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Title: Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate
Author: Monckton, Charles Arthur Whitmore
Language: English
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  SOME EXPERIENCES OF A NEW
  GUINEA RESIDENT MAGISTRATE


[Illustration: THE AUTHOR]



    SOME EXPERIENCES OF A NEW GUINEA RESIDENT
    MAGISTRATE BY CAPTAIN C. A. W. MONCKTON,
    F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., F.R.A.I., SOMETIME OFFICIAL
    MEMBER OF EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE COUNCILS,
    RESIDENT MAGISTRATE AND WARDEN FOR GOLDFIELDS,
    HIGH SHERIFF AND HIGH BAILIFF, AND SENIOR
    OFFICER OF ARMED CONSTABULARY FOR H.M.’s
    POSSESSION OF NEW GUINEA WITH 37 ILLUSTRATIONS
    AND A MAP


  LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, VIGO ST.
  NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY  ☙  MCMXXI



  THIRD EDITION


  WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES, ENGLAND



  TO MY
  WIFE



PREFACE


It appears to be the custom, for writers of books of this description,
to begin with apologies as to their style, or excuses for their
production. I pretend to no style; but have simply written at the
request of my wife, for her information and that of my personal
friends, an account of my life and work in New Guinea. To the few “men
that know” who still survive, in one or two places gaps or omissions
may appear to occur; these omissions are intentional, as I have no wish
to cause pain to broken men who are still living, nor to distress the
relations of those who are dead. Much history is better written fifty
years after all concerned in the making are dead. Governor or ruffian,
Bishop or cannibal, I have written of all as I found them; I freely
confess that I think when the last muster comes, the Great Architect
will find--as I trust my readers will--some good points in the ruffians
and the cannibals, as well, possibly, as some vulnerable places in the
armour of Governors and Bishops.

I do not pretend that this book possesses any scientific value; such
geographical, zoological, and scientific work as I have done is dealt
with in various journals; but it does picture correctly the life of a
colonial officer in the one-time furthest outpost of the Empire--men of
whose lives and work the average Briton knows nothing.

Conditions in New Guinea have altered; where one of Sir William
MacGregor’s officers stood alone, there now rest a number of Australian
officials and clerks. Much credit is now annually given to this host;
some little, I think, might be fairly allotted to the dead Moreton,
Armit, Green, Kowold, De Lange, and the rest of the gallant gentlemen
who gave their lives to win one more country for the flag and to secure
the Pax Britannica to yet another people.

I have abstained from putting into the mouths of natives the ridiculous
jargon or “pidgin English” in which they are popularly supposed to
converse. The old style of New Guinea officer spoke Motuan to his men,
and I have, where required, merely given a free translation from that
language into English. In recent books about New Guinea, written by
men of whom I never heard whilst there, I have noticed sentences in
pidgin English, supposed to have been spoken by natives, which I would
defy any European or native in New Guinea, in my time, either to make
sense of or interpret.

When the history of New Guinea comes to be written, I think it will be
found that the names of several people stand out from the others in
brilliant prominence; amongst its Governors, Sir William MacGregor;
its Judges, that of Sir Francis Winter; its Missions, that of the
Right Rev. John Montagu Stone-Wigg, first Anglican Bishop; and in the
development of its natural resources, that of the pioneer commercial
firm of Burns, Philp and Company.



CONTENTS


                              PAGE
  CHAPTER I                      1
  CHAPTER II                     9
  CHAPTER III                   16
  CHAPTER IV                    27
  CHAPTER V                     32
  CHAPTER VI                    41
  CHAPTER VII                   47
  CHAPTER VIII                  60
  CHAPTER IX                    72
  CHAPTER X                     83
  CHAPTER XI                    94
  CHAPTER XII                  109
  CHAPTER XIII                 124
  CHAPTER XIV                  139
  CHAPTER XV                   149
  CHAPTER XVI                  163
  CHAPTER XVII                 177
  CHAPTER XVIII                191
  CHAPTER XIX                  204
  CHAPTER XX                   222
  CHAPTER XXI                  233
  CHAPTER XXII                 250
  CHAPTER XXIII                268
  CHAPTER XXIV                 282
  CHAPTER XXV                  294
  CHAPTER XXVI                 304
  CHAPTER XXVII                324



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                            TO FACE PAGE
  The Author                                          _Frontispiece_

  Cocoanut Grove, near Samarai                                         6

  The Rt. Hon. Sir William MacGregor, P.C., G.C.M.G., C.B., etc.      10

  R. F. L. Burton, Esq., and his Motuan boys                          62

  Port Moresby from Government House, showing the Government
      Offices                                                         70

  Tamata Creek                                                        78

  Bushimai, chief of the Binandere people                             80

  Tamata Station                                                      82

  Village in the Trobriand Islands                                    86

  A Motuan girl                                                      112

  Dobu house, Mekeo                                                  114

  Masks of the Kaiva Kuku Society, Mekeo                             118

  House at Apiana, Mekeo                                             120

  Village near Port Moresby                                          136

  Sir George Le Hunte, K.C.M.G.                                      148

  The Laloki Falls                                                   156

  Two Motuan girls                                                   162

  Motuan girl                                                        164

  Sir G. Le Hunte presenting medals to Sergeant Sefa and Corporal
      Kimai                                                          166

  Kaili Kaili natives                                                166

  The _Merrie England_ at Cape Nelson and Giwi’s canoes              168

  Giwi and his sons                                                  174

  View from the Residency, Cape Nelson                               178

  Toku, son of Giwi                                                  184

  Kaili Kaili                                                        192

  Sergeant Barigi                                                    200

  Grave of Wanigela, sub-chief of the Maisina tribe                  208

  Kaili Kaili dancing                                                208

  Captain F. R. Barton, C.M.G.                                       212

  Armed Constabulary, Cape Nelson detachment                         216

  Kaili Kaili carriers with the Doriri Expedition                    218

  The _Merrie England_ at Cape Nelson                                234

  Group, including Sir G. Le Hunte, K.C.B., Sir Francis Winter,
      C.J., etc.                                                     264

  Oiogoba Sara, chief of the Baruga tribe                            270

  Agaiambu village                                                   274

  Agaiambu man                                                       278

  Agaiambu woman                                                     280

  Map                                                                324



  SOME EXPERIENCES OF A NEW
  GUINEA RESIDENT MAGISTRATE



CHAPTER I


In the year 1895 I found myself at Cooktown in Queensland, aged 23,
accompanied by a fellow adventurer, F. H. Sylvester, and armed with
£100, an outfit particularly unsuited to the tropics, and a letter
of introduction from the then Governor of New Zealand, the Earl of
Glasgow, to the Lieutenant-Governor of British New Guinea, Sir William
MacGregor.

After two or three weeks of waiting, we took passage by the mail
schooner _Myrtle_, 150 tons, one of two schooners owned by Messrs.
Burns, Philp and Co., of Sydney, and subsidized by the British New
Guinea Government to carry monthly mails to that possession; in fact
they were then the only means of communication between New Guinea
and the rest of the world. These two vessels, after a chequered
career in the South Seas, as slavers--then euphoniously termed in
Australia “labour” vessels--had, by the lapse of time and purchase
by a firm of high repute and keen commercial ambition, now been
promoted to the dignity of carrying H.M. Mails, Government stores for
the Administration of New Guinea, and supplies to the branches of
the firm at Samarai and Port Moresby; and were, under the energetic
superintendence of their respective masters, Steel and Inman, extending
the commercial interests of their owners throughout both the British
and German territories bordering on the Coral Sea.

Good old ships long since done with, the bones of one lie scattered on
a reef, the other when last I saw her was a coal hulk in a Queensland
port. And good old Scotch firm of trade grabbers that owned them,
sending their ships, in spite of any risk, wherever a possible bawbee
was to be made, and taking their hundred per cent. of profit with
the same dour front they took their frequently trebled loss. Mopping
up the German trade until the day came when the heavily subsidized
ships of the Nord Deutscher Lloyd drove them out; as well they might,
for in one scale hung the efforts of a small company of British
merchants, unassisted as ever by its country or Government, the other,
a practically Imperial Company backed by the resources of a vast Empire.

But to return to the _Myrtle_, then lying in the bay off the mouth of
the Endeavour River, to which we were ferried in one of her own boats,
perched on the top of hen coops filled with screeching poultry, several
protesting pigs, and two goats; all mixed up with a belated mail bag,
parcels sent by local residents to friends in New Guinea, and three hot
and particularly cross seamen. The goats we learnt later were destined
to serve as mutton for the Government House table; the pigs and hens
were a little private venture of the ship’s cook, these being intended
for barter with natives.

On our arrival at the ship’s side, we were promptly boosted up a most
elusive rope ladder by the seamen who had ferried us across, the
schooner meanwhile rolling in a nasty cross sea and raising the devil’s
own din with her flapping sails. Tumbled over the bulwarks on to the
deck, we were seized upon by a violent little man in a frantic state of
excitement, perspiration, and bad language, and ten seconds later found
ourselves helping him to haul on the tackles of the boat that brought
us, which was then being hoisted in, pigs, goats, luggage, etc., holus
bolus; this operation completed, our violent little man introduced
himself as Mr. Wisdell, the ship’s cook, and volunteered to show us to
our berths, after which, as soon as the bustle of getting under way was
over, he stated his intention of formerly introducing us to the captain.

Just as we were somewhat dismally becoming quite assured that our
imaginations were not deceiving us as to the number of beetles and
cockroaches a berth of most attenuated size could contain; also
beginning to find that the motions of a schooner of 150 tons were
decidedly upsetting to our stomachs, after those of big vessels, Mr.
Wisdell returned and, diving into a locker, produced a bottle of
whisky, some sodawater, and four tumblers. Three of the latter he
placed with the other materials in the fiddle of the cabin’s table,
the remaining tumbler he held behind his back. Then politely bowing to
us, Mr. Wisdell signed that we were to precede him up the companion
way on to the poop, where a red-faced, cheery looking little man,
clothed in immaculate white ducks, gazed fixedly at the sails or at
the man at the wheel, a regard that the helmsman looked as if he would
willingly have done without. To him Mr. Wisdell marched, and then
“Mr. Sylvester--Captain Inman--Captain Inman--Mr. Monckton--etc.”
Never did Clapham dancing master receive the bows of his class with
greater dignity and grace, than did Captain Inman receive those which,
modelling our deportment on that of Mr. Wisdell, we made him.

Then Mr. Wisdell, still carrying the tumbler behind his back, spake
thus: “Perhaps, Captain Inman, you would like to offer the gentlemen a
little something in the cabin?” Captain Inman unbent: “Billy, the mate
has the blasted fever; send the bo’sun.” Upon the appearance of that
potentate, and his having apparently taken over the command, by dint of
fixing the man at the wheel with a basilisk glare, Captain Inman led
the way to the cabin, where Mr. Wisdell, kindly placing a glass in each
of our hands, drew attention to the bottle and, with deprecating little
coughs directed towards his commander, modestly backed away. Captain
Inman, however, was well versed in the etiquette the occasion demanded
and rose to it. “What, Billy, only three glasses! We want another!”
Out shot Mr. Wisdell’s glass from behind his back and the occasion was
complete.

Two days of violent sea-sickness then intervened, the misery of which
was broken only by the visits of Mr. Wisdell, or as better acquaintance
now permitted us to call him, “Billy,” bearing “mutton” broth prepared
from goat. These animals, by the way, appear to be indigenous to
the streets of Cooktown and to frequent them in large herds; their
sustenance seems to be gleaned from the rubbish heaps and back yards;
for of grass, at the time I was there, there was none, and their
camping places were for choice the doorsteps and verandahs of the
hotels, from which vantage points, at frequent intervals, the slumbers
of the lodgers were cheered by the sound of violent strife, and
sweetened by the peculiar fragrance diffused by ancient goats.

Then came one fine and memorable morning when our cheerful little
skipper called us to look at Samarai, at that time called by the
hideous name of Dinner Island, towards the anchorage of which we were
slowly moving, the while, from every direction, a swarm of canoes
paddled furiously towards us, crowded with fuzzy-headed natives, all
eager to earn a few sticks of tobacco, by assisting in the discharge of
the cargo we carried. The canoes were warned off pending the arrival of
a health officer to grant pratique, and that official soon appeared in
the person of Mr. R. E. Armit, a well-set-up, soldierly looking man of
about fifty years of age. Poor Armit, long since killed by the deadly
malaria of the Northern Division.

Mr. Armit was Subcollector of Customs and goodness knows what else at
Samarai, and was himself an extraordinary personality. An accomplished
linguist, widely read and travelled, I never found a subject about
which Armit did not know something and usually a very great deal. He,
however, did not possess a faculty for making or retaining money, and
did possess a particularly caustic tongue and pen, which, when the mood
took him, he would exercise even upon his superior officers; hence he
was frequently in hot water and never lacked enemies.

Samarai boasted neither wharf nor jetty; our cargo was therefore simply
shot over the side into the multitude of canoes and thence ferried to
the beach, with such assistance as the ship’s boats could afford.

Dinner Island, or as I shall from now on term it, Samarai, is an
island of about fifty acres. The hill, which forms the centre of the
island, rises from what was then a malodorous swamp, surrounded by a
strip of coral beach. The whole island was a gazetted penal district,
and the town consisted of the Residency, a fine roomy bungalow built
by the Imperial Government for the then Commissioner, General Sir
Peter Scratchley--the first of New Guinea officials to be claimed by
malaria--and now the headquarters of the Resident Magistrate for the
Eastern Division; a small three-roomed building of native grass and
round poles dubbed the Subcollector’s house; a gaol of native material,
the roof of which served as a bond store for dutiable goods, and a
cemetery: the three latter appeared to be well filled. There was also a
small single-roomed galvanized iron building which served as a Custom’s
house; in it was employed a clerk, unpaid; he was an affable gentleman
of mixed French and Greek parentage, and was at the time awaiting his
trial for murder. Two small stores, the one owned by Burns, Philp and
Co., of Sydney, and the other by Mr. William Whitten, now the Honble.
William Whitten, M.L.C., completed the main buildings.

Mr. Whitten was the son of a Queen’s Messenger, since dead of malaria,
and possessed an adventurous disposition which had taken him off to
sea as a boy. His first appearance in New Guinea was as one of the
personal guard of Sir Peter Scratchley, a body which Sir William
MacGregor replaced with his fine native constabulary. Whitten had
saved money enough to purchase a small cutter, with which he had begun
trading for bêche-de-mer in the Trobriand Islands. While dealing with
the natives for that commodity, he had discovered that pearls of a
fair quality existed in a small oyster forming one of the staple foods
of the natives. Whitten purchased large quantities of the pearls
from the natives for almost nothing, and had he only been able to
keep his discovery to himself, would have had fortune in his grasp.
Unfortunately for him, the sale of his prize in Australia brought
down upon him a host of other competitors, and the natives, having
discovered that the white man was keenly desirous of obtaining what
were to them worthless stones, raised their prices higher and higher
until there was little to be gained in the trade.

Whitten, however, had made enough to bring a young brother from
England, purchase a bigger and better vessel, also a large quantity
of merchandise. At the date of writing, Whitten Brothers own numerous
plantations, several steamers and sailing vessels, conduct a banking
business, have branches in the gold-fields, and are the largest
employers of labour in the country; in 1895, however, this greatness
was as yet undreamt of by them.

Other than the Residency and the glorified sardine box doing duty as
the Custom House, the only other building in Samarai formed of European
materials--by which I mean sawn timber and fastened with nails--was the
bungalow occupied by Burns, Philp’s manager, and situated on perhaps
the best site there. Gangs of prisoners--native--were engaged quarrying
in the hill of Samarai and filling up the swamp, a palpably necessary
work. Curiously enough in a pleasantly written little book by Colonel
Kenneth Mackay, C.B., entitled “Across Papua,” I noticed a reference to
this work, which was ultimately the means of stamping malaria out of
the place. The author attributed it, amongst others, to Doctor Jones, a
health officer who came to New Guinea in recent years. This statement
is quite incorrect; the credit of banishing malaria from Samarai
belongs to Sir William MacGregor, and to him alone.

A few sheds, occupied by boat-builders and carpenters, scattered
along the beach, complete the buildings of Samarai. Of hotels and
accommodation houses there were none, but then there was no travelling
public to accommodate; gold-diggers to and from the islands of Sudest
and St. Aignan camped in their tents, which as a rule consisted of a
single sheet of calico stretched over a pole; traders lived in their
vessels. Alcoholic refreshment was dispensed at the stores; Burns,
Philp’s manager, for instance, or one of the Whittens, ceasing from
their book-keeping labours to serve thirsty customers with lager beer
or more potent fluids over the store counter. Whitten Brothers had a
large roofed balcony with no sides, situated at the back of the store,
and here at night, as to a general club-house, foregathered all the
Europeans of the island. Under a centre table was placed a supply of
varied drinks, and as men came in and bottles were emptied, they were
hurled over the edge on to the soft coral sand. In the morning one
of the Whittens caused the bottles to be collected by a native boy,
counted them, and avoided the trouble of book-keeping by the simple
method of dividing the sum total of bottles by the number of men he
knew, or that his boy told him, had visited the “house”; each man
therefore, whether a thirsty person or not, was charged exactly the
same as his neighbour.

All Samarai was planted with cocoanut palms, the dodging of falling
nuts from which, in windy weather, served to keep the inhabitants spry.
Pyjamas were the almost universal wear, varied in the case of some
traders by a strip of turkey-red twill, worn petticoat fashion, and a
cotton vest.

Among the traders were two picturesque ruffians, alike in nothing,
save the ability with which they conducted their business and dodged
hanging. Each had spent his life trading in the South Seas and had
amassed a fair fortune. Of them and their exploits I have heard endless
yarns. Of one of these men, who was known far and wide through the
South Seas as “Nicholas the Greek”--Heaven knows why, for his real name
sounded English, and his reckless courage was certainly not typical of
the modern Greek--the following stories are told.

A vessel had been cut out in one of the New Guinea or Louisade
Islands--which it was I have forgotten--and the crew massacred. When
this became known, a man-of-war or Government ship was sent to punish
the murderers, and in especial to secure a native chief, who was
primarily responsible. The punitive ship came across Nicholas and
engaged him as pilot and interpreter, he being offered one hundred
pounds when the man wanted was secured. Nicholas safely piloted
his charge to some remote island where the inhabitants, doubtless
having guilty consciences, promptly fled for the hills, where it was
impossible for ordinary Europeans to follow them. He then offered to
go alone to try and locate them, and, armed with a ship’s cutlass and
revolver, disappeared on his quest. Some days elapsed, then in the
night a small canoe appeared alongside the ship, from which emerged
Nicholas, bearing in his hand a bundle. Marching up to the officer
commanding, he undid it, and rolled at the officer’s feet a gory human
head, remarking, “Here is your man, I couldn’t bring the lot of him.
I’ll thank you for that hundred.”

Another story was that Nicholas on one occasion was attacked and
frightfully slashed about by his native crew and then thrown overboard,
he shamming dead. Sinking in the water he managed to get under the
keel, along which he crawled like a crawfish until he came to the
rudder, upon which he roosted under the counter until night fell and
his crew slept. Then he climbed on board, secured a tomahawk, and
either killed or drove overboard the whole crew, they thinking he
was an avenging ghost. This done, badly wounded and unassisted, he
worked his vessel to a neighbouring island, where, being sickened and
disgusted with men, he shipped and trained a crew of native women, with
whom he sailed for many years, in fact, I think, until the day came
when Sir W. MacGregor appeared upon the scene and passed the Native
Labour Ordinance, which, amongst other things, prohibited the carrying
of women on vessels.

[Illustration: COCOANUT GROVE NEAR SAMARAI]

Of Nicholas also is told the story that once, in the bad old
pre-protectorate days, so many charges were brought against him by
missionaries and merchantmen that a man-of-war was sent to arrest him,
wherever found, and bring him to trial. He, through a friendly trader,
got wind of the fact that he was being sought for, and accordingly laid
his plans for the bamboozlement of his would-be captors. Summoning his
crew, he informed them that his father was dead, and that as he had his
father’s name of Nicholas, his name must now be “Peter,” as the custom
of his tribe was, even as that of some New Guinea peoples, viz. not to
mention the name of the dead lest harm befall. Then he sailed in search
of the pursuing warship and, eventually finding her, went on board and
volunteered his services as pilot, which were gladly accepted. To all
of his haunts he then guided that ship, but in all the reply of the
native was the same, when questioned as to his whereabouts, “We know
not Nicholas, he is gone. Peter your pilot comes in his place. Nicholas
is dead, and ’tis wrong to mention the name of the dead.” It was said
of him that on no part of his body could a man’s hand be placed without
touching the scar of some old wound--a story I can fully believe.

The second of this interesting couple was known as “German Harry,” a
man of insignificant appearance and little physical strength, but the
most venomous little scorpion, when thoroughly roused, it has ever
been my lot to meet; at the same time he was the most generous-hearted
little man towards the hard up and unfortunate. He had also spent
a considerable portion of his time in dodging arrest or explaining
certain alleged manslaughters of his before various tribunals. I
remember one little specimen I witnessed of Harry’s fighting methods,
and from that understood why the biggest of bullies and “hard cases”
treated him with respect.

A vessel, owned and commanded by a hulking brute of a Dane, had come
over from Queensland bringing, amongst other things, some recent
papers, one of which contained an account of a disgraceful wife-beating
case, in which the Dane figured and in which he had escaped--as such
brutes generally do in civilized countries--by the payment of a
miserable fine.

As Harry, the Dane and I, were sitting in a gold-field store, Harry
read the account, and then gazing at the Dane, said something in
German, of which “Schweinhund” was the only word I understood. A glass
of rum promptly smashed on Harry’s teeth, followed by a bellow of rage
and the thrower’s rush. Harry in a single instant became a lunatic,
and flying like a wild cat at the other’s face, kicking, biting, and
clawing, bore the big man to the ground, from where, in a few seconds,
agonized yells of, “He is eating me,” told us the Dane was in dire
trouble. Harry was dragged away by main force, and we found half his
victim’s nose bitten off, while a bloodshot and protruding eye showed
how nearly his thumb had got its work in. The wife-beater went off a
mass of funk and misery, while Harry proceeded calmly to attend to the
glass cuts on his face. “You are a nice cheerful sort of little hyena,”
I remarked to Harry afterwards. “What sort of fighting do you call
that?” “That? Oh, that’s nothing. I only wanted to frighten him or I
would have had his eye out as well. He won’t throw a glass at German
Harry again in a hurry.”

Some years later I met German Harry in a Sydney street, and though I
had long since thought I was beyond being surprised at anything he
did, he yet gave me a further shock when he told me he had purchased a
“Matrimonial Agency.”



CHAPTER II


The day following our arrival in Samarai, loud yells of “Sail Ho!” from
every native in the island announced that the _Merrie England_ was
returning from the Mambare River, where the Lieut.-Governor had been
occupied in punishing the native murderers of a man named Clarke, the
leader of a prospecting party in search of gold; and in establishing
at that point, for the protection of future prospectors, a police
post under the gallant but ill-fated John Green. Clarke’s murder was
destined, though no one realized it at the time, to be the beginning of
a long period of bloodshed and anarchy in the Northern Division--then
still a portion of the Eastern Division. These events, however, belong
to a later date and chapter.

On her voyage south from the Mambare, the _Merrie England_ had waited
at the mouth of the Musa River, while Sir William MacGregor traversed
and mapped that stream. Whilst so engaged, accompanied by but one
officer and a single boat’s crew of native police, His Excellency
discovered a war party of north-east coast natives returning from a
cannibal feast, with their canoes loaded with dismembered human bodies.
Descending the river, Sir William collected his native police and,
attacking the raiders, dealt out condign and summary justice, which
resulted in the tribes of the lower Musa dwelling for many a year in a
security to which several generations had been strangers.

Some little time after the ship had cast anchor, my friend and myself
received a message that Sir William was disengaged; whereupon we went
on board to meet, for the first time, the strongest man it has ever
been my fate to look upon. Short, square, slightly bald, speaking with
a strong Scotch accent, showing signs of overwork and the ravages of
malaria, there was nothing in the first appearance of the man to stamp
him as being out of the ordinary, but I had not been three minutes in
his cabin before I realized that I was in the presence of a master
of men--a Cromwell, a Drake, a Cæsar or Napoleon--his keen grey eyes
looking clean through me, and knew that I was being summed and weighed.
Once, and only once in my life, have I felt that a man was my master in
every way, a person to be blindly obeyed and one who must be right and
infallible, and that was when I met Sir William MacGregor.

Years afterwards, in conversation with a man who had held high command,
who had distinguished himself and been much decorated for services
in Britain’s little wars, I described the impression that MacGregor
had made upon me, the sort of overwhelming sense of inferiority he,
unconsciously to himself, made one feel, and was told that my friend
had experienced a like impression when meeting Cecil Rhodes.

The story of how Sir William MacGregor came to be appointed to New
Guinea was to me rather an interesting one, as showing the result, in
the history of a country, of a fortunate accident. It was related to me
by Bishop Stone-Wigg, to whom it had been told by the man responsible
for the appointment, either Sir Samuel Griffiths, Sir Hugh Nelson,
or Sir Thomas McIlwraith, which of the three I have now forgotten.
Sir William, at the time Doctor MacGregor, was attending, as the
representative of Fiji, one of the earlier conferences regarding the
proposed Federation of Australasia; he had already made his mark by
work performed in connection with the suppression of the revolt among
the hill tribes of that Crown Colony. At the conference, amongst other
questions, New Guinea came up for discussion, whereupon MacGregor
remarked: “There is the last country remaining, in which the Englishman
can show what can be done by just native policy.” The remark struck
the attention of one of the delegates, by whom the mental note was
made, “If Queensland ever has a say in the affairs of New Guinea, and
I have a say in the affairs of Queensland, you shall be the man for
New Guinea.” When later, New Guinea was declared a British Possession,
Queensland had a very large say in the matter, and the man who had made
the mental note happening to be Premier, he caused the appointment of
Administrator to be offered to MacGregor, by whom it was accepted.

Of Sir William, a story told me by himself will illustrate his
determination of character, even at an early age, though not related
with that intention.

MacGregor, when completing his training at a Scotch University, found
his money becoming exhausted; no time could he spare from his studies
in which to earn any, even were the opportunity there. Something
had to be done, so MacGregor called his old Scotch landlady into
consultation as to ways and means. “Well, Mr. MacGregor, how much a
week can you find?” “Half a crown.” “Well, I can do it for that.” And
this is how she did it. MacGregor had a bowl of porridge for breakfast,
nothing else; two fresh herrings or one red one, the cost of the fresh
ones being identical with the cured one, for dinner; and a bowl of
porridge again for supper. Thus he completed his course and took the
gold medal of his year.

[Illustration:

                                              _Photo Boulton & Groves_

THE RIGHT HONBLE. SIR WILLIAM MACGREGOR, P.C., G.C.M.G., C.B., ETC.,
ETC., ETC.

_From the portrait by James Quinn, R. A., exhibited at the Royal
Academy, 1915_]

This thoroughness and grim determination MacGregor still carried
into his work; for instance, it was necessary for him, unless he was
prepared to have a trained surveyor always with him on his expeditions,
to have a knowledge of astronomy and surveying. This he took up
with his usual vigour, and I once witnessed a little incident which
showed, not only how perfect Sir William had made himself in the
subject, but also his unbounded confidence in himself. We were lying
off a small island about which a doubt existed as to whether it was
within the waters of Queensland or New Guinea. The commander of the
_Merrie England_, together with the navigating officer, took a set of
stellar observations; the chief Government surveyor, together with an
assistant surveyor, took a second set; and Sir William took a third.
The ship’s party and the surveyors arrived at one result, Sir William
at a slightly different one; an ordinary man would have decided that
four highly competent professional men must be right and he wrong;
not so, however, MacGregor. “Ye are both wrong,” was his remark, when
their results were handed to him by the commander and surveyor. They
demurred, pointing out that their observations tallied. “Do it again,
ye don’t agree with mine;” and sure enough Sir William proved right and
they wrong.

My part in this had been to hold a bull’s-eye lantern for Sir William
to the arc of his theodolite, and to endeavour to attain the immobility
of a bronze statue while being devoured by gnats and mosquitoes.
Therefore later I sought Stuart Russell, the chief surveyor, with the
intention of working off a little of the irritation of the bites by
japing at him. “What sort of surveyors do you and Commander Curtis
think yourselves? Got to have a bally amateur to help you, eh?” “Shut
up, Monckton,” said Stuart Russell, “we are surveyors of ordinary
ability, Sir William is of more than that.”

The same sort of thing occurred with Sir William in languages; he
spoke Italian to Giulianetti, poor Giulianetti later murdered at
Mekeo; German to Kowold, poor Kowold, too, later killed by a dynamite
explosion on the Musa River; and French to the members of the Sacred
Heart Mission. I believe if a Russian or a Japanese had turned up, Sir
William would have addressed him in his own language. Ross-Johnston, at
one time private secretary to Sir William, once wailed to me about the
standard of erudition Sir William expected in a man’s knowledge of a
foreign language. Ross-Johnston had been educated in Germany and knew
German, as he thought, as well as his own mother tongue. Sir William
while reading some abstruse German book, struck a passage the meaning
of which was to him somewhat obscure; he referred to Ross-Johnston,
who, far from being able to explain the passage, could not make
sense of the chapter. Whereupon Sir William remarked that he thought
Ross-Johnston professed to know German. Ross-Johnston, feeling somewhat
injured, took the book to Kowold, who was a German. Kowold gave one
look at it, then exclaimed, “Phew! I can’t understand that, it’s
written by a scientist for scientists!”

One little story about MacGregor, a story I have always loved, was
that on one occasion while sitting in Legislative Council some member,
bolder than usual, asked, “What happens, your Excellency, should
Council differ with your views?” “Man,” replied Sir William, “the
result would be the same.” But I digress, as Bullen remarks, and shall
return from stories about MacGregor to his cabin and my own affairs.

Sir William told my friend and myself, that for two reasons he could
not offer either of us employment in his service. Firstly, that the
amount of money at his disposal, £12,000 per annum, did not permit
of fresh appointments until vacancies occurred; secondly, that his
officers must be conversant with native customs and ways of thought,
which experience we were entirely lacking. His Excellency, however,
told us that he had just received word of the discovery of gold upon
Woodlark Island, to which place the ship would at once proceed, and
that we might go in her; an offer we gladly accepted.

Then for the first time I met Mr. F. P. Winter, afterwards Sir Francis
Winter, Chief Magistrate of the Possession; the Hon. M. H. Moreton,
Resident Magistrate of the Eastern Division; Cameron, Chief Government
Surveyor; Mervyn Jones, Commander of the _Merrie England_; and
Meredith, head gaoler.

Winter had been a law officer in the service of Fiji, and upon the
appointment of Sir William MacGregor to New Guinea, had been chosen
by him as his Chief Justice and general right-hand man; the wisdom of
which choice later years amply showed. Widely read, a profound thinker,
possessed of a singular charm of manner, simple and unaffected to a
degree, Winter was a man that fascinated every one with whom he came in
contact. I don’t think he ever said an unkind word or did a mean action
in his life. Every officer in the Service, then and later, took his
troubles to him, and every unfortunate out of the Service appealed to
his purse.

Moreton, a younger brother of the present Earl of Ducie, had begun
life in the Seaforth Highlanders; plucky, hard working, and the best
of good fellows, he was fated to work on in New Guinea till, with his
constitution shattered, an Australian Government chucked him out to
make room for a younger man; shortly after which he died.

Cameron, the surveyor, was another good man, and wholly wrapped up
in his work. Of Cameron it was said, that he imagined that surveyors
were not for the purpose of surveying the earth, but that the earth
was created solely for them to survey. He, good chap, was luckier than
Moreton, for his fate was to die in harness; he being found sitting
dead in his chair, pen in hand, with a half-written dispatch in front
of him.

Mervyn Jones was a particularly smart seaman and navigator; educated at
Eton for other things, the sea had, however, exercised an irresistible
fascination for him; being too old for the Navy, he had worked up into
the Naval Reserve through the Merchant Service, and thus had come out
to command the _Merrie England_. The charts of the Coral Sea owe much
to his labour, and to that also of his two officers, Rothwell and
Taylor. All these officers were destined later to share a more or less
common fate: Jones died of a combination of lungs and malaria, Taylor
of malaria at sea, whilst Rothwell was invalided out of the service.
Meredith was taking a gang of native convicts down to Sudest Island;
they had been lent by the New Guinea Government to assist in making a
road to a gold reef discovered there which was now being opened by an
Australian company. It was here that he and many of his charges left
their bones.

Not far from Sudest lies Rossel Island, a wooded hilly land, inhabited
by a small dark-skinned people differing in language and customs
from all other Papuans. Personally I do not believe they have any
affinity with Papuans, either by descent or in other ways, whatever
views ethnologists may hold. The Rossel Islanders have among their
songs several Chinese chants, the origin of which is explained in this
way. In September, 1858, the ship _St. Paul_, bound from China to
the Australian gold-fields, and carrying some three hundred Chinese
coolies, was wrecked on an outlying sand-bank of Rossel. The European
officers and crew took to the boats and made their way to Queensland,
the Chinamen being left to shift for themselves. Thus abandoned to
their fate, the Chinamen were discovered by the islanders, and were
by them liberally supplied with food and water; when well fattened
they were removed in canoes to the main island, in lots of five and
ten, and there killed and eaten. The Chinamen, when removed, were
under the impression that they were merely taken in small numbers as
the native canoes could only carry a few passengers at a time, being
ignorant of the distance of the sea journey. As they left their awful
sand-bank in the canoes, they sang pæans and chants of joy, which the
quick-eared natives picked up and incorporated in their songs. In
1859 but one solitary Chinaman remained of the three hundred, and he,
fortunate man, was taken off Rossel by a passing French steamer and
landed in Australia, where history or scandal says he later pursued
the occupation of sly grog seller at a Victorian gold rush, and
being convicted thereof, was later pardoned in consideration of his
sufferings and being the sole survivor of three hundred.

From Sudest the _Merrie England_ went on to Woodlark Island, from
whence the discovery of gold had been reported by a couple of traders,
Lobb and Ede. These two men were a very good example of the old
gold-field’s practice of “dividing mates.” Lobb was professional gold
or other mineral prospector, who had sought for gold in any land where
it was likely to occur; when successful, his gains, however great, soon
slipped away; when unsuccessful, he depended on a “mate” to finance
and feed him, in diggers’ language, “grub stake” him, until such time
as his unerring instinct should again locate a fresh find. Ede was a
New Guinea trader owning a cocoanut plantation on the Laughlan Isles,
together with a small vessel. Ede landed Lobb on Woodlark with a number
of reliable natives, and, keeping him going with tools, provisions,
etc., at last had his reward by word from Lobb of the discovery of
payable gold. Thereupon they had reported their discovery and applied
for a reward claim to the Administration, together with the request
that the island should be proclaimed a gold-field; and at the same time
had informed their trader friends, some twenty in all, of what was to
be gained at the island.

Lobb and Ede, with their twenty friends, formed the European population
of the island when the _Merrie England_ arrived there; with the
exception of Lobb, there was not an experienced miner in the lot. The
twenty were a curious collection of men: an ex-Captain in Les Chasseurs
D’Afrique, whom later on I got to know very well, but who, poor chap,
was always most unjustly suspected by the diggers of being an escapee
from the French convict establishment at New Caledonia, merely because
he was a Frenchman; an unfrocked priest, who by the way was a most
plausible and finished scoundrel; and the son of the Premier of one of
the Australian colonies; these now, with Ede and myself, constitute
the sole survivors of the men who heard Sir William declare the island
a gold-field. Here it was that an ex-British resident, and the son of
a famous Irish Churchman, jostled shoulders with men whose real names
were only known to the police in the various countries from which they
hailed. “Jimmy from Heaven,” an angelic person, who was once sentenced
to be hanged for murder and, the rope breaking, gained a reprieve and
pardon, hence his sobriquet; “Greasy Bill”; “Bill the Boozer”; “French
Pete”; and “The Dove,” a most truculent scoundrel; the names they
answered to sufficiently explain the men.

All nationalities and all shades of character, from good to damned bad,
they however all held two virtues in common: a dauntless courage and a
large charity to the unfortunate; traits which will perhaps stand them
in better stead in the bourne to which they have gone than they did in
New Guinea.



CHAPTER III


Some six months I put in at Woodlark Island, acquiring during that time
a fine strong brand of malaria, a crop of boils, which had spread like
wildfire among the mining camps, catching Europeans and natives alike,
a little gold, and a large amount of experience; all of which were most
painfully acquired.

Sylvester, after having suffered some particularly malignant bouts of
malaria and having developed some corroding and fast-spreading mangrove
ulcers, parted company with me and went to New Zealand. The mangrove
ulcer, commonly called New Guinea sore, is, I think, quite the most
beastly thing one has to contend with on those islands; it is mainly
caused, in the first instance, by leech or mosquito bites setting up an
irritation which causes the victim to scratch; then the poisonous mud
of either mangrove or pandanus swamps gets into the abrasion, and an
indolent ulcer is set up, which slowly but perceptibly spreads, as well
as eating inward to the bone, for which I know no remedy other than a
change to a temperate climate. Painful when touched during the day, it
is agony itself when the legs stiffen at night.

The method of obtaining gold, at the time I was at Woodlark Island, was
primitive and simple in the extreme, and was performed in this way.
Having located a stream, gully or ravine, in which a “prospect” could
be found to the “dish,” the “prospect” consisting of one or more grains
of gold, the “dish” holding approximately thirty pounds weight of wash
dirt, _i.e._ gold-bearing gravel, the miner--or digger, as he is more
generally called--pegged out a claim of some fifty feet square. When
he had done this he put in a small dam, to the overflow of which he
attached a wooden box some six feet long by twelve inches wide, having
a fall of one inch to the foot, and paved with either flat stones or
plaited vines. Into the head of this box was then thrown the wash dirt,
from which the action of the water washed away the stones, sand, etc.,
leaving the gold precipitated at the bottom. The larger the flow of
water, the more dirt could be put through, and the more dirt the more
gold.

The title to a claim consisted of a document called a “Miner’s Right,”
which permitted the holder to peg out and keep the above area, or as
many more of similar dimensions as he chose to occupy or man. A miner’s
right cost ten shillings per annum and _ipso facto_ constituted the
holder a miner--sex, infancy, or nationality notwithstanding, the only
ineligibles being Chinese. “Manning ground” consisted of placing a
person holding a miner’s right in occupation thereof, the wages that
person received being immaterial. Thus a man employing ten or a dozen
Papuans, at wages ranging from five to ten shillings a month, could,
by merely paying ten shillings per annum per head for miner’s rights,
monopolize ten or a dozen claims. The wages of the European miner
ranged from twenty shillings a day and upwards, this, of course, being
the man contemplated by the Queensland Mining Act, and adopted by New
Guinea, as the person likely to man and work ground held by the miner
holding ground in excess of that to which his own “right” entitled him.

In theory, it is of course manifestly unfair, that the native of a
country should be classed as an alien, and debarred from any privilege
conferred by law upon Europeans; but in practice, the granting of
miner’s rights to them merely means that the European able to employ
a number of natives can monopolize claims, to the exclusion of other
Europeans. The native gets no more wages for his privilege of holding
ground, and were the privilege withdrawn would still obtain exactly
the employment he gets now, as his labour in working the claims is
necessary and profitable to his employer, and the supply of native
labour for the miner is never equal to the demand.

An interesting feature in connection with gold-mining on Woodlark
Island was that frequently the gold-bearing gravel ran under old coral
reefs, thus showing plainly that the whole gold-field had once been
submerged under the sea. A warm spring running into one of the streams
was, however, the only indication of past volcanic action. In the
pearling ground off the island of Sudest, there occurs again under the
sea, at a depth of fifteen fathoms, a big quartz reef running through
the live coral and sand bottom--whether gold-bearing or not I cannot
say--and dipping underground as it nears the shore.

Some time after my arrival at Woodlark the schooner _Ivanhoe_ came in
bringing provisions, tools, etc., for the gold-diggers, together with
a number of fresh arrivals, among whom was a Russian Finn, the meanest
and, in his personal habits, the dirtiest beast I have ever met. This
fellow proved most successful in his mining; but eventually, while
prospecting near his claim, lost himself in the forest. Upon his being
missed, a search party was organized by the diggers to look for him,
but after some weeks the quest was abandoned as hopeless and the man
given up for lost; a considerable amount was, however, subscribed and
offered by the diggers as a reward to any one finding or bringing him
in. The Finn, in the long run, was discovered in a starving condition
by some natives who, after feeding him and nursing him back to life,
brought him to the mining camp, where he learnt of the reward offered
for his recovery. He then had the ineffable impudence to object to its
being paid over to the natives, on the ground that it was subscribed
for his benefit, and that therefore he should receive it, magnanimously
saying, however, that the natives should be given a few pounds of
tobacco. Needless to remark, his views were disregarded, and the
natives received the full amount; the man, however, as he was yet in
a weak state of health and professed to have lost all his gold, was
given sufficient to pay his passage to Samarai and maintain himself for
a month from a fresh “hat” collection. At Samarai he resided for some
time cadging, loafing, and pleading poverty, until one day the repose
of the inhabitants was disturbed by wails of bitter grief proceeding
from the interior of a small building, which was built over a
bottomless hole descending through the coral rock, and was used by the
islanders as a receptacle for refuse. Inquiry disclosed the fact that,
during all the time he was lost and later, the Finn had worn a belt
next his skin containing over two hundred ounces of gold, which he had
kept carefully concealed. Having cadged a little more gold, he had gone
to the small building, as being the most secluded place, to add it to
his store when, being suddenly startled, he had inadvertently knocked
the belt into the hole, where it lies to this day.

This was an instance of a man losing his gold, and well he deserved it;
but I knew of another instance in which a large amount of gold was lost
and recovered in a manner so miraculous, that but for the fact that
many men are yet living in New Guinea, fully acquainted with all the
circumstances, I should hesitate to tell the story.

A party of successful miners was returning to Samarai in a small cutter
chartered for the occasion, the gold belonging to the individual men
in their separate parcels or “shammys” as they are called--the name
is derived from a corruption of chamois, the skin of which animal is
fondly supposed by diggers to furnish the only material for bullion
bags--being sown up together in a large hoop of canvas, and placed on
the hatch in open view of all hands. The weather was fine and clear,
no danger being anticipated, when as the vessel entered China Straits
she was struck by a sudden squall, and heeling over shot the diggers’
shammys into the scuppers, through one of which they disappeared. So
soon as the startled skipper could collect his wits and get his vessel
in hand, he took soundings and bearings, and running hastily into
Samarai, collected such pearlers as were there working, and offered
half the gold to any of them recovering it. Several pearlers at once
sailed for the spot, accompanied by the cutter of the bereaved diggers,
which dropped her anchor at the scene of the accident and proceeded to
watch operations. Diver after diver descended and toiled, diver after
diver ascended and reported a soft mud bottom and a hopeless quest;
pearler after pearler lifted his anchor and went back to Samarai, until
at last the cutter hoisted her anchor also, preparatory to taking the
diggers back to the gold-fields. A disconsolate lot of men watched that
anchor coming up, but I leave to the imagination the change in their
expressions when, clinging in the mud to the fluke of the anchor, they
saw their canvas belt of gold.

After the departure of Sylvester I went into partnership with one Karl
Wilsen, a Swede; he furnishing towards the assets of the partnership
a poor claim and local mining experience, I, a well-filled chest of
drugs and some knowledge of medicine. A couple of weeks after our
partnership had been arranged, Lobb, the original prospector of the
island, appeared at our claim with the news of a new gold find, at
which he advised us to peg out a claim. At the same time he told me
he was sailing for Samarai in a lugger owned by his partner Ede, in
order to buy fresh stores, and asked me for company’s sake to go with
him, holding out, as an inducement, that by doing so I could obtain
some natives to assist in the heavy manual labour of the claim. Wilsen
hastily left for the new find to peg out a joint claim for the pair of
us, and I departed with Lobb for Samarai.

Lobb’s vessel, on which I now found myself, was an old P. and O.
lifeboat, built up until of about seven tons burthen, lug-rigged on two
masts, and carrying a crew of six Teste Island (“Wari”) boys. Lobb, I
soon found to be absolutely ignorant of the most elementary knowledge
of either seamanship or navigation; the seamanship necessary for our
safe journey being furnished by the Wari boys, who had for generations
been the makers and sailors of the large Wari sailing canoes trading
between the islands. This kind of navigation consisted of sailing from
island to island, being entirely dependent on the local knowledge of
individual members of the crew to identify each island when sighted.

