriously undermined their
already enfeebled constitutions.

They possess very little vital power, and readily succumb to diseases,
suffering much from febrile disorders, which give rise to pulmonary
complaints--the chief cause of mortality among them. Very few reach the
age of fifty, and the average duration of life is little over twenty
years. Of the lesser ailments, skin diseases are very common.

Measles, to which over 20 per cent. of the population fell victims in
1877, was followed by an outbreak of syphilis, both introduced by
convicts. The latter disease has caused much injury, and its spread
has, it is believed, been greatly accelerated by the custom prevailing
of the women suckling each other's children.

The "sense of shame" is but little developed, and the natives pay no
attention to their own nudity, although by nature they are modest. Of
the various objects worn, those only coming under the heading of
clothing are the aprons or leaves worn with the girdle by the women, and
always carefully adjusted.

Previous to marriage, which is not permitted to those between whom any
degree of consanguinity can be traced, unchastity is the rule with both
sexes. Births out of wedlock, however, are considered discreditable, and
marriage generally follows on a girl becoming _enceinte_, in which case
there seems no objection on the part of the lover to become the husband.

Once married, conjugal fidelity until death is the rule, and bigamy,
polygamy, and divorce are unknown.

Restrictions from various tabooed articles of food, which begin at
puberty and often last for years, are brought to a conclusion after a
long series of initiatory ceremonies undergone by both sexes.

When a death occurs, the corpse is buried with a method and ceremonies
differing somewhat according as to whether it be adult or child;[102]
and after some months, during which the encampment in which the death
took place is deserted, the body is exhumed, and the bones cleaned and
made into souvenirs, which are distributed to relatives and friends.

Numerous superstitions are extant among them, and there is credence in

No form of worship is to be found; but there exists a belief in a
spiritual being, called _Púluga_, the Creator; and in evil spirits,
_Érem-chaugala_, the spirit of the woods; and _Juruwinda_, the spirit of
the sea, the first of whom causes sickness and earthquakes, the latter
cramp; both are demoniacal. There are also a host of minor devils, who
are self-created; none of the demons are under the control of

They make no attempt at trading in the natural products of their
islands, and manufacture nothing but the weapons, personal ornaments,
implements, and utensils required for their own use. They have some
knowledge of pottery, though not of the wheel, and make rude pots, which
they ornament with patterns of wavy lines before baking.

No true musical instruments exist, but a rude sounding-board is
constructed, on which they accompany songs by beating with the

The weapons used in hunting and fishing are bows and spears, and there
are both hand and large seine nets for taking fish. For food there are
pigs, musang, dugong, porpoise, fish, turtle and their eggs, molluscs,
larvæ (a delicacy), fruit, honey, and roots. Food is cooked and eaten as
hot as possible: of the production of fire they, at least in modern
times, have no knowledge: this accounts for the great care taken in
preserving fire at their camping places, and when travelling.

The coast people are extremely expert swimmers and divers, but the
interior tribes naturally not so, as their mode of life is somewhat

The natives are now known to be divided into twelve tribes, if groups
that in many cases number at present less than fifty individuals can be
so called. Beyond their speech there is little otherwise to distinguish
them from each other, except in the case of the Öngés and Jarawas, who
differ somewhat from the rest, but are in many ways both alike.

The enmity that the Andamanese had ever shown to all strangers was by
some believed to have been greatly due to the treatment they had
received from early Chinese and Malay traders, or _bêche-de-mer_
collectors; but, prior to 1858, extreme jealousy and distrust prevailed
among adjacent tribes, and even amongst scattered communities of the
same tribe, and it was not till 1879 that members of all the Andaman
tribes (except Öngés and Jarawas) were able to meet on friendly terms at
the Homes of the Settlement.

Friendly relations have lately been arrived at with most of the
inhabitants of Little Andaman (_i.e._ the Öngés), but the Jarawas, who
inhabit the North Sentinel, Rutland Island, and South Andaman, have
proved to be quite irreconcilable, and their attitude often explains the
total disappearance that sometimes follows escapes of the convicts.

They are generally feared by all their native neighbours and, with the
boldness of ignorance, do not hesitate still to attack even superior
numbers of Europeans, as an instance that occurred during the late
census operations shows.

At Port Campbell a body of natives were seen who were pronounced to be
Jarawas, and, as it was considered to be a suitable opportunity to
attempt to establish friendly relations with them, the census party made
for the shore, in a boat manned by Andamanese, taking with them a
quantity of presents, a rifle, and some boards and cushions to serve as
shields in case of hostilities, and an Andamanese woman, whose shrill
cries it was hoped might prove to the savages pacific intentions. The
crew, as usual, took their bows and arrows, but carefully concealed
them, and, as the boat approached the shore, all waved handkerchiefs and
large pieces of red cloth, much appreciated by the other Andamanese,
while the woman loudly and unceasingly screamed friendly messages. But
it was soon apparent that the Jarawas meant fighting, for they sent
their women and children away to a distance, and then three of the men,
armed with bows and arrows, and with threatening cries and gestures,
waded out towards the boat, 100 yards distant, through the shallow water
intervening. The three advanced in line, at intervals of about fifteen
paces, and placed themselves so that the centre man could rake the boat
and the others shoot into it from either side.

No arms were shown from the boat, but friendly signs persevered with,
until the man on the right flank, who was the leader, when well within
bow-shot, raised his weapon, and as it was seen that he was evidently in
the act of discharging it, which would have been the signal for the
others to follow suit, the rifle in the boat was fired at him, wounding
him in the thigh. This caused him to spin round and make off towards the
beach, followed by his supports. After running for a short distance, he
fell, and, while his two companions pluckily picked him up and carried
him into the jungle, some of the others, who had been looking on from
the beach, yelled to the women, with the result that they were seen to
return as hurriedly as possible. As the men on the beach evidently
considered themselves in perfect safety, although only some 300 yards
distant, a second bullet was fired into the sand near them, much to
their astonishment and consternation, as they then and there fled into
the adjacent jungle with shouts of alarm. The party in the boat
thereupon returned to the launch and steamed out of the harbour.

It was suspected that these same men were responsible for the unprovoked
murder of a petty officer of an oil-collecting gang, which had recently
taken place near one of the Jarawa districts.

The population of the islands has been computed from time to time--from
the 6000 at the period of the founding of the Settlement--in variously
diminishing numbers down to the present day, when it is placed at about

The case affords a striking example of the effect of contact between
civilised and savage man, for only those tribes of the Andamanese that
are still hostile or who have little or no intercourse with the
Government Settlement, have preserved any respectable number of
individuals in their ranks.

Of these, the Jarawas, although not distantly located from the
Settlement, receive all advances with inveterate implacability, while
the Öngés of Little Andaman, who were until 1884 almost totally
unvisited, are further off, and enjoy an insular position.

These two tribes between them represent by estimation some 1250 of the
total inhabitants of the islands. The numbers in the various other
tribes are now very small, but possibly were never as large as those of
the two mentioned.

Everywhere is noticeable an enormous disproportion between the numbers
of adults and children--a feature, in view of the fewness of the former,
that argues badly for a much longer continuance of the race. Concerning
the fact, some of the natives say that it is not due to sickness, but
that children are very seldom born; others state that the first, or
first and second children are dead, and that the one present is the sole
survivor. Undoubtedly, however, the infant mortality that exists is due
to the presence of syphilis, which occurs in some of its most virulent
forms amongst these people, and not to maternal neglect, as the mothers
display the greatest affection for their children.

     "The Andaman Penal System is the result of the constant attention
     of the Government which created it, and is the outcome of the
     measures of practical men, devised to meet the difficulties with
     which they have found themselves face to face, and reduced to order
     and rule by some of the keenest intellects that have worked in
     India for many years past. It is no paper constitution drawn up to
     suit any particular theories. There have always been the convicts
     in their thousands, and there have been the climate, and the
     necessity for treating the convicts in the way best calculated to
     benefit them, and for so employing them as to bring down their cost
     to the taxpayer to the lowest limits compatible with climatic
     conditions and beneficial treatment. Trusted agents of the
     Government have pondered these things on the spot in the light of
     an ever-increasing experience, and their ideas and suggestions have
     passed under the criticisms of highly experienced administrators,
     and have in the end produced the system which is now carried out.

     "Repeatedly tinkered and patched and recast and remodelled though
     it has been, the Andaman System is still inchoate--still on its
     trial as it were. It could not well be otherwise, for in dealing
     with the criminal we are attempting to solve a mighty problem as
     old as criminality itself, and are plunged, perforce, into a
     controversy as contentious now as it was centuries upon centuries

     "From the best estimates to hand, we may take it that the permanent
     convict strength of the Settlement may be placed at about 12,000,
     of whom about 800 are women, and the rule is that only life
     convicts are sent from India, and life and long-term convicts from
     Burma. The people received, therefore, are the murderers who have
     for some reason escaped the death penalty, and the perpetrators of
     the more heinous offences against person and property--the men of
     brutal violence, the highwaymen, the robbers, the habitual thieves,
     and the receivers of stolen goods, the worst of the swindlers,
     forgers, cheats, coiners, and such like--in fact the most
     unrestrained temperaments of a continent. These considerations show
     the scale of the work, and the nature of the task.

     "The convict comes to the Andamans a creature who, by his life or
     his acts, has shown himself to be so unfitted for human society
     that he has been cast out of it for life, or for a long term of
     years. Received thus, he is first subjected for six months to a
     most severe discipline--hard, rigid, uncompromising. He is taught
     what it is like to be forced to bend his uncontrolled nature to the
     iron yoke of a _régime_, not of hard toil, but of soul-crushing
     monotony. From the stern Cellular Jail he is next transferred to
     one of the associated jails, to the comparative blessing of hard
     labour, in company with others, but still under a strict
     discipline. He works and feeds with others in gangs, and there is a
     certain variety in the tasks demanded, but he still sleeps in his
     separate cell. Here he stays for a year and a half, and then for
     the next three years he is a slave, as the word is ordinarily
     understood, locked up with other slaves in barracks at night, but
     working in the open at any kind of task that the needs of the
     Settlement may require of him, according to his capacity--an
     unpaid, unrewarded labourer, but well fed, housed, clothed, and
     cared for, and always under watch and guard. During the following
     five years he is still a labouring convict, but the severity of his
     life is eased down a little for him. He is now eligible for the
     petty posts of supervision, and for the less irksome and less
     slave-like forms of labour, and he gets a little--a very
     little--allowance, to buy a few small luxuries, or to place in the
     Savings Bank against future necessities. Having thus served ten
     long probationary years, he is eligible, if he has any capacity, to
     take a ticket-of-leave and become what is locally known as a

     "The convict is now in a sense 'free.' He earns his living in his
     own chosen way; he lives in a village, in his own house; he farms a
     little land; he keeps cattle; he can move about unwatched; he can
     send for his wife and children, or, the far more frequent course,
     he can marry a convict woman, who, under her own regulations, is
     eligible for marriage. He can thus become _pater familias_, with a
     little hoard of his own earning, and differing outwardly in no way
     from the ordinary villager or properly conducted member of human
     society. In reality, however, he differs so greatly, that he misses
     all those things that 'free' men prize so highly. He has no civil
     rights under the ordinary law, and all the affairs of his life are
     dealt with by the executive authority. He must live where he is
     told; and generally conduct his life as he is told; he may move
     about beyond his village and his fields by permission only; he
     cannot leave the Settlement; he may not be idle, under pain of a
     forced return to convict labour. In this state he remains ten or
     fifteen years, according to the crimes that have sent him here,
     until the happy day comes when the order for absolute release is
     placed in his hands and he goes free as other men.

     "As in the other portions of his life in transportation, even in
     the condition of self-supporter the convict passes through two
     distinct stages. In the first stage he is assisted at the beginning
     with house, food, and tools, and then by exemption from rent,
     taxes, fees, and other cesses payable by the free towards the
     common benefit. In the second stage he receives no assistance
     whatever, but finds the whole of his means of livelihood, and is
     charged with every public payment which would be exacted from him
     in his own country.

     "The women are dealt with on the same lines, but more gently, as
     becomes the gentler sex. For the first three years the convict
     woman works in the Female Jail as a mere slave, fed, housed,
     clothed, and cared for. Then for two years she is treated to the
     same easing down of severity as is granted to the men, and after a
     total of five years she is eligible for marriage and domestic
     service. Assuming that she marries, she joins her husband in his
     village, where she leads the ordinary life of an Indian woman, but
     subject to the same disabilities as her husband until she has
     completed fifteen years in transportation, when she may go free
     with him whithersoever he may go.

     "Now through all this long education to useful citizenship there
     run continuous threads of practice in self-help and self-restraint,
     and of inducement to profit by the practice. The length of the
     convict's stay in the Cellular Jail depends entirely on his conduct
     in it, and so it remains throughout his career, up to the point of
     self-support. Efforts to behave well, and submission to control,
     mean promotion upwards from grade to grade in due course. Every
     serious lapse means the retarding of promotion, or actual
     retrogression. And when he has obtained his ticket-of-leave, it is
     to his own effort, his own thrift, his own steadiness, that he has
     solely to look for that little hoard which is to be so much to him
     when he goes back to his native land--no pauper, no mere jail-bird,
     no unwelcome burden on his relatives, but a self-respecting
     citizen, with a little capital of his own earning, for years
     habituated to provide for himself in an orderly way, and thoroughly
     broken to harness as it were.

     "It does not require much imagination to contrast the difference in
     the personality of the same human being as he reaches and leaves
     Port Blair. He that arrived an outcast, void of restraint, and
     unfit for association with his kind on equal terms, goes forth a
     useful citizen, broken to restraint, and not only fitted for human
     society, but well used to submit to the conventions by which alone
     that society can be maintained. And men so reformed are not sent
     back to India by ones and twos, but by scores every year. Every one
     of the life convicts sent home is such a man. The incorrigible are
     kept till death, and the slow to learn are kept until they mend
     their ways, while those only that have good in them, and are
     capable of reform, are returned to the society they once disgraced.

     "The difference between transportation to Port Blair and
     imprisonment in a jail lies in this very matter. While the Port
     Blair returned convict is a man fitted to, and habituated to,
     support himself, the prisoner released from a jail is not only a
     pauper but has became pauperised. That is, he has become
     unaccustomed to find for himself, and this disability has grown
     upon him with the length of his imprisonment. On this important
     ground alone, one cannot help hoping that some day it may be found
     feasible to extend the Andaman System to long-term prisoners from

     "Besides the direct personal education that the Port Blair convict
     receives, he is taught various lessons of general importance in
     indirect ways. There is the value of justice, for instance. For
     though his life is absolutely controlled by executive officers,
     everything that happens to him is the result of a quasi-judicial
     procedure. No punishment can be inflicted without a proceeding,
     without registration, or without record of the evidence on which it
     is awarded. There is a regular course of appeal, and a further
     untrammelled appeal to the Head of the Administration himself.
     Thus, though the punishments in such a place as Port Blair must on
     occasion assume a form of deterrent severity, there is as much
     security of justice in award as elsewhere.

     "Then there is the system of local marriage. This is no
     concubinage, no temporary or irregular alliance. Every inquiry is
     made and every step is taken that is necessary to render convict
     marriages legal, according to the customary personal law of the
     contracting parties. Long is the waiting in many cases between
     proposal and completion, and many are the disappointments when the
     conditions are found to bar completion. Once married, the husband
     and wife are made to clearly realise their condition, and must
     depart together or not at all.

     "The children, of course, are a very serious question, but the best
     is done for them,--their health is so well cared for, that in Port
     Blair, probably alone in all the East, it is the rule to
     successfully rear the whole of a young family; primary education is
     here compulsory, again probably alone in all the East; and
     technical training is free to all. Their inheritance of temperament
     and their early associations are the points of anxiety regarding
     them, but these matters may be fairly said to be beyond

     "The Savings Bank has already been mentioned as a factor in the
     education of the convict. How great has been the effect of this
     beneficent institution will be seen from the fact that it was
     started twenty-seven years ago with 54 accounts, and is now, and
     has for years past been, the largest local bank of the kind in
     India. It has now over 2300 open convict accounts, and has had
     12,000 accounts opened during its existence. This means, that for
     years, more than one fourth of the whole body of the convicts have
     kept their savings in it, thus showing how well they have taken to
     heart the lessons of thrift and of faith in the honesty of the

     "But far be it from concealing the fact that there is a seamy side
     to life in Port Blair. It could not be otherwise; and it would be
     easy enough to paint a lurid picture of its inhabitants,--easy
     enough to preach a scathing condemnation of the envy, hatred, and
     malice, the uncharitableness, the evil-speaking, lying and
     slandering, the murder and the cruel death, of the amazing
     immorality, the callous depravity, the downright unabashed
     wickedness, that are so constantly forced upon the view. But such
     is not to the purpose. Human faults are easily seen and easily
     denounced, for such things lie on the surface. The difficult thing
     always is to perceive aright the good that there is in bad men,
     and bring that out, and that is the object that the Government is
     aiming at in the system just explained.

     "Any one observing the work of the English in the East may possibly
     be struck with the idea that the reason for the acknowledged
     capacity of the race for colonial enterprise and the maintenance of
     empire is the ability and the willingness of the average Englishman
     to put his hand to any kind of work that may come his way, without
     any special training, from framing suitable laws and regulations
     and creating suitable organisations to making roads and ditches,
     building houses, and clearing land and ploughing it. Here in Port
     Blair, the officers entrusted with the creation, organisation, and
     maintenance of the Penal Settlement, have, without any special
     training for the work, and without any special guidance and
     teaching, managed with the worst possible material to work
     upon--life and long-term convicts from every part of India and
     Burma--to create in little more than forty years, upon primeval
     forest and swamp, situated in an enervating, and until mastered, a
     deadly climate, a community supporting itself in regard to many of
     its complicated wants.

     "They began with the dense forests, the fetid swamps, and the
     pestilential coral banks of tropical islands, and have made out of
     them many square miles of grass and arable lands, supporting over
     fifty villages besides convict stations. Miles upon miles of swamp
     have been reclaimed, the coral banks have been controlled, and a
     place with regard to which the words climate and pestilence were
     almost synonymous has been turned into one favourably spoken of as
     to its healthiness. The Settlement now grows its own vegetables,
     tea,[107] coffee, cocoa, tapioca, and arrowroot; some of its
     ordinary food grains, and most of its fodder. It supplies itself
     with the greater part of its animal food, and all its fuel and
     salt. In other lines of work, it makes its own boats, and provides
     from its own resources the bulk of the materials for its buildings,
     which are constructed and erected locally. Amongst the materials
     produced are all the timber, stone, bricks, lime, and mortar, and
     most of the iron and metal work are made up there from raw
     material. In the matter of convict clothing, all that is necessary
     to be purchased elsewhere are the roughest of cotton hanks and
     wool in the first and rawest condition, every other operation being
     performed on the spot. It provides much of its own leather.

     "In achieving the results, the officers have had first to learn for
     themselves as best they could how to turn out the work to hand, and
     then to teach what they had learnt to the most unpromising pupils
     that can be imagined,--only about 3 per cent. of the convicts sent
     there having been previously employed on the work required of them
     in Port Blair. And they have been hampered all along by the
     necessities of convict discipline, by the constant release of their
     men, and their punishment for misconduct. It is under such
     conditions that the Corps of Artificers and the other convicts have
     had to be utilised. Nevertheless, the roads and drains, the
     buildings and boats, the embankments and reservoirs, are as good
     and durable as are the same class of structures elsewhere. The
     manufactures are sufficient for their purpose, and there are among
     the taught those who are now skilled in the use of many kinds of
     machinery. Cultivation is generally fair, and some of it very good.
     The general sanitation--but here there are peculiar advantages--is
     literally second to none."[108]

First of all the industries of the Andamans is that of timber, and
to accelerate and increase it a Steam Tramway has been instituted,
and there are now some 14 miles of line connecting the forests with
the shores of Port Blair. As a further adjunct, Steam Saw-mills
were erected in 1896, and a Forest Department, that employs
500 to 600 men daily under its own officers, not only supplies
the Settlement with the whole of its requirements in timber from the
local forests, but also exports timber and forest produce to various
places in India and Europe. Of these latter exports, rattans and
gurjan oil are the chief; other natural products of the islands are
trepang--_bêche-de-mer_--tortoiseshell and edible birds' nests, but
they are only collected in small quantities.

The principal cultivations in which convicts and ex-convicts are engaged
are paddy, sugar-cane, Indian corn, and turmeric; coconuts have during
the past thirty-five years been extensively planted, and besides the
agricultural products previously mentioned, vegetables and fruits of
various kinds are grown.

The larger industries in which the penal community is engaged in have
already been alluded to, but there are many minor employments, the
products from which also go towards making the Settlement
self-supporting. Amongst these are to be found the manufacture of all
kinds of furniture, cane chairs, baskets, many varieties of bamboo-work
and ornamental wood-carving, woven articles, from serviettes to
saddle-girths and blankets, pottery, rope and mats, silver, tin, brass
and iron work, shoemaking, rickshaw and cart building, besides the
production of such materials as lime, bricks, and tiles.

Port Blair is in communication three, and often four times a month, with
Calcutta, Madras, and Rangoon, by the vessels of the Asiatic Steam
Navigation Company. The distances between the Settlement and the ports
named are 796, 780, and 387 miles respectively.



    The Nicobar Islands and their Aborigines--The Islands--Coral
    Banks--Nankauri Harbour--Population--Geology--Earthquakes--
    Climate--Flora--History--The Shom Pe[.n]: their Derivation,
    Appearance, Houses, Gardens, Cooking-vessel, Domestic Animals,
    Manufactures, Trade, Clothing, Headmen, Position of Women,
    Disposition, Diseases.

The Nicobars lie 80 miles south of the Andaman group and 110 miles from
Sumatra proper, and constitute a chain of islands 160 miles long, lying
in a N.N.W. 1/2 W. direction, with a branch forking out from their
centre N. by E. The area of the group is about 600 square miles, and it
consists of some twenty islands, of which the principal are, Kar
Nicobar, Batti Malv, Tilanchong, Chaura, Teressa, Bompoka, Kamorta,
Trinkat, Nankauri, Kachal, Little Nicobar, and Great Nicobar.

Besides these, there are several small satellite islands: Great Nicobar
possesses Kondul and Kabra; Little Nicobar, Milo and Menchal, with
Treis, Trak, and Meroë further off; and lastly, near the south extremity
of Tilanchong, there is the rocky islet named "Isle of Man."[109] There
are villages on Kondul and Milo, but Batti Malv and Tilanchong are

Two large isolated coral banks occur--one near Chaura, with only 1-1/2
fathoms of water; and another, far more extensive, in the Sombrero
Channel, with 11 fathoms of water above it.

Although the Nicobar Islands are scarcely ever heard of, the China Mail
boats and other great ocean steamers pass almost in sight of them nearly
every day, and they possess in the central group one of the finest
harbours in the eastern seas. Nankauri Harbour has not only entrances on
the east and west, that make it practicable for any sort of vessel in
both monsoons, but these are further protected by the islands of Trinkat
and Kachal respectively, which give sheltered anchorage outside the
mouth of the harbour itself.

By any other nation than the British it would be highly valued at the
present time as a coaling station, but, owing to its proximity to the
Straits Settlements, and the failure of the small islands around to
produce anything more valuable than coconuts, it is completely neglected
by its possessors, from both commercial and strategical standpoints.

The natives of the group number at present a few short of 6000 (to which
should be added a possible 300-400 Shom Pe[.n]), and there are generally
some 200 foreigners resident in the north during the trading monsoon.
The islands increase in size as they are passed towards the south, but
the contrary is the case with regard to population, which decreases
regularly, island by island, with one or two exceptions, from Kar
Nicobar in the north with 3451 inhabitants, to Great Nicobar with only

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Nicobar Islands belong to an area of elevation which can be traced
from the Bay of Bengal far into the southern seas,[111] and is
characterised by two phenomena: first, the activity of the interior of
the earth, showing itself in volcanic action; and secondly, the activity
of the coralline animals, disclosing itself in the formation of that
kind of coral reefs known as fringing or coast reefs. The islands occupy
a gap without volcanoes between the volcanic ranges of Sumatra, and
Barren and Narkondam Islands, and the occurrence of young volcanic rock
in them is improbable. They are distinctly characterised as a portion of
the chain of oceanic elevation which began in former geological periods
and still continues, by the upheaved coral banks, and by the continuous
formation of coral reefs. The synclinals and anticlinals in the
geological structure of the islands are coincident with the direction of
the great geological line of elevation which connects the northern part
of Sumatra with the Andamans.

"Among the geological formations of the Nicobars, three are the most
important:--(1) An eruptive serpentine, with gabbro formation. (2)
Marine deposits, probably of a younger Tertiary age, consisting of
sandstone, slates, clay marls, and plastic clay. (3) Recent coral-reef

"The serpentine and gabbro formation is characteristically of an
eruptive nature. The Tertiary sandstones, slates, and clay marls appear
forcibly broken through; their strata is partly inclined, partly bent in
flat, parallel, wave-like undulations. These rocks are accompanied by
coarser and finer breccias, composed of angular fragments of these same
rocks, and they can partly be regarded as friction breccias, partly as
sedimentary tufas, in which beds of an argillaceous marl are
interstratified. The eruption of these plutonic masses appears therefore
to fall in a time when the formation of the marine deposits was
partially completed, partially still in progress. They broke through on
lines of fracture, of which the principal strike from S.S.E. to N.N.W.
agrees with the longitudinal extension of the islands. On the middle
islands the serpentine and gabbro attain their greatest development: on
Tilanchong, Teressa, Bompoka, Kamorta, and Nankauri, they form bare hill
ranges of 200-500 feet, and their configuration often marvellously
resembles that of younger volcanic formations. The elevatory power has,
however, acted most strongly on the southern islands, and has here
upheaved sandstones and slates to heights of 1500-2000 feet above
sea-level; on the northern islands the same power was, on the contrary,

"The clay marls of the northern and central islands (Kar Nicobar,
Teressa, Bompoka, Kamorta, Trinkat, and Nankauri) and the sandstones and
slates of the southern (Kachal, Little and Great Nicobar) appear to be
only petrologically different products of one and the same period of
deposition. There are, at the same time, very few materials from which
the age of the marine formation could be determined, as the only fossil
remains which have been found in their strata are fragments of
_driftwood_ changed to brown coal, plants resembling _Fucoids,
Foraminifera_, and _Polycistinæ_. All these indicate more or less
distinctly a young Tertiary age.

"We find a repetition of the geological condition of the Nicobars on the
southern coast of Java and the south-west coast of Sumatra.

"The third principal formation of the Nicobars are coral formations
belonging to the most recent or the present period. Coral banks of great
thickness are found on Kar Nicobar, Bompoka, Trinkat, and other islands.
They consist partly of compact coral limestone, partly of a coral and
shell conglomerate upheaved 30 or 40 feet above the present level of the
sea. On all the islands the original area is to be observed enlarged by
coral land which is only separated by the higher sand-dunes along the
shores from the still continuing formation of the coral reefs
surrounding all the islands in the character of fringing reefs. Although
these raised coral banks are decided evidence of the long-continued
upheaval of the islands--that, in connection with the eruption of the
serpentines and gabbros--the formation of the flat coral lands elevated
a few feet only above the sea, can, on the other hand, be explained by
the accumulation of coral fragments, of sand and shells, by the waves
and breakers on the shallow surface of the fringing reefs."[112]

       *       *       *       *       *

Coal of a brown variety has been found in Little Nicobar, Treis, Milo,
and Kondul, but everywhere in isolated masses and single fragments,
showing traces of rolling, met with here and there without order, in
sandstone and slate, and evidently derived from driftwood.

The only traces of minerals discovered have been ores of copper and
iron pyrites, finely disseminated through dioritic and serpentine rocks.
The possibility of the occurrence of copper ores in the eruptive
formation cannot be denied, but no discovery has yet been made which
would indicate it. On the other hand, the islands are rich in useful
building materials. The sandstone of the southern islands must give
excellent working stones; the plastic clays of the north could,
doubtless, be worked into bricks or pottery; the natives of Chaura
largely employ it in their earthenware manufactures.

Although the islands are generally beyond the sphere of cyclonic
disturbances, they have more than once experienced the effect of
earthquakes. One of the most remarkable of these is said to have
occurred from October 31 to December 5, 1847, when fire is reported to
have been seen on one of the mountains of Great Nicobar. Part of the
northern coast of the latter, especially in the vicinity of Ganges
Harbour, sank beneath the sea, and for long the locality was deserted by
the aborigines.[113]

On December 1881, an earthquake, felt also at the Andamans and
throughout the Bengal Sea generally, caused extensive damage in Kar
Nicobar to the coconut groves and huts of the natives. Vents were opened
in the sandy soil; inland, trees were overthrown; sea-waves broke on the
island, and at the village of M[=u]s, water rose into the houses of the
Burmese traders, which stood on platforms 2-1/2 feet high.

There was another earthquake at Kar Nicobar in November 1899, when
strong, but not alarming, shocks, lasting ten minutes, were experienced.
The last occurred on September 18, 1900, when two heavy and severe
shocks, each lasting five minutes, were felt throughout the island, but
caused no damage.

The climate of the Nicobars is more uniform than that of the Andamans,
for it is less diversified by wet and dry seasons, heat and cold, and in
this respect resembles that of the Malay Peninsula at the same latitude.
The prevalence of malaria renders the group unhealthy alike for
foreigners and, in certain localities, for the natives, and all the
attempts at settlement have resulted in great mortality from this
cause, although where jungle exists an improvement is said to have taken
place when the land has been cleared.

The average mean annual temperature is about 82.5°, the maximum in the
shade between 93° and 94° and the minimum 73°. March and April are the
hottest months, with means of 82° and 83° and a maximum of 89°, while
August to December--when the mean temperature is 79°--is the coolest
part of the year. The mean annual temperature at Nankauri is 80°, and
while the highest reading recorded is 99°, the lowest is 70°. The mean
diurnal range there varies between 9° and 11° only.

Although the seasons of the monsoons are the same, they are not so well
defined among the Nicobars as on the coast of the Bay of Bengal
generally; but heavy rains occur in May, June and July--when the
south-west monsoon is at its height--and rains rarely cease until
December. March is the driest month, and while from May to December
there is an average monthly rainfall of 12 inches, with twenty wet days
per month, for the rest of the year the monthly average is only 2.9
inches, with showers on twenty-six days only.

At Nankauri the mean humidity is 79 per cent, and the annual rainfall
110 inches; while, as regards the southern group of islands, there is
good ground for the belief that much more rain falls, probably not less
than an average of 150 inches annually; this is doubtless attributable
to the forest-clad mountains of Great and Little Nicobar.

The prevailing winds are the monsoons--the south-west from the beginning
of May till mid-October, followed by variable winds to the end of the
year; the north-east monsoon from January until April, with an interval
of more variable winds before the other sets in. Hurricanes seldom visit
the islands, but in March 1892 the central group was subjected to a
cyclone which caused much destruction in the forest. During the
south-west monsoon frequent thunderstorms and gales of wind occur,
especially in the vicinity of Great Nicobar. The north-east monsoon
brings fine weather, but sometimes blows with considerable strength.

A remarkable feature of the Nicobars is the manner in which the general
botanical appearance of the islands coincides with the geological
division, for, while the southern group (Great and Little Nicobar with
Kachal) are wooded from beach to summit, the forests of the other
islands are restricted to the plutonic rocks and the slopes and dells of
the older alluvium, while the hilly plateaux and ridges are covered with
park-like grass heaths.

The most prominent features of the flora are, perhaps, the quantities of
_Barringtonia speciosa_, which, with their large shiny leaves and
beautiful crimson-tipped tassel-like blossoms, grow all along the
coasts; the tall screw-pines (_Pandanus larum_), bearing the immense
fruits that provide the main food of the natives; and the graceful
Nicobar palms (_Ptychoraphis augusta_), which occur in all the forests.
Giant bamboos are extremely scarce, but the climbing species
(_Dinachloa_) is common everywhere in the jungle, and beautiful tree
ferns (_Alsophila albo-setacea_) grow in the forest and along the river
banks of the south.

A mangosteen (_Garcinia_, sp.) and a cinnamon (_Cinnamomum
obtusifolium_) grow wild, as do the pepper vine (_Piper betel_) that
supplies the sireh leaf, and the betel palm (_Areca catechu_). These two
are also cultivated, and it is said that the latter is not indigenous.

The large numbers of milky climbers leads to the hope that some
rubber-yielding varieties may be discovered capable of supplying a
sufficient quantity of raw material for export. The vanilla orchid
occurs, and the southern forests produce quantities of rattan, both as a
small variety that is exported, and a large cane two inches or so in
diameter, which the natives use for the horizontal rafters in the
circular framework of their houses.

_Semecarpus heterophyllus_, _Morinda citrifolia_, _Artocarpus lakoocha_,
and _A. chaplasha_, _Cordia mixa_, _Mallotus philipenensis_, and _Amomum
fenzlii_, may be mentioned specially as species capable of yielding
commercial products; but their sparseness, coupled with the fact that
it is easier and cheaper to cover the soil with coconuts and areca
palms, puts out of the question the possibility of utilising the species
to any profit.

The Nicobars produce few trees of any commercial value as timber, and
those probably not in large quantities: the best of these are _Myristica
irya_ and _Terminalia bialata_, and of secondary value in this respect
are _Mimusops littoralis_, _Hopea odorata_, _Artocarpus chaplasha_ and
_lakoocha_, _Calophyllum spectabile_, _Terminalia procera_ and species
of _Garcinias_.

Evergreen forest predominates, and mixed forest appears only
occasionally, but pure leaf-shedding forest is not met with; and as
regards species, there is a marked absence of Dipterocarpus trees.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is in the writings of Ptolemy that we find the first probable
reference to the Nicobars, for after the Andamans, the next group
mentioned by him is the "Barussae," which seems to be the Lankha
_Bálús_ of the older Arab navigators, since these are certainly the
Nicobars.[114] The islands were also known to the same voyagers under
the names of Megabalu and Legabalu.

The Chinese, another race of great navigators in these seas, have
records of the Nicobars for a thousand years and more.

The next reference of any importance is that of an Arab trader who came
into contact with the group during a voyage to Southern China in 851
A.D.[115] "Nagabalus, which are pretty well peopled: both the men and
women there go naked, except that the women conceal their private parts
with leaves of trees. When shipping is among these islands, the
inhabitants come off in embarkations, and bring with them ambergris and
coconuts, which they truck for iron, for they want no clothing, being
free from the inconveniences of heat or cold."

Rashuddin writes of the islands in nearly the same terms, under the
name of Lákvárem, opposite Lamuri (a kingdom of Sumatra), and the very
imaginatively-minded author, Friar Oderic,[116] compiled a chapter on
Nicoveran which is a mass of the wildest fable, utterly unworthy of
credence, containing, as it does, details of people with faces like
dogs, who are stout in battle (not a characteristic of the modern
Nicobarese) and worshippers of the ox, while their king possessed
strings of pearls, and the largest ruby in the world.

     "Concerning the island of Necuveran, when you leave the island of
     Java the less (Sumatra) and the kingdom of Lambri, you sail north
     almost 150 miles and then you come to two islands, one of which
     (Great Nicobar) is called Necuveran. In this island they have no
     king nor chief, but live like beasts. And I tell you they all go
     naked, both men and women, and do not use the slightest covering of
     any kind. They are idolaters. Their woods are all of noble and
     valuable kinds of trees; such as Red Sanders, and Indian-nut, and
     Cloves, and Brazil, and sundry other good spices. There is nothing
     else worth relating," says Marco Polo, who probably only passed
     near the islands in or about the year 1293, but who gathered fairly
     accurate information about them.

After the Cape of Good Hope was doubled in 1497, the islands were
frequented by voyagers, as expeditions to the East became more numerous.

     "It was the Nicobar custom in 1566," says Master Cæsar Frederike,
     that "if any ship come near to that place or coast as they pass
     that way, as in my voyage it happened, as I came from Malacca
     through the channel of Sombrero, there came two of their barques
     near our ship, laden with fruit, as with _monces_ (which we call
     Adam's apples, which fruit is like to our turnips, but is very
     sweet and good to eat). They would not come into the ship for
     anything we could do, neither would they take any money for their
     fruit, but they would truck for old shirts or old linen breeches.
     These rags we let down with a rope into their barque unto them, and
     look what they thought their things to be worth; so much fruit they
     would make fast to the rope, and let us hale it in: and it was
     told me that sometimes a man shall have for an old shirt a good
     piece of amber."[117]

In his _East Africa and Malabar_,[118] Barbosa refers shortly to the
Nicobars. "In front of Sumatra, across the Gulf of the Ganges, are five
or six small islands, which have very good water and ports for ships:
they are inhabited by Gentiles, poor people, they are called Niconbar;
and they find in them very good amber, which they carry thence to
Malacca and other ports."

Captain John Davis, of Arctic fame, the inventor of the "back-staff,"
the earliest form of quadrant, piloted a Dutch ship to the East Indies,
and touched, in 1599, at the Central Nicobars. He wrote that "... the
people brought in great store of hens, oranges, lemons, and other fruit,
and some ambergris which we bought for pieces of linen cloth and table
napkins. These isles are pleasant and fruitful, lowland, and have good
road for ships. The people are most base, only living upon fruits and
fish, not manuring the ground, and therefore having no rice."[119]

During the reign of Elizabeth, Sir James Lancaster made several voyages
to the East Indies, and touched at the Nicobars. Two of his officers,
Barker and May, have chronicled a visit to the islands in 1592, in a
description that would apply more accurately to the Pulo Wai group. "The
islands of Nicobar," says Barker, "we found inhabited with Moors, and
after we came to an anchor, the people came aboard us in their canoes
with hens, cocos, plantains, and other fruits, and in two days they
brought to us royals of plate, giving us them for calicut cloth, which
royals they find by diving for them in the sea, which were lost not long
before by two Portugal ships which were bound for China and were cast
away there. They call in their language the coco, _calambe_ (Malay,
_klapa_); the plantain, _pison_ (Mal., _pisang_); a hen, _iam_ (Mal.,
_ayam_); a fish, _iccan_ (Mal., _ikan_); and a hog, _babi_ (Mal.,
_babi_)"; and May, the other writer, says that the natives were in
religion Mohammedans.

Lancaster's own account of the "Islands of Nicobar" is more interesting,
and is based on his experiences there in 1602. Of either Pulo Milo or
Kondul he writes:--

     "Here we had fresh water and some coconuts, other refreshing had we
     none. Yet the people came aboard our ships in long canoes which
     would hold twenty men in one of them, and brought gums to sell
     instead of amber, and therewithal deceived divers of our men: for
     these people of the east are wholly given to deceit. They brought
     us hens and coconuts to sell, but held them very dear, so that we
     bought few of them. We stayed here ten days....

     "We were forced to go to the island of Sombrero (the Portuguese
     name for Chaura) some 10 or 12 leagues to the northward of Little
     Nicobar. Here we lost an anchor, for the ground is foul and groweth
     full of counterfeit coral and some rocks, which cut our cable

     "The people of these islands go naked, having only the privities
     bound up in a piece of linen cloth, which cometh about their
     middles like a girdle and so between their twist. They are all of a
     tawny colour, and anoint their faces with divers colours: they are
     well limbed, but very fearful: for none of them would come aboard
     our ships, or enter our boats.

     "The General reported that he had seen some of their priests all
     apparelled, but close to their bodies, as if they had been sewed in
     it; and upon their heads a pair of horns turning backwards
     (_tá-chökla_), with their faces painted green, black, and yellow,
     and their horns also painted the same colour. And behind them, upon
     their buttocks, a tail hanging down very much like in the manner as
     in some painted clothes we paint the devil in our country. He
     demanding wherefore they went in that attire, answer was made him,
     that in such form the devil appeared to them in their sacrifices,
     and therefore the priests, his servants, were so apparelled. In
     this island grow trees which for their tallness, greatness, and
     straightness will serve the biggest ships in all our fleet for a
     mainmast, and the island is full of these trees." This description
     of the island cannot be said to be applicable at the present day.

     "Here likewise we found upon the sand by the seaside a small twig
     (_Virgularia mirabilis?_) growing up to a grand tree, and offering
     to pluck the same, it shrunk down into the ground, and sinketh
     unless you hold very hard. And being plucked up, a great worm is at
     the root of it: and look how the tree groweth in greatness the worm
     diminisheth. Now as soon as the worm is wholly turned into the tree
     it rooteth in the ground, and so groweth to be great. This
     transformation is one of the strangest wonders I saw in all my
     travels. For the tree being plucked up little, the leaves stripped
     off, and the pill by that time it was dry, turned into an hard
     stone, much like to white coral; so that the worm was twice
     transformed with different natures: of these we gathered and
     brought home many."[120]

Towards the middle of the century, Koeping, a Swede, touched at one of
the islands in a Dutch vessel and thought he perceived men with tails,
"like those of cats, which they move in the same manner," but he was
deceived by the peculiar clothing. He further credits the Nicobarese
with cannibalism, for a boat's crew of five men that went ashore never
returned, but next day their bones were found strewn over the
beach![121] Next, Dampier was put ashore by the privateer he piloted on
the N. W. coast of Great Nicobar, and after a short sojourn left with
his companions in a native canoe, and succeeded in reaching Sumatra.

The first recorded murder of a European by the natives seems to be that
of Captain Owen, who was wrecked on Tilanchong, and from thence taken to
Nankauri, where he was put to death on account of his ill-judged
behaviour towards the inhabitants. This incident is related by Hamilton
in his account of his own experiences in the East Indies from 1688 to
1723,[122] where he gives a little information about the Nicobars.

The first attempt at a settlement on the islands was made by Jesuits on
Kar Nicobar in 1711, but they succumbed to the climate, and the effects
of such results as they had attained to soon disappeared. Hitherto no
efforts had been made to convert the natives, although missionaries of
the same denomination were well acquainted with the group.

In 1756 Tanck took possession of the Archipelago in the name of Denmark,
and under the designation of "Frederiks Oerne," and founded a colony on
the north coast of Great Nicobar, which in 1760 was transferred to
Kamorta, and there came to an end owing to the unhealthy climate.

In 1766 fourteen Moravians were installed on Nankauri, with a view to
extending the influence of the Danish East India Company, but in a dozen
years nearly every member of the settlement was dead. They are said to
have made no conversions.

A Dane, named Koenig, who was a doctor of the same religious body,
voyaging from India to Siam in 1778, spent several hours on Kar Nicobar,
and in his diary left some account of his visit; and almost
contemporaneously a vessel under the Austrian flag, the _Joseph and
Theresa_, Captain Bennet, anchored off the northern island: her voyage
was made to obtain plantations and trading stations in the East for the
Austrian Empire. This was the scheme of a Dutchman, named Bolts, who
entered the Austrian service in 1775, and who accompanied the ship, a
chartered English vessel with an English crew. The expedition spent five
months in the group: a fort was erected on the island, and ships
purchased to trade between Madras, Pegu, and the Nicobars. War in Europe
ruined the company, and it was suspended after an existence of seven

In 1779 two more Moravians settled on Nankauri, in an attempt to found a
fresh Danish Mission, but eight years later this was abandoned, and the
survivor returned to Europe.

With the commencement of the nineteenth century, English traders from
India began to visit the islands for coconuts, and, through contact with
their crews, the custom and life of the natives seems to have undergone
much growth and alteration.

In 1831 Denmark made a last attempt to colonise the group by missionary
enterprise, and Pastor Rosen was sent out. He dwelt on Nankauri, in the
middle of the north side of the harbour, and for a time also lived on
Trinkat; but after three years he returned to Europe, and some time
later published his experiences.

The year Rosen left, two Catholic missionaries arrived at Kar Nicobar
from Malacca, and lived on Teressa and Kamorta, but after a time one of
them, Borie, died of fever, and the survivor left. This was the last of
the series of missionary endeavours to found a settlement and convert
the inhabitants.

In 1845, Mr Mackay, Danish Consul at Calcutta, chartered a schooner and
made a voyage to the group in search of coal, which was prospected for
without success.[123]

A year later the Danish corvette _Galathea_,[124] voyaging round the
world, spent some months among the islands, and her commander, Steen
Bille, took possession of the central group for Denmark, and invested
two natives with the insignia of chief magistrates. Two years
afterwards, however, the _Valkyrien_ was sent to the islands to bring
away the flags and bâtons, and the last of several ineffective
annexations came to an end. The _Galathea_ expedition surveyed much of
the coasts, sought for coal and other minerals, and named the principal
river the "Galathea."

In 1858 the Austrian frigate _Novara_[125] spent a month in the group,
during which, half the time was passed at sea. Many parts hitherto
unsurveyed were charted by them, and valuable knowledge as to the
ethnographical and geological conditions of the islands was obtained.

The islands were finally taken possession of by the Indian Government in
1869--the British had officially annexed the group in 1807, but not
occupied it--and a settlement was formed at Nankauri Harbour to check
the piratical proceedings of that place, and although this was given up
in 1888, after it had served its purpose, the history of the Nicobars is
now bound up with that of the Andamans, to which they are affiliated.

Although the inhabitants of the Nicobar Islands were originally all of
the same stock, various causes have contributed to bring about a
distinction amongst them, and they are now separated into two distinct
ethnical groups,--the Shom Pe[.n] of the interior of Great Nicobar, and
the coast people, or Nicobarese, who are found in all the inhabited

Of the Shom Pe[.n] but little is known, as, with the exception of a few
families who have friendly intercourse with the coast villages, they
have, as now constituted, always been persistently hostile to the
Nicobarese, but it is probable that they number at most between 300 and
400 individuals.

It was for long believed that the interior of Great Nicobar was
inhabited by a race of Negritoes akin to the Andamanese, but the Shom
Pe[.n] are an isolated group of primitive Malayans, and although they
must be regarded as the aborigines of the islands, many features amongst
them point to the fact that they are no longer racially pure.

Not only does the facial appearance vary greatly, but the hair, which is
universally regarded as an almost infallible indication of race amongst
primitive peoples, occurs in all the grades between curly and straight.

To account for this latter difference, and for the dull brown colour of
the skin--far darker than is usual amongst Malays--one may of course
suggest remote Negrito admixture. Possibly the Andamanese, on one of the
predatory voyages which it seems they were not unaccustomed to make in
this direction,[126] may have reached the island, and for some reason
unable to return, have intermixed with the inhabitants.

But I think it more probable that these peculiarities are due to a
Dravidian strain, and that some mariners of this race, who, from before
the time of Solomon, were accustomed to make trading voyages to the
Eastern Archipelago,[127] became stranded on these islands, and
incorporated themselves with the people they found there.

In this way, not only would the nature of the hair, colour of the skin,
and occasional definiteness of feature, be accounted for, but the
aborigines would be left as we now find them, unreduced in height, while
mixture with the Andamanese would probably have the effect of lessening
their stature.

Furthermore, I have, since my acquaintance with these people,
occasionally met Tamils, whom, if I had seen similarly garbed in the
forests of Great Nicobar, I believe I should have been unable to
distinguish from Shom Pe[.n].[128]

On the other hand, they much resemble, in appearance and mode of life,
descriptions of many of the primitive Malayans who have intermixed with
Negritoes. Of these the Kubus of Sumatra are an instance,[129] and of
the Jakuns of Johore, who are believed to be of Negrito origin, but
much interbred with Malays. Mr H. Lake[130] writes: "The true Jakun is
of short stature, 5 feet 2 inches is a fair average height. They are
much darker in colour than the Malay, and, as a rule, not so well set
up. The hair, which in the pure Negrito curls closely, is here in most
cases simply wavy, or even straight. They live in small communities, and
subsist miserably on fruits, roots, etc. They seldom remain many weeks
in the same spot, but wander from place to place, living under scanty
shelters built on rickety poles at a considerable height from the
ground. It is not uncommon to find a dozen in company, with a tame
monkey or two, cats and dogs, living in perfect harmony under the same

We may therefore consider the Shom Pe[.n] to be the aborigines of the
group, who, although everywhere else either exterminated or absorbed by
settlers from outside, have in Great Nicobar found a refuge in the
forest depths, and by long-standing hostility to the intruders, arising
from some unknown cause, have preserved to a great extent their natural
traits and existence, although somewhat degenerated, both on account of
the less favourable circumstances in which they live and of the
interbreeding that the smallness of their numbers compels.