Shortly after leaving Woodlark we fell into a dead calm which lasted
until nightfall--after which Lobb improved the occasion by getting
drunk--then came on heavy variable rain squalls, during which the
native crew appealed to me as to how they were to steer; being unable
to see, they did not know where they were going, and Lobb was not by
any means in a state to direct them. Fortunately I had noticed the
compass bearing when we had left the passage from Woodlark and headed
for Iwa, this being the line laid down by the crew in daylight; upon
my asking them whether we should be safe if we followed that, and their
replying “we should be,” I pasted a slip of white paper on the compass
card and told them to keep it in a line with the jib-boom. When dawn
broke, we had Iwa in front of us a few miles ahead, and running slowly
up to it, hove-to in deep water, there being no anchorage off its
shores.

Iwa is a somewhat remarkable island, and inhabited by a somewhat
remarkable people. Rising sheer from the sea with precipitous faces,
the only means of access to the summit is by the inhabitants’ ladders,
made of vines and poles lashed together. The summit consists of
shelving tablelands and terraces, all under a system of intense
cultivation; yams, taro, the root of a sort of Arum, sweet potatoes,
paw paws, pumpkins, etc., being grown in enormous quantities. The
island of Iwa is quite impregnable so far as any attack by an enemy
unarmed with cannon is concerned, and the natives have succeeded well
as pirates in years gone by. From the top of Iwa, a clear view of many
miles of surrounding sea could be had, and the husbandman, toiling
in his garden, usually owned a share in a large paddle canoe, one of
many hauled up in the crevices and rocks at the foot of the precipices
of his island home. Sooner or later he would sight a sailing canoe,
belonging to one of the other islands, becalmed or brought by the drift
of currents to within sight of Iwa. At once, in response to his yell, a
dozen paddle canoes, crowded with men, would take the water, and unless
a breeze in the meantime sprang up, the traders usually fell easy
victims. Reprisals there could be none, for no war party dispatched by
one of the outraged tribes had a hope of scaling the cliffs of Iwa. The
people there possessed an unusual skill in wood carving, their paddles,
shaped like a water-lily leaf, being frequently marvels of workmanship.

Lobb remained hove-to for a couple of days at Iwa, purchasing copra
(dried cocoanut kernel), used for making oilcake for cattle and the
better quality of soap, together with the before-mentioned beautiful
carved paddles of the people. Sometimes the lugger lay within a couple
of hundred yards of the shore, sometimes she drifted out a couple of
miles, whereupon half a dozen canoes, manned by a dozen sturdy natives,
would drag us back to within the shorter distance. On the second day of
our stay I witnessed a particularly callous and brutal murder. A woman
swam out and sold a paddle to Lobb, for which she received payment in
tobacco. Swimming ashore she met a man, apparently her husband, to whom
she handed the tobacco. He, seeming not to be at all pleased with the
price, struck the woman, and she fled into the sea, where he pursued
and clubbed her, the body of the murdered woman drifting out and past
our vessel. Lobb, to my amazement, took absolutely no notice of this
little incident, and upon my drawing his attention to it and suggesting
we should seize the murderer and take him to Samarai for trial, merely
remarked, that I should do better to mind my own business.

Upon leaving the island, four days’ sail put us into Samarai, where,
amongst other things in the course of casual conversation, I told
Moreton of the murder I had seen at Iwa. Moreton questioned Lobb,
who professed to know nothing about it. Lobb then tackled me, asking
whether I was desirous of hanging about Samarai for three or four
months, at my own expense, waiting for a sitting of the Central
Court--the only court in New Guinea for capital offences--and upon my
replying, that in that case I should starve as I had little money and
there was no opportunity in Samarai of making any, Lobb said, “Exactly;
well you had better forget all about that murder at Iwa, or you will be
kept here.” I then went again to Moreton, who asked me whether I could
swear to the man who did the murder, and I replied that I could not, as
he was some hundred yards distant from me at the time and one native
looked very like another. Moreton remarked, “I think Lobb’s advice to
you is rather good, better follow it.”

Lobb remained about a week in Samarai recruiting a number of “boys”
for work in his claim, and among them a couple, Sione and Gisavia, for
me. We then sailed again for Woodlark. Upon our arrival back at the
gold-field, I heard that the claim pegged out by Wilsen for the pair
of us was a very rich one, but that he had taken Bill the Boozer into
partnership instead of me. This story I found to be true; Wilsen had
been tempted by a solid bribe when he found how good the ground was,
and had drawn the pegs in my portion, which were at once replaced by
Bill the Boozer, Wilsen declaring that I had gone for good. Wilsen
and I then had a fight, in which I succeeded in giving him the father
of a licking; this being followed by a law suit which I lost, mainly
owing to the magnificent powers of lying displayed by Wilsen and the
Boozer. I only met Wilsen twice after this, once, when he was witness
in a court in which I was presiding as magistrate, and where he was so
glib and fluent that I gave judgment for the opposing side, feeling
quite convinced that any people Wilsen was connected with must be in
the wrong; and again, when I held an inquest on his corpse, his death
having been caused by his getting his life line and air pipe entangled
while diving for pearl shell, and being paralysed by the long-sustained
pressure. These events, however, were to occur at a later time.

In the meantime I had no claim, and it behoved me to find one;
whereupon, accompanied by Sione and Gisavia, I wandered off into the
jungle of Woodlark in search of a gold-bearing gully. Creek after
creek and gully after gully we sunk holes in and tried, sometimes
getting for our pains a few pennyweights of gold, but more often
nothing. For food we depended on a small mat of rice of about fifty
pounds weight carried by one boy, and as many sweet potatoes, yams or
taro we could pick up from wandering natives. The other boy carried
a pick and shovel, tin dish, crowbar, axe and knife, and three plain
deal boards with a few nails, comprising our simple mining equipment,
together with a sheet of calico, used as a “fly” or tent, to keep the
rain from us at night. My pack consisted of a spare shirt, trousers and
boots, rifle, revolver, ammunition, two billy cans for making tea and
boiling rice, compass and matches, and last but not least a small roll
case of the excellent tabloid drugs of Messrs. Burroughs and Wellcome.

In our wanderings we struck a valley--now known as Bushai--where at
intervals of three hundred yards we put down pot holes without a
“colour” to the dish. (A colour is a speck of gold, however minute.)
This was an instance of bad luck sometimes dogging a prospector, for,
some months later, a man named Mackenzie found the valley, and in the
first hole he sunk found rich gold, while the claims pegged out on each
side of his holding proved very payable “shows.” I came there again
when it was a proved field and, recognizing the valley, asked Mackenzie
whether on his first arrival he had noticed any pot holes. “Yes,” he
said, “three of them. I don’t know who made them, but they were the
only spots in the valley where I could not find a payable prospect.”
There was then no ground left for me, so I went away, cursing the fates
that had made me select the only barren parts of a rich valley in which
to sink my holes.

This incident, however, belongs to a later day, and having “duffered”
the valley as I thought, my boys and I prowled on through the forest
over the place where the Kulamadau mine now stands, at which point we
finished our “tucker” and obtained a few ounces of gold, enough to buy
supplies for a few more weeks, when we should get to some place where
such could be obtained. Living mainly on roots and a few birds, we
fell into a mangrove swamp, where the three of us obtained such a crop
of mangrove ulcers that we were hardly able to walk, and were obliged
to strike straight for the sea. My boys of course wore no boots, and
their swollen legs, painful as they might be, were not so inconvenient
to them as mine were to me; for in my case I did not dare to take off
my boots, for fear of not being able to get my enlarged feet into them
again.

After a day with nothing to eat, we found the sea and an alligator.
The alligator I shot, and we were eating him when we saw the sails of
a schooner coming round a point close in shore. By dint of firing my
revolver, and my boys howling vigorously, we attracted the attention
of those on board; and a boat was lowered and sent to us, in which we
went off to her, and then I discovered it was German Harry’s craft, the
_Galatea_. German Harry had a cargo of stores for Woodlark, and was
accompanied by a European wife--not his own, but some one else’s with
whom he had bolted. He received me with sympathy and hospitality, and,
telling his cook to boil quantities of hot water for the treatment of
my own and my boys’ mangrove ulcers, set to work looking for bandages
and soothing unguents, leaving me to be entertained by the other man’s
wife.

A fortnight I put in with German Harry, acting for him as a sort of
supercargo in tallying the sale of his cargo, listening to his tales
of experiences in the islands, picking up the rudiments of navigation
and the whole art of diving for pearls and mother of pearl by aid of
the apparatus manufactured by either Siebe Gorman or Heinke, the only
two firms of submarine engineers considered by the pearl fishers as at
all worthy of patronage. Harry had on board the complete plants, from
air pumps to dresses, of the rival manufacturers; and after exhaustive
trials I came to the same conclusion as he, that both were equally
excellent in still waters, and both beastly dangerous in currents or
rough seas.

At the end of the two weeks the _Galatea_ sailed for other parts, and
I, refusing Harry’s invitation to accompany him again, plunged once
more into the forest of Woodlark in search of gold and fortune. On this
trip my sole discovery was some aged lime trees and old hard wood piles
of European houses, which later inquiry among the natives showed me
were the remains of an old French Jesuit Mission long since come and
gone; these trees and piles and a few French words current among the
natives, such as “couteaux,” being all that was left of their work.

Wandering back from the second and even more disastrous trip than the
first (for in addition to an entire lack of gold and a second crop
of ulcers, my boys and myself had now added intermittent and severe
malaria to our stock-in-trade), I dropped into a gully in which a white
miner was working by his lonesome self. Jim Brady was his name, and
after feeding us and listening to our tales of adventure, or rather
misadventure, he spake thus: “I have a damned poor show here, just
about pays tucker, but if you like to chip in with your boys we will
do a little better, and when we have fattened up a bit, one can keep
the show going while t’other looks for something better.” Eagerly I
accepted this offer, my boys and myself being only too thankful to find
somewhere to rest out of the rain, with a fair prospect of three square
meals a day. Brady and I then worked together for some months with
varying fortune; the sole dissension arising between us being due to my
stealing a piece of calico, in which he used to boil duff, with which
to patch my only remaining pair of trousers.

Then one afternoon, whilst I and the two boys were digging out wash
dirt and feeding the “sluice box,” he suddenly squealed, “What in the
devil’s name are you sending me now? It’s a porphery leader and giving
a weight to the dish,” _i.e._ a pennyweight of gold, worth about three
shillings and fourpence. Brady then came and looked at the place where
I was digging, and remarked, “Cover it up with mullock at once, it’s
a good thing and we don’t want a crowd here.” I remonstrated, saying
that we wanted all the gold we could get; but Brady said, “Yes, and
we want all the ground we can get and enough money to clear from this
blasted country; that leader wants capital, for which we shall have to
arrange.” In obedience to Brady’s instructions I covered up the leader,
and had hardly finished doing so, when an excited digger dropped into
our claim exclaiming, “Have you heard the news? Mackenzie has struck a
new gully with an ounce to the dish.” Brady and I at once bolted for
a newly opened store to arrange a credit for tucker, to enable him to
proceed to the new find. In the meanwhile, I was to remain and work our
present claim to cover expenses. The store-keeper, one Thompson, was
obdurate, refusing to give us any credit or even to sell us sufficient
supplies for gold, to enable Brady to go to the new rush, he wishing to
assist his own friends, or rather those men who could be depended on to
spend all their earnings in grog at his store.

Brady and I were sitting most disconsolately outside the store when
a cutter, the _White Squall_, came in loaded with diggers, but no
supplies, when I suddenly overheard a remark of Thompson’s: “By God,
I must buy or charter that cutter for Samarai for stores.” The cutter
brought a mail, and amongst my letters I found a notice from Burns,
Philp and Co., that £100 had been placed to my credit at Samarai;
whereupon Thompson’s remark recurred to my memory. “Jim,” I said
to Brady, “how much gold have we?” “Ten ounces,” he said. “Hand it
over,” said I, “I have a ploy.” Brady handed it over, and I sought
the owner of the cutter, saying I wanted to buy her. He said he was
asking Thompson £100 for her, but Thompson was a ... Jew and only
offered £60. I replied, “Well, here are ten ounces on deposit, and
an order on Burns, Philp and Co., of Samarai, for the rest, and this
letter of theirs will show it is all right.” In five minutes the deal
was completed; and the _White Squall_ papers being handed over to
me, I returned to Brady. “Jim,” I said, “you need a sea trip and so
do I; also we will set up as yacht owners and store-keepers. Let’s
go up to Thompson and tell him the good news.” We found him and
told him we had bought the _White Squall_, and intended to sail her
to Samarai ourselves. I also pointed out that there was an absolute
dearth of supplies at Woodlark, and we expected to make a good thing
by store-keeping. Thompson’s language, as Bret Harte has it, was for a
time “painful and free”; then he rushed off to the former owners of the
cutter, to try and persuade them to cancel the deal as we were “dead
broke,” and could not pay for the vessel. Unfortunately, however, for
him the vendors chose to consider us as honest men, this apart from
having completed the deal, and told Thompson to go to a warmer region.
He then came again to me with an _ad misericordiam_ appeal. “Look here,
if I don’t get this boat I am a ruined man; how much do you want? I
never thought that you two dead beats could buy a vessel, or I would
have bid higher.” I gently pointed out that all Brady and I had wanted
was fair treatment from him, which we had not got; also that we had no
wish to become store-keepers or traders, but as he had forced us into
the position, he could either buy us out or count on our opposition in
his own business. I then remarked that I would leave the negotiations
to Brady.

Brady’s terms were short and sweet: £100 for the vessel, £100 on top
of that for ourselves, together with Thompson’s original offer of £60.
Thompson squealed loudly, but as we were ready to go to sea, accepted
the offer and took over the _White Squall_. In passing I might now
remark that later knowledge showed me the _White Squall_ was not worth
£5; she was thoroughly rotten, the only good things about her being her
pumps. She had sneaked out of a Queensland port without the cognizance
of the authorities; but of these facts at the time I was ignorant; and
Brady and I were much surprised to hear later that, after three or four
highly profitable trips for Thompson, she had sunk. Her sinking was
caused by an irate master leaping suddenly down into the forecastle to
deal with a recalcitrant member of the crew, and in his energy sending
his legs through her rotten planking.

After the completion of the _White Squall_ deal, Brady went off to the
new rush, where he pegged out a good claim, I remaining to shepherd
our old one. A few days after his departure I received a note from
him saying I had better abandon the claim I was holding, as our lode
was safely buried, and come to the new rush. On my way thither I
dropped into a gully and began prospecting it, just as another white
man, accompanied as I was by two boys, started the same game. We both
struck highly payable gold at about the same time, and each claimed the
gully by right of discovery. For two or three minutes we--each with
drawn revolvers, and each backed by our boys armed respectively with
a rifle and fowling piece--argued the question; and in the end, as an
alternative to murdering one another, decided to go into partnership
and work it jointly, each to divide our share with our former mates.

My new partner was named John Graham; he had previously been an
assistant Resident Magistrate in the service of the British New Guinea
Government, and later the owner of some pearl-fishing vessels. We
worked together very amicably for some months, when, receiving a good
offer for our claim, we sold out and separated, he to buy the wreck of
a vessel with the intention of refitting it and resuming trading. After
about a week’s work again with Brady, some severe attacks of malaria
gave me a distinct hint to go to sea for a short time, and at my
suggestion we dissolved partnership, Brady remaining in the claim, and
I, with my two boys, going to Suloga Bay with the intention of there
finding a vessel bound for Samarai.



CHAPTER IV


At Suloga Bay I found Graham still waiting, in charge of a small cutter
owned by a local resident, which he had undertaken to take to Samarai
for repairs and a new crew, the original boys having deserted to the
mines. Graham had a couple of natives as crew, but, as the cutter was
leaking badly, had been afraid to put to sea weak-handed. My arrival
with my two boys, however, relieved him of this difficulty, and away we
went for Samarai.

Never since then have I known such a wholly beastly trip as that one
was. We were all rotten with malaria, the cutter’s decks were warped
and leaking everywhere from lying in the sun, consequently day and
night we had to pump the wretched boat out, or she half filled. The
North-West Monsoon was on; and the weather principally consisted of
flat calms, during which we grilled under a burning sun, or fierce
squalls accompanied by torrential rains, in which our rotten sails
burst, and beneath decks was more like a combination of Turkish and
shower baths than anything else. Pumping ship, patching sails, drying
our clothes, and belting our sick boys into performing their necessary
duties, formed our occupation; cursing freely, and betting on our
temperatures taken with a clinical thermometer, our diversion; mouldy
rice, stringy, oily, ever-warm tinned beef, pumpkin and stodgy taro,
our diet. Vile tea and dirty-looking sugar we abandoned for a more
healthful beverage, consisting of five grains of quinine and one drop
of carbolic acid to a pannikin of water, always of course luke-warm.
Dysentery beginning amongst the boys added to our woes; but fortunately
for us, we crawled through the China Straits into Samarai on the day
following their being taken ill, and gladly handed over our rotten tub
to the boat-builders.

Here, Graham and I separated; he, after a week’s rest, going to see
to his wreck, and I remaining to recuperate as the only guest in the
“Golden Fleece Hotel,” which had recently been instituted by Tommy
Rous upon a capital of ten pounds. The hotel consisted of one large
room with a verandah all round it, a small room used as a cook-house
detached from the other, and a bar-room next to Tommy’s bedroom. All
the buildings were made of palms laced together and thatched with the
leaf of the sago palm; with the exception of Tommy’s bedroom and the
bar-room the whole place was innocent of doors and windows, other than
square holes in the walls to admit light and air. The guests were
expected to provide their own blankets, plates, knives, forks, and
pannikins, and to sleep on the palm floor. A long wooden table ran down
the verandah, at which meals were eaten. Meals never varied; Tommy’s
cook, a New Guinea boy, had but two dishes: “situ,” which consisted of
tinned meat, yams, sweet potatoes and pumpkins all stewed together;
and “kari,” the same meat mixed with curry powder and served with
rice. Anything else, fish or fresh game for instance, the guests were
supposed to provide for themselves.

Tommy was the son of a New Zealand doctor and had gone to sea as a
supercargo on one of Burns, Philp and Co.’s vessels. Falling down the
hold at sea he had crushed in three ribs and otherwise hurt himself,
and at his own request had been put ashore at Samarai, where Armit
had patched him up as well as he could. Charles Arbouine, the manager
for Burns, Philp and Co. at Samarai, suggested to Tommy that, as he
was now incapacitated for any other work, he should start a hotel and
relieve the firm of the retail liquor trade, he, Arbouine, being tired
of traders and diggers clamouring to be served with drinks at all
times. Tommy accordingly expended his capital in the building before
mentioned, and with a staff of one native boy began business. Graham
and I were his first regular guests. Nightly to the pub came Armit,
Arbouine, one of the Whittens, or any wandering trader, to play whist
or to gossip; if five or six were present we varied whist by loo or
poker, in which quinine tabloids were used to represent counters of
sixpence, and pistol cartridges shillings or half-crowns according to
their calibre.

A fortnight or so after my return to Samarai, Moreton came back from
a cruise in the _Siai_, and our monotony was further relieved by the
arrival of a number of lucky diggers proceeding to that island. The
result was that the “Golden Fleece” became most unpleasantly crowded,
and I prepared to flit.

Tommy Rous, however, developed a nasty attack of malaria accompanied
by hæmorrhage of the lungs due to his accident, and begged me to stay
with him until his visitors had departed. He said, “It will be no
trouble to you; just look after the pub until I am well again or this
lot have cleared out. All you have to do, is to order the stores and
collect the cash.” I protested that I knew nothing about running pubs
and didn’t want to learn, also that I was certain that Tommy was going
to be very ill and I should have to look after the show. Privately,
Armit, Moreton and I were certain he was going to die. He cut short my
protests by saying, “he knew nothing and I could not know less,” and
followed it by becoming so ill that it would have been sheer cruelty to
remove him from his room or trouble him with anything. The result was
that I suddenly found myself in the position of unpaid hotel-keeper.

Tommy’s boy, the cook, began complications by striking cook’s duties to
go and attend to him, and I had to turn on my own two boys as cooks.
They were zealous and willing, but I feel convinced that their efforts
in the culinary art seriously increased the flow of profanity in the
hotel’s digger guests and impaired their faint hope of Heaven. I then
made it a fixed rule that everything supplied was for cash, as I was
not going to be bothered keeping accounts; this rule also caused a lot
of profanity, as the supply of silver in the island was limited, and
the diggers frequently had to wait for drinks until I had paid the
takings into Burns, Philp and Co., and they again had bought it out
for gold dust. At ten o’clock I closed the bar, in order that the row
should not disturb Rous; whereupon some of our lodgers would go to
bed on the floor of the big room, others would take bottles and visit
various vessels or yarn on the beach, whilst another lot would adjourn
to Whitten’s store. I then paid a visit to Tommy, fixed him up for the
night, and told him the result of the day’s takings. After which my
boys made me up a bed in the bar, and we turned in for the night.

About midnight, the first contingent of stray guests would return, more
or less drunk, fall over those already occupying spaces on the floor
and, after torrents of blasphemy and recriminations, turn in. After
this, at intervals ranging until daylight, they returned in two’s and
three’s, some singing, some arguing, some swearing, some quarrelling,
but nearly all signalizing their arrival by also falling over the
sleepers on the floor and again causing fresh floods of blasphemy and
bad temper, which, in nine cases out of ten, ended in a free fight.
Among our guests at the “Golden Fleece” were two who, when all else
was peaceful, were almost certain to start a row, being just about as
adaptable to one another as oil to water. The one was named Farquhar, a
man as comfortable in the surroundings he was in, as a turtle would be
on a tight rope; the other was O’Regan the Rager, a digger.

Farquhar had been a bank manager in Australia, and was a man
particularly precise in his speech and neat in his personal appearance,
however worn or darned his clothes might be, and the untidyness and
lurid language of one type of digger were abhorrent to him. O’Regan
was one of this type; he was never sober when he had an opportunity
of being drunk, never washed, slept in his clothes, and at all times
diffused an odour of stale drink and fermenting humanity. Farquhar’s
expression during the day time when O’Regan was in the vicinity would
assume that of a spinster aunt suspicious of a defect in the drainage,
and with turned shoulders and averted face he would endeavour not to
see O’Regan. The latter would glare at him and mutter things about
“---- broken down, white-livered swells.” Night would come, Farquhar
would go to bed, the rows and riots would subside into peaceful snores,
when last of all O’Regan would return with about two bottles of the
most potent rum inside him. Screams and yells would herald his arrival.
“Phwere is that ---- Farker? I’m the blankety blank best man in the
blanky camp, wid me hands will I thare the blanky crimson guts from his
insoide.” Then O’Regan, climbing upon the verandah, would make night
hideous with his yells, the while he banged the table with his stick,
and hurled defiance at mankind at large and threats at Farquhar’s
viscera in particular. Sometimes a storm of oaths and missiles from the
annoyed and sleepy inmates of the room would quench O’Regan’s thirst
for blood, and he would peacefully drop down on the verandah to sleep;
at other times he would stumble into the crowded room and trample with
hob-nailed boots on the forms recumbent on the floor, as he searched
for Farquhar and thrashed wildly with his stick. Then for a few minutes
pandemonium reigned; until some one would seize O’Regan by the heels
and jerk him to the floor, where a sharp tap on the head with a pistol
butt or a boot heel would either render him unconscious or induce a
more lamb-like frame of mind.

Graham now appeared in Samarai again, and I asked about the wreck
he had intended buying and his trading venture. After making sundry
highly slanderous and sulphuric remarks concerning missionaries in
general, and one in particular, he unfolded his woes--which were that
a missionary had forestalled him in the purchase of the wreck, which
by the way was called the _Eboa_, and after stripping her of wheel,
gear, etc., now wanted double the original purchase-money paid by
him. I accompanied Graham to the Mission Station on the island, where
we found that low commercial transactions were beneath the notice of
the Mission; but that through an Italian naturalist staying with the
missionary, the _Eboa_ could be purchased at exactly double what she
had cost the Mission. Graham bought her at the price; the while I made
a mental note to the effect that, if the Mission put the same ability
into their soul saving as they did into their business operations,
there would soon be precious few heathen left in New Guinea.

It is not my intention or wish that the foregoing paragraph should
appear to depreciate the value of missionaries, or Mission work, in
the islands of New Guinea as a whole; for no one could admire the
unselfish and self-sacrificing work performed by many of the members
of the various Mission bodies than myself, and in especial the work of
the Anglican Mission, the Mission of the Sacred Heart, and the Wesleyan
Methodist Mission. It was my good fate during the period I spent in New
Guinea to come into intimate personal relations with the Archbishop
of Navarre and Bishop de Boismenu of the Sacred Heart Mission, the
Right Rev. Dr. Stone-Wigg, the Anglican Bishop of New Guinea, and the
Reverend William Bromilow of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, and I
never parted from these gentlemen without thinking what a particularly
wise choice their respective churches had made when they were selected
to control the work of their denominations in New Guinea.

The other Societies there made the mistake of having no direct control
vested in the older and more experienced members over the younger
recruits to their ranks. This system always appeared to me to be
absolutely rotten. Time after time I have seen junior and inexperienced
members of the Sacred Heart, the Anglican, and the Wesleyan Missions
get at loggerheads with the native, the trader, or the Government
officials in their districts; and time after time have I seen all
friction smoothed away by the tactful action of the experienced
heads of these Missions, in exercising a wise restraint over their
subordinates. And time after time, as a magistrate, have I had to
curse the troubles arising from the action of some member of the other
Missionary Societies--as a rule due to the ignorance and conceit of
youth--and to regret that there was no wise head exercising control to
whom I could appeal.



CHAPTER V


At length Tommy Rous’ boarders all departed. His health seemed to be
somewhat better, for a while at any rate, and I felt that I could
leave him with a clear conscience. As I was thoroughly sick both
of prospecting for gold and hotel-keeping, I purchased the cutter
_Mizpah_, and manned her with a crew of six Papuans, getting also
the Resident Magistrate’s permission to arm them. At the same time
I chartered from Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co. the luggers _Ada_,
_Hornet_, and _Curlew_, fully equipped with diving plants and crews of
Malays and Manilla men; and also engaged Billy the Cook, late of the
_Myrtle_, to take charge of the three, bound under the guidance of the
_Mizpah_, on a general prospecting voyage for pearl or mother-of-pearl
anywhere in the Coral Sea, the latter commodity then having a value
of about £150 per ton, with the chance--a very remote chance it is
true--of valuable pearls being found in the shells. The _Mizpah_
was fitted with a deep-sea dredging apparatus, having, prior to my
purchase, been owned by a scientist, a Dr. Wylie, who had come to New
Guinea, I was told, in search of the deep-sea nautilus.

Leaving Samarai we rapidly ran down to East Cape, when, coming to
anchor, Billy came on board my boat to discuss a plan of action for
my venture. At the very beginning Billy and I differed, to my future
loss I must own; for had I taken his advice as then tendered, I should
have made a fair profit instead of ending in a heavy loss. Billy’s
advice was that we should proceed to an old pearling ground well known
by him, and worked for many years, off the island of Sudest, and
commence operations there, where we were certain to make a few hundreds
in a short time. My idea was to search for an entirely new ground,
where we might make many thousands in a few weeks, off the shores of
Goodenough Island. Billy, finding that I was fixed in my views as to
our procedure, persuaded me to wait several days at East Cape, fishing,
and to send a boat into Samarai for salt to cure the fish.

We fished in this manner. Firstly, we stationed men at the masthead
to view the approach of shoals of trevalli passing through the narrow
channels, and then sent out boats to throw amongst them dynamite
cartridges with a twenty-second fuse attached. The explosion of the
cartridges stunned the fish, and enabled them to be raked in by the
boys forming our crews. Secondly, we sent the divers down armed with
small spears, and they speared the cod which had been attracted by the
dead fish or the diver. The ordinary rock cod, groper, or more properly
gorupa, has no fear of a diver in dress, and will swim up and gaze into
the face glass of the helmet, and hence falls an easy victim to the
spear. It is, however--with the exception of the octopus--the diver’s
greatest enemy, from the same lack of fear. No real diver is afraid of
the shark, but all dread the greater codfish.

The shark at best is a most cowardly scavenger of the sea; much
preferring, even when hungry, to gorge on carrion than to kill its own
prey. And even when made bold by hunger, it is readily frightened away
by the sudden emission of air bubbles from the valve in the diver’s
helmet. A diver, when approached by a large shark, seldom troubles
much, so long as the fish does not get too near to his air pipe. He
fears that, because sharks have an unpleasant habit of suddenly rolling
over and snapping at a fairly quiescent object. Should a shark’s
attention, however, prove too persistent, the diver signals for the
fullest possible pressure of air, and then either walks towards the
fish or, if it is higher up and interfering with his air pipe, rises in
the water and suddenly turns on his valves; result, immediate flight of
Mr. Shark.

The codfish, however, is afraid of nothing, and will nose up to a
diver, smell round him until it discovers his naked hands, and then
bite them off. Owing to this unpleasant trait on the part of the
codfish, the first and important duty of a diver’s tender is to wash
the former’s hands thoroughly with soap, soda, and warm water before
he descends, in order to remove any trace of perspiration or grease
from them. A diver’s hands are the sole portion of his body outside the
diving suit, the dress ending at the wrists, where thick india-rubber
bands prevent the admission of water and expulsion of air. Should a
diver meet a large groper, the only thing to be done is to either
ascend twenty or thirty feet and drift out of the short-sighted fish’s
range of vision or, if there is no tide or current, rise to the
surface. Then he can lower a dynamite cartridge or two, which will
either kill, wound, or frighten the beast away. A groper, I have been
told by divers, and my own experience bears this out, will never pursue
a diver or leave the bottom; it is sluggish in the extreme. These fish
grow to an immense size. I have myself seen a fish so large that, when
his mouth was open, the lower jaw was on the bottom and the upper
jaw above the level of one’s helmet. My own opinion is that, as the
cachalot preys upon the larger, so the gropers prey upon the smaller
form of octopi; otherwise I fail to see how so slow and bulky a fish,
a fish too that is not a carrion feeder, can possibly catch enough food
on which to live.

I have mentioned a diver’s tender. This person and the diver are
usually engaged together, and in most cases have been close friends
and associates through many engagements. The tender’s duties are to
keep the air pumps, dress, pipes, etc., in apple-pie order, to hold
the diver’s life-line and air tubes while he is below, and to receive
his signals and communicate them to the master of the vessel. On this
man’s constant watchfulness the life of the diver depends. At the time
of which I write, all signals from a diver at work were conveyed by
numbered jerks on the life-line. I believe now, however, the diver’s
helmets are fitted with a telephone, through which he speaks direct to
his tender. The submarine telephone must add immensely to the safety
of the diver, for by its means he can explain exactly what he wants or
what difficulty he is in.

For instance, I have known the case of a diver landing his leg in
a large clam shell, which of course immediately closed upon it,
the shell weighing probably three or four hundred pounds and being
fastened to the bottom. The man signalled “pull up.” The tender passed
on the signal, and after the life-line had been tugged and strained
at for some time, ordered it and the pipe to be slacked under the
impression that it was fast round a coral mushroom. The result was,
that before another boat could be summoned and a second diver sent down
to ascertain the trouble, the first man had exceeded his time limit
and was stricken fatally with divers’ paralysis. Had the diver then
possessed a telephone, a second line could have been sent down to him
by a heavy iron ring slid down his own life-line, and by him have been
attached to the shell; whereupon man and shell together could have been
hoisted by the ship’s winch.

Having collected and salted our fish, we sailed away for Dawson
Straits, between Ferguson and Goodenough Islands. My intention was
to prospect the narrow sea lying between the latter island and the
Trobriand group for pearl shell; the north-eastern coast of Goodenough
Island was at this time merely marked on the Admiralty charts by a
dotted line, with the terse remark, “Little known of the northern
shores of these islands.” In Dawson Straits we drilled our crews for
some days in their routine work, whilst I accustomed myself to the use
of a diver’s dress. Billy the Cook, I regret to say, flatly refused to
have anything to do with work under the water.

Our method of procedure was this. Firstly, by sounding, we found a
level sandy bottom of anything under twenty fathoms. Pearl shell is
peculiar for growing only on a perfectly flat surface. Then the vessel
was hove-to or allowed to drift with the current, while the anchor
was lowered some ten feet beneath the vessel’s keel. The diver then
descended by the anchor chain, and seated himself astride of the
anchor. At his signal it was lowered until within about six feet of
the bottom, the vessel then being allowed to drift while the diver
scrutinized the bottom for signs of pearl shell. Upon his sighting
shell, he gave two sharp tugs at his life-line, which meant, “Slack
life-line and pipe, let go anchor.” Immediately upon giving his signal
and finding his life-line and pipe released, the diver leapt from the
anchor, the anchor dropped, and he began work. For sign of shell it was
sufficient to see certain marine plants, which almost invariably occur
under the same conditions as pearl shell. The diver when below water is
in supreme command of the vessel through his tender, and there can be
no possible excuse for disobeying either his first or second signals.
The first, consisting of one tug on his life-line, meaning “More air,
I am in great danger, pull me up.” The second, of two tugs, meaning
“Slack all, I am on shell.” One peculiar thing about pearl shell is,
that it only occurs in payable quantities where tidal currents are very
strong. Where the current runs at less than three knots, though one
may find shell, it is rotten and worm-eaten; where the currents are
strong it is clean and thick. My own impression is that a strong force
of water is necessary to tear and distribute the spawn from the parent
oyster; when that force is lacking disease and degeneracy set in.

There are many theories as to the causation of pearls in the pearl
shell; the most common is the particularly idiotic one of a grain of
sand, or other foreign body, inserting itself within the shell and
setting up an irritation which causes the oyster to build round the
intruder a smooth coat of pearly matter. This theory is senseless on
the face of it. From its natural habitat every pearl oyster must have
thousands of grains of sand or other bodies lodged against its lips in
each tide. The lips of a pearl oyster consist of a curious vascular
membrane tapering to a slimy filmy substance at the outer edge;
assuming a small speck of sand came it would adhere to the slimy edge,
if a larger body the lips would close. Granted that a foreign article
passed the lips, the outer skin of the fish is a very tough thing, and
it would be almost impossible for the grain of sand, or other matter,
to penetrate to where lie the glands which secrete the substance
forming the pearly lining of the shell. A fact which shows the fallacy
of the theory is this: that though one may remove the multitudinous
skins of the pearl until whittled down to nothing, it is impossible
ever to discover in the centre of the pearl as a core a grain of sand,
or anything differing from the pure composition of the pearl. If, in
one chance out of ten millions, a grain of sand passed the lips of the
shell and lodged on the skin of the fish, the next tide would wash it
away again. No! Plainly, from the small percentage of pearl-bearing
oysters, the pearl is a disease, and, I hold, not due to extraneous
causes. Just as uric acid produces stone or gravel in humans, so does
some similar irritant produce the pearl in the oyster. I leave it to
other and wiser heads to say what the origin of the pearl is; I only
say emphatically what it is not.

In Dawson Straits we remained some days prospecting the bottom without
luck, and meanwhile discovered a passage behind the island of Wagipa to
a secure anchorage for small vessels. Here the _Mizpah_ lay for some
days while the luggers continued prospecting, and here I had my first
experience of hostile natives. The natives of Goodenough Island at this
time enjoyed a most unenviable reputation, being generally regarded by
traders as hostile and treacherous in the extreme. Until the day of
which I now write, we had not come into contact with them, save a few
canoes manned by vegetable-vending natives.

On this day, being tired of sticky salt-water baths, I landed with
three or four of my crew, and followed a small stream inland to where
a waterfall occurred in a gully. Here the falling water had scooped
out a hole about three or four feet deep. Sending my boys back to the
mouth of the gully I stripped and, standing in the hole, indulged in a
shower bath under the fall. Whilst I was so engaged, revolver and rifle
lying on my clothes some few feet away, a native walked out from the
bush, suddenly caught sight of me and, giving a loud screech, promptly
hurled his spear at me and then fled. I jumped from the water hole as
the spear flew, and instead of catching me in the chest it caught me
just above the knee, fortunately just as my knee was jerking upwards in
my jump, the spear therefore turning to one side, and merely tearing a
slit in my flesh and skin, the scar of which, however, I carry to this
day. My yells brought up my boys, who running straight into the flying
native, caught and held him. As soon as my bleeding was staunched,
we hauled him off on board the _Mizpah_, where we found that he had
a slight knowledge of Dobuan, a language with which one of my crew
was acquainted. After we had soothed down his funk a little (for he
fully expected to be immediately killed and eaten, as the Goodenough
Islanders were themselves cannibals), he was asked what he meant by
hurling his spear at me. His explanation was that he was returning from
an expedition inland, that he had never seen a white man before, and
when he saw me disporting in the water he had taken me for a devil, and
flung his spear with the laudable intention of killing a devil before
turning to flee from the uncanny thing.

Satadeai was the name of my new acquaintance, a man whose friendship I
was to enjoy for many years afterwards; in fact, when later I became
Resident Magistrate of the Eastern Division, I appointed him village
constable for his tribe, a dignity which I believe he still enjoys.
After we had soothed the feelings of Saturday, as I now called him,
I presented him with some beads and a tomahawk and landed him again;
telling him at the same time what our quest in the vicinity was, and
offering him safe conduct at any time he or his people liked to come
with vegetables for our little fleet. From this time Saturday became
a regular visitor to the _Mizpah_, bringing fresh yams, taro, curios,
etc., for sale; and also bringing me men to assist in working the air
pumps of the diving plant, a manual labour of the heaviest description
when divers are in deep water.

On one occasion he brought me as a present a curious, almost circular,
tusk, a tusk so old that the outer covering of enamel had worn off and
antiquity had tinged it a pale yellow. The tusk was mounted in native
money, small circular disks formed from the hinges of a rare shell,
and hung on a sling to be worn round the neck. I thought the thing was
an ordinary boar’s tusk of unusual shape and size; Saturday, however,
told me the following amazing yarn. He said that at the summit of
Goodenough Island, or Moratau, as the natives called it, there lived an
enormous snake with curious long and curved teeth, a snake so large and
powerful that it was beyond the power of man to capture or destroy it.
Goodenough Island, I might remark in passing, is the highest island of
its size in the world; Mount York, its highest peak, being over 8000
feet. Well, some generations before, there had lived on Goodenough a
mighty hunter of Saturday’s tribe and family, and on one occasion the
hunter had ascended the mountain with the intention of killing the
snake. Finding, however, that it was beyond the powers of mortal man
to slay, he had surrounded its lair with sharp-pointed stakes driven
firmly into the ground. When the snake emerged again, it had entangled
or caught one of its curved tusks on a stake, and in its struggles to
escape tore away the tusk, which Saturday now presented to me.

Afterwards in New Zealand I showed the tooth to Sir James Hector,
who pronounced it to be a tusk of the Sus Barbirusa, a hog deer; an
inhabitant of the East India Islands and an animal not known to exist
in New Guinea. This tusk I afterwards gave to a friend of mine, Richard
Burton of Longner Hall, Shrewsbury, in whose possession it now is;
a gift that later caused me to be severely dealt with by Professor
Haddon of anthropological fame, the professor holding that I should
have presented it either to the Royal Anthropological Institute or the
British Museum. I am now of opinion that this tusk was wrongly assigned
by Sir James Hector to the Barbirusa, but rightfully belongs to an
animal not then known to science, though many years later reported by
me as existing on the Owen Stanley Range, at a height of about 12,000
feet, on the mainland of New Guinea. The discovery of this animal and
its description, however, occurs at a later stage of my life in New
Guinea.

When we sailed from Wagipa, Saturday accompanied me on the _Mizpah_
to the north-east coast of Goodenough Island, where he acted as
interpreter for us. And being by this time fully acquainted with the
object of our search, he induced the natives to guide us to a large
patch of “saddle back” shell, which he and they assured us contained
large quantities of the “stones” we valued. He was right in his
statement, the shell was there in large quantities, and the shells
held--a most unusual thing--large numbers of perfect-looking pearls.
But, alas! the shell, for some unknown reason, was so soft as to be
valueless, one could crush it between the hands; and the pearls,
though beautiful to look upon when first obtained, lost their lustre
in a single day and could be readily scratched with the finger nail.
Saturday was the only New Guinea native that I ever knew who was
anxious to go down in a diving dress, a wish on his part to which I
sternly refused to accede.

The Goodenough Islanders are a somewhat remarkable race; of small
physique, they speak a language peculiar to themselves; the men are
liars, treacherous and subtle, but at the same time brave and capable
of great attachment to any person for whom they have a regard. Some
time after I first saw them, the small wiry men from Goodenough Island
proved to be the best porters that New Guinea could furnish for the
deadly work of carrying for the Northern Division. The common arms of
the men were half a dozen light throwing spears, made from the black
palm and having an effective throwing range of some thirty yards, a
short triangular-bladed spear for use at close quarters, and a sling
and stones. As a general rule ordinary pebbles of about the size of
a billiard ball were hurled from the slings; but the slinger usually
carried a couple of carefully hand-wrought stones resembling a pullet’s
egg in shape but pointed at both ends, which he flung from his sling
on special occasions; that is, at times when he had a good clear
opportunity of hitting his enemy, and wished to make no mistake about
it. The effective range of these slings was up to two hundred yards
on the level. They had an extraordinary habit of attaching a tail or
cracker to the pouch of the sling, which, upon the stone leaving the
pouch, made a sharp noise not unlike the crack of a rifle.

In their hill villages, usually placed upon commanding points or spurs,
they build round stone towers covering all approaches. The purpose of
the towers was this. A man when using a sling on the level could only
use it at such a length as to reach, when whirled, from the bent arm
to the ground. If standing on a flat-sided tower, however, the limit
of the length of sling he could use was only decided by his strength
and the weight of the missile he meant to hurl; and the greater the
length of the sling and weight of projectile, the greater the effective
range. Therefore a village possessing stone towers was, to all intents
and purposes, a fortified position, as its slingmen could outrange,
and assail with heavier missiles, any attacking force armed with the
sling. Stones from a pound to a pound and a half in weight were hurled
from the giant slings plied by the slingers on the towers. Goodenough
Islanders, therefore, provided with the towers, were really, at the
time of which I write, impregnable against any force unarmed with
rifles. They also had a most extraordinary system of yam cultivation.
Instead of making their yam gardens on the flat in good alluvial soil,
they built circular stone walls beneath their villages on the slopes;
and then laboriously carried earth in baskets and filled up the walls
behind, until they formed a succession of artificial terraces on which
they grew their yams. Certainly the yams there grown were larger
and better than any others I have seen, but the labour in the first
instance must have been appalling. The gardens also had the advantage
of being covered by sling fire from the village towers, and therefore,
I suppose, were held to be safe from raiders. Lunacy, from what I
could learn, was very common among these islanders; I believe due to
in-breeding for many years. Totemism, the great preventive against
in-breeding, apparently did not exist among them.

South from Wagipa, on the northern shores of Ferguson Island, lies
Seymour Bay, a short distance inland from which there exists a country
of great volcanic and thermal action. There, a hot stream flows to the
sea; and there also exists a lake containing, according to an analysis
I had made of its waters, a huge quantity of the gouty man’s friend,
lithium; whilst, surrounding its waters, there are acres and acres,
feet deep, of pure yellow sulphur.

My pearl fishing on the northern shores of Goodenough came to an
abrupt end. Billy the Cook had foregathered with me one night on
the _Mizpah_, when our divers and tenders had asked permission to
collect on one boat, the _Ada_, for a Malay jollification; the crew
of the _Ada_ meanwhile visiting friends on the other vessels. When
morning came there was no _Ada_, and no divers or tenders; and Billy
gently suggested to me that they had taken a pleasure trip to the
Trobriands. The first thing to be done before we could sail in search
of our truants was to return Saturday to his home on Wagipa, as the
law did not then permit any unindentured natives being taken more than
twenty miles from where they lived, except for the purpose of being
indentured, or as it is called “signed on.” Saturday made it very clear
indeed that if we landed him at the point at which we were then, the
chances were greatly in favour of his finding his way into a cooking
pot instead of his home. It would not do to send the _Hornet_ with him,
because, firstly, the crew were only armed with knives, and secondly,
they were quite likely to follow the evil example of their mates and
sneak off on pleasure bent. I thought of sending Billy in the _Curlew_
with a couple of armed boys, he having his own rifle and revolver;
but my boys objected to leaving my own vessel, and Billy said he was
a married man and had not shipped to be sent alone into a Goodenough
harbour. Also he pointed out that I might require the full strength
of my New Guinea boys, the only men I could depend on, to deal with
our confounded divers and tenders when we found them. The result of
our deliberations, therefore, was the loss of two valuable days in
returning Saturday.