Although the Shom Pe[.n] are by measurement as tall in the average as
the coast people, to the eye they appear smaller, and they are less
robust, with lean though bony figures (average chest measurements, 35.2
inches), sinewy rather than muscular.

Fourteen measurements of adult males gave a maximum height of 67-3/4
inches, a minimum of 62-1/8 inches, and an average height of 64 inches.
Of eight women measured, the tallest was 65-1/4 inches in height, and
the smallest 57-3/8 inches, while the average stature of that number was
found to be 60.8 inches.

The colour of the skin is a dark muddy-brown or bronze (several shades
deeper than the coast natives), but it is liable to slight variation,
and is generally a little paler in the women and girls, who resemble far
more distinctly the coarse Malayan type than the men do.

The hair of the head is very luxuriant, and of all varieties between
wavy and curly, but is not crisp or frizzly to any degree. No hair grows
on the face, or on the body, save about the armpits, etc.

The outline of the face is an oblong rectangle, and the forehead is
somewhat retreating, but occasionally high and rounded, though narrow;
the supraciliary arch is prominent, but the eyebrows are light. The
eyes, with black pupils, are both oblique and horizontal, and when the
latter, are often accompanied by the Mongolian fold, which occurs most
frequently among the women.

The nose is broad and flattened, with rounded tip and rather rounded
nostrils, the plane of which is upward. It is generally of medium size
and straight, but now and again has a pronounced bridge, or a slightly
concave outline.

The cheekbones and zygomatic arch are prominent, and a degree of
prognathism is prevalent. The teeth are large, irregular, and
discoloured, and project outwards. The mouth is large, the lips thick,
with the upper very curved from centre to ends; they are generally
closed. The lower jaw is commonly large and heavy, and the chin is
pointed, as the bones converge directly from the basal angle. The ears
lie close to the head, and are hidden by the hair, but the lobes are
much distorted with plugs of wood.

The huts in which the Shom Pe[.n] dwell, although always built on piles,
show considerable differences, and vary from a well-built floor with a
carefully constructed roof of palm leaf attap, to a rough platform often
placed against the side of a tree and sheltered by two or three palm
branches fastened to the corners.[131]

They are said to possess gardens enclosed in zigzag fences, where they
cultivate bananas, yams, and other tubers. The pandanus fruit they cook
in a well-made vessel of sheets of bark, carefully protected with green
leaves and luted with clay, in which we can, perhaps, see one of the
origins of pottery; for it is quite admissible that, in course of time,
the leaves should be discarded, more clay added, and at length the
effect of fire on the latter having been observed, the bark also would
be done away with, or only used as a mould for a clay vessel, from which
more suitable shapes would finally be evolved.

The domestic animals are dogs, cats, chickens, and pigs, which are
generally caught when young in the jungle, and apparently not permitted
to attain any respectable size. All find a refuge in the houses, up to
which a sort of inclined plane is arranged for their convenience.

Their manufactures are very few. They make canoes; construct a spear out
of a single piece of wood, baskets, both of rattan and palm spathe, and
a rough cloth from the inner bark of a tree.[132]

The friendly Shom Pe[.n] are energetic collectors of rattan, which they
trade with the Nicobarese, and so obtain garments, beads, knives,
_parangs_, axes, and tobacco, which is smoked in the form of cigarettes.
They are great consumers of betel-nut, in combination with lime and

Amongst these friendly families, the clothing worn is similar to that of
the Nicobarese, with necklaces of beads, and they employ a large wooden
ear-distender an inch and a half in diameter.[133] The sheets of bark
cloth are used as pillows and coverings at night, and amongst the
hostile aborigines it is said the women wear short petticoats of this
material, while the men go entirely clothesless.

Amongst those met with, there was generally one man in each party, who,
by virtue possibly of superior intelligence or knowledge of the coast
language, seemed to have some slight authority over the remainder.

They are monogamous, and, unlike the Nicobarese, marry for life. The
position of the women is apparently a satisfactory one, for they are
regarded as little or in no way inferior to the men. The men obtain the
food, the women prepare it. Rattans are collected in the jungle by the
men, and by them carried to market; both sexes together prepare it, by
scraping and splitting, for sale. When bringing articles for barter, the
men bore the spears, and the baskets and cloth were carried by the
women, and generally such things as were obtained in exchange were
immediately handed over to the latter.

All those met with seemed quiet, stolid, and timid in disposition; but a
cupidity for the goods of their neighbours at times overcomes the latter
characteristic amongst the less accessible of the aborigines, and many
are the murderous attacks they are said to have made on the Nicobarese
for the purpose of loot.

No infants or young children were seen, although surprise visits were
paid to several of the villages, neither were any old people _en
evidence_, but the ages were judged to vary between ten and forty-five

The language differs from all others in the islands, but here and there
are individuals who know sufficient of the coast speech to hold converse
with the Nicobarese.[134]

Their carelessness with regard to their water-supply--for any muddy pool
or stagnant brook is made use of--is probably sufficient reason for the
large number of cases of elephantiasis occurring among them; the only
other affection besides this, that seems to be in anyway chronic, is the
common body ringworm of the tropics.

[Illustration: Iron Buffalo and Pig Spears.]



    The Evolution of the Nicobarese--Description--Character--Language--
    Legends of Origin--Origin of Coco Palms--Invention of Punishments--
    Superstitious Beliefs--Diseases--Medicines--Marriage--Matriarchal
    Social State--Position of Women and Children--Domestic Animals--
    and Stimulants--Cleanliness--Clothing--Ornaments--_Coiffure_--
    Amusements--Arts and Industries--Cultivation--Produce--Traders
    and Commerce.

If the Shom Pe[.n] are not racially pure, the Nicobarese or
coast-dwellers are still less so, and what components have gone to form
them as they now exist is an interesting ethnical question.

To account for a certain similarity in all the people of the
Archipelago, we may suppose that not all, but most, of the islands were
occupied by groups of the aborigines, who everywhere but in Great
Nicobar--where, because of its size and forest-clad nature they could
find a refuge--became either exterminated or absorbed by successive
arrivals of colonists that have since made the presence of the former
almost indistinguishable.

In spite of the partial likeness of type, it is doubtful whether all, or
nearly all, the islands were occupied by the aborigines. Tilanchong, for
instance, is uninhabited, and it is questionable whether such forestless
islands as Kar Nicobar, Chaura, or Kamorta, etc., could be suitable
habitats for such a primitive people. In Kachal, Nankauri, and Little
Nicobar we have islands of a similar character to Great Nicobar,
although in them no traces of a rude people are to be found. It is
probably on account of the smallness of these areas that the immigrants
succeeded in eradicating the first inhabitants, who, in the other island
alone, hostile causes notwithstanding,[135] have preserved for
themselves a separate existence.

To account for such features as are common to both peoples everywhere,
we may conclude, therefore, that while many of the latter aborigines
survived separately, the others were absorbed by settlers on the coasts,
who, by communication and intermarriage with islands not possessing an
indigenous element, carried the Shom Pe[.n] strain throughout the

The arrival of numerous colonists from the eastward would account for
the lighter complexion of the Nicobarese; for it is only natural to
suppose that if a separate branch of the same people, the one living in
the open on the coast would be darker in complexion than the other,
instead of which the contrary is the case.

As to the component parts of the Nicobarese, various suggestions have
been made. They are Malays modified by a Burmese element;[136] the
descendants of Malays before Mahommedanism spread among them (close of
thirteenth century), but separated at a much earlier date;[137] or,
again, they are of the same race as the Battaks.[138]

They are described as offshoots of the Malay race, being a people which,
while possessing much in common with the Indo-Chinese stock,
nevertheless, in their physical characteristics, hold a place midway
between the Malays and the Burmese.[139]

It has also been said of them that they are "descended from a mongrel
Malay stock, the crosses being probably in the majority of cases with
the Burmese, and occasionally with natives of the opposite coast of
Siam, and perchance also in remote times with such of the Shom Pe[.n] as
may have settled in their midst."[140]

The natives of Teressa are probably not greatly wrong when they say that
the inhabitants of Nankauri are Malays, who when out fishing lost their
boats and settled there, and the Kar Nicobarese are descendants of the
Burmese who, in a revolution that took place in their country, were
obliged to leave the Tenasserim coast.[141]

In the first case, it is not difficult to admit that fishing-boats
belonging to Sumatra (90 miles distant), or to the Malay Peninsula (260
miles away), should be blown off-shore in a storm, and safely reaching
Nankauri yet not care to face the voyage back.[142]

Pegu is about 400 miles from the islands, and Tenasserim a little less.
About 1000 A.D. the first historical conquest of the Lower Irrawadi was
effected by the Burmese, and its inhabitants, the Mous, became known as
"Talaings," or slaves. Their final defeat took place in 1757.

Nothing is more possible than that, after one of their disasters, a
small section of the Talaings fled from their home and established
themselves in the Nicobars, which they had probably become cognisant of
in the way of trade.[143] At present the only sea-going craft are a few
score "kallu," small junks of 20-60 tons, built in Tavoy, which, manned
by five or six Talaings, venture as far as the Nicobars, where they ship
coconuts in the fine monsoon.[144]

Nor are these all, for the islanders are doubtless leavened by stray
immigrants from India,[145]--which would account for the not infrequent
occurrence of Caucasian features among them,--by Arabs, and even by

Malays and Burmese--or rather Talaings--formed, however, the greater
part of the intrusive element.

Although colonisation was very local--the reason possibly for so many
distinct languages in the group--the islands now exhibit a state of
transition, due to intercrossing. Individuals occur at the extremes of
the Archipelago who bear a striking resemblance to each other, but
nevertheless there is a marked, though vague, difference to be seen when
the natives of several of the islands, or groups of islands, are
compared with each other as a body.

     "All things considered, it may be inferred that the Archipelago
     was originally occupied by primitive peoples of Malayan stock, now
     represented by the Shom Pe[.n] of Great Nicobar, and was afterwards
     resettled on the coast-lands by Indo-Chinese and Malayan intruders,
     who intermingled, and either extirpated and absorbed, or else drove
     to the interior, the first occupants."[146]

It is difficult to picture a typical representative of this much-mixed
people, as even in those islands that have a distinct speech of their
own, and whose inhabitants might be supposed to be fairly homogenous,
wide differences are met with, as above pointed out. The variations,
however, are not sufficient on the whole to merit separate descriptions
of the inhabitants of each island.

These variations occurring in size, features, and hair, show that the
Nicobarese are a thoroughly mixed race, for the points do not coincide
with each other; that is to say, curly hair does not always go with a
prominent nose, or straight hair with Malayan features.

It is hardly possible to describe a representative specimen who combines
all the prominent prevalent characteristics, but they seem capable
of division into two classes, the smaller of which is superior in
appearance to the other, and is often strikingly Caucasian, with oval
face, straight eyes, aquiline nose, and thin lips.[147]

The result of about forty measurements shows that the maximum height of
an adult male Nicobarese is 70-3/4 inches; the minimum, 59-1/4 inches;
and the average stature, 63.9 inches.[148] While thus somewhat under
middle height, they are well built (average chest measurement, 35.3
inches) and proportioned, muscular, and on the whole a sturdy-looking

The colour of the skin is a brown much resembling in colour the tint of
a sun-burnt, weather-beaten Malay, such as a sailor; it is darker than
the ordinary native of that race, and has less of the olive or yellow
about it.

The hair is of a rusty black, but generally glossy with oil: it is thick
and luxuriant, and reaches to the shoulders, varying between a slight
waviness and pronounced curls. It is somewhat coarse, and when kept
short with boys, is almost bristly, and stands up stiffly all over the
head. In about 5 per cent. of the men there are traces of moustache and
beard, otherwise the faces are smooth, but the axillæ and elsewhere, and
often legs and thighs, are profusely covered with hair.

The form of skull is brachycephalic, with an index of about 80.5, and
the back of the head, among the natives of the central and southern
groups of islands (excepting the Shom Pe[.n]), is noticeably flat.[149]
The face is broad, and, but for the cheek-bones, which are generally
prominent and developed laterally, approaches the oval type. Often,
however, it has a somewhat rectangular outline, owing to the squareness
of the lower jaw in the rear. The features are somewhat flat. The
forehead is slightly rounded and even well-formed, but it is often
compressed at the temples, and falls away somewhat suddenly.

The supraciliary arch is prominent, and the eyebrows are generally fixed
in a permanent scowl; the pupil is black, and the eyes often--though not
as a rule--slightly oblique, with the Mongolian fold at the corner.

The nose is generally broad, and coarse in outline, is straight, and of
medium length, depressed at the bridge, flattened, with rounded tip,
has inflated _alae nasi_, and the plane of the nostrils directed

There is often marked prognathism of the dental variety, and the teeth
are irregular and blackened, large and projecting--frequently growing
outwards at an angle, like those of a rabbit.

The mouth is naturally large, and its shape is not improved by holding
the betel-quid between the upper lip and teeth. The lips are moderately
thick, and the lower is often pendulous and turned down, showing much of
the mucous membrane. When at rest, the lips are kept apart.

The chin is usually rather retreating, small, with a rounded and pointed
tip; but the jaw is somewhat heavily hung at the base, and the posterior
angle is strongly marked.

The ears are well formed, moderately large, and lie close to the head,
unless drawn out of shape by much use of ear-distenders.

The Nicobarese have not always been given a good character by their
acquaintances. They have been called lazy, inactive, and drunken,
cowardly and treacherous, but this last must be taken as applying more
to those bands of pirates--with a probable large foreign element--who
committed so many crimes during a long period; otherwise, they are
harmless and good-tempered. The accusation of cowardice is made with
more truth, and it is a quality they frankly own up to.

Lazy and inactive they may be from our point of view, but hardly
otherwise. Food is abundant all round them, weapons are not necessary,
and clothing they do not really need. They show plenty of application
and care when making their canoes, building their houses--which in
construction are models of neatness--and in gathering the toddy, that
with betel-nut is, perhaps, their only native luxury. Drunken they
certainly are on many occasions, but the state with them is one that,
fortunately, does not give rise to troublesomeness.

They are honest in their commercial transactions, and are most indignant
should their integrity be impugned, while the accusation of
untruthfulness brings them up in arms immediately.

Somewhat absent in manner, unemotional and apathetic, the more
intelligent are yet extremely inquisitive towards strangers, and ask
endless questions of a personal kind.

Although not remarkable for courtesy, or possessing any forms of
salutation,[151] they are very hospitable, and always ready with
coconuts, cigarettes, etc., for a visitor. It is customary for natives,
when travelling, to enter without remark any house on their path, help
themselves to food and drink, and depart in silence.[152]

They are exceedingly independent in manner and spirit, are of a somewhat
commercial turn of mind, and are occasionally gifted with a distressing
importunity, which is most common in those places where visits from
Europeans have been most frequent.

Parents seem to possess great affection for their infants, and the
number of men, especially, who may be seen about the villages carrying
their children, or otherwise amusing them, is remarkable.

Six distinct dialects and languages are spoken in the Archipelago--one
on Kar Nicobar, another on Chaura; Teressa and Bompoka together have
one; the central islands of Kamorta, Nankauri, Trinkat, and Kachal speak
a fourth; while Little and Great Nicobar with their adjacent islands
have a fifth. Lastly, the Shom Pe[.n] of the interior of Great Nicobar
employ a speech that is dissimilar to the others.

The language, which is somewhat harsh in sound, has, however, "an
extraordinarily rich, phonetic system--as many as twenty-five
consonantal and thirty-five vowel sounds (it possesses a peculiar double
series of nasal vowels)--is polysyllabic, and untoned, like the
Malayo-Polynesian, and the type seems to resemble the Oceanic more than
the Continental Mongol subdivision."[153]

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the theory of the Kar Nicobarese with regard to their origin:--

A certain man, from some unknown country, arrived at the Nicobars on a
flat, with a pet female dog, and settled in Kar Nicobar. In course of
time he espoused the bitch, and begot a son. When this son was grown up,
he concealed his mother by covering her with a _ngong_, a kind of
petticoat made of coco-palm leaves, and, after killing his father in the
jungle, took his mother to wife. From such parents the Nicobarese
believe they originated, and it is their progeny who now people the

The two-horned head-dress--_tá-chökla_--worn by all males, they consider
symbolic of their mother's ears; the end of the loin-cloth that dangles
behind, they call her tail; and the piece of cotton reaching to the
women's knees only, they compare with the _ngong_ petticoat, which was
her first dress.

Until comparatively recently, this _ngong_--a thick fringe of palm leaf
about 15 inches deep, inserted in a band--was in universal wear (see
Koeping, Hamilton, Lancaster, and others) and, even now, it is worn
sometimes by the women when working in the plantations. It is also worn
at Teressa, and still more at Chaura.[154]

Another version of the legend varies somewhat, making the father a dog
and the mother a woman. It is owing to this belief that the natives say
they are sons of a dog, and for this reason they treat their dogs very
kindly, and never beat them: they quiet them by simply saying "Hush!

There is another tradition amongst the Nicobarese, to the effect that
the first stranger who came to their islands, seeing something moving on
the sand, perceived small people the size of an ant. He took care of
them until they attained the common size of men--and this was the origin
of the natives.[155]

To account for the coconut trees that grow in such abundance on the
island, the Kar Nicobarese version runs thus:--

Once upon a time there was a scarcity of water, and a certain man then
produced it from his elbow by means of magic arts. The people therefore
considered him to be a devil-man--wizard--and beheaded him. On the spot
where the head fell there sprang up a tree, and after a time it became
very big, and began to bear fruit, and the fruit resembled the head of
the slain man.

For a long time the people were afraid to approach the tree or to taste
the nuts, because they had grown out of a human head, and so, by the
falling of the ripe fruit, there grew up a dense grove of coconut palms.

At last some wise men brought to the trees an old man who was dying, and
made him taste of the nuts, to find out their qualities! The old man
accordingly ate one, and found it to be very delicious, and from
continually eating nuts he became very strong, and grew to look like a
young man.

Thenceforth the people began to make use of the coconut!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the old days it was the custom to kill men for any offence, grave or
simple. But at length the elders, finding that the population had
greatly diminished thereby, held a council, and introduced the system of
killing pigs, burning houses, felling trees, breaking canoes, and
destroying clothes, etc., and this method is continued at the present
day side by side with the former.

The people seldom have open fighting among themselves, neither do they
use their fists, or flog. In extreme cases only (witchcraft) do they
commit murder.

The Nicobarese have no conception of a Supreme Being, or a future state,
but there is a universal belief in evil spirits, who are in part ghosts
of the wicked, and who can be propitiated by offerings and kept away by

These creations of the imagination, who in the northern island are
called _Síyas_, seem much akin to the _Náts_ of Indo-China, but are far
less localised, and, as a rule, have no particular tree, rock, or stream
for their abode. They are the cause of every misfortune and disease that
occurs to man, but death in the ordinary course of things is considered
to be a natural event.

[Illustration: "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits

It would appear that in Kar Nicobar, Teressa, and Chaura, where the
superstitious practices are nearly alike, some idea is entertained of
spirits not altogether inimical to mankind; but in the other islands,
whose beliefs are all homogenous, the _Iwis_ are all harmful to human
beings, and are kept at a distance by a redundancy of charms and
talismans that does not occur in the north.[156]

The latter, which include various objects, such as figures of men,
women, animals, etc., pictures, banners, and so on, are none of them
regarded as idols or worshipped, neither are they fetishes--the
instruments of spirits, or themselves endowed with life--although those
of them representative of living objects are from time to time given
such food as pork or coconuts. They merely act as "scare-devils,"
putting to flight the demons of sickness and guarding their constructors
from any misfortune. They are effective only on behalf of those who make
them, and at such person's death it is the custom to destroy or discard
the talismans.

[Illustration: Nicobarese Talisman.]

[Illustration: "Scare-devil," or device for exorcising evil spirits

The natives have no temples or any form of worship, but there have come
into being _shamans_ or priest-doctors, known as _tamiluanas_ and
_menluanas_, who have the power of communicating with the spirits, and
by means of certain ceremonies, in conjunction with the use of rods,
particular leaves, and ashes, periodically, by open warfare and by
magic, drive the malignant demons from such places in man's
neighbourhood as they may have intruded into, or defeat them when
prevailing disease or misfortune can be traced to their agency.

These practices and beliefs, which it would be incorrect to class
together under the name of religion, are not accompanied by any moral
element. Their code of ethics has no connection whatever with the form
of malevolent spiritualism which they entertain, but is entirely an
affair of public opinion and social convention.

The cult of the natives as it exists in the south, with its multiplicity
of charms, "medicine," and demon-scaring figures and objects, is
probably only an isolated case of a practice widely spread throughout
the Malayan Archipelago--in Sumatra, Borneo, and other islands, and even
amongst the Papuans still further east.[157]

On the other hand, it is not at all impossible, in view of the natives'
acquisitiveness of foreign ideas, that most of their practices arise
from a corrupted interpretation of the, in other respects, futile
teachings of the numerous missionaries who have laboured in vain in the
islands, complicated by an additional jumble of tenets adopted from
other strangers with whom they have come into contact, while, in
particular, the figures, pictures, and charms of many localities may be
to some extent merely a degraded survival of the religious paraphernalia
of the Jesuit missionaries.

[Illustration: Female Talisman (Kachal).

Female Talisman, "Kario" (Nankauri).]

One might adduce in support of this theory the fact that superstition
and its accessories thrive most strongly in the places where the
missionaries as a rule establish themselves--Kar Nicobar and Nankauri

       *       *       *       *       *

Fever, colic, coughs, rheumatism, and sore and inflamed eyes, are not
unfrequent ailments. Syphilis also occurs, and has probably been
introduced by the traders, or by the Nicobarese who have visited
Calcutta and Moulmein in their vessels.

Itch (_tinea circinata tropica_) is in some localities very prevalent
among the natives, who are also liable to attacks of a mild form of
elephantiasis throughout the Archipelago. It is said that in Chaura from
one-third to one-half the population are so diseased in one way or the
other. Cases of yaws occur from time to time among children.

Eno's fruit salt, camphor, castor-oil, turpentine, and quinine, are the
principal features of the Nicobarese pharmacopoeia.

Eno's fruit salt mixed with water, with a little powdered camphor and
turpentine added, is given twice a day for colic. For fever, a little
quinine is added to the same mixture.

Sandalwood and jessamine oil are held in great repute as aphrodisiacs,
and are purchased from the Burmese traders in small quantities at a very
high price.

Faith, however, is not always placed in the efficacy of mundane
remedies. A woman who had been ill for a year, when asked if she would
take medicine, replied, "The devil has caused this illness, and it
cannot be cured by medicine. Only the _tamiluanas_ can cure me by
driving the devil out of me." She preferred sugar and biscuits to drugs.

Malaria, which is perhaps the indisposition by which they are most
frequently attacked, is always attributed to demonic agency.

       *       *       *       *       *

Marriage amongst the Nicobarese is of a class that is considered to be a
modification of the matriarchal system, and that exists widely spread
in this portion of the world amongst the Malayan and Indo-Chinese

Until he marries, a man considers himself a member of his father's
household, but after that event he calls himself the son of his
father-in-law, and becomes a member of his wife's family, leaving the
house of his own parents, or even his village, if the woman dwell

Only the chiefs, or wealthy men whose positions in the village are of
influence, are exceptions to this law; they are permitted by custom to
bring their wives to their own houses.[159]

There is no law of exogamy amongst them--a man marries in his own
village, village-group, or even house; for although connections between
blood relatives are disapproved of, there is nothing to prevent such
taking place, except public opinion, which may often be disregarded with

The woman on her marriage brings no special dower into the partnership,
neither is there any custom by which the man is compelled to place a
certain amount of property at the disposal of her parents. Each has a
right to a certain proportion of their common household possessions, and
their worldly status improves by inheritance and by their own efforts.

Those marriages are most successful from which children are numerous,
for these make life easier by taking a large amount of the daily and
special work upon themselves, and by acting as a support and provision
to their parents in old age.

There is very little that is binding in the marriage state of these
people, cohabitation with its duties being co-existent with mutual
consent. So long as they like each other and are contented with their
position, the couple remain together; but the absence of children,
illness, old age, and many extremely trivial reasons are sufficient
cause for separation.[160] The divorce is a matter for the two most
concerned only; there are no public proceedings to take place, no
ceremonies to undergo.[161]

Most of the adult members of the population have been married three or
four times, a goodly number far more often. The children of the
partnership, if young, go with the more influential of the parents;
when older, they exercise an individual choice.[162]

From the nature of the marriage, the woman as often divorces her husband
as _vice versâ_.

The natives as a race are monogamous, but now and again polygamy is
found to occur. It is practised, however, only by the chiefs and more
wealthy men, who live in their own houses, and can afford to domicile
their wives in separate dwellings.[163]

Cases of adultery are punished by a fine, but there is no established
amount. The village elders consult together as to what the seducer shall
be mulcted of, and generally decide on a certain number of pigs, which
are cut up and distributed among the community.[164]

There seems to be no objection to a girl having as many lovers as she
likes before marriage, and altogether the state when entered upon is one
that presses very lightly on the people. There are few unwritten laws on
the subject, and public opinion is of hardly any weight.[165]

Courtship, like marriage, is merely a variation of the Malayan custom of
nocturnal visiting, much simplified, however, by the absence of any
ceremonies to mark its change into a more stable relationship.

When a man desires to marry a girl, he contracts a friendship with her
family, assists her in her daily work, and sleeps for a time in whatever
house she may occupy. During the night he seeks the girl, who will be
sleeping among others, and by blowing on the burning end of a cigarette
he obtains light enough to discriminate. The efforts of the man to
embrace and caress her the girl withstands vigorously with blows and
scratches, so that his face and chest are often torn and covered with
blood. So things continue for several nights perhaps, the man suffering
patiently the while, until, if she is willing to take him as a husband,
she yields herself. This is their nuptials, and concludes the
marriage.[166] Thenceforth, the man holds to his wife's house rather
than his own family's, but often the parents will learn nothing for some

Sometimes the girl makes the path of courtship less easy, by changing
her sleeping-hut from night to night. This difficulty the lover
generally overcomes by employing small boys to follow her about and
inform him of her resting-place.

Occasionally the man, following the girl home at night after a dance,
etc., will meet with an attempt at resistance on the part of the other
women dwelling there, when he essays to enter the house she has

A man wishing to escape the consequences of marriage, and thinking he
was unrecognised in the darkness by others during his intercourse with
the girl, will nearly always be identified by some of the women present.
If he refuses to carry out his share of the contract, a council is
called of the principal men of his village, and they fine him so many
pigs, which form the material for a general feast.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the northern islands, the "Town Halls" in the _Elpanams_ are the
property of the community in general, for they are the work of the whole
village. The products of the forest are common to all, but it is now
necessary to obtain the headman's permission before occupying a piece of
land near the village, to build a house or make a garden on.

Everything which the village as a whole makes or purchases, as the
_Elpanam_ houses or Chaura canoes, is common property, but the result of
individual work belongs to the individual. Plantations, coconuts,[169]
canoes, and houses, are private possessions, liable, however, to family
claims founded on common family work.

Both sexes inherit, and property is generally divided equally among the

There is in Kar Nicobar a method of guarding property termed _takoia_,
which at first is liable to be taken for a case of _tabu_ or _pomali_.
Posts and sticks, decorated with coloured rags and coconut husks, are
erected near gardens, plantations, etc. They have no superstitious
significance whatever, and only act as a kind of notice of title,
warning all and sundry that the surroundings are private property.
Anyone discovered stealing the same is fined, _i.e._, the usual pigs are
confiscated to feast the community.[170]

The village headman and his deputy are a recent institution of the
authorities to simplify the procedure of controlling the natives. The
opinion of the village is generally taken on the question, and, if
approved of, their nominees are invested with a certificate, a flag, and
a suit of clothes, presented yearly.

The headmen can command no obedience, and enforce no laws; they work
only by persuasion; and, with the more influential men, deliberate on
vexed questions, and impose fines, which seem always paid. Such fines do
not accrue to the benefit of the injured party, but of the community,
who enjoy a feast as the result, in which the culprit himself takes

As the headman now stands, he is the successor of the village "captain"
or presiding elder, who had no other functions but to represent the
community on the arrival of ships, and to regulate barter. His office
and title were instituted by the natives when relations with European
vessels became frequent, in order that they might have some
representative to correspond to the commanding officer.

Before this epoch, everybody seems to have been on a footing of complete
social equality, as, with the exceptions above-noted, is the case

Everyone, even children, is his own master; but persons who have been
abroad, by virtue of their experience, are respected and have some
authority, as also have the aged and wealthy. But there is no one who
has power to exercise control over even a single village, save in the
way of carrying out popular ideas.

A "primitive form of socialism exists. Chiefs are unknown. Certain
individuals, by force of character ... have more influence than
others ... but this influence seems to be at best but slight, and each
person is obedient to himself alone, or to some unwritten code of public
opinion"[171]--really the essence of the whole system.

The position of women is, and always has been, in no way inferior to
that of the other sex. They take their full share in the formation of
public opinion, discuss publicly with the men matters of general
interest to the village, and their opinions receive due attention before
a decision is arrived at. In fact, they are consulted on every matter,
and the henpecked husband is of no extraordinary rarity in the Nicobars.

In Kar Nicobar, where the villages are divided into groups of several
houses, a woman occasionally succeeds her late husband as sub-chief, on
account of the knowledge she may possess of the regulations in vogue,
the property and customs of her neighbours.

Women take a fair share in the day's work. They do the cooking, and the
whole family eats together; the men build the houses, canoes, etc.; both
sexes may be seen working in company in the plantations, fishing on the
reefs, and paddling the canoes.

It is only the women in Chaura who manufacture pottery; but as the art
is a monopoly, they must be looked on as rather privileged than

In fine, there is no actual division of labour, but all assist in
whatever has to be done, from their earliest years. Although scarcely
any obedience seems due from children to their parents, most of the
ordinary tasks of life are undertaken by young people of both sexes, and
much deference is paid to age, especially when it is combined with

The domestic animals of the Nicobarese are swine, cats, fowls, and dogs,
the latter generally of the pariah variety; but now and again in the
southern islands a mongrel chow is met with, a cross between the chow
and some animal brought thither by the Chinese junks. All are the
descendants of introduced species. They are fed on little else but
coconut, and support life on this and the results of their own foraging.
Pigeons, parrots, and monkeys are occasionally to be seen in captivity,
but the natives have not attempted to systematically utilise the
megapode; all the laying-places near the villages are, however, known,
and periodically overhauled for eggs.[172]

Weapons, in the strict sense of the word, do not exist now among the
Nicobarese; they possess no shields, swords, clubs, or spears for
warlike purposes only. The Burmese _dáo_, their most common
implement--obtained from the ship-traders--is used for everyday purposes
and for house-building, agriculture, canoe-fitting, etc., while the
spears and harpoons used for pig-killing, cattle-hunting, and fishing
are nearly all constructed by attaching a suitable haft to the variously
shaped heads which are made locally. A fishing spear of native make is
of the many-pronged wooden type (Mal., _s'rempang_) common throughout
the East--a bunch of diverging barbed skewers spliced into a haft with
lashings of cord or rattan.

The Shom Pe[.n] manufacture a javelin or dart, which is used
indiscriminately for warfare or the chase as occasion may require; it is
made of a single piece of heavy wood, and is possibly the same kind of
implement as was in general use among the Nicobarese before the
introduction of iron heads.[173]

Fifty and more years ago, the natives obtained numbers of muskets--of
which they were much afraid--by barter with European traders; but
recently the Indian Government has prohibited the possession of these
weapons, and whenever any are discovered they are immediately

[Illustration: 1. Shom Pe[.n] Spear (Great Nicobar). 2 and 3, "_Hanoi
cha_," Canoe Decorations for bow, stern, and outrigger (Kar Nicobar). 4,
Turtle Spear. 5 and 6, Wooden Fishing Spears. 7, Ornamental Canoe
Stern-piece, "_Misoka ap_" (Kar Nicobar). 8, 9, and 10, Iron Fishing

In common with the other Malayan peoples, they do not seriously employ
the bow and arrow. Crossbows are in use among them for shooting birds,
but it is evident that such implements are not the invention of the
natives. The stock is fashioned like a gun-butt, and the arrow rests in
a groove running along the top of the fore-end, and is kept in position
by means of three half-hoop pegs of brass wire. The bow is perfectly
round in section, tapering towards the ends, and the release is of the
string and peg variety, hitching over the top of the trigger. The
arrows, which are unfeathered and half the diameter of a lead pencil,
have for point a sharpened nail attached by a wrapping of sheet-tin.

These bows have either been copied from the weapons of the early
voyagers, or, more probably, have been introduced by the Burmese,
amongst whom and the Karens there exists an article almost exactly

Tools of European model are now common, and for fashioning canoes,
houses, etc., imported axes, saws, adzes, planes, and spokeshaves are
used, in addition to the _dáo_.

The latter is never fitted with a handle, and from constant use of it
thus, thick ridges of skin and corns form on the inside of the natives'
hands. It is found that the bare tang is very convenient for picking up
coconuts; for retaining the weapon when up in the palm trees, by
sticking it into the bark, thus leaving both hands free; for punching
two holes in the opposite sides of a nut, through which the water may be
extracted by suction; and for many other purposes.

The Nicobarese rarely use nets for fishing. Besides occasionally
employing small casting nets purchased from traders,--the construction
of which they never themselves attempt--they make and use a primitive
net trap, which is baited and held a foot or two below the surface by
the fisherman, who, on seeing a fish nibbling at the bait, promptly
raises the trap, thereby catching the fish in the netting.

The fish are obtained either by hook and line (imported), or by spearing
by day or at night with the aid of blazing torches of coconut leaf.
Open-meshed traps of rattan, of various sizes and shapes, with
funnel-shaped mouth leading towards the interior, are in common use, and
are sunk in the sea-bottom in suitable places. They also construct weirs
of coconut leaves (_Tanánga_--Kar Nicobar; _Kan-Sháng_--Nankauri), by
means of which large quantities of fish are generally caught. These are
employed only during the dry season when the sea is fairly calm.

Finally, the narcotic property possessed by the seeds of _Barringtonia
speciosa_[174] is made use of; for, in pools and confined waters, the
addition of a small quantity of a paste, made of the mashed kernels,
acts like "tuba," causing all the fish present to become insensible and
rise to the surface, where they may be collected at leisure.

Turtle are common about the islands, and many skulls are to be met with
in the houses of the natives, by whom they are used for the expulsion of
demons. They are captured when floating on the sea by means of a harpoon
with a skewer-shaped iron head, which, when fast in the shell, detaches
from the shaft and remains connected by a short piece of cord only.

Large quantities of fish are often caught, when the weather is
favourable, by means of the _kan-sháng_, traps, etc., and, consequently,
at times the natives live largely on fish. The staples of food
throughout the year are coconuts and pandanus fruit, with bananas, yams,
and occasionally other fruits and vegetables in small quantities. Fowls
and pork can only be afforded now and then. Rice is used to a small
extent, and is one of the articles for which the natives barter

The fruit of the pandanus, which is an egg-shaped mass frequently
attaining a diameter of 18 inches, consists of a cluster of fibrous
drupes, the tops of which are sliced off as soon as gathered. Thus
treated, it can be preserved for some weeks.

When preparing it for eating, these divisions are separated from the
central core and placed in a pot over a layer of bamboos or a
grating,[175] below which there is a little water; above them are laid
yams, or whatever may be suitably cooked by that process, and the whole
is then covered with leaves and steamed for some hours.[176]

The pulpy matter that it contains is then scraped out with a shell while
the drupe is held on a heavy slab of wood, and then the bristly fibres
with which the nutritious portion is intermixed are extracted from the
latter by drawing threads of a sort of bass through the pasty mass
resulting. Thus is obtained a smooth dough, of a yellowish colour and
somewhat sweet taste, that has been likened in flavour to
apple-marmalade. A portion of this (_kow-en_), with some grated coconut,
and sometimes a piece of chicken or pork, constitutes the usual meal.

This food is often made up into leaf-covered bundles, in which state it
acquires a distinctive, though not unpleasant, odour, and can be kept a
long time.

The fibrous drupe, after treatment as above, is commonly used as a
foot-brush[177] at many of the islands, for which purpose it is kept
near the top of the hut-ladder for those entering the hut.

The principal beverages are the water of the green unripe coconut, and
toddy, made by fermenting the sap of the coco palm, which is regularly
bled at the crown into bamboo receptacles. The toddy is largely
manufactured, and as it is no more intoxicating than strong ale, much
has to be consumed before drunkenness results. Ordinary water is
scarcely ever taken, and its use is almost entirely restricted to

For the last few years the authorities at Port Blair have attempted to
inculcate in the natives a liking for tea, the taste for which they have
fostered by presenting the headmen with quantities of the leaf, in the
hope that it will, if it become popular, somewhat minimise the prevalent
consumption of toddy, which, when largely indulged in, cannot but have a
bad effect on the general health of the people.

Toddy, however, does not stand alone as an intoxicant: nearly everywhere
one comes across the black, square bottles in which gin is conveyed to
all parts of the world: occasionally brandy is inquired for, but on all
the islands there is a demand for rum, and this seems to have been the
favourite drink since it was introduced to the natives by British
captains bartering for coconuts in the early part of the last century.
At present, however, Chinese traders are the only smugglers, and the
spirit they introduce, _samshu_, runs only occasional risk of
confiscation, as the trade of the junks is for the most part in places
seldom visited by the occasional patrolling steamer.

Tobacco is used by everyone--men, women, and children--both for chewing
and smoking: the native cigarette is a very crude affair, composed of a
small quantity of the weed and a large amount of a certain dried leaf.
The tobacco finding most favour is of Chinese and Javanese manufacture,
and cigars are much appreciated.

Betel-chewing is universal, and the quid--which undoubtedly acts as a
stimulant--consists of areca-nut, lime, and the sireh leaf only, without
the addition of gambier. The teeth of the Nicobarese are both large and
prominent, and the continuous use of betel and tobacco stains them a
brown and black colour that is much admired.

In person, the natives, although generally clean, are less particular
than tropical races as a rule: there are none of the fenced-in wells
(_panchurans_, or bathing-screens) on the stream banks that one sees
near all the villages of the Malays, but an occasional bath is taken by
pouring the contents of a dozen coconut shells over the body. Clothing
gets a rinse in the sea at intervals by way of cleansing.

At the present time the everyday dress is of red cotton, but for the
first half and more of the last century the fashion ran all in blue. On
ordinary occasions men wear a long strip of cotton, generally red,
passing round the thighs and between the legs,[178] and women drape a
fathom or two of cotton about the waist by twisting the ends together;
but for other times there are cotton draperies, _sarongs_, Chinese coats
and trousers, and also European garments, which, from top-hats to
shirts, are in great demand.[179]

In the north a chaplet of areca palm spathe with loose ends
(_tá-chökla_) is much worn, and the ear-lobes are pierced to retain
short plugs of bamboo, half an inch in diameter, inlaid with silver and
with silver pendants. From Kamorta southward the common head-dress is a
similar chaplet of pandanus leaf (_shanóang_), or a coloured
handkerchief or circlet of calico, and there is a plain ear-distender,
one inch or more in diameter and three long, often shaped like a wedge:
this is replaced on festive occasions by a large rosette of red and
white cotton.

Other ornaments are bangles and anklets, made by twisting thick silver
wire about the limb, and belts and necklaces made of rupees or smaller
coins. Rings are worn, either of silver or shell.

Face and chest are sometimes covered with vermilion or saffron paint,
but the natives do not employ any form of tattoo or scarification.

Hair is usually worn short by both sexes, but there is a more or less
distinctive style or fashion at all the islands. On the occasion of a
sudden or violent death at a village all its inhabitants are required
to shave their heads, and the women their eyebrows as well.[180]
Mourning for a relative is indicated in like manner as well as by other
observances. With infants the head is often shaved for a time, and for
the next few years the hair is kept short, in which way it is also worn
by all ages and sexes. Boys as a rule have their heads cropped.

Fairly long hair is worn by many, but in no case is it ever permitted to
grow below the shoulders; at that point it is cut across horizontally,
and then, when bushy, the hair presents much the appearance represented
in Assyrian and Egyptian records.

The Nicobarese possess no musical instrument of their own invention, but
very occasionally some individual attempts to produce, without much
success, a copy of something he has seen in the hands of foreigners--a
violin, guitar, etc.

Two instruments are, however, in use among them: one, a seven-holed
flageolet, which is Burmese, and the other, the _danang_, borrowed from
the Indian "sitar," has three frets, a string of cane, and two
sound-holes.[181] "It is a hollowed bamboo, about 2-1/2 feet long and 3
inches in diameter, along the outside of which there is stretched from
end to end a single string, made of the threads of a split rattan, and
the place under the string is hollowed, to prevent it from touching.
This instrument is played upon in the same way as a guitar" while rested
on the knee.[182]

With the exception of dancing, singing, and feasting, there are hardly
any organised amusements. The exact forms of the dances vary, but for
special occasions new figures and songs are composed and assiduously
practised. In the north-west, challenges for canoe races, or processions
rather, circulate amongst the Kar Nicobar villages, and are taken part
in by twenty or thirty men a-side. The large canoes are decorated, and
the course is a long one--several miles along the coast from village to
village. As the men sing at the top of their voices throughout the race,
they are generally exhausted at the finish. The pace is not remarkable,
and the canoes keep abreast throughout, neither seeming to mind which
comes in first.

Wrestling is a favourite pursuit of the boys. There is no science or
cunning displayed, and the rounds are very short, one or the other
combatant going down at once.

Pig processions are a pastime indulged in by young men. A pig is tied
beneath a pole, and, with one of their number seated astride of it, is
borne, with songs, about the village by a party of youths in the

In such villages as are situated near the calmer waters of harbours,
little children amuse themselves by sailing models of canoes and junks.

The Nicobarese have no writing or pictography, and their attempts at
ornamental work on articles of general utility are confined to the
finials of the houses, the stem and stern posts of their canoes, and a
little decorative carving on their wooden dishes.[183] Nevertheless, in
the charms and talismans connected with their superstitious cult they
betray a certain artistic ability, and their pictures, screens, and
figures of birds, men, and animals, show not only good powers of
observation, but a capacity and skill of no mean order, in interpreting
and reproducing whatever may present itself to them.

As concerns metals, it appears that 200 years ago Jesuit missionaries
discovered tin on Great Nicobar. Having regard to the proximity of the
rich deposits of this metal in Sumatra and the Malayan Peninsula, it
seems not improbable that the statement will some day be verified. At
Kar Nicobar small quantities of iron pyrites are found. The art of
working in iron is almost confined to Chaura, where the _meráhtas_ and
the best spear-heads are manufactured. The latter are, however, made at
the other islands as well. Of weaving they have no knowledge, and prior
to the introduction of cotton and cloth garments they clothed themselves
in _tapa_ or cloth made of the beaten bark of a tree at present believed
to be the _Ficus brevicuspis_, also with girdles of split coconut

They are, however, expert basketmakers, and many-shaped baskets for
various purposes are manufactured in different patterns of mesh,
entirely out of the strips of rattan, or of the bark of the _Maranta

What the sago is to the Papuan, the pandanus is to the Nicobarese, and
its luxuriant natural growth renders unnecessary any extensive
agricultural labour on his part. The other great support of life--the
coconut--once planted, thrives without further attention, and for the
rest, his fruits, bananas, and yams, require but the slightest amount of
cultivation. The implement used in all cases seems to be the _dáo_ only.

The islands produce no artificial material, and no raw merchandise is
imported. Among themselves the natives trade in little more than pottery
and canoes, and the only stores or bazaars are kept by foreigners who
barter with the inhabitants. Coconuts, betel-nuts, rattan,
mother-o'-pearl shells, trepang, and edible birds' nests, are the only
trade commodities. The two latter are of minor importance, and are
collected directly by the traders; the rattan comes from Great Nicobar
only. Ambergris, for which the Nicobars were most noted in the Middle
Ages, is still found, principally in the vicinity of Nankauri Harbour,
and sold to traders.

All traders visiting the Nicobars have to obtain, either from Port Blair
or from one of the local Government Agents, a license, at a cost of 1
rupee per man of the crew, which grants them "permission to visit ...
for the purpose of trade during the present north-east monsoon season,
on the condition that no person who may proceed thither by the vessel
shall be permitted to remain behind ... after her departure."

Disagreements between the traders and natives are frequent, and, for the
most part, seem due to the dishonesty and high-handed behaviour of the
former. They get the natives into their debt--often forcing them to
accept things they do not require--falsify accounts, and even resort at
times to acts of violence for which they have incurred punishment at
Port Blair.

The merchants arrive in various kinds of vessels, from large
barquentines, brigs, brigantines, and schooners, to the _baglas_ of the
Indians and Burmese _kallus_ of 20 or 30 tons. These come mostly from
Calcutta, Bombay, Negapatam, and Moulmein. The Chinese, of course, come
in their national junks, _viâ_ Singapore, Acheen, or Penang.

Trade is always carried on by barter; coconuts are the standard of
value, and although dollars and rupees change hands, they are employed
by the natives more as ornaments than mediums of exchange.

The annual production of coconuts is believed to reach at the lowest
estimate, 15,000,000; about one-third of which are exported and the
remainder consumed and planted.

Except in the northern islands, there are very few paths, and those
merely tracks through grass and jungle; local transport and intervillage
communication at the central and southern islands are largely carried on
by canoe.



I do not think any excuse is needed for here giving in full Dampier's
narrative of his experiences on Great Nicobar, and of his voyage thence
to Acheen in a native canoe.

His "Voyages" are but little read nowadays; and not only are the
chapters extracted of much interest in themselves, but they contain a
careful record of his observations on the natives and their life and
customs that, in spite of changes, is fairly accurate even for a
description of things at the present day, with which it may be compared.

Dampier's account of the Nicobars is by far the most full that we have
of the islands in past times, but I have nowhere, in any reference to
them, seen attention drawn to his adventures in their neighbourhood. His
voyage in the canoe was also a very interesting as well as a somewhat
bold undertaking, for there are times in the south-west monsoon when it
is by no means pleasant to be caught in a small open boat on that
stretch of sea, where, too, the currents run very strongly.

The fever which prostrated himself and companions on their arrival in
Sumatra was doubtless aggravated by exposure in the canoe, but was in
all probability contracted during their sojourn in Great Nicobar, for
all who spend any length of time on shore there seem certain to suffer
from it.[184]

The privateer _Cygnet of London_, Captain Swan, originally fitted out to
trade in the South Seas, in which Dampier made that part of his voyage
round the world, extending from Realejo in Western Nicaragua to the
Nicobars, had left the north-west coast of Australia on March 12, 1688,
and anchored nowhere until she reached the islands where he was
permitted to quit her.

Since Captain Swan had been left ashore at Mindanao and his place taken
by Read, it had been Dampier's continual desire to part from the vessel,
and he explains in his narrative the reasons for the captain's objection
to his desertion.

       *       *       *       *       *

"... The 25th day of April 1688 we crossed the equator, still coasting
to the northward, between the island Sumatra and a range of small
islands lying 14 or 15 leagues off it....

"The 29th we saw a sail to the north of us, which we chased, but it
being little wind, we did not come up with her till the 30th day. Then,
being within a league of her, Captain Read went in a canoe and took her,
and brought her aboard. She was a prau with four men in her, belonging
to Achin, whither she was bound. She came from one of those coconut
islands that we passed by, and was laden with coconuts and with coconut
oil. Captain Read ordered his men to take aboard all the nuts, and as
much of the oil as he thought convenient, and then cut a hole in the
bottom of the prau and turned her loose, keeping the men prisoners.

"It was not for the lucre of the cargo that Captain Read took this
boat, but to hinder me and some others from going ashore, for he knew
that we were ready to make our escapes, if an opportunity presented
itself; and he thought that, by abusing and robbing the natives, we
should be afraid to trust ourselves amongst them. But yet this
proceeding of his turned to our greater advantage, as shall be declared

"May the 1st, we ran down by the north-west end of the island Sumatra,
within 7 or 8 leagues of the shore. All this west side of Sumatra which
we thus coasted along, our Englishmen at Fort St George call the west
coast simply, without adding the name Sumatra. The prisoners who were
taken the day before showed us the islands that lie off Achin Harbour,
and the channels through which ships go in; and told us also that there
was an English factory at Achin. I wished myself there, but was forced
to wait with patience till my time was come.

"We were now directing our course towards the Nicobar Islands, intending
there to clean the ship's bottom in order to make her sail well.

"The fourth day, in the evening, we had sight of one of the Nicobar
Islands. The southernmost of them lie about 40 leagues N.N.W. from the
N.W. end of the island Sumatra. The most southerly of them is Nicobar
itself, but all the cluster of islands lying south of the Andaman
Islands are called by our seamen the Nicobar Islands.

"The inhabitants of these islands have no certain converse with any
nation, but as ships pass by them they will come aboard in their praus
and offer their commodities to sale, never inquiring of what nation they
are; for all white people are alike to them. Their chiefest commodities
are ambergris and fruits.

"Ambergris is often found by the native Indians of these islands, who
know it very well; as also know how to cheat ignorant strangers with a
certain mixture like it. Several of our men bought such of them for a
small purchase. Captain Weldon also about this time touched at some of
these islands where we lay, and I saw a great deal of such ambergris
that one of his men bought there; but it was not good, having no smell
at all. Yet I saw some there very good and fragrant.

"At that island[185] where Captain Weldon was there were two friars,
sent thither to convert the Indians. One of them came away with Captain
Weldon; the other remained there still. He that came away with Captain
Weldon gave a very good character to the inhabitants of that island,
viz., that they were very honest, civil, harmless people; that they were
not addicted to quarrelling, theft, or murder; that they did marry, or
at least live as man and wife, one man with one woman, never changing
till death made the separation; that they were punctual and honest in
performing their bargains; and that they were inclined to receive the
Christian religion. This relation I had afterwards from the mouth of a
priest at Tonquin who told me that he received this information by a
letter from the friar that Captain Weldon brought away from

But, to proceed:--"The 5th day of May we ran down on the west side of
the island Nicobar properly so-called, and anchored at the N.W. end of
it, in a small bay, in 8 fathoms water, not half a mile from the shore.
The body of this island is in 7° 30' N. lat.[187] It is about 12 leagues
long, and 3 or 4 broad. The south end of it is pretty high, with steep
cliffs against the sea; the rest of the island is low, flat, and
even.[188] The mould of it is black and deep, and it is very well
watered with small running streams. It produceth abundance of tall
trees, fit for any uses; for the whole bulk of it seems to be but one
entire grove. But that which adds most to its beauty off at sea, are the
many spots of coconut trees which grow round it in every small bay. The
bays are half a mile or a mile long, more or less, and these bays are
intercepted or divided from each other with as many little rocky points
of woodland.

"As the coconut trees do thus grow in groves, fronting to the sea, in
the bays, so there is another sort of fruit-tree in the bays, bordering
on the back side of the coco trees, farther from the sea. It is called
by the natives a melory tree.[189] This tree is as big as our large
apple trees, and as high. It hath a blackish[190] rind and a pretty
broad leaf. The fruit is as big as the bread-fruit[191] at Guam, or a
large penny loaf. It is shaped like a pear, and hath a pretty tough
smooth rind of a light-green colour. The inside of the fruit is in
substance much like an apple, but full of small strings as big as brown
thread. I did never see of these trees anywhere but here.

"The natives of this island are tall, well-limbed men; pretty long
visaged, with black eyes; their noses middle-proportioned, and the whole
symmetry of their faces agreeing very well. Their hair is black and
lank, and their skins of a dark copper colour. The women have no hair on
their eyebrows. I do believe it is plucked up by the roots, for the men
had hair growing on their eyebrows as other people.

"The men go all naked; only a long, narrow piece of cloth or sash,
which, going round their waists, and thence down between their thighs,
is brought up behind and tucked-in at that part which goes about the
waist. The women have a kind of a short petticoat, reaching from their
waists to their knees.

"Their language was different from any that I ever heard before; yet
they had some few Malayan words, and some of them had a word or two of
Portuguese, which, probably, they might learn aboard of their ships
passing by this place; for when these men see a sail, they do presently
go aboard of them in their canoes. I did not perceive any form of
religion that they had; they had neither temple or idol, nor any manner
of outward veneration to any deity, that I did see.

"They inhabit all round the island by the seaside, in the bays, there
being four or five houses, more or less in each bay. Their houses are
built on posts, as the Mindanayans. They are small, low, and of a square
form. There is but one room in each house, and this room is about 8 feet
from the ground; and from thence the roof is raised about 8 feet higher.
But instead of a sharp ridge, the top is exceeding neatly arched with
small rafters about the bigness of a man's arm, bent round like a
half-moon, and very curiously thatched with palmetto leaves.[192]

"They live under no government that I could perceive, for they seem to
be equal, without any distinction; every man ruling in his own house.
Their plantations are only those coconut trees which grow by the
seaside, there being no cleared land farther in on the island; for I
observed that when past the fruit-trees, there were no paths to be seen
going into the woods. The greatest use which they make of their
coco-trees is to draw toddy from them, of which they are very fond.

"The melory trees seem to grow wild. They have great earthen pots to
boil the melory fruit in, which will hold 12 or 14 gallons. These pots
they fill with the fruit, and, putting in a little water, they cover the
mouth of the pot with leaves to keep the steam while it boils. When the
fruit is soft, they peel off the rind and the pulp from the strings,
with a flat stick made like a knife, and then make it up into great
lumps as big as a Holland cheese, and then it will keep six or seven
days. It looks yellow, and tastes well, and is their chiefest food; for
they have no yams, potatoes, rice nor plantains (except a very few), yet
they have a few small hogs, and a very few cocks and hens like ours.
The men employ themselves in fishing, but I did not see much fish that
they got; every house hath at least two or three canoes belonging to it,
which they draw up ashore.

"The canoes that they go fishing in are sharp at both ends, and both the
sides and the bottom are very thin and smooth. They are shaped somewhat
like the praus at Guam, with one side flattish and the other with a
pretty big belly; and they have small slight outlayers[193] on one side.
Being thus thin and light, they are better managed with oars than with
sails: yet they sail well enough, and are steered with a paddle. There
commonly go twenty or thirty men in one of these canoes; and seldom
fewer than nine or ten. Their oars are short, and they do not paddle,
but row with them as we do.[194] The benches they sit on when they row
are made of split bamboos laid across, and so near together that they
look like a deck. The bamboos lie movable: so that when any go in to row
they take up a bamboo in the place where they would sit, and lay it by
to make room for their legs. The canoes of those of the rest of these
islands were like those of Nicobar, and probably they were alike in
other things; for we saw no difference at all in the natives of them who
came hither while we were here.

"But, to proceed with our affairs: it was, as I said before, the 5th day
of May, about ten in the morning, when we anchored at this island.
Captain Read immediately ordered his men to heel the ship, in order to
clean her, which was done this day and the next. All the water-vessels
were filled; they intended to go to sea at night, for the winds being
yet at N.N.E., the captain was in hopes to get over to Cape Comorin
before the wind shifted. Otherwise it would have been somewhat difficult
for him to get thither, because the westerly monsoon was not at hand.

"I thought now was my time to make my escape, by getting leave, if
possible, to stay here: for it seemed not very feasible to do it by
stealth, and I had no reason to despair of getting leave, this being a
place where my stay could, probably, do the crew no harm, should I
design it. Indeed, one reason that put me on the thoughts of staying at
this particular place, besides the present opportunity of leaving
Captain Read, which I did always intend to do as soon as I could, was
that I had here also a prospect of advancing a profitable trade for
ambergris with these people, and of gaining a considerable fortune to
myself. For in a short time I might have learned their language, and by
accustoming myself to row with them in their praus or canoes--especially
by conforming myself to their customs and manners of living--should have
seen how they got their ambergris, and have known what quantities they
got, and the time of the year when it most is found. And then afterwards
I thought it would be easy for me to have transported myself from
thence, either in some ship that passed that way, whether English, Dutch
or Portuguese, or else to have gotten one of the young men of the island
to have gone with me in one of their canoes to Achin, and there to have
furnished myself with such commodities as I found most coveted by them,
and therewith, at my return, to have bought their ambergris.

"I had, till this time, made no open show of going ashore here; but now,
the water being filled and the ship in readiness to sail, I desired
Captain Read to set me ashore on this island. He, supposing that I could
not go ashore in a place less frequented by ships than this, gave me
leave; which possibly he would have refused to have done if he thought I
should have gotten from hence in any short time, for fear of my giving
an account of him to the English or Dutch. I soon got up my chest and
bedding, and immediately got some to row me ashore, for fear lest his
mind should change again.

"The canoe that brought me ashore landed me on a small sandy bay, where
there were two houses, but no person in them. For the inhabitants were
removed to some other house, probably for fear of us; because the ship
was close by: and yet both men and women came aboard the ship without
any sign of fear. When our ship's canoe was going aboard again, they met
the owner of the houses coming ashore in his boat. He made a great many
signs to them to fetch me off again, but they would not understand him.
Then he came to me, and offered his boat to carry me off, but I refused
it. Then he made signs to me to go up into the house, and, according as
I did understand him by his signs, and a few Malayan words that he used,
he intimated that somewhat would come out of the woods in the night,
when I was asleep, and kill me, meaning, probably, some wild beast. Then
I carried my chest and clothes up into the house.

"I had not been ashore an hour before Captain Teat and one John Damerel,
with three or four men more, came to fetch me aboard again. They need
not have sent an armed _possé_ for me, for had they but sent the
cabin-boy ashore for me, I would not have denied going aboard. For
though I could have hid myself in the woods, yet then they would have
abused, or have killed, some of the natives, purposely to incense them
against me. I told them, therefore, that I was ready to go with them,
and went aboard with all my things.

"When I came aboard, I found the ship in an uproar; for there were three
men more, who, taking courage by my example, desired leave also to
accompany me. One of these was the surgeon, Mr Coppinger, the other was
Mr Robert Hall, and one named Ambrose--I have forgot his surname. These
men had always harboured the same designs as I had. The two last were
not much opposed, but Captain Read and his crew would not part with the
surgeon. At last the surgeon leaped into the canoe, and, taking up my
gun, swore he would go ashore, and that if any man did oppose it, he
would shoot him. But John Oliver, who was the quarter-master, leaped
into the canoe, taking hold of him, took away the gun, and with the help
of two or three more, they dragged him again into the ship.

"Then Mr Hall, and Ambrose, and I were again sent ashore; and one of the
men that rowed us ashore stole an axe and gave it to us, knowing it was
a good commodity with the Indians. It was now dark, therefore we lighted
a candle, and I, being the oldest stander in our new country, conducted
them into one of the houses, where we did presently hang up our
hammocks. We had scarce done this before the canoe came ashore again,
and brought the four Malayan men belonging to Achin (which we took in
the prau we took off Sumatra), and the Portuguese that came to our ship
out of the Siam junk at Pulo Condore: the crew having no occasion for
these, being leaving the Malayan parts where the Portuguese spark served
as an interpreter; and not fearing now that the Achinese could be
serviceable to us in bringing us over to their country, 40 leagues off;
not imagining we durst make such an attempt; as, indeed, it was a bold
one. Now we were men enough to defend ourselves against the natives of
the island, if they should prove our enemies; though if none of these
men had come ashore to me, I should not have feared any danger. Nay,
perhaps less, because I should have been cautious of giving any offence
to the natives: and I am of the opinion that there are no people in the
world so barbarous as to kill a single person that falls accidentally
into their hands, or comes to live among them, except they have been
injured by some outrage or violence committed against them. Yet, even
then, or afterwards, if a man could but preserve his life from their
first rage, and come to treat with them (which is the hardest thing,
because their way is usually to abscond, and rushing suddenly on their
enemy, to kill him unawares), one might by some slight, insinuate
oneself into their favours again. Especially by showing some toy or
knack that they did never see before, which any European that hath seen
the world might soon contrive to amuse them withal: as might be done
generally with a little fire struck with a flint and steel....

"As for these Nicobar people, I found them affable enough, and therefore
I did not fear them; but I did not much care whether I had gotten any
more company or no.

"But, however, I was very well satisfied, and the rather because we were
now men enough to row ourselves over to the island Sumatra; and
accordingly we presently consulted how to purchase a canoe from the

"It was a fine clear moonlight night in which we were left ashore,
therefore we walked in the sandy bay to watch when the ship would weigh
and be gone, not thinking ourselves secure in our new gotten liberty
till then. About eleven or twelve o'clock we saw her under sail, and
then we returned to our chamber, and so to sleep; this was the 6th of

"The next morning betimes, our landlord with four or five of his friends
came to see his new guests, and was somewhat surprised to see so many of
us, for he knew of no more than myself. Yet he seemed to be very well
pleased, and entertained us with a large calabash of toddy which he
brought with him. Before he went away again (for wheresoever we came
they left their houses to us, but whether out of fear or superstition I
know not) we bought a canoe of his for an axe, and we did presently put
our chests and clothes in it, designing to go to the south end of the
island, and be there till the monsoon shifted, which we expected every

"When our things were stowed away, we with the Achinese entered with joy
into our new frigate, and launched off from the shore. We were no sooner
off but our canoe overset, bottom upwards. We preserved our lives well
enough by swimming, and dragged also our chests and clothes ashore; but
all our things were wet. I had nothing of value but my journal and some
drafts of land of my own taking, which I much prized, and which I had
hitherto carefully preserved: Mr Hall had also such another cargo of
books and drafts, which were now like to perish. But we presently opened
our chests and took out our books, which, with much ado, we did
afterwards dry; but some of our drafts that lay loose in our chests were

"We lay here afterwards three days, making great fires to dry our books.
The Achinese in the meantime fixed our canoe with outlayers on each
side; and they also cut a good mast for her, and made a substantial sail
with mats.

"The canoe being now very well fixed, and our books and clothes dry, we
launched out the second time, and rowed towards the east side of the
island, leaving many islands to the north of us. The Indians of the
island accompanied us with eight or ten canoes against our desire; for
we thought that these men would make provision dearer at that side of
the island we were going to, by giving an account what rates we gave for
it at the place from whence we came, which was owing to the ships being
there, for the ship's crew were not so thrifty in bargaining (as they
seldom are) as single persons or a few men might be apt to be who would
keep to one bargain. Therefore, to hinder them from going with us, Mr
Hall scared one canoe's crew by firing a shot over them; they all leaped
overboard and cried out, but seeing us row away they got into their
canoe again and rowed after us.

"The firing of that gun made all the inhabitants of the island to be our
enemies. For presently after this we put ashore at a bay where were four
houses and a great many canoes; but they all went away, and came near to
us no more for several days. We had then a great loaf of melory, which
was our constant food; and if we had a mind to coconuts or toddy, our
Malayans of Achin would climb the trees and fetch as many nuts as we
would have, and a good pot of toddy every morning. Thus we lived till
our melory was almost spent; being still in hopes that the natives would
come to us, and sell it as they had formerly done. But they came not to
us; nay, they opposed us wherever we came, and after shaking their
lances at us, made all the show of hatred that they could invent.

"At last, when we saw that they stood in opposition to us, we resolved
to use force to get some of their food, if we could not get it other
ways. With this resolution, we went in our canoe to a small bay on the
north part of the island, because it was smooth water there, and good
landing; but on the other side, the wind being yet on that quarter, we
could not land without jeopardy of oversetting our canoe, and wetting
our arms, and then we must have lain at the mercy of our enemies, who
stood, 200 or 300 men in every bay where they saw us coming, to keep us

"When we set out we rowed directly to the north end, and presently were
followed by seven or eight of their canoes. They, keeping at a distance,
rowed away faster than we did, and got to the bay before us; and there,
with about twenty more canoes full of men, they all landed and stood to
hinder us from landing. But we rowed in within 100 yards of them. Then
we lay still, and I took up my gun and presented at them, at which they
all fell down flat on the ground. But I turned myself about, and to show
that we did not intend to harm them, I fired my gun off to sea, so that
they might see the shot graze on the water. As soon as my gun was loaded
again, we rowed gently in; at which some of them withdrew. The rest,
standing up, did still cut and hew the air, making signs of their
hatred; till I once more frightened them with my gun, and discharged it
as before. Then more of them sneaked away, leaving only five or six men
on the bay. Then we rowed in again, and Mr Hall, taking his sword in his
hand, leaped ashore; and I stood ready with my gun to fire at the
Indians if they had injured him, but they did not stir, till he came to
them, and saluted them.

"He shook them by the hand, and by such signs of friendship as he made,
the peace was concluded, ratified, and confirmed by all that were
present; and others that were gone were again called back, and they all
very joyfully accepted of a peace. This became universal all over the
island, to the great joy of the inhabitants. There was no ringing of
bells, nor bonfires made, for that is not the custom here, but gladness
appeared in their countenances, for now they could go out and fish again
without fear of being taken. This peace was not more welcome to them
than to us; for now the inhabitants brought their melory again to us,
which we bought for old rags and small strips of cloth as broad as the
palm of one's hand. I did not see above five or six hens, for they have
but few on the island. At some places we saw some small hogs, which we
could have bought of them reasonably; but we would not offend our
Achinese friends, who were Mahometans.

"We stayed here two or three days, and then rowed towards the south end
of the island, keeping on the east side, and we were kindly received by
the natives wherever we came. When we arrived at the south end of the
island, we fitted ourselves with melory and water. We bought three or
four loaves of melory, and about twelve large coconut shells that had
all kernel taken out, yet were preserved whole, except only a small hole
at one end; and all these held for us about 3-1/2 gallons of water. We
bought also two or three bamboos that held about 4 or 5 gallons more.
This was our sea-store.

"We now designed to go to Achin, a town on the N.W. end of the island
Sumatra, distant from hence about 40 leagues, bearing S.S.E. We only
waited for the western monsoon, which we had expected a great while, and
now it seemed to be at hand; for the clouds began to hang their heads to
the eastward, and at last moved gently that way, and though the wind was
still at east, yet this was an infallible sign that the western monsoon
was nigh.

(Ch. xviii.).--"It was the 15th day of May 1688, about four o'clock in
the afternoon, when we left Nicobar Island, directing our course towards
Achin, being eight men of us in company, viz., three English, four
Malayans who were born at Achin, and the mongrel Portuguese.

"Our vessel, the Nicobar canoe, was not one of the biggest, nor of the
least size. She was much about the burthen of one of our London wherries
below Bridge, and built sharp at both ends, like the forepart of a
wherry. She was deeper than a wherry, but not so broad, and was so thin
and light that when empty four men could launch her or hale her ashore
on a sandy bay. We had a good substantial mast, and a mat sail, and good
outlayers lashed very fast and firm on each side the vessel, being made
of strong poles. So that while these continued firm, the vessel could
not overset, which she would easily have done without them, and with
them too, had they not been made very strong; and we were therefore much
beholden to our Achinese companions for this contrivance.

"These men were none of them so sensible of the danger as Mr Hall and
myself, for they all confided so much in us, that they did not so much
as scruple anything we did approve of. Neither was Mr Hall so well
provided as I was, for before we left the ship, I had purposely
consulted our draft of the East Indies (which we had but one in the
ship), and out of that I had written in my pocket-book an account of the
bearing and distance of all the Malacca coast, and that of Sumatra,
Pegu, and all Siam, and also brought away with me a pocket compass for
my direction in any enterprise that I should undertake.

"The weather at our setting out was very fair, clear, and hot. The wind
was still at S.E., a very small breeze, just fanning the air, and the
clouds were moving gently from west to east, which gave us hopes that
the winds were either at west already abroad at sea, or would be so in a
very short time. We took this opportunity of fair weather, being in
hopes to accomplish our voyage to Achin before the western monsoon was
set in strong, knowing that we should have very blusterous weather after
this fair weather, especially at the first-coming of the western

"We rowed, therefore, away to the southward, supposing that when we were
clear from the island we should have a true wind, as we call it; for the
land hales the wind; and we often find the wind at sea different from
what it is near the shore. We rowed with four oars, taking our time. Mr
Hall and I steered also by turns, for none of the rest were capable of
it. We rowed the first afternoon and the night ensuing about 12 leagues
by my judgment. Our course was S.S.E.; but the 16th day, in the morning,
when the sun was an hour high, we saw the island whence we came, bearing
N.W. by N. Therefore I found we had gone a point more to the east than
I intended, for which reason we steered S. by E.

"In the afternoon at four o'clock we had a gentle breeze at W.S.W.,
which continued so till nine, all which time we laid down our oars, and
steered away S.S.E. I was then at the helm, and I found by the ripplings
of the sea that there was a strong current against us. It made a great
noise that might be heard half a mile. At nine o'clock it fell calm, and
so continued till ten. Then the wind sprung up again, and blew a fresh
breeze all night.

"The 17th day, in the morning, we looked out for the island Sumatra,
supposing that we were now within 20 leagues of it, and the distance
from Nicobar to Achin is 40 leagues. But we looked in vain for the
island Sumatra, for, turning ourselves about we saw, to our grief,
Nicobar Island lying W.N.W., and not above 8 leagues distant. By this it
was visible that we had met a very strong current against us in the
night. But the wind freshened on us, and we made the best use of it
while the weather continued fair. At noon we had an observation of the
sun; my lat. was 6° 55', and Mr Hall's was 7° N.

"The 18th day the wind freshened on us again, and the sky began to be
clouded. It was indifferent clear till noon, and we thought to have had
an observation; but we were hindered by the clouds that came on the face
of the sun when it came on the meridian. This oftens happens, that we
are disappointed of making observations by the sun's being clouded at
noon, though it shines clear both before and after, especially in places
near the sun; and this obscuring of the sun at noon is commonly sudden
and unexpected, and for about half an hour or more.

"We had then also a very ill passage (presage?), by a great circle about
the sun (five or six times the diameter of it), which seldom appears but
storms of wind, or much rain, ensue. Such circles about the moon are
more frequent, but of less import. We do commonly take great notice of
these that are about the sun, observing if there be any breach in the
circle, and in what quarter the breach is; for from thence we commonly
find the greatest stress of the wind will come. I must confess that I
was a little anxious at the sight of the circle, and wished heartily
that we were near some land. Yet I showed no sign of it to discourage my
consorts, but made a virtue of necessity, and put a good countenance on
the matter.

"I told Mr Hall that if the wind became too strong and violent, as I
feared it would, it being even then very strong, we must of necessity
steer away before the wind and sea till better weather presented; and
that as the winds were now, we should, instead of about 20 leagues to
Achin, be driven 60 or 70 to the coast of Cudda or Queda (Kedah) a
kingdom and town and harbour of trade on the coast of Malacca.

"The winds, therefore, bearing very hard, we rolled up the foot of our
sail on a pole fastened to it, and settled our yard within 3 feet of the
canoe sides, so that we had now but a small sail; yet it was still too
big considering the winds, for the wind being on our broadside, pressed
her down very much, though supported by her outlayers, in so much that
the poles of the outlayers going from the sides of the vessel bent as if
they would break; and should they have broken, our overturning and
perishing had been inevitable. Besides, the sea increasing, would soon
have filled the sea this way. Yet thus we made a shift to bear up with
the side of the vessel against the wind for a while; but the wind still
increasing about one o'clock in the afternoon, we put right away before
wind and sea, continuing to run thus all the afternoon and part of the
night ensuing. The wind continued increasing all the afternoon, and the
sea still swelled higher, and often broke, but did us no damage; for the
ends of the vessel being very narrow, he that steered received and broke
the sea on his back, and so kept it from coming in so much as to
endanger the vessel: though much water would come in, which we were
forced to keep heaving out continually. And by this time we saw it was
well we had altered our course, every wave would else have filled and
sunk us, taking the side of the vessel; and though our outlayers were
well lashed down to the canoe's bottom with rattans, yet they must
probably have yielded to such a sea as this, when even before they were
plunged under water, and bent like twigs.

"The evening of this 18th day was very dismal. The sky looked very
black, being covered with dark clouds; the wind blew hard, and the seas
ran high. The sea was already roaring in a white foam about us; a dark
night coming on, and no land in sight to shelter us, and our little ark
in danger to be swallowed by every wave; and what was worst of all, none
of us thought ourselves prepared for another world. The reader may
better guess than I can express, the confusion that we were all in. I
had been in many eminent dangers before now, some of which I have
already related, but the worst of them all was a play-game in comparison
with this. I must confess I was in great conflicts of mind at this time.
Other dangers came not upon me with such a leisurely and dreadful
solemnity. A sudden skirmish or engagement or so was nothing when one's
blood was up, and pushed forward with eager expectations. But here I had
a lingering view of approaching death, and little or no hopes of
escaping it; and I must confess that my courage, which I had hitherto
kept up, failed me here; and I made very sad reflections of my former
life, and looked back with horror and detestation on actions which
before I disliked, and I now trembled at the remembrance of. I had long
before this repented me of that roving course of life, but never with
such concern as now. I did also call to mind many miraculous acts of
God's providence towards me in the whole course of my life, of which
kind I believe few men have met with the like. For all these I returned
thanks in a peculiar manner, and this once more desired God's
assistance, and composed my mind as well as I could in the hopes of it;
and, as the event showed, I was not disappointed of my hopes.

"Submitting ourselves, therefore, to God's good providence, and taking
all care we could to preserve our lives, Mr Hall and I took turns to
steer, and the rest took turns to heave out the water, and thus we
provided to spend the most doleful night I ever was in. About ten
o'clock it began to thunder, lighten, and rain; but the rain was very
welcome to us, having drank up all the water we brought from the island.

"The wind at first blew harder than before, but within half an hour it
abated and become more moderate, and the sea also assuaged of its fury;
and then by a lighted match, of which we kept a piece burning on
purpose, we looked on our compass to see how we steered, and found our
course to be still east. We had no occasion to look on the compass
before, for we steered right before the wind, which if it shifted we had
been obliged to have altered our course accordingly. But now it being
abated, we found our vessel lively enough, with that small sail which
was then aboard, to hale our former course S.S.E., which accordingly we
did, being now in hopes again to get to the island Sumatra.

"But about two o'clock in the morning of the 19th day, we had another
gust of wind, with much thunder, lightning, and rain, which lasted till
day, and obliged us to put before the wind again, steering thus for
several hours. It was very dark, and the hard rain soaked us so
thoroughly that we had not one dry thread about us. The rain chilled us
extremely: for any fresh water is much colder than that of the sea. For
even in the coldest climates the sea is warm, and in the hottest
climates the rain is cold and unwholesome for man's body. In this wet
starveling plight we spent the tedious night. Never did poor mariners on
a lee-shore more earnestly long for the dawning light than we did now.
At length the day appeared, but with such dark black clouds near the
horizon, that the first glimpse of the dawn appeared 30 or 40 degrees
high, which was dreadful enough: for it is a common saying among seamen,
and true, as I have experienced, that a high dawn will have high winds,
and a low dawn small winds.

"We continued our course still east, before wind and sea, till about
eight o'clock in the morning of the 19th day; and then one of our
Malayan friends cried out, Pulo Way. Mr Hall and Ambrose and I thought
the fellow had said Pull away! an expression usual among English seamen
when they are rowing. And we wondered what he meant by it, till we saw
him point to his consorts; and then we looking that way, saw land
appearing, like an island, and all our Malayan friends said it was an
island at the N.W. end of Sumatra, called Way, for Pulo Way is the
island Way. We who were dropping with wet, cold, and hungry, were all
overjoyed at the sight of the land, and presently marked its bearing. It
bore south, and the wind was still at west, a strong gale, but the sea
did not run so high as in the night. Therefore we trimmed our small sail
no bigger than an apron, and steered with it. Now our outlayers did us a
great kindness again, for although we had but a small sail, yet the wind
was strong and pressed down our vessel's side very much. But being
supported by the outlayers, we could brook it well enough, which
otherwise we could not have done.

"About noon we saw more land beneath the supposed Pulo Way, and steering
towards it, before night we saw the coast of Sumatra, and found the
errors of our Achinese; for the high land that we first saw, which then
appeared like an island, was not Pulo Way, but a great high mountain on
the island Sumatra, called by the English the Golden Mountain. Our wind
continued till about seven o'clock at night, then it abated, and at ten
o'clock it died away; and then we stuck to our oars again, though all of
us quite tired with our former fatigues and hardships.

"The next morning, being the 20th day, we saw all the low land plain,
and judged ourselves not above 8 leagues off. About eight o'clock in the
morning we had the wind again at west, a fresh gale, and steering in
still for the shore, at five o'clock in the afternoon we run to the
mouth of a river on the island Sumatra, called Passange Jonca (Pasangan
River).[196] It is 34 leagues to the eastward of Achin and 6 leagues to
the west of Diamond Point, which makes with three angles of a rhombus,
and is low land.

"Our Malayans were very well acquainted here, and carried us to a small
fishing village within a mile of the river's mouth, called also by the
name of the River Passange Jonca.[197] The hardships of this voyage,
with the scorching heat of the sun at our first setting-out, and the
cold rain, with our continuing wet for the last two days, cast us all
into fevers, so that now we were not able to help each other, nor so
much as to get our canoe up to the village; but our Malayans got some of
the townsmen to bring her up.... The Malayans that accompanied us from
Nicobar separated themselves from us now, living at one end of the house
by themselves, for they were Mahometans, as all those of the kingdom of
Achin are; and though during our passage by the sea together we made
them be content to drink their water out of the same coco-shell as us,
yet being now no longer under that necessity, they again took up their
accustomed niceness and reservedness. They all lay sick, and as their
sickness increased, one of them threatened us that if any of them died,
the rest would kill us for having brought them this voyage; yet I
question whether they would have attempted it, or the country people
have suffered it. We made a shift to dress our own food, for none of
these people, though they were very kind in giving us anything that we
wanted, would yet come near us to assist us in dressing our victuals.
Nay, they would not touch anything that we used. We had all fevers, and
therefore took turns to dress victuals according as we had strength to
do it, or stomachs to eat it. I found my fever to increase, and my head
so distempered that I could scarce stand; therefore I whetted and
sharpened my penknife in order to let myself blood, but I could not, for
my knife was too blunt.

"We stayed here ten or twelve days, in hopes to recover our health, but
finding no amendment, we desired to go to Achin.... The natives ...
provided a large prau to carry us thither, we not being able to manage
our own canoe. Besides, before this, three of our Malayan comrades were
gone very sick into the country, and only one of them and the
Portuguese remained with us, accompanying us to Achin, and they both as
sick as we....

"Three days after our arrival here (Achin) our Portuguese died of a
fever. What became of our Malayans I know not. Ambrose lived not long
after; Mr Hall also was so weak that I did not think he would recover. I
was the best, but still very sick of a fever, and little likely to live.
Therefore Mr Driscol (an Irishman, and a resident in the factory which
our East India Company had there then) and some other Englishmen
persuaded me to take some purging physic of a Malayan doctor. I took
their advice, being willing to get ease; but after three doses (each a
large calabash of nasty stuff), finding no amendment, I thought to
desist from my physic, but was persuaded to take one dose more, which I
did, and it wrought so violently that I thought it would have ended my
days. It working so quick with me ... and my strength being almost
spent, I even threw myself down once for all.... I thought my Malayan
doctor, whom they so much commended, would have killed me outright. I
continued extraordinary weak for some days after his drenching me thus;
but my fever left me for above a week, after which it returned upon me
again for a twelvemonth, and a flux with it."



In 1778 Kar Nicobar was visited by Dr I. G. Koenig, a Swede, and pupil
of Linnæus. He spent many years in India, both as doctor to the Danish
missionaries at Tranquebar, and as naturalist to the Nabob of Arcot.
After visiting different parts of India and Ceylon, he started on an
expedition to Siam and Malacca, and as his account of the voyage will be
but little known to English readers, I have extracted from it such
portions as deal generally with the island, leaving out a quantity of
botanical matter.

A translation of all Koenig's diaries was made for the Straits Branch of
the Royal Asiatic Society, and appears in Nos. 26 and 27 of its

The account commences with the starting of the ship _Bristol_ from
Madras on August 8, 1778, on its way to Siam.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_August 31, 1778._--At 9 o'clock, land was discovered from the mast.
The sails were set and the course directed straight towards the land. A
quarter of an hour later, we could distinguish the land from the fore
deck; it rose before us like smoke, and seemed to be high and hilly.

"As we approached the land, we could from time to time distinguish some
white, sparkling spots, especially close to the summit of the mountain;
we took them to be chalk stone, but as we came nearer, we saw that they
were a peculiar kind of fields interspersed with green.

"Our captain knew this country very well: it was the first of the
Nequebar[198] islands, which is called 'Kare Nequebar.' He therefore
ordered the ship to be steered towards its north-eastern coast, in such
manner as not to come too near a stony bank stretching far into the sea.
The more we approached the land, the more agreeable it seemed to the
eye, on account of the pleasant change of wood with green fields, and
trees standing in thin rows between them. There was such perpetual
change of scenery, that it was almost impossible to believe this island
to be inhabited by uncivilized people. One field was specially
conspicuous. It reached in a slope down to the sea, and there was
bordered by a row of thinly planted trees, the waves beating against it
with great violence; in all other parts the sea was bordered by thick
trees like by a wall. After this we passed another side of the island
pretty closely, this coast not being dangerous at all, and at the same
time we came behind the wind. The ship cast anchor a quarter of a German
mile from the shore, the water being fifteen fathoms deep. It was then 3
o'clock in the afternoon.

"The country seemed to be level and flat for about one German mile, and
was thickly overgrown with trees down to the seashore. There were some
semicircular openings hewn out, in which one could perceive several
houses with thatched roofs.

"We had scarcely cast anchor, when some of the natives of Necquebar came
in their canoes; they arrived rowing in silence. Their canoes were long,
narrow, and pointed; they were hewn out of trees, the best of them
having a thin staff, about 1-1/2 man's height, right in front, at the
end of which was fastened a little flag, by means of diametrical pieces
of wood; the flag, however, was not movable, and stood out straight in
front. There were two bamboos tied to the top of the canoe, about 1 foot
apart from each other,[199] and at one side there was a kind of wing
fastened to the same, for the purpose of preventing the canoe from being

"This wing was made of two bamboo sticks as long as the eighth part of
the whole length of the boat, and to these were tied two other bamboo
sticks, which stood out at the two ends; they were twice as long as the
width of the boat, and at the end of these cross sticks another bamboo
was fastened, running parallel with the boat, and standing out as much
at the front part, as long as the pointed end of the canoe. The smaller
boats all had this arrangement, only they had no staff for the flag.
There were more than eight men rowing the big boats. Their oars were
lancet-shaped as far as the middle, and had a protruding sharp-cornered
point. They were thin and smooth, about 6 inches wide, the handle was
round and short, their whole length being about 4 feet; they were made
of a sort of brownish red wood.

"Those of the natives that came on board were mostly young, except their
captain, who was rather old; he had received a name from a European
captain, who frequently came hither, viz., Makintosh.

"Their figure is very much like that of the Malays; they had round heads
thickly covered with short coarse hair, a large forehead, round small
brown eyes, a flat nose, thick lips and large faces, big teeth red with
betel, and thin black beards; they were of a light brown colour. Their
shoulders were large, and they seemed to be muscular, their veins were
more prominent than is commonly the case with the black, their calves
were very much developed, but they were all only of medium stature.
Their clothing consisted of a piece of coarse blue linen, about three
fingers wide, which was wound several times round the lower part of
their body and taken up between the legs; some of them wore old straw
hats. At first sight the expression of their face seemed to be wild, but
one soon lost that impression; they showed few signs of any passion,
smiled in drawing their lips up on one side, and when they felt offended
they walked away without any sign of anger. The principal articles they
brought with them were coconuts. Some of them had little square boxes,
the biggest of them being one foot long; they were made from the sheaths
of the young leaves of the chamoerops,[200] and they contained many
varieties of amber[201] for sale. There were some pieces of one or two
drachms weight, and they were wrapped in leaves, among them one kind
very much resembling benzoin but not having the same odour. As much as I
could make out from the interpreter, this piece, like all the other
pieces, had been thrown on shore by the sea; it seemed to have been
burnt at one end.[202] The payment for these articles was mostly made in
tobacco or blue linen. My curiosity and longing to see the country were
very great, but the time passed with necessary arrangements in reference
to the ship and also in talking to the natives of Nacquebar. At last, at
4 o'clock the captain ordered the boat to be put out, and I set out for
the shore, feeling very glad and happy. But on nearing the land we
perceived a strong breaking of the waves against the shore. We chose a
little bay, which seemed to have sandy banks, because it was guarded on
both sides by high cliffs. A big wave seized the boat and threw it with
great violence against the shore; a second bigger wave followed, which
filled the boat, broke one of the oars, and some parts of the boat
itself, besides terrifying us greatly. I did not want to wait for the
third wave to come, but jumped down into the water, which reached up to
my waist, in order to escape a greater danger, and all I had taken with
me was soaked.

"The shore was rather steep in the beginning, and there were many little
bays, covered with a whitish-yellow sand. The above-mentioned stone
cliffs consisted of grey coarse chalkstone. Here and there big pieces of
different kinds of corals had been thrown up by the sea, among them one
kind which had the appearance of many knife-blades grown together. I do
not remember having seen any of this kind before. Higher up on the shore
there were innumerable varieties of blue, black, red, brown, and white
corals, among them also the so-called 'red organ.' I also found a
peculiar kind of very coarse sponge, and many kinds of shells were
thrown up very high; many of them had been thrown into the woods for
some little distance. The whole shore was not of a man's height, and it
almost immediately sloped down again towards the wood....

"... As it grew dark I went to one of the hamlets where about twenty
houses, most of them with pointed thatched roofs, stood on piles. The
principal houses, three in number, were placed in the middle, but each
separate from the other. They were built on piles about 10 to 12 inches
thick, and more than a man's height. Some of them had 24 to 30 of these
piles; they were bamboo, and one side was open, where a bench hung by
ropes, large enough to allow two people to sit upon, and so low, that
their feet when sitting would touch the ground. The roof of the real
dwelling-house was in some cases angularly pointed, in others rounder;
very few showed a long ridge. The access was gained by means of a narrow
well-made bamboo ladder, through a square hole, which was wide enough to
afford admission for a full-grown man; the floor consisted of broad sawn
planks of unequal length supported by the cross beams; these beams in
their turn resting on the above-mentioned piles. The big houses were
divided into storeys, the lower one being as high as two men, the upper
one was lower and more like a barn.

"Round about on the principal rafters, there were some bamboo sticks
hardly as thick as the thumb fastened across. This looked very nice; but
there were no windows at all, nor any to replace them, but the light
came only through the holes serving them for door, therefore it was very
dark. All their household implements were standing round about, mostly
tied to the bamboo; that which could not be kept in this manner had been
put into small boxes, which were one foot long, half a foot wide, and
hardly half a foot high, and were provided with lids, which were made,
as I have already said before, from the partitions sheaths of the young
chamoerops leaves. These little boxes had been tied to a bamboo, which
was fastened right across the room, and was therefore at some distance
from the roof.

"There was great cleanliness as regards the floor, and the air also was
very pure, not the faintest disagreeable odour could be detected. The
upper storey consisted only of bamboo sticks, they were thin, not tied
together, and resting on the cross beams; they had turned somewhat brown
through the smoke of the lamps, but I could not see that they kept any
provisions there, and on the whole they do not collect many provisions.
I saw some piles erected near some of the houses, they were more than
man's height, two cross piles were fastened to them, and here they
stewed some yam roots in the open air. They had no gardens, their houses
and also their outhouses stood among _Carica papaya_. Their weapons
consisted of small lances somewhat shaped like pikes, which were made of
smooth round sticks about as thick as a finger and three yards
long.[203] I saw some of them return with these kind of weapons. They
had been in the wood to fetch provisions for one or two days. I did not
see any fishing implements.

"There were two ships there, one of them an English three-master, the
second one lying further south with two masts, it was a French ship.
They were both loading coconuts, which they bought here very cheaply in
order to take them to Pegu, and to sell them there with great profit.

"Their women have almost the same appearance as their men, being strong
and muscular, but most of them had their hair shorn off. Their clothing
consisted of a blue cloth wound round their loins, or they wore an apron
made of leaves, which was cut in strips hardly one line wide, and
reached down to the knees; they were plaited together at the top and
hung round their bodies in layers almost two inches thick. These strips
seemed to have been taken from the borassi or chamoerops. Some
grown-up girls I saw here as well, their hair was cut off below the ear
and hung loosely round their head.

"However many people I saw here of different sex, I did not come across
any whom I could have termed old. The only exception was a woman,
apparently about fifty years old. The shortness of my stay here
prevented me to make further researches and inquiries, which besides
would have been very difficult considering the language and utter
simplicity of the natives. As far as I could observe they were very
vague in their ideas as regards years, months, weeks, days, and hours.

"Near one of the large houses I saw some piles; they were about ten
inches thick, square, and two and a half feet high. At the upper end
they had two holes, meeting in the middle like a cross; through them
were plaited many coloured ribbons both of linen and of cloth,
presenting the appearance of streamers; at their end there was a stick
about as high as a man, at the end of this a piece of white linen was
fastened of about two inches wide, looking like a flag; all this was
surrounded by a sort of conical figure of the sheaths of the
chamoerops, so that only in front a little piece of the streamers was
to be seen. I made inquiries as to these things, and they told me they
were monuments for the dead, and that lately three persons had died in
this house. I saw some more of the same kind of stakes which were
already old, but there was not one near every house.

"I saw some persons of both sexes wearing green fringes, and I inquired
why they were in this manner distinguished from the others; as much as I
could learn from my interpreter these were those who had held their
feast of love. This is always celebrated in the woods, never anywhere
else, and as a sign of this joy they wore these fringes; they were
really made from long pisang[204] leaves split through the middle and
fringed crossways. They are first worn round their neck, then across
their shoulders, and at last round their loins.

"My attention was attracted by a continual murmuring; I inquired into
its cause. It was the singing of some women, who wanted to cure another
of her headache. This afforded me at the same time the opportunity of
seeing the interior of their houses. I was admitted and allowed to
mount, and I found the invalid sitting on her feet, some of the women
lying near her, and four standing before her; one of them held something
in her hand, which was supposed to be some article for fumigating; I
could, however, neither see nor smell it. Their whole song consisted of
one tone, which was taken first at a very high pitch, but by repeating
it so often they slowly sank to the lowest notes, then they paused, and
one of them commenced again very high, and the others chimed in until
they had again arrived at the lowest notes. They kept on singing in this
way as long as I was there, which, however, was not very long, because
it soon grew dark. I felt the invalid's forehead, which was a little
warmer than ordinarily and covered with weak perspiration. Her hands
were also hot, and her pulse quicker than usual, which symptoms might
point to a cold in a body inclined to laziness.

"The number of children that I met here was not large either, and was
far smaller than what I had seen on the coast in villages of equal size.
I saw very few animals here; they kept some pigs near their houses, and
the pork is said to be of very good taste here, because they feed the
pigs on coconuts. There were also some small hens here, and a female
dog, very much like the pariah dogs, which I had seen on the coast, and
probably it was brought from there, only it seemed to have shorter legs
than the ordinary kind....

"... As it grew dark I left the country, where I should have liked to
stay for some days, but I feared we might not get safely through the
high waves. A _cicada_ sang in the wood in a strange manner--for me it
was a sad song. In the dark evening I picked up a little piece of
seaweed which had been thrown on shore. We were luckier than we had
feared to be as regards the starting from shore, which we left after
having explored the country for one hour and a half. After one hour's
journey both ways, we arrived on board at 7 o'clock.

"_September 1st._--Early this morning the anchors were hoisted, but
hardly had we left the land when a storm, combined with heavy showers of
rain, arose. The atmosphere was misty, and one of these stormy showers
was so violent and sudden that we almost perished. A new top-sail was
torn to pieces, the waves at the same time were uncommonly high, and the
whole sea like in a thunderstorm. I thanked God that I succeeded in
arranging the specimens which I had gathered on my journey."



    The Feast of Exhumation--A Scene in the Graveyard--"_Katap-hang_"--
    "_Kiala_"--"_Enwan-n'gi_"--Fish Charms--Canoe Offerings--"_Ramal_"--
    "_Gnunota_"--Converse with the Dead--"_Kewi-apa_"--"_Maya_"--
    "_Yintovna Síya_"--Exorcism--"_Tanangla_"--Other Ceremonies--The
    "_Sano-kuv_"--The "_Mafai_"--The "_Tamiluana_"--_Mafai_ Ceremonies--
    Burial--Mourning--Burial Scenes--The Origin of Village Gardens--
    Destruction of Gardens--Eclipses--Canoe-buying--Dances--Quarrels--
    "_Amok_"--Wizardry--Wizard Murders--Suicides--Land Sale and Tenure--
    Dislike to Strangers--Cross-bow Accidents--Canoe Voyages--Commercial

Amongst the Kar Nicobarese there are far more customs and ceremonies
than I could ascertain during a short visit, but in the following pages
an attempt has been made to chronicle all those that came to my
knowledge. Many of them were elicited by questioning Mr V. Solomon, the
Government Agent on the island, but still more are extracted from his
diaries as printed in the Supplements of the _Andaman and Nicobar
Gazette_. For the accuracy, therefore, of much of this chapter, Mr
Solomon is responsible.

Of all the observances, customs, and ceremonies of Nicobarese life, that
of _Kana Awn_, where the bones of the dead are exhumed, is perhaps the
most important. Literally it is called _Ka-al-awn_--feast of pigs'

It is a very laborious and costly festival, commemorated every third or
fourth year, with much ceremony commingled of joy and sorrow.

All the islanders cannot observe it at one limited period, nor can the
people of one whole village do so conjointly with each other. If a few
families of a village commemorate the feast during one year, other
families will undertake it at some other convenient year, which will be
at a time when their stores are abundant, and after sufficient delay for
the bones of their deceased to become denuded of flesh.

The festival is conducted with much expenditure and demonstration, and
differs slightly in each village.

It consists of a course of ceremonies continuing from one full moon to
another, and commences as follows:--

About ten months prior to the occasion, all the people of a village
consult together to fix the festival month, and then inform the rest of
the villages, and obtain their promise of assistance. They next send
messengers to give notice to all the villages of the island of their
intentions, and bear preliminary invitations (_mahau-karé_). Of these
there are two kinds--general and special. The general invitation is
given to friends and relatives, that they may join them in the feast and
help in various respects. The special invitation is sent by one family
of the commemorators of the ceremony to the people of a whole village,
that the hosts may give a performance in their house on the occasion. If
ten families of a village commemorate the feast, they would invite the
people of ten distant villages for this purpose, while those of three
adjacent villages would be invited generally.