Upon landing that worthy native we struck straight away from the
Straits to the Trobriands, and had a horrible nightmare of a passage,
for coral mushrooms and reefs seemed to strew the sea like plums in a
pudding. Safe enough to navigate amongst when the sky was clear, they
were, however, a deadly peril during the passage of a rain squall. The
danger of a coral mushroom lies in the fact that it is so small that
the sea seldom makes any noise upon it, also it springs up so suddenly
from the bottom that the lead line proves no safeguard against it. No
bottom at fifty fathoms one minute, a nigger head or mushroom with its
head a couple of feet below the surface the next, is the pleasing habit
of the sea between Goodenough Island and the Trobriands.

We did not attempt to sail at night, but either anchored over a
submerged reef or hung on to the lee side of a shallow one, with
our anchor on top of the reef and a kedge out astern. It is a risky
proceeding anchoring in small vessels among coral, where the depth of
the water is more than six fathoms, if unprovided with diving gear, or
more than twenty, if fitted with that apparatus. For in nine cases out
of ten, the chain or anchor becomes entangled in the coral mushrooms,
and it is necessary for a man to go down and clear it before the
anchor can be raised. Sometimes even a diver is unable to clear the
tangle, especially if there is much current or wind keeping the vessel
straining at her anchor; and in that case the last resource is to heave
the chain in until it is up and down--that is, descends in a vertical
line from the ship’s bow to the bottom--and fasten big charges of
dynamite fitted with burning fuses to a heavy iron ring, and slide them
down the chain in the hope of smashing away the obstruction. Even this
method sometimes fails, as some coral is of a dense cheesy consistency,
and capable of resisting for a long time repeated explosions of
dynamite. When this occurs, then one loses a valuable anchor and chain,
a loss one cannot afford too often.



CHAPTER VI


At the Trobriands we sighted our missing _Ada_ at anchor and, upon the
_Mizpah_ running alongside, discovered that she was full of native
women. At first ugly looks and hands upon knives were the reception
accorded by the deserters, but that was soon altered by my New Guinea
boys. The divers and tenders expected bribes, argument, and persuasion
to be used in order to induce them to return to their work, the sort
of thing they had been accustomed to in the Torres Straits; instead
of which, they got a curt order to get into the hold, and the next
minute found their toes being smashed and their heads bumped by the
brass-heeled butts of heavy Snider carbines. The New Guinea boys had
always been rather despised by the Malays, and therefore were only
too glad to get a little of their own back when opportunity offered.
Spitting, cursing, and threatening, the Malays were all bumped below,
and the hatches clapped on.

The next operation on the part of my crew was to throw all the women
overboard, and let them swim ashore as best they were able. I may
remark that all the Trobriand women could swim like fishes. A nice
state we found the _Ada_ in: stores, coats, spare gear, everything
portable and of any value had been given to the women, not even the
cooking utensils were left. If we had not arrived when we did, even her
sails would have been cut up and disposed of. After viewing our damage
and loss, Billy and I held a parley with our men under hatches, and
found the Malay dignity was hurt by the treatment our boys had accorded
them; the result was, they said they had no intention of resuming duty.
I plainly saw that if I gave in to the brutes I should be utterly
undone, and my quest would become quite hopeless; at the same time,
without them I could do nothing. Billy now suggested that if I could
depend on my New Guinea boys, the best thing we could do was to lie at
anchor where we were, and trade for pearls and bêche-de-mer; in the
meanwhile keeping our mutineers confined, until in a more reasonable
frame of mind. This policy I adopted. Putting a couple of my boys on
the _Ada_, we hauled her up and made her fast to the _Mizpah_, leaving
her recalcitrant inhabitants still under hatches with neither food nor
water.

For twenty-four hours I kept the Malays below; and then, outside the
sand-bank forming the harbour, we sighted Moreton’s patrol schooner,
the _Siai_, signalling to me to come out. Whereupon we moved the _Ada_
from alongside the _Mizpah_ to alongside the _Curlew_. The clatter and
row made by this operation excited the curiosity of our prisoners, who,
questioning the boys on deck, were told that the _Siai_ was in sight,
and that the _Mizpah_ was going off to ask that they be taken and tried
as pirates or ship-stealers. Awful howls and yells then came from the
hold begging for an interview with me. Upon my going to the hatch and
ordering the removal of one plank in order that the imprisoned men
might talk to me, frenzied petitions for mercy were put up, accompanied
by all sorts of strange oaths that, if forgiven, they would be good and
faithful men in the future. Billy said, “Let ’em off, they will be all
right in the future, and we can’t afford to have them jugged; also we
can’t keep ’em below with a Government ship in sight or we shall get
into trouble.” I therefore accepted their promises of good behaviour;
at the same time I pointed out how magnanimous I was, and ordered them
to disperse to their several vessels.

Then I went out in the _Mizpah_ to the _Siai_, where I found Moreton,
R.M., and Judge Winter. The latter had come down to try a white man for
murder. Moreton explained to me that there was a lot of sickness in
Samarai gaol, beri beri and dysentery, and he wished to fill the _Siai_
with yams. As her draught would not permit her to approach closely to
the anchorage, he wanted me to act as tender with the _Mizpah_, and
load the _Siai_. I jumped at the offer; my whole expenses at this time
amounted to £5 a day, and, as Moreton offered me that sum, I was glad
for a few days to leave my Malays and the conversation of Billy, for
the cabin of the _Siai_ and the company of Moreton and Winter. While
the _Mizpah_ was running yams to the _Siai_, she was steered by one or
other of the Malay tenders, and the Judge complimented me upon their
polite manners and civility. I grinned an internal grin as I told him
they were really not bad people if treated in the right way.

The Trobriands are a great yam-growing district, the yams grown there
running up to 150 lbs. in weight. Throughout New Guinea, the group was
famous for three things: the cowardice of the men, the immorality--or
rather I should put it the total unmorality--of the women, and the
quality of its yams. The islands are all perfectly flat and the soil
consists of decomposing coral and humus, and is wonderfully rich. One
of the staple foods of the islanders consisted of the oyster contained
in a small pearl shell, found in great quantities on the mud banks
lying in the vicinity of the group, the oyster being termed by the
natives “Lapi.” Out of this pearl shell, which, by the way, they opened
by throwing it upon the fire, they obtained a large quantity of pearls
which they sold to wandering traders; the shell, which would have
otherwise have had a very considerable market value, being utterly
ruined by the action of the fire.

Here I made the acquaintance of the Rev. ---- Fellows of the Wesleyan
Methodist Mission; a fine type of man who, with his equally devoted
wife, was endeavouring to stay, with, as I could see, little hope of
success, the rapid deterioration of the islanders. Mr. Fellows and I
gave one another a mutual surprise, I think. I had mentally pictured
him as a measly, psalm-singing hypocrite, using religion as a cloak
for money-getting; he, I think, had assumed that all traders were
drunken, debauched, pyjama-clad ruffians, whose main object in life
was to destroy Mission work. Instead of which I found a splendid man,
struggling under enormous difficulties, and at great personal sacrifice
preaching to the natives a gospel of work and clean living. And he,
for his part, discovered that a trader might be a clean-shaved person,
who could employ his spare time quite happily in gossiping with the
missionary and his wife about people and things far removed from New
Guinea.

By the way, some time later Mr. Fellows got me into trouble with Sir
William MacGregor, though quite unintentionally. I had relieved Moreton
as Resident Magistrate at Samarai, and amongst the correspondence to be
dealt with, were a host of complaints from Fellows about robberies by
the natives from the Mission House, assaults upon Mission servants and
natives, and threats of violence against himself. Moreton said, “Get
down and settle this business as soon as you can, Monckton; you may
have to burn some powder, but make Fellows safe, for he is a real good
chap, as you know.” I went to the Trobriands as soon as I conveniently
could; and after seeing Mr. Fellows and questioning the village
constable, I came to the conclusion that a certain old chief, living
some miles inland, was at the bottom of the trouble. Marching inland
I collared him with several of his satellites, and hauled him to the
coast. On being brought before my court the old chief fully confessed,
informed me of all the men engaged in the various outrages, sent for
them, and begged for mercy; promising amendment and good behaviour in
future if forgiven. He then begged Mr. Fellows to intercede with me
for them, which Mr. Fellows did. At his request, after I had convicted
the men, I discharged them to their homes. About a month later I met
Sir William MacGregor and, in the course of conversation about the
Trobriands, told him what I had done in the matter of the offences
against Mr. Fellows. His Excellency said, “You are like all young
magistrates, a fool. Can you not see that, by your action in this case,
you have given the natives the impression that the Mission can summon
the Government forces, have people sent to gaol, and then have them
released? Never in future allow any one to interfere with a sentence
once passed; the Crown alone can pardon, you cannot, neither can the
Mission.” A remark which I never forgot, and which stood me in good
stead in after years.

The greater number of the pearls found at the Trobriand Islands are
of a very pale golden or straw colour; and for this reason, though of
perfect lustre, are not considered equal to those obtained from the
larger mother-of-pearl shell found in the China or Torres Straits, or
from Ceylon and West Australia. A certain proportion of the Trobriand
pearls are, however, of the purest white colour; and these, if perfect
in shape and lustre, are the equals of any pearls in the world. Some
few black pearls are found in these islands, but not in any great
number. There is a common and erroneous impression amongst people, only
acquainted with pearls in jewellers’ shops, that black pearls possess
a greater value than others. This is not the case. The most valuable
pearls are those of a pure white, and perfectly round in shape,
suitable for stringing as a necklace; the next a pure white pear-shaped
pearl, sufficiently large to be used as a pendant or ear-drop; then
come the button-shaped pearls, that is, pearls perfectly round with the
exception of a slight flattening on one side, which can be concealed by
setting in a bracelet, pin or ring. Black pearls in all these shapes
are worth less than the corresponding shapes in white.

Pearls of a freak or fanciful and irregular shape, or fastened together
in clusters, possess no commercial value; though in odd cases I have
known enormous prices paid for them for sentimental reasons. For
instance, a pearl-fisher in Torres Straits found a cluster of small
and medium sized pearls in the shape of an almost perfect cross.
This cluster, after passing through the hands of several dealers,
was eventually sold, I was told, to some wealthy Roman Catholics for
presentation to the Pope, the sum paid being £10,000; and the actual
value of the pearls composing it, if separate and perfect, would
certainly not have been £10. Pearls are sometimes found attached to
the pearl shell, or bubbles of the pearly lining of the shell are
blown out in such a way as to resemble pearls; these pearls are known
as blisters, and are sawn out by the trader and sold for the making
of brooches and the cheaper forms of jewellery. When mounted they are
frequently passed off to the uninitiated as the real thing.

Large quantities of what are called seed pearls are found in nearly
all the different varieties of pearl shell. They are about the size of
small shot, and of irregular shape but good colour and lustre; these
are mainly sold by the ounce or pound at the rate of from £2 10s.
to £3 per ounce. Some of this seed goes to Paris, where it is used,
I am told, by milliners for ornamenting ladies’ dresses; but by far
the greater proportion goes to China, for what purpose I know not.
The largest, most valuable and perfect pearls go to either Russia or
America, those people valuing pearls apparently more than other races,
and being prepared to pay more for really perfect specimens. Pink
pearls occur very rarely, in fact I have never seen one. They are so
rare as to have no fixed commercial value, though pearl-fishers say
that, when any are found, the Indian Rajahs are always willing to pay
enormous prices for them.

The greater portion of black pearls come from the black-lipped variety
of shell, a much smaller shell than gold-lipped or mother-of-pearl.
The latter shell averages about the size of a large dinner plate, and
varies in colour from a pure white at the hinges to a golden colour
at the lips. Gold-lip is only obtained in deep water and by means
of diving dress; black-lip in shallow water and by naked natives,
skin-divers as they are called. Black-lip is of much less value than
gold, but, for some reason unknown to me, always jumps tremendously in
price during periods of Court Mourning. Gold-lip is subject to attack
by a worm, which sometimes bores holes all through the outer covering
of the pearly part of the shell.

I believe that the same worm also attacks the spear of the great
swordfish. For once, when sailing from the island of St. Aignan to
Sudest in a whaleboat in very calm weather, I noticed a swordfish
behaving in a most extraordinary manner. It was travelling at great
speed on the surface of the water, sometimes straight forward,
sometimes in circles, whilst at intervals it was leaping from the water
and whirling rapidly round. I could see no sign of an enemy, but I
could plainly see that the fish was in great agony. At last it leapt
half a dozen times from the water to a great height, falling each time
with a resounding splash, until at last its antics became feebler and
it turned on its side and slowly sank. I caused the whaleboat to follow
it for some distance, and could see through the clear water the almost
dead fish drifting with no sign of external injury about its body
anywhere.

My boys then told me that the swordfish frequently behaved in this
manner, went “Kava Kava” or mad, and then died. They gave the cause
as being a “small snake,” that is, a worm, which bored up through
its sword into the bone of the skull and thence into the brain. This
explanation accounted to me for the numerous well-authenticated cases
of swordfish charging and breaking off their swords in ships’ hulls.
I myself have seen the broken sword fast in the solid keel of a big
sailing canoe; and natives have told me instances of the sword being
driven through a canoe’s planking, and the fish being secured by first
lashing the sword fast with cords and then spearing the fish. They too
believed that the fish did not attack from malice prepense, but as
an accident when driven mad and blind by pain. I have never heard of
the swordfish, or its big cousin the sawfish, attacking naked men or
clothed diver; though I fail to see how they could withstand or escape
from the charge of either. Natives of fishing tribes are not in the
least afraid of the swordfish, but they are to a certain extent of the
sawfish. The latter has a shorter, broader, and altogether stronger
beak than the former, blunt at the point instead of sharp, and studded
down each side by villainous sharp and bony teeth. Its pleasing custom
is to charge amongst a shoal of fish and frantically thrash from side
to side among them with its beak, gathering up the slain and wounded
at its leisure afterwards. This charming habit on its part sometimes
leads it to follow a shoal of fish into the fishermen’s nets, where,
getting its beak entangled, it will tear everything to pieces unless
soon speared. The spearing of it is a work of difficulty and danger, as
one blow from the violently thrashing beak will disembowel a man, or
inflict wounds of a most ghastly nature.

On the same boat trip when I made the acquaintance of the swordfish
with worm in his head, I also fell in with a most extraordinary fishing
rat. We had landed and camped for the night upon a small coral island
surrounded by submerged coral boulders and, but for a few stunted
trees, bare of all vegetation. Shortly after dark I was disturbed
by rats crawling over me, and at last in disgust went and slept in
the whaleboat. In the morning I landed again and, while my boys were
preparing breakfast, walked to the other side of the island; then
sitting down I began my ante-breakfast pipe, whilst I pondered what on
earth the rats on the island could find to live upon, as food there was
apparently none. While sitting quietly there, I noticed some rats going
down to the edge of the reef--lank, hungry-looking brutes they were,
with pink naked tails. I stopped on the point of throwing lumps of
coral at them, out of curiosity to see what the vermin meant to do at
the sea. Rat after rat picked a flattish lump of coral, squatted on the
edge and dangled his tail in the water; suddenly one rat gave a violent
leap of about a yard, and as he landed, I saw a crab clinging to his
tail. Turning round, the rat grabbed the crab and devoured it, and then
returned to his stone; the while the other rats were repeating the same
performance. What on earth those rats did for fresh water, though, I
don’t know, as there was none on the island that I could see.



CHAPTER VII


After about a week the _Mizpah_ had filled the _Siai_ with yams,
plantains, and fresh vegetables for the disease-stricken prisoners at
Samarai; and Moreton and Judge Winter, having completed their court
work, sailed away for that port. The Judge’s parting words to me were:
“Keep within touch of the mail schooner, Monckton; the Mambare is going
to claim a pound of corpse for every ounce of gold, and there will be
vacancies enough for you before long.” “Very good, sir,” I said; “pay
me enough and feed me fairly, and I’ll willingly furnish 150 lbs. of
prospective corpse, when you need it.” Then came Winter’s slow smile:
“You will be neither adequately paid nor decently fed in the Service,
but, like the rest, you will come when called. Good-bye.” Very sadly I
watched the disappearing sails of the _Siai_; and then turned rather
disgustedly to my work and the society of my New Guinea boys and Billy,
for another long period.

We then tried sending the divers down in the deep channels surrounding
the mud banks from which the natives collected their small pearl shell,
in the hope of finding larger shell containing pearls. But we found
the water was too muddy and disturbed for the ordinary diver to see
the oysters; the native skin-divers in the shallower water were able
to feel them with their feet, and then scoop them into baskets. The
heavy leaden-cased boots of the divers in dress, however, prevented
this being done, and the few shells they obtained, by groping on the
bottom with their hands, would not pay expenses. I then tried a new
plan. Sending the three luggers to trade for native curios at Kavitari,
with the idea that I might again sell them in Samarai, I commenced
operations with the dredging apparatus with which I have mentioned the
_Mizpah_ was fitted. This scheme would have worked well but for two
reasons: the first, that the _Mizpah_ was old and rotten; the second,
that the mud or sandy bottom, on which the pearl oysters lay, was
studded with coral mushrooms and boulders.

Our _modus operandi_ was this. Working up to windward of the
oyster-bearing bank, we used to cast the dredge overboard, and then,
clapping on all sail, scud before the wind, dragging the dredge in the
mud behind us. At intervals we would heave-to, haul up the dredge with
its load of oysters, and repeat the process. Unfortunately, we would
haul up about two or three dredge loads, and then, suddenly the dredge
would land against a coral lump and bring the vessel to all standing.
If the _Mizpah_ had been new and strong she might have stood it, but
as it was the straining opened her seams and made her leak like a
sieve. The result of which was to convince me that unless I abandoned
my dredging, I should have no _Mizpah_ left under me. Some years
afterwards my plan was attempted by a trader with several stoutly-built
vessels; but an Ordinance was passed by the New Guinea Legislative
Council forbidding the fishing for the Trobriand species of pearl shell
by means of dredging, for fear of clearing out the breeding ground of
the oyster and thus destroying one of the staple foods of the natives.

Upon this last failure, I summoned Billy and the luggers and we stood
away for the Straits between Ferguson and Normanby Islands. Here,
however, though we obtained a small quantity of shell of first-class
quality, unusually large and clean, the water was so deep--twenty-three
to twenty-five fathoms--that I did not care to continue working there.
Here I made the acquaintance of a great friend of Moreton’s, the
Rev. William Bromilow of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission; a splendid
type of man and missionary, whose friendship I was to enjoy for many
years. The Mission Station is built on the island of Dobu, an extinct
volcano; the only evidence of volcanic action at this time being a
hot spring bubbling up in the sea, over which small vessels used to
anchor, to allow the hot water to boil the barnacles and weeds off
their bottoms. The native yam gardens run right up and into the old
crater of the volcano. Here the natives have a curious way of fishing,
using kites which they fly from their canoes. The kites have long
strings descending from them, ending in a bunch of tough cobweb. The
cobweb dancing over the surface of the water attracts the fish, which,
snapping at it, get their teeth entangled in its tough texture and are
thereupon secured by a man or small boy swimming from the canoe.

I found at Dobu my old Chasseurs d’Afrique friend, Louis, settled down
on a small island as a copra maker and trader. He told me that he was
utterly tired of knocking about and had settled there to end his days;
he was making about £5 per week at his business, and had got together
a fine collection of pigs and poultry. Louis’ days were to end, poor
devil, sooner than he expected; but that is later. He had a small
fleet of canoes, which he sent out daily to buy cocoanuts, paying for
them with trade tobacco; he then manufactured the kernels into copra.
When the natives’ fishing failed, he dynamited fish and traded them
instead of tobacco for cocoanuts; when their fishing was good, and he
had no demand for the catch, he salted and dried it and then disposed
of it at native feast times. Louis begged me to join him, and settle
down to a lotus-eating and untroubled life with enough for our wants,
and no danger and worry. He said, “We will order a good cutter for our
trading, have plenty of papers, books, tobacco, and wine of the best,
and when I die, you can take the business.” “That’s all very fine,
Louis,” I said; “but how old are you?” “Fifty-seven,” replied Louis.
“Well and good,” I remarked, “but you are over thirty years ahead of
me; your life has been lived, while mine has just begun! What would
you have said thirty odd years ago, when you were a young soldier, if
a similar proposition had been made to you?” “I should have said, God
damn! not I!” said Louis. “Well, Louis,” I replied, “I am afraid that
must be my answer to you now.” The time came when I weighed anchor and
left Dobu, taking, as a parting present from Louis, a large native pot
full of eggs, a dozen clucking fowls, a squealing porker for my crew,
and a most ornate French tie-pin, which some one in Samarai afterwards
stole. Poor Louis! the next time I met him was in the hospital at
Thursday Island, he having blown off his fore-arm in dynamiting fish.
He had been taken to Samarai in the Mission vessel, and from there sent
on to Thursday Island in the _Merrie England_.

From Dobu we sailed south and rounded Normanby Island finding
everywhere, in likely pearl-shell localities, shell of a size and
quality better than any other in the world, but water too deep for us
to work it successfully. The shell always lay at a depth varying from
twenty-eight to thirty fathoms; a depth that, however tempting the
outlook, simply spelt suicide on the part of the diver volunteering to
work it, and manslaughter on the part of the owner sending him below.
From the south end of Normanby Island we stood north to Cape Vogel on
the mainland, sounding and prospecting the bottom all the way, but with
no payable results. At Cape Vogel, or Iasa Iasi as the natives call it,
an epidemic of influenza attacked the Malays and Billy, leaving my New
Guinea boys and myself the only effective members of our little fleet.
Finding, therefore, that for a short time my working vessels--the three
luggers--were useless, I left them at anchor at Iasa Iasi and stood
north again with the _Mizpah_, intending to explore the little-known
regions of the north-east coast for signs of pearl shell. This coast
of New Guinea was then regarded by traders--and in fact by all
Europeans--as a wild region inhabited by savage cannibals and unsafe
to touch upon, much less trade with. The navigation of its waters was
also regarded, and rightly so, as highly dangerous. Odd ships, heavily
armed, such as men-of-war and the _Merrie England_, had touched at
certain points but had really made no permanent impression; and the
natives of the coast were therefore practically in the same state as
they had been prior to the advent of the European.

Some twelve miles north of Cape Vogel we discovered a large
island-studded harbour with a deep water entrance, called by the
natives Pusa Pusa; this harbour is about twelve square miles in extent,
it is marked on no chart, but is probably the best natural harbour on
this coast of New Guinea. The _Mizpah_ was the first European vessel
to enter it, and in fact its existence had not been suspected before.
Some years later, when I was Resident Magistrate of the North-Eastern
Division, I piloted the _Merrie England_ into it through the deep-water
channel. The Commander and the ship’s officers spoke in high praise of
it as an anchorage and harbour, but the then Governor, Sir George Le
Hunte, summed it up in these words: “An admirable place for exploration
by steam launch, slowly, however, filling up by deposit of mud from
rivers.” With all due respect for vice-regal sapience, I beg now to
remark that--Firstly, there are no rivers flowing into Pusa Pusa
Harbour; secondly, the bottom consists of coral sand and is subject to
great scour; and thirdly, the value of a harbour lies in its safety for
shipping and not in its suitability for a scenic or picnic resort. Pusa
Pusa is the only harbour existing between China Straits and Cape Nelson
where ships of large tonnage can lie in safety. Its entrance is masked
by islands, hence ships by the dozen may sail past without having any
idea of what lies behind them; only a prowling pearl-hunting vessel
such as mine was likely to nose her way into the entrance.

As we sailed in we came suddenly upon a few natives camped upon the
beach of a small island, with whom--after a little difficulty--we
established trading relations, and from whom I purchased several fine
specimens of gold-lip shell, which they told me they had found washed
up on the beach. In this place every indication pointed to shell:
namely, strong tidal scours in narrow passages, sandy coral-studded
bottom and quantities of the submarine plant, which divers maintain
grows only where pearl shell is to be found.

From Pusa Pusa we fled back as fast as sail could drive us to Iasa
Iasi to fetch the luggers, only to find that they were still incapable
of moving--much less working. During the absence of the _Mizpah_, a
wandering pearl-fishing lugger, owned by a man called Silva, had joined
them, he having come to discover what we were doing. Finding my own
boats _hors de combat_, I told Silva of my discovery of Pusa Pusa and
asked him to come and prospect the harbour, suggesting that, if we
found anything worth having, we should work it together and keep its
discovery secret. Silva protested for some time, saying that he did
not like the north-east coast at all, and had only come to the point
at which we were then lying in the hope of discovering what my boats
were doing; he finally, however, consented to venture into Pusa Pusa
providing the _Mizpah_ went with him. Accordingly the _Mizpah_ and
Silva’s lugger sailed for that harbour, while the _Ada_, _Hornet_, and
_Curlew_ remained at Iasa Iasi awaiting the convalescence of their
crews or further orders from me.

On arrival at Pusa Pusa, Silva donned the diving dress and descended,
only to ascend in about ten minutes, holding a large shell in his hand
and gesticulating to have his helmet removed. He said that it was a
good shell bottom, promising very well indeed, but that immediately
on descending he had met a groper larger than any he had ever seen,
and he would prefer to remain on deck until the fish had had time
to remove itself. Half an hour elapsed, Silva descended again, and
almost immediately signalled, “Pull me up.” Pulled up accordingly he
was; he then complained that he had met a shark, and that--though as
a general rule he did not mind sharks--this particular one was longer
than the _Mizpah_, and he thought he preferred to be on deck! Again we
waited perhaps an hour, and again Silva descended, and again came the
urgent signal, “Pull me up.” Upon his helmet being removed, he at once
demanded, with many oaths, that his whole dress should be taken off;
and then, seizing a tomahawk, he declaimed: “The first time I went down
in this blank place I met a groper, the next time I met a shark as big
as a ship, the last time there was a ---- alligator, and if any man
likes to say there is shell here I’ll knock his ---- brains out with
this tomahawk!” A hero of romance would now have donned the dress and
descended, but I freely confess that I--as an amateur--was not game to
take on a work that a professional diver threw up as too dangerous.

Doubtless Silva’s rage was increased by the extraordinary effect air
pressure has upon a man’s temper when diving. A diver may be in a
perfectly amiable mood with all the world while the dress is being
fitted on, but the moment the face glass is screwed home--the signal
for starting the air pump--he begins to feel a little grievance or
irritation; as he descends, this feeling increases until he is in a
perfect fury of rage against every one in general and usually one
individual in particular. After that, he spends his time in wondering
how soon the dress can be taken off in order that he may half-kill
that particular person, usually the tender, for some wholly imaginary
offence. Another peculiar fact is, that the moment the face glass is
removed and he breathes the ordinary air--even though he may have come
up boiling with rage against some special individual--the bad temper
evaporates like magic and he wonders what on earth caused his anger.
This has invariably been my experience, and other divers have told me
they have felt the same sensations. There is usually a perpetual feud
between the diver on the bottom and the men on deck working the air
pump. The diver always wants sufficient air to keep his dress distended
and also to keep himself bobbing about on the bottom; if he gets too
much he can let it pass away, by releasing the valve of his helmet; if
he gets too little, he can signal for more, but there is no tug signal
on the life-line for less air.

A diver’s helmet is really not a helmet in the ordinary acceptation of
the term, but is a small air chamber firmly bolted to the corselet and
incapable of movement from any volition on his part. He simply turns
his head inside it and looks through either side or front glasses,
exactly as a man looks through a window. A diver’s most real danger
is probably the risk he runs of being drowned when on his way to the
surface, and it occurs in this way. After a time the best of diving
dresses becomes leaky to a more or less extent, and the water that
finds its way through, settles about the feet and legs. Divers become
quite accustomed to having their dresses filled with water up to the
knees and even to the thigh; the water is no inconvenience to them
whilst upright on the bottom, and they are very rarely conscious of
it. Well, suppose a diver has his dress full of water to the knees or
thighs; as he ascends, he may involuntarily or by accident allow his
body to assume a horizontal position, in which case the water at once
rushes into the helmet, overbalances him, _i.e._ really stands him on
his head, and drowns him inside his dress.

In a diving dress every beat of the air pump is perfectly audible to
the diver, and any irregularity or alteration of the pace, at which the
air-pump wheels are turned, is to him irritating in the extreme--an
irritation he invariably works off by signalling for more air and
thus increasing the manual labour at the pumps. It takes four men,
straining hard, to keep a diver properly supplied with air at any
depth over twenty fathoms. One of the greatest discomforts a diver has
in the tropics is the smell of warm oil, more or less rancid, with
which the pumps charge his air; I have had to struggle hard to prevent
being sick, and I leave to the imagination the beastly situation of
a man, with his head confined in a small helmet, overcome by nausea!
Another exasperating thing is the scroop made by a grain of sand or
grit getting into the plunger of the air pump, which is only comparable
to the feeling caused by a drop of water falling upon one’s head at
regular intervals.

Apart from the noise of the pump beats, communicated through the air
pipe--which, by the way, is rather comforting, as it shows one is not
completely cut off from the upper world--the under seas seem absorbed
in extreme silence and gloom, and unless one is in a current or tide,
in a sort of unholy calm. One of the things which appear as most
remarkable is the lessening of the weight of objects in the water; for
instance, a fully accoutred diver can hardly waddle on the deck of his
ship, but as he descends, his weight seems to become less and less
until he can bob about in a fairy-like manner on the bottom. The same
lessening of weight applies equally to inanimate objects; and it is a
common trick, when competing vessels are working upon a small patch of
shell, for the diver of one of them to pull his rival’s anchor out of
the ground and tangle its anchor round the fluke, with the result, that
the vessel drifts off with the tide or the wind, towing her diver after
her. A lot of time is thus wasted in pulling him up and working back
against tide or wind to her old station.

I have spoken of pulling up a diver; this is not literally true, as a
diver really ascends of his own volition, by closing his helmet’s air
valve and thus blowing out his dress with air. The “pulling in,” when
the water is calm, merely consists of taking up the slack of the air
pipe and line and, when there is a tide or current, of hauling him
along the surface to his vessel. Great care has to be exercised by
him in coming to the surface, as, should his ascent be too fast, he
may smash his helmet on the bottom of his boat or lugger. The usual
way is in a half-lying position on the back and with one hand on the
air valve, watching carefully for the light near the surface, and for
the shadow of the vessel’s hull. Occasionally, though it very rarely
happens, a diver’s air valve sticks; in which case, he at first rises
slowly from the bottom, but as the pressure of the water decreases, the
pace of his ascent increases, until at last he is rising at such a pace
that he shoots violently above the surface. The first thing that shows
those on board the lugger what is happening is a splash, and the sight
of the diver floundering about on the surface nearly suffocated by
pressure of air.

From Pusa Pusa, the _Mizpah_ and Silva’s boat returned to Iasa Iasi;
and when I had rejoined my luggers, Silva sailed away for Sudest, being
by this time quite convinced that nothing was to be gained by shadowing
my boats. I found that my crews were at last recovering, and departed
with them for the islands of Tubi Tubi and Basilaki. On the way we
called in at Awaiama Bay on the coast of the mainland, in order to
replenish our fresh-water supply, the water obtainable at Cape Vogel
being brackish and disagreeable to the taste. Here I found Moreton
with the _Siai_; he was engaged in buying land from the natives for
a man named Oates. New Guinea law did not permit the sale of land by
natives to any other than the Crown; the Crown could then transfer to
the European applicant. Oates had come up from Sydney in a cutter of
some twenty tons burthen, accompanied by his wife and family, which
consisted of a son and daughter, aged respectively about fourteen and
seventeen, their intention being to start a cocoanut plantation. He had
formerly been the master of the _Albert McLaren_, the Anglican Mission
vessel; but this latest speculation of his was not fated to turn out
well. The first thing that happened was that his daughter became
disgusted with the prospect, and, on the family visiting Samarai, she
took the first opportunity of departing for Sydney, where I believe
she married a draper and, I trust, found life happier than she had in
New Guinea. Then his wife died and was buried by the son, as Oates
himself was delirious at the time with malarial fever and all the
native servants had fled. Finally Oates died also, and the unhappy boy
had to bury him as well. This boy, Ernest Oates, afterwards entered
the service of Whitten Brothers and eventually became manager of their
branch at Buna Bay, and he was still in that position when I finally
left New Guinea. After a most strenuous ten years, he was endeavouring
to scrape together enough money to start a small business of his own in
Sydney--something quiet and contemplative, like growing mushrooms.

I remember, some years after the death of his parents, an extraordinary
performance on the part of this lad. He was then stationed by Whitten
Brothers at the mouth of the Kumusi River as their agent, and had
charge of a receiving store for goods landed at that port, which had to
be sent up the river to Bogi, a mining camp. With the exception of a
few Samarai boys, Ernest Oates was absolutely alone, living surrounded
by some thousands of particularly dangerous natives. He possessed two
fire-arms, one, a Winchester repeating rifle, for which he had a large
store of cartridges; the other, an old Snider with only some half-dozen
charges. By some means or other, he broke the lock of his Winchester,
and therefore was left with the weapon for which he had practically no
ammunition. At this time a large alligator collared several pigs from
near the store and narrowly missed securing odd boys of his. Whilst
Oates was sitting on his verandah one evening, he noticed the alligator
crawl out on a mud bank and, with its mouth wide open, proceed to
go to sleep. As he did not wish to use one of his sparse supply of
cartridges, the idea occurred to him of creeping over the mud and
throwing a dynamite cartridge down the reptile’s throat. No sooner did
the thought come than it was acted upon; crawling over the mud he got,
unperceived, to within a few feet of the saurian and, standing up,
hurled his cartridge. Unfortunately, as he threw the explosive, his
feet burst through the hard, sun-baked crust of mud, and he sank to
the waist with a plop and a yell; his boys, who were keenly interested
spectators, dashed to his assistance, but with little hope of reaching
him before the alligator. Luckily, however, he had attached a very
short fuse to his charge, and the dynamite exploded, wounding the
reptile’s tail and causing it to turn round and snap at an imaginary
new enemy. This allowed Oates’ boys to come up, drag him from his hole,
and drive off the alligator with their spears.

Oates’ father, “Captain” Oates as he was usually called, once gave me
the peculiar pleasure--as a magistrate--of receiving a complaint about
myself. I was relieving Moreton at the time as Resident Magistrate at
Samarai, and had been engaged, to the common knowledge of all traders
and labour recruiters, in a punitive expedition to Goodenough Island.
Having finished my work there, I took the _Siai_ across to Cape Vogel
with the intention of searching for unsigned or kidnapped boys, by
running unseen down the coast in the night and boarding any labour
vessels I might find bound for the Mambare gold-fields, either rounding
or anchored off East Cape. Labour vessels had a trick of starting their
little games when the cat in the shape of the _Siai_--or _Black Maria_
as their owners called her--was safely out of the way.

It was a rough boisterous night, dark as the inside of a black cow,
and blowing nearly a full gale; the _Siai_ was showing no lights as I
did not want her seen, nor did I want her movements reported by the
natives; and as she was crowded with men, I could afford to carry on
sail until the last minute, which I accordingly did. Passing Awaiama we
sighted the lights of a vessel hove-to outside the harbour, and, as we
ran close down to her, there came a brilliant flash of lightning from
behind us, which for a moment illuminated her like day, and allowed us
to identify her as Oates’ cutter, the _Rock Lily_; whereupon we sheered
off and passed her at about sixty feet distance. At East Cape I found
no vessels, and accordingly went on into Samarai.

Two days later Oates arrived and, coming into the Court House, told me
he had a complaint to make about a strange ship. “Two nights ago,” said
he, “I was hove-to off Awaiama: the night was dark and the weather so
rough that I did not care to move either towards Samarai or back into
the harbour. My lights were burning well, when suddenly there came
a flash of lightning, and by it I saw a black schooner; I could see
thirty feet of her keel out of water, your worship, and she was then
setting a topsail! It’s the mercy of God I was not run down; she had
no lights, and I want her found and her captain fined.” I sympathized
greatly with Oates, and sent to the Subcollector of Customs for a list
of vessels which had entered the harbour during the past two days;
naturally the officer never dreamt of including the Government vessel
in the list, for, in the first instance, her movements did not concern
him, and, in the second, he knew that as she carried me, I must know
as much or more about her than he did. Oates scanned the list of
luggers, cutters, and Mission boats, but there was no black schooner
of the description he gave. “Captain Oates,” I said, “are you certain
it was not a nightmare you had?” Oates choked with indignation. “She
was four times the size of any vessel on this coast; my whole crew saw
her and got the fright of their lives. Devil, even a binnacle light
she carried.” “Very good, Captain Oates,” I said; “you see we can get
no information about her from the Customs, but I will undertake that
we will bring your mysterious craft to book the first time the _Siai_
finds her; it is a very serious offence for a merchant ship to sail
without lights.”

From Awaiama we sailed for the Conflict Group, a circle of small
islands surrounding a lagoon of a few miles in circumference. These
islands were afterwards purchased from the Crown by a man named
Wickham, who intended to use the lagoon for the propagation of sponges,
and the island for cocoanut growing. I don’t know what sort of success
he made of the cocoanut growing, but I doubt if the sponges could
have proved profitable, as Arbouine told me that the sponge trade was
entirely in the hands of a small corporation of Jews, by whom they were
bought at their own price and sold again wholesale at whatever amount
they liked to fix. The high prices paid by the users of large sponges
of fine quality are not due to the cost of fishing for them, nor to
the expense entailed in their preparation, but are created simply by
the ring. I believe, however, that the curing of the finer quality of
sponges is a trade secret possessed only by the corporation, but I
can see no reason why an expert chemist should not discover a process
equally good, as it really only consists of bleaching the fibrous
tissue of the half-animal, half-vegetable sponge.

My boats did not linger long at the Conflict Group, as there was
nothing in our line there, so accordingly we went on to Tubi Tubi,
where again we found that, though the reefs abounded in an infinite
variety of wondrously beautiful shells and bêche-de-mer, shells of
the sort we were seeking were conspicuous by their absence, with the
exception of a few of the black-lip variety.

Bêche-de-mer is a sort of sea slug, ranging in size from six inches
to two feet in length, and from one to six inches in diameter. It is
highly prized by the Chinese, who use it for soup making: considerable
quantities, however, are now used in London, Paris, and Queensland for
the same purpose. The fish lies like a Bologna sausage on the bottom,
and is easily brought to the surface by naked divers; it varies in
value from £200 per ton downwards according to the size, variety, and
skill displayed in curing. The curing is really a very simple matter:
should the operation be done on board, the fish or slugs are simply
thrown into a four-hundred-gallon tank set in brickwork upon the deck
and boiled vigorously in their own juice for a couple of hours; they
are then smoked like a ham in a smoke-house for a night. They come on
board flabby gelatinous objects, unsightly to the eye and loathly to
the touch; they go away packed in sacks, hard little objects like lumps
of perished india-rubber. The liquor exuded by boiling bêche-de-mer has
peculiar properties: it will burnish copper until it becomes like gold,
and should clothes be dipped in it before being washed, it will remove
every particle of grease or dirt, leaving them, after washing, like the
finished work of a good French laundress. The most valuable variety of
bêche-de-mer, at the time I write of, was the “teat” fish, so called
from having two peculiar rows of teat-like excrescences along the
belly; it should not have been the most valuable, as the red fish had
at one time been more appreciated by the Chinamen; but they were now
regarded with suspicion, as several of their people had been poisoned
from partaking of that particular delicacy. Slander said, that Nicholas
the Greek had caused the deaths and spoilt the market for red fish by
boiling a quantity of them in a copper boiler.

From Tubi Tubi we ran close by the islands of Basilaki and Sariba
to Samarai, having little luck on the way. The Basilaki natives
had a somewhat unpleasant experience prior to the Proclamation of
a Protectorate by the British Government over the southern portion
of New Guinea. They had cut out a trading vessel and murdered the
crew, with the result that a man-of-war, the name of which I have now
forgotten, was sent to punish them. Upon the appearance of the warship
they fled into the bush, where the sailors were unable to follow them.
In order to inflict some punishment, the ship shelled the principal
village, doing, however, no real harm to the thatched huts; several
of the shells also failed to explode as they pitched upon the soft
coral sand. As time went on, a great feast was held in that village,
and the old shells, picked up by the natives, were used instead of
stones to support the extra cooking pots. Gaily the natives danced,
well were the fires stoked, until suddenly the explosion of three or
four twelve-pounder (or heavier) shells spread devastation amongst the
packed natives. The _manes_ of the murdered crew may have waited long
for revenge, but when it did come, it certainly arrived in a wholesale
way.

On arrival in Samarai I paid off my luggers and Billy, which left me
with a bare fiver to pay off the _Mizpah’s_ crew, each individual
member of which was entitled to that amount; and the _Mizpah_, after my
unsuccessful cruise, was so mortgaged that I could not hope to obtain
any money on her. I called my New Guinea boys together and explained
the difficulty. “All right,” said my coxswain, “you pay me off before
the Government officer and I’ll give you the money back, then you can
pay off the next man and he will do the same, and so on until we are
clear of the Government and can sail in search of money somewhere.”
This I did, and, at the end, still possessed the odd five pounds I had
paid them off with; then they all signed on again with me for another
voyage. There was at that time no fee to be paid for either signing a
crew on or off.

About this time an awful hurricane struck the islands, wrecking and
sinking many ships, amongst others the _Nabua_, a new vessel chartered
by Burns, Philp and Co., laden with copra and bound for Samarai. This
vessel was somewhere north of East Cape when struck by the hurricane;
the crew, terrified by the fury of the storm, let go the anchors when
off the coast, and finally abandoned her. They then came into Samarai,
reporting that she had been swamped and had sunk at anchor--a story
which was accepted by all. I, however, had my doubts about this; and
when Burns, Philp and Co., as agents for Lloyds’ underwriters, put her
up for sale at auction, I made the one and only bid of five pounds--my
last five pounds--for the hull and cargo, and she was knocked down to
me for that amount.

After buying the _Nabua_, I left in the _Mizpah_ for the locality where
she was supposed to have foundered, and then got into communication
with the coastal natives. “You remember the big wind of a few days
ago?” I asked. “Yes,” was the reply. “You saw a vessel at anchor off
the shore, a vessel that sank during the gale?” “Yes,” again was the
answer. “Is there any rock near where she anchored?” “Certainly,”
came the reply; “we will show it you for payment.” For a pound of
tobacco they piloted the _Mizpah_ until we were over a rock shaped
like a pinnacle or sugar loaf, which was submerged about two fathoms,
but which would in rough weather and a heavy sea have only about two
feet upon it. “I thought so,” I said to myself; “a strong new vessel
such as the _Nabua_, with her hatches battened down and laden with a
light bulky cargo like copra, never would have been swamped at anchor;
she must have cracked a plank and have been sunk by a leak.” My boys
dived near the rock and reported that there was an anchor with a chain
attached, leading into water too deep for them to descend into.

Hastily I sailed back into Samarai, stirred up a drunken ship’s
carpenter named Niccols--who was also a good diver--and induced two
friends of his, who owned trading luggers, to accompany me back to
raise the _Nabua_. As I had no money, I made the bargain that they
should get fifty pounds apiece if we raised the vessel, and nothing
if we failed. Back accordingly we went. Harry Niccols descended, and
coming up announced he had found the _Nabua_ lying on a shelf on the
bottom leading into deep water, and held there by her anchor. The tide
apparently, after the gale had subsided, had drifted her away from
the rock, upon which she had struck, in a seaward direction. With the
exception of one plank smashed under her counter, Harry reported she
was uninjured, and he also said that she was palpably light from the
nature of her cargo and consequently easy to lift. After getting the
luggers over her, Harry descended again and made fast our anchor chains
to her chain plates, and then with small difficulty we lifted her with
our winches, until she was awash between the two luggers. Just then
the _Merrie England_ hove in sight round the point, and seeing us, she
dropped her launch, which came puffing alongside with a letter from
Judge Winter asking me to go on board at once. I guessed that the Judge
wanted to take me off somewhere, and I accordingly impressed upon Harry
Niccols and the lugger owners the immediate necessity of beaching our
recovered vessel and mending her plank before taking her to Samarai;
this they promised to do.