Their first duty, after sending out invitations, is to make a _ñá-kopáh_
(feast for the dead). Some well-carved wooden poles, fifty or sixty feet
in height, with cross battens, are prepared and planted in the ground at
_Elpanam_, and in the village in front of the houses of the
commemorators. On these the people hang up varieties of yams and
plantains; bundles of sireh leaf; bunches of coconuts, areca-nuts,
pandanus, fruit, cheroots, and other eatables to which they are
accustomed; in all, about fifty kinds. Below the posts they place
teakwood boxes containing new clothes and jewels; bottles of toddy and
earthen pots from Chaura, all fenced in carefully. These arrangements
are decorated from top to bottom with flags, etc., until they look like
Indian processional cars. This work is the occupation of about thirty
men for three months. From the day the _ñá-kopáh_ is commenced, the
natives are restricted from killing pigs in the village.

On these occasions they take great pains in repairing their cooking
huts, erecting new ones, and in making new roads and paths up to the
boundaries of their village in every direction. The open ground at
_Elpanam_ and the graveyard are also cleared and kept tidy, and in the
meanwhile they make every effort to secure sufficient quantities of
provisions for the festival. A month before this begins some more
_ñá-kopáhs_, similar to the above, are prepared with fresh eatables,
which, however, are not set out until a week before the feast. When this
is done, final invitations (_mi-nga-la_) are sent to all the guests.

Besides this, a week before the opening day _kare-yeng-chón_ (headstones
of graves) are made in the following manner:--A well-shaped, round log
of wood, about 3 feet long and 9 inches in diameter, having two through
holes crossing each other near one end, is prepared and kept in
readiness. At the approach of the feast a number of men and women
together adorn it by rolling round it a piece of white calico and
fringing it with red or blue cloth. Four large soup-ladles are fastened
to the holes and to the middle of the log, a cross-shaped iron pike,
about 6 feet long, called _meráhta_, ornamented with many spoons, forks
and soup-ladles,[205] is fixed. To it also are attached toys, dolls, and
fancy weapons, with other curiosities, which all add to the gorgeous
appearance of the object. Some families keep this in the newly-erected
cookhouse, others in the open yard. They particularly take the guests
and friends to see it in order to show that they are wealthy.

The men then construct, for temporary use, two or three long bamboo
cages, with separate enclosures, so that a dozen pigs may be put in each
cage. One is built underneath, and the others in front of the house.

Meanwhile, the canoes are decorated, filled with many kinds of
provisions, and drawn up in front of the houses.

All this is done with the help of friends from neighbouring villages,
who, neglecting their own affairs, willingly come and assist, even
bringing with them food sufficient for their needs until the close of
the festival.

After all these preparations are completed, there commences the
preliminary ceremony called _Vani pati_ (house decoration), which takes
place a day before the festival. The interiors of the houses are
decorated profusely with coco-palm leaves, goian (Arum) plants, and
flags. Bunches of tender coconuts, areca-nuts and plantains are tied all
about the posts of the house outside, that the guests may partake at
pleasure. Several pieces of chintz, red cloth, and calico are hung from
strings in the interior, and beneath the house as well, and the
_meráhta_, with the ornamented canoes, are placed on either side of the
_ñá-kopáh_. The bamboo pig-pens are also decorated, and when all this is
completed they kill a pig, sprinkle the blood over all as a sacrifice,
and dance and sing around the house, with their guests, for the first

Now comes the first act. On the festival evening the people bring, with
songs, numbers of pigs from their jungle piggeries, and placing them in
the cages, dance before them. Those animals put in the cage beneath the
house are merely for exhibition, as a proof of wealth, though, at the
same time, they are dedicated to a future festival. In the cages outside
are left those pigs that are to be slaughtered for the present occasion,
and there is yet another cage in which are confined those brought to
them by their friends as a festive gift.

_Kiriam Hetpat_ (dancing in bright light) is the second and chief
festival. By eight or nine in the evening, the village is filled with
almost the whole of the islanders; a group of one village in one house.
The special and general guests assemble in gangs in their respective

The men are adorned with new loin-cloths of various kinds and colours,
with the _tá-chökla_, or chaplet, and _tasses_--necklaces made of silver

The women wear necklaces, "ear-distenders," bangles--made by twisting
silver wire round arm and leg--and strings of silver coins as head
ornaments. A pair of red Madras handkerchiefs, or two yards of red cloth
and two of Chinese blue, stitched together, are worn as the principal

Some come already dressed, others bring their attire with them, and don
it on the spot.

The special guests bring ten or a dozen pigs of moderate size, as
presents to those by whom they are invited. (Here it may be said that
the people, although well acquainted in general, never call each other
friends promiscuously. Whoever contributes a gift during this festival
to another, is alone his true friend. There is a regular agreement about
this, and special invitations for any occasion are only given by turns.)
The women bring with them baskets of prepared food--pandanus bread,
boiled yams, rice--and with this, and with pork presented by the hosts,
they refresh themselves during the night.

Dancing and singing then take place. The men give their performance
first, and when they are fatigued, they make way for the women, and so
it goes on, turn and turn about. The former in their dance go through
various motions of sitting, rising, bending, and jumping, but the women
only attempt a series of steps.[206] This proceeding continues in the
compound of each festival party throughout the night.

In the morning, while dancing still continues, there are brought forward
some strong wooden cages, about 4 feet long and 3 feet in height and
breadth--some in shape like a palanquin, and some dome-shaped like the
houses. These cages are gaily decorated with flags, chintz, and gilt
jewellery. On the top of each a platform with curtains is prepared, and
on either side stout bamboo poles are fastened. A huge long-tusked boar
adorned with jewellery is placed in each cage, and a man, woman, and
boy, seat themselves on the platform with a quantity of plantains and

When everything is ready, new red loin-cloth and _tá-chöklas_ are
supplied to the guests. Then the cages, with the pigs inside, and with
the people upon them, are carried round from house to house in a
procession, with singing and dancing, each borne by about forty men or
women. Those who are not able to construct a cage, carry, as a
substitute, long bamboos, across which the pig, with bound legs, is
fastened. As they proceed, betel-nuts and plantains are distributed by
those on the cages. In this way they march round the village, and return
to the starting-point, _viâ Elpanam_, the teams of women as they stagger
along with their heavy burden giving rise to much amusement.

When the procession is over the natives release the pigs in the cars, as
well as nearly all the others, detaining only those that are to be
slaughtered on that day for the guests. Then after felling the poles of
the _ñá-kopáh_ by cutting them with an axe, 6 feet above the ground,
they scatter the food in the jungle and fence the site. The canoes and
other articles are broken to pieces and thrown away, and only the
_meráhta_, or iron pike, is preserved, with its decorations, to be made
use of later.

Next comes _Henghawa_, meaning "In return." A dozen or more pigs of
ordinary size are distributed by the inviting party to the group of
performers. These may kill and eat them on the spot, or take them away
to their homes. This present is made in place of giving a feast. The
dancing party who receive it would, according to their own numbers, kill
a few of the pigs, cut them into pieces, and distribute the flesh among
the families of their group. They roast the pieces, eat as much as they
like, and take the remaining portions away with them. The pigs that are
not killed will also be taken to their village, and will be there
reserved for some public occasion. As a rule, the people who receive the
present must be ready to give away a similar one in their turn when the
same festival occurs in their village.

The spectacle of these people as they depart, men, women, young and old,
each with a load of roasted pork either fastened to long sticks, strung
on cords, or packed in baskets, affords further amusement.

The general guests--the people of the nearest villages--will remain till
the close of the feast to assist the hosts, and to give further
performances of dancing and singing every night. They take their share
of the food with the commemorators.

With their help the amusements are renewed, and on the following morning
the big pigs, which were carried in procession, are slaughtered and cut
into long strips, some of which, generally the spinal portions, are
suspended at the entrance of the houses, as offerings to the evil
spirits, and are there allowed to remain until the next celebration of
_Kana-Awn_. Several pieces will also be distributed to friends and

Before these pigs are killed it is customary for young men to wrestle
with them, and many of them are often so severely gored by the long
tusks of the animals that they have to be carried away in litters.

This portion of the festival is called _Yeng Awn_--the great boar--for
each of the animals which are dedicated to the purpose is looked on as a
sacred creature, and is offered as a sacrifice in token of the last head
of the family who died.

From the remaining portions of pork they separate the fatty part and
prepare lard from it by pounding it in a wooden mortar and boiling it
down in an earthen vessel. This lard is preserved in coconut shells and
eaten with meals like butter. A few shellsfull are presented to those of
their friends who have assisted them. This portion of the ceremony is
called _Wanaka Kuv_ (making lard), and with the immediately preceding
stage lasts for four or five days. Then commences the ceremony of _Kisu
ta el pati_, during which all the decorations of the houses are removed,
and dancing and singing take place inside. This is done in order to
purify the house.

Next, the practice of _Tanang alah_ (prevention) takes place; and
throughout the day the people busy themselves covering the houses and
huts in _Elpanam_ with green coco-palm leaves, to prevent pollution by
the disinterred bones of next day's proceedings. They take their supper
in _Elpanam_, and dance there all night.

At this point, the climax of the whole is reached in _Anúla Kopáh_, or
_Ula Kopáh_ (digging the graves). The women, children, and others stand
at a distance from the graveyard, and one or two of the adults belonging
to each of the houses commemorating, open the respective graves, remove
the bones, and throw them in an adjoining bush called _Tam n'gi
Kopáh_[207]--burial-place of bones (ossuary). But they replace in the
graves the skulls of respected people or heads of families, and after
refilling the holes with earth, place over them the new _kuimitila_ or
_kare-yeng-chón_ (headstones). Before the skulls are replaced, however,
they are sprinkled with the blood of fowls and young pigs.

The men who break open the graves are termed _takkuwi_ (polluted) and
when all is over they bathe in the sea, and then spend the night in the
"house of pollution," after a period of feasting and dance in the
_Elpanam_, called _Kiriam Anúla_ (digging dance).

Two or three days later the coco-palm leaves are removed from
the houses at _Elpanam_, and another performance is held called
_Kiriam-nga-rit-roi-ta-oka_ (dance for clearing up coconut rubbish).
Next morning sports and a little wrestling take place.

Finally, the people invite some of the _mafais_ of adjacent villages to
give a performance, and entertain them with gifts and feasting. This
ceremony is called _Afai tapoia_, or _Mafai tapira_--grand _mafai_
dance. When it is concluded some other village is challenged to a canoe
race, and a dance and feast follow. With this ends the festival of _Kana

When everything is over they carefully gather together the jawbones of
the pigs that have been killed in every house, fasten them to a long
rattan, and hang them up in the public building at _Elpanam_. In this
way a comparison is made between past and present wealth, and proof is
afforded of the splendour of a ceremony that impoverishes many of the
hosts for years to come.

The following is an account of the ceremony of _Anúla_, or _Ula Kopáh_,
as it was actually carried out in the village of Lapáti on the east
coast of Kar Nicobar. It was preceded by the usual festival of _Kana

Of the _takkuwis_ (polluted ones) who were engaged in digging the
graves, the men wore white loin cloths and the women petticoats of a
similar colour. The graveyard was thickly screened by coco-palm leaves.

All the big houses in _Elpanam_, and the cooking huts in the village,
were so thickly covered with leaves that no breeze could penetrate. A
wall of palm leaves and four temporary huts were erected in each corner,
that the _takkuwis_ might take refreshment. Several pieces of white
calico and Turkey red cloth were kept in these houses for wrapping up
the bones. Those graves to be left untouched were covered with white
cloth and neatly decorated.

Whilst each grave was being opened one of the _tamiluanas_ stood at the
head and fanned it with a bunch of "devil-expelling" leaves, and another
man kept in readiness a palm-spathe and piece of white calico. When the
grave-digger took out the skull it was cleaned by hand, carefully rolled
in the calico, and placed in the spathe; all the other bones were then
collected in the same spathe, which was taken away and placed over large
yams scattered below the "deadhouse," where it was wrapped and bound
with red and white calico. About fifty graves were opened, and the bones
similarly treated. A few bundles were reinterred, but the others were
taken away to a place called _Kofenté_ (place of pollution), where they
were opened, the bones thrown away and the cloth torn to rags.

After this the grave-diggers went to the sea and washed their hands and
legs, and a few bathed entirely.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is an account of the observance of _Katap-hang_, or
lighting the _Elpanam_.

For several days a number of young men and women are engaged in cleaning
out _Elpanam_. During this process they are not allowed to touch
eatables meant for others, nor may they enter the village, as they are
considered polluted while at work. When it is over the women collect all
the coconut husks they can obtain, and arrange them in lines about the
_Elpanam_ and round the houses in it.[208]

The nuts are set fire to after sunset, and the people pass the night in
singing and dancing, in several groups, lighted by the fires. Whenever
they feel tired they eat, the proper food for the occasion being
land-crabs, which have been collected during the previous week.

A spittoon of palm leaf is placed in the centre of each group, and into
it go all the cheroot ends and betel-nut quids, to prevent pollution of
the ground of _Elpanam_, which is now purified and fit for the
habitation of spirits.

During the dancing the men cover their loins with a wrapping of plantain
leaf, which makes them look like women. The women run about all night
keeping the coconut shells alight.

About five o'clock in the morning the performance comes to an end, and
then a number of women sweep out _Elpanam_, collecting the ashes and
other rubbish, which are thrown into the sea. The men, with much
excitement, take the outriggers from the canoes, and placing some of
these under the _Elpanam_ houses, bear others to the village, covering
all with palm leaves. All portable property, pots, etc., is taken out of
the houses in _Elpanam_, and, closing the doors, the people march away
to the village (only the sick and one or two attendants, and those who
dug the last grave, are left behind).

Silence has now to be observed for a month; no fire or light may be
seen, and no cheroot smoked in the place: women and children are
interdicted from entering, but should they be compelled to do so, they
must make no noise, and if at night, must leave their light at the

The people can give no account of the origin of this observance. Some
allude to "custom," and others say that it is because so many spirits
visit the place at this season.

Thirty days after the festival concludes, a great feast is given to the
spirits, and they are sent back to the jungle.

Canoes are kept beneath the houses for several months, until the
festival of _Kiala_, or fetching food, when they are brought to the
beach at _Elpanam_, caulked, and made ready for use.

On the day of _Kiala_ the men are out all day, with hook and line,
fishing. When they return in the evening with their catch, each
immediately offers as a sacrifice to the canoe a mixture of chopped fish
and other materials, which are made into a paste and applied to the
vessel. The fish they have caught are skewered on bamboo and roasted.
Those unable to go during the day set out at night with torches prepared
for the occasion.

Next day is _Anoi-ila_, a holiday, and in the morning all assemble in
the houses at _Elpanam_ and partake collectively of the roasted fish
with other things. Then they sleep till evening, and do no work.

A day following closely is called _Enwan-n'gi_ (fishing again for the
children). As a rule, the fish caught on the first expedition is all
consumed at the general banquet, but this is taken to the houses and
eaten there. A holiday again follows.

To attract fish to their shores it is customary for the villages to
erect on the beach at _Elpanam_, when the sea is calm, a number of long
bamboos decorated with leaves, etc. This practice is called
_Ma-ya-kuv-ka-ma-ka_--Papa is going this way to fetch fish. The poles
remain for four days, and after they are removed, the large canoes
obtained at Chaura are fed (_Ngya áp_), and fowls are offered to them in

Sacrifice is generally offered to these canoes thrice in each month--on
seeing the new moon, at full moon, and on the waning of the moon.

A ceremony called _Ramal_ is held in honour of the safe return of the
canoes that periodically make the customary voyages to Chaura for
pottery. It consists of feasting, dancing, and singing, as do most of
the Nicobarese observances. These songs and dances are composed some
time before the events and carefully practised during the interval.

The ceremony of _Gnunota_ is held on behalf of those drowned during this
annual voyage to Chaura, and is practised, instead of burial and the
ceremony of _Kana Awn_, on occasions when the bodies are not available.

The death of a Nicobarese when absent is regarded with much greater
concern than when such an event takes place at home. This is quite in
accordance with European feeling.

A belief that the Chaura men are great exponents of _wizardry_ is deeply
rooted throughout the group. One of the M[=u]s canoes having been lost
on the return from that island, the _tamiluanas_ told the people that
the Chaura men had a grudge against the people of M[=u]s, which,
however, they did not like to satisfy in the island, but caused the
visitors to be destroyed while at sea, by means of the black art,
through which a tempest was raised during their return voyage.

The _tamiluanas_ possess the power of conversing with the spirits of the
dead, and they informed the village that they had seen this deceased
party, who stated that they had perished from hunger, and now wanted

M[=u]s, therefore, was ordered to offer sacrifice, and accordingly the
people contributed spoons, forks, clothes, and silver wire, besides
killing pigs and preparing meals in each house.

After the sacrifice (_Gnunota_) had been made the _tamiluanas_ gave out
that all the souls were satisfied with the meals and other things, but
that "Davy Jones," the leader of the unfortunate party, was displeased
with the offering!

Feasts are partaken of, and sacrifices made in the graveyard, in honour
of deceased ancestors, whose spirits sometimes reveal themselves to the
_tamiluanas_. These occasions are called _Ma-la-hal_.

       *       *       *       *       *

A series of festivals indulged in begins with a day called _Kewi-apa_.
On this day, the people of M[=u]s clear a portion of the jungle in the
interior, and decorate the spot with palm leaves, bringing from it
_Síya_--the devil--to _Elpanam_. All the houses at _Elpanam_, and the
space there, are decorated. The people of Arong (a neighbouring village)
and M[=u]s then go there and take part in a performance lasting all
night, for which they have practised during the past month. Other
villages come as spectators and guests. The next morning there is a
feast, at which special materials are pigs and jungle crabs. When it is
over, a wrestling match closes the ceremony.

On the third and following days, all the people, and those of the
neighbouring villages, are engaged in preparing for the feast of _Kial_,
to which many villages come as guests.

The day preceding the feast of _Kial_ is called _Mu-nung-ren_, or "day
of preparation." Poles are brought from the jungle, tied round the
houses at _Elpanam_, and covered with tender palm leaves, while new
cooking places are prepared below each house. The interior of the houses
and the compounds are decorated. From sunrise till dark the women are
busy preparing _kusuhu_, a confection of yams, green and ripe plantains,
coconut, and oil; and meanwhile, the men sing songs in honour of the
large canoes, which, kept for the past month in the interior, are
brought to _Elpanam_, immersed in the sea, and decorated.

Next day is the day of _Kial_, or "taking food." From morning till night
the people are engaged in feasting their guests, in dining together in
groups, and in sending to their friends and neighbours _kusuhu_, pork
and fowls.

At midday a cry of supplication is heard from each building--"Let our
house be always supplied with abundance of food; let us have many edible
gifts from other villages; let there come new women to our village; let
us be happy."

This day is one of much rejoicing, for the natives consider the _kusuhu_
one of their greatest delicacies.

Next day is called _Anoi-ila_--day of rest for the people.

Then, the eighth after _Kewi-apa_, comes the day _Ha-chu_, on which they
take back the devil to the jungle with more ceremony. Having returned
from this, they engage in a hunt, with the aid of dogs, for jungle pigs.

The day following is _Anoi-ila_; on the next, a second pig hunt takes
place; and finally, one more "day of rest" ends the festival.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Maya_, or _Vani-el-kui_, means "top decoration," and for this, long
green bamboos are brought from the jungle and encircled with leaves from
top to bottom. They are then fixed round the graveyard at _Elpanam_, to
the accompaniment of ceremonies led by the _tamiluanas_, with spirit
exorcising paraphernalia.

During the three days following, the people prepare two large rafts, of
canoe shape, and equip them with sails of palm leaf, dry palm leaf
torches, and bunches of "devil-expelling" leaves. This work is done by
the young men and women, the _tamiluanas_ and other elderly people being
engaged, meanwhile, in singing by turns, through night and day, in one
of the houses at _Elpanam_. The _tamiluanas_ frequently come down and
walk along the beach with their exorcising rods, and forbid the devil to
enter the village.

The fourth day is called _Yintovna Síya_--expelling the devil by sails.
In the evening, the whole of the village assembles at _Elpanam_ with
bunches of "devil-expelling" leaves, the women with baskets of ashes in

A number of men, with an escort of _tamiluanas_, carry one of the floats
to the sea, on the right side of the cemetery, and propel it some
distance from the shore; when they return, another body of men
despatches the other craft from the left side of the graveyard. The
bearers, on reaching shore, are supplied with bundles of leaves, and as
soon as the vessels reach deep water, the women throw ashes from the
shore, and the whole crowd shouts, "Fly away, devil, fly away, never
come again." Then all the decorated bamboos are removed, one after
another, and all the leaves thrown into the sea; from each bamboo, as it
is taken down, the devil is expelled.

Should the canoes sail off toward Chaura, much rejoicing is occasioned.
One seems to contain an evil, the other a benignant spirit. The latter
may possibly return and inform the _tamiluanas_ that the devil has
reached Chaura, and in token of this, there will be found near the
graveyard a new Chaura pot, a chicken, a paddle, or similar objects.

If this occurs, there is a day of rejoicing, called _Amhai_, when pigs
and fowls are offered as a sacrifice to the conquering spirit, and a
grand feast and dance take place at night.

This is an annual ceremony, commemorated in turn by all the village, but
unfortunately, as with their other customs and ceremonies, the
islanders, whose knowledge of their origin is limited, can give no clear
reason for its inception, although there must be a perfectly adequate
one, and state only that they do it because it is "custom."

Festivals called _Maya_ and _Inturga_ are also commemorated to drive the
jungle devils into the sea.

One of the most effectual means of _exorcising devils_ is by fanning
with leaves. The M[=u]s racing canoe, having returned to the village
soon after a death had taken place there, was not received in the usual
manner. Two elderly men who were on the beach, waiting, ran down before
the canoe could touch the shore, and hurriedly brushed it, and the men
in it, with brooms. They then brought the canoe ashore, and fanned it
with coco-palm leaves, so that the dead man's ghost might not take

When the north-east monsoon sets in, the sea is very rough on the east
coast, and many people become seriously ill, the result being that there
are always a greater number of deaths than usual in that part of the

All the villages there situated accordingly take in hand the process of
_Tanangla_, which signifies "support" or "prevention."

In this, they fence _Elpanam_ with palm leaves, and festoon the houses
and pathways with various kinds of shrubs and grasses. They also prepare
huge images in human form, by twisting palm leaves round logs of wood,
and place these about their houses.

An old man lost his teeth, and to celebrate the fact, gave a great feast
to a large body of people who came to it from other villages. The giver
was adorned with silver wire from head to foot, and made to sit in a
_kantéra_ (_mafai's_ chair) in honour of his departed grinders.

A man was bitten by a snake, with serious consequences. When he
recovered, he invited his friends to a feast, and performed the ceremony
of _Ke luing alaa_, which consisted in waving a lighted palm-leaf torch
round his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

The natives apparently possess the right to assume various social
distinctions at will.

There is a class of men termed _Sanokuv_ which numbers many individuals
in its ranks. _Sanokuv_ seems to mean a bashful or delicate person.

These men will not eat any food cooked by others, neither will they use
well-water, nor partake of pigs and chickens reared in the village, as
they consider these unclean. The water they require they obtain either
from a jungle stream, or by collecting rain. They will not drink toddy
made from trees near the village, but draw it from distant palms.
Everything is partaken of from special vessels; toddy is sucked from a
bamboo through a reed, of which the mouth-end is capped with a larger as
soon as the drink is finished. They are, however, willing to accept
bread, biscuits, and rum from others, but the latter is drunk from a new
coconut shell, and never from a glass.

The whole proceeding seems to be a variant of the Hindu institution of

The _Mafai_ is another peculiarity of the Nicobar social organisation.

The Kar Nicobarese take great interest in the creation of _mafais_, and
in conducting _mafai_ performances. They give much of their property,
time, and labour to a _mafai_, and look on him as somewhat sacred. He
is a man who, recovering from a serious illness, decides to do no work
for some time to come; in fact, he continues to be an invalid, and
henceforth neither obtains nor cooks food, but is supported by the

The word _mah_ means "sir," and is used to indicate one who is a
superior, and is employed as a term of respect towards men and women of
some age: the chief of a village, the head of a family, or parents, are
styled _mah_. _Fai_ means "inspired." _Mafai_ therefore means "an
inspired man," _i.e._, a seer.

A person may at the first stage of his recovery from a severe and
long-standing illness, or an attack of delirium, inform his relatives
that he has received a revelation, and therefore desires to become a
_mafai_. This is communicated to the _tamiluanas_, and they, as well as
other elderly people of the village, assemble in his house, and after
making a formal examination, pronounce the verdict, _tafuknu
chuat_--"sunken eyes."

A preliminary ceremony is then performed, called _Hanata_--"adorning the
invalid." They spread round his couch "devil-expelling" leaves from
_Mal_,[209] and decorate the cane wall of the house, at his side, with
festoons, tassels, beads, wire, garlands, etc., placing near him spoons,
forks, and other electro-plated ware, with a few bottles of toddy.

They twist silver wire about his neck, arms, and legs, and adorn him
with necklaces, tassels, breastplate, and armlets, made of silver coins,
and then place him in a large decorated chair with a Chinese straw hat
on his head. A silver-handled stick (sceptre of the _tamiluana_) and a
small dagger to kill the devil are given him, together with a bottle of
toddy, furnished with a hollow reed to suck the liquid through.

He is now proclaimed a _mafai_, and information is sent to his friends
and relatives in other villages, who all come with presents to see the
holy man.

From this time forward, until he is thoroughly recovered, the people of
his village, with other friends and relatives, provide his food and
other necessaries by turns. This they do on a liberal scale.

There is a performance every night in the village, lasting till
midnight, during which he sits on a chair in the midst of the ring of
dancers, whom sometimes he may join. This exercise is to increase his
strength, and he is freely supplied with toddy, as it is considered a

From time to time his neighbours take him, sometimes spontaneously and
sometimes by invitation, from house to house and village to village, in
procession, and give performances. _Ai-yu-a-kare_ is one of these, and
means "going to a feast adorned with jewels."

He never walks, but is always carried in a _kantéra_ (chair), which in
shape resembles a palanquin, covered with chintz and decorated with
spoons, forks, and soup-ladles. The chair is borne by a dozen strong
men. The spectacle of a returning _mafai_ and his party is extremely
comical, for, besides being fatigued by the night's exertions, every one
is completely intoxicated.

The people venerate the _mafai_ exceedingly, and take him at midnight to
the sick, that he may heal them by touch or by shampooing, when he
pretends to extract gravel and stones from the bodies of the invalids.

So matters continue until the _mafai_ considers himself strong enough to
work for his living, when, with the approval of the _tamiluanas_, he
resigns his _mafai_-ship in a final ceremony called _Luinj-lare
Mafai_--undressing the _mafai_.

The same man may eventually become a _tamiluana_ (one who chases
devils), or he may become _Yom Ap_ and _Yom Elpanam_, _i.e._,
"Grandfather or Guardian of Chaura canoes, and Guardian of _Elpanam_."

The _mafai_ is a peg on which many festivals and customs are hung. The
following ceremony is one as occasionally carried out in the village of
M[=u]s. It is called _Amutna Kuv_--revealing to the invalid.

The _tamiluanas_ of the village decorate themselves and go to a place
called _Mal_, outside the village, and there clear a certain spot in the
midst of thick bush. They take with them a few yards of red cloth, a
cage containing a score of fowls, a basket of pork, and other things,
and hide all under different bushes at some distance from the cleared

To it, with a number of followers, they lead the _mafai_ in procession,
and a dance with singing is held.

While the party in general is dancing, the _tamiluanas_ take the _mafai_
apart to one of the bushes and point out to him one of the concealed
articles, telling him that it is a gift miraculously sent him by a
deceased relative. All then return and join the dancing party. This
action is repeated until all the articles are pointed out to the

The red cloth is then torn into strips and distributed to the men for
loin cloths, and all the other objects are taken to the _mafai's_ house,
while afterwards the people renew the singing and dancing for the whole

The site in _Mal_ the people consider to be something like Hades, and
they believe that the spirits of the dead, immediately after life is
ended, take up their abode in it. Consequently they never approach it on
ordinary occasions, nor do they gather coconuts from the place, though
the palms grow there thickly.

When a person becomes ill, or when it is desired to expel the devil from
anyone, the _tamiluanas_ first resort there to consult with their
household spirits, or familiars, and to obtain "devil-expelling" leaves.

In the event of their attempts failing, they go to another spot in
distant jungle called _Passa_ (a former settlement of the M[=u]s
people), where they suppose the souls of their ancestors sojourn.

The burial ceremony is peculiar, and the whole _motif_ of it seems to be
that if the corpse return to the village the ghost will be able to
accompany it and haunt the place.

If a death should occur in the village proper, the natives, after
conveying the corpse to the "deadhouse" in _Elpanam_, for fear of the
spirit, barricade themselves for a time in their houses, and keep fires
burning before the doors.

When a Kar Nicobarese becomes moribund he is taken to the "deadhouse,"
or "house of pollution," and there left to die, with bunches of
"devil-exorcising" leaves about his bed. After the end has come, all
friends bring a piece of cotton, in which the corpse is swathed
subsequent to being washed in coconut water. It is then lifted by two
men and, while kept in an upright position, lowered down the ladder and
delivered to a number of friends waiting below, who try to prevent its
burial. These, with the intention of returning it to the house occupied
in life, attempt to bear it towards the village, but the movement is
opposed by the rest of the community, who are in the majority. Much
struggling takes place about the corpse, and it is very roughly handled,
but at length it is forced towards the burial-ground and flung violently
into the grave. Sucking pigs and fowls are then killed, and after blood
from them is sprinkled over the body, are placed beneath the arms and
legs.[210] The grave is then filled up, and on the third day is
decorated, and marked by three bamboos, to which young coconuts are
fastened for the purpose of engrossing the attention of the ghost. The
house of mourning is also covered with young coco-palm leaves and
sprinkled with sacrificial pigs' blood.

After the death of a person, houses, canoes, and the ground about the
village are covered with palm leaves to prevent the ghost from entering.

Theoretically, all the possessions of the deceased are destroyed,[211]
but the practice is now confined to personal property, as spoons,
_dáos_, clothes. Some of his pigs are killed, a few coco palms cut down,
and on rare occasions his house is burnt, or unroofed and left deserted.
What remains goes to the children.

There is no belief in a future state, but it is thought that, for a
time, the ghost will haunt the vicinity.

For some days after a death the _tamiluanas_ institute ceremonies for
the purpose of expelling the ghost from the village.

Tall bamboos, festooned with palm leaves and cotton, are erected on the
shore at _Elpanam_, and the _tamiluanas_ take their place beneath. After
scattering stones and ashes, they run about, uttering a mouse-like
squeak the while, until they capture the spirit and imprison it in a
bunch of leaves. Several men then grasp the bunch, and placing in it a
small figure, made in human likeness of coco-palm leaf, twist up the
whole, and throw it into the sea.

From time to time villages go through ceremonials somewhat similar, for
the purpose of expelling such devils as may be haunting the place.

Shaving the head is sometimes indulged in as a sign of mourning,
together with frequent bathing and abstinence from work. A man will also
change his name to show grief at the loss of a friend, and will take
another title if it comes to his knowledge that a namesake, even a
comparative stranger, is dead.[212]

It was customary for widows to have one of their fingers cut off, and if
they refused to submit to the operation, the posts and doorway of their
houses were gashed and notched.[213]

       *       *       *       *       *

Accounts of two interments which differed somewhat from the usual
practice may be worth giving here.

The first is that of "Distant," headman of Sáwi, who was buried with
much pomp.

The corpse was dressed in a good suit of English clothes, and silver
wire was wound about it from head to feet. This was because he was once
a _mafai_, and the usual ceremony of _Luinj-lare_ (renunciation of the
character) had not been performed. Upon the wire, thirty-two pairs of
spoons and forks were placed crosswise. Necklaces made of two-anna
pieces (240 to each, and two dollars) were attached to head and neck,
and the body was wrapped in forty yards of red cloth.

The corpse was then borne in procession by twenty-four men and women to
the house of the relatives (contrary to custom), and was then taken to
the graveyard. Two very large and four ordinary pigs were burnt alive as
a sacrifice, and seven pigs and eight chickens were buried with the body
after their blood had been sprinkled over the corpse.

The following night, the ceremony of _Fota Elmot_ (wiping away tears)
was performed, on which occasion fifty pigs and twenty fowls were
slaughtered to feed the guests, and thirty-two pairs of spoons and
forks, necklaces of silver coin and wire, and teakwood boxes full of the
dead man's property, were broken up and thrown into the sea.

Again, on the eighth day, the final mourning ceremony was gone through,
when, in honour of the thirteen villages of the island, thirteen pairs
of spoons and forks, and sundry other articles, were destroyed, and the
guests were entertained at a feast of equal munificence to that they had
shortly before taken part in.

The second case is that of a man, nearly one hundred years old, who
owned a third part of the village of Lapáti.

The body was neatly wrapped in cloths under a curtain in the
"deadhouse." A sort of open coffin, about 7 feet long and 4 feet wide,
was made, and six thick green canes were fastened to it, three to the
head and three to the foot, each cane about 50 yards long.

When all was ready the coffin was drawn into the "deadhouse" up a
sloping plank, and when the corpse had been placed within, two women got
in and lay on either side the body, embracing it with their arms. When
the coffin was lowered to the ground two big men also laid themselves
down in it.

The large _Elpanam_ was filled with a crowd of about a thousand people,
young and old, from other villages. Of these, a hundred from the
southern and a hundred from the northern villages seized the long canes
at either end, and dragged the coffin up and down in competition until
the canes were broken, when, the grave being dug, the body was buried.

This ceremony is performed only when those of the highest repute are

       *       *       *       *       *

Once in every five years the villages in turn remove all their pigs, and
keep them in sties in the jungle. The surroundings of the village are
then offered to the public for cultivating fruit and vegetables, and the
people from other villages arrive and make gardens, which are open;
there is no need for fencing, since there are no pigs to cause damage.

The reason for all this is that after demolishing the _ñá-kopáh_
(sacrifice to the dead), during the festival of _Kana Awn_, the yams and
other vegetables and fruit with which they are loaded are scattered
about the houses, and grow abundantly; to obtain some profit from this
unplanned result this custom has been introduced.

The people in general have their large vegetable plantations at a
distance, but for immediate use there are some smaller gardens near the
village. The _tamiluanas_ informed the people that in consequence of the
flourishing condition of these latter, the devils were angry, and might
cause the island to be drowned by a deluge, and that to save themselves
they should uproot part of the plants. Accordingly, the greater portion
of the yams and other vegetables were destroyed; some of the people
doing it willingly, others with discontent.

The Kar Nicobarese seem to hold much the same belief with regard to an
eclipse as do the Chinese and some of the peoples of India.

They think the moon is actually being swallowed by a serpent, and
throughout the night both young and old refrain from sleep, and occupy
themselves in driving the serpent away. Providing themselves with tins
and planks, they beat them, causing a tremendous din, and shout, "Alas!
alas! do not devour it, let the moon alone and go away."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the buying and selling of the larger canoes the natives of Chaura act
as middlemen--seeming to possess a monoply of intermediation in this
business as they do of pottery making.[214]

The canoes are not made at Chaura; there are no suitable trees on that
small island to construct them from. The Chaura people obtain them--very
cheaply--from the central groups (where many are made, and where others,
obtained from the southern group, are also sold), and sell them again to
the Kar Nicobarese, making four or five times in the transaction what
they themselves pay.[215]

"As the Kar Nicobarese are timid, and allow themselves to be bullied by
the natives of Chaura, who assume an overbearing manner towards them, as
well as towards their southern neighbours--all of whom are dependent on
them for pots, which cannot be made at any of the other islands--the
feeling predominant among the Kar Nicobarese as regards the people of
Chaura is one of fear, and they evince every desire to avoid incurring
their ill-will and resentment,"[216] even to the point of submitting to
be flagrantly cheated in their canoe barter! The extortionate price
they have to pay may have something to do with the high value the Kar
Nicobarese set on their large canoes.

The business of purchasing these is accompanied by its peculiar
ceremonies. In an instance at M[=u]s, after busy bargaining for pots and
a large canoe, the Chaura people, in the evening, feasted, each man in
his friend's house, and then at midnight assembled at the _Elpanam_,
with the chief men of M[=u]s, and amused themselves singing songs in
turn, and partaking of betel-nut and toddy. There they got through the
preliminaries to purchasing the canoe, and the articles intended as its
price were exhibited. After the bargain was closed the M[=u]s people
returned to the village, leaving the Chaura men at the house in

The articles agreed on were handed over.

Next evening a great feast was given to the people of Chaura by those of
M[=u]s; in each house a young pig was killed for the purpose. At night
all the people assembled in a house in _Elpanam_, and after dining,
amused themselves singing songs by turns.

The Chaura people then left the island in the canoe they had sold, for
it is the custom to do this, and bring the canoe back on a later
occasion. They were provisioned for the voyage by the village of M[=u]s.

       *       *       *       *       *

The dances of the Kar Nicobarese are always held at the open ground of
_Elpanam_. With a _mafai_, a fire, or a trophy of spoons and forks as a
centre, the people form large circles, or parts of circles, according to
their number, and move slowly round to left and to right. The sexes
dance separately, the one ring within the other, or join the ends of
their chains to form one large circle, but form up very compactly, each
person grasping his neighbour's shoulder with outstretched arms
intertwined. The dance is somewhat monotonous, and consists of two or
three steps sideways, and a pause, with a stamp with the foot or a swing
of the body, and then the same movement in the reverse direction, and so
on, over and over again, to the accompaniment of the performer's

     The refreshments partaken of are coconuts, tobacco, and toddy. The
     latter is supplied in large quantities, and gives rise to much
     intoxication, which, however, only seems to result in increased
     friendliness and a drunken sleep.

When a quarrel takes place the participators often seek revenge in
destroying each other's coconut trees, but in severe cases a man will
probably burn his own house down. Possibly this is done on the
supposition that the enemy will suffer more from self-reproach at having
been the cause of the destruction than from any other form of punishment
he could undergo. Or possibly it is a mild instance of a peculiar form
of "amok," to a variation of which curious psychological state the
Nicobarese are undoubtedly subject on occasions when they consider
themselves injured. Several instances that have been recorded of kindred
occurrences will perhaps best illustrate this conduct and idiosyncrasy.

1. A man named Kuhangta purchased some things from the traders on the
responsibility of another named Tumilo. As the traders pressed Tumilo
for immediate payment, he urged Kuhangta to settle the matter with
coconuts forthwith. Kuhangta was enraged at this, and killed several of
his own pigs, and also set fire to his own house. He threatened, in
addition, to kill any one who approached, and kept a _dáo_ in hand for
that purpose. Lorenzo therefore went to the owner of a gun and begged
that Kuhangta might be killed. This request was not granted, and, in
the end, the headmen of various villages succeeded in reconciling the
two, and obtained from Kuhangta a promise of good behaviour. Such cases,
however, do not always end so tamely as in this instance.

     2. "About noon, Offandi, the headman of M[=u]s, came to my hut with
     a paddle in his hand which he was trying to break, muttering at the
     same time, 'I am a very rich man. All this land and everything in
     it is mine. You were a very poor man, and I gave you land, gardens,
     houses, and many other things. You now call me a liar, and so I am
     angry, and am going to dig up a grave.' He repeated this over and
     over again, and would not say anything else. I was quite puzzled,
     and could not understand what he meant. I asked him if he was angry
     with me, and he said, 'Yes, I am angry, and there is another man.'

     "While this was going on, his wife and a number of men and other
     women came running after him from the village. As soon as he saw
     the crowd, he hastily broke the paddle in my hut and ran off with
     the handle to the burial-ground, and began to dig at the grave of
     his late father.

     "The crowd ran off to the burial-ground, caught hold of him, and
     tried to drag him out of the place. A regular struggle commenced,
     and the women began to cry out, some, 'We fear, we fear,' others,
     'Don't pollute us.' The Burmese and other traders looked on from a
     distance with great surprise.

     "As the matter began to grow serious, I went across and ordered
     Offandi in a commanding tone to leave the place and come away at
     once. He came away quietly enough to my hut, and the crowd with
     him. After some inquiry, he said that 'Friend of England' had
     insulted him, and, therefore, he wanted to open the grave of his
     (Offandi's) father and throw the bones into the sea, adding, 'This
     man was a very poor man once. My dead father patronised and gave
     him land, garden, and everything, but now he calls my father a
     liar, and so he must be punished.' I then sent word to all the
     chief men of the village, and told them to come over to my place
     that night.

     "Accordingly, at about seven o'clock, all the people, including the
     parties of the dispute and the _Kahokachan_ (village judge),
     assembled, and as this was a family quarrel, I asked the judge to
     investigate the case, and settle the matter according to their own
     customs. A good deal of argument then took place between Offandi
     and 'Friend of England,' the crowd, acting as jurors, gave their
     opinion, and at last the judge made a long speech, in which he
     pointed out the faults of both parties, and ended the case by
     ordering them to be reconciled. 'Friend of England' apologised to
     Offandi, admitting his bad language, and the latter forgave him,
     everybody departing quite satisfied.

     "The origin of the affair was that Offandi and 'Friend of England,'
     with a few others, jointly cleared a spot in the jungle to make a
     garden. 'David Jones,' a cousin of the former's and a junior
     partner in the concern, wished to plant only coconut shoots, a plan
     to which 'Friend of England' raised an objection, as he wanted to
     grow only yams and other eatables. Offandi tried to intercede on
     behalf of 'David Jones,' on the plea that the land was given him by
     his deceased father, and therefore he was at liberty to plant what
     he liked in the allotment. Then it appeared that 'Friend of
     England' said, 'Your father was a liar.' Being enraged by this,
     Offandi rejoined, 'Shall I dig up the bones of my father and throw
     them into the sea?'--a very great indignity and bad omen to the
     party causing it. 'Friend of England' replied,'Yes, you had
     better,' and hence the trouble."[218]

The cases of "amok" that occur among the Malayan peoples are, as often
as not, the outcome of ill-health and long-continued brooding over some
imaginary or trifling insult. Similar occurrences happen from time to
time among the Nicobarese, and as they are an almost exact parallel,
they possibly afford material proof as to the Malayan affinities of
these people.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sam-tat-yon was always a loafer who obtained his food gratis from the
traders at Malacca, and slept in any bazaar he could. At dawn one
morning, Osman--an old man--a servant of Yusuf Hussain, got up from his
bed and went to the beach, and while returning to his hut, saw
Sam-tat-yon coming out of it with an axe in his hand.

Osman called out to Ali Hussain and Yusuf Hussain (both foreign traders)
and told them what he had seen, and Sam-tat-yon, hearing this, dropped
the axe, and with a small American knife, kept for husking coconuts,
attempted to kill both Ali and Yusuf. They, however, got beneath the
floor of the hut and made their escape, the former with a slight wound.

Sam-tat-yon then fell upon old Osman and slew him with the knife.

He next went up to some Burmans who were gambling, and dispersed them,
after doing one of them some slight injury. Sam-tat-yon then ran off to
the village of Perka.

At Perka, there were sleeping in a house his brother--a man named
Kichyeti,--one Chestu Chulia, and some women and children.

Sam-tat-yon entered, closed the door, and stabbing his brother first in
the chest and then in the abdomen, killed him. At the first cry of
Kichyeti, Chestu Chulia and the others got up, and giving the alarm,
tried to snatch away the knife. Some women from a neighbouring house
then came and helped to arrest the murderer, whose own wife--one of
those arriving to rescue Chestu Chulia--was wounded in the struggle.

The populace not unnaturally wanted to kill Sam-tat-yon on the spot, but
they were prevailed upon to keep him for trial. Not being accustomed to
guarding prisoners, and not liking to keep him in any of their houses,
lest they should become polluted, they prepared a strong wooden cage,
similar to those made for pigs that are to be slaughtered, and left the
man in it with his hands tied.

(The Nicobarese fear the presence of a desperado, and are too ignorant
to know how to guard him, and for these reasons they always kill the men
of whom they entertain fear.)

After three or four days of the cage, Sam-tat-yon became quite subdued,
and answered any inquiries about the occurrence. He fully admitted his
behaviour, but attributed no cause to it. He simply said that he had
been unwell for the last month, and could not take his meals properly,
that he was unable to drink coconut milk, but lived upon warm water, and
that he had not slept for several nights. In such a state of health he
lost his senses, and therefore committed the crime. He stated that the
Mussulman who was killed by him was not an enemy, but on the other hand,
he and all the traders were his friends. Regarding his brother, he said
that he had been kind to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The proceedings of a man who wishes to obtain a name as a wizard are
rather curious. He will, for instance, frequent pig wallows, and,
sitting in the mud, collect the bristles left there by the pigs when
cooling themselves; or again, he visits the graveyard at night and
disturbs the graves. He generally lives by himself in the jungle, doing
no work, but stealing pigs, chickens, and coconuts from others. Having
made a reputation for witchcraft, he is held in much fear by the
community, but to balance this advantage, if they consider themselves
injured by his practices, it is not impossible that they may some day
combine and murder him.

Besides ridding themselves of an unpleasant neighbour, it would seem
that they also hope by such an action to cause the destruction of an
evilly-disposed spirit.

     1. "Tham Koi, son of Katha, having beaten a countryman to death in
     Chaura, made the following statement: 'Kanunla, a _menluana_
     (medicine man) and sorcerer, is addicted to sodomy and theft. He
     bewitched my father, who became very ill. I sent for Kanunla to
     come and shampoo my father, who gradually got worse. I became
     enraged with the _menluana_, and waited until he got on the ladder
     of my hut, when I struck him on the left side of the neck, so that
     he fell down. I went down and struck him again thrice, and he died.
     I then went and told my neighbours Kamrang Piko, Okio, Cher, and
     Tachoi what I had done, and asked them to help me remove the
     corpse, which we took in a canoe and threw into the sea. Kanunla
     did not make a noise. No one knew of this at the time because it
     was in the evening, and very dark. The villagers knew of it on the
     following morning.'"--_Diary of Mr Obed Elias._

2. Tekwa was the adopted son of Iskol's father, and was always living in
Iskol's house. Eventually he became a thief, and robbed the people of
their fowls and pigs, and he was supposed to be a "devil-man" or wizard.

It happened that a man named Sutro died after suffering a long time from
dysentery and consumption, and it was supposed by Iskol and his friends
that Tekwa was the cause of this death. Tekwa perceived this, and hid
himself in a place called _Hat-Own_; but three days later, Iskol and his
friends, Natla, Sundran, and Nawi, after consulting together, brought
him thence to a place called Ranai, where, after giving him toddy, they
killed him by strangling him with a rope, subsequent to breaking his
joints at the knees and elbows.

The same night they buried the corpse in _Kofenté_ (the place of
pollution), near the graveyard, and a day or two later, killed a couple
of pigs as a ransom or sacrifice.

The reason for these murders--or popular sentences,--when not because of
witchcraft, seems to be somewhat obscure, but can possibly be found in a
general dislike for the victim, or for some act or event with which he
is associated.

A woman of Kenuaka had been shot to death with arrows by her
fellow-villagers. She was suffering badly from secondary syphilis, and
was very poorly off, but the reason given as the immediate cause of her
death was the untimely delivery of a still-born child. The body was
buried in the usual manner, and everybody contributed cloth to wrap the
corpse in, according to custom.

A double murder took place in the village of Perka, whose headman was
named Kan-nyána. The victims, who were detested by the village, were put
to death because of their misconduct. Six men participated in the
affair, but as there was no idea among the natives that they should be
punished, no one could be brought to point them out to the Agent. The
testimony of witnesses showed the light in which they were regarded.
Tamikal, wife of one of the deceased, stated:--"On a certain night,
while I was sitting at the entrance of my house, my husband was angry
with me, and attempted to thrash me. I cried aloud. Then, suddenly, a
lot of men, armed with sticks, came into the house and commenced to
beat the dead man. I was afraid and ran away, and cannot say what
happened further, nor could I recognise any of the assailants. I am
glad, however, that the two men were killed, for they were wicked men."

Kokali, son of one of the deceased, seconded the statements of his
mother, and said, "I am glad that they were killed; they were very bad
men; the village now enjoys peace."

The culprits were finally apprehended, and one of them, Ringangmareng,
grasping a stick, cried in great anger, "Why do you call me here? I am
the man who killed those wicked villains with the very stick I have now
in my hand. Do you wish to handcuff me and carry me to Port Blair? Do so
if you like, but you must not take _mah_"--pointing to the chief

(The Nicobarese possess much affection for their chiefs, and also value
their _tamiluanas_ highly. When one of the latter was being taken to
Port Blair because of misconduct, the headman of his village entreated
that two other men might be substituted for the "doctor.")

       *       *       *       *       *

Suicide is not recognised as an institution of Nicobarese life, but
cases of it do occur somewhat occasionally.

Pin-re-ta was a good man, very rich, and had no wife nor any enemies,
and therefore his fellow-villagers could show no cause for the
occurrence. One day, his servant-boy, who was sleeping in the cookhouse,
was aroused by a noise as of a pig being beaten. Going down the ladder
to see what was happening, he noticed that the pig-sty was in flames,
and that a pig had been killed, and then he saw Pin-re-ta, who, standing
below the cookhouse, axe in hand, threatened to murder him. The boy ran
off to the jungle, where people were making a garden; and they,
returning with him, found that Pin-re-ta, after setting fire to both his
houses, had thrown himself into the flames, and was burnt to death.

       *       *       *       *       *

While the negotiations were going on for the plot of land on which the
Schoolhouse and Agent's bungalow stand, it was found that in buying
land in Kar Nicobar, the bargain must be made with the chief, as
overlord of all the land in the village, but that he, on his part, is
bound to share the proceeds with all who are interested in it.

The price fixed on for the piece in question (about 8-1/4 acres)
was:--twelve black suits, one piece of red cloth, six bags rice, twenty
packets Chinese tobacco, and twelve bottles rum.

These things were distributed amongst the people of the village by the
headman, Offandi, who retained nothing for himself; but for some time
subsequently he was in bad odour for having given up the land to the
Government, and for a long period the Agency was looked on with much

The Kar Nicobarese have a deeply rooted aversion to the settlement of
strangers in their midst, and more than once have expelled from their
island intruding missionaries. Nowadays, great discontent is caused by
the traders leaving agents to carry on business during the south-west
monsoon, when the weather is not suitable for vessels to remain amongst
these islands.

The habit the natives have of using their crossbows in the immediate
neighbourhood of the villages is sometimes productive of fatal
accidents. Two men were shooting at Sáwi, and one of them having shot at
a bird and missed, the arrow in falling pierced the chest of his friend,
who had run forward to recover it. Several similar mischances have
occurred recently in M[=u]s; in the latest, a lad named Sinkin shot at a
bird, and his arrow, glancing from a tree, struck a man, Ka Noe, and
entered his side, causing a serious, but not fatal, wound.

The not infrequent mishaps that occur on the annual canoe voyages
undertaken by the Kar Nicobarese to Chaura have much to do with the
stationary condition of the population of the island. Canoes containing
thirty to forty men are regularly sent out by the villages of the
island, and when they meet with bad weather a total loss is not an
uncommon occurrence.

During the months of October, November, and December--the first half of
the north-east monsoon--or fine season, the people of Kar Nicobar live a
busy life.

At first they are engaged in husking the coconuts which are to be
exported to Calcutta and Moulmein. The wages they obtain for this work
are the value of 100 nuts for husking 1000 nuts. They are generally paid
in cloth, or two-anna bits, which are utilised by manufacture into
head--or neck--ornaments.

Next they are employed in landing the goods of the Burmese kopra-makers,
and in carrying the same to their villages, for as no ships can anchor
on the north-east coast during the season, everything has to be
transported by the natives. The people of M[=u]s carry the things of
those traders who own stores in their villages; in like manner the
villagers of Malacca go to Sáwi Bay, and carry the goods of those
Burmans who dwell amongst them. They are remunerated according to the
following scale:--

For carrying a 3-maund bag of rice--
                                             China tobacco.  Rice.
  (_a_) From Hog Point (N.-W. of Sávi Bay)
          to           _Elpanam_ at M[=u]s   2 packets  and  2 lbs.
  (_b_)                Kenmai                3    "      "   2  "
  (_c_)                Lapáti                4    "      "   4  "
                     { Tapoeming   }
  (_d_)              { Chokchuácha }         5    "      "   4  "
                     { Kenyúaka    }
  (_e_)                Tamálu                6    "      "   4  "
  (_f_)                Perka                 7    "      "   4  "
  (_g_)                Malacca               8    "      "   4  "

  It costs a trader about 30 rupees to transport one cartload of goods
  from M[=u]s to Malacca.

When this work is done, the Nicobarese are employed in erecting huts, to
serve the traders as bazaars. Each hut is built by contract by one man
with the help of friends, and on its completion the owner has to give
the contractor 14 to 20 yards of red cloth, a Burmese betel-box and a
_dáo_, and besides this, has to supply the men with food until the work
is finished.

After the hut has been built, the natives proceed to make a fence round
a small compound, in order to prevent pigs from destroying the stores
of kopra. For this they are remunerated separately.

While some are thus engaged, others take passages in such of the trading
vessels as go to Kamorta and other islands, in order to assist in
husking coconuts and making kopra, work for which they receive one nut
in ten. These opportunities are much desired by the natives, since they
are at liberty to take home with them any number of Chaura pots,
rattans, bamboos, paddles, and canoes; and masters of trading boats are
glad to employ the Kar Nicobarese, for the people of the other islands
are too indolent to collect and prepare the nuts, but sell them on the

While the men are so occupied, the women and children are busy helping
the traders to make kopra, and for this service they are fed twice
daily, and receive presents at the termination of the work.

Careful accounts are kept by the Nicobarese of their transactions in
coconuts, by means of a tally-stick (_kenr[=a]ta kuk_, Kar Nicobar), on
which all the nuts that pass from them to the traders are registered by
various kinds of notches.

A regular account is kept of the months, so that festivals may be held
in proper season, and a daily account is kept of a child's age until the
time arrives for piercing its ears, an operation taking place soon after
the first year.

     _Note._--Since this chapter was printed, I have learned that the
     Anthropological Society has made use of V. Solomon's diaries in a
     paper appearing in their Journal for July 1902. It is perhaps well
     to say here that neither the Society nor myself was aware that the
     same material was about to be a subject for publication
     elsewhere.--C. B. K.



Previous to entering into any details of the fauna of the Andamans and
Nicobars, a glance at the depths of the surrounding ocean is
interesting, and to a great extent explanatory of the peculiarities
occurring in both groups: it is well known that the soundings of the
adjacent seas clearly indicate the extent of time during which masses of
land have been isolated, and the facts of this case seem to fully
explain the variation and numerous peculiarities of the local fauna.

Preparis Island is situated at the tail of a 100-fathom (to be more
particular, 50-fathom) bank projecting from the Arakan Yoma Peninsula.
It is continental in its fauna, and possesses monkeys and squirrels.

Between it and the Cocos Islands is a depth of 150 fathoms.

The Andaman group, from Cocos to Little Andaman (except the South
Sentinel, which is isolated), all stand on a 100-fathom bank (actually
50 fathoms).

All these are connected by a 200-fathom line with the Arakan Yoma

Narkondam and Barren Island both rise from a sea approaching 1000
fathoms in depth.

The Andamans and Nicobars are separated by a channel with depths of 600

Soundings about the Nicobars are at present very incomplete, but the
Archipelago seems capable of division into two groups, each standing on
a 100-fathom bank.

The northern of these consists of the compactly-situated central
islands, and possibly Kar Nicobar, and is separated from the southern
(Great and Little Nicobar and the adjacent islets, all perhaps
surrounded by a 50-fathom line) by a channel with approximate depths of
200 fathoms.

The Nicobars stand at the termination of a 1000-fathom bank, projecting
from the Arakan Yoma Peninsula, and from thence also curving east and
south towards Sumatra, thus enclosing a long tongue of deep sea, over
1000 fathoms deep, that is connected with the Indian Ocean by the
channel separating them from Sumatra.

This deep sea that surrounds the islands everywhere but on the north,
shows that, so far as need be taken into account for present purposes,
they have never been connected with the Malay Peninsula or Sumatra--a
condition that is further shown by the almost total absence of any
members of the Malayan fauna--although they may at one time have been a
prolongation of the Arakan Hills.

     "It cannot, however, be asserted that this latter theory of
     connection derives, _primâ facie_, much support from a
     consideration of their fauna; and if they ever were in
     uninterrupted communication with the Arakan Hills it must
     apparently have been at an immensely distant period, for not only
     are all the most characteristic species of the Arakan Hills, as we
     now find them, absent from the islands, but the latter exhibit a
     great number of distinct and peculiar forms, constituting, where
     the ornis is concerned, considerably more than one-third the number
     known."--Hume, _Stray Feathers_, vol. ii.

From the above details, it is to be inferred that not only have the
Nicobars--if ever in connection with the mainland--been longest
separated, but that they have also been disconnected among themselves
for a great extent of time. At a later period the Andamans were cut off
from the continent, and the process by which they have been broken up
into islands is--except in the cases of Narkondam and Barren
Island--comparatively recent. This theory is fully borne out by the
greatly localised nature of the fauna, nearly every island possessing
its own peculiar species of terrestrial mammals.


The mammalian fauna of the Andamans and Nicobars is now known to consist
of 35 positively identified species, 1 sub-species, and 4 others whose
status is still doubtful.

Of this total of 40 animals, 19 are found in the former (if we leave out
a dugong, which, though at present reported from the Andamans, will
certainly be found to occur in the Nicobars), 22 in the latter. Only two
species are common to both groups, and both these are bats--_Pteropus
nicobaricus_, a wide-flying species found also in the Malay Peninsula
and Java, and _P. vampyrus_--of which further knowledge will doubtless
show that each group possesses its own variety.

To the Andamans 12 species are peculiar, the others being _Mus
musculus_; _Felis chaus_, whose identification is doubtful; 4 bats; and
a monkey, _Macacus coininus_, in all probability introduced.

The Nicobars possess 14 peculiar species and 1 sub-species, and the
remaining members are _Mus alexandrinus_, and 6 bats.

Not only is the peculiarity marked among the terrestrial, but among the
winged animals, which form so large a part of the fauna; also, of the 7
bats occurring in the Andamans, 3 are endemic, while the same is the
case with 5 of the 11 in the Nicobars.

Thus it is to be noted that in the Andamans all the 11 terrestrial
mammals--except _M. musculus_, _M. coininus_ (introduced?) and the
doubtful _F. chaus_--are peculiar, and also 3 out of 7 bats; while in
the Nicobars, only 1 species--_M. alexandrinus_--of 10 terrestrial is
other than endemic, and of the 11 bats 5 (nearly half) are peculiar.
Remarkable as is the state of things with regard to the terrestrial, it
is equally notable where the flying mammals are concerned.

The most noteworthy features of the fauna are the preponderance of bats
(16 species) and rats (13 species)--which together constitute nearly
three-fourths of the total number of mammals known to occur in the
islands--and the absence of practically all representatives of the
ungulates, squirrels, carnivores, and flying lemurs, which are
characteristic of the surrounding regions and abound on other islands at
equal distance from the mainland. From the Malayan islands where these
occur they differ in that "they are surrounded by water of relatively
great depth, while the others lie within the 50-fathom line. This
paucity of mammalian life cannot be regarded as due to an unfavourable
environment, since all the natural conditions on both Andamans and
Nicobars are perfectly suited to the support of a rich and varied
fauna"; yet so great is it that it appears safe to assume that these,
"contrary to the case with the shallow-water islands, were isolated at a
time when the mammals now characteristic of the mainland did not exist
there." In fact, we are almost driven to conclude that they never were
at any time a portion of the continent, but were formerly only far
nearer to it, far larger and far more compactly situated--a hypothesis
that is further supported by an investigation of the birds appertaining
to them.

     "As yet no species have been discovered whose origin may be
     referred to the remote period of a land connection: such mammals as
     are now known are evidently of very recent origin, as in scarcely
     an instance has their differentiation progressed further than in
     the case of members of the same genera found on islands lying in
     shallow water. The question at once arises, therefore, as to the
     means by which they have arrived where they now are. Flights from
     the mainland would readily account for the distribution of the
     bats; but the presence of the other mammals seems impossible to
     explain otherwise than through the agency of man. With the single
     exception of _Tupai nicobarica_,[219] all are types well known to
     be closely associated with man throughout the Malayan region.
     Moreover, the period of time necessary to the development of the
     peculiarities of the native Andamanese would undoubtedly be ample
     to allow the formation of any of the species known from either
     group of islands, since in a biologic sense it has been vastly
     longer to the smaller, more rapidly breeding, animals than to man.
     The introduction, intentional or otherwise, of a pig, a monkey, a
     palm-civet, two or three species of rats, a shrew, and perhaps also
     a tree-shrew, at about the time when the various islands were
     peopled by their present human inhabitants, would amply account for
     the existence of the present mammal fauna with its striking

The following tabular summary shows the distribution of the fauna among
the islands. (The letter A indicates material obtained by Dr Abbott, the
letter R a previous record; an asterisk denotes occurrence beyond the
Andamans and Nicobars; doubtful species have a note of interrogation
placed against them; and those in italics have been described as new
from the collections made during the cruise of the _Terrapin_):--

_Synopsis of the Mammalian Fauna of the Andaman and Nicobar

  Key for Column Headers

    A:  South Andaman.
    B:  Rutland Island.
    C:  Little Andaman.
    D:  Henry Lawrence Island.
    E:  Little Jolly Boy.
    F:  Barren Island.
    G:  No island specified.
    H:  Kar Nicobar.
    I:  Tilanchong Island.
    J:  Trinkat Island.
    K:  Kamorta Island.
    L:  Nankauri Island.
    M:  Kachal Island.
    N:  Little Nicobar.
    O:  Great Nicobar.
    P:  No island specified.

 |                             | ANDAMAN ISLANDS.||     NICOBAR ISLANDS.  |
 |            NAME.            +---+-+---+-+-+-+-++---+-+-+-+-+-+-+---+-+
 |                             | A |B| C |D|E|F|G|| H |I|J|K|L|M|N| O |P|
 |*Dugong dugon                |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Sus andamanensis            | R | |RA | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Sus nicobaricus_           |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | | A |R|
 |*Mus musculus                | R | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Mus palmarum                |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 | Mus bowersi(?)              |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus stoicus_               |   | |   |A| | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus taciturnus_            | A | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus flebilis_              |   | |   |A| | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Mus andamanensis            |RA | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus pulliventer_           |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | | A | |
 | _Mus atratus_               |   | |   | | |A| ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus burrus_                |   | |   | | | | ||   | |A| | | | |   | |
 | _Mus burrulus_              |   | |   | | | | || A | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Mus burrescens_            |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | | A | |
 |*Mus alexandrinus            |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | |A| | |   | |
 | Paradoxurus tytleri         |RA | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Felis chaus(?)              | R | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Tupaia nicobarica nicobarica|   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |RA | |
 | _Tupaia nicobarica surda_   |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | |A|   | |
 | _Crocidura nicobarica_      |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | | A | |
 | _Crocidura andamanensis_    | A | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Scotophelus temminchii      |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 |*Tylonycteris pachypus       |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Pipistrellus tichelli       |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Pipistrellus tenuis(?)      |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 | _Pipistrellus camortæ_      |   | |   | | | | ||   | | |A| | | |   | |
 |*Miniopterus pusillus        |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 | Rhinolophus andamanensis    | R | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Hipposideros nicobaricus    |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 | _Hipposideros nicobarulæ_   |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | |A|   |R|
 |*Hipposideros murinus(?)     |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 |*Pteropus nicobarus          |   | |   | |R| |R|| R |A| | | | | | A |R|
 | _Pteropus faunulus_         |   | |   | | | | || A | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Pteropus rampyrus           |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   |R|
 | Cynopterus brachyotis       |   | |   | | | |R||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Cynopterus brachysoma       | R | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | Cynopterus scherzeri        |   | |   | | | | ||RA | | | | | | |   | |
 |*Macacus coininus            | R | |   | | | | ||   | | | | | | |   | |
 | _Macacus umbrosus_          |   | |   | | | | ||   | | | | |A|A| A |R|


The birds of the Andamans and Nicobars have always been better known
than the mammals, particularly since Mr A. O. Hume, with a number of
collectors, made a cruise round the islands in a steamer in 1873, which
resulted in the discovery of many new species, and a careful analysis of
the avifauna.

In spite of what is to be expected from their position, the islands
derive the bulk of their species from the distant Indian region, while
the Indo-Burmese and Indo-Malayan regions are represented to a far less

One of the most striking features is the extreme paucity of rasorial
birds--peafowl, junglefowl, pheasants, partridges, or any of the natural
genera into which these divide, and which are all well represented in
the Arakan Hills. The next point is the highly specialised character of
the ornis, for, excluding waders and swimmers, more than a third of the
species are peculiar to the islands; while still more remarkable is the
extent to which it is localised in the several groups between which is
nowhere a break of more than 80 miles. Even more noteworthy are the
details: for instance, the Andaman _Hypothymis_, which, as a rule, is a
very distinct form, is replaced in the Nicobars by one which, although
not precisely identical with the Indian form, is far more closely allied
to this than the Andaman _Tytleri_. Each group has its distinct harrier
eagle, red-cheeked paroquet, oriole, sunbird, and bulbul. Two
woodpeckers are peculiar to the Andamans, but neither extends to the
Cocos or Nicobars. The latter group possesses three distinct but closely
allied species of _Astur_, each confined to separate islands.

So far as the species not peculiar to the islands are concerned, the
influence of the Indian sub-region has vastly predominated; and if we
look to the genera the preponderance is still more marked, and thus it
seems difficult to avoid the conclusion that the ornis has altogether a
very far stronger affinity with that of the Indian region than with
those of either the Indo-Burmese or the Indo-Malayan. Yet this involves
great difficulties, for if we take Port Blair as a centre we shall find
that its average distance in all directions north and east from
Tenasserim (where the Indo-Malayan fauna predominates), and north of
this from the Indo-Burmese sub-region, is less than half its distance
from the nearest point of the Indian sub-region.

That so many of the characteristic birds of the Arakan Hills, especially
the Rasores, should be entirely wanting, we may partly account for by
the supposition that the mountains and the chain of islands never were
continuous, and that the same agency that raised the Arakan Hills only
raised portions of their continuation above the sea-level, so that,
therefore, the islands have never been connected with Pegu. If, however,
the groups first appeared and have ever since remained as detached
islands, it is inconceivable how the great bulk of the work of
colonisation should have gone on from a region so distant while so
little should have been done from others less than half as far away.

Colonisation in no ordinary sense, however, can explain these facts. But
the case of Sumatra, which, although only 80 miles distant from Great
Nicobar, and itself the first link of a great chain, teems right up to
Acheen Head with species unknown to the Nicobars, is perfectly
comprehensible in the light of our knowledge of the deep sea existing
between it and these latter islands.[221]

If we conclude that the avifauna of the islands of the Bengal Sea is
essentially Indian and not Indo-Burmese and Indo-Malayan, we must accept
the fact with the qualification that we find it here in a most imperfect
and mutilated form, lacking more or less entirely a large proportion of
its characteristic genera, many of which are the strongest and most
widely distributed, and to which the climate would appear in every way

_List of Birds occurring in the Andamans and Nicobars._[223]

(A. denotes occurrence in the Andamans, N. in the Nicobars.)

  Corvus macrorhyncus, Wagl.                     A.
  Dendrocitta bayleyi, Tytler                    A.
  Zosterops palpebrosa, Temm.                    A. N.
  Irena puella, Lath.                            A.
  Otocompsa emeria, Linn.                        A. N.
  Iole nicobarica, Moore                         N.
  Micropus fusciflavescens, Hume                 A.
  Dicrurus annectens, Hodgs.                     N.
  D. leucogenys, Wald.                           N.
  Dissemuroides andamanensis, Tytler             A.
  D. dicruriformis, Hume                         A.
  D. paradiseus, Linn.                           A. N.
  Locustella certhiola, Pall.                    A. N.
  L. lanceolata, Temm.                           A.
  Cisticola cursitans, Frankl.                   N.
  Arundinax ædon, Blyth                          A. N.
  Phylloscopus fuscatus, Blyth                   A.
  Acanthopneuste magnirostris, Blyth             A.
  A. borealis, Blas.                             A.
  A. lugubris, Blyth                             A.
  A. tennilipes, Swinhoe                         N.
  Horornis pallidipes, Blanf.                    A.
  Lanius cristatus, Linn.                        A.
  L. lucionensis, Linn.                          A. N.
  Pericrocrotus andamanensis, Tytler             A.
  P. peregrinus, Linn.                           A.
  P. cinereus, Lafr.                             A.
  Campophaga terat, Bodd.                        N.
  Grauculus macii, Less.                         A.
  G. dobsoni, Ball                               A.
  Artamus leucogaster, Val.                      A.
  Oriolus macrurus, Blyth                        A.
  O. andamanensis, Tytler                        A.
  O. melanocephalus, Linn.                       A.
  Eulabes intermedia, Hay                        A. N.
  Calornis chalybeus, Horsf.                     A. N.
  Pastor roseus, Linn.                           A.
  Sturnia andamanensis, Tytler                   A.
  S. erythropygia, Blyth                         N.
  Agropsar sturninus, Pall.                      N.
  Acridotheres tristis, Linn.                    A. N.
  Muscitrea griseola, Blyth                      A.
  Anthipes olivaceus(?), Hume                    A.
  Alseonax latirostris, Raffl.                   A.
  Terpsiphone nicobarica, Oates                  A. N.
  Hypothymis azurea, Bodd.                       N.
  H. tytleri, Beaven                             A.
  Pratincola maura, Pall.                        A.
  Cyanecula suecica, Linn.                       A.
  Copsycus saularis, Linn.                       A.
  Cittincola albiventris, Blyth                  A.
  Merula obscura, Gemel.                         A.
  Geocichla sibirica, Pall.                      A.
  G. albigularis, Blyth                          N.
  G. andamanensis, Wald.                         A.
  Petrophila solitaria, Mull.                    A. N.
  Urolonga semistriata, Hume                     N.
  U. fumigata, Wald.                             A.
  Passer domesticus, Linn.                       A.
  Emberiza pusilla, Pall.                        A.
  E. aureola, Pall.                              N.
  Hirundo rustica, Linn.                         A. N.
  H. javanica, Sparmm.                           A.
  Motacilla leucopsis, Gould                     A.
  M. melanope, Pall.                             A. N.
  M. borealis, Sundev.                           A. N.
  M. flava, Linn.                                A. N.
  Liminodromus indicus                           A. N.
  Anthus richardi, Vieill                        A.
  A. cervinus, Pall.                             A. N.
  Æthopyga nicobarica, Hume                      N.
  Arachnechthra andamanica, Hume                 A.
  Dicæum virescens, Hume.                        A.
  Dendrocopus andamanensis, Blyth                A.
  Thriponax hodgii, Blyth                        A.
  Eurystomus orientalis, Linn.                   A.
  Merops philippinus, Linn.                      N.
  Melittophagus swinhoii, Hume                   A.
  Alcedo ispida, Linn.                           A. N.
  A. beaveni, Wald.                              A.
  Ceyx tridactyla, Pall.                         A. N.
  Pelargopsis leucocephala, Gm.                  N.
  P. guarial, Pearson                            A.
  Halcyon saturatior, Hume                       A.
  H. pileata, Bodd.                              A. N.
  H. davisoni, Sharpe                            A.
  H. occipitalis, Blyth                          N.
  Calliacyon liliacina, Swains.                  A. N.
  Rhytidoceros narkondami, Hume                  A.
  Cypselus apus, Linn.                           A.
  C. subfurcatus, Blyth                          A.
  Chætura indica, Hume                           A.
  Collocalia innominata, Hume                    A.
  C. francica, Gmel.                             A. N.
  C. inexpectata, Hume.                          N.
  C. linchii, Horsf. and M.                      A. N.
  Caprimulgus andamanensis, Hume                 A.
  Lyncornis cerviniceps(?), Gould                A.
  Cuculus canorus, Linn.                         A.
  C. saturatus, Hodgs.                           A. N.
  C. micropterus, Gould                          A.
  Chrysococcyx xanthorynchus, Horsf.             A. N.
  C. maculatus, Gmel.                            A. N.
  Eudynamus honorata, Linn.                      A. N.
  Centropus euryceros, Hay                       N.(?)
  C. andamanensis, Tytler                        A.
  Palæornis magnirostris, Ball                   A.
  P. fasciatus, Müll.                            A.
  P. caniceps, Blyth                             N.
  P. erythrogenys, Blyth                         N.
  P. tytleri, Hume                               A.
  Loriculus vernalis, Sparmm.                    A. (N.?)
  Strix flammea, Linn.                           A.
  Syrnium sp.(?) seloputo, Horsf.                A. (N.?)
  Ketupa sp.(?) javanensis(?), Less.             A.
  Scops nicobarica, Hume                         N.
  S. balli, Hume                                 N.
  Ninox affinis, Tytler                          A. N.
  N. obscura, Hume                               A. N.
  N. scrutulata, Raffl.                          N.
  Spizaëtus andamanensis, Hume                   A.
  Spilornis davisoni, Hume                       A. N.
  S. minimus, Hume                               N.
  S. elgini, Tytler                              A.
  Haliætus leucogaster, Gmel.                    A. N.
  Milvus govinda, Sykes                          A.
  Circus cineraceus, Montagu                     A.
  C. æruginosus, Linn.                           A.
  Astur soloensis, Horsf.                        N.
  A. butleri, Gurney                             N.
  Accipiter nisus, Blanf.                        A.
  A. virgatus, Reinw.                            A. N.
  Falco peregrinus, Linn.                        A. N.
  Tinnunculus alandarius, Gmel.                  A.
  Microhierax latifrons, Sharpe                  N.(?)
  Osmotreron chloroptera, Blyth                  A. N.
  Carpophaga ænea, Linn.                         A.
  C. insularis, Blyth                            N.
  Myristicivora bicolor, Scop.                   A. N.
  Caloenas nicobarica, Linn.                     A. N.
  Chalcophaps indica, Linn.                      A. N.
  Alsocomus palumboides, Hume                    A. N.
  Turtur tigrinus, Temm.                         N.(?)
  T. cambayensis, Gm.                            A.
  Ænopopelia tranquebarica, Herm.                A.
  Macropygia rufipennis, Blyth                   A. N.
  Excalfactoria chinensis, Linn.                 N.
  Francolinus pondicerianus, Gm.                 A.
  Megapodius nicobaricus, Blyth                  N. (A.?)
  Turnix albiventris, Hume                       N.
  Hypotoenidia obscuria, Hume                    A. N.
  Porzana pusilla, Pall.                         A.
  Rallina canningi, Tytler                       A.
  Amaurornis phoenicurus, Penn.                  A. N.
  Gallicrex cinerea, Gm.                         A.
  Esacus magnirostris, Geoffr.                   A.
  Dromas ardeola, Paykull                        A. N.
  Glareola orientalis, Leach                     A. N.
  Strepsilas interpres, Linn.                    A. N.
  Microsarcops cinereus, Blyth                   A.
  Charadrius fulvus, Gm.                         A. N.
  Squatarola helvetica, Linn.                    A.
  Ægialitis geoffroyi, Wagl.                     A. N.
  Æ. mongolica,                                  A. N.
  Æ. vereda, Gould                               A.
  Æ. dubia, Scop.                                A.
  Numenius arquata, Linn.                        A. N.
  N. phæopus, Linn.                              A. N.
  Terekia cinerea, Güldenst.                     A.
  Totanus hypoleucus, Linn.                      A. N.
  T. glareola, Gm.                               A.
  T. ochropus, Linn.                             A.
  T. calidris, Linn.                             A.
  T. glottis, Linn.                              N.
  Tringa ruficollis, Pall.                       A. N.
  T. suminuta, Middend.                          A.(?)
  T. crassirostris, Temm. and Schl.              A.
  T. subarquata, Güldenst.                       A. N.
  T. platyrhyncha, Temm.                         A.
  Gallinago coelestis, Frenzel                   A.
  G. stenura, Kuhl.                              A. N.
  G. gallinula, Linn.                            A.
  Hydrochelidon leucoptera, Meisner and Schinz.  A.
  Sterna anglica, Mont.                          A.
  S. dougalli, Mont.                             A.
  S. media, Horsf.                               A. N.
  S. melanauchen, Temm.                          A. N.
  S. anæstheta, Scop.                            A.
  Anous stolidus, Linn.                          A.
  A. leucocapillus, Gould                        A.
  Pelecanus philippinus, Gm.                     A. N.
  Phaëthon indicus, Hume                         A.
  P. flavirostris                                A.
  P. rubicauda, Bodd.                            N.
  Oceanites oceanus, Kuht(?)                     A.
  Ardea manillensis, Sharpe                      A. N.
  Herodias intermedia, Wagl.                     A. N.
  H. gazetta, Linn.                              A. (N.?)
  Bubulcus coromandus, Bodd.                     A.
  Lepterodius sacer, Gm.                         A. N.
  Ardeola grayi, Sykes                           A.
  A. bacchus, Bonap.                             A.
  Buteroides javanica, Horsf.                    A. N.
  Nycticorax griseus, Linn.                      N.
  Goisakius melanolophus, Raffl.                 N.
  Ardetta sinensis, Gm.                          A. N.
  A. cinnamomea, Gm.                             A. N.
  Dendrocygna javanica, Horsf.                   A. N.
  Nettopus coromandelianus, Gm                   A.
  Nettium crecca, Linn.                          A. N.
  N. albigulare, Hume                            A.

The following new additions should now be made to the above to complete
the known list of Andaman and Nicobar avifauna:--

  Zosterops sp.      Kar Nicobar.
  Sturnia sp.        Kachal, Nicobars.
  Rhinomyias sp.     Great and Little Nicobar.
  Arachnechthra sp.  Nicobars.
  Pitta sp.          Great and Little Nicobar.
  Ninox sp.          Little Nicobar.
  Spilornis sp.      Great Nicobar.
  Astur sp.          Kachal, Nicobars.
  Osmotreron sp.     South Andaman.
  Excalfactoria sp.  Trinkat, Nicobars.




  October       Variable wind and weather; water-spouts.

  November      The first half of the month the same as October, afterwards
                N.E. monsoon and little rain. A cyclone is almost certain
                to occur in November.

  December      Fresh N.E. monsoon; fairly cool.

  January       Cool and pleasant; N.E. winds; nights sometimes foggy.

  February      Cool and pleasant; very clear; light airs.

  March         Hot by day, cool nights, light airs; occasional haze.

  April         Very hot; calm and hazy.

  May           S.W. monsoon sets in about the 15th.

  June          S.W. monsoon; cool, squally.

  July    }
          }         Do.     do.     do.
  August  }

  September     Rain every day, S.W. winds.

                                        --_Bay of Bengal Pilot_, 1892.



    Dillenia aurea, _Sm._
    D. parviflora, _Griff._
    D. pentagyna, _R._

    Polyalthia Jenkinsii, _Bth._
    P. macrophylla, _H.f._
    Alfonsea ventricosa, _H.f._

    Xanthophyllum glaucum, _Wall._

    Cratoxylum formosum, _Bth. & H.f._

    Garcinia speciosa, _Wall._
    G. Cowa, _R._
    G. xanthochymus, _Hk. f._
    Calophyllum spectabile, _Willd._
    C. inophyllum, _L._
    Mesua ferrea, _L._

    Dipterocarpus turbinatus, _Gaertn._
    D. pilosus, _R._
    D. alatus, _R._
    D. Griffithii, _Miq._

    Bombax malabaricum, _D. C._
    B. insigne, _Wall._
    Eriodendron anfractuosum, _D. C._

    Sterculia foetida, _L._
    S. villosa, _R._
    S. parviflora, _R._
    S. colorata, _R._
    S. alata, _R._
    S. campanulata, _Wall._
    Heritiera littoralis, _Dry._
    H. Fomes, _Buch._
    Buettneria aspera, _Col._

    Elæocarpus Helferi, _Kz._

    Murraya exotica, _L._
    Aegle Marmelos, _Cor._

    Ochna Wallichii, _Pl._

    Garuga pinnata, _R._
    Canarium euphyllum, _Kz._
    C. coccineo-bracteatum, _Kz._

    Chisocheton grandiflorus, _Kz._
    Amoora Rohituka, _W. & A._
    A. cucullata, _R._
    Walsura hypoleuca, _Kz._
    W. villosa, _Wall._
    W. robusta, _R._
    Carapa moluccensis, _Lamk._
    Cedrela Toona, _R._

    Salacia prinoides, _D. C._

    Zizyphus Jujuba, _Lamk._
    Z. [OE]noplia, _Mill._
    Z. rugosa, _Lamk._

    Erioglossum edule, _Bl._
    Cupania Lessertiana, _Camb._
    Pometia tomentosa, _Kz._
    Harpullia cupanoides, _R._

    Mangifera sylvatica, _R._
    Bouea burmanica, _Griff._
    Odina Wodier, _R._
    Parishia insignis, _Hk. f._
    Semecarpus heterophylla, _Bl._
    Spondias mangifera, _Willd._
    Dracontomelum mangiferum, _Bl._

    Erythrina indica, _Lamk._
    Dalbergia latifolia, _R._
    Pterocarpus indicus, _Willd._
    Pongamia glabra, _Vent._
    Peltophorum ferrugineum, _Bth._
    Cassia Fistula, _L._
    C. renigera, _Wall._
    Cynometra ramiflora, _L._
    Afzelia retusa, _Kz._
    A. bijuga, _A. Gray._
    A. palembanica, _Baker._
    Adenanthera pavonina, _L._
    Albizzia Lebbek, _Bth._
    A. stipulata, _Boiv._

    Prunus martabanica, _Wall._

    Polyosma integrifolia, _Bl._

    Rhizophora mucronata, _Lamk._
    R. conjugata, _L._
    Ceriops Candolleana, _Arn._
    Bruguiera gymnorhiza, _Lamk._
    B. parviflora, _W. & A._

    Terminalia procera, _R._
    T. Catappa, _L._
    T. bialata, _Kz._
    Lumnitzera racemosa, _Willd._
    Gyrocarpus Jacquini, _R._

    Eugenia javanica, _Lamk._
    E. claviflora, _R._
    E. leptantha, _Wgt._
    E. jambolana, _Lamk._
    Barringtonia speciosa, _Forst_
    B. racemosa, _Bl._
    Careya arborea, _R._
    Planchonia littoralis, _Vau._

    Memecylon pauciflorum, _Bl._

    Pemphis acidula, _Forst._
    Lagerstroemia calyculata, _Kz._
    L. hypoleuca, _Kz._
    Duabanga sonneratioides, _Ham._
    Sonneratia acida, _L. f._
    S. alba, _Sm._

    Tetrameles nudiflora, _R. Br._

    Mussaenda macrophylla, _Wall._
    M. frondosa, _L._
    Randia densiflora, _Bth._
    R. exaltata, _Griff._
    Gardenia turgida, _R._
    Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea, _Goertn._
    Guettarda speciosa, _L._
    Timonius Jambosella, _Thw._
    Morinda citrifolia, _L._

    Scævola Koenigii, _Vhl._

    Ægialitis rotundifolia, _R._

    Mæsa andamanica, _Kz._
    M. ramentacea, _D. C._
    Ægiceras majus, _Goertn._

    Bassia caloneura, _Kz._
    Mimusops Elengi, _L._
    M. littoralis, _Kz._
    M. hexandra, _R._

    Diospyros pilulosa, _Wall._
    D. Kurzii, _Hiern._
    D. oleifolia, _Wall._

    Ochrosia borbonica, _Gmel._
    Cerbera Odollam, _Goertn._
    Alstonia Kurzii, _H. kf._

    Fagræa racemosa, _Jack._
    F. fragrans, _R._

    Ehretia lævis, _R._

    Oroxylum indicum, _Vent._
    Dolichandrone Rheedii, _Seem._
    Heterophragma adenophyllum, _Seem._
    Pajanelia Rheedii, _D. C._

    Premna integrifolia, _L._
    Gmelina arborea, _L._
    Avicennia officinalis, _L._

    Pisonia alba, _Span._
    P. excelsa, _Bl._

    Myristica andamanica, _Hk. f._
    M. Irya, _Goertn._
    M. glaucescens, _Hk. f._
    M. laurina, _Bl._

    Cryptocarya andamanica, _Hk. f._
    Dehaasia Kurzii, _King._
    D. elongata, _Bl._
    Cinnamomum obtusifolium, _Nees._
    Litsæa sebifera, _Pers._
    Hernandia peltata, _Meis._

    Briedelia tomentosa, _Bl._
    Cleistanthus myrianthus, _Kz._
    Glochidion calocarpum, _Kz._
    G. andamanicum, _Kz._
    Hemicyclia andamanica, _Kz._
    Cyclostemon macrophyllum, _Bl._
    Aporosa villosula, _Kz._
    A. Roxburghii, _Biall._
    A. martabanicum, _Presh._
    Baccaurea sapida, _M. Arg._
    Mallotus Kurzii, _Hk. f._
    M. acuminatus, _M. Arg._
    M. andamanicus, _Hk. f._
    M. philippinensis, _M. Arg._
    Cleidion javanicum, _Bl._
    C. nitidum, _Thw._
    Macaranga indica, _Wgt._
    M. Tanarius, _M. Arg._
    Homonoia riparia,_ Lour._
    Excoecaria Agallocha, _L._

    Celtis Wightii, _Pl._
    Trema amboinensis, _Bl._
    Gironniera subæqualis, _Pl._
    G. lucida, _Kz._
    Ficus gibbosa, _Bl._
    F. altissima, _Bl._
    F. glaberrima, _Bl._
    F. indica, _L._
    F. Benjamina, _L._
    F. retusa, _L._
    F. Tjakela, _Borm._
    F. callosa, _Willd._
    Artocarpus Chaplasha, _R._
    A. Lakoocha, _R._

    Salix tetrasperma, _R._

    Podocarpus neriifolia, _Don._

    Cycas Rumphii, _Miq._

    Arec triandra, _R._
    Pinanga Manii, _Becc._
    P. Kuhlii, _Bl._
    Caryota mitis, _Lour._
    Nipa fruticans, _Wurmb._
    Phoenix paludosa, _R._
    Corypha macropoda, _Kz._
    Licuala peltata, _R._
    L. spinosa, _Wurmb._
    Calamus longisetus, _Griff._
    C. andamanicus, _Kz._
    C. palustris, _Griff._

    Pandanus andamanensium, _Kz._
    P. fascicularis, _Lam._
    P. Leram, _Jones._

    Bambusa schizostachyoides, _Kz._
    Oxytenanthera nigrociliata, _Munro._
    Dinachloa Tjankorreh, _Büse._

                         --Supp., _And. and Nic. Gazette_, April 1900.



The following is a list of some of the more useful and valuable woods:--

  Padouk         }      Pterocarpus Indicus      }
  Koko           }      Albizzia Lebbek          } For furniture.
  Chuglam, Black }      Myristica Irya           }
  Marble wood    }      Diospyros Kurzii         }

  Padouk         }      Pterocarpus Indicus      }
  Gangaw         }      Mesua ferrea             }
  Toung-peingne  }      Artocarpus Chaplasha     }
  Pyimma         }      Lagerstroemia hypoleuca  }
  Thingan        }      Hopea odorata            } For building.
  Lakuch         }      Artocarpus Lakucha       }
  Thitmin        }      Podocarpus bracteata     }
  Gurjan         }      Dipterocarpus sp.        }
  Mohwa          }      Mimusops littoralis      }

  Bombway        }      Careya arborea           }
  Gangaw         }      Mesua ferrea             }
  Mohwa          }      Mimusops littoralis      } Probably useful for
  Pyimma         }      Lagerstroemia hypoleuca  }   paving-blocks.
  Lakuch         }      Artocarpus Lakucha       }
  Gurjan         }      Dipterocarpus sp.        }
  Thingan        }      Hopea odorata            }

  Gurjan         }      Dipterocarpus sp.        }
  Didu           }      Bombax insigne           } For tea-boxes,
  Toung-peingne  }      Artocarpus Chaplasha     }   indigo boxes, and
  Thitmin        }      Podocarpus bracteata     }   packing-cases.
  And numerous   }      Barringtonia sp.         }
    other woods

  Padouk         }      Pterocarpus Indicus      } For gun-carriages and
  Pyimma         }      Lagerstroemia hypoleuca  }   carriage work.
  Thingan        }      Hopea odorata            }

  Padouk         }      Pterocarpus Indicus      } For shafts.
  Gangaw         }      Mesua ferrea             }

  Lakuch         }      Artocarpus Lakucha       } Probably useful
  Thitmin        }      Podocarpus bracteata     }   for oars.

  Satin wood     }      Murraya exotica          } In place of boxwood.

  Mangrove       }      sp.                      } For firewood.

The Madras and Bombay Government gun-carriage factories are supplied
with Andamanese timber, which, so far, is understood to have given them
satisfaction. Such timber has been sent to Roorkee for the Military
Gymnasium, as being the best suited in India for its purposes. The
Indian Marine Department also takes it regularly. Andamanese timber has
also been supplied to Woolwich Arsenal. These facts show that Andamanese
timber is of value to such establishments as gun-carriage factories,
arsenals, gymnasia, and ship-building yards.

For various reasons, most of the Andamanese timbers will probably be
found to be best marketable in a converted form. It is believed that
such converted timbers will be found useful for six large trades at
least, viz., paving wood-blocks, gun-stocks, pianoforte manufacture,
furniture, organ building--for which _Padouk_ is pre-eminently
suitable--and electric light and telephone fittings. If _Gurjan_ should
turn out, as is believed to be probable, to be of use for paving
wood-blocks, then the supply would be very large.

Two forms of converted timbers may be specially noticed as probably
marketable in large quantities, viz., railway sleepers, and tea shooks.
It is believed that there are several timbers which would stand the
strain of railway traffic; and as regards tea shooks, _Gurjan_ is used
for this purpose in some mills in Assam, and of this particular wood
there is an unlimited supply all over the Andamans, which could probably
be delivered locally at a price which would enable it to compete well in
Indian markets with other timbers used for tea-boxes.

The supply of mangrove billets for firewood, at points where it can be
easily and cheaply shipped, is very large in the Andamans, and it is
thought possible that a very profitable and lasting Indian trade might
be established in firewood.

At present, no trade exists at all in gurjan oil, and, as above stated,
the supply of _Gurjan_ trees is unlimited. It is believed that the
supply of _Gurjan_ in India has largely been worked out, therefore that
in the Andamans should become valuable. A small quantity of gurjan oil
is extracted in the Settlement and used chiefly for mixing with earth
oil for application to shingle roofs. The uses to which this oil is put
are so many that the possibility of a profitable trade in the Andamanese
supply seems to be beyond question.

For the construction of houses, bridges, and jetties, the following
species are chiefly used in the Settlement:--

_Padouk._--Posts, trusses, purlins, common rafters, battens, floor and
wall planking, shingles, doors, and windows.

_Koko._--Joists, common rafters, battens, fillets, floor-planking,
doors, and windows.

_White Chuglam._--Floor and ceiling planking.

_Pyimma._--Posts, joists, common rafters, purlins, frames, floor and
wall planking, shingles.

_Lakuch and Mowha._--Posts, girders, beams, and purlins.

_Gangaw._--Posts, girders of bridges, 3-inch planking over sluices, and

_Thitmin._--Inside walling and jambs, shelves, and any light work.

       *       *       *       *       *

In boat-building the following species are used by the Marine

_Padouk._--Hull planks, keel, stem and stern posts, ribs of large boats,
and thwarts.

_White Chuglam._--Oars.


_Thitmin._--Masts and spars.

_Chooi._--Ribs of small boats.

For furniture, _Padouk_ and _Koko_ are chiefly used. _Didu_ is the only
species utilised for the manufacture of tea-boxes at Port Blair. Bark
for tanning purposes is obtained from various species of _Mangrove_ and
from _Terminalia procera_. _Mangrove_ also gives the most suitable wood
for use in the furnaces of the Settlement steam-launches.

Firewood for ordinary purposes is obtained from all hard-wood species
other than those in demand for timber.

Gurjan _oil_ is obtained from three species of _Dipterocarpus_. The
tapping operations extend from 1st January to 30th April. The daily
outturn averages 7 lbs. per man, the greatest flow of oil taking place
in the month of March. The mixture used for steeping house-shingles
consists of 3 lbs. of gurjan oil to 1 lb. of earth oil and 1 lb. of
Alford's metallic paint.

The minor produce of the Andamans comprises several useful species of
bamboo and cane, used in house-building and in the construction of
furniture, rattan roots for walking-sticks, and two species of palm
(_Nipa fruticans_ and _Licuala peltata_), the leaves of which are used
for thatching.

The inner bark of _Sterculia villosa_ is used for making ropes for
timber-dragging purposes.

With regard to the capabilities of the forests for export purposes,
there is an abundance of mature and over-mature _Padouk_ throughout the
Andamans. Gurjan oil trees, _Gangaw_ (the Assam "Ironwood"), suitable
for sleepers, and _Didu_, suitable for tea-box planking, are extremely
abundant. For the extraction of these species labour alone is required.

The forests are situated, in most cases, on the coast, or on or near
to navigable creeks leading to the sea, and are capable of easy and
economical working.--_Andaman and Nicobar Gazette._




 | Name of   |    ADULTS.      |    CHILDREN.    |        |              |
 | Tribe.    +-------+---------+-------+---------+ Total. |   Remarks.   |
 |           | Male. | Female. | Male. | Female. |        |              |
 |           |   No. |     No. |   No. |     No. |    No. |              |
 | Châriâr   |    16 |      15 |     6 |       2 |     39 |              |
 | Kôrâ      |    31 |      32 |    14 |      19 |     96 | Lately       |
 |           |       |         |       |         |        |  discovered. |
 | Tâbô      |    15 |      16 |     7 |      10 |     48 | Hitherto     |
 |           |       |         |       |         |        |  unknown.    |
 | Yére      |    98 |      80 |    26 |      14 |    218 |              |
 | Kede      |    24 |      30 |     3 |       2 |     59 |              |
 | J[=u]wai  |    21 |      19 |     7 |       1 |     48 |              |
 | Kôl       |     6 |       2 |     3 |     ... |     11 |              |
 | Bojig-yáb |    31 |      14 |     2 |       3 |     50 |              |
 | Balawa    |     5 |      10 |     3 |       1 |     19 |              |
 | B[=e]a    |    14 |      16 |     3 |       4 |     37 |              |
 | Jarawa    |   280 |     210 |    55 |      40 |    585 | Estimated.   |
 | Öngé      |   303 |     273 |    63 |      33 |    672 |     Do.      |
 |   TOTAL   |   844 |     717 |   192 |   129   |  1882  |              |

The number of children among the Andamanese is probably understated. The
census operations have brought to light a new tribe, the Tâbô of North
Andaman, and have proved the recently discovered Kôrâ tribe to be
comparatively numerous. In explanation of the small numbers of the newly
discovered Tâbô tribe, the census party were informed that when a
contagious disease was recently introduced among the Tâbôs by the
Châriâr or Kôrâ tribes of the coast, they proceeded to kill off all
those attacked until very few of the tribe were left.--Supp., _And. and
Nic. Gazette_, March 2, 1901.