The work for which the Judge wanted me kept me away for six weeks; I
was, however, congratulating myself meanwhile upon the fact that, when
I went again to Samarai, I should have the proceeds of the sale of
a valuable vessel and cargo to collect from Burns, Philp and Co. My
hopes were doomed to be dashed to the ground, for, when I eventually
reached Samarai, Mr. Arbouine knew nothing about my salvaged ship.
On finding Harry Niccols, that worthy told me that they had got
the _Nabua_ up safely, and had nailed some canvas over the hole in
her stern and pumped her out; then, as they were on the point of
beaching her to repair her plank, a trading cutter came in sight,
from which--in the joy of their hearts at having so easily made fifty
pounds a man--they had bought a keg of rum, upon which all hands had
got drunk. Whilst still under the influence of liquor they had decided
to sail for Samarai with the unmended _Nabua_ fastened between the two
luggers. In China Straits they had got into a tide rip and had been
compelled to release the _Nabua_ in order to save the luggers from
foundering, whereupon she had of course filled and sunk in deep water.
I accordingly lost my ship, and they, their fifty pounds; the damned
fools had never even landed her cargo, which was worth twelve pounds
per ton, and would have paid us handsomely for our work and trouble.

At Samarai I found some money remitted to me from New Zealand,
sufficient to pay off my New Guinea boys and allow me a holiday to that
country; so to New Zealand I accordingly went _viâ_ Port Moresby, Yule
and Thursday Islands.



CHAPTER VIII


I made a portion of my return voyage to New Zealand in the _Myrtle_;
and her first place of call was at Yule Island, where she stopped
to load a cargo of sandalwood. Large quantities of this timber were
at that time exported to China by a man named Hunter, who was then
commonly known as “The Sandalwood King”; he was making thousands of
pounds a year, counted his employees by hundreds, owned several small
vessels and many mule and horse teams. The miles of roads he made
through the forest--in order to bring out his timber--would have been
regarded as a credit to any ordinary civil engineer; as a matter of
fact, they were then the only roads worth calling such in New Guinea.

Hunter had as a rival in his timber business--if a man could be called
a rival who got in a year about as much sandalwood as Hunter got in a
day--a Frenchman known as “Brother John,” a jovial fat person looking
like the typical old friar. Brother John had been a lay brother
attached to the Sacred Heart Mission at Mekeo, and he had, I regret
to say, been smiled upon by the Papuan girl who did his washing,
and, sadder still, he returned the smile. Time went on, until one
day the girl’s parents appeared at the Mission, hauling along their
erring daughter; they presented her to a scandalized monastery, drew
particular attention to her figure, and asked what the Mission was
going to do about it. Brother John was immediately expelled from the
lay brotherhood of the order and commanded to marry the girl, which
he did at once. Over this little incident some little time afterwards
he scored rather badly off the Governor or Chief Justice, one of whom
met him and, shaking his head, said reprovingly, “I am sorry to hear
of your fall, Brother John.” “Fall, Monseigneur,” said Brother John,
“fall! Why, before I was only ze bruzzer, now I am ze fazzer!”

From Yule Island the _Myrtle_ sailed with every available foot of
space crammed full of the pleasant-smelling wood, as it seemed to me
at first; even her deck had a great pile stacked on it. For a day or
so one continued to like the scent, then it got into one’s hair, into
the ship’s water, into one’s clothes and food, in fact into everywhere
and in everything; until one fairly loathed it, and rushed to poke
one’s head to windward for a few minutes’ sniff of the clean salt sea.
A guano vessel stinks, a ship loaded with copra smells of rancid oil,
but a boat laden with sandalwood cloys and sickens the senses more than
either. I was told that the greater part of the sandalwood imported
into China is used in the manufacture of joss sticks and incense, and
for making sandalwood oil; whether this is true or not I do not know.

At Thursday Island I bade farewell to the schooner _Myrtle_; for she,
having transhipped her cargo to a China steamer, returned to New
Guinea, and I took up my quarters in one of the hotels, to wait with
what patience I possessed for a south-bound steamer. Thursday Island
is--or rather was--the centre of the pearling industry, and is one of
the most God-forsaken holes I know of; there is absolutely nothing to
do in the place to kill time. With the exception of a few soldiers,
Government officials, professional and business men, and pearl vessel
owners, the population consists of a miscellaneous collection of
Japanese, Chinese, Malays, Kanakas, Queensland aborigines, and general
crossbreds and mongrels from the Lord knows where.

There has been for some years past considerable discussion in the
Australian Parliament and the Press as to whether Northern Australia
can, or ever will, be fully occupied by Australian or European people.
One has only to give a glance at the white women, or purely white
children, dwelling in Thursday Island, Cairns, or northward from there,
to see the question answered; women and children alike--pale, listless,
and anæmic--show plainly the need for constant change to a cool and
bracing climate. It is sheer inhumanity to expect a child-bearing woman
in the tropics to perform any but the lightest of domestic duties,
and if these duties cannot be done by the women, then they must be
performed by native domestic servants. Australia, however, does not
possess an indigenous native population sufficient for the supply
of this want--or suitable, if sufficient--and as the Government has
closed its doors to the admission of Papuans or Melanesians--both
highly suitable races for the purpose--it naturally follows that a
fitting class of white men will never settle or take their families
there. No country has, as yet, been populated by men married to women
of native races or half-breeds. I have frequently heard the argument
used in Australia, that the white man is as good a worker as the native
anywhere, and under any conditions. I do not agree with this; but even
accepting it as true, the fact remains that, in the tropics, the white
woman is not capable of hard work and should not be asked to do it.
Shortly, therefore, my contention is this: if Northern Australia is
to be populated by a white race, the men must take their white wives
with them; and they can only do that if allowed to make especially
favourable conditions for them by the aid of native servants. No
law--not even one made by an Australian Labour Government--can alter
the natural laws governing the distribution of the climates of the
earth, or the disabilities of sex.

The Australasian Parliament suffers from a chronic state of nervous
dread of the East; and it is likely to continue to do so, as long as
it pursues the dog-in-the-manger policy of keeping a vast country
unoccupied. The best thing Australia can do with the Northern Territory
is to combine its administration with that of New Guinea, under the
Crown Colony system of Government, and permit the introduction of
native labour from New Guinea--at any rate for domestic service or work
on the plantations.

Upon the arrival of the China steamer _Changsha_, I gladly shook the
dust of Thursday Island from my boots, sailing in her for the South.

When I reached New Zealand I employed my spare time for some months
in studying navigation and surgery, whilst I built up my health in
preparation for a fresh venture to New Guinea. Here I met again my old
friend, Richard Burton. Burton was some years older than myself and,
up to that time, had lived a mixed sort of life: educated at Eton, he
had then harried his parents into sending him to sea, and had made
one voyage to Australia and back in a sailing ship; disgusted with
that, he had passed into Sandhurst; not finding that to his liking, he
was removed by his parents and sent to the College of Agriculture at
Cheltenham, after which he had come to New Zealand and started sheep
farming. A crack shot, a fine boxer and fencer, afraid of nothing
that either walked, flew or swam, and crammed with a vast lore of
out-of-the-way knowledge, I was more than pleased when he volunteered
to accompany me back to New Guinea. Burton gave me news of Sylvester
who had gone with me on my first trip, and of whom I had heard nothing
since he left me at Woodlark Island. After leaving there he had
suffered severely from protracted bouts of malaria, and had gone home
to England, where, whilst paying a visit to Longner Hall, Burton’s home
in Shropshire, he had become engaged to marry the latter’s sister, and
meditated, after the marriage, returning to New Zealand to take up
sheep farming.

The scheme Burton and I agreed upon was to go to Sydney and there
purchase a small sailing vessel, ship as a crew a few Kanakas--if we
could get them--load the vessel with mining gear, and go and work the
reef, or rather porphery leader, which had been buried by Brady and
myself in Woodlark Island. If that project failed--well, we should
have a vessel under us, and British, Dutch or German New Guinea, the
Solomon, Aru or Admiralty Islands, or, for that matter, the whole of
the Malay Archipelago, to seek our fortunes in; neither of us cared
very much what we did or whither we went, provided there was something
worth having at the end. We expected to find Brady somewhere in the
islands and take him on with us.

[Illustration: R. F. L. BURTON, ESQ., AND HIS MOTUAN BOYS]

When we were on the eve of leaving New Zealand for Sydney, a man we
both knew, named Alfred Cox, asked to be allowed to join us; he had
been a middy in the Royal Navy, but had been obliged to leave owing
to a steadily increasing deafness, and since then had been farming in
New Zealand. We were not at all keen on having him, as he was not a
strong man, and he somehow or other contrived to smash one of his bones
or otherwise damage himself at unpleasantly frequent intervals. He,
however, begged hard, and at last we consented to his throwing in his
lot with us.

Arriving in Sydney from New Zealand we inserted the following
advertisement in the morning papers--not knowing the deluge it would
bring down upon us: “Wanted to buy a schooner, cutter or ketch, between
fifteen and thirty tons burden. Apply ‘B. M.,’ Mêtropole Hotel.” On
the afternoon of the day of publication of the papers, Burton and I
were returning from a shopping expedition, during which we had been
purchasing arms, ammunition, charts, instruments, chemicals, tools,
etc., when we found the hall porter at the hotel endeavouring to stall
off a mixed crowd of people all clamouring to see “B. M.” Hastily
we interfered; and, taking them one by one, we arranged interviews
with them at our gunsmith’s shop. Broken-down tugs, worn-out coastal
steamers, fishing boats, timber scows, vessels building, vessels to
be built, all sorts and conditions were offered to us at exorbitant
prices; some of the owners and agents we sent off at once, the vessels
of others we put on a list for private inspection, and in nine cases
out of ten found the description widely different from the reality.

Cox got bored with it all, for he thought we should never get a vessel
at the rate we were going on; and he suggested that he should go off
and call upon Captain Anson of H.M.S. _Orlando_, a friend of his, and
borrow a carpenter or bo’sun’s mate to assist us in our choice. To this
course of action we agreed and, having carried it out, Cox returned
to tell us that Captain Anson’s opinion was, that a man-of-war’s man
would be of no use to us, but that a man who owned a sail-making and
ship-rigging business would be the very man for our purpose. The same
man was once employed to bring a yacht from England to Australia; by
some misadventure or other he and his crew had run short of provisions,
and had then eaten the cabin boy. How the master and crew escaped at
their trial I don’t know, probably upon some plea of self-preservation,
but the fact was established that the cannibalism had taken place.
Many years after we had met him, he fell the first victim in Australia
to bubonic plague. Upon our presenting Captain Anson’s card, he at
once said he only knew of three vessels likely to suit us, and all
were yachts; we found one was too large and expensive, another was too
small, whilst the third was a racing cutter of sixteen tons, named the
_Guinevere_, built in England of oak, copper fastened, and yawl rigged
for cruising purposes. This vessel was now outclassed for racing, and
had fallen into the hands of a money-lender named London, by whom she
was used for card parties and pleasant little trips in the harbour. We
were assured that the _Guinevere_ was as sound and staunch as on the
day she was built, and we accordingly bought her.

We hauled the _Guinevere_ up on to a slip for a general overhaul and
refitting, and I took the opportunity of having her fitted with a
powerful rotary pump, in addition to her own, my New Guinea experience
having taught me the advantage of plenty of pumps. To this pump we
owed our lives a great deal sooner than I expected. We left the slip,
with every foot of our little vessel chock full of stores, tools,
etc., and ran down to Watson’s Bay at the mouth of Sydney harbour.
There we joined a small fleet of sailing vessels all waiting for the
lowering of a storm signal, then flying at the flagstaff. Among these
vessels was a yawl named the _Spray_, owned and manned by a “Captain”
Slocum--a Yankee--by whom she had been entirely built in America, and
who was now engaged in the endeavour to sail her single-handed round
the world. We had foregathered with Slocum, who told us he had just
been visited by the master of the London Missionary Society’s steamer,
the _John Williams_, who, after having inspected his navigating
instruments, amongst which was his chronometer, consisting of what he
called a “one dollar watch,” had remarked that he appeared to put a
lot of trust in Providence. He then invited Slocum to lunch on board
the _John Williams_, when with pride he exhibited that ship’s numerous
and splendid instruments and expensive chronometers; Slocum gazed in
admiration, and then drawled, “Waal, Captain, I calculate you sky
pilots don’t put much faith in Providence!”

We had failed to find any Kanakas for a crew in Sydney, and we
dared not attempt to ship white men, as the authorities asked many
embarrassing questions as to certificates, objects of voyage, etc.;
fortunately the liberty of a yacht still clung to the _Guinevere_, and
they did not apparently bother very much about the three owners. While
we were lying in Watson’s Bay, Burton received a cable telling him that
his elder brother had broken his neck in the hunting field, and asking
him to return home at once. He decided, however, not to leave me in the
lurch, but to come on as far as Cooktown in North Queensland, where
I could ship a black crew. We were still anchored there, when we were
boarded by an official from a launch belonging to the Marine Board, by
whom we were harried exceedingly, but whom we placated to a certain
extent by means of mixed drinks; he, however, refused to allow us to
quit our anchorage without life-buoys, which we did not possess. Our
money by this time was getting extremely short, so, accordingly, Burton
and I interviewed our shipwright, who sold us some dummies good enough
to pass the Marine Inspector. Then, storm signals or no storm signals,
for fear of further interference, we decided to go to sea, where Marine
Boards and shipping authorities worried not and we could go our way in
peace. Apparently some of the other sailing vessels, ships of large
tonnage, had become sick of waiting for the promised storm that never
came, for about half a dozen of us left the harbour in rotation.

Off Newcastle that night, however, a true “Southerly Buster” hit
us and, not knowing the harbour or the coast, we stood out to sea
close-hauled. We had the devil of a time: first we lost our dingey,
then when, as I calculated, we were about sixty miles off the coast,
our jib and staysail went in rapid succession; I was steering, lashed
by my legs to cleats to prevent being washed overboard, and every time
the cabin scuttle was opened a huge sea went below. It was impossible
for either Burton or Cox to venture on deck, for, before they could
possibly secure themselves, they were bound inevitably to go overboard,
the _Guinevere_--like all racing vessels--having only a few inches
of rail and no bulwarks; in any case, they could do no good on deck.
Upon the staysail going, Burton managed, at the imminent risk of his
life, to crawl on deck for a few seconds to slack the main sheet, and
so let me get the vessel before the wind; hardly had he done so than a
huge sea swept right over us, and fortunately, instead of taking him
overboard, washed him down the scuttle. Half an hour later he poked up
his head and yelled, “The cabin is half full of water which is rising
fast; if we don’t pump we shall sink.” Luckily the handle of the new
pump was within reach of the scuttle, and Burton, wedging himself
firmly in the opening, seized the brake, and for some hours just kept
pace with the inflowing water; then the pump choked, and the water
steadily rose in the cabin. We did not bother very much about this, for
the mainsail was tearing from its ropes, and we knew that when that
went, it was only a matter of a few minutes before we broached-to and
were smashed into fragments by the seas.

At last with a tearing bang the mainsail went, and I thought we were
gone too; it was too dark to see, one could only hear. The vessel
gave a horrid deadly sort of sideways lurch, and then instinctively
I met it with the helm and found, to my amazement, that she still
kept steerage way, and was running on as though under sail; and so
she ran for an hour, when dawn broke, and I saw that our blown-out
mainsail was jambed across her mast and rigging, and was acting as a
square-sail. Cox then steered, while Burton and I securely lashed the
sail in the position it then was; that done, we turned our attention to
the pumps, for the _Guinevere_ was half full of water. The first pump,
her original one, we abandoned as hopeless after the first half-hour;
the other, the rotary one, we carefully took to pieces, as the whole
water-raising part of the mechanism of the pump was on deck. We found
in it some small chips of wood jambing the valves--chips left below
decks by the carpenters working at her on the slip; cleaning these
we soon had the pump working, and two hours’ toil gave us a dry ship
again. Then, in spite of an enormous sea and a howling gale still
blowing, we felt fairly hopeful, and settled down to a three days’
fight, to bring our vessel again to a port to refit. At last we made
Port Macquarie, telling a steamer that approached and wanted to tow us,
to go to the devil, for we had awful visions before our eyes of claims
for salvage.

At Port Macquarie we signalled for a tug, and were soon safely at
anchor in the river; we here heard that a number of vessels had been
wrecked at Newcastle during the gale, and found that we also had been
reported as lost. The pilot and his boat’s crew very kindly gave us a
lot of help in refitting our rigging and sails, for which service they
would take no payment. Here Cox--after getting into a row with the
police for shooting at a flock of pelicans with a rifle, these birds
being strictly protected--decided to return to New Zealand; we soothed
the police by explaining that anything Cox shot at was perfectly safe,
the only thing likely to be hurt was something at which he was not
shooting. Having completed our refitting, and Cox having departed in a
sailing vessel for Sydney, Burton and I again went to sea.

For a day or two we worked the _Guinevere_ north in bad weather, and
then, as Burton and myself were utterly worn out from want of sleep,
we decided to run in and anchor near the Solitary Isles; this we
accordingly did, but unfortunately amongst a lot of rocks and shoals
and in a very exposed position. The sailing directions described these
waters as highly dangerous. About an hour before daylight the sea and
wind got up, with the result that our anchor parted, whereupon we let
go another, our only remaining one, and prayed that it would hold until
dawn. Daylight and our remaining anchor broke together, and we did a
sort of steeplechase out to sea amongst cruel-looking rocks; how we got
the _Guinevere_ through safely I don’t know, for it was a job I should
not like to tackle again with a full crew and steam under me; certainly
no vessel less nimble than a racing yacht could have managed it. We
were now, however, without an anchor, and therefore it was necessary
for us to make a port in order to get one. We did not like ports
either, for fear of being prevented from going to sea again. An anchor,
however, we must have, and accordingly we stood away for the Clarence
River.

We fell in on the way with the _Spray_ and Captain Slocum, who hung
on to us one night while he slept. The _Spray_ was nearly as broad as
she was long, immensely strong and almost unsinkable. Slocum’s usual
method of navigation was to sail his boat all day, run off shore,
heave-to, and sleep all night while his vessel bobbed about like a
cork. A very strong southerly current on this coast had prevented
him from doing this, as his ship lost nearly as much in the night as
he had gained in the day. He had left Sydney some time after us and
missed the storm, but he had not been delayed by calling at ports on
the way. In the morning we parted from the _Spray_ and Slocum, he to
continue his voyage round the world--which, in passing, I may mention
he successfully accomplished--and we to make the Clarence River.
Heaving-to off that river we signalled for an anchor, but the signalman
chose to believe we had made a mistake and sent a tug out instead; so
accordingly we went into port, where we decided to remain for a day or
two.

Here we received a telegram from William Whitten, telling us a cutter
he was taking to New Guinea had been wrecked on the coast, and asking
us to wait for his arrival in a coastal steamer, after which he would
come on with us. We therefore waited, being only too glad to have
additional hands. Whitten had seen the report of our arrival at the
Clarence River in a telegram in the daily papers; we did not at all
approve of the interest our movements now seemed to be exciting, and
decided that, once we were clear of this port, we should touch nowhere
again until we made Cooktown. Whitten appeared, accompanied by a seaman
named Otto, whose surname I never knew; we then unostentatiously
slipped out to sea again, making rapid progress north, with Whitten and
his man taking one watch and Burton and I the other.

We made Cooktown without any further misadventure, but for one little
incident, breaking the monotony of the trip; that was a narrow escape
we had of being piled up by Whitten on the coast one dark night, in
consequence of his crediting the _Guinevere_ with only doing eight
knots an hour instead of nearly twelve. I happened to go on deck
before dawn, and found Otto trying to persuade Whitten that a dark
mass right ahead of us was land, while the latter maintained that it
was impossible and must be a cloud. I thought it was land, too, and
insisted upon standing out to sea again until dawn; when daylight came
there, sure enough, was a high cape not more than a couple of miles
off. Whitten had already piled up four vessels in the course of his
career, through a mixture of recklessness and cocksureness, he never
believing in danger until too late.

At Cooktown we found the whole community preparing for wild junketings
in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee, and the Warden invited Burton
and myself to participate; the festivities were to culminate in a
banquet at night. Cooktown is like all isolated hot towns in one
respect, and that is, the inhabitants take very little interest in
anything outside their own little parochial affairs, and, as most of
them possess “livers,” they accordingly quarrel furiously: even when
a man is of a peaceful nature, his wife is not, and the rows of the
woman involve the man. One had hardly been introduced to a man for
half an hour before he was explaining what awful people so-and-so,
and so-and-so were--his pet _bêtes noirs_; and, later on, one had
a repetition of the same thing from so-and-so. The Warden told me,
though, that at the great banquet all personal differences were to be
buried for good: Subcollector of Customs, Inspector of Police, bankers,
merchants, parsons, doctors, lawyers, post and telegraph officials,
schoolmasters and ship captains, in fact, all the rank and fashion of
Cooktown were to foregather and coo like doves.

The Warden was a very fine old fellow; he had at one time been British
Consul in Persia, and he was also the first man to hoist the British
flag in New Guinea prior to the Proclamation of the Protectorate;
he was now over sixty, but his back was as straight and his step as
firm as a man of half his years; he was also full of quaint stories
of the experiences of his youth in Persia and Arabia; he possessed,
however, a peppery temper and had a long-standing quarrel with one of
the local celebrities. The hour of the banquet arrived and the guests
assembled; speeches were made, and toasts were drunk--many toasts and
many speeches--and as the champagne mounted to excited brains a few
quarrels began, but were always promptly suppressed by the Warden in
his capacity of President, and each time we sang “God save the Queen.”
Burton leant over to me and whispered, “There is going to be a damned
fine fight before this _chivoo_ is over, there is too much bad blood
among them for a tea-party,” and I acquiesced. After the feasting was
over and we had dispersed about the room, something seemed to occur
which caused all the old feeling in the room to burst out; the parsons
fled through the door, the Warden seized his ancient foe by the neck
and, throwing him on the floor, sat across his chest and bumped the
man’s head up and down, whilst every other man sought out his own
particular enemy and thumped him. Burton and I got quietly to one side
and looked on; the police arrived and peeped in, but, upon seeing their
Chief and the Police Magistrate involved in the turmoil, discreetly
withdrew. At last peace was restored, and the guests at Cooktown’s
historical banquet departed to their several homes, while Burton and
I went off to the _Guinevere_, wondering what stories the _élite_ of
Cooktown would manage to invent by way of explanation to their wives. A
sorry looking lot of men we met next day, and they all showed a marked
disposition to avoid the subject of Jubilee banquets.

Within the course of a day or two Burton left in a steamer bound for
Sydney _en route_ for England, and upon his departure I sailed for
Samarai, still accompanied by Whitten and Otto. No sooner had we left
behind us Cook’s Passage in the Great Barrier Reef than we fell into
a howling south-easter, a wind almost dead in our teeth; Whitten,
after one night’s experience of it and the _Guinevere’s_ behaviour in
a big head sea, refused to go on, and consequently I had to put back
to Cooktown to land him and Otto. The _Guinevere_ had, to a man not
acquainted with her peculiarities, an alarming habit of going through,
instead of over, a head sea; as a matter of fact, she was just as safe
with her decks a foot under water as she was with the sea like a duck
pond; but Whitten would not believe it.

At Cooktown I shipped three Queensland natives as crew and sailed
again; when well out to sea, however, I discovered that only one was a
sailor and therefore able to steer, the other two had been stockmen on
a cattle run. I accordingly abandoned my intention of making Samarai
direct, and, instead, made for Port Moresby, where I hoped to pick up
a crew of New Guinea boys, and beat down the coast to Samarai. After
a few days we sighted Port Moresby just as the sun was setting, and
I obtained capital cross bearings on an island to the east of the
entrance of the harbour and upon Fisherman Island; the night was dark,
but I accepted the chart as accurate, and, being confident of the
correctness of my compass bearings, I decided to risk running through
the passage in the outlying reef by compass. Suddenly crash we went
upon the reef; we launched the dingey, a new one purchased in Cooktown,
and I told the boys to place a kedge anchor in her and drop it away in
deep water, in order that we might kedge the cutter off; they promptly
dropped it into the dingey and stove in her planks, rendering her
useless. The wind then began to get up, bumping us further and further
over the reef, until, to my surprise, I found that the vessel was
bumping less and rising upon an even keel again. After two or three
hours of this, we suddenly slipped off into deep water upon the Port
Moresby side; and again making sail, stood into the harbour, though
the _Guinevere_ was leaking badly from the bumping she had received.

When I got into Port Moresby, I found that the tide, which had enabled
me to get clean over the reef, was the highest ever registered there,
the decking of the wharf having been on a level with the water. Here I
found Inman with a new schooner of Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co., and
to him I took my chart and cross bearings and asked how on earth, in
the position in which they had placed me, I had managed to get upon
the reef. Inman’s explanation was very brief: namely, that the eastern
island, upon which I had taken one of my cross bearings, was half a
mile out of position on the Admiralty chart.

I also came across Farquhar, who told me he was acting as an accountant
in the Treasury, but that he had been offered a good position with
Burns, Philp and Co., at Samarai, and was only waiting for an
opportunity of getting there. Accordingly I offered him a passage
in the _Guinevere_, with all its excitements thrown in. He told me
Ross-Johnston wanted to go to Samarai too, as Sir William MacGregor had
come to the conclusion that an extensive knowledge of modern languages
by a private secretary was not sufficient to outweigh the fact of his
being ignorant of all the practical duties of his office. Farquhar
therefore went off in search of Ross-Johnston to tell him that they
could both sail with me.

The morning following my arrival in Port Moresby, I was standing on
the wharf watching a carpenter doing some work on the deck of the
_Guinevere_, when I heard a Scotch voice behind me. “What do you call
that pipe, Mr. Monckton?” I turned round, and saw Sir William MacGregor
standing there and pointing to the stove pipe issuing from the deck of
the _Guinevere_. “That, sir,” I said, “that is a stove pipe.” “Stove
pipe, do you call it? It looks more like a cigar holder!” I felt rather
hurt at this reflection upon the _Guinevere_, and replied, “Well,
sir, stove pipe or cigar holder, it answers the purpose for which it
was placed there, and that’s all I want.” “Very true, man,” said Sir
William; “if men and things do their duties, it is all that is required
of them. Come to Government House this afternoon, I have work for you.”

[Illustration: PORT MORESBY FROM GOVERNMENT HOUSE, SHOWING THE
GOVERNMENT OFFICES]

I went to Government House, where Sir William told me that Moreton
was very seedy and wanted leave of absence, but that he had not been
able to let him go until the Government had found some one to take
his place, and that he intended to send me to relieve him. I told
Sir William that I had grave doubts about being able to perform the
duties satisfactorily, whereupon he told me that he had the same doubts
himself, but that I seemed to be the best that offered. “Get awa’, man,
get awa’; the sooner ye are in Samarai, the better pleased I’ll be
with ye.” Consequently I left Port Moresby on the following morning,
accompanied by Ross-Johnston and Farquhar. Some years afterwards
I read, in the _Illustrated London News_, an account written by
Ross-Johnston of the voyage of the _Guinevere_ from Port Moresby to
Samarai; it was eventful in its way, but I have not space for it here.
In 1897, I took up my new duties at Samarai, which were the beginning
of my official life in New Guinea.



CHAPTER IX


At Samarai I found Moreton looking very ill, and keenly anxious to
get away; Symons, late purser of the _Merrie England_, was now his
assistant and Subcollector of Customs instead of Armit. The latter had
turned his knowledge of botany to account by setting up as a collector
and trader of rubber; he was the first man in New Guinea to commence
that business, and it was he who taught the natives the method of
collecting and preparing it for market.

I asked Moreton to give me a sketch of my duties as a Resident
Magistrate, and he said everything was a Resident Magistrate’s duty:
in the absence of a surveyor, he had to survey any land purchased;
in the absence of a doctor, he had to set and amputate limbs; he had
also to drill his own police, act as gaoler and undertaker, sail the
_Siai_, marry people, in fact do any job of any description, from a
blacksmith’s upwards, not expressly allotted to some one else. If a
job were allotted to some one else, and that some one else failed to
do it, the Resident Magistrate must do it; Sir William MacGregor,
in fact, expected his Resident Magistrates to know everything and
to do everything. It was no excuse, Moreton stated, to say that one
did not know how to do it: that was all very well for a doctor, a
surveyor, a ship’s officer, or Custom’s official, but not for the
Resident Magistrate. Another of his duties was to make every shilling
of Government money allotted to him go as far as half a crown; if he
spent money in what the Governor or Treasurer considered an unnecessary
manner, he had the pleasure and privilege of making it up out of his
own pocket. His powers, however, were extensive: he could sentence
summarily up to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour, or fine up to
two hundred pounds; and, in the absence of the Governor, he could take
administrative action in any matter of urgency or importance; finally,
he occupied the enviable position of scapegoat, when such was needed.

“All this is very fine for you, Moreton,” I said, when he had
concluded. “You have been years in the Service and know things, whilst
I am very young for such an appointment, and have no experience.”
“Go to Armit if you get into a fix,” said Moreton, “he will pilot
you through all right, he is a walking encyclopædia; but don’t you
get Jock’s back up or you will never forget it. You can practically
exercise any power you please if you do right and succeed, but if
you make a mistake or fail, Jock will make you feel small enough to
crawl through a keyhole. Now then, here is a list of things that need
attending to at once. There is a murder at Awaiama, a man cut his
mother-in-law’s throat, catch him; there is to be a new Mission Station
at Cape Vogel, survey and buy the land from the natives; Fellows is in
trouble at the Trobriands, go and put him right; Bromilow has collected
a lot of orphans at Dobu, go and mandate them to the Mission; a man
named Ryan has shot a native at Ferguson Island, arrest him and inquire
into the case; Carruth has been supplying grog to the natives on Burns,
Philp’s diving boats, catch Carruth and deal with him; the _Siai’s_
decks need caulking and she needs new wire rigging; I’ve got the wire,
but there is no money with which to pay any one to do the job. Patten
has got into some sort of trouble at the south end of Goodenough, find
out what it’s all about; Thompson has started a cocoanut plantation
on the north-east coast of the island, look him up and see that he is
all right; when you get some spare time, go and buy a cargo of yams
for the gaol, and don’t pay more than 10s. per ton for them; see that
Billy the Cook shuts his pub at twelve o’clock, there are only fights
and rows if he is open later. Don’t use the police for arresting white
men if you can possibly avoid it; arrest them yourself. Some one stole
an anchor and chain from the _Siai_, I think it was Graham; search
his vessel the first time you come across him; he was last heard of
in the Trobriands; there are a handful of summonses for debt against
him too, serve them. Find German Harry and hold an inquest into the
death of one of his crew; look at the licences of all pearl shell and
bêche-de-mer vessels you come across, they dodge paying whenever they
can; if they pretend they have no cash, make them give you an order on
Burns, Philp and Co. There are a lot of letters about missing friends,
find out about the people for whom inquiries are made and answer them,
also send duplicates of your letters to the Government Secretary. The
Chief Judicial Officer is raising Cain about a lot of Mambare murderers
in the gaol on warrants of remand, he wants to know if I intend to
keep them without trial for the term of their natural lives; just work
through them in your spare time: they are the men that killed Green and
his detachment. There are a few other things that want attention, but
Symons will give you a list. Give Symons hell, if he gets behind at all
with the Headquarters’ returns, and keep your eye on the _Siai’s_ paint
and stores, for I’ll take my oath Symons doesn’t keep his whaleboat so
smart on his paint allowance. If you give the bo’sun of the _Merrie
England_ a bottle of whisky, he will steal enough brass-cleaning stuff,
sewing twine, and needles from her stores to keep you going for a
year. By the way, Jock won’t allow holystone for the decks, he says
it is extravagant, and that we must scrub them with sand and cocoanut
husk. They have small-pox in German New Guinea; send any vessel coming
from there into quarantine at once, ‘Clean Bill of Health’ or not.”

Symons was a married man with a young family: Moreton therefore had
allowed him to take possession of the Residency, whilst he occupied
a little three-roomed house, built of native material, in the gaol
compound and alongside the Government jetty. As Moreton pointed out,
it was much more convenient for a bachelor wishing to keep only two
servants--a cook and an orderly--than the big Residency; and the
labour of shifting one’s things backwards and forwards from the _Siai_
was much reduced. There was a detached two-roomed building used as a
cook-house and servants’ room; Moreton only used two rooms, one as a
bedroom and the other as a sitting-room; we dined on the verandah. I
investigated the third room, the one to be occupied by me until his
departure, and found a couple of trestles supporting a platform of
boards. “What on earth is this, Moreton?” I asked; “it strikes me as a
devilish hard bunk!” “The fact is,” said Moreton, “there have been a
few accidents lately, dynamite and diving and that sort of thing, and
as there was nowhere else to put the bodies, I kept them here till the
inquests were over, and they could be safely planted in the cemetery;
I believe one of the ungrateful beggars walks.” “I think I’ll have
a hammock slung,” I remarked; “I don’t so much mind sleeping in a
_morgue_, but I draw the line at a corpse’s bed; his spook might take a
fancy to occupy his old berth.”

“You might hunt up a suitable place on Logia Island for a new
cemetery,” Moreton said. “The one here, next the gaol, is getting
overcrowded for one thing, and for another, it is none too wholesome,
for all the coffins are made of thin cedar--some of the inhabitants
have not got coffins at all--and the damned crabs _will_ bore holes
down to them. I had an awful job to get enough sawn timber for a coffin
for Tommy Rous, but he’s tight enough, I think; I thought I owed him
something for all the pleasant nights we had spent together. By the
way, don’t let Symons read the Burial Service over any one if you can
help it; he reads it in a voice like a cock with a quinsy.” Moreton
complained that the Woodlark and Mambare miners were getting Samarai a
bad name. “They come here,” he said, “at the last gasp with dysentery
or malaria, wait a week or two for a vessel to take them to Australia,
and then, if the schooner is late, peg out, and give me all the work
of administering their affairs and replying to the letters of their
relations. I had a little luck with one lot, though; about a dozen
came in from the Woodlark, looking very bad, and just managed to catch
the _Clara Ethel_ bound for Cooktown. The skipper told me afterwards,
that he dumped seven corpses overboard before he reached there, and
they had to carry the rest up to the hospital.”

A few days after I arrived at Samarai, the _Ivanhoe_ came in from New
Britain bound for Cooktown, and Moreton made ready to depart. “Some
little time ago,” he told me, “my brother sent me some champagne and
some pâté de foie gras, and a cheque which I am going to blow on my
leave. I think we will invite Armit and Arbouine to dinner the night
before we sail, and polish off the fizz and pâté; but how the devil am
I to get the pâté cold? It is in china pots inside a soldered tin.”
“Tie it on to the _Siai’s_ anchor and drop it in fifty fathoms,” I
suggested; “it is cool enough down there.” The dinner came, the time
for the pâté also, and Moreton’s cook proudly produced, and placed in
front of him, a steaming, loathly-looking dish of an evil-smelling
mess. Moreton prodded at it. “What is this? I sent for the pâté, you
scoundrel: what poisonous mess have you got here?” “That’s all right,
sir, that’s the pâté; I’ve curried it!” I draw a veil over the language
that followed, and also over the fate of that boy.

Earlier in the day a cutter came in, manned by escaped French convicts
from New Caledonia; Moreton promptly placed them in gaol, telling me to
keep them there until the Chief Judicial Officer came, and I could get
his advice as to what was to be done with them. “What sort of warrant
am I to hold them on?” I asked; “it is all very fine for you, you are
skipping out, but what will happen to me when his Ex. finds out I have
half a dozen Frenchmen jugged without a warrant?” “You are a bright
R.M.,” said Moreton; “men are not sent to New Caledonia for stealing
apples; only the worst of their criminals go there, and I don’t want
half a dozen of the worst sort of convicts loose in this division;
law or no law, you hang on to them; charge them with having no lawful
visible means of support, or with a breach of the quarantine laws, or
entering from a foreign port without a ‘Bill of Health,’ or hold them
on suspicion of having stolen their cutter; anyhow, it is better that
you should get the sack, than that they should be let loose; Winter
will find a way of dealing with them.”

After dinner, on Moreton’s last night, we adjourned to Arbouine’s
house, where we remained until about eleven; as we returned home,
a wild riot at Billy the Cook’s pub attracted our attention, and
running there we found O’Regan the Rager being thrown down the steps.
O’Regan was fighting drunk, and making the night hideous with yells
and blasphemy. “Go home and to bed, O’Regan,” said Moreton. He would
not, and Moreton grabbed him; he promptly hit Moreton in the ribs,
and just as promptly I hit O’Regan under the ear and also seized him.
“Will you come quietly?” said Moreton; but O’Regan wanted blood and
gore, whereupon Moreton blew his whistle and a dozen police, running
up, collared him and took him off to gaol, Moreton and I continuing
our way home. We had hardly reached the house before a warder rushed
up, exclaiming, “That lunatic, the police have run in, is killing the
Wee-wees.” I bolted down to the gaol, and found all the cells were full
of natives except the one containing the Frenchmen, and accordingly the
gaoler had put O’Regan in with them; O’Regan had immediately proceeded
to dance with his heavy mining boots over their recumbent forms, and to
challenge them to fight.

I had the cell door opened, and told O’Regan that he would be put in
irons unless he kept quiet; the Frenchmen all clamoured to be taken
away from him. “I’m a plain drunk and disorderly, I am,” said O’Regan,
“and I’m not going to be shut up with a ---- lot of ---- foreign
criminals.” “That’s all very fine,” I told him, “but all the other
cells are full of natives and you are not going to dance over them;
gaoler, bring the irons, and we will make a ‘spread eagle’ of this man
on the floor.” Here the Frenchmen chipped in, saying they didn’t want
to remain in the cell with him even when ironed, and begged to be put
in with the natives, to which I accordingly agreed. O’Regan was left
with a bucket of water and a pannikin, and told that if he gave as
much as one more howl, he would be ironed to the floor. The following
morning, Moreton paid a visit to the gaol to say good-bye to the gaoler
and warders, and some estimable native friends of his, whom he had been
obliged to gaol for various trifles--such as assault, or burying their
deceased relatives in the villages. While he was there O’Regan, who by
this time was feeling rather piano, begged his pardon for hitting him
in the ribs, and apologized for giving him the trouble of using the
police for running him in. “Let him off with ten shillings and costs as
a plain drunk, Monckton,” said Moreton; “he seems very contrite, and
he’s got a lump as big as a hen’s egg where you hit him.”

The _Ivanhoe_ sailed, and with her, Moreton; my first duty was to hear
the cases set down at the Court House, amongst them of course being
O’Regan’s drunk. When his case came up, I fined him ten shillings; upon
which he gazed at me and remarked, “I’ve seen that blank man up to his
backside in mud at the Woodlark, hunting for pennyweights of gold,
and now he sits there like a blanky lord and fines me ten bob.” “Yes,
O’Regan,” I remarked, “very true; and now that blank man is going to
add five pounds to your fine for contempt of court!”

The night after Moreton’s departure I was peacefully sleeping, being
dog tired after a hard day, when I was awakened by some one shaking my
hammock. Jumping up I saw Robert Whitten, and demanded what he meant by
coming and disturbing a tired man at that hour. “So-and-so’s wife has
died suddenly,” he said, naming a European carpenter, who was married
to a native woman, “and we want you to come and look at the corpse,
to find out why she died.” Reluctantly I dressed, called a couple of
police, and went off corpse gazing. I found the widower looking very
distressed and frightened; he told me his wife had complained of a
sharp pain in her chest at different times, and that night it had been
very bad. “I sent to every store,” he said, “and I bought chlorodyne
and pain killer, fever mixture and pink pills, cough mixtures and
Mother Seigel’s syrup; I bought every sort of medicine they had got,
and I gave her some of each, hoping that one would fix her up. There
are the bottles, you can see I’ve done my best; I then sent for Bob
Whitten to ask him if he knew of anything else, and while Bob was here,
she died. Is there going to be an inquest, and shall I bring the body
up to your house?” “No, you won’t,” I said; “you will keep it here
until it is buried, and you need not worry about an inquest. I think
your wife died of heart disease, before all those drugs you poured down
her throat had time to poison her; but no one will ever know now.”

The following morning I crawled out to breakfast at about ten o’clock,
feeling a horrible worm, and found an immaculately dressed Symons
sitting on the verandah waiting for me. “Come to breakfast, Mr.
Symons?” “No, thank you,” said Symons in a pious voice, “I had my
breakfast two hours ago; I adhere strictly to office hours.” “You are
a lucky dog,” I remarked; “it seems to me that my hours are all day
and all night as well. What’s the trouble now?” “The gaol returns,” he
replied; “the gaol is half full of people under Warrants of Remand;
the R.M. has been too busy, and latterly too ill, to attend to them;
we are over-crowded, and unless something is done, there will be a
lot of sickness. The Mambare men, too, are giving no end of trouble,
and should be transferred elsewhere; I’m getting anxious about what
will happen when you leave with the bulk of the police.” I satisfied
Symons by promising to inquire at once into the cases of all the men
on remand; and, after breakfast, began upon the men charged with the
murders of John Green, Assistant Resident Magistrate at Tamata, his
police, and five European miners.

The inquiry resulted in the committal for trial for murder of
practically the whole of the Mambare prisoners then in gaol in Samarai,
and it also involves an explanation on my part of the events leading
up to it. In 1894--I think it was--Sir William MacGregor, accompanied
by Moreton, R.M. for the Division, ascended the Mambare River from
its outfall in Duvira Bay to its highest navigable point, a few miles
above Tamata creek. What are now known as the Mambare and Duvira Bay,
were originally named by Admiral Moresby the Clyde and Traitor’s
Bay respectively. The banks of the river were found to be fairly
densely populated by a strong and warlike race of people, with whom,
however, they avoided coming into hostility. Sir William discovered
the existence of gold in the sand and shores of the river; and, upon
his reporting that fact in the course of his official dispatch, a
prospecting party of miners from Queensland was fitted out, headed
by a man named Clark, to be shortly followed by another party led by
Elliott, for the exploitation of the discovery.

Clark’s party arrived at Samarai, and, in spite of Moreton’s protests,
went to the Mambare, where they apparently had got into friendly
relations with the natives, and had employed them to assist in hauling
their boat up the rapids. A short distance above Tamata the whole of
the white men composing the party--with the exception of their leader
Clark--left their boat with their rifles in it and walked along the
bank, whilst the Mambare natives hauled her up a rapid by means of a
long rope, Clark meanwhile steering the boat. Suddenly in the middle of
the rapid the natives cut the rope, thereby allowing the boat to drift
rapidly down stream and into the midst of a swarm of following canoes
manned by armed natives, who at once launched showers of spears against
Clark. The latter used his revolver for a few minutes, and then fell,
pierced by a dozen spears; the remainder of his party rushed down the
bank, drove off the natives by revolver fire, and, having recovered
their boat, fled down stream, where they met Elliott’s party coming
up. The two parties, then uniting forces, took a quite illegal and
unnecessary vengeance by burning villages, cutting down cocoanut trees,
and generally involving every tribe and village on the river in the
murder and disturbance; having succeeded in doing this, they fled to
the beach and thence south to Samarai.

Sir William MacGregor hastily proceeded to the Mambare, some fighting
took place, and several arrests of natives were made, including,
amongst others, one Dumai. Sir William then decided to place a police
post and magistrate on the Mambare to control the miners and natives;
for this work, out of the small number of officers available, not
numbering twenty all told, he selected John Green. This officer was,
for native affairs, absolutely the best man the service of New Guinea
ever possessed; he spoke Motuan as well as a Motuan; he could speak
practically every language then known in New Guinea, and he had the
faculty of gaining a native people’s confidence and learning their
language in quicker time than any other man I have ever met; above
all, he was absolutely fearless. John Green was therefore, at this
time, the most valuable man for a difficult post in the New Guinea
service.

[Illustration: TAMATA CREEK]

When Green was appointed to take charge of the Mambare, he asked that
Dumai--the Mambare prisoner--should be released and recruited into the
Armed Constabulary, to form a unit of his detachment for that post;
this was done, and Dumai, late prisoner, became a full private of the
Armed Constabulary in the Mambare detachment. From this appointment
came later the tragedy of Tamata Station, for which many have been
blamed, including and principally Green. It is not my wish to blame
or excuse anybody, but in this matter no one other than Green was in
error. As I said before, he was the best man for native affairs New
Guinea possessed; he was given a difficult job, and it was therefore
necessary he should have a free hand in the selection of his men; he
picked his men and made a mistake; and for that error of judgment he
paid with his life and the lives of many others. But Green died--as did
in later years Christopher Robinson--a brave and gallant gentleman;
expiating with all he had to give, his mistake and not his fault.