The foreign residents number 16,106 (viz., 4102 free and 12,004
convict), who are all located at or near Port Blair; but as the amount
is arrived at by deducting the Andamanese and the natives of the
Nicobars from the total population of the two groups, allowance must be
made for inaccuracy due to estimation only of the Jarawas, Öngés, and
Shom Pe[.n].

  Average height of men      4 ft. 10-3/4 ins.
  Average weight   "               98-1/8 lbs.
  Maximum                    5 ft.  4-1/4 ins.
  Minimum                    4  "   5-3/4  "

  Average height of women    4 ft.  7-1/4 ins.
  Average weight   "               93-1/4 lbs.
  Maximum                    4 ft. 11-1/2 ins.
  Minimum                    4  "       4  "

                                     --E. H. Man, _Andaman Islanders_.



The daily average number of pupils on the rolls of the Settlement
schools for 1900 was 229--190 boys and 39 girls. The daily percentage of
attendance was about 92 of both sexes.

Of the former attending the schools, 133 were the children of free
persons and ex-convicts, and the remainder were of convict parentage.
With the exception of 6, all the girls were of the latter class.

Inquiry shows that the percentage of boys attending the schools, born of
free parents, is about 36 to the 20 born of convict parents, who remove
their sons from school immediately the compulsory limit of age (12
years) is passed.

The number of schools in the Settlement is seven, and the teaching staff
consists of--six vernacular masters, including a gymnastic instructor,
one assistant English master, fifteen vernacular assistant teachers and
monitors, five sewing masters and mistresses, one carpenter, and a

The highest class in the English is the fifth, and in the vernacular
school the sixth, in which mensuration and transliteration from Urdu
into Roman characters are taught. The curriculum adopted is that in
vogue in the Punjab. All vernacular education, as well as instruction,
in the Industrial School is granted free of charge, but a fee of 1 rupee
per month is imposed on those who are taught English.

There were 82 boys in the Industrial School learning both carpenter's
and blacksmith's work, and the earnings during nine months amounted to
Rs. 56. It is proposed to teach boys who are not strong enough for the
above trades the use of the sewing-machine, with a view to turning them
into tailors.

The girls do not make much progress in their literary studies, but their
work in the sewing classes is more satisfactory. The reason for this is
that free persons and ex-convicts do not send their girls to school, and
convict parents withdraw their daughters as soon as they reach their
tenth year. Efforts are made to overcome the prejudices of the parents,
but without success. There are many difficulties in this matter with
regard to native children, and at present it can only be hoped that by
degrees prejudices will gradually break down, and the girls be allowed
to make a better start in life than they are at present given.

In Port Blair the locally born of both sexes may be fairly described, as
a whole, as astonishingly wicked. Their delight is to do mischief, and
to worry each other and their elders in an ingenious variety of
underhand and crooked ways, including the perverse and fruitless
lawsuit. It is very much better that their minds should be turned on
athletic sports and games, while they can still join in them, than on
such matters as these; and hence grounds for cricket and football with
all requisites have been granted, and a gymnastic instructor has been
obtained for teaching the boys. It is believed that satisfactory
progress is made, and that much benefit will be derived from the lately
established gymnasium, in which 100 boys are (1901) being trained.



                             A                B                C
  Height                   64-3/4 inches.  63-1/4 inches.  62     inches.
  Fathom                   66-5/8   "      64-3/8   "      63       "
  Chest                    33-1/2   "      31-5/8   "      31-3/8   "
  Length of Hand            7-5/8   "       7-1/4   "       6-1/2   "
      "     Arm            29-3/16  "      28-1/2   "      28       "
      "     Foot            9-7/8   "       9-1/2   "       9-1/8   "
      "     Leg            38-1/4   "      36-3/4   "      35-3/4   "
  Girth of Thigh           18-7/8   "      17-1/8   "      18-1/2   "
     "     Shin            12-1/4   "      11-3/8   "      11-9/16  "
     "     Forearm         10-1/8   "       9-1/2   "       9-7/8   "
     "     Biceps, arm }
             straight  }   10-3/8   "       9-5/8   "       9-1/2   "



  Dillenia pilosa, _Kz._        Little Nicobar    Interior.

  Anona muricata, _L._          Around villages   Cultivated.
  A. squamosa, _L._                 Do.               Do.

  Bixa Orellana, _L._           Malacca village       Do.
  Flacourtia sepiaria, _Roxb._  Nancowry          Interior.

  Garcinia speciosa, _Wall._    Northern islands      Do.
  Calophyllum spectabile,       Little Nicobar        Do.
  C. inophyllum, _L._           Northern islands  Beach forest.

  Hopea odorata, _Roxb._        Menchal           Interior.

  Hibiscus tiliaceus, _L._      All islands       Beach forest.
  Thespesia populnea, _Corr._       Do.               Do.
  Gossipium sp.                 Malacca           Cultivated.
  Kydia calycina, _Roxb._       Northern islands  Interior.

  Sterculia campanulata,        Teressa               Do.
  S. villosa, _Roxb._           Little Nicobar        Do.
  S. rubiginosa, _Vent._        Car Nicobar           Do.
  Heritiera littoralis,         All islands       Beach forest.
  Pterospermun acerifolium,     Little Nicobar    Interior.

  Paramignya citrifolia, _Hf._  Car Nicobar,          Do.
                                  Little Nicobar
  Citrus medica, _L._           Villages          Cultivated.
  C. decumana, _Willd._             Do.               Do.
  Ægle Marmelos, _Correa._          Do.               Do.

  Canarium euphyllum, _Kz._     Teressa           Interior.

  Carapa moluccensis, _Lamk._   Little Nicobar    Maritime swamp.
  C. obovota, _Bl._                 Do.               Do.
  Amoora Ganggo, _Miq._             Do.           Interior.

  Salacia prinoides, _D. C._    Little Nicobar    Interior.

  Zizyphus subquinquenerva,     Little Nicobar        Do.

  Vitis pedata, _Vhl._          Little Nicobar        Do.
  Leea grandifolia, _Kz._       Do. and Nancowry  Interior & beach forest.
  L. sambucina, _L._                Do.               Do.

  Mangifera sylvatica, _Roxb._  Teressa           Interior.
  Odina Wodier, _Roxb._         Nancowry          Beach forest.
  Semecarpus heterophyllus,     All islands       Beach forest and
     _Bl._                                          interior.
  Parishia insignis, _Hk. f._   Teressa           Interior.

  Abrus precatorius, _L._       Malacca village   Cultivated.
  Erythrina indica, _L._        Little Nicobar    Interior.
  Flemingia strobilifera,       Car Nicobar,          Do.
    _Ait._                        Nancowry
  Derris scandens, _Bth._       Little Nicobar        Do.
  Pongamia glabra, _Vent._      All islands       Beach forest.
  Peltoforum ferrugineum,       Nancowry              Do.
  Cæsalpinia nuga, _Ait._       All islands       Beach forest and mangrove
  Afzelia lijuga, _A. Gray_
  C. Bonducella, _Roxb._            Do.               Do.
  Tamarindus indica, _L._       Car Nicobar       Cultivated.
  Entada scandens, _Bth._       Little Nicobar    Interior.
  Albizzia stipulata, _Boiv._   Nancowry          Do. on border of grass
  Adenanthera pavonina, _L._    Little Nicobar    Interior.
  Pithecolobium sp.                 Do.               Do.
  Desmodium sp.                     Do.           Beach forest.

  Rhizophora mucronata, _Lmk._  Little Nicobar    Mangrove swamp.
  R. conjugata, _L._                Do.               Do.
  Bruguiera gymnorhiza, _Lam._      Do.               Do.
  Carallia sp.(?)               Car Nicobar       Interior.

  Terminalia Catappa, _L._      All islands       Interior.
  T. sp. (procera?)                 Do.               Do.
  T. sp. (bialata?)             Pulo Milo             Do.
  Combretum sp.                 Car Nicobar           Do.
  Lumnitzera racemosa, _Willd._

  Eugenia Javanica, _Lamk._     All islands       Beach forest.
  Barringtonia speciosa,            Do.               Do.
  Do. racemosa, _D. C._         Car Nicobar       Interior.
  Do. acutangula, _Gærtn._
  Psidium guava, _Raddi._           Do.           Cultivated.

  Melastoma malabathricum, _L._ Car Nicobar       Interior.

  Carica papaya, _L._           Villages          Cultivated.

  Pavetta indica, _L._          Little Nicobar    Beach forest.
  Guettarda speciosa, _L._      All islands           Do.
  Morinda citrifolia, _L._          Do.               Do.

  Mimusops littoralis, _Kz._    All islands       Do. on rocky coasts.

  Fagræa racemosa, _Jack._      Nancowry, Little  Interior.
  Cerbera Odollam, _Ham._       Car Nicobar,      Beach forest.
                                  Little Nicobar
  Ochrosia salubris, _Mig._     Car Nicobar,          Do.
                                  Little Nicobar
  Alstonia scholaris, _R. Br._  Car Nicobar       Interior.

  Ipomæa biloba, _Forsk._       All islands       Sea beach.

  Solanum torvum, _Sw._         Car Nicobar       Village lands.

  Spathodea Rheedii, _Wall._    Little Nicobar,   Beach forest.

  Clerodendron inerme, _L._     Nancowry          Interior, near grass
  Callicarpa longifolia,        Car Nicobar       Interior.

  Cordia subcordata, _Lamk._    All islands       Beach forest.
  C. Myxa, _L._                 Car Nicobar       Inland.
  Tournefortia argentea, _L._   Little Nicobar    Beach forest.

  Cinnamomum obtusifolium,      Little Nicobar,   Interior.
    _N. E._                       Nancowry
  Cassytha filiformis, _L._     Little Nicobar        Do.
  Hernandia peltata, _Meissn._  Car Nicobar and   Beach forest.
                                  other islands

  Elæagnus latifolia, _L._      Car Nicobar and   Interior.
                                  other islands

  Myristica Irya, _Gærtn._      Little Nicobar,   Interior.

  Croton argyratus, _Bl._       Nancowry              Do.
  Macaranga Tanarius, _Müll.    Teressa           Beach forest.
  Mallotus philippinensis,          Do.           Interior.
    _D. C._
  Ricinus communis, _L._        Villages          Cultivated.

  Artocarpus integrifolia, _L._ Villages          Cultivated.
  A. Chaplasha, _Roxb._         Nancowry          Interior.
  A. Lakoocha, _D. C._              Do.               Do.
  Ficus bengalensis, _L._       All islands       Beach forest.

  Chavica Betle, _Miq._         All islands       Beach forest, and

  Casuarina equisetifolia,      All islands       Beach forest (clay
    _Forst._                                        bluffs).

  Podocarpus cracteata, _Bl._   Camorta           Interior.

  Cycas Rumphii, _Miq._         Car Nicobar,      Beach and interior
                                   Nancowry,        forests.
                                   Little Nicobar

  Nipa fruticans, _Wurmb._      Little Nicobar    Maritime swamp.
  Cocos nucifera, _L._          All islands       Beach Forest.
  Areca Catechu, _L._               Do.           Interior and cultivated.
  Ptychoraphis augusta, _L._        Do.           Interior.
  Calamus gracilis, _Roxb._     Little Nicobar        Do.
  Bentinckia Nicobarica, _Becc._

  Pandanus Larum, _Jones_       All islands       Beach forest.
  P. odoratissimus, _L. F._         Do.               Do.
  P. furcatus, _Roxb._          Teressa           Interior.

  Colocasia indica, _L._        Villages          Cultivated.
  Pothos scandens, _L._         Little Nicobar    Interior.

  Amomun Fenzlii, _Kz._         Little Nicobar        Do.

  Dendrobium anceps, _Sw._      Little Nicobar    Interior.
  Vanda Teres, _Ldl._               Do.               Do.
  Saccolabium obliquum, _Ldl._      Do.               Do.
  Phalenopsis cornu-cervi, _Bl._    Do.               Do.

  Crinum asiaticum, _L._        Villages          Cultivated and in beach

  Smilax polyacantha, _Wall._   Nancowry, Little  Interior.
  Flagellaria indica, _L._      Nancowry              Do.

  Saccharum spontaneum, _L._    Northern islands  Grass heaths.
  Eragrostis plumosa, _Lamk._       Do.               Do.
  Imperata arundinacea, _Cyr._      Do.               Do.
  Dinachloa andamanica, _Kz._   All islands       Interior.
  Dendrocalamus Brandisii, _Kz._

  Gleichenia dichotoma,         Teressa           Grass heaths.
  Gl. sp.                       Little Nicobar    Interior.
  Acrostichum scandens,         Car Nicobar, etc.     Do.
    _J. Sm._
  A. aureum, _L._               All islands       Beach forest.
  Polypodium adnascens, _Sw._   Northern          Everywhere.
                                  Islands, etc.
  P. quercifolium, _L._             Do.               Do.

                           --Supp., _And. and Nic. Gazette_, May 1897.



Table Key:

  A: Villages.
  B: Huts.
  C: Men.
  D: Women.
  E: Boys.
  F: Girls.
  G: Total.
  H: Foreigner.
  I: Villages.
  J: Huts.
  K: Population.

 |                |                  1901.                ||      1886.   |
 |   Islands.     +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----++----+----+----+
 |                | A  | B  | C  | D  | E  | F  | G  | H  || I  | J  | K  |
 |Car Nicobar     |  13| 748|1126| 999| 704| 622|3451| 181||  13| .. |3500|
 |Chowra          |   6| 130| 172| 178| 100|  72| 522| .. ||   5|  94| 690|
 |Teressa         |  11| 112| 179| 165| 158| 122| 624| .. ||   8| 109| 571|
 |Bompoka         |   2|  18|  29|  25|  16|   8|  78| .. ||   2|  15|  86|
 |Camorta         |  30|  98| 170| 164|  85|  69| 488|   7||  26| 106| 359|
 |Nancowry        |  13|  48|  93|  86|  24|  21| 224|   7||  14|  78| 222|
 |Trinkat         |   4|  25|  42|  39|  12|   9| 102|   1||   8|  34|  85|
 |Kachal          |  34|  64| 104| 109|  31|  37| 281|   1||  37|  66| 183|
 |Great Nicobar   |  15|  25|  42|  35|   6|   4|  87|   1||  23|  45| 138|
 |Little Nicobar  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    ||    |    |    |
 |  and Pulo Milo |  15|  21|  25|  24|   7|  11|  67|   1||  19|  27|  74|
 |Condul          |   3|   8|  14|  14|   5|   5|  38|   1||   3|   8|  27|
 |                +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----++----+----+----+
 |    Total       | 146|1297|1996|1838|1148|980 |5962| 201|| 158| .. |5935|

From these figures it appears that, on the whole, the population has
remained fairly stationary since the last census. With regard to Chowra,
I am inclined to believe that the decrease is due not only to the fact
that many of the natives have migrated to Camorta and other islands of
the group, but to the number of the children now on the island having
been understated to the enumerators. Much of the increase shown in the
central group and Teressa is attributable to immigration, and very
probably also to incorrect information having been furnished to the
enumerators, either at this census or the last one. As to the Shom
Pe[.n], it is still impossible to ascertain their numbers.--E. H.
Man--Supp., _And. and Nic. Gazette_, March 2, 1901.



List of the principal articles imported by the traders for sale to the
Kar Nicobarese:--

                                           Price in Coconuts.
  Nickel-silver soup-ladle                 500 pairs.
    "           long spoon                 500   "
    "           table spoon and fork       500   "
    "           dessert spoon and fork     300   "
    "           tea spoon and small fork   120   "
    "           mustard spoon              200   "
  Tumblers                                  20-40 pairs, according to size.
  Decanters                                 60-80   "         "        "
  China plates                              40-80   "         "        "
    "   bowls                               40-80   "         "        "
  Enamelled plates                          40-80   "         "        "
    "       cups                            40-80   "         "        "
  Matches, packet of 12 boxes               24 pairs.
  Needles, 1 dozen                          12   "
  Thread, 1 dozen balls                     12   "
  Chinese tobacco, 1 packet                 40   "
  Tobacco, 1 bundle                        100   "
  Red cloth, 1 piece                      1200   "
    "        1 piece (Turkey)             1600   "
  White calico, 1 piece                    800   "
  Chinese black cloth, 1 piece             600   "
  Madras handkerchiefs, 1 piece            800-2000 pairs.
  Fancy coloured chintz and _saris_         --
    "   Bombay handkerchiefs                --
  Rice (1 bag of 2 maunds, Calcutta)       300-500 pairs.
    "  (1 bag of 3 maunds, Burma)          500-600   "
  _Chattis_ and pots                        10-40    "
  American knives                           80-120   "
    "          "  clasp                     20-60    "
  Burmese _dáos_                            40-200   "
  Table knives                              40-160   "
  Two-anna pieces                            8       "
  Rupee                                     30-50    "

Wooden and tin clothes-boxes, looking-glasses, sugar, camphor, Epsom
salts, Eno's fruit salt, turpentine, castor oil, cabin biscuits, etc.



Articles found to be in demand during the cruise of the _Terrapin_:--


  Red cotton (_salu_), clay pipes, leaf tobacco, matches, rice, sugar,
  axe-heads, _parangs_, iron wire and scraps, files, long nails.


    _Northern._             _Central._              _Southern Islands._
  Cigars, cigarettes.     Cigarettes.             Cigarettes.
  Chinese and Javanese    Chinese and Javanese    Chinese and Javanese
    tobacco.                tobacco.                tobacco.
  Matches.                Matches.                Matches.
  Dried Fish.             Dried fish.             ...
  Turpentine, quinine,    Turpentine, quinine,    Turpentine, quinine,
    camphor, castor oil,    camphor, castor oil,    camphor, castor oil,
    scent, essential        scent, essential        scent, essential oils,
    oils, plaster.          oils, plaster.          plaster.
  Silver(?) wire.         Silver(?) wire,         Silver(?) wire.
  Red cotton.             Red cotton.             Red cotton.
  Cotton handkerchiefs.   Cotton handkerchiefs.   Cotton handkerchiefs.
  Old silk hats.          Silk hats, Malay caps.  Malay caps.
  Old clothes.            Old clothes.            Chinese cotton coats and
                                                    trousers, _sarongs_.
  Biscuits and crusts.    Rice.                   Rice.
                                                  _Parangs_, knives, axes,
                                                    beads,  needles,
                                                    thread,  soap, old



 | No.|  Shom Pe[.n].  |Height.|Fathom.| Chest.|Length |Length |Length |Length |
 |    |                |       |       |       |of Arm.|of     |of Leg.|of     |
 |    |                |       |       |       |       |Hand.  |       |Foot.  |
 |    |                |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 |    |         [Male] |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 |  1 | Ga-it,  æt. 40 |62-1/8 |62-7/8 |33-5/8 |24-1/4 |7-3/16 |34-1/8 |10-1/8 |
 |  2 | Nahau,   "  40 |63-1/8 |66     |35-5/8 |28-3/4 |7-11/16|37-1/8 |10-3/8 |
 |  3 | Hatau,   "  20 |64-3/4 |63-3/8 |35-5/8 |27-3/4 |7-7/16 |37-5/8 |10-5/8 |
 |  4 | Ru,      "  25 |63-1/2 |65-3/4 |35-5/8 |27-3/4 |7      |34-5/8 |10-5/8 |
 |  5 | Tam,     "  45 |62-7/8 |63-3/8 |34-1/8 |27-3/4 |7-7/16 |36-5/8 |10-1/8 |
 |  6 |          "  40 |65-1/4 |67-3/4 |38-1/8 |29     |7-1/2  |38-1/2 |10-1/2 |
 |  7 |          "  18 |64-1/4 |65-3/4 |33-5/8 |28-1/4 |7-1/4  |37-1/8 |10     |
 |  8 |          "  22 |65-3/4 |65-1/4 |34-5/8 |28-1/4 |7-1/2  |38     |10-1/2 |
 |  9 |          "  25 |65-1/4 |67-3/8 |36-5/8 |27-3/4 |7-1/2  |37-5/8 |10-1/2 |
 | 10 |          "  18 |63-1/4 |64     |35-1/8 |27-3/4 |7-1/2  |37-1/8 |10-1/4 |
 | 11 |          "  25 |67-3/4 |67-3/4 |35-5/8 |29-1/4 |7-3/4  |40-1/2 |11     |
 | 12 |          "  40 |65-3/4 |62-1/2 |34-1/8 |27-1/2 |7-1/4  |38-5/8 |10-1/2 |
 | 13 |          "  35 |65-1/4 |66-3/4 |37-1/8 |28-1/2 |7-1/2  |39-1/8 |11     |
 | 14 |          "  20 |63-1/4 |63     |36-1/8 |26-3/4 |7      |39     |10     |
 |    |                +-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
 |    | Average adult  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 |    |   male         |64     |65.1   |35.2   |27.8   |7.3    |37.5   |10.4   |
 |    |                +-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
 |    |        [Female]|       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 | 15 | K[=u]ng, æt.38 |62-5/8 |61-1/8 | ...   |27     |7      | ...   | 9-3/4 |
 | 16 | Morkoi,  "  25 |61-5/8 |62-5/8 | ...   |26-3/4 |7-7/16 | ...   |10     |
 | 17 | Mnweuk,  "  18 |58-3/8 |56-3/4 | ...   |24-1/4 |6-1/2  | ...   | 9     |
 | 18 |          "  35 |65-1/4 |64-3/8 |32-3/16|27-3/4 |7-1/4  |37-5/8 | 9-3/4 |
 | 19 |          "  35 |57-3/8 |57-3/8 | ...   |24-3/4 |6-1/2  |33-5/8 | 9     |
 | 20 |          "  18 |60-1/4 |59-7/8 |28-3/4 |26-3/4 |7      |35-1/8 | 9-1/2 |
 | 21 |          "  35 |61-7/8 |62-3/4 |33-5/8 |27     |7-1/4  |35-3/4 |10     |
 | 22 |          "  38 |59-3/8 |59-1/8 |30     |25     |6-3/4  |34-1/2 | 9-1/2 |
 |    |                +-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
 |    | Average adult  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 |    |   female       |60.8   |60.5   |31.1   |26.1   |6.9    |35.3   | 9.6   |
 |    |                +-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
 |    |         [Male] |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 | 23 |         æt. 15 |59-7/8 |61-5/8 |30-1/4 |27     |7      |36-5/8 | 9-3/4 |
 | 24 |          "  13 |58-3/8 |60-3/8 |30-1/4 |26-1/4 |7      |36-7/8 |10     |
 | 25 |          "  11 |57-7/8 |57     |27-3/4 |23-3/4 |6-7/8  |35     |10     |
 |    |                |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 |    |        [Female]|       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 | 26 | Ah-kai, æt. 15 |57-1/2 |55-1/2 | ...   |24-3/4 |6      | ...   | 9-1/4 |
 | 27 | Jeh,     "  12 |56     |56     | ...   |25     |6-1/2  | ...   | 9-1/4 |
 | 28 | Kahng,   "  10 |48-1/2 |48-1/2 | ...   |20-3/4 |5-3/4  | ...   | 8-1/4 |

 | No.| Girth of   | Girth of | Girth of |   Remarks.                          |
 |    | Biceps,    | Forearm. | Calf.    |                                     |
 |    | Contracted.| Arm      |          |                                     |
 |    | Arm Closed.| Straight.|          |                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 |  1 | 10         | 9-1/2    | 12       |                                     |
 |  2 | 10-3/4     | 10       | 13-1/4   |                                     |
 |  3 | 11         | 9-3/4    | 13       |                                     |
 |  4 | 12         | 11       | 13-3/4   | Elephantiasis in the leg.           |
 |  5 | 10-1/2     | 9-3/4    | 14       |                                     |
 |  6 | 10-1/2     | 10       | 12-3/8   | Elephantiasis in the leg.           |
 |  7 | 11-1/4     | 9-3/4    | 12-1/2   |                                     |
 |  8 | 10-1/2     | 10-1/4   | 12-5/8   | Elephantiasis in the leg.           |
 |  9 | 12-7/8     | 11       | 14-7/8   |                                     |
 | 10 | 11-5/8     | 10       | 13-3/8   |                                     |
 | 11 | 11-3/4     | 10-1/2   | 14       |                                     |
 | 12 | 10-1/2     | 10       | 13-1/4   |                                     |
 | 13 | 12         | 10       | 14       |                                     |
 | 14 | 11-3/4     | 10       | 14-1/4   |                                     |
 |    +------------+----------+----------+                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 |    | 11.2       | 10.1     | 13.3     | inches.                             |
 |    +------------+----------+----------+                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 | 15 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 16 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 17 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 18 | ...        | ...      | ...      | Elephantiasis in the legs, goitrous.|
 | 19 | ...        | ...      | ...      | Elephantasis in the legs.           |
 | 20 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 21 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 22 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 |    +------------+----------+----------+                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 |    | ...        | ...      | ...      | inches.                             |
 |    +------------+----------+----------+                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 | 23 | ...        | ...      | ...      | Elephantiasis in the leg.           |
 | 24 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 25 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 |    |            |          |          |                                     |
 | 26 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 27 | ...        | ...      | ...      |                                     |
 | 28 | ...        | ...      |...       |                                     |


 | No.|      Nicobarese.         | Height.| Fathom.| Chest. | Length  | Length |
 |    |                          |        |        |        | of Arm. | of     |
 |    |                          |        |        |        |         | Hand.  |
 |    |                          |        |        |        |         |        |
 |    |                   [Male] |        |        |        |         |        |
 |  1 | Kar Nicobarese,          | 65     | 66     | 34-1/4 | 28-3/16 | 7-1/8  |
 |  2 |      "                   | 66     | 69     | 39-1/8 | 29-7/8  | 7-3/8  |
 |  3 |      "                   | 63     | 67     | 35     | 28-7/16 | 6-7/8  |
 |  4 |      "                   | 65-1/4 | 66     | 35-3/4 | 28-7/16 | 7-3/8  |
 |  5 |      "                   | 64-1/4 | 68-3/4 | 34-1/4 |  ...    | 7-3/4  |
 |  6 |      "                   | 63-3/8 | 66-1/4 | 33     |  ...    | 6-7/8  |
 |  7 |      "                   | 65-1/8 | 66-1/8 | 33-1/2 |  ...    | 7-3/4  |
 |  8 |      "                   | 66-3/4 | 66-1/2 | 36-1/4 | 28-3/16 | 7-3/8  |
 |  9 |      "                   | 64     | 65-1/2 | 36     | 27-7/16 | 6-7/8  |
 | 10 |      "                   | 70-3/4 | 72     | 38-1/4 | 30-3/8  | 8-1/8  |
 | 11 |      "                   | 63     | 65-1/2 | 36-1/2 | 28-3/8  | 7-1/8  |
 | 12 |      "                   | 65-7/8 | 66-1/4 | 37-1/4 | 27      | 6-7/8  |
 | 13 |      "                   | 66-3/4 | 69     | 33-3/8 | 29-1/8  | 7-3/8  |
 | 14 |      "                   | 63-1/2 | 64-3/4 | 34-3/4 | 27-3/16 | 7-1/8  |
 | 15 |      "                   | 61-1/4 | 64-1/2 | 34-3/4 | 27-1/2  | 6-7/8  |
 |    |                   [Male] |        |        |        |         |        |
 | 16 | Great Nicobarese, æt. 40 | 65-7/8 | 70-1/2 | 28-3/4 | 30-3/8  | 8-3/8  |
 | 17 |      "             "  45 | 63-7/8 | 67-3/8 | 34-1/8 | 29-7/16 | 7-5/8  |
 | 18 |      "             "  40 | 61-3/4 | 61-3/4 | 33-7/8 | 27-1/2  | 7      |
 | 19 |      "             "  19 | 60-3/4 | 64-3/4 | 29-3/8 | 27-1/2  | 7-3/8  |
 | 20 |      "             "  25 | 64-1/8 | 67-1/8 | 35-3/4 | 29-11/16| 8-1/8  |
 | 21 |      "             "  18 | 59-3/4 | 60-3/4 | 32-3/8 | 26-1/2  | 7-5/8  |
 | 22 |      "             "  50 | 67-1/2 | 69-1/4 | 37-1/8 | 30-1/4  | 8      |
 | 23 |      "             "  35 | 64-3/4 | 66-1/4 | 38-1/8 | 28-3/4  | 7-1/2  |
 | 24 |      "             "  55 | 60-3/8 | 64-1/4 | ...    | 27-1/4  | 7      |
 | 25 |      "             "  28 | 62-3/4 | 65-1/4 | 38-1/4 | 28-1/4  | 7      |
 | 26 |      "             "  35 | 62-1/4 | 65-1/4 | 35-1/8 | 27-1/4  | 7-1/4  |
 | 27 |      "             "  22 | 64-1/4 | 64-1/4 | 35-1/8 | 27-3/4  | 7-1/2  |
 | 28 |      "             "  19 | 60-1/4 | 59-7/8 | 35-5/8 | 25-1/4  | 7      |
 | 29 |      "             "  55 | 64-3/4 | 66-1/4 | 34-5/8 | 28-3/4  | 7-3/4  |
 | 30 |      "             "  40 | 59-1/4 | 64-1/4 | 34-5/8 | 28-1/4  | 7      |
 | 31 |      "             "  30 | 62-3/4 | 63-1/4 | 36-1/8 | 26-3/4  | 7-1/4  |
 | 32 |      "             "  40 | 64-1/4 | 66-1/8 | 34-1/8 | 28-3/4  | 7-1/4  |
 | 33 |      "             "  40 | 64-1/4 | 65-3/4 | 37-7/8 | 27-3/4  | 7-3/8  |
 | 34 |      "             "  35 | 64-1/2 | 66-3/4 | 39-7/8 | 28-3/4  | 7-3/4  |
 | 35 |      "             "  20 | 63-1/4 | 66-1/4 | 35-1/8 | 27-1/4  | 7-1/2  |
 | 36 |      "             "  30 | 62-7/8 | 66-3/4 | 37-5/8 | 28-1/4  | 7-1/2  |
 | 37 |      "             "  25 | 61-3/8 | 65-1/4 | 35-7/8 | 26-3/4  | 7-1/4  |
 | 38 |      "             "  40 | 66     | 69     | 37-7/8 | 29-1/4  | 7-3/4  |
 | 39 |      "             "  40 | 62     | 62-7/8 | 36-1/8 | 26-3/4  | 7-1/4  |
 |    | Average adult male,      | 63.9   | 66.1   | 35.3   | 28.1    | 7.3    |
 |    |   Nicobarese             |        |        |        |         |        |

 | No.| Length  | Length   |  Girth of  |  Girth of | Girth of |               |
 |    | of Leg. | of Foot. |  Biceps,   |  Forearm. |   Calf.  |     Remarks.  |
 |    |         |          | Contracted.|    Arm    |          |               |
 |    |         |          |            |  Straight |          |               |
 |    |         |          |            |           |          |               |
 |  1 | 39-1/8  |  9-5/16  | 11-3/4     | 10-1/8    | 13-7/16  |               |
 |  2 | 38-5/8  | 10       | 13-1/4     | 11        | 14-11/16 |               |
 |  3 | 36-1/4  |  9-9/16  | 10-1/2     | 10-1/8    | 13       |               |
 |  4 | 38-3/8  |  9-13/16 | 12-3/4     | 10-7/8    | 14-3/16  |               |
 |  5 | 38      | 10-5/16  | 12         | 10-1/4    | 13-15/16 |               |
 |  6 | 38      |  9-1/8   | 11-1/4     | 10-1/2    | 13-13/16 |               |
 |  7 | 39-1/4  |  9-9/16  | 11-3/4     | 10-7/8    | 14-1/16  |               |
 |  8 | 37-1/4  |  9-13/16 | 12-1/4     | 10-3/4    | 13-3/4   |               |
 |  9 | 38-1/4  |  9-13/16 | 11-3/4     | 10-1/8    | 13-1/4   |               |
 | 10 | 41-1/8  | 11       | 12         | 11-1/4    | 14-5/8   |               |
 | 11 | 36-1/2  | 10-1/16  | 11-3/4     | 10-5/16   | 13-1/4   |               |
 | 12 | 36-3/4  | 10-1/16  | 12-1/2     | 10-3/4    | 14-3/16  |               |
 | 13 | 38-1/4  | 10-1/16  | 10-1/8     |  9-5/8    | 12-1/4   |               |
 | 14 | 35-7/8  |  9-13/16 | 10-9/16    |  9-3/8    | 13       |               |
 | 15 | 35-7/8  |  9-13/16 | 10-13/16   | 10-1/8    | 13-15/16 |               |
 |    |         |          |            |           |          |               |
 | 16 | 39-11/16| 10-9/16  | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 17 | 38      |  9-13/16 | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 18 | 36      |  9-3/8   | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 19 | 34-1/8  |  9-7/16  | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 20 | 38-1/2  | 10-5/16  | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 21 | 34-3/8  |  9-1/8   | 11-1/2     | 10-1/2    | 13-1/2   |               |
 | 22 | 39-1/2  | 10       | 13         | 11-1/4    | 15       |               |
 | 23 | 36-1/8  |  9-7/8   | 12         | 10-1/2    | 14-1/2   |               |
 | 24 | 34-1/8  |  9       | 10-1/2     |  9-1/2    | 12-1/2   |  Hernia.      |
 | 25 | 36-7/8  |  9-1/4   | 12         | 10-1/2    | 13-1/4   |               |
 | 26 | 37-5/8  |  9-3/4   | 11-1/2     | 10-1/4    | 13-3/4   |               |
 | 27 | 35-5/8  | 10-1/4   | 11-1/4     | 10        | 14-1/2   |               |
 | 28 | 34-5/8  |  9-1/2   | 12         | 10        | 13-1/2   |               |
 | 29 | 36-5/8  | 10-1/4   | 11         |  9-1/4    | 13-1/4   |               |
 | 30 | 35-5/8  |  9-1/2   | ...        | ...       | ...      |               |
 | 31 | 35-3/8  |  9-1/4   | 13-1/2     | 11-1/2    | 15-1/4   |               |
 | 32 | 34-5/8  |  9-1/2   | 11-1/2     | 10        | 13.      |               |
 | 33 | 35-7/8  |  9-3/4   | 13-3/4     | 11-3/4    | 14-3/4   |               |
 | 34 | 34-7/8  | 10       | 14-1/4     | 12-1/2    | 16.      |               |
 | 35 | 37-3/8  |  9-1/2   | 12         | 10        | 13.      |               |
 | 36 | 35-7/8  |  9-1/2   | 13         | 11        | 13-3/4   |               |
 | 37 | 33-1/8  |  9-1/2   | 12-1/2     | 10-1/2    | 13-1/2   |               |
 | 38 | 38-1/8  | 10       | 13-1/2     | 11        | 13-3/4   |               |
 | 39 | 34-5/8  |  9-1/2   | 12-3/4     | 11-1/2    | 13-3/4   |               |
 |    | 36.9    | 10.2     | 11.9       | 10.5      | 13.8     | inches.       |
 |    |         |          |            |           |          |               |


    A.   = "Andamanese" or "Andaman Islands"
    N.   = "Nicobarese" or "Nicobar Islands"
    K.N. = "Kar Nicobarese" or "Kar Nicobar"
    S.P. = "Shom Pe[.n]"

  Aborigines of the Andaman Islands, the
    Seclusion, 173, 184
    Remote migration, 184
    Predatory voyages, 215
    Kitchen-middens, 184

  Aborigines of the Nicobar Islands, the
    Inhabitants of Nicobars two distinct ethnical groups, 215
    The Shom Pe[.n], 215-220
      Derivation, 215-217
      Population, 215
      Hostility to Nicobarese, 76, 215, 220
      Appearance, 217, 218
        Measurements of some Shom Pe[.n], 353, 354
      Disposition, 220
      Language, 220
      Comparison of some Shom Pe[.n] and Nicobarese words, 155
      Diseases, 220
      Headmen, 219
      Position of women, 220
      Respective occupations of the sexes, 220
        Rattan collecting, 219, 220
      Dress and ornaments, 219
      Huts, 218
      Gardens, 218
      Domestic animals, 219
      Water-supply, 220
      Trade, 219
      Cultivations, 218
      Manufactures, 219
        Cloth, 219
        Spears, 219, 243, 244
        Baskets, 219
        Cooking-vessel, 219
          A possible origin of pottery, 219.
    _see_ "Great Nicobar"

  Adoption, custom of, N., 84

  _Ai-yu-a-kare_, K.N., 302

  Aka-Balawa, tribe of, A., 17, 342

  Ambergris, N., 252, 279

  _Amhai_, K.N., 299

  Amok, causes of, 312
    Instances of, N., 312

  Amusements, Port Blair, A., 20

  Amusements, N., 251

  _Amutna Kuv_, K.N., 302, 303

  Anchorages. _See_ under names of islands

  Andaman, Great. _See_ "Great Andaman"

  Andaman Islands, the, 168
    Position, 167
    Relationship, 167, 168, 171, 321, 327
    Soundings, 168, 320
    Coral banks, 170
    Area, 168
    Geology, 174, 175, 176
    Minerals, 176
    Subsidence, 176
    Volcanic action, 174
    Earthquakes, 176
    Climate, 173
      Rainfall, 173
      Temperature, 173
      Cyclones, 174
      Average wind and weather, 335
    Scenery, 170
    Mountains, 169
    Harbours, 171
    Flora, 171, 172
      Principal forest trees, 336-338
      Birds, 326-328
        List of, occurring in the Andamans, 328-331
      Mammals, 322-324
         Synopsis of mammalian fauna, 325
    History, 176-184
      Origin of the name Andaman, 176
      First known reference, 177
      Chinese records, 177
      Accounts of Arab travellers (A.D. 871), 177
      Accounts of Marco Polo (thirteenth century), 177
        Master Cæsar Frederike (sixteenth century), 178
        Dr Gemelli (seventeenth century), 178
        Captain Alexander Hamilton (eighteenth century), 179, 180
      Hon. East India Company's expeditions, 180
      Establishment of a Penal Settlement (1789), 180
      Transfer of the Penal Settlement (1792), 180
      Colonel Syme's report (1795), 181
      Abandonment of Settlement (1796), 181
      Nineteenth century details, 181
      Attempt at colonisation (1849), 181, 182
      Dr Mouat's Commission (1857), 183
      Re-establishment of Penal Settlement, 183
      Andamans formed in a Commissionership with Nicobars (1871), 184
    Natural products, 172, 199, 341
      List of the more useful and valuable woods, 339
    Cultivations, 172, 198, 200
    Industries, 171, 172, 198, 199, 200, 339, 340, 341
    Exports, 199, 339, 340
    The Penal System, 193-199
    Population, 192
      Foreign residents, 342
      Census (1901), 342
    (For inhabitants, _see_ "The Andamanese."
      _See_ also "The Archipelago," "Barren Island," "The Cinques,"
      "Great Andaman," "Little Andaman," "Narkondam," "Port Blair,"
      "Rutland Island," "South Andaman.")

  Andaman, Little. _See_ "Little Andaman"

  Andaman, South. _See_ "South Andaman"

  Andaman Strait, 168, 169

  Andamanese, the
    Aborigines, seclusion of, 173, 184
      Remote migration, 184
      Kitchen-middens, 184
      Predatory voyages, 215
    Tribal division, 190, 192, 342
    Hostility, 190-192
    The Andamanese as enemies, 34
    Effects of contact with civilisation, 192
      Education, 187
    Average duration of life, 187
    Infant mortality, 192
    Diseases, 40, 187
    Appearance, 185, 186
      Average height, 342
        Weight, 342
      Measurements of some Andamanese, 344
    Disposition, 187
    Dress, 188
    Dialects, 186
      Grammar, 186
    Weapons and implements, 184, 189
    Huts, 46
    Food, 190
    Position of women, 187
    Customs, 187, 188
    Belief in spirits, 188
    Credence in wizardry, 188
    Christian traditions, 189
    Musical instrument, 189
    Specimens of songs, 189
    Manufactures, 189
    Articles found to be in demand for presents and barter, 352
    (_See_ "Aka-Balawa," "Jarawas" "Önges," and under "Port Blair")

  _Anoi-ila_, K.N., 295

  _Anúla Kopáh_, K.N., 292
    Account of this ceremony as carried out at Lapáti, K.N., 293

  Archipelago, the (Andaman Islands)
    General topography, 15
    Aka-Balawa, tribe of, 17
    Birds, 16, 17
    Rats, 17

  Area. _See_ under names of islands

  Arrows, A., 24, 25, 33, 34, 42; N., 245

  Arts, N., 251

  Austin Strait, A., 168

  Babies, mode of carrying, A., 24

  Banian trees, N., 122

  Barren Island
    Relationship, 174
    Elevation, 169
    General topography, 10-13
    Anchorage, 11
    Landing-place, 11
    Hot spring, 11
    Interior of the crater, 12, 13
    Eruptive cone, 12
    Volcanic activity, 13, 14
    Lava, 12
    Goats, 12
    Rats, 14
    Crabs, 14
    Fish, 14
    Birds, 14

  Barter, articles found to be in demand for presents, etc., A.N., 352

  Baskets, A., 33; K.N., 48;  S.P., 219

  Bat camp, a (_Pteropus nicobaricus_), N., 133

  Bats (_Hipposideros nicobarulæ_), 126, 127
    Fruit (_Pteropus nicobaricus_), 70, 133, 134
    Attempt to rear young, 134.
    _See_ "Mammals," and under names of islands

  Batti Malv, N., 66

  Beach formation, A., 37

  Belief concerning Chaura pots, N., 107;
      eclipses, N., 307
    In evil spirits, N., 123
    In spirits, A., 188

  Beliefs, superstitious, N., 231-234

  Bench seats, N., 52

  Beresford Channel, N., 72, 73

  Betel chewing, N., 49, 248
    Effect of, 147
    Quids, 219, 248

  Beverages, N., 247

  Birds, A., N., 326-331. _See_ also under names of islands

  Bird's Nest Cape, A., 29

  Bird's nests, edible, A., 29

  Blyth's dove (_Macropygia rufipennis_), N., 111

  Body decoration, A., 24, 32, 34, 39; N., 249

    General topography, 103, 105
    Area, 105
    Population, 105
    Water, 105
    Plantations, 105
    Native legend concerning formation of, 105
    Natives of, compared with Kar Nicobarese, 104
    Hamilton's account of the Somerera Islands, 105

  Botanic appearance, general, N., 109, 207

  Bows, A., 24, 25, 33, 34, 42; N., 245

  British possession, marks of, N., 97

  British punitive expedition, N., 93

  Buffalo, N., 99

  Building materials, Nicobars rich in, 205

  Bulbul, crested, A., 35

  Bumila creek, A., 38

  Burial ceremonies. _See_ "Kar Nicobarese ceremonies and observances"

  Burial customs, N., 113, 124

  Butterflies, N., 126

  Camping out in Great Nicobar, 163

  Canoe building, N., 160
    Decoration, N., 79
    Masts, N., 79
    Outrigger, N., 54
    Paddles, N., 54
    Sails, N., 79
    Buying, ceremonies accompanying, N., 309
    Mishaps, N., 308, 317
    Sequel to the loss of a M[=u]s, 296
    Reception of the M[=u]s racing, after a death in the village, 299
    Processions, N., 251
    Offerings, N., 295, 296

  Canoes, A., 41; N., 53, 54, 60, 79
    Custom of feeding, N., 85
    Chaura natives middlemen in buying and selling, 308

  "Captains," N., 58

  Casuarina Bay, N., 144, 149, 151

  Cattle, semi-wild, N., 47, 74, 75

  Caves, Little Nicobar, 126, 127

  Cellular jail, A., 21.
    _See_ "Viper Jail," "The Andamanese Penal System"

  Cemetery, Kamorta, N., 95

  Census, A., 342; N., 350

  Ceremonial, decay of, N., 124

  Ceremonies and observances.
    _See_ "Kar Nicobarese ceremonies and observances," "The Andamanese,"
    and "The Nicobarese"

  Chang-ngeh, N., 161

  Character of the locally-born young generation at Port Blair, A., 344

  Charms, N., 83, 85, 116, 124, 132, 143

  Chaura, 106
    Termed Sombrero, 106
    Hamilton's Account of the Somerera Islands, 105
    Area, 106
    Population, 106
      Decrease of, 350
    Anchorage, 106
    Trade, 106
    Monopolies, 107, 308
    Pots, 108
      Process of making, 107, 108
      Nicobarese belief concerning, 107
    Pottery kiln, 108
    Natives, 106, 308
      Believed to be exponents of wizardry, 296
      Feeling of Kar Nicobarese towards, 308
      Middlemen in canoe buying and selling, 308
    Door mats, 106
    Fruit, 106
    Extortion of Chaura middlemen, 308

  Children, position of, N., 242

  Chital, N., 100

  _Chitt_, N., 56

  Christian traditions, A., 189

  Cinques, the
    General topography, 36, 37
    Geology, 175
    Anchorage, 36
    Beach formation, 37
    Effect of S.W. monsoon, 37
    Native camp, 37
    Hut, 37

  Civilisation, effects of contact with, A., 192

  Cleanliness, N., 248

  Climate, A., 173; N., 205, 206

  Cloth, Shom Pe[.n], 145, 146, 219

  Coal, N., 204

  Cocktail, a new, 89

  Coconut oil, mode of extracting, 52
    Toddy, 247

  Coconuts, mode of obtaining, 139
    Carrying, 139
    Opening, 63

  Coco palms, legendary origin of, N., 230
    Peculiarity of, N., 128
    Absence of, in Andamans, 172

  Cocos Islands, 172
    History of an attempt at colonisation, 181, 182

  _Coiffure._ _See_ under names of islands

  Colonel Temple, C.C., at Port Blair, A., 21

  Commercial occupations, K.N., 318, 319

  Communication with Andamans, 200

  Communication and transport, local, N., 253

  Convict Settlement on Kamorta, traces of the old, N., 95

  Convicts. _See_ "Port Blair" and "The Andamanese Penal System"

  Cooking-vessel, Shom Pe[.n], 148, 219
    A possible origin of pottery, 219

  Coral, N., 80
    Banks, A., 170; N., 201
    Reefs, 16

  Courtship, N., 238-240

  Crabs, A., 14; N., 55, 62, 70, 129

  Crater, interior of the, Barren Island, 12, 13

  Creeks, mangrove, N., 80

  Crocodile, N., 69

  Crossbow accidents, K.N., 317

  Crows, A., 17

  Cuckoo (_Centropus andamanensis_), A., 16

  Cultivations. _See_ under names of islands

  Customs. _See_ under names of islands

  Cyclones, A., 174; N., 206

  Dagmar River, N., 149, 153

  Dalrymple Bank, 170

  Dampier's sojourn on Great Nicobar, 212

  Dampier's voyage from Great Nicobar to Acheen in a canoe, 254

  Dampier's "Voyages," extract concerning his escape from the privateer
      _Cygnet of London_, 255, 256, 260-262
    Concerning his sojourn in Great Nicobar, 263-267
    Concerning his voyage from Great Nicobar to Acheen, 267-275
    Concerning the Nicobars and inhabitants generally, 256, 257
    Concerning Great Nicobar and inhabitants, 257-267

  Dance music, N., 87

  Dances, Nankauri, 87
    Kar Nicobar, 289, 309

  Dead, converse with the, K.N., 296

  Death Ceremony, Kachal, 116
    Similar Malay custom, 116
    Among the Arafuras, 304

  De Röepstorff, F. H., murder of, 96

  _Dé[=u]shi_, cf. _Hentá_, N., 116

  "Devil expelling," N., 64

  "Devil-expelling" leaves, 303

  "Devils, scare-," N., 83, 85, 124

  Dialects. _See_ "Language"

  Diseases, A., 40, 187; N., 159, 235; S.P., 145, 152, 220

  Disinterment customs, N., 51. _See_ "Exhumation"

  Dislike to strangers, K.N., 317

  Divorce, N., 237

  Dog-hobble, S.P., 144

  Domeat, 154

  Domestic animals, N., 219, 243; S.P., 219
    Feeding, 79

  Domestic pigeons, K.N., 47

  Door mats, Chaura, 106

  Drainage, Great Andaman, 169

  Dress. _See_ under names of islands

  Dring Harbour, N., 98

  Drongo, black racquet-tailed (_Dissemuroides andamanensis_), A., 30

  Duncan Passage, the, A., 36

  Earthquakes, A., 176; N., 205
    Felt at Kar Nicobar, 205

  Eclipses, belief concerning, N., 307
    Custom during, 307

  Education, effects of, on Andamanese, 187;
    on Nicobarese, 57, 59, 89

  Eggs, megapodes', N., 70

  Electro-plate possessed by Nicobarese, 81
    Prices given for, 81

  Elevation, possible result of, N., 73

  _Elpanam_, N., 50, 240

  Elton, Captain, drowned at Trinkat, Sambelong, 154

  Empress Peak, 120

  _Enwan-ng'i_, K.N., 295

  Eruptive cone on Barren Island, 12

  Expedition Harbour, 98
    Reputed headquarters of piratical savages, 98

  Exhumation ceremonies, account of, N., 82, 83.
    _See_ "Disinterment"

  Exports, A., 199, 339, 340

  Fauna, A.N., 322-331. _See_ also under names of islands

  Feasts, K.N., 50

  Festival, a, N., 86-88
    Preparations for a, 80, 81, 86
    Interior of a house prepared for, 81

  Fever invariably contracted in Great Nicobar, 112, 254, 255

  Fish, A., 14; N., 116, 136, 137

  Fishing, N., 55, 116, 136, 137, 245, 246
    Traps, 245, 246
    Weirs, 246

  Flags, native, N., 80

  Flat rock, 170

  Flattening the occiput, custom of, N., 226

  Floods, ceremonies to subdue, N., 51

  Flora, A., 171, 172; N., 207, 208, 345-349
    Principal forest trees of the Andamans, 336-338.
      And _see_ under names of islands

  Flycatcher, Nicobar, N., 74, 135.