Green and his men were encamped at the mouth of Tamata creek on the
Mambare, all the tribes along the river being in a turmoil and at
heart hostile; he--as he thought--got on friendly terms with several
of the villages, and employed the men about his new Station. He found
that the site selected for his new post was subject to inundation, and
so decided to shift it some miles inland from the river on to higher
ground; accordingly, he proceeded daily with his detachment to clear
the land and erect new buildings, the men accompanying him always
including Dumai and marching under arms. Green forbade the villagers
who worked and assisted at the Station to carry spears, clubs, or arms
of any description. About a week after he had begun his new Station,
Dumai came to him and said that the local natives complained that
though Green expected them to show trust in him by working without
arms, he did not reciprocate, as the police were always fully armed;
and that, therefore, the natives were distrustful of him. Green replied
that it was the order of the Government that the police should carry
arms at all times, even in the Government villages; whereupon Dumai
said that the confidence and trust of the Mambare people would never
be gained unless they too were trusted. Green refused to allow them
to carry arms on his station, but told Dumai that, as a proof of good
faith, he and the detail of police accompanying him would work unarmed
among the village people at the new Station site.

On the morning following this conversation Green fell-in his
detachment, under his principal non-commissioned officer, Corporal
Sedu, and told them that they were to accompany him to work at the new
Station unarmed, and then ordered them to pile arms. Corporal Sedu
protested, stating that the orders were that they--as police--were
always to carry arms. Green then repeated his order, “pile arms”;
about two-thirds of the men obeyed; Corporal Sedu and a few older
constabulary, however, retained their rifles. Green then gave the
order to march, after which he said to the men, “I see I have some
brave men and some cowards; the cowards carry their arms.” Corporal
Sedu halted and said, “If you say that, sir, look at this,” and flung
his rifle into a bush, an example followed by the rest of the armed
men. “Ah, Sedu,” said Green, “I thought I could trust you.” The whole
party then proceeded to the new Station site, where some dispersed with
Sedu to seek timber trees in the forest, whilst others remained to
work upon the houses with Green. Suddenly upon Green and his unarmed
men there fell a body of spear- and club-men, who made short work of
them. Sedu, hearing what was taking place, summoned his men and marched
them up to share the fate of their officer, even though he and the
unarmed privates with him could easily have escaped. So fell one of New
Guinea’s best officers, and a fine detachment of police.

Dumai deserted to his own people, and instructed them how--under the
leadership of their chief, Bushimai--to fall upon the white miners,
who had already settled on the river. These miners, however (in spite
of the boasted courage of the white man, a courage I have had drummed
into my ears during many weary years), upon news reaching them of
the death of Green and his men, broke and fled without waiting for
attack; five of them were accounted for as being butchered on the way
to the coast, but probably others were killed, and Heaven alone knows
how many of their native employés also. The few armed native police
at Tamata who had been left in charge of the old Station, finding
themselves apparently isolated and abandoned by all men, without even
a non-com. in charge, marched for the coast, picking up and saving on
the way several native carriers. The evidence of these fine men was
the only coherent evidence I got at the inquiry. Had but one of that
panic-stricken lot of miners had the pluck to rally his mates, go
to the Station, and take charge of the remainder of the police, all
of them might have been saved; as it was, they fled like curs, and
afterwards howled for a bloody vengeance against the Mambare people.

[Illustration: BUSHIMAI, CHIEF OF THE BINANDERE PEOPLE]

Green’s head was cut off and carried away as a trophy, and his body
buried; not one of the bodies of the white men were eaten, though some
of those of the police and carriers were. One miner climbed a tree
near Duvira village and, being discovered there, was stoned from the
tree and clubbed to death by children. A party of five miners and
some of their boys drifted out to sea on a raft, with neither food
nor water, except a tin of treacle; after seven days they were picked
up by a German man-of-war, and taken to Sydney. Eight years later, I
found Green’s cook living amongst a tribe upon the north-east coast, by
whom he had been adopted, and one of whose women he had married. Many
of the facts of the massacre I heard, a number of years afterwards,
from some of the natives concerned in it, who were--as quite reformed
characters--serving under me in the Armed Constabulary.

News of the affair at last drifted through to Moreton at Samarai; he
first sent a vessel with the report to Port Moresby, and left for
the Mambare in the _Siai_, accompanied by a miner named Alexander
Elliott. The tidings were longer in reaching the Governor than they
should have been, as the vessel carrying them encountered head winds
all the way; and a duplicate dispatch, sent by Moreton overland, was
delayed for some days at a village _en route_ by a presumptuous and
thick-headed Samoan teacher of the London Missionary Society. When
Moreton arrived at the Mambare, he ascended the river in a whaleboat
to the point where Green had been killed, the natives using against
him on several occasions the rifles they had taken at the Station; for
these, however, they had already expended most of the ammunition, and
were at the best extremely bad shots. Finding that nothing was to be
done at the Station, and that some miners, seven days’ journey further
inland, were safe, Moreton returned to the _Siai_ to await the arrival
of the Governor. During Moreton’s absence some of the crew had taken
the dingey ashore for firewood, and being suddenly surprised by the
natives, had rushed into the sea and swam off to the _Siai_. Sione
and Warapas, the coxswain and mate, had then placed their rifles in a
cask and swum ashore, pushing it in front of them; when able to get a
footing on the bottom, they had used their rifles against the men on
the beach, and recovered the dingey. This action on the part of the two
boys strikes one as an extremely plucky one, when one remembers that
both sharks and alligators haunt the waters of Duvira Bay.

Sir William MacGregor now appeared upon the scene; his patrols of
constabulary swept the country from the Opi River to the north, as
far as the Gira to the south of the Mambare; and the _Ruby_ launch
patrolled the river. Clark’s murderers and Dumai, together with
Bushimai, his sons and a number of principal offenders, were captured:
it became a question with the natives whether they were to surrender,
fight, or flee from the river beyond the reach of the patrols, and
after a time most of them decided to take refuge in flight. Shanahan
and a fresh detachment of constabulary were stationed at Tamata, the
miners returned to their work, and a fresh start was made; but a
breach had been opened between Europeans and natives that it was to
take many years to heal, and was also to lead to a great deal more
bloodshed. The only man in New Guinea who would have been able to deal
with the situation now existing--other than the Governor himself--was
John Green; and he had gone where miners and natives alike worry not.
The Northern Division was destined for many years to prove the death
of a long succession of officers or, at the best, the grave of their
reputations. Shanahan, Armit, Lynch, Park, Close, and Walker were to
die; whilst several others were either dismissed or called upon to
resign. Many officers in later years preferred to resign rather than be
sent there.

[Illustration: TAMATA STATION]



CHAPTER X


The night before I sailed from Samarai, Sione came to me and told me
that he had recently been married, and that Moreton had promised to
allow him to take his wife on the next round trip of the _Siai_; he
also asked a like permission for Warapas. I remarked, that if Moreton
had given leave I had no objection, and that if one woman came, I saw
no reason why two should not. “Very good, sir,” said Sione; “if you
have no objection, Warapas will get up anchor and take the _Siai_ out
when you are ready, and a new boy, who signed on to-day, will act as
mate; I will go off in a canoe and pick up my wife and Mrs. Warapas,
and come on board as you go through the passage, since the tide will
not allow me to come back.” To this I consented, telling Sione to order
Warapas to send a boat off for me at midnight, when the tide served.

Night and eleven o’clock came, my books, papers, and private stores
were sent off to the _Siai_, when Poruma--Moreton’s private attendant
who had been handed over to me during his absence--said, “You have
no whisky on board, sir.” Accordingly I went up to Billy’s pub to
buy some; emerging from there, with a bottle of whisky clasped in
each hand, I encountered a boat’s crew from the _Siai_, and the newly
signed-on acting mate. That potentate gazed at my bottles and me,
and then commanded his boat’s crew to seize me and take me on board;
protests, curses, and threats were unavailing; seized I was, held
firmly, dragged on board, and shoved down into my cabin, to be joined
the next moment by a frightfully angry and protesting Poruma. “What
the devil is the meaning of this, Poruma?” I demanded. “I don’t know,
sir, I think the new mate is mad.” The cabin door was locked, and I
cursed through the ports, while Poruma abused the crew in Suau and
threatened the vengeance to come. Slowly the _Siai_ dropped down the
harbour, until a canoe scraped alongside and Coxswain Sione came on
board, and in a moment the cabin scuttle was unfastened and Poruma and
I released. Foaming with rage, I paraded the crew on deck and demanded
an explanation of the outrage, which was explained in this way: the
acting mate had served in a trading vessel at Thursday Island, where
his master was in the habit of getting beastly drunk on the eve of
sailing, and refusing then to come on board; and he always instructed
a boat’s crew to land, dodge about outside the pub, and carry him on
board whether he liked it or not. Going ashore with a crew to fetch
me, he had been told by Poruma that I had gone to the pub; he had
followed me there and, seeing me emerge with two bottles of whisky in
my hands, had concluded that his old Thursday Island custom was to be
carried out. My violence, threats, and curses he had taken as quite
in the natural order of events. I listened to the explanation, and
then gently suggested that the acting mate should spend the next two
days at the mast-head; Poruma said he ought to be ironed and put in
the hold, as his violent action had prevented him from telling me that
there was no soap on board. “Where is the ship’s soap, Sione?” I asked.
“That has nothing to do with my private stores.” “Mr. Moreton,” said
Sione, “met plenty ships and plenty dirty men; when a dirty man came
on board the _Siai_, Mr. Moreton would say as he left, ‘take this with
my compliments,’ and give him a bar of soap. I suppose Mr. Moreton or
Poruma forgot to tell you that it was all done.”

At Dobu I landed and called on the Rev. William Bromilow; as both he
and Mrs. Bromilow had spent many years engaged in missionary work among
the islands and were great friends of Moreton’s, he acted as a sort of
bureau of information in regard to the native affairs of Normanby and
Ferguson Islands. He nearly always had a long list of native crimes for
one to investigate, principally murder, sorcery and adultery; the two
latter, unless promptly attended to, invariably ended in the former.
Bromilow gave me word of the man Ryan, and some particulars as to where
I could find the native witnesses to the murder, which he had been
reported as having committed; off accordingly I went, and arrested him.

The affair shortly was this. Ryan and his mate had been prospecting
Normanby Island for gold: having no luck, they had gone to a native
village and endeavoured to hire a canoe and some natives to take them
to Dobu, where they hoped to find a vessel bound for Samarai. The
natives undertook to take them there, “to-morrow”; several days passed
and it was still always, “to-morrow.” The two white men became angry,
thinking that the natives were merely fooling them and keeping them
hanging on for what they could get in the shape of tobacco and “trade.”
Accordingly Ryan had gone to a canoe that was lying on the beach and
threatened that, unless the natives launched it at once and took them
to Dobu, he would break it up; it was explained to him that the owners
of that canoe were away and therefore it could not be used. Ryan
refused to believe the natives and began to smash it with a tomahawk;
at once a native, armed also with a tomahawk, rushed at him to protect
the canoe. Ryan then drew his revolver and shot the man. I committed
him to the Central Court for trial; and, not wishing to carry him and
his mate about with me on the _Siai_, decided to run back to Samarai
and lodge him in the gaol, pending the arrival of the Chief Justice.

Hardly had the _Siai_ dropped anchor in Samarai harbour, than Symons
came running down the beach yelling, “The Mambare men in the gaol have
broken loose; they have cleared out the warders and are now armed with
crowbars and picks. For God’s sake hurry up!” Hastily I ran up to the
gaol, followed by my armed boat’s crew, and in a few minutes we had the
Mambare men in irons. Then I sent for Armit, to ask his advice as to
what I should do with them. “Flog the ringleader and keep the lot in
irons,” said Armit; “there is nothing else to be done.” The following
morning, as visiting Justice to the gaol, I held an inquiry into
the whole affair, the result of which was that I ordered Goria, the
murderer of Clark, and Bushimai, who were responsible for the outbreak,
each to receive six lashes with a “cat of nine tales.” This being done,
and Ryan having been safely lodged in gaol, I sailed again for Dobu and
the Trobriands.

At Dobu I learnt from Bromilow that Fellows needed me badly, and so
went straight on to the Trobriands. One morning at daybreak, when
the _Siai_ was about twenty miles away from the group, Sione came
to my cabin and said, “The _Eboa_ is in sight, sir.” I went on deck
and sighted Graham’s old tub about five miles distant, and palpably
endeavouring to dodge away from us. “Chase, Sione,” I said. “Give the
_Siai_ all she can carry.” It was a dirty morning, with a rough sea and
nasty fierce rain squalls at intervals. Until the _Eboa_ was sighted we
had been dodging along under mizzen, staysail and jib only; Sione--who
was at all times only too pleased to carry on--at once set mainsail and
topsails, and the _Siai_, with her lee rail under water, tore after the
_Eboa_ as if she liked it. We began rapidly to overhaul her, while the
wretched _Eboa_ tried every point of sailing in an effort to escape.
“Look, sir,” said Sione, “a _guba_ to windward.” A _guba_ is a fierce
blinding rain squall, very narrow in width--sometimes only half a mile
and seldom more than three miles--tearing its own track across the
sea, and rarely lasting more than half an hour to an hour in duration.
I looked at the _guba_, then I looked at the wriggling _Eboa_, still
carrying every possible stitch of her ragged canvas. “Carry on,
coxswain,” I said; “it would be a disgrace for the Government ship to
shorten sail while that old tub carries it.” Whish! came the _guba_; on
her beam ends went the _Siai_; bang! bang! bang! went topsail, staysail
and mainsail; and, amidst the devil’s own din, we brought the crippled
_Siai_ up into the wind, hove-to, and began to clear away our wreckage.
Nothing was to be seen more than fifty yards away in the blinding rain
and spray torn from the tops of the waves by the squall. “God help the
_Eboa_,” I said to myself, “for she must have gone to Kingdom come.”

As we worked at our wreckage, the _guba_ passed as swiftly as it had
come, and when the sky cleared we sighted the _Eboa_ uninjured, still
carrying all sail, the squall having missed her altogether. While we
watched her, she apparently became aware of the crippled state of the
_Siai_, for she suddenly went about and stood down to us; when within
hailing distance Graham jumped on her rail and hailed: “_Black Maria_,
are you in any danger?” “No,” I yelled back, “but there is a fine big
bill for sails, thanks to you.” “All right, good-bye, this is no place
for me;” and away went Graham, while the _Siai_ proceeded to crawl
into the Trobriands. I did not again fall in with Graham for many
months, by which time he had paid his debts and the summonses had been
withdrawn. When I did fall in with him, however, there still remained
the matter of the anchor and chain. “Touching the matter of that anchor
and chain,” I remarked. “There will be nothing further said about it by
either Moreton or myself; that matter is settled once for all, after
the way you stood down to my assistance in the _guba_, knowing well
that, even if you helped me, I should have been obliged to serve the
summonses on you and haul you into Samarai to answer to them, and that
if I discovered the Government anchor and chain in your ship, I should
also have had to jug you. I have reported the gear as lost, and if
there is any further fuss, either Moreton or I will pay for them; but I
want to know whether you really did collar them?” “If nothing further
is to be said,” replied Graham, “I don’t mind telling you that I did
take them. By the time I had refitted the _Eboa_, I was up to my eyes
in debt to the stores; and they--knowing that they had the security
of my boat whilst in Samarai--would not sell me an anchor and chain,
for fear of my clearing out to German New Guinea and leaving them in
the lurch. I always meant to pay my debts to them, but I couldn’t do
it while the _Eboa_ was tied up in Samarai; I would not steal the gear
from a trader who could ill spare it, but I thought the Government
could well afford an anchor and chain for an enterprising pioneer.
Accordingly, one night I quietly sailed alongside the _Siai_, when only
a few of her crew were on board, and sending a couple of my boys to
her with a concertina and a supply of betel-nut, they wiled her anchor
watch into going into the forecastle. I then unshackled the _Siai’s_
chain at her windlass, fastened it on to my own, and--as the _Siai_
drifted away--got my own boys back on board, lifted the anchor and went
out to sea. The rest of the story you know; but, as a matter of fact,
when you chased me, the _Siai’s_ anchor and chain were the only ones I
possessed. Now they are at the bottom of the sea, for as soon as I
had money enough to pay my debts and buy some gear, I let her anchor
and chain go in deep water.” I only met Graham again once or twice,
but he afterwards took an appointment under some German prospecting
company, and was killed in German New Guinea.

[Illustration: VILLAGE IN THE TROBRIAND ISLANDS]

At last the _Siai_ came to anchor off Kavitari, and I called upon the
Rev. ---- Fellows, and asked him what all the trouble was about. The
first thing was, that there had been an epidemic of some sort among
the natives, scores had died, and been buried a few inches below the
surface in the houses of the village; truly the stench was appalling.
The village was situated only a few score yards from the Mission
house. I sent for the village constable, and demanded what he meant
by allowing burials in the village. “I cannot do anything with the
people,” replied the village constable; “they will not listen to the
wise orders of the Government or the good advice of the missionary.”
“He is a liar,” said Poruma; “make him dig up the corpses and put them
in the cemetery. That man has got ten wives, and is always gammoning
Mr. Moreton; some of his relations are buried in his own house.” “Is
this village constable to be altogether trusted?” I asked Mr. Fellows.
“No,” was the reply; “I regret to say that he gives me more trouble
than any one else, and shelters himself under the protection of the
Government and his office.” “Then, Mr. Fellows,” I said, “I should
be greatly obliged if you would send off your Mission boat to the
_Siai_, to carry a messenger from me, who will instruct Sione to land
all available men, whilst I pay a visit to the v.c.’s house.” Poruma
told the v.c. that we were going to his house, and he at once tried to
make excuses to leave, upon the ground that he wished the village and
his house cleaned up to a fitting state to receive me. “Don’t let him
go,” said Poruma; “the last time we were here, he got ten pounds of
tobacco from Mr. Moreton to buy yams with, and then got called away to
see a sick mother.” Poruma then kindly leading the v.c. by the hand,
we proceeded to his house; there--as Poruma had said--we found several
bodies just beneath the floor, which the v.c. swore must have been
placed there without his knowledge.

Going along through the village, Poruma still kindly leading the v.c.
by the hand, we found everywhere freshly buried bodies. Mr. Fellows,
who had at first accompanied me, then, at my request, went back to the
Mission house, for the village was now swarming like a hive of angry
bees. Sione, Warapas and a dozen armed men having by this time made
their appearance, I ordered the v.c. to tell the villagers at once to
disinter their dead and bury them in the cemetery. For a few minutes
we were defied, but the police--mercilessly using the butts of their
rifles on the heels and bare toes of the men--made them see reason,
and drove them to the graves, where they were compelled to gather
up the rotting remains of the corpses in baskets, and carry them to
the cemetery. Once, and once only, they turned nasty; but Warapas
immediately withdrew a boat’s crew and, before half a dozen levelled
rifles, the Kavitari men funked. That exhuming of bodies was altogether
a sickening and disgusting business, for matter and beastliness dripped
the whole time from the baskets, and carriers, police and myself were
seized by periodical fits of vomiting.

Having cleaned up the village, I again visited Mr. Fellows and asked
him what his further troubles were. I found they were mainly due to the
influence of the old paramount chief of the islands, Enamakala, who
lived some ten miles inland, and who instigated thefts from the Mission
and attacks upon the teachers. Plainly it was necessary for me to deal
with the old chief, but I knew that, if I marched inland with an armed
force, there would be a lot of bloodshed and the chief would escape; if
I left, however, without doing anything, he would become bolder, and
the position of the Mission after my departure would be an impossible
one.

Accordingly, accompanied by Poruma and Warapas, I went off to his
village, first sending one of the local natives ahead to tell him I
was coming. Poruma wore Moreton’s revolver under his jumper, and I, a
couple of revolvers under a loose shirt: Warapas carried my gun, for
the ostensible purpose of shooting pigeons, but had a supply of ball
cartridges in his pouch. For fighting in scrub, a double-barrelled
fowling piece with ball is just as effective as a rifle--shot, of
course, is not much use against men carrying thick shields. Passing
through the numerous villages on the way to the centre one, where the
old chief lived, I noticed everywhere fresh graves under the houses,
and found there were large numbers of the villagers sick and dying
from dysentery. Arriving at my destination, I found the chief seated
on a sort of raised platform, surrounded by at least two hundred men,
who all set up a tremendous clamour as I walked up to him. “Tell
him, Poruma, that I have come to have a little friendly conversation
with him,” I said, as I climbed up on to the platform alongside old
Enamakala, who was an enormously fat man with a shaved and shining
head. Poruma told him what I said, and he replied that it was good
and he was pleased to see me. Then he wanted to know why Warapas and
Poruma did not stoop half-double before him as did his own people.
“Because they serve the great white Queen whom the Governor told you
about,” I replied, “and stoop before no man.” Old Enamakala gave me
some fruit, and I presented him with some cigarettes; then we settled
down to business. First of all I asked him to make his people stop
yelling, as it was not fitting that our conversation should be carried
on in such a babel; a sort of grand vizier person, with a face like a
fowl, screeched at the crowd and the noise fell to a murmur. The chief
suddenly bent over to me and ran his hands over my waist; as they came
in contact with the pistol butts he smiled knowingly at me and said:
“That is good. Poruma, tell your master I wanted to know whether he
was fool enough to walk the bush paths unarmed.” Poruma told him, that
as an act of politeness to him I had covered up my arms (great always
was the cheek of Poruma), as I did not wish to make him nervous, but
that now, as we were on such friendly terms, I should wear them openly.
Accordingly I slipped my hand inside my shirt, unhooked my belt and
fastened it on again outside, Poruma doing the same.

Then, through Poruma, I told him the Government was exceedingly
displeased with him for allowing his people to steal from the Mission,
and for threatening the teachers with spears; also for permitting
the burial of the dead in the villages, and for refusing to send the
children to school. Then I demanded that some six men, whose names the
missionary had given me as having behaved in a particularly outrageous
manner, should be given up; also that he should come out with me to the
coast and attend at the Court, at which I should punish the wrongdoers,
as a sign that he supported the authority of the Government. The chief
said he did not want to go to the coast, and that he did not know where
the men were. “If I don’t get the men I want,” I said, “I shall keep
you in gaol until I do get them; as for coming to the coast, you must
do that, whether you like it or not; I promise you safety and release
when I get them.” The devil’s own clatter was set up by the natives at
this, but Poruma yelled at them to shut up. “Tell the chief, Poruma,
that I have twelve lives at my belt, and if there is any hostility,
I’ll blow a hole through him as a start.” Old Enamakala said, that he
would not have seen me, if he had known I was going to treat him in
such a fashion. “Tell the old reprobate, Poruma, that I know he thought
he was safe, when he heard there were only three of us coming; and that
I also knew, that if I had come with a strong force, he would have
slipped into the bush, and set his people chucking spears.” The chief
argued and protested for some time; then he said that he would come in
his own palanquin, as he was fat, and also that it was not dignified
for him to walk so far. “You tell him that the Governor is the biggest
chief in New Guinea, and he walked right across the island, so that he
can walk to the coast. I walk first, then he comes, then follow you and
Warapas, and Enamakala can have as many men as he likes bringing up the
rear.” The chief grumbled and complained, but at last we set off in the
order named, with Heaven only knows how many hundred men following us,
and the women all howling behind. Half an hour after we started on our
journey to the coast, a messenger caught us up and told me that the six
men I wanted were coming after us to surrender themselves.

Half-way to the coast, we got one bad fright, for a terrific yelling
broke out ahead of us and was taken up by the men behind. The chief
gabbled excitedly to his followers, whilst I held him affectionately by
the arm with one hand, and ostentatiously displayed a heavy revolver in
the other. “Ask him what the devil all the racket is about, Poruma.”
Then we found that a large body of natives was preceding us, warning
the villagers, that they were not to interfere in what was taking
place; this party had come into contact with a couple of boats’ crews
from the _Siai_, whom Sione, getting nervous, had dispatched after
me. I sent Warapas off with one of the chief’s followers to bring the
_Siai’s_ men to me, and told Enamakala that there was nothing to get
excited about, as it was only an escort coming up to accompany me home
in fitting state. When we arrived at the Mission Station, I found the
six offenders whom I wanted, sitting outside, they having made a detour
in the bush and passed us on the way. “Good Heavens!” called out Mrs.
Fellows to her husband as I entered the Mission grounds, “here comes
the great Enamakala, following Mr. Monckton like a little dog!” “Mrs.
Fellows,” I remarked, “if you want to make a lifelong friend of the old
fellow, you will give him some sugary tea at once, for he has walked
further and faster than ever in his life before. He is not a bad old
chap when you know the way to treat him.” The chief spent the night on
board the _Siai_: I reassured him by permitting about twenty of his
people to sleep on board also.

On the following morning I held a session of the district court at
the Mission house, and sentenced the six offenders to varying terms
of imprisonment. The chief at once became very friendly with the
missionary, and begged him to intercede with me for the men, saying
that if Mr. Fellows could get them let off, he would help the Mission
in every possible way. Mr. Fellows accordingly begged me to let them go
again, and I like a fool consented, thinking that I should encourage
friendly relations, and at the same time save the Government the
expense of six prisoners; but later, when the Governor heard what I had
done, he gave me--as I have previously mentioned--a severe lecture for
permitting the Mission to interfere with the course of justice. The old
chief then made me a present of his own carved lime spoon; I told him
that I should like to make him a return present, but that I did not
know what to give him--the trade in pearls had filled his villages with
tomahawks, print, trade goods, etc., and really I had nothing to give
that he did not possess already. “I have not got a knife to cut off
my hair with, such as that you used this morning,” he said; therefore
I conferred upon him my razor, strop, and brush, with a couple of bars
of yellow soap, which I got from the Mission. Old Enamakala was much
pleased with the gift, and, when we parted, he swore there should be no
further burials in the villages, or harrying of the missionaries.

At the Trobriands more outward and visible signs of respect were paid
to the chiefs than I have met with in any other part of New Guinea.
The old paramount chief never walked, but was always carried in a
palanquin borne on the backs of men, and was invariably accompanied by
his sorcerer and a sort of grand vizier. Before the old chief, women
crawled on their bellies, and men bent almost to the ground.

I have lately received from Dr. Seligman, F.R.S., a book written by him
entitled, “The Melanesians of British New Guinea,” in which he flatly
contradicts a statement made by Sir William MacGregor that Enamakala
was the paramount chief of this group of islands. Dr. Seligman is a
personal friend of my own, and a man of world-wide celebrity as an
authority upon anthropology, and he is a man to whose views, in most
cases, I should immediately defer; but, in this instance, I have no
hesitation in saying that he is not right.

Sir William MacGregor’s statement was quite correct; he is not a man in
the habit of making rash assertions upon hearsay evidence. Moreton knew
the Trobriand Islands better than any man either before or since, and
he always held that undoubtedly Enamakala was paramount chief. I, when
acting for Moreton, never had occasion to doubt this fact, and never
met a chief who disputed his position as such; in fact, I myself have
seen the chiefs stooping before him and paying homage. Certainly after
his death, “Christianized” chiefs, under the influence of the Mission,
declared that his successor had no authority over them, as did also
other chiefs holding Government authority as village constables; but
before the domination of Government and the influence of the Mission
were established, there is no doubt Enamakala was supreme.

Elaborately carved and painted shields and spears of heavy ebony were
the arms of offence and defence of the Trobriand Islanders; both
plainly showing, by their exaggeration of design and size, that long
since, this people had finished with fighting or war as a serious
thing. Broad-bladed wooden clubs, shaped like a Roman sword or a
Turkish scimitar, were also carried; but all alike showed, from their
fantastic carving and shape, that beauty of pattern and design had been
far more considered by the makers than effectiveness as weapons. The
Trobriand people, or rather their sorcerers, had brought poisoning to
a fine art, using as their most deadly poison the gall of a certain
species of fish.

The Trobriand people acquired so many steel tools from their trade in
pearls, that afterwards, the astute German Harry made a good haul in
money by purchasing back from the natives--for tobacco--hundreds of
axes, adzes, and tomahawks, which he then sold to miners bound for the
Mambare, or traders working at other islands where the steel tools
still possessed a very high value. Leaving the Trobriands I fell in
with his vessel, the _Galatea_, and held an inquiry into the death
of one of his crew; he, however, came out of it with a clean sheet,
and was rather aggrieved at the Government considering it necessary
to watch him so closely. Harry’s vessel was loaded with native sago,
cocoanuts, tobacco, and a deck cargo of pigs, which he was going to
exchange for pearls. Parting with him, the _Siai_ sighted and chased a
cutter, but the people on board her apparently had bad consciences, for
she fled over a reef where the water was too shallow for the _Siai_ to
follow, and disappeared into the night.

At Wagipa we caught Patten, and I committed him to the Central Court
for trial for shooting a native during a quarrel; we also took with
us his native wife, Satadeai, and half a dozen native witnesses of
the shooting affray. The _Siai_ left Wagipa towing Patten’s boat--a
thing little bigger than a whaleboat, and hitherto manned solely by
Patten and his wife. As we stood across the Straits between Ferguson
and Goodenough Islands, the look-out at our mast-head reported a large
canoe, crowded with men, and apparently trying to dodge out of our
way. The _Siai_ ran down to the canoe before a strong breeze; she came
from the northern coast of Goodenough Island, but we found nothing
suspicious in her; so, after exchanging a few sticks of tobacco for
fish, we went on our way.

Night, a strong south-easter and rough seas came together; by morning
we were still battling against the head wind, in much the same place
as we had been on the previous evening. Again the look-out reported
a canoe; this time a small out-rigger, struggling in the big seas,
with but a single man in it. To the canoe went the _Siai_, only to
find the man half paralysed by fright and exhaustion; time and again
we got within a few yards, yelled at him and threw ropes, but all he
would do was to look straight ahead and mechanically keep, with his
paddles, his tiny craft’s head to the waves. The sea was too rough for
us to drop a boat, but at last, sailing close to the canoe, Poruma
and Warapas--secured by ropes round their waists--leapt into the sea
and fastened a rope round the stranger and his canoe, whereupon we
hauled the lot on board together. We found the native to be a Ferguson
Islander, who had been taken by surprise and blown out to sea by the
squalls of the previous night. The man at first was greatly relieved
and overjoyed at finding himself safe on the _Siai_; then, when warmed
and fed, he got in a funk that we should carry him away with us, as
others of his people had been carried off by strange vessels. “Take
me to my home,” he said, “and I will give you pigs or women, yams and
sweet potatoes.” Satadeai told him we did not want his gifts, but
would safely land him at his village when the weather permitted; also
that I should be pleased if he would induce his friends to sell us
all the yams and sweet potatoes they did not require. The _Siai_ then
put in three uncomfortable days, waiting for the weather to moderate
sufficiently to permit us to land the man; then land him we did, and
that was the last we saw of either him or his yams.

We learnt one thing, however, from his village friends and relations,
namely, that the large canoe we had spoken the day before we picked him
up, had been to Ferguson on a cannibal raid, where they had captured
and eaten several people. I groaned as I thought how I had had that
canoe full of malefactors in my hands, and had let them go; I also
thought of the delightful story they would be able to tell in the
villages. Poruma said, “Mr. Moreton would have known; he would not have
let that canoe go. Mr. Moreton, he----” What Moreton would have done, I
don’t know, as Poruma was asked to go to the mast-head and wait there
until I needed him. Poruma at times was trying to the nerves! From here
we sailed for Samarai.



CHAPTER XI


While we were at Samarai, I put Patten to work re-rigging the _Siai_.
When Sir William MacGregor arrived, he gently hinted that he rather
thought I must have caught Patten for the express purpose of refitting
the _Siai_, a remark that I thought was better passed over in dignified
silence!

Hardly had the _Siai_ dropped her anchor, when in came a cutter owned
by Thompson--the man owning the plantation on Goodenough Island--who
reported that his Station had been surprised, and many of his native
employees murdered by the islanders. Thompson himself only escaped by
the accident of being engaged with some of his boys in night fishing
on a reef when the attack occurred. Hastily, therefore, the _Siai_
prepared for her departure to Goodenough Island once more; Thompson
refused to accompany us, upon the ground that he had escaped once, and
never wished to see the island or its inhabitants again.

Before leaving Samarai, I had to hear several cases set down for
trial at the R.M.’s Court; among which were charges against Billy the
Cook and Carruth of supplying natives with grog. The Ordinance, under
which the cases were heard, was the first act passed by Sir William
MacGregor, upon his Excellency assuming control of New Guinea, and was
probably the most severe act of its kind in the world. It provided a
minimum fine of £20 or two months’ imprisonment, and a maximum one
of £200 and two years’ imprisonment, for any person convicted of
supplying firearms, liquor or opium to a native. It defined a native,
as any person other than of European parentage. The Emperors of China
or Japan, or the Rajahs of India would be natives under the act; Sir
William MacGregor was nothing if not thorough, and when he said that
the natives should not have liquor, he left no loop-hole of escape for
the person found guilty of supplying it.

Up to the time I left New Guinea, this act was always very strictly
enforced; so much so, in fact, that hotel-keepers would not even supply
ginger ale to a coloured man, for fear of having to defend themselves
against a charge of liquor selling; and this is exactly what I found
had occurred. Billy the Cook had imported a wife and a sister-in-law
to help in the hotel; his sister-in-law, being ignorant of the local
law, had sold a glass of something to a Malay over the bar, and a
native boy passing, saw him drinking it and told Symons, who promptly
charged Billy with a breach of the act. A nice time I had with this
case; Billy, of course, swore he knew nothing about the matter, the
girl and his wife wept and contradicted themselves half a dozen times
over, and the Malay said he had bought ginger ale. My difficulty
chiefly lay in the fact, that should I convict, the minimum penalty was
too great for an innocent mistake; so at last I threw the case out of
Court. Carruth’s case came on next. The evidence here was clear, but
he tried to wriggle out of it, by saying that he had merely supplied
the stuff for medicinal purposes; that was a little too thin, as the
Malays all looked as tough as wire rope. I forget what I fined Carruth,
but it was something heavy. “I am going to appeal,” he remarked; “I
believe you think you are here to raise revenue for the Government.”
“There is no appeal under this act,” I replied, “and if you are not
careful you will get a little more; if, however, you are dissatisfied,
you can petition his Excellency for a reduction or remission of the
fine.” Carruth did petition the Governor, and I heard afterwards that
the reply he got from the Government Secretary was, “I am directed to
express his Excellency’s surprise at your petition and the leniency of
the Magistrate.”

Under this act, a Resident Magistrate was empowered to issue an annual
permit, to a “native,” to keep and use fire-arms; and in the case of
a “native” possessing a greater proportion of white than coloured
blood--in order to avoid individual hardship--a permit could be granted
to purchase intoxicating liquors.

The _Siai_ now sailed again for Goodenough Island, calling on the way
for Satadeai, who was needed as an interpreter. Carefully picking our
way among the shoals of the north-east coast of Goodenough, we at last
dropped anchor abreast of Thompson’s Station and plantation. Here
we found that the bodies of the murdered men had been buried by the
natives, not eaten as I expected; and the house, though looted, had
not been burnt. On this trip I had with me the Queensland boys--Billy,
Harry, and Palmer--who had latterly formed the crew of the _Guinevere_,
as I intended to use them as trackers. From the plundered house we
found tracks of natives leading in a northerly direction; these we
followed until we came to a village, the tracks leading into which
were thickly sown with small sharpened foot spears, pointing in the
direction from which we came; picking these out as we passed, we
at last came to within a hundred yards of the village--apparently
unperceived by the natives--and, rushing it, secured two men. The
remainder bolted, and set up a clamour in the bush some distance away;
dragging our two unwilling prisoners with us, we hastily returned to
the _Siai_, reaching that vessel unattacked. Safely on board I examined
the men, and found that the village from which we had captured them was
innocent of complicity in the murders; they, however, were able to give
me the names of the actual murderers and the inland villages from which
they came.

Taking, therefore, ten men and Poruma, I left in the afternoon for the
nearest village, swimming on the way a river in which alligators seemed
to be disagreeably plentiful. Getting some miles inland, we ascended a
ridge in a grassy pocket situated in the dense bush, and sighted the
cocoanuts and gardens of a large village; at the same time, like quail,
rose two scouts from the grass; these fled for the village, giving loud
yells of warning, and were promptly pursued by four of my men. Shouts
of defiance, mingled with the beating of drums and blowing of horns,
answered the warning cries. “See, sir!” said Poruma, “the grass moves
with spears.” Following his pointing hand, I looked and saw the tips
of a long sinuous line of spears; hurriedly I whistled my men back,
and ordered them to lie down in the long grass on the ridge. The line
of spears came nearer, then the bearers broke into a trot and started
up the hill; just behind them came a number of slingsmen, who were
beginning to pelt the hill with sling-stones, which, however--concealed
in the grass as we were--failed to do any damage. “Hold your fire, you
blackguards,” I said to my men, as they began to flop home the breech
blocks of their Sniders, and to whimper like a pack of eager hounds.

The sling-stones were now flying harmlessly over us; at about sixty
yards I ordered the men to stand up and fire, the result being that
several natives were knocked over, and for a minute their line reeled
down the hill, allowing us to get in another telling volley. Reforming,
they charged up the hill, only to be driven back again by a steady
fire, I myself using a sixteen-shot Winchester repeater. Yelling with
excitement, my men broke line in their impatience to charge after the
Goodenough natives. “Don’t let them go,” said Poruma, “those bushmen
are not beaten yet; Mr. Moreton, he----” “Shut up, Poruma,” I said,
and then yelled at the men to lie down in the grass and crawl twenty
yards downhill. It was well we did; for in a few minutes, the spot we
had occupied was having chips knocked off it by sling-stones. “Oh,
master, you know too much,” said my men as, in security, we watched
the peppering of our late position. Then--sudden as a hail shower--the
stones ceased, and again the islanders charged; only three, however,
reached our line, the rest either dropping in the grass or turning and
running away before our fire. By the time the three men reached us, the
Snider rifles of the police were empty. I shot one man at about twelve
yards, and hastily jerking at the lever of my Winchester threw it again
to my shoulder, and pulled the trigger at a second man who was coming
straight for me. The lock clicked, but no report followed, and dropping
my rifle--as the man raised his spear to strike--I tried simultaneously
to draw my revolver and squirm out of the way of the stab. Just in the
nick of time, there came an appalling explosion close by my ear, nearly
stunning me, and my enemy’s face seemed to go out at the back of his
head; Poruma had fired both barrels of my shot gun into the man’s face.
The order to charge was hailed by the police with a yell, and, using
the butts of their rifles freely, they captured several prisoners from
among the now flying islanders.

Then we returned to the _Siai_, dragging our prisoners with us, leaving
the natives to bury their dead and succour their wounded: a small body
of freshly arrived natives followed us, but a shot or two kept them
at a distance. My men had only sustained a few bruises. I learnt that
night from our prisoners, that we had rather taken the village by
surprise, as a much larger body of men than we had yet encountered was
available from some further back villages. I thanked my stars that we
had not met their full strength, for it had been touch and go with us
as it was.

The following morning--after letting go the _Siai’s_ second anchor
to render her doubly secure, and having chained all the prisoners in
the hold--I landed every man on board, viz. fifteen fighting men,
the three armed Queensland boys and Satadeai, for an attempt on the
inland hill villages. Mesdames Sione and Warapas were left sitting on
the hatch, with tomahawks in their hands, and instructions to crack
any man on the head who attempted to break loose. We hid the _Siai’s_
boats in the mangroves and struck inland, avoiding tracks in order to
dodge ambushes, and marching silently in very extended order. Suddenly
we came upon a point where half a dozen tracks from the mountains
converged upon the main path to the coast; here I broke up my party
into small bodies to explore the tracks, and all had orders to move at
once towards any sound of rifle fire. I remained at the junction of the
tracks with a lame boy, Giorgi, an ex-private of Constabulary, who,
having injured his tendon Achilles in a fight, had been transferred to
the _Siai’s_ crew, as no longer fit for severe marches.

Giorgi knew a little of the Goodenough language, and as he and I sat
and smoked our pipes--whilst I awaited a report from one or other of
the scouting parties--we heard voices, and, secreting ourselves in
the scrub, saw emerge from it half a dozen armed men only a few paces
away. “Tell them to throw down their arms, or they die this instant,”
I whispered. Giorgi yelled at them, and they stopped petrified by
surprise; then--in response to a still more imperative roar from
him--dropped the spears, clubs and slings, and stood still. Handing my
Winchester to Giorgi, and taking his two handcuffs and my own pair, I
walked up to the men, and, moving them together, handcuffed them one to
another, Giorgi meanwhile uttering blood-curdling threats of what would
happen to them if they moved. When I had secured them, Giorgi emerged;
and great was the disgust of that six when they discovered that they
had been taken by two men. Every one of these men, we afterwards found,
had been concerned in the massacre of Thompson’s boys.

Shortly after this my scouting parties returned, and reported that
the islanders were apparently in strong force in a village approached
by a razor-backed spur, to which I at once proceeded. As we came to
its foot, loud horn blowing and beating of drums showed plainly that
our whereabouts was known; as I gazed at the spur, wondering how on
earth I could storm the village without losing all my men, a party of
natives suddenly emerged from the bush and, to our mutual surprise,
walked right into us. A few hastily aimed shots on our part, and a few
hurriedly thrown spears on theirs, ended the affair, the natives flying
into the bush. They were evidently a party moving up to the assistance
of the threatened village, quite unaware of our position.

This last encounter alarmed me exceedingly: for, when all was said
and done, we only numbered fifteen rifles; and had that last party
of islanders discovered us before we did them, or had they been more
numerous, we should have been overwhelmed in the first rush. At close
quarters an empty Snider is a no more efficient weapon than a club or
spear, and numbers would tell: my revolver, at the most, would only
last for a couple of minutes. Accordingly I summoned Sione, Warapas,
and Poruma and put the case to them. “You have seen what happened just
now,” I said; “shall we stop and fight the people ourselves, or shall
we ask the Governor for help? I want your advice before we run away.”
“The man who hunts the wild boar with a fish spear is not strong, only
mad,” said Sione, “and we are but a fish spear.” “It has been a good
fight,” said Warapas; “it will be a bad one for us if we stay.” “If Mr.
Moreton were here,” said Poruma, “he would have had more men to begin
with, and would not have run away.” Solemnly then I clouted Poruma’s
head. “What do you mean by that, you young devil?” I asked. “We are
far too few, and should bolt as fast as we can,” replied that injured
individual.

Our course of action decided, I lost no time in putting it into effect;
we therefore began our backward march. Yells of triumph from the
natives told us clearly that our retreat was noted--though little
cause for rejoicing had we given our opponents up to the present time.
Shouts behind us and horns on either side, soon showed me that we were
not out of the wood yet. For greater security, I marched my party
along in the open grass patches, and kept them doubling like a hare
from side to side, whilst occasionally a harmless volley shifted a
too venturesome lot of natives out of our way; once or twice we faced
about, and drove back the following body. The day wore on; and then I
saw that unless I made the coast very quickly, dusk would be upon us,
when, under its cover, the surrounding natives could come, unperceived,
sufficiently near to shatter us with their sling-stones, while the
flashing of our rifles would serve to keep them informed of our exact
location. Hastily we made for the coast in a direct line by compass,
plunging into and swimming a horrible alligator-infested stream on the
way, and whacking along our reluctant prisoners. We struck the sea
just at dusk, and marching out into it up to our middles--in order to
prevent our figures showing prominently against the sky-line--waded
along the coast, until opposite the point where we had hidden our
boats, when once again we put off safely to the _Siai_. Mrs. Warapas
and Mrs. Sione hailed their husbands with joy, and gladly handed over
their watch.

At daybreak we sailed again for Samarai, on the way warning off a small
trader bound for the disturbed district. On our arrival, I found the
_Merrie England_ at anchor with Sir William MacGregor on board, to whom
I at once proceeded with my report. His Excellency listened to me and
then asked, “Have you secured all the guilty men?” “No, sir, I have
only nine of them.” “Why have you not arrested them all?” “Because,
sir, they have taken refuge in a hill village, which is too strong for
the _Siai’s_ force to capture.” “I will give you Captain Butterworth
and a detachment of Constabulary,” said his Excellency, “and you will
go to Goodenough Island at once, returning here in two weeks with all
the men wanted, in time for the return of the _Merrie England_ from the
Mambare; but see that there are no houses burnt and no trees cut down
by your men. When will you be ready to sail?” “In half an hour, sir,”
was my answer; “I only want time to water and provision the _Siai_.”
“To-morrow will do very well,” the Governor told me; “now sit down and
tell me about the rest of the district affairs.”

Sitting down, I unfolded my tale, getting approval here, remarks as to
how I could have done better there, and so on, until I came to the gaol
mutiny, and the flogging of Bushimai and Goria. Thunder of Heaven, as
the Germans say, then did I catch the storm! “Mr. Monckton, I entirely
disapprove of flogging under any circumstances; you have exceeded your
powers and gone outside my known native policy.” In five minutes I was
reduced to a very dismal state, though I don’t believe that any man
other than Sir William MacGregor could have done it. At last I quacked
out, “But, sir, I flogged under the authority of the Prisons Ordinance,
and by the advice of such an experienced magistrate as Mr. Armit.” “It
does not matter to me whose advice you acted upon, I expect my officers
to act upon their own good judgment. Ask Mr. Winter to come to me,
and come back yourself,” said Sir William. Glad to escape, I fled for
the Chief Judicial Officer. “His Excellency wants you, sir; I’m in an
awful mess, what shall I do?” “Don’t worry about it,” said that always
sympathetic Judge; “go to my cabin, and bring up the volume of the
Gazettes containing the Prisons Ordinance.” Finding that Ordinance,
in desperate haste I tore after the C.J.O., arriving on the fore-deck
close on his heels.

“Judge,” said Sir William, “under the Prisons Ordinance, has the
R.M. power to flog prisoners without reference to me?” “Yes, your
Excellency, I believe he has; though it has never been exercised by a
magistrate in New Guinea before. Mr. Monckton, give me the Ordinance.
Yes, sir, see, here is the section, the R.M. was within his powers.” “I
still consider your action ill-considered and ill-advised,” remarked
the Governor. I waited a few minutes, and finding Sir William continued
to talk to Judge Winter, I said: “If, sir, you do not require me
further, I will wish you good-night.” “Good-night,” was the gruff
reply; and walking to the gangway, I whistled for my boat, which was
waiting at the wharf. As I waited for her to come alongside--meditating
the while on my iniquities--I heard a step behind me, and turning round
saw the Governor. “Mr. Monckton,” said Sir William, “it is not late: I
should like to present you to Lady MacGregor, and offer you a glass of
wine in my cabin.”

After meeting Lady MacGregor and drinking my wine, I went ashore to my
house and found there the Commandant, Private Secretary, the Commander
of the _Merrie England_ and several other officers, all sitting in
solemn state discussing my fate. “They have drunk up all your whisky,
sir,” said Poruma; “I told them you had only one bottle, and hid the
glasses, but they took tea cups.” “Go to Billy’s pub and get me some
more,” I said, to get rid of Poruma; I then unfolded to sympathetic
ears my tale of woe. Poruma, the whisky and Armit arrived at the same
time. “What is this mothers’ meeting about?” said Armit; “you all look
as if you had dined on bad oysters!” “A bucket full of bad oysters
would not have put me in the state I feel in now,” I said, “thanks
partly to you: it’s that flogging business. I’m sending in my papers
in the morning.” “Don’t be a damned fool,” said Armit; “I’ve just
come from the _Merrie England_, and Jock never once used the word
‘reprimand,’ when he blew you up. You swallow your pride, and take
the pricks as well as the plums; you ought to feel jolly proud of the
position in which Jock has put a young man like you.”

The following morning I was up bright and early, and went off to the
_Merrie England_, where I found that the Governor had risen still
earlier and intended inspecting the gaol; accordingly, I departed to
make all ready. At that time the whole Government reserve--included
in which was my house, police quarters, the gaol compound and the
cemetery--was surrounded by a high wooden fence, with a gate across
the only street of Samarai, leading into it; at this gate there was
a guard house, occupied by a married gate-keeper and a few police.
As the gate-keeper admitted me, I called for the police, but found
they were at a parade ordered by the Commandant; I then told the
gate-keeper to close the gate, and ran to the gaol to tell the gaoler
to keep in all his prisoners for inspection, instead of sending them
to work as usual. Hardly had I reached my house, than, looking back,
I saw Sir William arrive at the gate; the gate-keeper’s wife gazed at
him, horror-stricken at the thought of the Governor waiting and her
husband away, then--rising to the occasion--she rushed at the gate and,
throwing it wide open, stiffened herself and flung her hand up to the
salute. I met the Governor who, drily smiling, remarked, “I see, Mr.
Monckton, ye drill the women as well as the men.” Crimson with shame, I
dropped to the regulation half-pace behind his Excellency, and softly
cursed to myself the misplaced zeal of the woman.

The Governor’s inspection over, the _Siai_ was prepared for sea. In
the evening she dropped down the harbour with the tide, and stood
away to Taupota on the north-east coast, carrying, as well as her own
complement, Butterworth and fifteen men of the constabulary. There she
picked up some twenty natives, to act as carriers for the heavy luggage
of the police, in order to allow the force freedom of action and
mobility when camped away from the _Siai_.

With these men on board, we were badly crowded, and it accordingly
behoved us to make a rapid passage to our anchorage at Goodenough; in
our haste, Sione ran the _Siai_ upon a shoal off the north-east of
that island, where we apparently stuck hard and fast. Sending out a
kedge anchor astern and lightening the vessel in every possible way had
no effect; whereupon I recalled a story told me by my father, of an
experience of his in the Baltic during the Crimean War, when Captain
Fanshawe got the _Hastings_ battleship off a shoal, by commanding her
crew to stand at the stern and jump as one man to the sound of the
bo’sun’s pipe. Accordingly I stationed six of the _Siai’s_ crew at
the windlass, to haul on the kedge at my whistle, and ordered the
remainder of the crew, police and carriers, at the same sound to rush
aft and jump violently. This was done, and worked like a charm; as the
men jumped, the _Siai’s_ bow flew into the air, the strain on the kedge
caught her, and away she went into deep water again. A few hours after
this we dropped anchor off Thompson’s plantation, and prepared for
another attempt at the hill villages.

Our plan of campaign was this. First marched the _Siai’s_ men, flung
out as a screen of scouts, with myself as the centre pivot of the line;
then came Butterworth and his men in support, about a hundred yards
behind, followed by the carriers bearing camp equipment. Some miles
inland we came upon a grass patch, not previously found by me, at the
end of which was a stony hill topped by a village, which apparently
was deserted. My line of scouts slowly converged upon the village,
when suddenly--whilst still about fifty yards distant--a shower of
sling-stones fell amongst us; to wait for the main body was practically
impossible, therefore I gave the word to charge, and the _Siai’s_ men
rushed and carried the village, killing some of the defenders and
taking several prisoners. Safely in occupation, I looked back for
Butterworth and his men, thinking that they were close on my heels, and
saw, to my amazement, that they were halted at the bottom of the hill.
I called to them to come up and, upon their arrival, asked Butterworth
why he had not followed in support. He explained that our arrangement
was, that when we encountered hostile natives, I was to signal to him
to close up; as I had not signalled, but gone on, he had halted his
men to await developments. I thought myself that a sudden blaze of
rifle fire, and the sight of my men at the charge, should have been
a sufficient signal to any one that we were in action--and with very
little warning.

Hardly had Butterworth brought his men into the village, than the
dislodged inhabitants started pelting us with sling-stones from a high
and commanding ridge; so much so, in fact, that we were obliged to take
refuge in the houses, from which safe shelter, half a dozen of our best
shots soon inflicted such loss upon them as to compel them to retire
and, for the time being, leave us in peace. We stayed in the village to
rest our men and eat our midday meal, and whilst so engaged, we were
surprised to hear the voice of a man gaily singing and approaching
us. On looking over the hill, we saw, to our amazement, a fully armed
native walking up the track towards us. “Fire a couple of shots over
that man’s head,” I said to the police; upon the shots being fired, the
man looked up, gave a howl of surprise, and then fled. “What did you
do that for?” asked Butterworth; “we might have caught him.” “It is an
obvious thing,” I remarked, “that that man is ignorant of everything
going on here, and therefore innocent of complicity in the murders; he
is either a local native returning from a protracted visit to a distant
tribe, or a stranger paying a visit here, otherwise he would not be
walking about alone and announcing his whereabouts by song.” During
the afternoon Butterworth’s men took possession of a higher ridge
overlooking the razor-backed spurs, on which was situated the village
I had previously failed to occupy, and, under cover of their fire, the
_Siai’s_ men entered and seized it without fighting. Here we camped for
the night, and remained unmolested.

Then, for several days, the constabulary and my men searched the
country and took several prisoners; we found that the fight had been
taken out of the natives, and they were no longer massing to oppose us
but scattering, taking refuge in every possible way. I now decided to
return to Samarai, having captured most of the principal men concerned
in the attack on Thompson’s plantation; the Goodenough Islanders, too,
had learnt that the Government was something more than a name, and also
more than their match at fighting.

Having an afternoon to spare on the day before we left Goodenough
Island--while the police and the _Siai’s_ men were engaged in chopping
wood and carrying water to that vessel--I took the dingey, Poruma,
Warapas, and Giorgi, and went shooting duck and pigeons up a small
river. I got the most mixed bag I ever made in my life: pulling into
the river, a hawksbill turtle suddenly rose about twenty feet in front
of the boat; this I succeeded in shooting through the head, and Poruma
retrieved it by diving; the turtle must have weighed about two hundred
pounds when out of water. Then I got about a dozen duck and a score
of pigeons, Warapas shot a wild pig, and Poruma killed a python fully
fourteen feet in length with a half-axe (that is, a tomahawk with a
long handle like an axe). After this, Giorgi discovered an alligator
asleep on a bank some thirty yards away from the river; creeping up, I
fired my gun into one of its eyes, and Giorgi gave a yell of joy and
rushed at it; but the alligator, which was only blinded on one side and
not disabled, pursued him, whilst I pursued the alligator, firing my
revolver into its body, as opportunity offered. Poruma, however, gave
it the _coup-de-grâce_, by getting up on its blind side and belting it
just behind the head with his half-axe. We returned to the _Siai_ with
the dingey’s gunwales nearly awash under the weight of game of sorts.

Whilst on the subject of alligators, I may remark an extraordinary
peculiarity of these reptiles, and that is, that in some ports and
rivers of New Guinea, they appear to be absolutely harmless, for
instance, in the Eastern Division, Port Moresby, and the fiords of
Cape Nelson: whereas in the mouths of the San Joseph, Opi, Barigi, and
Kumusi Rivers, they are a malignant lot of man-eating brutes, neither
hesitating to attack men in canoes, nor to sneak at night into the
villages and seize people. The same thing, in a lesser degree, applies
to sharks haunting Papuan seas; I have never known a man taken at
Port Moresby or in the Mekeo district by a shark, nor do the natives
there--who are at the best a cowardly lot--show fear of them; but on
the bars of the Opi, Musa, and Kumusi Rivers, I have known the brutes
swim alongside a whaleboat and seize the blades of the oars in their
teeth. On one occasion, at the Kumusi River, my men caught a shark,
the belly of which contained several human bones, a human head, the
complete plates forming the shell of a large turtle, and the freshly
torn-off flipper and shoulder of a large dugong or sea cow.

In relation to sharks and alligators, L. G. D. Acland--who afterwards
got his arm chewed off by a tiger in India--Wilfred Walker, author of
“Wanderings among South Sea Savages,” and myself, once got a bad shock
at Cape Vogel. Both men were my guests, and at the time we were camped
on the edge of a tidal creek, all of us occupying the same tent, at the
door of which sat a sentry. The sentry had thrown out a strong cotton
line, with an enormous hook at the end baited with a sucking pig, with
the idea of catching a shark, and had tied his line to the upright
pole of our tent; without warning, the whole tent vibrated violently,
and the sentry, seizing the line, began to haul it in. Cursing him for
disturbing our rest, we lay down and prepared for sleep again, when
suddenly the sentry fell backwards into the tent, closely followed
by the head of an alligator. Hastily we scurried under the canvas at
the back of the tent, swearing hard; the alarm awoke the police who,
running up, fired at the alligator, which promptly shuffled into the
water, and went off carrying our line and tent pole with it.

The Rev. W. J. Holmes, of the London Mission, once told me an alligator
story about one of his Mission boys; a story which the local natives
confirmed as true. Holmes sent off one of his Mission boys to borrow
some dozen six-inch wire nails from a trader, who lived some miles
away; the boy was shortly to be married to a village girl, and she
accompanied him on his message. On their homeward way it was necessary
for them to ford a shallow river; the boy walked first, when suddenly,
hearing a shriek, he turned round to find that an alligator had seized
his sweetheart by the leg. Hastily running back, the boy grabbed his
lady-love by one arm and, inserting his hand behind her leg, jambed
his packet of nails down the reptile’s throat, thus forcing it to open
its mouth and release the girl, whom he then dragged to the shore.
The only remark the boy made about the incident, when he returned to
Holmes, was to regret that the alligator had “stolen the missionary’s
nails.”

From Goodenough, the _Siai_ ran rapidly to Samarai, on the way landing
our carriers at Taupota. Here I took the opportunity of visiting the
Mission and its school for native children; to my amazement, I was
received by the children all rising and singing the National Anthem.
Standing with my escort at the salute, I waited until the end, and
then explained to the Rev. ---- Clark of the Anglican Mission, who was
in charge, that ordinary people like myself should not be received in
that manner, that they should only pay such compliments to the Queen’s
representative, the Governor. “That’s all right,” said Mr. Clark;
“but I have been rehearsing my children for months to receive the
Governor, and he has never come, so, in order to avoid disappointing
the children, I thought I would try it on you.” The main portion of the
school consisted of girls under the care of two ladies of the Anglican
Mission, and my embarrassment was great when the good ladies displayed
for my judgment the articles made by their pupils; the garments were
all of them white, and I did not know what the devil to say or do. At
last I threw myself utterly upon the mercy of the ladies, and begged
them to select the articles and girls I was to commend; having done
this I departed, vowing to myself, that in the future, the inspection
of missionary schools was a duty I should delegate to the Assistant R.M.

Leaving Taupota, I called at Wedau to inquire into the murder of a
mother-in-law, that Moreton had told me about; I found the culprit safe
in the custody of the village constable, and also that the calling
of evidence was hardly necessary, as he made confession in this way.
“Two years ago I married my wife, then my father-in-law died and my
wife’s mother came to live with us. At early morning she got up and
talked, when I came home at night, she talked; she talked, and talked,
and talked, and at last I got my knife and cut her throat. What have
I got to pay?” “Six months’ hard labour,” I replied, “when the Judge
comes along; and many a white man would be glad to get rid of a talking
mother-in-law at the price!”

On our arrival at Samarai I landed my prisoners, also Butterworth and
his men, held a Court, and got everything in order for the Judge;
two days latter the _Merrie England_ came in, and the Governor was
pleased to approve of what I had done. Then his Excellency pointed
out that there was still a murder in Goodenough Bay undealt with by
me--Goodenough Bay is in the mainland of New Guinea, and entirely
distinct from Goodenough Island--and that it behoved me to get to work
and clean that up. Sir William’s method of praise was always to pile
on more work. Upon going into the matter I found that it was not one
murder, but two, I had to deal with; one at Radava, and the other at
Boianai.

There was no anchorage opposite either village, accordingly the _Siai_
sailed up the coast and hove-to at night opposite Radava. Landing
two boats’ crews just before dawn, we entered the first house and,
seizing the inhabitants, asked the names of the murderers, which were
at once given. I then detailed two men to go to each of the guilty
men’s houses, the police being guided by the men and women we had
picked out of the first house; Poruma and I then went on to the house
of the chief, whom I also intended to arrest; my whistle was to be the
signal to burst into the houses and secure the men. Just as Poruma and
I walked, or rather sneaked, up to the chief’s house, we saw a man
emerge and enter another house; whereupon I told Poruma to follow and
catch him when I whistled. Then, looking in at a deep window in the
chief’s house, I saw a man sleeping by the fire and--first blowing my
whistle--leapt through the window and seized him; he fought like a
wild cat, and together we rolled through the fire, my cotton clothes
catching alight and burning me badly; I was still struggling with
the man when Poruma and Warapas arrived and pulled us apart. Then I
found that--with the exception of the chief--we had got all the men we
wanted, and that the man I had been struggling with was the village
lunatic.

It had been necessary for me to take the village by night surprise,
otherwise the people would have taken one of two courses: either bolted
into the bush of the rough mountains or resisted arrest. At Boianai
they did bolt, having got tidings of the coming of the _Siai_; but
here I was able to bring a peaceful method to bear, that resulted
in the surrender of the guilty men. The Boianai natives have a very
well-designed scheme of irrigation, and go in for a most intensive
system of cultivation of their somewhat limited area of rich flat land.
A portion of the irrigation scheme consisted of a wooden aqueduct,
carrying water at a high level over a small river. Their main crops
were of taro, a vegetable requiring a large amount of moisture in the
soil.

Finding my birds at Boianai had flown, I seized the aqueduct and
diverted the water from their gardens; then I told the people, that
when they surrendered the men I wanted, their gardens should again have
water, but until then, none. I thereupon sat down in the _Siai_ and
awaited developments, leaving most of my men camped at the aqueduct
under Warapas. Upon the evening of the second day, I took my gun and
went off on shore to shoot pigeons; Poruma, Sione, and Giorgi being at
the time asleep in the forecastle. As the dingey returned alongside
the _Siai_, pulled by the cook and a village constable, they clumsily
contrived to bump her violently; the row woke up Sione, who, finding
out that I had gone off alone, promptly sent Giorgi and Poruma after
me--a very fortunate thing for me as it proved. I, meanwhile, had
wandered down a path to seek for pigeons; Poruma and Giorgi, after some
little time, discovered the track I was on and followed. As I peered
into a tree, I suddenly heard a yell and a crashing blow behind me;
turning round I saw Poruma and Giorgi astride of a fallen man. Whilst
I had been stalking pigeons, they had discovered him stalking me,
armed with a horrible-looking spear; whereupon they had stalked him,
and cracked him on the skull, just as he poised his spear to launch it
into my back. After Poruma and Giorgi had handcuffed the man, and I had
examined his broken head and reproached Giorgi for cracking the stock
of a good rifle, Poruma remarked, “It was a little hard that he could
not have a few minutes’ sleep without some foolishness being done.” I
got one home on to Poruma by telling him that it was the monotony of
his cooking and the vileness of his curries that had sent me off in
search of game.

Poruma then asked the prisoner why he had tried to spear me, to which
he replied, that he had just been examining his garden and was annoyed
at finding that the leaves of his taro were beginning to wilt, from
lack of water: while so engaged, he had been seen by the watching
police, who had chased him over the rough river-bed for a long
distance; then, while lurking in the scrub, he had caught sight of me
and thought that the opportunity was too good to lose. After a little
more conversation, our new acquaintance resigned himself to his fate,
and volunteered--as a sort of propitiatory measure--to take us to where
pigeons were plentiful; he proved better than his word, for as well as
pigeons, he showed me the haunts of wild duck, and I got a good bag.

Later, Judge Winter gave this gentleman six months for his attempt at
bagging an R.M.; after serving which he enlisted upon the _Siai_, and
then returned to his village as village constable--and a very good
village constable he made.

The following day I again looked at the gardens, and made up my mind
that if the people did not soon surrender the men I wanted, I should be
obliged to turn on the water, for the simple reason that I really did
not feel justified in destroying their whole food supply. Fortunately,
the people did not know I was weakening, as that very night they sent a
message to me that all the offenders--except one--were coming in, and
that they would catch him as soon as they could; of course, the missing
man was one of the most important of the lot. Sure enough the men were
brought that night and a request made that they should be allowed
to turn on the water. “Certainly,” I replied, “so soon as I have the
missing man.” An hour later he was brought, and they got their water.

From Goodenough Bay I returned once more to Samarai, there to await the
return of Moreton.



CHAPTER XII


One night, in Moreton’s house, I had a curious and uncanny experience.
I was sitting at the table, writing a long dispatch which engaged all
my attention; my table was in the middle of the room, and on my right
and left hand respectively there were two doors, one opening on to the
front and the other on to the back verandah of the house; both doors
were closed and fastened with ordinary wooden latches, which could not
possibly open of their own accord as a spring lock might do; the floor
of the room in which I was, was made of heavy teak-wood boards, nailed
down; the floor of the verandah being constructed of lathes of palm,
laced together with native string. As I wrote, I became conscious that
both doors were wide open and--hardly thinking what I was doing--got
up, closed them both and went on writing; a few minutes later, I heard
footsteps upon the coral path leading up to the house, they came across
the squeaky palm verandah, my door opened and the footsteps went across
the room, and--as I raised my eyes from my dispatch--the other door
opened, and they passed across the verandah and down again on to the
coral. I paid very little attention to this at first, having my mind
full of the subject about which I was writing, but half thought that
either Poruma or Giorgi, both of whom were in the kitchen, had passed
through the room; however, I again rose and absent-mindedly shut both
doors for the second time.

Some time later, once more the footsteps came, crash crash on the
coral, squeak squeak on the verandah, again my door opened and the
squeak changed to the tramp of booted feet on the boarded floor; as I
looked to see who it was, the tramp passed close behind my chair and
across the room to the door, which opened, then again the tramp changed
to the squeak and the squeak to the crash on the coral. I was by this
time getting very puzzled, but, after a little thought, decided my
imagination was playing me tricks, and that I had not really closed the
doors when I thought I had. I made certain, however, that I did close
them this time, and went on with my work again. Once more the whole
thing was repeated, only this time I rose from the table, took my lamp
in my hand, and gazed hard at the places on the floor from which the
sound came, but could see nothing.

Then I went on to the verandah and yelled for Giorgi and Poruma. “Who
is playing tricks here?” I asked in a rage. Before Poruma could answer,
again came the sound of footsteps through my room. “I did not know
that you had any one with you,” said Poruma in surprise, as he heard
the steps. “I have no one with me, but somebody keeps opening my door
and walking about,” I replied, “and I want him caught.” “No one would
dare come into the Government compound and play tricks on the R.M.,”
said Poruma, “unless he were mad.” I was by this time thoroughly angry.
“Giorgi, go to the guard-house, send up the gate-keeper and all the
men there, then go to the gaol and send Manigugu (the gaoler) and all
his warders; then send to the _Siai_ for her men; I mean to get to the
bottom of all this fooling.” The gate-keeper arrived, and swore he had
locked the gate at ten o’clock, that no other than Government people
had passed through before that hour; that since then, until Giorgi
went for him, he had been sitting on his verandah with some friends,
and nobody could have passed without his knowledge. Then came the men
from the gaol and the _Siai_, and I told them some scoundrel had been
playing tricks upon me and I wanted him caught.

First they searched the house, not a big job, as there were only three
rooms furnished with spartan simplicity; that being completed, I placed
four men with lanterns under the house, which was raised on piles about
four feet from the ground: at the back and front and sides I stationed
others, until it was impossible for a mouse to have entered or left
that house unseen. Then again I searched the house myself; after which
Poruma, Giorgi and I shut the doors of my room and sat inside. Exactly
the same thing occurred once more; through that line of men came the
footsteps, through my room in precisely the same manner came the tread
of a heavily-booted man, then on to the palm verandah, where--in the
now brilliant illumination--we could see the depression at the spots
from which the sound came, as though a man were stepping there. “Well,
what do you make of it?” I asked my men. “No man living could have
passed unseen,” was the answer; “it’s either the spirit of a dead man
or a devil.” “Spirit of dead man or devil, it’s all one to me,” I
remarked; “if it’s taken a fancy to prance through my room, it can do
so alone; shift my things off to the _Siai_ for the night.”

The following day I sought out Armit. “Do you know anything about
spooks?” I asked; “because something of that nature has taken a fancy
to Moreton’s house.” “Moreton once or twice hinted at something of the
sort,” said Armit, “but he would never speak out; I will come and spend
to-night with you, and we will investigate.” Armit came, but nothing
out of the ordinary occurred; nor did I ever hear of it afterwards,
and before a year had elapsed the house had been pulled down. When
Moreton returned, I related my experience to him, and he then told me
that one night, when he was sleeping in his hammock, he was awakened by
footsteps, such as I have described, and upon his calling out angrily
to demand who was making the racket, his hammock was violently banged
against the wall. “I didn’t care to say anything about it,” he said,
“as I was alone at the time, and didn’t want to be laughed at.”

I have told this story for what it is worth: I leave my readers, who
are interested in the occult or psychical research, to form what
opinion they choose; all I say is, that the story, as I have related
it, is absolutely true.

Some few days after Moreton had resumed his duties, the _Merrie
England_ came in with Sir William on board, and his Excellency told
me that as Ballantine, the Treasurer and Collector of Customs, had
broken down in health, it was necessary for him to be relieved at once,
and that I was to take up his duties. I protested that I knew nothing
about accountants’ work or book-keeping, and respectfully declined the
appointment. “You can do simple addition and subtraction, that’s all
I want; find your way to Port Moresby as soon as you can,” was all
the Governor replied. Then the _Merrie England_ left; and I consulted
Moreton. “The Lord help you, laddie,” said he; “you will make a devil
of a mess of it, but you must do what Jock says.” Then Armit. “You must
take it, or you will never get another job; but you will be all right
if you sit tight, and refuse to sign anything without the authority
of the Governor or Government Secretary.” Then I went to Arbouine and
unfolded my tale of woe. “Oh, that’s all right,” said he; “I will write
a line to Gors, our manager at Port Moresby, and if you get stuck, he
will lend you a good clerk for a day or two, who will keep you all
right.”

Then I resigned myself to the inevitable; Treasurer and Collector of
Customs I had to be. The next thing was to find my way to Port Moresby,
and break the news to Ballantine. A steamer came in, the _Mount
Kembla_, an Australian-owned boat recently chartered to carry coal to
German New Guinea; Burns, Philp and Co. were the agents, and upon my
going to book a passage to Port Moresby, Arbouine said, “This vessel is
bound by her insurances to carry a pilot in New Guinea waters; I can’t
let her leave here without one, and you are the only man I can get hold
of capable of acting as a local pilot.” “Damn it all,” I said, “I only
want a passage, and you can hardly expect the Acting Treasurer and
Collector of Customs of New Guinea to act as your blanky pilot.” “Oh,
all right,” said Arbouine, “if you don’t sign on as pilot, the ship
won’t leave.”

Eventually I did take on the job as pilot of the _Mount Kembla_, and
left for Port Moresby. She was an iron collier with iron decks, and
utterly unsuited for tropical work; hardly had we got out of Samarai
Harbour, before the skipper, a nice, genial little man, came to me, and
said, “I’m feeling very ill, for Heaven’s sake look after the ship.” I
looked at him and, taking his temperature with a clinical thermometer,
found he was in a high state of fever. “Get away to bed, man,” I said,
“and I will dose you.” Then I told the mate to fill him up with brandy
and quinine. “I can’t do it, pilot,” said the mate; “everything is in
the lazerette and under Government seals, and I dare not break them.” I
soon settled that by smashing the seals myself, meanwhile explaining to
the mate that the ship’s pilot happened to be the Collector of Customs
for the Possession. “My God!” said the mate, “I’ve been in the coal
trade all my life, and been in many parts of the world, but I have
never been in a country like this before.” I took the _Mount Kembla_
safely into Port Moresby, from whence she departed two days later;
and, to my regret, I afterwards heard that hardly had she cleared the
harbour before her nice little skipper died.

Leaving the _Mount Kembla_, I went to the office of the Government
Secretary, the Hon. Anthony Musgrave, and told him I had been sent
by the Governor to relieve Ballantine. “I suppose, Mr. Monckton, you
have had previous experience of accountancy and audit work?” said Mr.
Musgrave. “On the contrary,” was my reply, “if you searched New Guinea
from end to end, you could not find a man more blankly ignorant of the
subject.” Muzzy--as he was generally termed in the service--gasped.
“Did you tell the Governor that?” he asked. “Of course I did; but he
seemed to think that a man who knew navigation and could do simple
addition and subtraction was all he required,” was my reply. Muzzy
sighed, and then sent for Ballantine and introduced me to him, after
which, he gladly washed his hands of the matter. Ballantine was very
nice and kind about it all. “You had better work with me for a few
days,” he said, “it’s not all quite as simple as his Excellency appears
to imagine.” Three days satisfied me that the job was quite beyond me;
Ballantine was doing sums all day long, and could do work, in five
minutes, that would take me a full day. At the end of the three days, I
got him to accompany me to the Government Secretary, to whom I pointed
out, that if I were to carry out the Treasurer’s duties for one month,
at the end of that time it would require at least ten clerks and one
expert accountant to unravel the tangle. “What am I to do?” said Mr.
Musgrave. “Sir William must be obeyed.” Ballantine also intimated that
he was Registrar for Births, Deaths, and Marriages, and that, as the
Death Register had not been written up for some years, I might delve
into piles of letters and papers reporting deaths, and write it up; to
which cheerful occupation I betook myself.

[Illustration: A MOTUAN GIRL]

Meanwhile, Muzzy caught Dr. Blayney, R.M. for the Central Division,
and told him that he was to act as Treasurer, etc.; Blayney undertook
it with a light heart, but three days of it reduced him to a mass
of perspiring and swearing humanity. Again came a council of war.
“Bramell, Government Agent at Mekeo, is an expert accountant,” said
Ballantine; “fetch him here to act as clerk to Blayney, and send
Monckton to Mekeo as Assistant R.M.” “The very thing,” said the
Government Secretary. I accordingly was sworn in as Assistant R.M. for
the Central Division; and, a few days later, Blayney took me to my
new district in his patrol vessel, the _Lokohu_, a sister ship to the
_Siai_.

Mekeo Station, at this time, was situated some twenty miles inland,
amongst a fairly thick and troublesome population. It had originally
been opened by the late John Green; he was followed by Kowald, who was
killed on the Musa; then Bramell was appointed. The Station consisted
of an officer’s house--the usual three-roomed affair--constabulary
barracks, gaol, storerooms, drill ground, and about twenty acres of
gardens; the buildings and drill ground were surrounded by a high and
strong stockade. The Station was originally established to protect the
missionaries of the Sacred Heart Order, who were penetrating into the
country. The Mekeo natives were a cowardly, treacherous, and cruel lot,
much under the influence of sorcerers, and averse to control by the
Government. Blayney, some four weeks previously, had swooped through
the villages and arrested every sorcerer he could find; he told me that
the villagers would not give evidence against them unless he undertook
to kill them, so that they could not return to exact vengeance. Blayney
accordingly simply convicted them upon discovering any implements of
their trade in their houses, such as charms, skulls, snakes, etc.

Upon our arrival at the Government Station, Bramell received us with
very mixed feelings. “I am glad to get out of this hole,” he said, “but
it seems I have got an Irishman’s rise.” Blayney, after staying a day,
went off again, but Bramell stayed a little while to put me in the way
of things, and a cheery way of things they appeared to me. He showed
me his bedroom closely shut up, and his bed surrounded by a circle of
tables, upon each one of which he had deposited loaded firearms. “What
on earth is all that for?” I asked. “Sorcerers,” he replied; “they
are the most poisonous brutes, and keep me perpetually on the jump;
how they get in I don’t know, but get in they do, and put snakes and
other beastliness in my bed. Arrows, too, come over the stockade in the
night and light anywhere, though we can never catch the men shooting
them; on dark nights we have frequently discovered strangers prowling
about the houses, but up to now, they have always managed to get over
the stockade before we could catch them. The beggars are always trying
to poison me too; don’t you ever buy cocoanuts with the husks off, or
anything else into which they can possibly have inserted poison; they
have contrived to kill three boys in succession carrying my mails to
the coast; the boys are all supposed to have died from accidental snake
bite, but I know better.”

After having given me all the information in his power about the
working of the district, and having completed the formality of handing
it over, Bramell left for the coast to take ship for Port Moresby,
being escorted by half a dozen constabulary. I spent a week overhauling
the last year’s reports from the Station, and getting a grip, as best
I could, of the trend of affairs in the past. I soon saw that the
district was out of hand, and would require fairly strong measures in
dealing with it; I saw also that it was not Bramell’s fault, for he had
not sufficient authority as a Government Agent and Native Magistrate
to keep the people in order: my appointment, however, carried the full
powers of a Resident Magistrate.

A few days after his departure, one of the nocturnal visitors was
discovered in the compound, but as usual he streaked over the stockade
and disappeared, leaving several poisonous snakes behind him. The Mekeo
constabulary could not hit an elephant in the dark with their rifles,
much less a running man. I began to feel nearly as annoyed with the
sorcerers as Bramell, and determined to cure them of coming inside the
stockade: accordingly I drew the shot from several gun cartridges, and
replaced it with coarse bluestone, and then I gave the sentry my gun
with the doctored cartridges instead of his rifle; next I pulled the
bullet out of a rifle cartridge belonging to each private, and replaced
it with mixed bluestone and dust shot. “Now,” I explained to the men,
who hated the sorcerers as thoroughly as did Bramell, “I’m going to
play sorcery against sorcery; I have charmed these cartridges, so that
if you hold your rifle firmly, take plenty of time in aiming at a
sorcerer at night, and he is a true sorcerer, you can’t miss him.”

[Illustration: DOBU HOUSE, MEKEO]

In the gaol I had found Poruta, a son of Bushimai, one of the Mambare
prisoners who had given me the trouble at Samarai, they having been
scattered among the different gaols. I took Poruta, who was very lonely
amongst a strange people, as my private attendant; I had plenty of
work for the constabulary, without taking one as an orderly, and I
did not feel keen on having a local boy as servant, for fear that he
might insert something in my grub or a snake in my bed. Poruta--like
all the Binandere people--had no fear of the dark, and was a born
fighter; he took a keen interest in my plans for the discomfiture of
the sorcerers, though he thought that all of them should be sought out
and dealt with, with a club. He pointed out that the sentry always
stood in one place--a place that must be perfectly well known to our
night visitors--and also that the police, with the exception of two
on my verandah, were always grouped about the barracks. “I would
undertake,” said Poruta, “under the present system, to come inside
the stockade every night and escape unseen. Make four men lie flat on
their stomachs in the middle of the drill ground, each man watching the
sky-line on one side of the stockade, and they are bound to see any
man climbing over.” I did this; but I also tied a string on to the toe
of the corporal in the barracks, and led it into the midst of the four
watchers, so that they could alarm the barracks without noise, and also
without giving any warning to our night visitors.

The very first night that the plan was tried, it worked excellently.
Watching the sky-line carefully, one of the sentries noticed a head
appear, followed by a second one; gently touching his three companions,
he directed their attention to the intruders; immediately one fowling
piece and three rifles, loaded with small shot and bluestone, converged
on the figures of two men, as, flat on their stomachs, they slid
sideways over the fence, and then gently began to lower themselves on
the inner side. In their excitement, each of the four sentries forgot
to pull the string attached to the corporal’s toe. Bang went all the
guns together, an awful series of shrieks went up from the smitten
intruders, as they hastily hauled themselves back over the stockade,
and fled howling into the night. At the same time the air was rent by
fearful yells and curses from the barracks; the police, at the sound of
the shots, had hastily jumped to their feet and rushed out; man after
man tumbled over and tangled himself up with the line attached to the
corporal’s toe, thereby nearly dragging off that much enduring member.

For weeks after this, we were untroubled by nocturnal visitors; and by
every one on the Station--bar the corporal--the plan was regarded as
a gigantic success. My fame as a charmer of rifles, for use against
sorcerers, spread through the land. I never found out who our two
visitors were, but I will wager they never forgot their experience that
night.

The next thing to which I had to turn my attention, was the
straightening up of the detachment of constabulary; they showed a
slackness and lack of smartness that I did not like. On the drill
ground they appeared willing enough, but they could neither march,
shoot, nor drill decently. I slanged the non-com. in charge, who was a
Western man, but came from a different tribe and village to the rest
of the men. “I can’t do anything with them, sir,” he said; “whenever
Mr. Bramell was away they would not drill, and now, if you are not on
parade, they only play the fool and cheek me.” I drilled and cursed
the men myself, but they merely said that their non-com. was a liar,
and that their behaviour was immaculate. For a long time I could never
get hold of any specific instance of disrespect or disobedience to the
non-com.; at last, however, I caught them, and this is the way I did it.

I went one night to the Mission house, taking with me Poruta and half a
dozen constabulary; arriving there, I sent off the police, telling them
I meant to stay the night with the missionary. I had previously told
the non-com. to station a gaol warder--a countryman of his own--at the
gate instead of a private, and to tell him to hold his tongue as to the
hour I came home. Returning at about five o’clock in the morning, I was
admitted by the warder, went straight to my house, which overlooked the
parade ground, and got into bed without striking a light. Poruta slept
in my room. Daylight and six o’clock came, and I was awakened by the
yells of the non-com. parading his men; peeping out, I saw them come
slowly strolling on to the drill ground and languidly fall in, some
wearing fatigue kit of cotton, some full dress of serge, some without
belts, and some without jumpers; one shining light fell in attired
in the white “sulu” he slept in, some smoked in the ranks, others
chattered, and they drilled like a newly enlisted volunteer company.
For half an hour I watched the beauties, and listened to them answering
back their non-com., who cursed and beseeched alternately.

Then I buckled on my belts, and walked slowly down my steps and up to
the squad, watching them stiffen and their eyes start, as they saw
the unexpected apparition of their officer. “I think I will finish
the drill, Corporal,” I remarked; then to the squad, “Pile arms!” and
they piled arms. Then I inspected man after man, ordering each one
that I found incompletely dressed to strip to the buff and fall in for
physical drill. Only one man, Private Keke, passed inspection; and I
made him lance-corporal on the spot. After this, I drilled that unhappy
squad until sweat ran down their brown bodies in streams; winding up
by sending them at the double straight up against the stockade, at
which they instinctively stopped. “I did not tell you to halt, you
slack-backed pig-stealers; your meat rations and tobacco are stopped
for a week; forward!” Over the stockade that sweating detachment went.
“About turn!” Back they came; and I kept them at it until they were
falling from the top, instead of jumping, from sheer exhaustion. Then
I halted them on the parade ground again, and made a little speech;
telling them that I was weak from shame at having to do with such a
lot of feeble wasters, and that I felt certain the Commandant had
made a mistake, and sent to Mekeo a sanitary gang--or something of
that sort--instead of a detachment of constabulary. Their disgraceful
exhibition had made me feel so faint, that I must go and breakfast, but
meanwhile they would stand at attention.

I went to breakfast and lingered over it; then I returned to my
depressed squad. “You have already lost your meat and tobacco for
halting without orders; do it again, and I will clap the whole lot
of you into gaol and feed you on pumpkins, until the Commandant can
send me some real constabulary from headquarters.” Then I marched
them into the garden, where, after doubling them about in extended
order for some time, I suddenly wheeled them up to about an acre of
pine-apples--horribly prickly things--and then, “Double! Charge!” Into
the awful things went those naked men, whilst I yelled curses at them
for breaking line. When they were fairly in the middle, I shouted,
“Halt!” and then remarked, “I think you have had your lesson, pick your
way out of the prickles and go to your breakfast; I don’t think you
will want me to do your non-com.’s duty again in a hurry.” Leaving the
men to crawl out as best they could, I went back to my house, where,
shortly after, Corporal Sara came to get braid for Keke’s stripe. “They
will give no further trouble,” he remarked; “they are blood from their
thighs to the soles of their feet, and most of them are crying from
pain and shame; but they won’t be fit to march for another week.”

On looking into things at Mekeo Station, I found that a vast number of
economic plants had been planted by Kowald, who was an expert botanist,
for experimental purposes; and that there was a strict order from Sir
William MacGregor that they should receive every care and attention.
I knew nothing about them; cinchona was the same to me as cocoa, a
rubber plant as a coffee plant; vanilla, hemp, and the rest were as
Hebrew, and not a man in the detachment---as was naturally to be
expected--knew any more. Also I found that I had not a man that could
read or write, or who was really fit to be in charge of the Station
during my absence; accordingly I sent a loud wail to Blayney that I
must have a Station-keeper, with a knowledge of plantation work and
capable of keeping books, otherwise I should chuck the work at once.
Blayney promptly sent me Basilio, a Manilla man, an excellent fellow,
who immediately flung himself into his new duties with great zeal.
By the time he arrived, I had got my police as sharp as terriers, and
ready for anything in the way of work.

Basilio brought me a mail from Hall Sound, the port of the Mekeo
district; among the letters I found one from a German trader and copra
buyer in the Gulf of Papua, stating that he was constantly being
robbed and threatened by the natives, and went in constant fear for
his life; he also referred to several previous letters, and said that
if his present complaint was not attended to, he would shortly be a
murdered man. I looked through the Station correspondence, and found
several letters from the man, making complaints against the natives,
the letters being marked in Bramell’s writing with “rot,” “more rot,”
“bunkum,” “sheer funk.” I read them all, and thought to myself, “This
chap may be merely crying wolf when there is no wolf; but if he does
happen to get killed, his Excellency will want some one upon whom to
vent his wrath, and it strikes me I shall be the victim.” Therefore
I prepared to go into the Gulf in the whaleboat: when I remark that
it was the South-East season, and meant a trip against a heavy sea,
current, and head wind, with a big surf to land through every night, it
will be seen that the prospect was not cheerful.

For some days the police nearly pulled their insides out, forcing
the whaleboat in the teeth of the south-easter; for several nights
regularly, whaler, police, and myself were capsized in the surf, when
we were landing to camp, and rolled up upon the beach in a heap, all
our belongings, which were lashed to the boat, being soaked with salt
water. Blistered by the sun, hands raw from tugging at the oars, and
bruised all over from the bumps as we rolled upon coral beaches, at
last we made the complaining German trader’s Station, and I asked him
what all the trouble was about, as his Station appeared quite happy
and peaceful, and the natives very friendly. “A few months ago I had a
few cocoanuts stolen,” he said. “Well,” I asked, “what about all your
stories of imminent battle, murder, and sudden death?” “I thought that
it was time the Government looked me up, and I had better pitch things
a bit strong, or they would not bother,” he had the ineffable impudence
to remark. “You German swine,” I said, “you have made me risk my life,
and the lives of a dozen men, coming here, merely to pander to your
sense of importance; if I can get the slightest excuse, I’ll gaol you.”
Unfortunately I could get no excuse for doing so; accordingly, I had
to content myself with blackguarding him up hill and down dale before
leaving, and telling him that the natives could eat him, before I would
move a man to his assistance again. If he had been a native, I could
have given him a fortnight’s gaol for sending a lying report, but
unfortunately that law did not apply to white men.

[Illustration: MASKS OF THE KAIVA KUKU SOCIETY, MEKEO]

Whilst in the Gulf, I received constant complaints about the doings--or
rather misdoings--of a strange nomadic inland tribe, called by the
coastal natives Kuku Kuku; people who apparently appeared unexpectedly,
and hovered about the coastal villages, snapping up stray men, women,
and children, and cutting off their heads; then vanishing into the
unknown. I promised the villagers that, in the near future, the
Government would deal with the Kuku Kuku people, but that I had too
much other work at present; in any case, my whaler’s complement was not
sufficient for an inland expedition.

I also heard of the existence of a secret society called the Kaiva
Kuku, the members of which assembled fully disguised in strange masks
and cloaks, and went through secret ceremonies and ritual; branches
and agents of it also existed in every coastal village. I did not like
this at all, thinking that probably many of the murders and crimes
alleged against the Kuku Kuku were offences committed by this secret
society. I did not stay long enough in the Mekeo district to have any
dealings with the Kaiva Kuku, but, from what I heard of the society
whilst I was there, I believe that they were a set of blood-thirsty,
terrorizing, and blackmailing scoundrels, badly needing stamping
out. In later years, when Captain Barton was R.M. of the Division, I
gave him my views about native secret societies, and the Kaiva Kuku
in particular; but he held they might be a benevolent organization,
created for the suppression of immorality and vice. My own opinion was,
that they were bad, and existed merely for the purpose of carrying out
unnameable rites and beastliness, this being borne out by the history
of all native races among which secret societies were established; also
I held that the morality and conduct of a village or tribe were better
maintained by a Government Chief, or village constable, acting openly,
than by secret tribunals.

Secret societies--to the extent of my experience--only exist in British
New Guinea west of Yule Island; and bestiality, human sacrifice,
incest, and other abominable crimes, have never been heard of out
of the regions in which such societies hold their sway; the natural
inference, therefore, is that there is some connection between them.
I can see no reason to justify any Government official in permitting
the existence of such societies in any district over which he holds
control, unless he means to shirk his responsibilities and abuse the
powers entrusted to him by Government in favour of an organization of
which he can know nothing. I do not wish to dogmatie; but I hold--after
many years’ experience and intimate connection with natives--that a
magistrate is fully justified, once he finds any man or body of men
pretending to esoteric, occult or supermundane powers, in smashing that
man or society, even if he has to use force to do it. Secret societies
can do no possible good amongst any race of people, and they possess
tremendous potentialities for harm and injustice. Every Englishman
would rise in horror at the thought of having the old Spanish
Inquisition established again; therefore let every Englishman see to it
that, among the native races he governs, no similar thing can possibly
exist.

Returning from the Gulf, a storm compelled me to beach the whaleboat
at Maiva, a collection of villages just east of Cape Possession, where
I found a violent epidemic raging among the people, and was told that
it was spreading like wildfire amongst all the villages of the Mekeo
district. Here I hauled up the whaleboat and had a house built over
her, as I saw I must quickly get to my Station in order to procure
fresh police and be able to devote my whole attention to dealing with
the sickness, which I could see was going to be no light undertaking.
Leaving my whaleboat safely housed to protect her from the sun, I
marched my police as rapidly as possible overland to the Station; we
arrived there a couple of hours after nightfall on the second day, the
whole squad of men accompanying me being--like myself--utterly tired
and worn out.