  Food supply. _See_ under names of islands

  Foot-brush, N., 247

  Ford's Peak, A., 169

  Foreign residents, A., 342

  Forest hawk (_Astur butleri_), N., 62; (_Astur soloensis_), N., 128

  _Fota elmot_, K.N., 306

  Frank Thompson, N., 57

  "Friend of England," N., 52, 55-57, 311, 312

  Fruit, N., 49, 64, 91, 106

  Fuel, K.N., 48

  Galathea River, N., 161-164

  Ganges Harbour, N., 136, 137, 205

  Gardens, K.N., 307
    Origin of, 307
    Destruction of, 307
    Shom Pe[.n], 218

  Geology, A., 174-176; N., 202-204

  _Gnunota_, K.N., 296

  Goats, Barren Island, 12

  Government agency clearing, K.N., 47, 54

  Government settlement. _See_ Port Blair History of, 180, 181, 183

  Government schools, Port Blair, 343, 344

  Great Andaman
    General topography, 168, 169, 170
    Mountains, 169
    Saddle Hill, 169
    Drainage, 169
    Harbours, 171
    Straits dividing, 168, 169.
    _See_ also "South  Andaman," "Rutland Island," "Port Blair,"
    "Port Cornwallis"

  Great Nicobar, 141
    Area, 141
    Mountains, 141
    Rivers, 142
    Peculiarity of coco palms, 128
    Water, 152
    Malaria, 112, 254, 255
    Population, coastal, 142
    Shom Pe[.n], 142
    Dialect, 121
    Trade, 143
      Prices, 143
    Dampier's "Voyages," extract concerning Great Nicobar and
          inhabitants, 257-267

  Great Nicobar (North Coast)
    General topography, 133-138, 205
    Land subsidence, 136, 137
    Ganges Harbour, 136, 137, 205
    Anchorage, 132
    Up a creek, 133
    Mount Thuillier, 138, 141
    Jubilee River, 138
    Water, 135, 137, 139
    Traces of Shom Pe[.n], 134, 136, 137
      Birds, 135-137
      Water birds, 138
      Sunbirds' nests, 133
      Mammals, 135-138
      A bat camp, 133
      Fruit bats, 133, 134
      Attempt to rear young bats, 134
    Fish, 136-137
    Fishing, 136-137
    Turtle, 138

  Great Nicobar (West Coast)
    General topography, 141, 142, 144
    Pulo Kunyi, 142, 143, 145, 146
      Harbour, 142
      Anchorage, 142
      Inhabitants, 142, 143
        Decline of population, 149
      Charm, 143
    Casuarina Bay, 144, 149, 151
      Mudfish, 149
    Dagmar River, 149, 153
    Kópenhéat, 150
      Anchorage, 153
    Pulo Nyur, 150
      Anchorage, 150
      Decline of population, 150
      Water, 151
      Morass, 151
    Birds, 143, 144, 151
    Fauna, 144, 150
    Young monkeys, 153
    Shom Pe[.n], 143, 145-148, 150, 152
      Appearance, 145-147
      Elephantiasis, 145, 152
      Effect of betel-chewing, 147
      Dress and ornaments, 145
      Camp, 149, 151
      Village, 144, 145
    Shom Pe[.n], Huts, 145
      Food supply, 148
      Dog-hobble, 144
      Spears, 146
      Cloth, 145, 146
      Cooking-vessel, 148
        Mode of cooking pandanus, 149

  Great Nicobar (West and South Coasts)
    General topography, 156, 158, 160
    Native topographical names compared with chart and trade names, 155
    Growth of land, 157
    Anchorage, 156
    Pulo Babi, 156, 157
      Harbour, 156
      Water, 156
    Chang-ngeh, 161
    South Bay, 160
    Galathea River, 161-164
    Fauna, 162
      Birds, 157, 160, 161
      Monkeys, 166
    Population, 157
    Inhabitants, 157, 155-158
    Domeat, 154
    Servitude, 157
    Shom Pe[.n], 155, 159
      Village, 158, 159
    Huts, 158, 162
    Dress, 159
    Marriage, 158
    Ringworm, 159
    Canoe building, 160
    Mode of climbing trees, 157
    Barter, 160
    Supplies, 165
    Water, 165

  Guides, native, N., 57, 58

  Gunboat tours, 28

  _Ha-chu_, K.N., 298

  Hamilton's, Captain Alexander, account of the Andamans, 179, 180
    References to the Nicobars, 102, 105, 121, 212, 215

  _Hanata_, K.N., 301

  Harbours, A., 171. And _see_ under names of islands

  Headmen, N., 241; S.P., 219
    Regard for, K.N., 316

  Height, average, A., 342

  Heifer, Murder of Dr, 181

  _Henghawa_, K.N., 290

  _Hentá_, cf. _Dé[=u]shi_, N., 77, 85

  _Henta-koi_, N., 77

  Herons, N., 69

  History, A., 176-184. For details, _see_ under "Andaman Islands"

  History, N., 177-179, 208-214. For details, _see_ under "Nicobar

  Hog-deer, A., 28

  Homes for Andamanese at Haddo, 23-25

  Homfray Strait, A., 169

  Hostility of Andamanese, 190-192
    Shom Pe[.n], 215, 220

  Hot spring on Barren Island, 11

  House, custom of feeding the, N., 85

  "House of pollution," K.N., 51, 304

  Houses. _See_ under names of islands
    Maternity, K.N., 51

  Hume, A. O., cruise round the Andamans and Nicobars, 326

  Huts. _See_ under names of islands

  Implements and Weapons, A., 184, 189; N., 243-245

  Industries, A., 171, 172, 198-200, 339-341
    Port Blair, 22, 198-200, 340, 341; N., 251, 252

  Infant mortality, A., 192

  Inhabitants. _See_ under names of islands

  Interment of a headman of Sáwi, account of, 305, 306

  Interment of a man of repute of Lapáti, account of, 306, 307

  _Inturga_, K.N., 299

  Invisible Bank, 170

  Isle of Man, N., 72

  Jail, Cellular, A., 21
    Viper, a visit to, 26
      Inhabitants of, 25-27
      Employments in, 26-27
      Punishment at, 27.  _See_ the Andamanese Penal System

  _Jheel_, N., 69, 74

  Jubilee River, N., 138

  Jakuns of Johore, the, 217

  Jarawas, the, A., 190-192, 342
    An encounter with, 191

    General topography, 109, 110, 114, 117
    Evidence of growth of land, 110
    Geology, 117
    Area, 117
    Population, 117
    West Bay, 109, 110, 113
      Anchorage, 109
      The reef, 113
      Lagoon, 110
    Water, 117
    Birds, 110, 111, 113
    Waterbirds, 110
    Monkeys, 114
    Megapodes, 113
    Fish, 116
    Native fishing, 116
    Ol-kolo-kwák, 110, 112, 113
    _Kanaia_, 113
    Houses, 112
    Natives, 109, 111, 115
    Dress and ornaments, 109, 115
    Yassan, 111, 116
    _Dé[=u]shi_, 116
    Charms, 116
    Supplies, 117
    Medicine, 115
    A death ceremony, 116
    Burial customs, 113

    General topography, 72, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101
    Population, 102
    Peculiarity of flora, 101
    Traces of the old convict settlement on, 95
    The cemetery, 95
    Murder of De Röepstorff (1883), 96
    Mount Edgecombe, 98
    Expedition Harbour, 98
      Reputed headquarters of piratical savages, 98
    Dring Harbour, 98
    Olta-möit, village of, 98
    Natives, 99, 100
    Dress, 100
    Tattooing, a case of, 100
    Birds, 97, 99, 100
    Teal, 97
    Buffalo, 99
    Bats, 99
    Chital, 100
    Sambhar, 100
    Supplies, 101
    Hamilton's description of the Central group, 102

  _Kana awn_, K.N., 285-292

  _Kanaia_, N., 79, 113

  _Kantéra_, K.N., 302

  _Kareau_, N., 85, 86

  _Kare-yeng-chón_, K.N., 287

  _Kallu_, 224

  Kar Nicobar
    General topography, 45, 46, 61, 64, 65
    Koenig's account of Kar Nicobar (1778), 276, 277, 279
    Geology, 46, 64
    Earthquakes felt at, 205
    Tide-race, 45
    Landing, 46, 60, 61
    Sáwi Bay, 46
      Swell in, 55
      Landing at, 55
    Population, 65
    Flora, 53, 61, 62, 64
    Fruit, 49, 64
    Coconuts, 62
    Water, 65
    Timber, 53, 54
      Birds, 53, 62
      Mammals, 62
    Fishing, 55
    Crabs, 55, 62
    Supplies, 65
    Government agency clearing, 47, 54
    "Temple Villa," 47
    Mission school, 59
    Missionary endeavour, 57, 63
    V. Solomon, 46, 63
      Pupils, 57, 59
    M[=u]s village, 47, 49, 50, 51
      Population, 47
      Buildings, 50, 51
        _Elpanam_, 50, 240
        Maternity houses, 51
        _Talik n'gi_, 51
        "House of pollution," 51, 304
      Houses, 46-49
      Plantations, 49, 64
      _Kofenté_, 292
      _Mal_, 302, 303
      "Devil-expelling" leaves, 303
      _Passa_, 303

  Kar Nicobarese, the, 46, 49, 51, 54, 57-59, 60, 61, 65
    Measurements of some, 355
    Offandi, 49, 50, 54, 311, 312
    "Friend of England," 52, 55-57, 311, 312
    "Little John," 58, 225
    Frank Thompson, 57
    Kar Nicobar boys, 59, 60
      V. Solomon's pupils, 57, 59
    Educated natives, 57, 59
    Native guides, 57, 58
    A travelled Nicobarese, 54
    Life of Kar Nicobarese, 65
    Names, 305
    Nicknames, 59
    Dress, 49, 52, 61
      _Tá-chökla_, 49
    Betel-chewing, 49
    Domestic pigeons, 47
    Pigs, 50
    Utensils, etc., 48
    Fuel, 48
    Baskets, 48
    Canoes, 53, 54, 60
      Outrigger, 54
      Paddles, 54
    Oilpress, 52
      Mode of extracting coconut oil, 52
    Bench seats, 52
    Commercial occupations, 318, 319
    Barter, 56, 60
    Cost of transporting goods, 318
    Staples of wealth, 50
    Mode of comparing past and present wealth, 292
    Effect of N.E. monsoon, 299
    Canoe mishaps, 308, 317
    Crossbow accidents, 317
    A Kar Nicobarese tradition, 215
    Gardens, 307
      Origin of, 307
      Destruction of, 307
    Quarrels, instances of, 310-312
      Mode of revenging, 310
    Amok, instances of, 312
      Causes of, 312
    Wizard murders, 314
      Instances of, 314, 315
    Instances of murder as punishment, 315
    Instance of suicide, 316
    Dislike to strangers, 317
    Land sale and tenure, 317
      Instance of, 317
    _Takoia_, 241
      Tally of commercial transactions, 319
        Of the months, 319
        Of a child's age, 319
    Social and other distinctions
      Social status, 61
      The _Mafai_, 300-302
      The _Sanokuv_, 300
      The _Tamiluana_, 302, 316
      The _Takkuwi_, 292
      _Yom Ap_, 302
      _Yom Elpanam_, 302
      Headmen, 316
      Wizardry, 314
        Mode of obtaining reputation for, 314
    Ceremonies and observances
      _Kana Awn_ (feast of exhumation,), 285-292
        _Ñá-Kopáh_ (feast for the dead), 286, 287
        _Kare-yeng-chón_ (headstones of graves), 287
        _Vani pati_ (house decoration), 288
        _Kiriam Hepat_ (dancing in bright light), 288, 289
        _Henghawa_ (in return), 290
        _Yeng Awn_ (the great boar), 291
        _Wanaka Kuv_ (making lard), 291
        _Kisu-ta-el-pati_, 291
        _Tanang alah_ (prevention), 291
        _Anúla Kopáh_ (digging the graves), 292
        _Kiriam Anúla_ (digging dance), 292
        _Kiriam-nga-rit-roi-ta-oka_ (dance for clearing up coconut
          rubbish), 292
        _Mafai tapira_ (grand _Mafai_ dance), 292
    _Anúla Kopáh_, account of this ceremony as carried out at
          Lapáti, 293
    _Katap-hang_ (lighting the _Elpanam_), 294, 295
    _Kiala_ (fetching food), 295
    _Anoi-ila_ (a holiday), 295
    _Enwan-n'gi_ (fishing again for the children), 295
    _Ma-ya-kuv-ka-ma-ka_ (papa is going this way to fetch fish), 295
    _Ramal_, 296
    _Gnunota_, 296
    _Ma-la-hal_, 297
    _Kewi-apa_, 297, 298
      _Mu-nung-ren_ (day of preparation), 297
      _Kial_ (taking food), 297
      _Ha-chu_, 298
    _Maya_ (top decoration), 298, 299
      _Yintovná Siya_ (expelling the devil by sails), 298, 299
      _Amhai_, 299
    _Inturga_, 299
    _Tanangla_ (support), 299, 300
    _Ke luinj alaa_, 300
    _Mafai_, creation of, 301
      _Hanata_ (adorning the invalid), 301
    _Mafai_ performances, 302
    _Ai-yu-a-kare_ (going to a feast adorned with jewels), 302
    _Luinj-lare Mafai_ (undressing the _Mafai_), 302
    _Amutná Kuv_ (revealing to the invalid), 302, 303
    Burial ceremonies, 303-305
      Account of interment of headman of Sáwi, 305, 306
        _Fota Elmot_ (wiping away tears), 306
      Account of interment of a man of repute at Lapáti, 306, 307
    Mourning, 305
    Converse with the dead, 296
    Instance of ceremonies accompanying canoe buying, 309
    Sequel to the loss of a M[=u]s canoe, 296
    Reception of M[=u]s racing-canoe after a death in the village, 299
    Canoe offerings, 295, 296
    Celebration of loss of teeth, 300
    Custom during eclipses, 307
      Belief concerning, 307
    Disinterment customs, 51
    "Devil expelling," 64
    _Tamiluana_ ceremonies to subdue floods, 51
    Feasts, 50
    Dances, 289, 309
    Ceremonial accessories
      _Kantera_, 302
      _Kusuku_, 297, 298
      _Merahta_, 287
      "Devil-expelling" leaves, 303
    _Katap-hang_, K.N., 294, 295
    _Ke luinj alaa_, K.N., 300
    _Kewi-apa_, K.N., 297, 298
    _Kial_, K.N., 297
    _Kiala_, K.N., 295
    Kingfisher (_P. leucocephala_), N., 126;
      (_Ceyx tridactyla_), N., 135;
      (_Halcyon saturatior_), A., 35
    Kingfisher's eyes a specific for sleeplessness, 76
    _Kiriam anúla_, K.N., 292
    _Kiriam Hepat_, K.N., 288, 289
    _Kiriam-nga-rit-roi-ta-oka_, K.N., 292
    _Kisu-ta-el-pati_, K.N., 291
    Koenig, Dr I. J., 213, 276; account of Kar Nicobar (1778), 276-284
    _Kofenté_, K.N., 292

    General topography, 131, 132
    Anchorage, 131
    Tide-rip, 131
    Population, 131
    Village, 132
    Houses, 132
    Plantation, 132
    Charms, 132
    Natives, 132
      Boys, 139
    Supplies, 132, 139

  Kópenhéat, N., 150
    Anchorage at, 153

  _Kusuhu_, K.N., 297, 298

  Kwang-tung Strait, A., 15, 16

  Lagoon, N., 110

  Lamp, N., 81

  Land, growth of, N., 110, 157
    Sale and tenure, K.N., 317
    Subsidence, N., 136, 137; A., 176

  Landing-places. _See_ under names of islands

  Language, A., 186; N., 121, 228, 229; S.P., 220
    Comparison of some Shom Pe[.n] and Nicobarese words, 155

  Lava, Barren Island, 12

  Legend concerning formation of Bompoka, native, 105
    Illustrative of unpleasant qualities of pandanus, 112

  Legends of origin, native, N., 229

  Life, average duration of, A., 187

  Linguists, Nicobarese, 55, 58, 75, 112

  Little Andaman
    General topography, 38, 45, 169, 170
    Effect of S.W. monsoon, 45
    Geology, 176
    Bumila Creek, 38
    Natives, 37-40, 42
      Appearance, 39
      Dress and ornaments, 39
    Natives, body decoration, 39
      _Coiffure_, 40
      Tools, 41
      Bows and arrows, 42
      Huts, 40, 41
      Canoe, 41
      Diseases, 40
    Pig, 43

  "Little John," N., 58, 225

  Little Nicobar
    General topography, 118, 120, 121, 125, 126, 127, 131
    Geology, 120
    Population (including Milo), 120
    Area, 120
    Harbour, 119, 125
    Anchorage, 119
    Site for a settlement, 121, 125
    Water, 126
    Flora, 120, 125
    Peculiarity of coco palms, 128
    Banian trees, 122
    Course of a river, 125, 126
    Mount Deoban, 120
    Empress Peak, 120
    A deserted village, 121
    Caves, 126, 127
    Bats, 126, 127
    Swifts, 126, 127
      Nests, 126, 127
    Monkeys, 122, 128, 129
    Crabs, 129
    Tupais, 122
    Megapodes, 121
    Pig, 122
    Butterflies, 126
    Birds, 119, 121, 122, 127, 128, 130
    Water birds, 126
    Natives, 119
    Hamilton's account of the natives of the Southern Group, 121
    Mortality, 119, 123
      Reputed causes, 123
    Dress, 119
    Dialect, 121
    Belief in evil spirits, 123
    Charms and "scare-devils," 124
    Burial custom, 124
    Decay of ceremonial, 124

  Lizards (_Gonyocephalus humeii_), N., 67, 68

  _Luinj-lare Mafai_, K.N., 302

  Luxuries, native, N., 227

  Macpherson Strait, A., 29

  _Mafai_, the, K.N., 300-302
    Creation of, 301
    Performances, 302

  _Mafai tapira_, 292

  _Mafai, Luinj-lare_, 302

  Maharani Peak, N., 67

  "Making Christmas," N., 80

  _Mal_, K.N., 302, 303

  Malacca, N., 78

  _Ma-la-hal_, K.N., 297

  Malaria, N., 112, 205, 254, 255

  Mammals, A.N., 322-325. And _see_ under names of islands

  Man, Mr E. H., 75
    Isle of, 72

  Mangrove creeks, N., 80

  Manufactures, A., 189; S.P., 219

  Marriage, N., 158, 235-237

  Maternity houses, K.N., 51

  _Maya_, K.N., 298-299

  _Ma-ya-kuv-ka-ma-ka_, K.N., 295

  Mayo, murder of Lord, 22, 23

  Measurements of some Andamanese, 344
    Average height, 342
    Weight, 342

  Measurements of some Shom Pe[.n], 353, 354
    Great Nicobarese, 356, 357
    Kar Nicobarese, 355

  Medicine, N., 115, 235

  Megapodes, N., 68-70, 74, 77, 113, 121, 327, 328
    Eggs, 70
    Mounds, 68-70
    Laying-places watched by Nicobarese, 243

  Menchál, 127
    Area, 127
    Flora, 127
    Geology, 127

  _Menluanas_, N., 116, 232
    Ceremonies, 233

  _Meráhta_, K.N., 287

  Meröe, N., 118

  Metals, N., 251

  Military force, Port Blair, 27

  Minerals, A., 176; N., 205

  Mission School, Kar Nicobar, 59
    Relics of old Moravian, N., 83

  Missionary endeavour, N., 63, 257.
    _See_ under "Nicobar Islands"--History.

  Monkeys, N., 114, 122, 128, 129, 150, 166
    Young, 153

  Monopolies, N., 107, 308

  Monsoon, effect of S.W., Andamans, 37, 45
    N.E., Kar Nicobar, 299

  Monsoons, N., 206

  Mortality, N., 119, 123
    Infant, A., 192

  Mount Deoban, N., 120
    Edgecombe, N., 98
    Harriet, A., 19, 169
    Thuillier, N., 138, 141

  Mountain range, a submerged, 170

  Mountains, A., 169; N., 141

  Mourning customs, N., 250, 305

  Mudfish, N., 149

  _Mu-nung-ren_, K.N., 297

  Murder, wizard, K.N., 314, 315
    As punishment, K.N., 315
    Of Lord Mayo, 22, 23
    Of Dr Heifer, 181
    Of F. H. de Röepstorff, 96
    Of Captain Owen, 212

  M[=u]s village. _See_ "Kar Nicobar"

  Music, the Nicobarese dance-, 87

  Musical instrument, A., 189
    Instruments used by Nicobarese, 87, 250

  Muskets prohibited, N., 244

  _Ñá-kopáh_, K.N., 286, 287

  Names, K.N., 305. _See_ "Nicknames"

  Names, native topographical, 120
    Compared with chart and trade names, Great Nicobar, 155

    General topography, 90, 109
    Temperature, 206
    Rainfall, 206
    Geology, 90
    Area, 90
    Population, 91
    Harbour, 78, 98, 202
      Settlement at, 214
      Neglected by its possessors, 202
    Malacca, 78
    Spiteful Bay, 78
      Anchorage, 78
      Coral, 80
      Village, 78
      Landing-place, 79
      _Kanaia_, 79
      Houses, 79
      Relics of old Moravian mission, 83
      The headman's village, 83
        Houses, 83, 84
      Mangrove creeks, 80
    Flora, 90
    Fruit, 91
    Fauna, 90
    Whimbrel, 80
    Supplies, 91
    Water, 91
    Tanamara, 75, 86, 88, 89, 101
      Family, 84, 88, 89
      House, interior and contents, 84, 85
    _Kareau_, 85, 86
    _Hentá_, 85
    Charms, talismans, and "scare-devils," 83, 85
    Native flags, 80
    Electro-plate possessed by natives, 81
    Lamp, 81
    Preparation for a festival, 80, 81, 86
    "Making Christmas," 80
    Interior of a house prepared for a festival, 81
    A festival, 86, 87, 88
    Dancing, 87
    Dress and ornaments, 75, 81, 86, 87
    Canoe, 79
      Masts, 79
      Sails, 79
      Decoration, 79
    Feeding domestic animals, 79
      The house, canoes, etc., 85
    Custom of adoption, 84
      Exhumation, 82
    Account of exhumation ceremonies, 82, 83
    Offerings for the dead, 84
    Piracy in the Nicobars, 91-94
      British punitive expedition, 93

  Narcotics, N., 248

  Narkondam, A., 10, 169, 174

    _See_ under names of islands--"The Andamanese," "The Nicobarese,"
    "The Aborigines of the Nicobar Islands"

  Navigation in the Tropics, 29
    Chinese, 138

  Nests, edible birds', A., 29
    Sunbirds' (_Arachnechtkra_), 133
    Swifts', N., 126, 127

  _Ngong_, N., 229

  Nicknames, K.N., 59. _See_ "Names"

  Nicobarese, the
    Evolution, 221-225
    Native legends of origin, 229
    Appearance, 225-227
      Custom of flattening the occiput, 226
      Measurements of some Great Nicobarese, 356, 357
      Measurements of some Kar Nicobarese, 355
    Character, 227, 228
    Results of education, 89
    Language, 228, 229
      Comparison of some Nicobarese and Shom Pe[.n] words, 155
      Nicobarese linguists, 55, 58, 75, 112
    Social state, 61, 242
      Headmen, 241
      Position of women, 242
        Children, 242
    Courtship, 238-240
    Marriage, 235-237
    Polygamy, 238
    Divorce, 237
    Property, 240
      Method of guarding, 241
      _Takoia_ (Kar Nicobar), 241
    Diseases, 235
    Medicine, 235
    System of punishments, 230, 238, 241
    Superstitious beliefs, 231-234
      Talismans, 231
      _Hentá_, 77, 85
      _Hentá-koi_, 77
      _Kareau_, 85-86
      _Tamiluanas_, 232
      _Menluanas_, 116, 232, 233
    Cleanliness, 248
    Dress and ornaments, 229, 249
      Body painting, 249
      _Tá-chökla_, 49, 229, 249
      _Ngong_, 229
    _Coiffure_, 249, 250
    Betel chewing, 49, 248
      Quids, 248
    Use of tobacco, 248
    Stimulants, 248
      Coconut toddy, 247
    Narcotics, 248
    Beverages, 247
    Native luxuries, 227
    Food, 246
      Pandanus fruit, 246, 252
        Mode of preparing, 247
    "Town halls," 240
      Canoe processions, 251
      Pig processions, 251
      Wrestling, 251
    Musical instruments, 87, 250
    The Nicobarese dance-music, 87
    Domestic animals, 243
    Fishing, 245, 246
      Traps, 245
      Weirs, 246
    Weapons, 243-245
    Tools, 243, 245
    Foot brush, 247
    Terms of salutation, 228
    Custom when travelling, 228
    Mourning custom, 250
    Arts, 251
      Appreciation of anatomical detail, 85
    Industries, 251, 252
      Metals, 251
    Cultivations, 252
    Monopolies, 107
    Trade commodities, 252
      License, 252
      Inland, 252
    Traders, 252, 253
      List of principal articles imported by, for sale to the
          Kar Nicobarese, 351
    Articles found to be in demand for presents and barter, 352
    Local communication and transport, 253
    Coconuts, 253
    Turtle, 246
      Mode of capturing, 246
      Use of skull, 246
    Dampier's account of the Nicobarese, 256, 257.
      _See_ also under "Bompoka," "Chaura," "Great Nicobar," "Kachal,"
      "Kamorta," "Kar Nicobar," "Kondul," "Little Nicobar," "Nankauri,"
      "Pulo Milo," "Teressa," and "Shom Pe[.n]"

  Nicobar, Great. _See_ "Great Nicobar"

  Nicobar Islands, the, 201
    Position, 167, 201
    Relationship, 321, 327
    Soundings, 321
    Coral banks, 201
    Area, 201
    Geology, 202-204
    Minerals, 205
    Coal, 204
    Earthquakes, 205
    Climate, 205, 206
      Rainfall, 206
      Temperature, 206
      Monsoons, 206
      Cyclone, 206
    General botanic appearance, 207
      Botanical division, 109
    Flora, 207, 208
      Principal flora of the Nicobars, 345-349
      Birds, 326-328
        List of, occurring in the Nicobars, 328-331
      Mammals, 322-324
        Synopsis of mammalian fauna, 325
    History, 177-179, 208-214
      Nicobars known to Arab navigators, 208
      First probable reference, 208
      Chinese records, 208
      Account of an Arab trader (A.D. 851), 208
        Rashuddin, 209
        Marco Polo (thirteenth century), 209
        Friar Oderic (fourteenth century), 209
        Master Cæsar Frederike (sixteenth century), 209
        Barbosa, 210
        Captain John Davis (sixteenth century), 210
        Officers of Sir J. Lancaster (sixteenth century), 210
        Sir James Lancaster (seventeenth century), 211, 212
        Koeping (eighteenth century), 212
      Dampier's sojourn, 212. _See_ "Dampier"
      Murder of Captain Owen, 212
      Hamilton's references, 102, 105, 121, 212, 215
      Jesuit attempt at settlement, 212
      Danish colony founded (1756), 213
      Settlement by Moravians (1766), 213
      Koenig's account, 213. _See_ "Koenig"
    History, Commercial expedition, 213
      New Moravian settlement (1779), 213
      English traders from India begin to visit the islands (nineteenth
          century), 213
      Pastor Rosen's mission (1831), 213, 214
      Catholic mission, 214
      Mackay's voyage in search of coal (1845), 214
      _Galathea_ expedition (1846), 214
      Voyage of the _Novara_ (1858), 214
      Islands taken possession of by the Indian Government (1869), 214
      British official possession (1807), 214
      Settlement at Nankauri Harbour, 214
      Nicobars and Andamans affiliated, 214
    Marks of British possession, 97
    Account of piracy in, 91-94
    Missionary endeavour, 63, 257. _See_ also under "History"
    Natural products of commercial value, 207, 208
    Nicobars rich in building materials, 205
    Malaria, 112, 205, 254, 255
    Population, 202, 350
      Decrease of, 76, 97, 149, 150, 350
      Trade residents, 202
      Census, 350
    Water, 152
    Native Topographical names, 120
      Compared with chart and trade names, Great Nicobar, 155.
        _See_ "Bompoka," "Chaura," "Great Nicobar," "Kachal," "Kamorta,"
        "Kar Nicobar," "Kondul," "Little Nicobar," "Menchal,"
        "Nankauri," "Pulo Milo," "Teressa," "Tilanchong," "Trinkat"

  Nicobar, Kar. _See_ "Kar Nicobar"

  Nicobar, Little. _See_ "Little Nicobar"

  Novara Bay, N., 67

  Occiput, custom of flattening the, N., 226

  Occupations, commercial, K.N., 318, 319
    Of the sexes, respective, S.P., 220

  Offandi, N., 49, 50, 54, 311, 312

  Offerings, canoe, K.N., 295, 296
    For the dead, N., 84

  Oil press, K.N., 52

  Ol-kolo-kwák, N., 110, 112, 113

  Olta-möit, N., 98

  Önges, A., 190, 192, 342.
    _See_ under "Rutland Island" and "Little Andaman"

  Ornaments, personal. _See_ under names of islands

  Owen, wreck and death of Captain (1708), N., 70, 71, 212

  Paddles, N., 54

  Pandanus fruit, N., 246, 252
    Mode of preparing, 247
      Cooking, S.P., 149

  Pandanus, unpleasant qualities of, 112
    Legend illustrative of, 112

  Parrots, A., 17; (_Paleornis caniceps_), N., 128

  _Passa_, cf. _Mal_, K.N., 303

  Pathmaking, 15

  Penal System, the Andamanese, 193-199.
    _See_ also under "Port Blair"

  Photography, trials of, 32

  Pig (_Sus andamanensis_), A., 43;
      (_Sus nicobaricus_), N., 137
    Mode of preparing, for a feast, 100
    Processions, N., 251

  Pigeons, Nicobar, 68, 135

  Pigeons, fruit (_Carpophaga insularis_), N., 62, 68.

  Piracy in the Nicobars, account of, 91-94

  Plantations, N., 49, 64, 71, 105, 132

  Police surveillance, A., 19

  Polygamy, N., 238

  Population. _See_ under names of islands and "Census."
    Decrease of, N., 76, 97, 149, 150, 350

  Port Blair
    Ross Island, 19, 20
    The Government Settlement, 19, 20, 21
      History of, 180, 181, 183
    Colonel Temple, C.C., at, 21
    Military force, 27
    Police surveillance, 19
    Gunboat tours, 28
    Communication, 200
    Temperature, 173
    Rainfall, 173
    Government schools, 343
      Gymnasium, 344
    Amusements, 20
    The Penal System, 193-9
      Viper Island, 25, 26
        Jail, a visit to, 26
          Cellular, 21
          Inhabitants of, 25, 26, 27
          Employments in, 26, 27
          Punishment, 27
        Convicts, 20, 26, 27
          Hospital convalescents, 23
    The harbour, 19, 21-25
    Brickfields, 22
    Lime kilns, 22
    Phoenix Bay shipyard, 22
    Mount Harriet, 19, 169
    Hopetoun, settlement of, 22
    Chatham Island, sawmills, 23
      Hospital convalescents at, 23
    Navy Bay tea-gardens, 25
    Industries, 22, 198, 199, 200, 340, 341
    Cultivations, 200
    Character of the locally-born young generation, 344
    Haddo, Homes for the Andamanese, 23, 24, 25
      Andamanese at, 24, 25
        Appearance, 24
        Dress, 24
        Ornaments, 24, 25
        Skin decorations, 24
        _Coiffure_, 24
        Bows and arrows, 24, 25
        Mode of carrying babies, 24

  Port Cornwallis, Government Settlement transferred to, 180, 181
    _Rendezvous_ at, in 1824, 181

  Port registers, 75

  Pots, Chaura, N., 108
    Nicobarese belief concerning, 107
    Process of making, 107, 108

  Pottery, a possible origin of, 219
    Kiln, Chaura, 108
    Manufacture, monopoly of, 107

  Preparis Island, 320

  Presents, articles found to be in demand for, A., N., 352

  Products, natural, A., 172, 199, 341. _See_ "Woods"
    Of commercial value, N., 207, 208

  Property, N., 240
    Method of guarding, 241

  Pulo Babi. _See_ "Great Nicobar"

  Pulo Kunyi. _See_ "Great Nicobar"

  Pulo Milo, 123
    Area, 123
    Village, 123
    Houses, 123
    Natives, 123

  Pulo Nyur. _See_ "Great Nicobar"

  Punishment at Viper Jail, 27
    System of, N., 230, 238, 241
    Instances of murder as, K.N., 315

  Quarrels, instances of, K.N., 310-312
    Mode of Revenging, 310

  Rainfall, A., 173; N., 206

  _Ramal_, K.N., 296

  Rats (_Mus atratus_), A., 14.
    _See_ also under names of islands and "Mammals"

  Rattan collecting, N., 219, 220

  _Rhinomyias_, N., 122

  River, course of a, Little Nicobar, 125, 126
    Dagmar, 149, 153
    Galathea, 161-164
    Jubilee, 138

  Rivers, Great Nicobar, 142

  Ross Island. _See_ "Port Blair"

  Rowing, Chinese, 140

  Rutland Island
    A part of Great Andaman, 168
    General topography, 29
    Geology, 175
    Ford's Peak, 169
    Landing-place, 30
    Village, 32
    Huts, 32
    Jungle, 30
    Birds, 30
    Önge visitors, 30-33
      Appearance, 31
      Dress, 32
      Body ornamentation, 32-34
      _Coiffure_, 34
      Utensils, 33
      Bows and arrows, 33, 34
        Mode of stringing, 34
      Food, 33

  Saddle Hill, 169

  St George's Channel, 131

  Salutation, terms of, N., 228

  Sambhar, N., 100

  _Samshu_ smuggling, N., 248. _See_ "Spirit traffic"

  _Sanokuv_, the, K.N., 300

  Sáwi Bay. _See_ "Kar Nicobar"

  Scenery, A., 170

  School, mission, K.N., 59

  Schools, Government, Port Blair, 343, 344

  Servitude, N., 157

  Settlement, the Government, A. _See_ "Port Blair"
    Site for a, N., 121, 125

  Sharks, edible, 9

  Shrew (_Crocidura nicobarica_), N., 138

  Shom Pe[.n], the.
    _See_ "The aborigines of the Nicobar Islands," and "Great Nicobar"

  Sir John Lawrence Island, wrecks on, 181

  Skin decoration, A., 24. _See_ "Body decoration"

  Social state, N., 61, 242
    And other distinctions, K.N.,
      _see_ "Kar Nicobarese social and other distinctions"

  Solomon, V., K.N., 46, 63

  Sombrero Channel, 118
    Tides in, 118
    Island, 106

  Somerera Islands, Hamilton's account of the, 105

  Songs, specimens of, A., 189

  Soundings, A., 168, 320; N., 321

  South Andaman
    General topography, 28, 29
    Macpherson Strait, 29
    Anchorage, 29
    Landing-place, 29
    Birds' Nest Cape, 29
      Edible birds' nests, 29
    Native camping-place, 29
    Hut, 29
    Water, 35
    Hog-deer, 28
    Birds, 34, 35
    Mammals, 35

  South Bay, 160

  Spears, N., 243; S.P., 219, 243, 244

  Spirit traffic, 100. _See_ "_Samshu_ smuggling"

  Spirits, belief in, A., 188
    Evil, N., 123

  Spiteful Bay. _See_ under "Nankauri"

  Spring, hot, Barren Island, 11

  Squalls, tropic, 10, 137

  Stimulants, N., 248

  Subsidence, A., 176; K.N., 136, 137

  Suicide, instance of, N., 316

  Sunbird, Andaman, 35; (_Aethopyga nicobarica_), N., 127, 143

  Superstitious beliefs, N., 231-234

  Supplies. _See_ under names of islands

  Surveillance, police, A., 19

  Swifts (_Collocalia linchii_), N., 126, 127
    Nests, 126, 127

  _Tá-chökla_, N., 49, 229, 249

  _Takkuwis_, K.N., 292

  _Takoia_, K.N., 241

  Talaings, 223, 224

  _Talik-n'gi_, K.N., 51

  Talismans, N., 83, 85, 231

  Tallies, K.N.
    Of commercial transactions, 319
    Of the months, 319
    Of a child's age, 319

  Tamils, 216

  _Tamiluanas_, N., 232, 302
    Ceremonies, 51
    Regard for, 316

  Tanamara, 75, 86, 88, 89, 101
    Family, 84, 88, 89
    House, interior and contents of, 84, 85

  _Tanang alah_, K.N., 291

  _Tanangla_, K.N., 299, 300

  Tattooing, a case of, N., 100

  Tea, attempt to foster taste for, N., 248

  Teeth, celebration of loss of, K.N., 300

  Temperature, A., 173; N., 206

  Temple, Colonel, C.C., at Port Blair, 21

  "Temple Villa," K.N., 47

    General topography, 103, 104
    Area, 104
    Geology, 104
    Flora, 104
    Tobacco fields, 104
    Population, 105
    Natives compared with Kar Nicobarese, 104
    Hamilton's account of the Somerera Islands, 105

  Terrapin Bay, N., 67

  Thrush (_Geocichla albigularis_), N., 74

  Tide-rips, N., 45, 131

    General topography, 66, 67, 68, 69, 72, 109
    Area, 67
    Anchorages, 67
    Maharani Peak, 67
    Novara Bay, 67
    Terrapin Bay, 67
    _Jheel_, 69
    Herons, 69
    Crocodile, 69
    Water, 67
    Plantations, 71
    Kamortan visitors, 71
    Lizards, 67, 68
    Fruit bat, 70
    Megapodes, 68, 69, 70
      Mounds, 68, 70
      Eggs, 70
    Birds, 68
    Crabs, 70
    Foul ground off, 72
    Wreck of Captain Owen (1708), 70

  Timber, K.N., 53, 54. _See_ "Woods"

  Tobacco, use of, N., 248
    Fields, N., 104

  Tools, A., 41; N., 243, 245

  Topography, general. _See_ under names of islands

  "Town halls," N., 240

  Trade, N., 143, 252
    Commodities, N., 252
    Prices, N., 143, 154
    Residents, N., 202
    Shom Pe[.n], 219
    Chaura, 106

  Traders, N., 252, 253
    Chinese, 112
    Malay, 154
    Articles imported by, for sale to Kar Nicobarese, 351

  Tradition, a Kar Nicobarese, 215

  Traditions, Christian, A., 189

  Transport, local, N., 253

  Transporting goods, cost of, K.N., 318

  Trapping, 15

  Traps, fishing, N., 245

  Travelling, custom when, N., 228

  Trees, principal forest, A., 336-338
    Mode of climbing, N., 157
    Banian, N., 122
    Urostigma, N., 62

  Tribal division, A., 190, 192, 342

    General topography, 73, 74, 75
    Possible results of elevation, 73
    A deserted village, 73, 74, 76, 77
      Huts, 73
      Hut, contents of a, 77
    _Jheel_, 74
    Water birds, 74
    Megapodes, 74, 77
    Cattle, semi-wild, 47, 74, 75
    Birds, 74
    Rats, 77

  _Tupaia nicobarica_, 136; N., 122

  _Tupaia nicobarica surda_, N., 122

  Turtle, N., 138, 246
    Mode of capturing, 246
    Skull, use of, 246

  Urostigma trees, N., 62

  Utensils, Önge, 33
    Kar Nicobarese, 48

  _Vani pati_, K.N., 288

  Villages. _See_ under names of islands

  Viper Island, 25, 26
    Jail. _See_ "Jail"

  Volcanic activity, A., 13, 14, 174

  Walker Island, 161

  _Wanaka Kuv_, K.N., 291

  Water. _See_ under names of islands

  Water birds. _See_ "Birds," and under names of islands

  Wealth, staples of, K.N., 50
    Comparison of past and present, 292

  Weapons and implements, A., 184, 189; N., 243-245.
    _See_ "Bows," "Arrows," "Spears"

  Weight, average Andamanese, 342

  Weirs, fishing, N., 246

  West Bay. _See_ under "Kachal"

  Whale, killer, 119

  Wind and weather, average, A., 335

  Wizard murders, K.N., 314, 315

  Wizardry, credence in, A., 188
    Chaura natives believed to be exponents of, 296
    Kar Nicobar, 314
    Mode of obtaining reputation for, 314

  Women, position of, A., 187; N., 242; S.P., 220

  Woods, list of the more useful and valuable, A., 339

  Worthington, William, 91, 92

  Wreck and death of Captain Owen, 70, 71, 212

  Wrecks on Sir John Lawrence Island, 181

  Wrestling, N., 251

  Yassan, N., 111, 116

  _Yeng Awn_, K.N., 291

  _Yintovna Siya_, K.N., 298, 299

  _Yam Ap_, K.N., 302

  _Yom Elpanam_, K.N., 302

  Printed by
  Oliver and Boyd


[1] _The Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands_, by E. H. Man,

[2] On February 24th of this year Mr Vaux was killed while leading a
punitive expedition against a section of the Jarawa tribe, who had
recently murdered some wood-cutters. He rushed the last of several
hostile camps by night, and took a number of prisoners; but, treading in
the ashes of a smouldering fire at the moment of success, he caused it
to blaze up, and being seen by a retreating native, was shot through the
chest with an arrow, and died almost immediately.

[3] The Sellungs are a primitive and timid tribe, who wander in canoes
among the Mergui Islands during the fine weather, and make temporary
settlements on lee-shores in the south-west monsoon. They number between
two and three thousand.

[4] _The Cruise of the Marchesa_, by F. H. H. Guillemard, second
edition, London, 1889.

[5] 1901.

[6] Temperature in 1891 = 103.5. Hume visited the island in 1873 and
noted 140°, while in 1866 the Andaman Committee found the temperature to
be between 158° and 163°. In 1857 Dr Mouat landed, and writes of "a
natural boiling spring, the waters so extremely hot that they rendered
the sea in the immediate neighbourhood warm enough to roast crabs in
their shells," and about the same date Dr von Liebig records a broad but
thin sheet of nearly boiling water issuing from beneath the lava, and
the sea warm for many yards to a depth of more than 8 feet. Earlier
still, in 1831, we have Dr Adam's account, which states that 100 yards
from shore the water was nearly boiling; the stones and rocks on shore
exposed at low tide were smoking and hissing, and the water was boiling
all round them.

[7] In 1789 only withered shrubs and blasted trees were to be seen on
parts remote from the cone (Blair): while as late as 1866 there were no
trees of any height, but on the slopes and ridges abundance of bushes,
some rising 20 feet (Report of the Andaman Committee).

[8] Rulers of India Series--_The Earl of Mayo_, by Sir W. W. Hunter.

[9] A somewhat similar weapon to this remarkable bow is found among the
Oregon Indians, and also seen in the composite bow of the Eskimos, while
a third, still more closely approaching it in appearance and principle,
is found in New Ireland and the New Hebrides.

An interesting account of the Andamanese bow, with a series of
photographs showing the various stages of construction, has been
contributed by Mr M. V. Portman to the Archery volume of the Badminton

[10] See Appendix F.

[11] Scurvy is more prevalent on Little than on Great Andaman, perhaps
owing to the low-lying swampy formation of the larger portion of the
island. Hereditary syphilis is believed to be common among the Öngés,
having been possibly introduced at some remote period prior to the
occupation of 1858. Whether it is to be traced to Malay pirates, or
through the Jarawa tribes to the Settlement of 1789, will never be
ascertained, but, in coming to a conclusion, the Nicobarese must also be
considered as a factor in the case.

[12] "The hut was of the usual type of Little Andaman dwellings, having
raised platforms for the married people to sleep on; several large
baskets were slung up to the roof, and two rows of pigs' skulls
ornamented the walls, showing from their numbers (about 500) that there
was no lack of food."--M. V. Portman.

[13] The canoes are sometimes fitted with an outrigger, and it has been
supposed that this has been adopted from some Point de Galle
fishing-boat wrecked on the islands, for early writers never mention its
existence (Sir H. Yule, _Encyclopædia Britannica_); but it is much
simpler to conjecture it to be a copy of the same feature from the
Nicobarese canoe. On the other hand, there is no argument against it
being original, for the aborigines of New South Wales and Queensland
have a canoe that is in every way almost the exact counterpart of the
Andamanese vessel.

[14] Such tide-races are not uncommon among the Nicobar Islands, and
later we met with several others, though none so severe as this first.
The tides round Kar Nicobar run with great velocity; a rate of 7 knots
has been noted to the eastward of the island.

[15] The Semangs, a group of Negritoes in the Malay Peninsula,
surrounded by dominant peoples dwelling in pile-buildings, still retain
their practice of building huts akin to those of the Andamanese.

[16] Of _Barringtonia speciosa_, _Eugenia javanica_, and _Calophyllum

[17] The Dyaks of Borneo employ a similar protection in their rice

[18] _Kissát_ is the Kar Nicobarese name for the loin-cloth worn by
males. In the Central and Southern Islands of the group this article of
attire is styled _neng_.

[19] In contradistinction to the village, which is known as "_panam_."

[20] These large buildings in _Elpanam_ are equivalent to the "_Balai_"
of the Malays, for in them visitors are installed, feasts are held, and
general meetings take place.

[21] At delivery a recumbent position is assumed, and the mother is
attended by the nearest neighbours, who assist by pressing and kneading
the abdomen.

[22] _Cf._ Dyak custom, "When an interesting event is about to happen,
the lady is secluded in a small house, where she remains for several
months, during which no stranger is allowed to enter the hut."--_The
Head-hunters of Borneo_, by Carl Bock.

The practice of _couvade_ is said to exist among the Nicobarese, but we
heard nothing of it during our visit.

[23] This tree is found only in the southern islands, whence the large
sea-going canoes are obtained through the natives of Chaura, who act as

[24] "A century ago, all the natives of Kar Nicobar spoke the Portuguese
of the Indian Eurasians."--Hamilton, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. ii.

[25] Letters of recommendation:--

(_a_) "The bearer of this, Friend of England, is a very worthy young
man. He supplied me with a great quantity of nuts last voyage, and he
can be trusted to any amount under 6000 pairs.

        10th March 1853,               (Sd.) R. MIDDLETON, _Commander_.
  Off Lapáti Village, Car Nicobar.          Barque _Colonel Brown_."

(_b_) "This is to certify that I have traded with Friend of England, a
native of this island, in coconuts, fruits, etc. Since I have found him
to be trusty, honest to his agreements, therefore, I feel pleasure in
saying that you can trust him with the truth before heaven.

  North-West Bay, Island of Car Nicobar,   Barque _Rochester of London_.
        March 3rd, 1857.                       (Sd.) W. J. GREEN,
                                      _Master of the above-named ship_."

(_c_) "On our visit to the north side of Car Nicobar, I found the
bearer, Friend of England, an honest, inoffensive man, and very willing
to afford all the assistance in his power to us during our stay.

  H.M. Steamer _Undaunted_,       (Sd.) W. L. C. BERESFORD, _Commander_.
      January 1873."

[26] His portrait is, unfortunately, a failure, as he seems to have
moved slightly during the time of exposure.

[27] This is partly supported by a small monthly subsidy from the
Bishopric of Rangoon.

[28] _Singapore Review_, vol. ii.

[29] A. L. Butler, _Supp. And. and Nic. Gazette_, Nov. 1897.

[30] "I once weighed one of these birds and found it to be only six
times greater than its own egg; whereas I found that a domestic hen
weighs twenty-two times as much as its own egg."--E. H. Man.

[31] After Mr E. H. Man, by Col. Strahan, R.E., when surveying the
Nicobars in 1886-7.

[32] This may possibly be one of the results of elevation. As the island
grew, nuts drifted to its changing shores and took root, until, as more
and more land appeared, those trees which at one time stood along the
edge of the island would at length be situated in the interior. Kar
Nicobar, another low island of similar formation, also possesses forests
of indigenous coconuts.

"Trinkat, being flat, is divided amongst the inhabitants of the other
two islands, where they have their plantations of coconuts and areca
palms: these last being very abundant."--Fontana, _Asiatic Researches_,
vol. iii., 1778.

[33] The name of Mr Man is one to conjure with in the Nicobars.
Everywhere we met with expressions of regret that he was about to retire
after some thirty years' acquaintance with this group and the Andamans.
Now and then we made rather unwarranted use of his reputation--did we
want the portrait of a native who was rather nervous at the sight of the
camera. "Here, come along, and don't be afraid, Mr Man does this," and
it was all right.

[34] "The number of inhabitants on any one of the (central) islands does
not exceed 700 or 800. Ten or twelve huts form a village. Each village
has its 'Captain.' A woman who bears three children is very fruitful;
few bear more than four. No men seem older than forty or fifty; women
live longer."--Fontana, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iii., 1778.

[35] Pronounced like _pain_ (French).

[36] We were told on the west coast of Great Nicobar, that no valuables
were kept in the village there for fear of the Shom Pe[.n], but that all
treasured possessions were stored in boxes, at Pulo Kondul.

[37] "To the middle portion of the roof frame an image of the household
god is attached; from the walls are suspended human figures carved from
wood, and enwreathed with bundles of grass or coconut leaflets, which
are regarded as charms for the cure of diseases. Above the centre posts
are hung up, strung to rattan, all the lower jawbones of hogs that have
been slaughtered by the family: and their number furnishes a due
estimate of the wealth of the owner of the house.... Wooden figures of
men armed with sword and shield, and women in a dancing posture, with
outstretched arms, are hung up in the rear and other parts of the
building."--"The People of Nias," _The Races of Mankind_, A. Featherman.

[38] Inúanga.

[39] Dr Scherzer (_Cruise of the "Novara"_) states that they were used
for frightening away the devil and driving him into the sea. _Cf._,
however, the _Ma-ya-kuv-ka-ma-ka_ of the Kar Nicobarese (p. 295); and
also an old Kar Nicobarese custom: "In every village there is a high
pole erected, with long strings of rattan hanging from it, which it is
said has virtue to keep the devil at a distance" (Hamilton, _Asiatic
Researches_, vol. ii.). On the other hand, Colebrooke (_Asiatic
Researches_, vol. iv.), writes: "In front of the villages, and a little
advanced in the water, they plant beacons of a great height, which they
adorn with tufts made of grass or the bark of some tree. These objects
are discernible at a great distance, and are intended probably as
landmarks; their houses, which are overshadowed by thick groves of
coconut trees, seldom being visible from afar."

[40] These flags are made by the natives, and some of them are a legacy
from the Danish occupation--a white St George's cross on a red ground,
with a double-ended fly.

[41] Fontana mentions the palm leaves and other branches decorating the
hut doors at festivals, 1778.

[42] Colebrooke, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iv.

[43] "The Danes have long maintained a small settlement at the place
which stands on the northernmost point of Nankauri within the harbour.
A sergeant and three or four soldiers, a few black slaves, and two
rusty pieces of ordnance, compose the whole. They have here two
houses, one of which, entirely built of wood, is their habitation;
the other, formerly inhabited by the missionaries, serves now for a
storehouse."--Colebrooke, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iv.

[44] Malacca.

[45] "The large, neatly-made bundles of trimmed billets of wood, have
always been mistaken for firewood, even by Pastor Rosen, who spent three
or four years in the Harbour. They are, however, made merely to serve as
offerings, and are rolled on to a grave of some relative or friend. They
are supposed to represent a substantial token of affection and regard as
they take much trouble to make. Their bundles of firewood are also
cylindrical, but consist of dry scraps of wood picked up in the jungle
and tied round with pieces of cane."--E. H. Man.

[46] Canoes also are occasionally fed with chickens.

[47] The white-bellied sea-eagle (_Cuncuma leucogaster_).


  [Illustration: _Da Capo._
  Fontana, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iii.]

It is extraordinary that people who are comparatively so far removed
from savagedom, and so fond of dancing and singing, should have no
musical instruments. They are acquainted with a kind of flute used by
the Burmese, and a "guitar," but can show nothing of their own
invention. Even the Andamanese, absolute savages as they are, possess a
species of sounding-board, on which they beat time to their songs.

[49] _I.e._, "my marry" = my wife.

[50] Mr E. H. Man writes, however:--"Water is plentiful in the numerous
masonry wells and reservoir in the old Government station which is in
the harbour. We used to boil and filter it by way of precaution, and
then it was quite safe."

[51] Vide _Asiatic Journal_, vols. xiii., xv., xvi.

[52] Père Barbe, _Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal_, vol. xv.

[53] _Singapore Review_, vol. ii.

[54] "Some Malays, who were at the Nicobars at the time, afterwards
stated that the _Pilot_ was attacked because the crew had tried to get
hold of the native women; but those of the landing-party who escaped in
the whaleboat, although attacked on shore simultaneously with the ship,
tell a very different story."--Vide _Asiatic Journal_, 1841.

[55] A somewhat different, and more accurate, account of the incident is
given in a volume of sketches by John Strange Winter, entitled _A Siege
Baby_. I have given here the unamended version of the natives as related
to us by the headman.

Mr E. H. Man writes:--"The story given by Tanamara, regarding de
Röepstorff's murder, is very incorrect. The murderer (a havildar of the
Madras Infantry detachment then stationed at Nankauri) was under trial
for having assaulted a convict. After recording a lot of contradictory
evidence, de R. adjourned the case, whereupon the Madras Infantry
jemadar pleaded on behalf of the havildar. The magistrate reproved him
for his interference, whereupon the latter went and informed the
havildar that he would probably receive a severe sentence which might
result in his dismissal from the army. This so enraged the havildar that
on de R. riding past the M. I. barracks a few hours later the same day,
he shot him from his room. The havildar was the crack shot of the Madras
army, having twice carried off Commander-in-Chief's prize. He shot
himself on seeing that he had inflicted a mortal wound. De R. died
within a minute or so. It was his wife who despatched news of the affair
to Port Blair by a _bagla_, which had just arrived in Nankauri Harbour.
In five days I arrived and held the inquiry. Mrs de Röepstorff during
those five days had a natural horror of the M. I. sepoys, and she would
not allow any of them to approach the house. Her Indian servants and
others remained with her as before."

[56] _Vocabulary of the Dialects spoken in the Nicobars and Andamans_,
Port Blair, 3s. _Dictionary of Nancowry and Nicobarese Languages_ (both
parts), Calcutta, 7s. 6d.

[57] This decline of population has been even more marked in the
southern group than in the central, and has been found to be due to
paucity of births and not to increased mortality. It has been attributed
to injury done by the practice among the men of the Central and Southern
Islands of fastening the _neng_ or loin-cloth unduly tightly over the
organs of generation, whereby these are in many cases rendered impotent.
At Kar Nicobar, Teressa, and Bompoka, and Chaura the _neng_ is worn less

[58] Hamilton's _Account of the East Indies_, Pinkerton's Collection of

[59] Vide Père Barbe, _Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal_, vol. xv.

[60] These are all imported, many in order to sell to Kar Nicobarese.

[61] Père Barbe (_Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal_, 1847) mentions other
monopolies: lime might only be burnt at Kar Nicobar, boats built only at
Nankauri, and to the same island was restricted the sowing of paddy.
(The last a possible evidence of local Malay immigration.)

With reference to this note, Mr E. H. Man writes:--

"Lime (by burning certain _sea-shells_) can be made only in the southern
group, Kachal, all villages inside Nankauri Harbour--except Ong-yúang,
also the villages in Dring and Expedition harbours.

"Lime (made by burning _coral_) can be made only at Kar Nicobar.

"Canoes (large and small) are made in the central and southern groups
where suitable trees are plentiful.

"Canoes (small) are made at Kar Nicobar, Teressa, and Bompoka."

[62] _Vide_ E. H. Man, _Jour. Anthrop. Inst._, 1893, vol. xxiii.

[63] Probably obtained from the deserted Government establishment at
Nankauri Harbour.

[64] Supercargoes.

[65] A legend illustrative of the unpleasant qualities of the pandanus,
recorded by Mr F. C. Christian in _The Caroline Islands_, runs: that the
Thunder-god, descending to earth, alighted in a pandanus bush, and found
the situation so painful that he bestowed the art of making fire and
moulding-pots upon the woman who released him from his predicament!

[66] The Nicobarese equivalent is _menlúana_ ("medicine man," or

[67] The belief that evil spirits cannot cross water seems to be of
world-wide prevalence, _cf._ Burns' "Tam o' Shanter."

[68] This cetacean is probably of the same species as that observed by
Mr Holdsworth in the Indian Ocean, and described in the _Mammals of


  _Map Name._           _Native Name._

  Kar Nicobar           Pu
  Batti Malv            Et
  Chaura                Tatat
  Tilanchong            Láök
  Teressa               Taihlong
  Bompoka               Poähat
  Kamorta               Nankauri
  Nankauri              Nankauri
  Trinkat               Laful (East Id.)
  Kachal                Tehnyu
  Meroë                 Miroë
  Trak                  Fuya
  Treis                 Ta-a[.n]
  Menchal               Menchál
  Little Nicobar        Ong
  Pulo Milo             Miloh
  Great Nicobar         Lo-öng
  Kondul                Lamongshe
  Kabra                 Konwaña

[70] Dr K. Scherzer.

[71] The tupai of Little Nicobar, which differs somewhat from that of
Great Nicobar--principally the light areas of the pelage are less yellow
and less contrasted with dark areas--is considered a sub-species by Mr
Gerrit D. Miller, who has named it _Tupaia nicobarica surda_.

[72] About this fact I am not certain, for the Malay in which our
informant expressed himself was a thing quite _sui generis_.

[73] These fences were met with by de Röepstorff on the east coast
(_Jour. Asiatic_ _Soc. Bengal_), and by the members of the _Galathea_
Expedition up the Galathea River in Great Nicobar (_Corvetten Galathea's
Jordourseiling, Steen Bille_, Kjöbenhaven, 1852).

[74] The Malay _roko_ is an affair of much wrapper and little tobacco,
whose flavour would seem so bonfire-like as to be akin to the brown
paper or stump of cane smoked by precocious and naughty little boys at

[75] It is difficult to believe that this is the true reason of the
trees' infertility; but it is a fact that no coco palms, except those
about the houses, bear any nuts.

[76] The _ikan parang_ is known to us as the "garfish."

[77] _Pulo_ (_Malay_, island), on the west coast, is probably a
mispronunciation of _Telok_ (_Malay_, bay), for at only one of the small
anchorages so designated is there an island at all.

[78] _Ficus brevicuspis_(?)

[79] An exact counterpart to this weapon has been observed among the
"Alfurus" of Kau, Gilolo; _vide_ plate in Kukenthal's _Im Malayischen

[80] Native name = _Láful._


                       _Nicobarese_.     _Shom Pe[.n]_.
  Spear,                  nuit,               allai.
  Finger,                 bewait,             noité.
  Pandanus fruit,         lar[=u]m,           munkuang.

[82] "The coast natives, man for man, are superior to the Shom Pe[.n],
and regard themselves so both physically and mentally. I have known of a
lot of the latter (estimated at about 20) attacking a coast hut in which
there were only two men. On these showing resistance and wounding a
couple of the Shom Pe[.n] with wooden spears, thrown from inside the
hut, the latter fled, carrying away the two wounded men. I have never
heard of Shom Pe[.n] venturing to attack the coast people unless they
were in superior numbers and could take them by surprise,"--writes Mr E.
H. Man, however.

[83] _Halcyon pileata_, conspicuous by its white-tipped wings, was very
common on the river, and the calls of one or two birds not elsewhere
obtained, were distinguished. Numbers of fish were seen in the shallows,
and sometimes a snake swimming from bank to bank was to be observed.

[84] This was the estimated area before Col. Hobday's survey of 1883-5.

[85] "Juru," _Andamanese_ = Sea.

[86] The absence of this tree has doubtless had as much to do with the
isolation in which the aborigines have lived as the hostility of the
latter, for the islands produce little else than rattans and
trepang--which would necessitate arduous collecting--to induce native
traders to visit them.

[87] Comparatively few.

[88] _The Malay Archipelago_, p. 9.

[89] _Vide_ paper on the "Geology of the Andamans," by Dr R. D. Oldham,
_Proceedings, Geological Survey of India_, vol. xviii.

[90] Still being deposited at Barren Island.

[91] This conclusion, although in some ways difficult to conceive
of--for the Arakan coast to the north, and the Nicobars to the south,
are both fringed by raised coral beaches, which show they have recently
been elevated--is based principally on the fact that stumps of trees,
which grow only above high-water mark, and beyond the reach of salt
water, are found in the mangrove swamps and on the seashore.

[92] _Pinkerton's Collection of Voyages._

[93] _Extractes of Master Cæsar Frederike: his Eighteen Yeares' Indian
Observations. Purchus: his Pilgrimes_, London, 1625; vol. ii., p. 1710.

[94] _A Voyage Round the World by Dr John Francis Gemelli Careri.
Churchill's Collection of Voyages and Travels_, vol. iv.

[95] _Pinkerton's Collection of Voyages._

[96] _A Mission to Ava_, by Col. Michael Syme, 3 vols.

[97] The _Indian Antiquary_, monthly numbers, April 1900-June 1901,
contains articles by Lieut.-Col. R. C. Temple on Blair's reports of his
survey and settlement in the Andamans.

[98] _Vide_ "Our Monthly," June and July 1883. Rangoon.

[99] Since 1879, when the Cocos were transferred from the Commission of
the Andamans to that of Burma, several settlements, less unfortunate,
have been made in the same island for the purpose of trade in coconuts
and timber. There is now a lighthouse on Table Island--the most
northerly of the group--where many wild cattle (originally domestic)

[100] As one goes from South to North, the tribes become larger in
stature and redder (less black).--M. V. Portman, _Jour. Royal Asiatic
Soc._, 1881.

[101] Lieut.-Col. R. C. Temple, quoted in _The Aboriginal Inhabitants of
the Andaman Islands_, by E. H. Man--a work that deals in a most
exhaustive manner with the subjects indicated in the title, but is now,
unfortunately, out of print.

[102] "The dead are often disposed of on platforms erected in the fork
of some suitable tree. Old people and infants are generally buried."--E.
H. Man.

[103] In the _Jour. Royal Asiatic Soc._, 1881, Mr M. V. Portman
writes:--"Although traditions of a Creation, a Fall, a Deluge, and a
future state have been recorded as extant among the Andamanese, there is
reason to believe that these accounts are merely the Christian religion
as formerly taught in the Andaman orphanages, and distorted among the
natives; for, while the southern tribes have a legend of a stone house
where the Deity was born, the northern tribes, who have not been brought
into contact with the Settlement, have no such tradition;" but Mr E. H.
Man records traditions of a Creation, Fall, and Deluge, obtained from
aborigines possessing no knowledge of what had been taught to the few
small children at the Orphanage (chiefly reading and writing, sewing,
basket work, etc.), and moreover, doubts whether any of the latter were
capable of giving an intelligent--if any--account of the views held by
Christians on these subjects.

"The Andamanese traditions do not resemble those of Christians....
Savages in other parts of the world," writes Mr Man, "possessed
traditions on the same subjects before missionaries or other Christians
ever visited them."

[104] The _pukuta yemnga_, a shield-shaped piece of wood, placed with
the narrow end in the ground. Andamanese songs are in solos and
choruses, the latter invariably sung by both sexes if available, and are
accompanied by a dance, which takes place in the evening and at night,
in the jungle, when both men and women quite lose themselves in the

Specimens of Andamanese songs:--

  (1) "From the country of the Yerewas the moon rose; it came near; it
  was very cold,--I sat down." _Chorus._--"I sat down."

  (2) "Maia Poro saw a big turtle in the water, and hit him in the eye.
  Poro laughed when he hit him in the eye." _Chorus._--"Poro laughed
  when he hit him in the eye."

  (3)  "I am cutting the under-part of a canoe's prow. I am cutting a
  canoe." _Chorus._--"I am cutting a canoe."

           --_Vide_ "Andamanese Music," by M. V. Portman, _Jour. Royal
                Asiatic Soc._, 1888.

[105] _Vide_ Appendix D.

[106] _Vide_ Appendix E.

[107] Orange Pekoe and Pekoe Souchong.

[108] The foregoing information relating to the convict system and the
progress of the Settlement is extracted from addresses by the Chief
Commissioner (Lieutenant-Colonel R. C. Temple) to the Andaman
Commission; _vide_ Supplements, _Andaman and Nicobar Gazette_, July
1897, and February 1901.

[109] After Mr E. H. Man.

[110] _Vide_ Appendix H.

[111] "All along this great line of volcanoes are to be found more or
less palpable signs of upheaval and depression of land...; upraised
coral-rock, exactly corresponding to that now forming in adjacent
seas...; unaltered surfaces of the elevated reefs, with great masses of
coral standing up in their natural position, and hundreds of shells, so
fresh-looking that it was hard to believe that they had been more than a
few years out of the water.

"The width of the volcanic belts is about 50 miles; but, for a space of
200 on each side of them, evidences of subterranean action are to be
found in recently elevated coral rock or in barrier coral reefs,
indicating recent submergence."--_Cf._ "Andamans," _The Malay
Archipelago_, A. R. Wallace, pp. 5, 6.

[112] _Vide_ paper on the "Geology of the Nicobars," by F. von
Hochstetter, translated by Dr Stoliczka, _Proc. Geol. Survey, India_.

[113] _Vide_ p. 137.

[114] Sir Henry Yule.

[115] _Vide_ translation by the Abbé Renaudet, in _Pinkerton's
Collection of Travels_, p. 183.

[116] "Travels, A.D. 1315-1330," _Hakluyt Library_.

[117] _Extractes of Master Cæsar Frederike: his Eighteen Yeeres' Indian
Observations. Purchas: his Pilgrimes_, vol. ii., p. 1710.

[118] _Hakluyt Library._

[119] _Purchas: his Pilgrimes_, vol. i., p. 123.

[120] Lancaster's "Three Voyages to the East Indies," _Hakluyt Library_.

[121] Koeping, Stockholm, 1743.

[122] _Pinkerton's Collection of Voyages._

[123] H. Busch's _Journal of a Cruise round the Nicobars_.

[124] _Corvetten Galathea's Jordourseiling_, Steen Bille, 2 vols.,
Kjöbenhaven, 1852.

[125] _Voyage of the Novara_, Dr Karl Scherzer, 3 vols., London, 1862.

[126] "The people of Kar Nicobar have a tradition among them, that
several canoes came from Andaman many years ago, and that the crews were
all armed, and committed great depredations, and killed several of the
Nicobarians."--Hamilton, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. ii.

[127] Achin, at the north-west extremity of the neighbouring island of
Sumatra, appears to have been for ages before the arrival of Europeans
the great mart for the Telingu traders, who, probably as early as 2000
B.C., carried from the Malay Peninsula the tin used by the Egyptians in
making their bronze implements.

[128] "Commercial intercourse was maintained from a very early date
between the South of India and the trading towns which formed the
emporia of the spice islands, notably Johor, Singapore, and Malacca.
When the Portuguese, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, first
visited these places, they were amazed at the concourse of foreign
vessels assembled there. When this intercourse began it is impossible to
say, but it was probably much earlier than the above. Snouck-Hurgronje,
writing of Acheh, says that the settlement of Klings from Southern India
in that country is of great antiquity; and that the Tamils were the
leaders in this commercial enterprise in Malaya is clearly shown by the
pure Tamil words,--chiefly connected with commerce, though not
altogether so,--which have found their way into Malay.... The Malay for
'ship,' _kapal_, is pure Tamil ... the pure Tamil _padagu_, 'boat,' may
reasonably be taken to be the parent of the Malay _prahu_. If this be
so, it would seem as if the Tamils first introduced the Malays to even
the most elementary navigation, and, as they gave them _kapal_, taught
them to 'go down to the sea in ships.' ... They do not seem to have
settled down or intermixed with the Malays to any great extent,--not
certainly so much as in Acheh, where considerable colonies of Tamils
took up their abode. Their object being merely commerce, they went as
they came, returning year by year as the monsoon favoured."--"Southern
India and the Straits," W. A. O'Sullivan, _Jour. Straits Branch Royal
Asiatic Soc._, No. 36, July 1901.

[129] _Vide_ pp. 235, 236, of _A Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern
Archipelago_, by H. O. Forbes; London, Sampson Low, 1885.

[130] _Jour. Royal Geog. Soc._, 1899, p. 288.

[131] "Those that are of a permanent character sometimes partake of the
same bee-hive form which commonly marks the dwellings of the coast
people, being in like manner raised on posts 6 or 8 feet above the
ground."--E. H. Man, _Jour. Anthrop. Inst._, vol. xv.

[132] _Ficus brevicuspis._

[133] A similar ornament is worn in Sumatra, and also among the Dyaks
and Punans in Borneo; _vide_ Carl Bock's _Headhunters_, plates 10 and

[134] "Each community of the tribe appears to possess a dialect more or
less distinct, but this is what might be expected when we consider the
isolation of the several encampments and the difficulty of
inter-communication, apart even from the hostile relations in which they
stand towards one another."--E. H. Man, _Jour. Anthrop. Inst._, vol. xv.

[135] Such hostility being now active on their side only.

[136] Professor V. Ball, _Jour. Asiatic Soc., Bengal_.

[137] Dr Stoliczka, _Jour. Asiatic Soc., Bengal_.

[138] Père Barbe, _Jour. Asiatic Soc., Bengal_.

[139] Dr Rink, _Voyage of the Galathea_.

[140] E. H. Man, _Jour. Anthrop. Inst._, 1889.

[141] Père Barbe, _Jour. Asiatic Soc., Bengal_, vol. xv.

[142] In 1897, a Malay vessel, on a voyage from Olehleh to Pulo Wai, was
blown to sea and sunk. Her crew took to their boat and reached Trinkat,
whence they were returned by the agent to Acheen in a Chinese junk. In
earlier times these men would probably have settled amongst the natives,
and so have been instrumental in the further diversifications of the

[143] "The Nicobar Islands were peopled from the opposite main and the
coast of Pegu, in proof of which the Nicobar and Pegu languages are
said, by those (Nicobarese?) acquainted with the latter, to have much
resemblance."--Hamilton, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. ii.

[144] _Burmah_, M. and B. Ferrars.

[145] (_a_) In 1899, thirty-five men from the Maldives arrived at Kar
Nicobar in a ferry-boat, which resembled a lighter in appearance, and
was built of coconut wood. They had gone to Maldive from Addo Atel to
buy rice, and encountering a storm on the return journey, had missed
their island, and after a two months' voyage (more than 1000 miles)
reached Kar Nicobar, having thrown overboard most of their rice to keep
their vessel afloat. As they feared to go back in their own boat, they
were forwarded to Calcutta in various trading-vessels.

(_b_) "In almost all the villages (central group), Malabars or Bengalese
are to be found. The natives encourage them to stay by grants of land,
and after a certain number of years they are permitted to make choice of
a female companion."--Nicholas Fontana, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iii.

[146] Professor A. H. Keane, "Man, Past and Present," _Camb. Geog.
Series_, 1899.

[147] Comparing the group of Kar Nicobar boys (page 60) with those of
Kondul (p. 138), it is not easy, at a glance, to perceive much racial
resemblance. The first, scowling and flat-nosed, with prominent teeth
and thick lips, and the others intelligent-looking, with almost European
features. Yet the eldest of these latter exactly resembled in every way
Little John, the man who was my _shikari_ in Kar Nicobar.

[148] Although the average is no more than with the Shom Pe[.n], there
is a much greater individual variation of stature.

[149] This is due to the practice, observed and described by Mr Man, of
flattening the occiput and forehead of infants by the mother, who gently
exerts pressure by means of a small pillow, and the palms and
outstretched fingers of both hands for an hour or so at a time.--_Jour.
Anthrop. Inst._, Feb. 1894, p. 238.

"It is a custom with them to compress with their hands the occiput of
the new-born child; by this method they say the hair remains close to
the head as nature intended it, and the upper fore-teeth very prominent
out of the mouth."--Nicholas Fontana, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. iii.

[150] Besides the aquiline noses already mentioned, a distinctly Jewish
or Papuan feature is occasionally to be met with.

[151] "They have _terms_ answering to 'How d'ye do?' and 'Good-bye.' The
following are said in the Central Islands:--

  A. _Met chai-chachá-ka?_--How d'ye do?
  B. _Pehárí_ (said in response).--The same to you.
  A. _Yáshe me ra._--Good-bye (said by the person leaving).
  B. _Tawátse me rakát._--Good-bye, _lit._, Thus you at present moment
          (said in response).
  A. _Pehárí._--The same to you.

At the other islands there are corresponding terms."--E. H. Man.

[152] V. Solomon.

[153] Professor A. H. Keane, "Man, Past and Present," _Camb. Geog.
Series_, 1899.

[154] _Vide_ plate facing 248.

[155] Père Barbe, _Jour. Asiatic Soc., Bengal._, vol. xv.

[156] Tanamara, headman of Malacca, Nankauri, when questioned on this
point, stated that the spirits were all evil:--"What, no got good
devil--_hantu baik_? No, all bad; plenty fever-devil, _plen-ty_ devil
eat man." But, with reference to this assertion, Mr Man writes:--"The
names of certain good spirits have often been given to me at Nankauri,
and by Tanamara himself." One inference is, that the latter purposely
denied their existence in order to be spared the trouble of answering
further questions on the subject.

[157] (_a_) "On the path, at no great distance from the (Dyak) village,
rude wooden figures of a man and woman are placed, one on each side
opposite to each other, with short wooden spears in their mouths. They
are called _Tebudo_, and are said to be inhabited by friendly _hantu_
(spirits) who keep the path clear of inimical spirits."--Chalmers.

(_b_) "The Bed[=a]jo[=e] possess a multitude of large wooden idols
called _Hampatong_, as well as other objects which cult or superstition
has consecrated. Every habitation of this tribe, as well as those of the
Dusuns, has several small wooden idols who are supposed to guard the
habitation, protect the rice harvest, preserve the inhabitants against
sickness, and to fulfil generally analogous functions. The Dyaks
collect, with the same object, skulls of monkeys, bears, and wild cats,
which they preserve in little boxes called _kamontoha_, and which they
suspend in the houses."--S. Müller.

(_c_) "As far as we could learn, the only act of worship paid these
images is that of offering them food once or twice a month, such as
rice, pork, eggs, fowls. On #no# condition will they (Dyaks) consent to
give them up, and the only reason assigned is that sickness will be the
inevitable consequence."--Doty.

(_d_) "The inland tribes of Borneo are without any definite forms of
religious worship; they make idols of wood, but I have never seen any
offerings made to them, nor do they regard them apparently as anything
more than scarecrows to frighten off evil spirits."--_Folklore in
Borneo_, by W. H. Furness.

(_e_) "These figures (_tambatongs_) are not exactly idols in the
ordinary sense of the word, as they are not directly worshipped,
although representing the religious beliefs of the Dyaks, and regarded
with superstitious veneration; they should, perhaps, rather be called
talismans, as they are looked upon as charms to keep away evil spirits
and ill-luck."--P. 32, _Headhunters of Borneo_, by Carl Bock.

(_f_) "Although I found in a house at Old Affara (a village on Vorkay,
one of the southernmost of the Arrus) an image rudely formed of wood,
together with a post on which different figures, such as snakes,
lizards, crocodiles, and human forms, were carved, and which the owner
stated to be intended for preserving the house from evil spirits
(_Swangi_), yet it is evident that the Arafuras of Vorkay possess no
religion whatsoever.... They certainly hold a feast at the time in which
they have perceived that the Christians of Wamma hold one also, namely,
at the commencement of the year, when they, in imitation of the
Christians, celebrate the advent of the new year.... Of the immortality
of the soul they have not the least conception."--Koff's _Voyage of the
Dourga_, p. 161.

(_g_) "The Battas believe in demonic agency called _Begu_ for every
species of malady.... To drive out these demon monsters ... talismans
and charms are employed."--Featherman's _Social History of Mankind_.

[158] (_a_) "Amongst the Dyaks ... newly-married couples do not go to
live in a new house of their own, but a compartment is set apart for
them in the house of the bride's parents."--Hickson's _North Celebes_,
p. 286.

(_b_) "The marriage customs throughout the Sangir, Talant, and Sian
Archipelago are based on the old matriarchal system--that is, when a man
is married he becomes a member of his wife's family, and must leave his
own and go to live in the village or the house of his wife's
parents."--P. 197.

(_c_) "When a Dyak marries he enters the family of his wife, and lives
in her parents' house till the couple set up for themselves, which is
generally not for some time afterwards."--Denison.

(_d_) "If the suitor among the Battas is too poor to pay the price for a
wife, he may contract the _ambil anak_ marriage, which obliges him to
become a member of the family of the bride's parents and live with them
in the same dwelling: he is required to work for his father-in-law, and
attend to the ordinary agricultural labour."--_Social History of the
Races of Mankind_, A. Featherman.

(_e_) "New couples mostly start life in the young wife's home, the lad
working for her parents, and as families come, the elder pairs are
established in houses of their own."--_Burmah_, M. and B. Ferrars.

[159] Cf. _A Naturalist in North Celebes_, S. I. Hickson, p. 198.--"In
the Sangir Islands the only persons who are free from the matriarchal
system are the sons of the rajahs, who do as they please about following
their wives." P. 286--"Among the Dyaks of Sarawak we find ... that in
some cases the man does not follow the woman; but if he is of higher
rank, or the only support of aged parents, the woman is obliged to come
and live in his family."

[160] (_a_) "A man may readily obtain a divorce without any better
reason than that he has fixed his heart on another woman."--"Customs of
the Minahassers," Hickson's _North Celebes_, p. 281.

(_b_) "Divorces are very common; one can scarcely meet with a
middle-aged Dyak who has not had two and often three or more wives.
Repudiation takes place for the slightest cause--personal dislike or
disappointments, a sudden quarrel, bad dreams, discontent with the
partner's powers of industry or labour, in fact, any excuse. In fact,
marriage is a business of partnership for the purpose of having
children, dividing labour, and by means of their offspring providing for
old age. It is therefore entered into and dissolved almost at pleasure.
The causes are innumerable, but incompatibility of temper is perhaps the
most common; when they are tired of each other they do not say so, but
put the fault upon an unfavourable dream or a bad omen--either of which
is allowed to be a legitimate cause for separation."--St. John.

[161] Side by side with this state of things, which is practically one
of free love, a licensed immorality exists among the natives, and there
are several brothels or houses of assignation in the village of M[=u]s,
population 530!

[162] Cf. _A Naturalist in North Celebes_, S. I. Hickson, p. 197.--"The
rajah of Morong, in the Talant Islands, told me, that in case of a
divorce the children go 'where they do not cry.'" P. 288--"In some
cases, the children, when the parents are divorced, can choose the
family to which they will afterwards belong."

[163] Yassan of Kachal possessed three houses and three wives. Offandi,
headman of M[=u]s, had two wives, and knew of others similarly situated.
"I got two wives now. I no want more than two wives one time; plenty
trouble. Before I have other wives; when young, I go with ----."

"Generally speaking, the native (of Sarawak) is content with a single
wife; only wealthy men and chiefs have sometimes two or

[164] This is the common practice of the Nicobarese. The fault of one is
punished for the benefit of all, and the person directly injured
receives little actual compensation. The custom is one that does not
encourage litigiousness.

[165] The late "Davy Jones" of Kar Nicobar lived with two women who were
sisters of each other; his neighbours looked on with much disapproval,
but no one ventured to interfere.

[166] "Among the Battas no marriage ceremonies take place; rich
men and rajahs only regale the village by killing a buffalo or

[167] (_a_) _Cf._ St John's _Life in the Forest of the Far
East_.--"Besides the ordinary attentions which a young man (of the
Sarawak Dyaks) is able to pay the girl he desires to make his wife, as
helping her in her work, and carrying home her load of vegetables, as
well as making her presents, there is a peculiar testimony of regard
that is worthy of note. About nine or ten at night, when the family is
supposed to be asleep within the mosquito curtains in the private
apartment, the lover quietly slips back the bolt by which the door is
fastened on the inside, and enters the room on tip-toe. He goes to the
curtains of his beloved, gently awakes her, and she, on hearing who it
is, rises at once, and they sit conversing together and making
arrangements for the future, in the dark, over a plentiful supply of
sireh leaf and betel-nut, which it is the gentleman's duty to provide.
If, when awoke, the young lady arises and accepts the prepared
betel-nut, happy is the lover, for his suit is in a fair way to prosper;
but, if on the other hand, she rises and says, 'Be good enough to blow
up the fire,' or 'to light the lamp,' then his hopes are at an end, for
that is the usual form of dismissal. Of course if this kind of nocturnal
visit is frequently repeated, the parents do not fail to discover it,
although it is a point of honour among them to take no notice of their
visitor; and if they approve of him, matters take their course, but if
not, they use their influence with their daughter to ensure the
utterance of the fatal 'Please blow up the fire.'"

(_b_) "Customs of the Minahassers," Hickson's _Celebes_, p. 272.--"Two
young people meet at the _mapalus_ (communal gatherings for work,
followed by a feast), and over the feasting and singing become
interested in one another, and fall in love. Then follows the courtship,
which is not supposed to be open and above-board, but is, nominally at
least, carried on in secret. It consists in nocturnal visits of the
young man to the young woman's house, visits which although frequently
attended by immorality, are not necessarily so, and are often perfectly
decorous and formal.

"The young woman prepares a mat for her lover, and after dark he comes
to visit her. The parents are, of course, aware that their daughter is
receiving a visitor, and are indeed proud that she should be thus so
sought after; but at the same time they warn her to be cautious. The
lover departs again before daybreak, in order that there may be no
gossip in the village about their engagement until all is settled. These
visits extend over some weeks, and at last one morning he remains until
the day has broken, as a sign that the engagement may be formally

[168] _Cf._ Malay custom during the marriage ceremony, of the bride's
female friends trying to prevent the entrance of the bridegroom and his

[169] In some places in the south it is said that coconut plantations
are held in common by all in the village.

[170] "With regard to _takoia_, there is an observance of tabu when a
death occurs. The coconut and pandanus plantation of the deceased is
banned, the fruit being allowed to drop and germinate where it lies. The
trees are marked by having coconut fronds fastened round their trunks,
so no one, even a stranger, can appropriate the fruit through ignorance.
As in the case of a large plantation it would be too great a task to
mark each tree in this way, only the most conspicuous trees along the
boundary are so distinguished, as this suffices to indicate that all
within the boundary are included in the _tabu_."--E. H. Man.

[171] Dr Guillemard on "The Papuans," _Australasia_, vol. ii., 1894.

[172] The only place where the domestication of the megapode is recorded
is the island of Savo in the Solomons. Here the birds may be seen
sitting quietly on the fences about the villages, and the laying-grounds
are regularly portioned out amongst the inhabitants.--Vide _Among the
Man-eaters_, by John Gaggin; London, Fisher Unwin.

[173] "Their favourite weapons are javelins, which they throw fifty
yards; they often poison the point with a subtle drug."--Chopard, _J. I.
A._, 1847.

"Lances with points of iron or hardened wood."--Scherzer, _Cruise of the
Novara_, 1858; and see p. 281.

[174] _Cf._ "The large quadrangular nut is a 'common object of the
sea-shore' in the Malay Islands, and is much used by the natives to
catch fish. The fruit is pounded and thrown into the water, and the
fish, rising to the surface in a stupefied condition, are easily
secured."--P. 188, _Cruise of the Marchesa_, by F. H. H. Guillemard;
London, John Murray, 1889.

Also used for the same purpose by natives of the Solomons.--_Vide_ H. B.
Guppy's _Solomon Islands_; London, Swan, Sonnenschein.

[175] _Vide_ item 2 of plate facing p. 94.

[176] In some of the islands a pot-cover is made by sewing together a
special kind of leaf with long slips of rattan, until a pad quite an
inch in thickness is obtained.

[177] In many islands of the Pacific Ocean--Marshalls, Gilbert and
Kingsmills, the Carolines, Union, and Ellice, and in New Guinea--the
pandanus fruit is used as a food, especially in times of scarcity, but
in general the kernel only is eaten, and the inner end of the drupes
gnawed off.

[178] Referred to in these pages as _kissát_, _neng_, or #T# bandage,
for want of a more accurate expression.

[179] For the dress used at various periods, refer to the authorities
quoted in other chapters. The earliest clothing--apart from ornamental
cords and string bracelets, etc., as are still used by the
Andamanese--seems to have been, for the men a strip of bark cloth, and
for the women a short petticoat of grass or coco-palm leaf (_ngong_).

[180] The idea being that the demon who caused the death may fail to
recognise the survivors.

[181] M. V. Portman, _Jour. Royal Asiatic Soc._, 1888.

[182] G. Hamilton, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. ii.

[183] _Cf._ "Dyak dishes," in _Headhunters of Borneo_, plate 19.

[184] (_a_) Of thirty individuals of the _Galathea's_ crew engaged in an
exploring expedition up the Galathea River, and caught one night in a
rain-storm which compelled them to remain in the forest wringing wet, no
fewer than twenty-one fell ill of fever, which ultimately proved fatal
in four cases.--Vide _Corvetten Galathea's Jordourseiling_, 1852.

(_b_) During a stay of thirty-two days amongst the islands, the frigate
_Novara_, with a crew of 320 men, had six cases of fever, but, when in
the Straits of Malacca, fifteen more developed the same illness. All
recovered, and those of the company who had never set foot on shore,
furnished the largest contingent.--Vide _Cruise of the Novara_, 1858.

(_c_) Of the five from the _Terrapin_ who ascended the Galathea River
and spent a night in the interior of the island, each was down with
malaria either during the voyage to, or after arrival at, Singapore.

[185] Nankauri(?)

[186] Dalrymple, in his _Oriental Repertory_, states, that Captain
Weldon surveyed the Nicobars in 1687, and sent the survey, together with
a history of the islands, by a Spanish priest to the East India Company.
It does not appear to have been ever printed.

[187] The parallel of 7° N. lat. bisects the island.

[188] In this sentence of his description, Dampier's observations are

[189] "Larum." If they called it so, the name was probably acquired from
Portuguese visitors.

[190] Always greyish-white.

[191] This is the true bread-fruit (_Artocarpus incisa_), which does not
grow in the Nicobars, and with which the fruit of the pandanus is
nominally confounded by the English-speaking natives and by several of
those Europeans who have visited the Archipelago.

[192] This type of house is still built. See photograph taken at Pulo
Milo, p. 124.

[193] Outriggers.

[194] Nowadays they invariably paddle, and have no oars.

[195] This is probably an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that the
island carried then a far greater population than it does at the

[196] The Pasangan River has two mouths, of which the western is named

[197] Kampong Jangka, on the left bank of the river of that name.

[198] Nicobar.

[199] Planksheers(?)

[200] Probably a Licuala.

[201] Ambergris(?)

[202] "Ambergris, which is a waxy concretion formed in the intestine of
the sperm-whale, is occasionally found on the shores of the Nicobar
Islands. At times the carcase of a whale has been found ashore, and on
examination a valuable quantity (several hundred rupees worth) of
ambergris has been thus obtained."--E. H. Man.

[203] _Cf._ Shom Pe[.n] spears.

[204] Banana.

[205] This same iron rod is used in the rainy season as a means for the
prevention of thunder and lightning.

[206] These dances are practised by the guests from the time they
receive the first intimation.

[207] Called also _Kofenté_--place of pollution. The natives have a
horror of this spot, which nothing will induce them to visit at night.

[208] The above is the M[=u]s proceeding; at Lapáti there is more
elaboration. The spacious square of _Elpanam_ is thoroughly cleared, and
the huts and fences of the traders dismantled, a separate place in the
jungle being given them. In the centre of _Elpanam_ an iron spike
(_meráhta_) is fixed and covered with leaves. Then the _tamiluanas_,
adorned with silver and garlands, arrive in procession, and suddenly
pulling up the pike, throw it into the sea. After washing their feet
they come back to the dances.

This ceremony is by way of augury as to the prospects for the ensuing

[209] _Vide_ p. 303.

[210] The reason for these proceedings given to Captain Gardner by the
natives in 1851 was, "because they do thus in England," for so several
captains had told them!

[211] "Amongst the Arafuras (Aru Islands) the treatment of their dead
betrays in the greatest degree their uncivilised condition, and the
uncertainty which exists among them as to their future state. When a man
dies all his relations assemble and destroy all the goods he may have
collected during his life, even the gongs are broken to pieces and
thrown away. In their villages I met with several heaps of porcelain
plates and basins, the property of deceased individuals, the survivors
entertaining an idea that they have no right to make use of
them."--Kolff's _Voyage of the Dourga_, p. 166.

[212] In the matter of names, a Kar Nicobarese tries to please everyone
with whom he is acquainted. There is often his own native appellation,
an English one, another by which he is known to the Indian traders, and
a fourth under which he does business with the Burmese!

[213] G. Hamilton, _Asiatic Researches_, vol. ii.

[214] This monoply is due to their geographical position. The Kar
Nicobarese find it as much as they dare venture to do, to go so far as
Chaura for their large canoes and pots. As it is, many lives are lost at
sea. (In 1899 at least 29 were drowned in returning from this island,
and more recently 12 or 13 were similarly lost.) Chaura is situated
midway between Kar Nicobar and Nankauri Harbour and Kamorta, where the
principal purchases are made by the Chaura people.

[215] "I was present on a certain occasion at M[=u]s ... having brought
Tanamara with me from Nankauri. In strolling through the village we
caught sight of a fine large canoe, which he recognised as having been
sold by him to a certain native of Chaura. Offandi proved to be the
owner, and he, on being questioned, said that he had bought it from the
same man. On further enquiry it was found, that while the Chaura
middleman had _promised_ to give 25 rupees in kind to Tanamara (only
part of which had yet been paid), he would not let Offandi have it till
he had delivered to him a long list of articles (_e.g._ cloth, spoons,
tobacco, etc.), which, on being totalled up, were found to amount to
about 105 rupees in value."--E. H. Man.

[216] E. H. Man.

[217] "In the morning dances commenced in the open air. Two immense
circles of men and women were formed, linked hand in hand, one circle
within the other. The dance continued for hours, accompanied by a
monotonous chant. Sometimes the two circles moved in opposite
directions, or expanded to their utmost stretch and contracted again by
advancing towards the centre. In posturing they kept time with the
singing, all turning to right and then to left, raising their arms or
letting them fall together. The inner circle knelt on the left knee,
placing their heads to the ground, but still holding each other, while
the outer circle, also hand-in-hand, stepped over them and became the
inner one. This was frequently repeated, and in this and other movements
the dance consisted. The circles consisted of about 200 people
each."--"A Visit to Car Nicobar, 1851," by Captain Gardner, _Singapore
Review_, vol. ii.

[218] _Diary of Catechist V. Solomon._

[219] "It is worthy of note that this animal differs more conspicuously
from its congeners than is the case with any of the other mammals." But
even it--were it indigenous and not a stray introduction--one would
expect to find on others of the islands (such as Kachal) similar in
surface and vegetation to Great and Little Nicobar. It no doubt was
established in these two last before they became disunited, as
sufficient time has elapsed for a distinct variation to occur, while the
far greater depth of sea between them and Kachal would indicate a
separation anterior to the arrival of the species.

[220] This table and the foregoing quotations, are from the paper on the
"Mammals of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands," by Mr Gerrit S. Miller,
vol xxiv., _Proceedings of the National Museum, U.S.A._

[221] The presence of a megapode in the Nicobars, a genus that occurs
also in the Indo-Malayan region, is the most interesting feature of the
islands' avifauna. Dr A. R. Wallace says, in _The Distribution of
Animals_: "The Megapodidæ are highly characteristic of the Australian
region ... only sending two species beyond its limits (_M. cumingi_ and
_M. lowi_ in the Philippine and North-West Borneo Islands), and another
in the Nicobar Islands, separated by about 1800 miles from its nearest
ally in Lombok. The Philippine species offers little difficulty, for
these birds are found on the smallest islands and sandbanks, and can
evidently pass over a few miles of sea with ease; but the Nicobar bird
is a very different case, because none of the numerous intervening
islands offer a single example of the family. Instead of being a
well-marked or differentiated form, as we should expect to find if its
remote and isolated habitat were due to natural causes, it so nearly
resembles some of the closely allied species from the Moluccas and New
Guinea, that had it been found with them it would not have been thought
specifically distinct. I therefore believe that it is probably an
introduction by the Malays (Dr Guillemard states that this bird is often
seen in captivity in Malaysia), and that, owing to the absence of
enemies and general suitability of conditions, it has thriven in the
islands, and has become slightly differentiated from the parent stock."

The megapode also occurs on the Cocos Islands, but not on the Andamans
intervening between these and the Nicobars. This may be explained either
by the fact that it may formerly have existed on the Andamans, where it
has been exterminated by the carnivorous palm-civet common in that
group, or that, owing to the hostility of the natives, voyagers were
deterred from stopping there and thus causing the introduction of the
bird, a course they would be the less persuaded to attempt in that there
were no coconuts to attract them.

[222] _Vide_ A. O. Hume, _Stray Feathers_, vols. ii. and iv.

[223] From A. L. Butler's "Birds of the Andamans and Nicobars," _Proc.
Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc._, vols. xii. and xiii.

       *       *       *       *       *


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