Basilio came to my house whilst I sat waiting for Poruta to prepare
some food for me, and, after watching the tired Poruta for a few
minutes, he volunteered to make me a Malay curry and let him go to
the barracks to sleep. Poruta accordingly was sent off to bed; whilst
I--after listening for a short time to an unusual and angry hum from
the native village of Veipa, situated a short distance beyond our
gate--also dropped off to sleep. Basilio woke me up a little later, and
directed my attention to a table spread in Malay fashion with food,
consisting of an excellent curry and the choicest of the Station’s
garden fruit; he then sat down and waited until I had finished.

“What the devil is the meaning of the row in the village, Basilio?”
I asked, by way of beginning the conversation. “It is humming like a
swarm of angry bees.” “I don’t know, sir; but twice the fathers have
sent here to-day asking for you, and I have answered that you were
away, and I did not know when you would return.” Basilio was a devout
R.C., and invariably referred to the Sacred Heart missionaries as “the
fathers.” “I have warned Corporal Sara to keep ten men under arms,” he
went on, “as I am certain there is trouble of some sort brewing, over
the sickness of the people; ten have died in Veipa since you left,
and the sorcerers say it is either the fault of the Government or of
the Mission.” “Send a couple of men to the Mission house at once,”
I said, “and ask Fathers Bouellard or Vitali to let me know what the
trouble is.” Basilio sent the men off; meanwhile the angry hum from the
village rose to a yapping, snarling note, that I did not like.

[Illustration: HOUSE AT APIANA, MEKEO]

The Mekeo detachment, at this time, was the only one in New Guinea
armed with bayonets. The strain on my nerves became rather greater
than I could stand; therefore I bolted to the barracks and told Sara
to turn out every available man to be ready for action in the village.
Hardly had the men paraded with bayonets fixed, than back came my two
men. “The Veipa villagers are fighting,” they said, “arrows are flying
thick, and the fathers are trying to pacify them; unless you are quick,
the missionaries will be killed.” Hastily I doubled my men down the
path to the village, which I found lit up by enormous bonfires, while
two opposite factions of villagers were wildly shooting arrows and
fighting savagely; Fathers Vitali and Bouellard, with several brothers
of the Mission, were dancing about among them and endeavouring to
maintain peace. Veipa village had a nice wide straight street, in which
the riot was going on; swinging my men into line at the end of it, I
bid them charge. No one was killed, though a few bayonets bit deep, and
a few skulls were damaged by the butt ends; in five minutes the natives
were flying howling to their houses. Then I gathered up the fathers and
took them off to supper with me, leaving a patrol to keep the village
in order. “The good God sent you in time,” said Father Vitali; “we
thought you were away, and that it was the revolution.” “After I have
had a little sleep, I think the villagers of Veipa will think it is the
revolution,” I remarked. “I will warrant them tribulation.” Later I
had the two priests escorted home, and at the same time sent a message
to the patrol, that they were to bully and bang the inhabitants about
as much as possible, and also that they were to tell the natives that,
if so much as a piece of soft mud touched the good fathers or sisters,
I would make them believe that millions of devils were loose among
them. “Remind them,” I said to the patrol, “of what happened to the two
sorcerers climbing my fence, and tell them that I am devising a worse
punishment still for them, if they offend further.”

The following afternoon, I sent for the village constable of Veipa
and withdrew the patrol, as I heard from the priests that all was
now quiet, and the people waiting in a chastened frame of mind for
the punishment to come. The explanation of the riot, given to me by
the village constable, was that several deaths had occurred, and, in
compliance with Government Regulations, the bodies had been buried
in the allotted cemetery; then several more people died and the
village was filled with fear and wailing. Now came the sorcerers’
opportunity; and they promptly improved it by preaching to the people,
that the plague had come upon them for abandoning the old practices
of the tribe, in favour of Government and Mission ways. “Did we have
deaths like this, when we buried our dead under the floors of the
houses?” they asked, answering themselves, “No!” Then--instigated by
the sorcerers--the natives began again to bury their newly dead in
the houses, whilst others dug up those already in the cemetery, for
removal to the village. The constable and Government chief had asked
the fathers to come and help them to persuade the villagers to obey
the law; but by the time the fathers could come, feeling between the
factions--respectively obeying the constable and the sorcerers--was
running high: arguments, threats, and persuasion having failed, the
constable started removing the bodies by force, and the riot began.
“Where is the chief sorcerer?” I asked. “He ran away when the row
began,” was the reply. “Why did you not arrest him?” “I did suggest
it,” said the v.c., “but he threatened to smite me with a wasting
sickness, if I touched him.”

The village constable then reeled off a list of offenders and
law-defying men in his village, which I wrote down, and then sent him
off to tell them to come to me at once; they came--about forty of
them--some looking sulky or sullen, some angry, and some frightened.
“Tell them, Basilio, to sit down in a line in front of me.” They sat
down; the v.c., glad to get a little revenge, hastening the laggards by
sharp blows with his truncheon.

“Now,” I remarked, “I have heard a lot about sorcery since I came here,
I am going to treat you to a little. Basilio, tell them to look at my
eyes as I pass down the line, and tell me what they notice!” “Well?”
I asked, when they had all looked, “what do they see?” “They say your
eyes are not as the eyes of other men, alike in colour, but differ one
from the other.” “Very true,” I said, as I stepped back a dozen feet
where all could see me plainly. “Now tell them to look at my mouth,”
and I grinned, showing an excellent set of false teeth. They looked.
“Well?” “They see strong white teeth,” Basilio interpreted, smothering
a grin as he guessed what was coming. Turning my back for a second, I
dropped my false teeth into my handkerchief and, swinging round again,
exposed a row of toothless gums. A yell of horror and amazement went
up, and fearful glances were cast behind for somewhere whither to bolt.
I swept my handkerchief before my mouth, and again grinned a glistening
toothful grin. There were no sulky or defiant glances now, nothing but
looks of abject fear and horror. “Ask them, Basilio, whether in all
their villages, there is a sorcerer that can do such a thing as that?”
“No,” was the answer, “the white chief is greater than them all.”

“Now explain to them,” I said, “that the white men know more witchcraft
than their own sorcerers, but they do not practise it, as it is an
evil thing. I am going to make things uncommonly hot for the sorcerers
in this district: the first one I catch, I will show to you what a
feeble thing he is; for I will smell at a glass of clear water and
then make him smell it, and he will jump into the air and fall as a
dead man.” A wonderful effect can be obtained with half a wineglass
of strong ammonia, I may remark in passing. “Basilio, tell them I am
going to punish them but lightly this time; but if I have to deal with
this particular lot again, they will get something to remember. First
of all, they will return to the village and remove the corpses to the
cemetery; then they will clean up the village thoroughly; after that,
they will return here and work in the gardens for a week without pay,
and will cool their hot blood by living exclusively upon pumpkins.”

The v.c. then asked permission to make a speech to his people; he had
been as much surprised as any one at my performance, but also regarded
it as throwing reflected glory upon himself. He pointed out to them,
that all this trouble had fallen upon them through neglecting his
good advice and defying his authority; perhaps now they would see
what a pattern he was for them to follow! He then began to take them
individually to task, and to rake up past misdoings on their part that
had escaped retribution; but here I cut the worthy constable short,
and told him to conclude his remarks while they cleaned the village. I
heard afterwards that he stood on a platform in Veipa, and inflicted
a two hours’ oration on his unfortunate people. The next day the
village constables from a dozen villages came in, to tell me that the
people--with the exception of the Veipa villagers--were burying their
dead in their houses, but that all the sorcerers had skipped for the
bush.



CHAPTER XIII


My first business now, was to try and find out the nature of the
rapid and deadly disease from which the people were suffering, and
with this object in view I consulted the priests of the Sacred Heart.
The only London Missionary Society man in the district had just left
for England. The priests were looking after his Samoan and Fijian
teachers, who were all blue with funk, and were also supplying them
with medicines. I believe four of the teachers died during the
epidemic, as well as a number of the European members of the Sacred
Heart. I soon came to the conclusion that the source of the infection
was in the water supply of the villages, and ordered that all water
for the domestic use of the villagers should be drawn from the San
Joseph river, or other big streams, where pollution was practically
impossible, instead of from pools near the river. Threats, punishment,
persuasion, nothing was of any avail; still the people would persist in
drawing and drinking the water from the pools to which they had been in
the habit of going.

I rushed through the district with a flying patrol, and made the lives
of the village constables and chiefs a burden to them; but still the
natives died like flies, and still they drank from the pools. In each
village I made the village constable give me a list of houses in which
bodies had been buried, and then set the police to prod with their
bayonets through the earthen floor until the corpses were discovered;
whereupon, we made the householder disinter them and plant them in
the cemetery; if there were no cemetery, I laid one out for them. I
sent every householder off to gaol in whose house I found a corpse,
until Basilio sent to say there would soon be a famine in the Station;
then, to prevent this, I levied toll of food upon the villagers, and
plundered their gardens if they did not pay. But still the people drank
from the pools, and sickened and died.

I called a meeting of chiefs and village constables, and threatened
and prayed them to stop the burial in the houses and the drinking of
polluted water. “We can’t stop it,” they said; “you are strong and
wise, tell us what to do.” I racked my brains, and at last I thought I
saw a way out. “Take this message to your people,” I said: “I am going
myself to poison every hole from which they draw water, except running
streams, and they can come and see me do it; after that, I shall burn
down every house in which a man is buried, and if I find five corpses
in one village, I shall burn the whole village. In the meantime they
are all to leave the villages, and camp in shelters half a mile away.”
Then I wondered how I could make the people believe that their wells
and pools were really poisoned; hunting amongst my supply of drugs,
I found about half a pound of Permanganate of Potash, a few grains
of which, placed in a bucketful of water, is sufficient to produce a
red colour. “Ah,” I thought to myself, “now for a little sorcery.” I
carefully filled up two wine glasses, one with Ipecacuanha wine, an
emetic; the other with water, coloured by Permanganate to a passable
imitation of it. Then I returned to my meeting of chiefs and village
constables, carrying the glasses in my hands.

I addressed the meeting in this way. “You see these glasses? They
contain a virulent poison, the poison I am going to put in the wells
and pools. I am going to drink one glassful and Maina, v.c., the
other; but the strength of my magic will save us from dying, though
you will be able to see what a bad poison it is.” Maina was not at
all keen on drinking his brew, but as his brother v.c.’s all told
him to rely upon me, and I told him he would get the sack as a v.c.,
and gaol for disobedience of orders, if he did not, he plucked up
courage and swallowed the nauseous draught with many grimaces. I then
swallowed mine, passed round cigarettes, and awaited developments. In
twenty minutes Maina asked whether I was certain of the efficacy of my
protection against the poison I had given him, as he was feeling very
ill. I explained that I was, and that he would be quite safe, unless
at any time he had neglected his duties as a v.c.: should he have done
that, he would be extremely ill for a few minutes, and then get quite
well again. Somehow or other I think Maina must have been remiss in
his duties, for in a few minutes he was most uncommonly sick, after
which he rapidly recovered. The meeting then dispersed, fully convinced
that my threat of poisoning the water was no idle one, and prepared to
explain to the people the colour and nature of the poison I intended
using.

Village after village I then visited, drawing from each well or pool
a bucketful of water, which I coloured red with Permanganate and
exhibited to the natives: after which, I made some hocus pocus passes
with my hands over the pool or well, whilst I poured in the mixture,
dismally chanting all the time, “Boney was a warrior, Boney was a
thief, Boney came to my house and stole a leg of beef.” My voice, I
may remark, is not a melodious one. At very big pools I constructed
a little boat of leaves--like the paper boats made by children--and
placing a little gunpowder in it, I focussed the rays of the sun
through one of the lenses removed from my field-glasses, until it
exploded in a puff of fire and smoke. Then, gazing severely at the
village constable and assembled villagers, I would groan loudly, and
explain that the poison devils I had placed in that particular pool
were of the most malignant description, and I hoped that they would not
be fools enough to allow them to enter their systems through the medium
of the water. “Not much!” was the equivalent of their reply; “we are
not going to risk magic of this sort. No! Not even if we have to walk
miles for our water.”

I sent a report to Blayney describing the symptoms of the sick, and
asking for advice. Blayney was a doctor, as well as R.M., the only one
besides Sir William MacGregor in New Guinea. He replied, “I can’t come
to help you, I am tied up by this infernal Treasury work; there is no
doubt, I think, that the illness is enteric fever. Look to your water
supply and drive the people out of the infected houses.” I had already
done all this, so I merely continued patrols to make sure that the
natives were carrying out my orders; the immediate effect being, that
the sickness slackened and the deaths dwindled down to almost nothing.
“Thank Heaven,” I thought, “I have got it under.” Suddenly a fresh
outburst occurred, sweeping like a wave with awful virulence through
the people, who were now mostly camped away from the villages.

At my wits’ end, I again assembled the chiefs and village constables.
“What foolery are you up to now?” I asked. “Are you drinking the
water from the poisoned wells, or burying the dead in the villages or
houses?” “Oh no,” they said, “we have obeyed you most strictly; also we
have carried out a precaution suggested by the sorcerers.” “What was
that?” I demanded. “They have told us that when a death takes place,
the body of the dead person is to be licked by all the relations.”
Frantic with rage, I jumped to my feet and howled for the Station
guard. “Strip the uniform and Government clothes off these men, and
throw them into gaol, until I can devise some means of bringing them
to their senses,” I yelled, as the police came running up. Pallid with
funk, and loudly protesting that they were good and loyal servants
of the Government, my village constables and chiefs were hauled
away. Soon, from the villages, came streaming in the wives, friends,
and relations of the imprisoned men, weeping bitterly and praying
me to release their husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. Then I took
counsel with Basilio. “The men are not to blame,” he said, “it is the
sorcerers; you will do no good by punishing the v.c.’s and chiefs, who
are trying to help you, merely because they are fools.” “Very true; but
how can I catch the elusive sorcerer?” I remarked. “The v.c.’s are
badly frightened now,” said Basilio; “scare them a little more, and
they will drop a hint as to the whereabouts of some of them.” I had
my v.c.’s brought back, and threatened and abused them alternately;
they all--with one exception--squirmed, lied, and tried to excuse
themselves, and all denied knowledge as to the whereabouts of the
sorcerers. “How then did you receive the message from them, as to the
licking of the bodies of the dead?” I demanded. Dead silence and more
squirms.

Then I turned to the one man who had not lied and excused himself.
“What have you to say for yourself?” “Nothing: if you choose to put me
in gaol, put me there; but since you came, I have most strictly carried
out the orders of the Government, and I have had no communication
with sorcerers; neither have I had any deaths in my village since you
closed the wells; also the people of my village have not licked the
bodies of the dead.” Three minutes’ inquiry confirmed the truth of this
village constable’s statement: whereupon, I returned his uniform, gave
him a brass bird of paradise badge (the badge worn on the caps of the
constabulary), and told him, that for the future he was senior village
constable for the district with double pay, and when he visited the
Station he should have the right to sleep in the constabulary barracks,
instead of in the visitors’ house. The name of this man was Aia
Kapimana, and on his leaving to return to his village, he called up a
youth of about fourteen: “My son,” he proudly said; “I give him to you
as a servant.” I didn’t want a servant, but not wishing to offend the
man, whose feelings I had already most unjustly hurt, I said I would
keep him for a while. The boy had the same name as his father, “Aia,”
and was a nice smart-looking lad; I sent him to join Poruta.

This youth remained in my private service for many months, accompanying
me afterwards when I left the Mekeo district to go to the South-Eastern
Division; I found him to be always loyal and obedient. After he left
my service and returned to Mekeo, he was engaged as a private servant
by my successor, Amedeo Giulianetti, who was a man, like myself, very
severe upon the sorcerers: unfortunately for him, however, he was never
very popular with the constabulary. One night Giulianetti was sleeping
in the house of the local London missionary on the coast, about twenty
miles from Mekeo Station, while his police and Aia were sleeping in
native houses some distance away. To Aia, came a sorcerer and said,
“You are to shoot your master dead; if I could shoot, I would do it;
but as I cannot, you must; and if you refuse I shall strike you dead.”
Aia took a police rifle and, accompanied by the sorcerer, walked up
to the Mission house; Giulianetti was sleeping with a lighted lamp
on a chair beside his bed; Aia blew out Giulianetti’s brains, then,
firing another shot at him, fled--as did the sorcerer. The sorcerer,
in fording a stream during his flight, was seized by an alligator and
severely mangled before he could escape from its jaws; believing then
that the alligator was on the side of the Government and that escape
was hopeless, he made no further effort to get away, and was secured
by the police. Aia either gave himself up to them or was secured by
the fathers of the Sacred Heart Mission. These, shortly, were the
facts elicited at the trial of Aia and the sorcerer, both of whom were
sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

At the time the murder took place, I was stationed at Cape Nelson on
the north-east coast, and amongst my constabulary were some of the
men of the Mekeo detachment, who had been transferred to me there. I
have no hesitation now in saying, that I am convinced that all the
facts as to how Giulianetti was murdered were not elicited at the
trial, and that I believe some of Giulianetti’s police were concerned
in it. Firstly, it was not clear how Aia got the rifle and cartridges
without the consent and knowledge of the owner; secondly, Aia swore
that Giulianetti was sleeping with his mosquito net raised and a
lamp burning, thereby allowing Aia a clear view of him. Now, it is
utterly impossible for a European, in the Mekeo district, to sleep
without a mosquito net; and to say that a man could sleep unprotected,
in a room with a light attracting mosquitoes in myriads, is rank
absurdity. If the mosquito net was down--as I am convinced it must
have been--Giulianetti’s body would not have been visible to the man
shooting at him, and some one must have raised it to allow Aia to aim.
The shot, according to Aia’s statement, was fired from the doorway;
this must have been true, for otherwise, the flash would have scorched
the mosquito net or bed-clothes. Two shots were fired: now, Aia was
a first-class shot, and had--according to his own statement--killed
Giulianetti with the first; why, therefore, did he remain to reload his
rifle and fire again, after the first shot had alarmed the house? That
second shot came from a rifle other than Aia’s I am convinced. Another
point to be considered is, that when the sorcerer first commanded Aia
to shoot Giulianetti and threatened him with death if he disobeyed, why
did he not appeal for help to the police, who were his friends, and
some of whom came from his own village?

My own opinion is that Aia did tell the police, and that some of them
were concerned in the murder. This view of mine was shared by my own
police at Cape Nelson, and by nearly every member of the constabulary
with whom I talked. Another reason I had for thinking that the Mekeo
detachment--at that time--would not have been above making away with
an unpopular officer was, that on one occasion, while they were under
Bramell’s command, the whole lot had arranged to fire at him on the
parade ground during inspection. When the time came, however, only one
man carried out the plot by raising his rifle, firing, and missing him
at about ten paces; Bramell had then deliberately walked up to the man,
taken his smoking rifle from him and led him up to the police cell,
into which he had shoved the offender, after which, he had resumed his
inspection of the squad. Bramell punished the man afterwards, but,
as he was in hot water at the time at Headquarters, did not report
the incident for fear of--somehow or other--being blamed himself. The
punishment he allotted to the culprit was a peculiar one, and one
that I cannot say commended itself to me, richly though the mutineer
deserved it. At that time there were in the Station two dark cells, one
of which was never used, for the reason that on a previous occasion a
man had hanged himself in it, and the police thought it was haunted by
his ghost; Bramell gave his would-be murderer twenty-four hours in it,
telling him that if he lacked company, he could call the ghost.

The police of Mekeo Station had a most extraordinary yarn of a strange
happening there, on the night of Giulianetti’s murder (Amadeo, they
called him). A group of them were sitting talking together, when one
man jumped to his feet, pointed to Giulianetti’s house and exclaimed in
surprise, “When did Amadeo return?” They all looked, and saw that the
house, which had been in darkness, was lit up, and that Giulianetti,
clothed in his usual white clothing, was seated in his chair in the
open place between the rooms, looking across the parade ground. They
all ran up to the house, to ask him how and when he had returned, and
where his police were. As the men went up the steps of the house, it
became plunged in darkness: puzzled, they called to Giulianetti and
struck matches, and to their surprise could not find him; the lamp,
which a few seconds before had apparently been burning brightly, was
dead and cold. This story was told me by Sergeant Kimai, who was not an
imaginative person.

The attempted murder of Bramell by his police was afterwards the cause
of a serious quarrel between him and me, and for a time we were not
on speaking terms, though we lived in the same house and dined at the
same table. I did not know that Bramell had not reported the matter,
and one day, in the course of casual conversation with the Government
Secretary, referred to it. Mr. Musgrave pricked up his ears, asked me
several questions, and then ordered me to put in a written report; I
demurred, pointing out that the alleged shooting at Bramell by the
police was all hearsay and Station gossip. Muzzy insisted; whereupon
I made out a garbled version of the affair, to which Bramell had no
difficulty in giving a flat denial. He, however, then took it into
his head that I had been trying to get him into trouble, and “words”
ensued, which resulted, as I have said, in a total split between us.

The quarrel ended in a funny way. I had a temporary Port Moresby
boy engaged as a servant, who of course knew of the split between
Bramell and myself; coming home one day unexpectedly, I found the
young reprobate smoking one of my pipes and brushing his hair with
my brushes, whereupon I cuffed him soundly. The boy whimpered, and
I told him to shut up or he would get a little more; this had the
desired effect, and I left. Mr. Musgrave at this time made pets of
the Hanuabada boys, as they were called, and always came down like a
sledge hammer on any officer who struck one, for whatever cause. After
I had gone, the boy sat down outside, waited until he saw Mr. Musgrave
in the distance, and then set up a terrific bellowing, as though he
had been half murdered. Bramell heard the howls and asked the boy what
the row was about; the boy said I had hit him, and he was howling to
attract Mr. Musgrave’s attention: Bramell promptly cuffed the howler
into silence, and kept him with him until the Government Secretary was
safely out of sight. I heard of the incident from the boy, and when
Bramell came home that night and went to his side of the verandah,
I called after him, “Bramell, have a drink?” He came, had a drink,
remarked that, “We were two fools,” and buried the hatchet.

After these digressions I must return to my epidemic and the Mekeo
district. I released my chiefs and v.c.’s, after uttering the most
blood-curdling threats as to what would happen if they indulged in any
more corpse-licking. Again I raced through the district with a patrol,
burying the dead and harrying the natives, as well as snapping up a
sorcerer here and there. On an average, the patrol covered twenty miles
a day, until the men and myself were as thin as catgut, and as tired
as a sweated seamstress, from work and worry. We had our prisoners,
sorcerers principally, handcuffed on to a chain; one evening, so tired
out were we, that I commanded a halt in the middle of a grass patch and
told the men to sleep where we stopped. Looking through my men for some
one to take charge of the prisoners, I found they were all so utterly
done up as not to be relied on to keep awake for half an hour. Aia was
the only fresh person, he having sat in charge of our effects, while
the constabulary and I worked. Calling Aia, I told him that, seeing
the state the patrol was in, I meant to handcuff him on to the chained
prisoners, in order that, if during the night they tried to bolt, he
might alarm us. Aia protested, but handcuffed he was: in a few minutes
I noticed that his hands were so small that he could slip them out of
the handcuffs, accordingly I had one clasp of the handcuffs fastened
to the prisoners’ chain and the other locked round his ankle, and I
also lent him my heavy hunting knife--a most formidable weapon. Then we
all slept, the dead heavy sleep that only a tired lot of men know.

Shortly before dawn, one of my men awoke and noticed that Aia and the
prisoners had disappeared. He at once awakened the camp, and spreading
out in every direction like spokes from the hub of a wheel, one of the
men ran into the chain gang, who were soon secured again. They had
watched us go to sleep, and had waited until Aia slept also, when they
had suddenly seized him and gagged him with their belts--disgusting
things those belts were too--then, muffling the clink of the chain with
the remainder of their belts, they had slunk away, carrying Aia upside
down with them. He had the extreme pleasure of hearing them discuss how
they would cut off his ankle with my knife to release themselves, when
sufficiently remote from the camp. This incident showed me clearly that
it was high time we returned to the Station; for when a patrol is so
worn out that it cannot find a man to mount guard, it is evident that
its usefulness has ended.

At Mekeo it was my custom to spend a couple of hours on Saturday
afternoons attending to any simple surgical cases, or broken bones,
brought to me by the village constable. Sometimes I got one that was
anything but simple. For instance, on one occasion a native came in
with his shoulder all plastered up with mud and leaves; he told me
that he had fallen from a cocoanut palm the week before and hurt his
shoulder, and that it was so painful that he could not sleep at night
and that he meditated suicide. In passing, I might remark that a
favourite New Guinea method of suicide is to climb a cocoanut tree, and
then drop head first to the ground. I examined the shoulder and found
it badly dislocated, but apparently nothing broken. I struggled with
that shoulder for a good hour, the man’s howls meanwhile alarming the
country for a couple of miles around; then I gave it up in despair.
“Are you not going to mend me?” he asked in an injured tone. “Mend you,
yes,” I replied. “But I shall have to hurt you a bit, and you make my
head ache with your howls.” “I won’t say another word,” he said. Then
I sent to the whaleboat for blocks and tackle, which I attached to his
arm, after lashing him firmly to pegs driven into the ground; in five
minutes, by the aid of that tackle and some lusty police, the shoulder
was back in position, and during the whole process the man did not give
so much as a whimper.

Another native came in, and exhibited a lot of nasty long gashes about
his arms, body and head. “How did you collect these?” I asked. “I got
clawed by a bush alligator,” he replied. “Don’t tell me silly lies,
there are no alligators in the bush; alligators live in the water,” I
retorted. “There are water alligators and bush alligators,” he said;
“bush alligators have sharp claws and climb trees.” “Do you mean
iguanas?” I asked; “the reptile whose skin you use for your drums?”
“No, I don’t,” he said; “the skin of the bush alligator is no good for
drums.” I dressed the man’s wounds; and when next I met the Sacred
Heart missionaries, I asked them whether they had ever heard a native
yarn about a bush alligator. They had frequently heard of it, but
had never seen the beast. Old Bushimai, chief of the Binandere, once
showed me a lot of scars about his body, which he had got as a young
man in an encounter with--as he put it--a devil. Bushimai and his wife
were walking through the bush, he being unarmed (I may say he was an
enormously powerful man); suddenly the wife, who was following, gave a
yell, and, turning round, he saw her in the grasp of a beast strange
to him; he got her away, but in so doing sustained the scars he showed
me. Bushimai’s description of the beast was like nothing either on the
earth, in the sea or sky; he was, however, perfectly satisfied with his
own opinion--that it was a devil.

One day, whilst I was engaged attending to my patients, an old woman
appeared, followed by a man hobbling along with the aid of a stick; the
woman staggered under an enormous bunch of bananas, which she dropped
at my feet. “There,” she said, “you cut my husband with your knives
and cure him, and I will pay you these bananas.” I looked at the man,
and found he had elephantiasis in one limb, which was swollen to an
enormous size; I shook my head, and told the woman that I could do no
good. “Yes you can,” she said; “I have heard of wonderful things that
you have done. I suppose the payment is not enough, but we have nothing
else with which to pay you.” Basilio at last made the woman understand
that there were things beyond my power, and this was one; and, to make
clear to her that it was not for lack of adequate payment, we made her
presents of turkey-red twill, tobacco and beads, and also gave her
husband an adze, the tool most prized by the Mekeo natives; but in
spite of all, it was a very sad couple that went away. A leper once
came to me, and he also had to depart disconsolately.

One of my difficulties at Mekeo was to make the natives keep the roads
and tracks clean; each village was compelled by law to keep the roads
throughout its own lands clean and open, and each village did its best
to dodge doing so. One village in particular gave me a lot of trouble;
say what I would, and do what I could, they would not clean their
roads. Mohu was the name of this village. At last, in exasperation,
I threatened, that if at my next visit the tracks were not cleaned,
I should shoot the village pigs. Time went on, I visited Mohu again
and found the roads worse than ever. I caught several of the prominent
men, and cursed them; then I said, “You know what I told you last time,
that I should shoot your pigs if you did not obey me; now I am going to
shoot your largest and best pig, as a warning that I am in earnest. At
the end of a week I shall return and kill the rest, unless you clean
the roads.” The police drove out an uncommonly fine pig; I pointed it
out to the chief and said, “I am going to kill that pig.” “Kill it,
if you want to,” he said contemptuously. Shot the pig was, and I left
the village, the chief and natives not appearing to worry much about
the killing. Hardly had I gone a mile, before a fat Belgian brother of
the Sacred Heart Mission came running after me. “For why?” he asked,
“for why, Monseigneur, have you slain the pig of my lord the Bishop?”
I sent humble apologies to the Mission, and offers of payment for the
pig; the apologies were accepted, the payment they declined, telling
me that they hoped I should succeed in making the lazy Mohu villagers
clean their roads. Jumping with temper, I returned to Mohu, arrested
the chief and all his most prominent followers, and sentenced them to
a month’s gaol with hard labour. “We can only get three days’ simple
imprisonment for neglecting to clean roads,” he complained. “Yes, you
villain,” I replied, “but you are now getting a month’s hard labour, as
accessory before the fact, to the stealing of a pig; and unless your
roads are cleaned within a week, I’ll forget my judgment and make it
six months.” Cleaned those roads were, within the week.

Mohu was a village that had always given a great deal of trouble; once
it even went to the length of fighting Sir William MacGregor. A Station
of the Sacred Heart was established near it, and the people, not caring
about sending their children to school, tried to drive the missionaries
away by depositing filth close to the Mission house. I cured them of
that trick, by making the prominent men clean up, and carry away the
mess, with their bare hands; they were all very angry, but one man
especially so. Father Victor told me that one day afterwards, when he
was walking towards the village, this particular individual slipped out
in front of him from behind a bush, with bow bent, and arrow pointed
straight at the father; he yelled at the man, who then apologized and
explained that he thought the father was I. I sent for the man, and
gave him three days’ solitary confinement on a pumpkin diet. “How do
you like that?” I asked him at the end. He candidly said that words
could not express his opinion of it, that he had never felt so lonely
nor so empty in his life before. “Very good, then,” I told him, “don’t
you play the fool any more with your bow and arrows, or you will get
ten years of it.” Some time afterwards I made this individual a
village constable, which position he filled in a very satisfactory
manner.

Mekeo Station was absolutely the worst place for snakes I have ever
known; they were there in all sizes, from pythons, that came after my
fowls, to deadly little reptiles, that coiled up in bunches of bananas.
If one sent a boy up a cocoanut tree, he had to beat at the bunches of
nuts with a stick, before putting his hand in, to make certain that
there were no snakes concealed. It is a fact, not generally known, that
snakes climb trees in exactly the same manner that they go along the
ground: they don’t coil round them, as picture books show, but I think
they must grip the bark by elevating their scales; when they want to
come down, they merely release themselves and fall like a wet piece of
rope. I’ve only known two men in my life who really liked snakes: one
was Armit, and the other was a camp-keeper he had, called Rohu. Once
at Cape Nelson, I got my knee-cap knocked to one side, and went up by
boat to get Armit, who was then stationed at Tamata, to fix it up for
me. Rohu and Armit had half a dozen tame snakes, which used to crawl
over their beds and chairs, in fact they were everywhere; if either of
their owners wished to sit in a canvas chair, very frequently he had to
pick a snake out of it first. To the contempt of the pair, I declined a
bed in the house in favour of a bunk in the police barracks. “They are
quite harmless,” said Armit. “That may be,” I remarked, “but if I must
have bed fellows, I prefer constabulary to snakes.”

It was quite a common thing for the store-keeper on the gold-fields
to have a small python--one eight or ten feet long--in his rice
store, to keep down the rats; these pythons usually became very tame.
I remember one big fellow, that my police caught in the Mambare and
sold to Hancock, a store-keeper at Tamata. Hancock got this particular
snake very tame; it would come to his whistle for a bowl of tinned
milk, and it used to climb about the beams in the roof of the store.
At that time, there was working in the Mambare district, a miner named
Finn, whose habit it was to come in once a year, pay his debts, have a
week’s wild drunk, buy a case of brandy and some hams, and return to
his claim again; he then usually camped a few miles from the store, and
lived on raw ham and brandy until it was done, by which time he was
seeing horrors. One day, I was sitting writing at a table in Hancock’s
store--he and I being the only men in it at the time--when Finn came
in on his annual visit; he handed over his gold to Hancock, asked for
his bill and a drink, then, seeing me at the table, came and sat down
opposite, and said, “Give me a new Miner’s Right, Warden.” As I began
to fill up the form, Hancock’s snake swung down from the rafters, and
waved its head about over the table, looking for somewhere to alight.
Finn’s jaw dropped, his eyes bulged in his head; then he got up, and,
without a word, left the room, leaving his drink untasted behind him.
I finished his “Right,” and Hancock, turning from his desk with Finn’s
account in his hand, asked, “Where has Paddy gone?” “I don’t think he
liked your snake,” I replied, “he seemed to think it wanted to kiss
him.” Hancock waited for about half an hour, then sent up to the rival
store to find out whether he was there, only to learn that Finn had
called his native boys and gone straight back to his claim.

The Binandere or Mambare people are the only natives in British New
Guinea who have no fear of snakes; I have seen them snatch up a
poisonous snake by the tail, and crack its head against a tree.

Most of the Port Moresby snakes are harmless, but I remember one of
Captain Barton’s men being bitten by a snake, and as a precaution he
filled the man up with whisky, and ordered the remainder of the police
to keep him walking about, and not on any account to allow him to go
to sleep. Unfortunately he forgot to fix a time limit; the result was,
that on the following morning, the feeble voice of a man bewailing
a cruel fate was heard, and it was discovered that the constabulary
had kept their unlucky companion walking up and down the whole night
long. Upon the man recovering from the comatose slumber into which he
promptly fell when released, he vowed that in the future--if he were
bitten by fifty snakes--he would keep it quiet, as no snake bite could
be half as bad as that cure.

At Mekeo I got my first taste of black-water fever, that strange form
of malaria of which the cause is not known; and in which quinine--the
sovereign remedy for ordinary malaria--is poison. I have never known
black-water outside the Mekeo and Mambare districts in New Guinea; the
name describes one symptom, another is a constant retching and vomiting
of blood. Basilio and the police did all they possibly could for me,
which of course, except for the constant attention, did not amount to
much; hour after hour the constabulary relieved one another, holding
my head and supporting me during the violent paroxysms of vomiting.
One funny little interlude occurred, though. The sorcerers in the gaol
inquired the reason of the silence and gloom over the Station, and were
told by the warders that I was dying; whereupon they set up a loud
chant of joy. The constabulary, sitting in a circle round my bed, heard
the chant; several of them got up, went to their rifles, took out the
cleaning rods, and paid a visit to the gaol, from whence soon came the
wails of suffering sorcerers.

“What can we do?” said Basilio at last; “you die fast.” “Dig my grave
under the flagstaff, where I can hear the feet of the men at drill,”
I replied. Then appeared Fathers Bouellard and Vitali, whom Aia in
despair had gone to fetch; they brought me white wine and bismuth.
“You are in time for the funeral, Father,” I gasped out, “but that is
about all.” “Oh, my friend,” said Father Bouellard, “I want but one
little second at the end, and your soul is safe; but we are not going
to let you die if we can help it; Sister Antoinette is very skilful
with medicines, but as she cannot come here, we will take you to the
Mission.” The police picked up my camp bed and carried me to the
Mission house, where they nursed me back to life. When stronger, the
police carried me to the Monastery at Yule Island, where Dr. Seligman,
who was then visiting New Guinea with Professor Haddon’s party, came
along and completed the cure, and also told me the name of the cheerful
complaint from which I had been suffering. I had enteric some months
later, but I call that an infantile thing alongside black-water.

After my convalescence, I was had rather badly one night by the Father
Superior, who, by the way, was a most charming man, and was afterwards
sent as Parish Priest to Thursday Island. The fever had left me very
weak and with a terrific appetite, which the good fathers did their
best to appease with all they had to offer. Having slept some time, I
woke with a horrible sinking feeling in my tum-tum. “Faith,” I thought,
“I should like a good stiff whisky and soda.” I made my way to the
Father Superior’s room and, rousing him up, explained that I had a
dreadful feeling of coldness in my tummy, and inquired if he could give
me something to allay it. “Ah,” he said, “I know the very thing for
you.” No sooner said than done, and he handed me a tumbler half full of
a horrid tonic draught of iron and other beastliness, which I had to
drink; then I slunk back to bed. Long afterwards I told Ballantine how
I had aroused the worthy priest to get a drink, and received a bolus
instead. He meanly told the Mission, for he said that the story was too
good for them to miss. “Why, Mr. Monckton,” asked the Father Superior,
“why, if you wanted cognac, did you not say cognac?”

When sufficiently recovered, I took passage in one of Burns, Philp’s
vessels, the _Clara Ethel_, which Inman now commanded. At Port Moresby
I reported myself to the Government Secretary, told him the tale of
my adventures, and praised the priests of the Sacred Heart as a fine
lot of men--my predecessor at Mekeo had always quarrelled with them.
“I did not know that you were a Roman Catholic,” said Mr. Musgrave,
when I had finished. “I am not,” I replied; “I am a Churchman, and a
Churchman I’ll die; but if all Roman Catholics were like the members
of the Sacred Heart Mission, there soon wouldn’t be any other Church
in the world.” Muzzy was a dissenter of some sort, and regarded the
Church of Rome with aversion. “Get away and report yourself to his
Excellency,” he growled. I went over to Government House, and reported
myself. Sir William told me to send for my things, and take up my
quarters at Government House; then he said, “I had a cough like you
once, a liver cough; I got rid of it. Captain Jones got one; he died.
You should go away for a change, but I can’t spare you at present; you
had better take a trip to Thursday Island in the _Merrie England_: she
is taking the Judge west, and then going on there for coal.”

[Illustration: VILLAGE NEAR PORT MORESBY]

When the _Merrie England_ sailed, I accordingly went with her, and
the trip proved to be a truly dreadful one. We had on board one
mid-wife and two domestic servants, who had been in the service of the
wives of some of the Government officers in Port Moresby; as each of
these women took up a cabin, and we were--with the exception of the
Governor--carrying our full complement of people, the accommodation
was limited. I occupied a settee in the cabin of Commander Curtis; a
settee that, when we struck really bad weather in the Gulf of Papua,
I abandoned for the security of the floor. No ship that I have ever
known could roll like the _Merrie England_: one night, whilst we were
at dinner, she rolled so prodigiously as to tear the saloon tables
from their fastenings, and rolled tables, men, table gear, and food
backwards and forwards across the cabin, nearly crushing the lives
out of Judge Winter and myself, who happened to be on the lee side
when the first roll came. The sea-sick white women heard the din, and
thought the ship was sinking; accordingly, they rose from their bunks,
attired merely in their night things, and rushed into the saloon, where
of course they were promptly swept off their legs into the chaos of
swearing men and smashing crockery. That night was the sole occasion
upon which Judge Winter was known to use bad language; but I think even
a judge is justified in making remarks, when he finds the edge of a
heavy table, crowned by a dozen men, resting on his liver. At last we
disentangled ourselves, dragged out the shrieking women, and shoved
them back into their cabins. “Why the blank blank don’t you go and
attend to those women?” yelled the skipper at one of the stewards, who
was grovelling about amongst the mixture on the floor. “I’m looking for
my teeth, sir,” he said. The unfortunate man had lost his false teeth
in the excitement.

At Daru we found De Lange, Assistant R.M., carrying on Bingham Hely’s
duties; Hely, R.M., at the time being on leave, and occupied in dying
in a Thursday Island hospital. De Lange was afterwards drowned in the
mouth of the Fly River, his whaleboat having capsized in a bad tide rip
some four or five miles from land: his police started to swim for the
shore, carrying him with them; but finding that--hampered by him--the
police could not make headway against the tide and current, and that
probably all would be drowned, he ordered them to release him, and,
bidding them “Good-bye,” put his hands above his head and went down
like a gallant man. Cruel, certainly, was the toll New Guinea took of
her first officers.

Returning from Thursday Island, the _Merrie England_ landed me again
at Hall Sound, where, after having sent in to the Station for my
police, I returned to my duties. On the first parade after I got back
to the Station, I addressed my men as follows: “That you are a lot
of rogues and villains, I am convinced, and also that you have got
fat from idleness during my absence; but what steel instruments do
you want most?” “Razors,” said some; “scissors,” said others. “Ah,
you scoundrels, I can read your hearts even in Thursday Island.” Then
solemnly I presented each man with a razor and a pair of scissors. “If
ever you are sick again and the prisoners sing,” said Keke, “we will
pull their tongues out.”



CHAPTER XIV


At this first parade, after my return to Mekeo, when I was inspecting
the men I found one of them all gashed about the face and body.
“What have you been up to?” I asked; “more pine-apples?” He grinned
sheepishly, and explained that whilst I was away his grandfather had
died, and so he had cut himself all over with broken glass as a sign
of mourning. “The Queen is your grandfather and grandmother and all
the rest of your relations,” I told him, “and you belong to her. The
next man I catch cutting himself about as a sign of mourning will get
something to mourn for.” Exasperating people they were, one never knew
what they would do next; Kipling’s definition of a native as, “half
devil and half child,” is a very true one.

The signs of mourning were almost as varied as the tribes themselves,
and it may be of interest if I mention one or two of the other methods
in vogue. The Goodenough Islanders had a horrid habit of cutting off
their finger joints with bits of obsidian, _i.e._ volcanic glass:
until, after a sickly season, the hands of some of the men were merely
bleeding stumps. The Suaus cut down the cocoanut trees belonging to the
deceased, until Sir William MacGregor passed a Regulation forbidding
it; and the Kaili Kaili used to hurl themselves face forward into the
sea, and inhale salt water until they nearly burst their lungs.

One of the troubles of the Mekeo Government Officer was a periodic
friction between the members of the Sacred Heart and London Missions,
concerning the limitations of their respective districts. Sir William
MacGregor had, with his usual perspicacity, foreseen the likelihood of
difficulties and sectarian disturbances, should rival denominations
come into contact in the same village or district, and had made a
Regulation allotting each Mission a special sphere of influence. The
London Mission being first on the field, and scattering its men over
a very wide stretch of coast line, received the lion’s share; its
territory extended from East Cape in the extreme east, to the Dutch
boundary in the extreme west. The Sacred Heart Mission had merely Yule
Island, containing a very small population of natives, at most a couple
of hundred; one tiny village on the coast, and the actual district
of Mekeo; it did not, however, include Maiva, which was in the London
area. The Sacred Heart, having occupied all its available territory,
wished to extend its borders, and cast envious eyes upon the large
unoccupied portions belonging to the London Mission: then, having sent
in its priests, it began work in those parts. Bramell, acting under
orders from Port Moresby, promptly pulled down their houses and ordered
them back.

I was appointed to the district just while matters were at this stage.
“What are we to do?” the priests asked me. “Our orders from home are
to extend our work, but the Government will not let us.” “I am very
sorry for you,” I told them, “but I cannot help you, unless you can
persuade the London Mission to resign their right to some of the coast
line.” “They won’t do that,” said the priests. “Then I am afraid I must
pull your houses down, if you trespass on their country.” Those brave
Frenchmen then set to work to bore a road right into the heart of New
Guinea, amongst the wildest of the tribes, and seek converts there.
When I left New Guinea, they had penetrated with their road, which
was fit for horses, for over sixty miles into the interior, and had
found in the mountains a large field for their labours. I have known
many brave men in my time, but none more brave than those priests and
their ascetic chief, the Archbishop of Navarre. The Archbishop, and the
fathers that I knew, are now all dead; may their souls enjoy a peace
and rest that their bodies never knew. “Let the Sacred Heart of Jesus
be everywhere known,” was the motto of their order; rather should it
have been, “Courage, mon ami, it is the will of the Good God,” the
words for ever in their mouths in times of trouble and tribulation.
I am not a Roman Catholic, but one of my most pleasant memories of
the Mekeo district is of one occasion, when I had halted my men on a
track, and the Archbishop and Father Bouellard passed by. “Stand to
your arms!” I yelled at the men, as I saw the good old man coming.
“Shoulder!” “Present arms!” As the rifles clashed up into the salute,
the Archbishop stopped. Looking at us, he said, “My blessing will not
hurt the Protestant soldiers.” So he blessed us and passed on.

While I was at Mekeo, Sir William MacGregor departed from New Guinea.
The Government Secretary sent a notice to all officers within call,
inviting them to come and bid him farewell. On account of some district
trouble I was prevented from going, but fortunately had an opportunity
of bidding him good-bye on board the _Merrie England_, which touched at
Hall Sound on the way to Thursday Island. I was not sorry afterwards
that I had missed the official ceremony at Port Moresby, as I heard
that most of the men present had broken down lamentably, and wept as
the vessel steamed away. Many an Administrator has since come and gone
in New Guinea, but none have ever left such an awful void behind them
as Sir William MacGregor’s departure created; and I doubt whether any
other will ever do so again.

About my only relaxation from duty at Mekeo was an occasional
afternoon’s shooting with the fathers; never shall I forget those
shooting parties, or the way my sides ached from laughing, the first
time I took part in one. Pigeons of all descriptions--from the enormous
plumed Goura, down to a little dove--were very plentiful; and there
was also a lake, a few miles from Mekeo Station, which simply swarmed
with wild geese, duck, and all kinds of water-fowl. Game formed a
pleasant change from the everlasting luke-warm tinned meat, of which
my usual fare consisted. We assembled at one of the Mission Stations,
when I naturally thought we should at once get to business; not so,
however. First, we must drink success to the chase; then each good
father possessed a dog of sorts, which he had taught to do all kinds of
tricks, and which the proud owner of the mongrel then exhibited; after
that, I had to inspect and admire each man’s gun. “My God!” I exclaimed
softly to myself, as in turn I examined the rubbish in which the owners
took such pride. The good fathers were all deadly poor; twenty pounds a
year was all they had, with which to find everything--food, clothing,
and all else; and their guns were the cheapest and vilest of Belgian
make, things I expected to see burst every time they were fired. My
gun, a plain old seven-guinea Bland’s keeper, which had seen many years
of hard service, rose tremendously in my estimation, after looking at
those Belgian affairs; for it, at all events, could be trusted not to
blow my head off; its very plainness, however, did not appeal to my
brother sportsmen, for though they politely praised it, I could see
that the tassels and brass of their gimcracks were more to their liking.

At last, all preliminaries completed, we started, under the command of
Father Bouellard; one good father merrily chanting a gay little French
song in praise of La Chasse, and another one tootling on a round horn.
One member of our party wore an enormous old-fashioned hunting knife,
gaily caparisoned with cords and tassels, the sort of thing that might
prove useful for cutting collops off a wild boar; we, however, were in
search of feathered game. When we had left the village a few hundred
yards behind us, Father Bouellard sternly ordered silence, and we all
began to walk with the stealth of wild Indians; the fathers marched
with unloaded guns, I was pleased to observe, as I frequently found
myself looking down the muzzle of the gun of the man in front of me,
or being poked in the ribs by that of the man behind. Suddenly Father
Bouellard stopped and held up his hand; we all halted, and I peered to
find out what he had discovered, but could see nothing except a little
dove--hardly bigger than a tom-tit--sitting on a bough across the
track. “A pigeon,” he whispered, in a voice of suppressed excitement.
He pulled a cartridge from his bag, inserted it into his gun and,
cocking the hammer, raised the gun to take aim; bang went the gun into
the air and away flew the tiny dove. “My gun was too quick,” remarked
Father Bouellard. “Well, I’m d--d!” I quietly exclaimed to myself, as
the other sportsmen accepted the statement in perfect faith. At the
sound of the shot, the assorted mongrels tore yapping into the scrub,
while the horn tootled, and their masters shrieked shrilly for them to
return. The excitement having subsided, we resumed our stealthy march.

Again our leader held up his hand, and loaded his gun; the squalling
of a parrot pointing out the quarry this time. The father fired, the
parrot fell squalling from the tree, the mongrels dashed at the bird,
one of them securing it; the sportsmen hurled themselves upon the curs,
each man grabbing his own: while the one with the bird fled into the
bush, hotly pursued by its master and Father Bouellard. I could not
help; I could only roll against the nearest tree and nearly suffocate
with laughter. At last the dog with the bird was caught, the mangled
remains of the parrot dragged from its mouth, and once more we resumed
our march. Father Bouellard having blooded his gun, took his place in
the rear, and another sportsman took the father’s place, I declining
the honour. By the time we reached the lake, the fathers had collected
a large assortment of birds; most of them either nearly blown to bits
by being shot sitting at the closest possible range, or torn to pieces
by the curs. There was not a game bird in the lot, for the mongrels and
the horn saw to it that they were kept a good mile away.

Upon our arrival at the lake, while the Mission boys and my police
prepared some canoes for us, Father Bouellard and another priest went
off to stalk some wood-duck sitting in a tree. Presently there came a
shot, followed instantly by the screams of an excited Frenchman; the
men with me listened, and then exclaimed in horror, “He says the good
father is shot!” We tore off to the spot, only to find Father Bouellard
sitting on the ground, ruefully contemplating the tip of a blackened
and bleeding finger; while his companion wept, screamed, and embraced
the father alternately. I examined the finger, and found the damage was
but slight. It seems that the two sportsmen had exchanged guns for a
shot; sneaking under the wood-duck, his companion was taking aim, when
Father Bouellard noticed some dirt on the muzzle of his cherished gun;
he was in the act of brushing the dirt off with his fingers, just as
that infamous piece chose to go off “too quick” again. Separating into
canoes, we soon got a heavy bag of duck and pygmy geese, the latter
quite the best game bird in New Guinea. The method of the fathers
was simple in the extreme: they merely sneaked their canoes up to
within thirty or forty yards of a flock of feeding duck, and blazed
both barrels into the brown of them; after which they would put in an
excited, gesticulating, and noisy half-hour, chasing and shooting the
cripples. I concealed my canoe in a patch of reeds, and had lively
sport with the birds which the fathers kept putting up and driving over
my gun. Excited, tired, and laden with duck, we wended our homeward
way; and once more songs in praise of La Chasse and the tootling of the
horn enlivened our weary footsteps.

At the end of some four or five months, the Mekeo district was in a
condition of satisfactory order; the roads were clean and in good
repair, the sickness had apparently disappeared from among the
villagers, the bodies of those that did die, or were killed by snakes
or in other ways, were buried in the cemetery, and the sorcerers were
hiding their diminished heads. Then I got enteric myself, and narrowly
missed pegging out, after which I sent in my resignation. One bout of
black-water, another of enteric, with a few odd doses of malaria thrown
in, were bad enough; but when they were coupled with work amongst a
tribe I disliked, I thought it was too much of a good thing altogether.

Leaving Mekeo in due course, I went again to the Eastern Division,
where I recruited my health, cruising with Moreton in the _Siai_.
Whilst I was thus occupying my time, Shanahan, one of Green’s
successors in the Northern Division, died of combined malaria and
dysentery. Already since Green’s death, Stuart-Russell, Chief
Government Surveyor, and Butterworth, Commandant of Constabulary, had
put in a term there and been invalided. During one of my periods of
absence from Samarai with Moreton, Judge Winter came there looking for
me to succeed Shanahan, the Judge being then Acting Administrator.
Fortunately for me, I was away: therefore, as the position had to be
filled at once, he appointed Armit; I very much doubt whether, had I
been sent to the Mambare in my then state of health, I should have
lasted six months.

Returning from the Mambare in the _Merrie England_, Judge Winter
sent me off in her to relieve Campbell, R.M. and Warden for the
South-Eastern Division, the easiest and healthiest division in the
Possession. With the exception of the mining work at Woodlark Island,
my duties consisted of sailing from one small island to another and
hearing petty cases; there was not an island in the division that one
could not walk across in a day, and, if one wished, the boat could be
anchored every night.

A. M. Campbell, the man I relieved, possessed a perfect mania for
office work, tidiness, and writing reports; if a constable cut his
toe or a prisoner sneezed, Campbell could manage to make a two-page
report of the incident. When the _Merrie England_ reached Nivani, the
Government Station for the Division, we found the patrol vessel, the
_Murua_, had been wrecked. Campbell was no sailor, and his crew were
fair-weather men; so accordingly, on a strong gale coming up, they had
anchored in the harbour and made for the safe security of the shore.
The _Murua’s_ anchor chains were nasty galvanized things, which in her
peaceful summer cruising had never met a strain; consequently, when she
had to ride out a moderate gale, they snapped, and she--being without
a crew---was blown up on the nearest reef. A white prisoner at Nivani,
named Clancy, upon the return of calm weather, had dived and tacked
canvas over the vessel’s holes; then it was found that, by fitting her
with some extra pumps, manned by relays of constabulary, she could be
towed to Samarai by the _Merrie England_, where she could be repaired
upon the slip.

I was not pleased, as I saw the unpleasant prospect looming before me
of having to do the district work, in the absence of the _Murua_, in
a whaleboat; the whaler would be safe enough, but when under sail one
could have no awning, and would therefore be alternately grilled by
the sun and wet through by every passing shower. The _Merrie England_
sailed, leaving me to my work. The first thing to which I turned my
attention was, as usual, the detachment of police: the Commandant,
while there, had fallen them in with the travelling patrol, but in
three minutes had dismissed them to their barracks in despair; they
were all, with the exception of a corporal, locally recruited by
Campbell and trained by him. They were an uncommonly clean and tidy
looking lot, very polite and attentive, excellent body or house
servants, and taught to salute on every possible occasion; a man could
not even hand one a cake of bath soap without saluting as he gave it,
and again when he left. “Corporal,” I asked (a corporal being in charge
of the ten men forming the detachment), “what are the hours of parade
here, and how often do you have musketry instruction?” “I fall the men
in once a week,” he replied, “and we never have musketry instruction.”
“My stars!” I said; “what do you teach them?” “I teach them right-hand
salute, left-hand salute, officers’ and general salute,” was the
answer; “that’s all Mr. Campbell wants.” I groaned. “You will fall them
in at half-past six every morning, and at five o’clock every evening
whilst I am here,” I ordered, “beginning this evening.”

I went to the first parade, and found that--beyond saluting--the
men knew absolutely nothing of drill: their rifles were spotlessly
clean, but several were out of order, and the men ignorant of the
component parts of their arms; most of them had never fired a shot.
When I snapped out an order, as I had been accustomed to do with my
hard-bitten devils of the Mekeo detachment, instead of a brisk movement
following it, they would shiver and wilt like a lot of scared valets.
“My Faith, what would you be like in a fight?” I asked them. “There are
no fights in the south-east,” they said, “but we should like to be made
the same as the other police; we are ashamed now when we meet them,
and the corporal cries.” “Well he might,” I remarked, “for such a lot
of sleek pussy cats I have never yet met.” Then I put them through a
sweating hour of recruit drill; the corporal, who had once known his
work, soon remembered the drill, and began to take hold again. Clancey,
the white prisoner undergoing sentence for manslaughter, was a handy
man, and, after I had once shown him how to take to pieces and assemble
a rifle, I made him take a class and instruct each of the police how
it was done. When I left the south-east, I had those men cocking their
caps at a rakish angle, and walking with a very passable imitation of
the swagger of the fighting constabulary of the mainland.

Campbell had been in the Customs at Tonga; he was, while there,
a Corporal, a Colonel, or a Field-Marshal in the King of Tonga’s
“Guards,” I never quite knew which. He had a wondrous uniform which he
had brought from there, and which he donned on state occasions: Moreton
and Armit swore that from it, they never could decide whether he was
horse or foot, sapper or gunner; and the confusion was made worse by
the addition of epaulets and spurs. Anyhow, it was a harmless conceit,
amused Campbell, and hurt no one else: perhaps it is rather unkind of
me, while peacefully farming in New Zealand, to laugh at a man still
writing interminably in a New Guinea office; my only excuse is, that I
am trying to picture New Guinea as I knew it.

Among my office papers were numerous applications, from miners on
Woodlark Island, for leases and reefing claims, also notices of pending
litigation; they were all nicely docketed and filed, with copies of
acknowledging letters, but apparently nothing had been done, and the
men were getting frantic. I put in a month visiting islands, and then,
not caring to carry my Court Registers and books in the whaler, I went
to Samarai, to find out what had become of the _Murua_. I discovered
that she had been handed over to Symons, who in his turn had handed her
over to carpenters for repairs: the carpenters--being busy--had merely
planted her on a mud bank, where she lay, with her decks warped and
ruined by the sun, and her hull full of borers; clearly she was now
going to be a three months’ job. After cursing Symons very thoroughly,
and the carpenters as well, I sought out Moreton and reproached him.
“I can’t help it,” he said, “I have nothing to do with the vessel, and
Symons is now so spoilt by Headquarters that I can do nothing with him.”

I learnt from Moreton that he had some awkward work on hand in the
Trobriands and at Ferguson Island, for which he had not a sufficient
force: I accordingly suggested that, if he would take me to Woodlark
Island first to hold my Warden’s Court, I would then join him with my
police, who by now were fairly efficient in their work; a plan to which
he readily agreed.

Moreton and I therefore sailed in the _Siai_ for Woodlark, where
we put in a strenuous time. He took all the police court, civil
and native cases for me; whilst I held the Warden’s Court, dealing
with multitudinous applications and technical work. Moreton’s time
was limited, as native affairs in his own district were pressing;
accordingly, I sat night and day, to get through the work in the
Warden’s Court. I had no clerk or assistant, and as there were many
forms to be filled up and signed, all of which carried a fee for
which receipts had to be given, I stationed my corporal at the door
of the Court room, with his cartridge pouch open. As I granted each
application and wrote out a receipt, I told the applicant the amount,
and that he was to pay the corporal at the door, for I had no time to
count money or weigh gold-dust; and it says a lot for the honesty of
those men, that afterwards when I weighed the gold-dust and counted the
cash in the corporal’s pouch, I found the amount to be in excess of
what was due. A sweet time that excess of money gave me later on with
the Treasurer; having sent it all through with the duplicate receipts
and returns, he demanded why they did not tally. When he received my
explanation that it was due to over-payment by miners, he wanted to
know why I had not returned the surplus to the owners; and when I
explained that I did not know who the owners were, he censured me for
the “grave laxity in supervising payments of money due to Government.”

While we were at Woodlark, I had one very unpleasant case. The miners
presented me with a petition, praying for the removal of a man named
Brown, who was a drunken dissolute ex-pugilist, and who spent his time
in jumping the claims of weak or elderly men, and then demanding a
payment to quit; if they did not pay, he would post a notice stating
the title to the claim was in dispute, which thereby caused all work to
cease until the next sitting of the Warden’s Court, sometimes months
later. I told the petitioners that I could not deport a man, but would
call on Brown to find sureties to keep the peace, and that, if he
failed to find them, I would send him to gaol. Sending for Brown, I
read the charge to him, and told him I wanted two men to go bail for
him to the extent of fifty pounds each, otherwise I should be obliged
to gaol him. He produced a hundred pounds and said, “Hold that.”
“That’s no good,” I said; “I want two men to guarantee you, and I will
give you till to-morrow to find them.” Brown went off, but could find
no one to stand bail for him; so, in a rage, he went to a tent owned
by a man with a considerable knowledge of medicine, and in which was
stored the entire stock of drugs in the island, and smashed the lot. I
saved him from being killed by the irate miners, and then clapped him
into irons.

On the morning I left the mining camp, Brown’s irons were taken off;
whereupon he flung himself flat on his face and refused to walk to the
vessel, saying, that if I wanted him, I could carry him. I appealed to
the miners. “Drag this blighter to the _Siai_ for me, I’m not going
to struggle with him myself and I don’t like having him taken by the
native police.” “Set the niggers on the ----,” was their answer,
“we won’t touch him.” In obedience to my order, the police dragged
Brown--kicking, fighting, and swearing--some hundred yards from the
camp; then I had him set down. “Brown, will you come quietly?” I asked.
“No, you ----,” he answered. “Corporal, load your rifle,” I said. The
corporal loaded it. “Sit here and guard that man, and blow his head off
if he moves,” came next. Brown looked rather disturbed; then I took the
remainder of my men away, and instructed them in the manner in which
the frogs’ march is performed. Returning to Brown, I nodded my head at
the men, and said, “Frogs’ march!” In ten minutes he was praying for
mercy and release; I gave him fifteen minutes of it, and then he walked
with us like a pet lamb.

When we reached the _Siai_, he was put in the hold where there were a
couple of native prisoners; afterwards he had the ineffable impudence
to send in a report to Port Moresby, complaining about Moreton and
myself having put him in with natives, and quoting in support of his
complaint, the treatment he had received in English and Colonial gaols,
where he had never been put with niggers! Brown only spent a week in
Samarai gaol, for a vessel then left for the Mambare, and he begged
Moreton to procure his release and let him go thither. “Better let
him go,” said Moreton, “he is only a nuisance here, and he can’t have
a worse time than sweating for gold on the Mambare. We can let Armit
know what he is like and there are enough hard cases among the Mambare
diggers to make things hot for him, if he plays any tricks there.” “All
right,” I said, “let him go; I don’t care where he is so long as he is
out of my Division; but you and I will have to go bail for him.” We
released Brown, signed bail, and escorted him upon the vessel bound for
the Mambare, where he was afterwards murdered by a boy he had brutally
misused. His reputation was so bad on that gold-field, that white men,
conversant with all the facts of the murder, declined to give evidence
against the boy.

At the Woodlark Island gold-field, at that time, a very peculiar
position existed. The Mining Act, under which I worked, was an Act
adopted from Queensland, where all lands not alienated were vested
in the Crown; certificates of titles, rights or leases in Queensland
being granted upon that assumption. In New Guinea, however, under our
constitution, all lands not purchased by Government, not gazetted
as waste and vacant, were held to belong to the natives; no land in
Woodlark had been purchased by the Crown, nor had any been taken over
as waste or vacant. The position therefore was, that on behalf of
the Crown, I was granting titles to land to which the Crown itself
held no title. As a matter of fact, I believe that if the natives had
had sufficient knowledge, they could have capsized the title held by
every miner and mining company in Woodlark, and could have entered
into possession of all the claims or mines; moreover, they could do so
still, unless those lands have subsequently been acquired by the Crown.

There was at that time no Government Officer stationed on Woodlark
Island, and, before we left, I received a petition from the miners,
praying that the headquarters of the Division should be moved to that
island. This petition had my entire sympathy. It was utterly absurd
that an island carrying two hundred European inhabitants, and some
hundreds of natives, should be passed over in favour of a tiny islet,
the population of which consisted solely of Government servants. I put
in a recommendation to this effect, which was referred to Campbell
on his return, and pooh-poohed. Later, however, the Government was
compelled to adopt my recommendation, and transfer the Station from
Nivani to Woodlark.

From Woodlark, Moreton and I sailed for Ferguson, Trobriand, and
Goodenough Islands; then--having completed certain police work--we
returned to Samarai. From thence I took the _Murua_ (her bottom now
having been repaired) to Nivani, there to complete refitting. Hardly
had I got her fit for sea again, when the _Merrie England_ appeared,
bringing the new Lieutenant-Governor, Sir George Le Hunte, also the
R.M., Campbell, back from leave.

[Illustration: SIR GEORGE LE HUNTE, K.C.M.G.]



CHAPTER XV


The new Governor was a man as different from Sir William MacGregor as
chalk from cheese. Mr. Le Hunte (as he was then) was a pleasant, genial
Irishman; greeting each one of his officers, as if he were the very man
he most wanted to see; ever being painfully anxious to avoid hurting
any one’s feelings, or being obliged to censure them. He certainly was
a man who inspired great liking and affection in his subordinates; but
he would sooner cajole a slack man into doing his work, by increasing
his pay or easing his duties, than spur him on with a caustic reprimand
or a little additional work.

The Governor brought with him Captain Barton, late West India Regiment,
and the Honble. C. G. Murray, as private secretary and assistant
private secretary respectively--the latter without pay. One of these
men, at the present time of writing, is First Minister to the Sultan of
Zanzibar, and the other, Administrator of St. Vincent; whilst in New
Guinea they each received appointments in the Service.

At Nivani, after I had handed over the Station to Campbell, the
Governor desired me to accompany his party in the _Merrie England_,
on her round voyage of inspection among the islands, and back to Port
Moresby, where another appointment would be found for me. Devoutly
hoping that the new billet would not have anything to do with Customs
or Treasury, or be in the Gulf of Papua, I thankfully accepted
the offer, and promptly attached myself to Judge Winter as unpaid
associate. The _Merrie England_ visited Sudest, St. Aignan, Rossel, and
Woodlark Islands, where nothing of interest or moment took place; from
thence she went to the Trobriands.

Here the Governor decided that he would walk across the island, through
old Enamakala’s village; as the track was good and the country flat all
the way, the journey could very easily be accomplished in two days. Sir
George and his staff, being new to the country and utterly ignorant
of local conditions, consulted me as to the method of procedure. A
little friction occurred at the beginning of this journey: for I found
that, from something that Moreton had told him, his Excellency thought
it inadvisable to carry arms or to take more than a few police. The
Commandant and the travelling patrol were accordingly to be sent round
the island in the _Merrie England_, to await us on the other side; the
shore party was to consist of the Governor, the Judge, Barton, Murray,
and myself, with the Governor’s boat’s crew and a score of local
carriers. I, of course, had now no police of my own. Finding what the
arrangements were to be, I went to my cabin, buckled on my revolver,
and borrowed a Winchester rifle from the Chief Officer of the _Merrie
England_. Then I went to Captain Barton, and unbosomed myself in this
way. “We have already learnt in New Guinea the folly of proceedings
such as this: you might walk unarmed across the island a score of
times, and nothing happen; or you might be attacked the very first
time, and wiped out.”

Captain Barton and I then went together to the Governor, who was
talking to Judge Winter, and Barton told him about my protest. “I
have been assured by Mr. Moreton, that he walked across the island
with nothing but his walking stick,” said his Excellency. I groaned.
“Moreton has been guilty of that folly, sir; but Moreton is known to
the people, and what he can do another cannot; also he only risked his
own life, and not the lives of the Governor and the Chief Justice.”
“You really think it unsafe to cross unarmed, Monckton?” asked
Judge Winter. “If we do it, sir, I consider that we shall incur an
unnecessary and very grave risk,” I replied. The Judge turned round,
walked to his cabin, and returned wearing a heavy revolver at his belt.
The Governor turned his shoulder to me pettishly; but when we got into
the boats, I noticed that both Barton and Murray were wearing their
revolvers. As soon as we got on shore, Barton told me to take command
of the police. “Then first detail two men to keep the Governor in sight
all the time,” I said. Mr. Le Hunte carried a butterfly net, was a
very slow walker, and kept perpetually crashing off into the scrub in
pursuit of butterflies.

We halted for lunch in a village: the chiefs were presented to the
Governor, a large crowd of natives assembled, and the personal servants
of the Governor, the Judge and Murray, began trading with them for
curios and betel-nut. Suddenly, there arose an angry clamour among
the local natives, and we heard the voice of the Governor raised
in anger. I yelled to the police to stand to their arms, and--with
Barton--rushed off to Mr. Le Hunte, whose orderly we found holding a
native by the arm, whilst a large number of others chattered angrily.
It appeared that the Governor’s boy had paid a native for a large bunch
of betel-nut, the native had then tried to bolt with both betel-nut and
payment; the boy complained to Mr. Le Hunte, who promptly commanded
his orderly to seize the man and demand return of either the betel-nut
or the payment--hence the row. The affair was soon arranged. “Well,
sir,” I whispered to Judge Winter, “you see how easily friction can
arise, out of nothing; what sort of fools should we have looked, ten
minutes ago, without our revolvers?” “His Excellency seems to be very
impulsive,” remarked the Judge. Sir George Le Hunte (as he afterwards
became) certainly was very impulsive, and it was made worse by an
entire lack of fear of consequences. I remember once, at a later
period, visiting a village on the Fly River with him, and getting a bad
fright, through that same trait in his character.

I was returning from leave, and joined the _Merrie England_ at Thursday
Island. Barton was then Commandant, and there had been a fuss on the
Fly River, brought about in this way. A native Mission teacher had
gone up the river to an enormous Dobu, _i.e._ a huge tribal house,
divided by partitions into family quarters, meeting halls, etc., in
which there was a sacred place, where the natives kept some sort of
god. The fool of a Mission teacher had torn down their god, and had
just managed to escape, but it was in the midst of a storm of arrows.
He then complained to another fool--a Government officer--who proceeded
to the spot and burned down the Dobu: destroying not only the building
that sheltered about five hundred people, but also the whole of their
personal belongings and property with it. The homeless natives,
suffering under a sense of injustice, became as venomous as a lot of
scorched snakes. Sir George dismissed the officer responsible, and was
proceeding there to restore friendly relations, and to compensate the
natives for their loss.

The site of the Dobu was in a narrow mangrove-fringed creek, running
into the Fly River, and afforded excellent cover for archers. Barton
and myself were in the constabulary boat, which was filled with
keen-eyed men, who were prepared to fight at a moment’s notice. Sir
George was in his own gig, manned only by her crew, who of course all
had their backs towards the direction in which they were going, and
who would have had to drop their oars in order to seize their rifles.
The proper course, and the course adopted by us--with the Governor’s
consent--was, that the fighting boat should be in advance. Imagine,
therefore, our disgust and dismay when, just as we were well within
comfortable arrow range of the mangroves ahead, Sir George suddenly
stood up, and commanded us to fall to the rear. “What shall I do?”
said Barton. “Don’t hear him,” I said; “if he is killed, we shall be
blamed.” A very angry and imperative bellow now came from behind us,
to which Barton was forced to pay attention, and very reluctantly we
dropped to the rear. By a lucky chance the natives did not see us
coming, so we were able to land before being discovered by them and
then to make peaceful overtures; but a more unreasonable, impulsive,
and dangerous action than that of Sir George I have never known; for
he not only exposed his own bulky form to the risk of arrows, but the
backs also of his defenceless crew, and our crowded boat as well; since
we should not have been able to come into action, for fear of killing
him.

Sir George Le Hunte was a most kindly man and, as a rule, very
considerate to his officers; but these impulsive actions of his were
absolutely damnable. If he had been killed (as well he might have
been), how could his officers have explained why the Governor, with a
helpless crew, came to be in the position of danger? He would not have
been there to exculpate us, and the result would have been that we--for
the remainder of our lives--would have suffered under the stigma of
leaving him in the lurch.

We completed our journey across the island without any further incident
worthy of note, old Enamakala being very friendly. Then we sailed for
Goodenough Island; there, Satadeai collected some natives, and gave
an eye-opening exhibition of sling-stone throwing. “I never before
realized, what a poor chance Goliath had against David,” remarked
Judge Winter, after he had watched the slingmen for a few minutes.
At Wedau, on the north-east coast, the Governor and Judge went up to
the Mission Station, while Barton, Murray and I went shooting: as I
noticed the state of the tide in the streams the idea occurred to me
that my friends might like to witness a peculiar method of catching
fish. “Would you like to see a fishing even stranger than the Dobu kite
fishers?” I asked. They would most certainly: so I took them to the
mouth of a small stream, where a row of four or five women stood in
it, holding shallow scoop nets in their hands and attentively watching
the water. Presently, first one and then another in succession leant
forward and milked her breasts into the water; then very carefully and
quietly she inserted her net under the surface, and brought it up full
of tiny little fish; after which she emptied her basket, and resumed
her watch.

“Ugh! disgusting!” said Murray. “No doubt,” I replied; “but you will
see more disgusting things than that before you leave. Why, one of
those very women and her daughter dug up a corpse and ate it, because
they wanted to be with child; some sorcerer or witch having told them
that it was the best way to ensure it.” “What happened then?” asked the
shuddering Murray. “Judge Winter gave them six months for desecrating
a sepulchre; there is no law against cannibalism,” I told him. Native
tradition on the north-east coast tells how a fearful epidemic swept
through the island many years ago; it must undoubtedly have been
small-pox, as several old men still showed pitted faces caused by the
disease. It was followed by a year of famine, during which the women
exchanged their children with each other for culinary purposes, and
every one went in fear of being knocked on the head and eaten by his
neighbour. The people from East Cape to Bartle Bay are a miserable,
decadent lot.

A great portion of the coast is hilly grass land, carrying excellent
pasture for cattle, but containing also a nasty spear-grass, the seed
of which will work its barbed way through one’s clothes, and in the
case of sheep right into the carcase. The Bishop of New Guinea once
bought a flock of sheep, intending to breed from them, and turned them
out on the hills. I came along some months later, and noticed the sheep
wanted shearing very badly. Bishop Stone-Wigg then told me that he had
got shears, but no one in the Mission knew how to shear; so accordingly
I volunteered to do it. The police rounded up and caught the sheep, and
I set to work. I made two discoveries: one was that the breeding flock
consisted mainly of wethers, the other, that their skins and flesh were
literally stuck full of spear-grass seed, the skins feeling like a very
worn-out horse-hair sofa. When I had concluded my shearing operations,
I went to the Mission house, where I found that the natives, who had
been lost in amazement at the performance, had sent to ask the Bishop,
“What the poor sheep had done, to cause the magistrate and police to
cut off all their hair?”

From Wedau, the _Merrie England_ went on to Samarai, and thence to Port
Moresby.

Upon our arrival at Port Moresby, I accompanied the Governor to
Government House, there to await an appointment; in the meantime I
assisted Barton in engaging native servants, and also in other things
which were strange to a new-comer. There was at that time a European
market gardener, named Weaver, living alone some miles out of Port
Moresby (he was, by the way, afterwards murdered). He was remarkable
for two things: the moroseness of his temper, and the size of his
feet. He got his boots by special order through Burns, Philp and
Co.; and on one occasion, the bootmaker to whom the size was sent,
forwarded children’s boots, thinking that it could not possibly mean
size thirteen in men’s boots. Weaver came in with a horse-load of
vegetables, and went to Burns Philp for his boots, where he was given
the parcel containing the children’s boots. When he had opened it and
had seen what it contained, he nearly went mad--thinking a joke had
been played upon him. At last, after he had half wrecked the store and
frightened the unfortunate clerks into fits, he was made to understand
that there were no other boots for him; he then seized his horse
and brought it over to Government House, where I began to buy his
vegetables.

While so engaged, Murray came out and said “good-morning” to Weaver, a
salutation that was received with a glare and a grunt. Then Murray--who
still possessed the finicking airs and graces of the exquisite of the
Bachelors’ Club--took out a dainty little cigarette case, and proffered
a cigarette to the clay pipe and strongest of tobacco smoking Weaver.
Weaver thought it was another insult of the small boot variety, and
before his stream of lurid blasphemy, Murray fled indoors. I soothed
him, and went on buying cabbages. Out then came the Governor, asked
me who Weaver was, and in his genial way shook his hand and asked
after his health. “Another blanker!” groaned Weaver. “None the blanky
better for your asking,” said that courteous person; and his Excellency
fled. “There appear to be some very peculiar people in this country,
Monckton,” remarked the Governor at breakfast. “Very true,” I said,
“and when you, sir, have completed your term of service here, you will
think, as I do, that the whole country is a weird compound of comic
opera and tragedy, with a very narrow margin between them. I have been
buying cabbages for you this morning; Heaven only knows where you will
send me, or what I shall be doing next week.”

When we first arrived at Port Moresby, we found that Ballantine was
away in the hills with a relief expedition for H. Stuart-Russell, who
had been sent to survey a road over the Owen Stanley Range to the Yodda
valley gold-field in the north-east; a gold-field that, at the time,
could only be reached by ascending the Kumusi River to Bogi, and then
doing a ten days’ march inland. Stuart-Russell had sent out word that
he was in hostile country, and had run out of supplies.

One morning, the Governor called me to his room and said, “Ballantine
has returned, having failed to connect with Russell: I am getting very
anxious about him, and intend to dispatch another relief expedition
with you in command. The Government Secretary has been instructed
to make all arrangements, and you should be able to leave to-morrow
morning: here are your minutes of instructions.” I glanced at my
orders, and my heart sank: first of all, Muzzy to organize the
expedition: as well have a well-meaning hen-wife; then, when I did find
Russell, I was to place myself under his orders; Russell, whom I knew
to be a surveyor, and ignorant of anything else. Wending my way to the
Commandant, I worried him about the personnel of the constabulary I was
to take, and at last got him to include Keke and Ade in the lot; he
had been detailing for me all the rotters and recruits in barracks. My
next interview was with Mr. Musgrave, who I found had provided a most
elaborate equipment of stores, etc.--a collection that would take about
six hundred men to carry--and had engaged the Hanuabada natives and a
mule team to carry it to the Laloki River, which was about seven miles
distant.

The Hanuabada (Port Moresby) carriers were the most pampered lot of
lying, lazy loafers in New Guinea; they were to receive in pay one
shilling per day, the ordinary Government pay was twopence, and a heavy
ration of rice, meat, biscuit, tea, sugar, etc.; as well as to be
equipped with blankets, tents, cooking utensils, and all the rest of
it, for this one night’s camp at the Laloki; and this, too, on a warm
tropical night. When I looked into the arrangements made by Muzzy, I
felt inclined to sit down and cry. First, I had the awful Hanuabadas
as far as the Laloki; then in some mysterious way I was supposed to
transport my stores to the Brown River--Heaven only knows how. Muzzy,
however, suggested I should bribe the Hanuabadas, by double pay, to go
on there; then, I was to pick up Russell’s time-expired and worn-out
carriers, and “induce” them to return with me to the Main Range. Muzzy
had had a flat-bottomed, square-ended, bull-nosed brute of a punt
built, and placed upon the Brown River: a thing calculated by him to
carry about five tons, which I was instructed to take to the head of
the Brown; this was by him fondly supposed to solve the transport
difficulties.

“Look here, sir,” I said to Mr. Musgrave, once I had grasped the full
beauty of his arrangements. “I understand speed is the very essence of
this expedition. Let me chuck all arrangements at present made; give me
twenty constabulary, forty fresh and strong carriers, allow me to spend
twenty pounds in meat extract, pea flour and cocoa, and follow my own
road; then I will guarantee to fetch Russell out in a fortnight.” “Mr.
Monckton,” said the Government Secretary, “Mr. Chester, Mr. Giulianetti
and I, have given a great deal of thought to this expedition, and our
arrangements are perfect; you are to carry them out.” I did not dare
tell Muzzy what I thought about it all. “Supposing, Mr. Musgrave,” I
said, “Russell’s carriers refuse to return with me, or that they are
sick and exhausted, what am I to do?” “I have made the most elaborate
arrangements,” said Muzzy, “it is for you to carry them out.”

Accordingly I sought out the driver of the mule team, and led him to
the pub; after I had loaded him up with whisky, I asked, “Could you
get that team of yours on as far as the Brown River?” “Yes,” was the
reply. “Could you and the team work for twenty-four hours at a stretch,
if necessary?” “Yes, if it’s made worth my while, and the mules are
fed,” he said. I then saw my way out of the difficulty of getting from
the Laloki River to the Brown; accordingly I told the driver I would
give him half my month’s pay, and steal the Hanuabadas’ rice for his
mules. “Put it there,” he said, spitting on his hand and holding it
out for me to shake. “I won’t take your pay, it’s poor enough; take a
bottle or two of rum with you, and I will work my blanky mules until
their eye-balls start from their heads and play marbles along their
back-bones.”

In the early morning, accordingly, I made my start; and half a mile
from Port Moresby abandoned the biscuits, blankets and sugar of the
Hanuabadas. From the Laloki, the carriers returned to Port, and I went
on to the Brown River accompanied by my police and the mule team: there
I at once stationed a picket to catch Russell’s returning carriers,
who were drifting down in threes, fives, and tens. The police and I
then loaded the punt with stores, ready for the ascent of the river,
which is a rapid mountain stream, full of whirlpools, rocks, snags,
and rapids. From here, I sent back the mules to bring up another
load of stores, and sat down to await their return. One day passed,
two days passed, still no sign of the mules; I sent some police off
in search of them, and then--with such carriers as had by now come
down from Russell’s party--I began to haul that infernal punt up the
river. The punt at once started to go to pieces: it was built of the
heaviest timber, fastened together with trumpery flimsy wire nails;
the planking of the bottom, instead of running lengthways, ran across,
and therefore, whenever we began to haul her over a rapid, the edges
caught on the sharp rocks of the bottom and opened up--making the thing
leak like a basket. A ring had been fixed on one end, with a rope tied
on it for hauling on; this ring was attached to a plate fastened by
two one-inch screws, which were fondly supposed, by its architect, to
withstand the strain of large numbers of men hauling a dead weight
of five tons up a rapid. After one hour’s experience of this ark, we
dragged it ashore, plaited vines all round it to keep it together,
caulked it with strips of blanket, and made a rope cradle all round to
haul on. Then we went on again.

[Illustration: THE LALOKI FALLS]

The carriers, I was now using, were men recruited from Mekeo; their
time had expired, and they were keenly anxious to return to their
homes. It was only by a vigorous use of cleaning rod that we could
“induce” them to work, and we had to keep them under perpetual guard,
lest they should desert; also they could not swim, so that when we
came to a deep crossing we had to haul them through on a rope, and,
in addition, forcibly tie them to the rope, as the procedure was not
one they relished. Mile by mile we fought our way up that awful river;
the constabulary and I stripped naked, hauling, sweating, swimming,
and swearing, until at last we came to a whirlpool under a rapid. The
police were swimming alongside the punt, the carriers hauling on the
rope, I was steering the ark by a rough paddle, when suddenly a swirl
of the current carried her into the whirlpool. I yelled at the carriers
to slack the rope, but they lost their heads and pulled harder: punt,
stores and I, accordingly disappeared into the swirl, and then those
mutton-headed carriers let go the rope altogether. I am a bad swimmer
at the best, and was about done in the swirl: the police were doing
their best to stem the current and get to me. At last Keke managed to
crawl out on a bank and, running along, dived from a rock, caught me
round the waist as he swept past, and carried me to a sharp-edged rock,
upon which he tore his feet badly in climbing out. I lay on a rock,
and coughed up about half the Brown River. Rifles, stores, clothes,
all were gone; mother-naked stood the constabulary and I, with the
exception of one flannel police shirt which had washed ashore, and
which I promptly annexed. Nothing now remained for us but to return to
our first camp, get fresh stores, and start again.

A melancholy procession returned to that camp, even my shirt failing
to add dignity to our march. I then heard that the mule driver had
contrived to let his mules stray on the night of his departure, and was
still engaged in hunting for them. I sent a letter to Captain Barton,
conveying a blistering curse concerning all punts, and asses who drove
mules; and asking him to forward me some fresh rifles and clothing
for the police, as well as some clothes and boots for myself. Whilst
awaiting their arrival, I met with afresh misfortune; for in moving
about the camp, I jumped with my bare foot upon a rusty nail, fixed in
a piece of board belonging to an old meat case left by Russell, and ran
it clean through my foot. I feared tetanus; but hunting in a medicine
chest at the camp, I found sticks of lunar caustic, and decided to
cauterize the wound with it. Calling Keke, I showed him how to poke a
probe through the puncture; and when he apparently understood, I took
a small piece of caustic and shoved it into the hole. “Now then, Keke,
shove it through,” I said, as I lay on my stomach and elevated the sole
of my foot in the air. Keke gave a gentle push, and then--as I gave a
howl--stopped, the stuff burning like hell fire. “Shove it through, you
blank blank idiot!” I yelled. “Oh, master, I hurt you too much, I am
frightened,” said Keke. My howls, however, attracted Ade, who, grasping
the situation and my foot at the same time, rammed the caustic through
with the probe. “Keke,” I remarked, as I cooled my injured foot in a
bucket of water, “if you had not hauled me out of the river, I’d break
your thick head.” “I am a lance-corporal, not a doctor,” said that
injured individual; “if there is any more of this, Ade can be doctor.”

A few days later my rifles and clothes arrived, also the missing mules:
again we took that awful punt up the river, this time successfully,
though the amount of labour we expended upon it would have transported
the stores three times over.

The day after we quitted the river to strike over the mountains,
Lario, a Malay, who had been in charge of a log fort for Russell
higher up, came in with a large number of time-expired and more or
less worn-out carriers. Howls of dismay went up from these unfortunate
natives when they learnt that they were to turn round and go back
with me. Much “moral” suasion had to be used by the police before
they would “volunteer”; some did succeed in sneaking away and making
a bolt for the coast, but our watch was so strict that few of the
volunteers escaped. Lario was a splendid chap, loyal, brave, and full
of resource; and I was more than pleased when he, though time-expired,
consented to turn round and accompany me as second in command. I
went carefully through all the carriers with Lario, in order to cast
out--for return to the coast--all those who were unfit for service:
very, very sorry I felt for the poor wretches (though I did not dare
show it), as man by man they were examined; some happy ones being
cast for return, to the open envy of their companions. They were all
Mission boys from the Mekeo district, flat country men, non-swimming,
and singularly ill-adapted for the work in which they were engaged.
That night--through Lario--they asked my permission to hold a prayer
meeting; afterwards Lario told me that they prayed that the hearts of
myself, Lario and the police, would be softened towards them.

Day after day of climbing over awful country passed, we following a
line cut or blazed through the bush by Russell; at intervals we came to
log huts or forts, containing a couple of police and a few carriers:
these I added to the expedition, both for purposes of speed and also in
order to bring the biggest possible force to Russell. On one occasion,
while following the blazed line along the top of a razor-backed spur,
we came to where it narrowed to a crumbling knife-edged track, with a
sheer drop on one side, looking down upon clouds, and on the other,
the dull murmur of a river could be heard a thousand feet below. I
am a fearful man, and I hate heights; my head always whirls on them,
and my muscles become as flaccid as those of a pampered lap-dog. I
gazed at that spot, and then said to Lario, “Surely Mr. Russell is
not a tight-rope walker, or fool enough to go over there.” “I don’t
know,” said Lario; “the blazes lead to it, but I’ve not been here
before.” The carriers swore that Russell had not been that way, but
I did not believe them, as they were always full of reasons why we
should turn back. As for the police, so long as I went over, they would
follow--even into the nethermost pit. Fine men, were the old New Guinea
constabulary.

“It is no good looking at it, Lario,” I said at last, “I am
half-paralysed with funk, but here goes.” Then, afraid to look down,
I walked as far as I could, with the cold sweat of fear streaming
from me; then I sat, straddled that fearsome spur with my legs, and
slowly--leap-frog fashion--began to work my way across the thirty feet
of the worst part, the stones and dirt I dislodged falling so far that
their impact sent up no sound. Half-way across, my thin cotton khaki
breeches began to tear badly with the stones; as I went, I suddenly
felt as if ten thousand red-hot pincers were tearing at the portion
of my anatomy exposed by the torn garments; I stood the agony for a
second, then--unable to bear it any longer--leapt to my feet, and ran
like a tight-rope walker across that narrow crumbling ridge. Reaching
safety and a wider part of the spur, I sat down and tore a score of
bull-dog ants from my skin; I had worked my way clean over a nest of
the malignant little beasts. Then I turned and looked at Lario; his
teeth were chattering and his knees knocking together. “Oh, my God,
sir,” he wailed, “you did frighten me.” “Come on, Lario,” I replied;
“if I spend the remainder of my life in the mountains, nothing will
take me over that place again.” Lario set his teeth, walked as far as I
had done, then sat down and started my leap-frog method of progression:
suddenly he stopped, his eyes bulged, and he jumped to his feet and
ran to where I was standing, when he also began to tear those infernal
little pests from his person. Curiously enough, though the carriers
were flat country men, they did not mind heights nor did they suffer
from vertigo; and after one of the police had walked out, and swept the
ants into eternity with a leafy branch, they marched steadily across.

When I met Russell afterwards, I asked him what on earth took him over
such a place, and how he expected it ever to become a road across the
island. Then I found that he had not crossed it; he had cut his line
up to the bad spot, then, retracing his steps some miles, had found a
good road down a side spur, which we had missed, and had ascended again
further on. There are many sorts of funk: some men fear sickness, some
fighting, some spooks, some drowning, and some cats; every man has his
own particular abhorrence; but the worst kind of helpless fear is the
sort I suffer from--fear of a height.

At last our journey ended. One afternoon we marched into a large
clearing, in which stood a log hut, surrounded by a ring of natives
camped at a safe distance from Russell’s men in the hut, but closely
investing it; it was the last post Russell had placed, before
disappearing across to the Yodda. We soon swept away the surrounding
natives, who had been patiently waiting until the men in the hut were
starved into the open. As the rattle of our rifle fire died away,
in marched Russell from the other side, covered on his rear by a
wide-flung patrol of mine. Russell had been having a very rough time:
he had by degrees broken up his force, leaving them in log huts to
guard his line of communication, in order to ensure the safety of his
sick and returning carriers; eventually he and Macdonald (head gaoler)
had penetrated into the Yodda, so weak in force that they were easily
driven out by hostile natives. When I came up, he was falling back upon
a weak camp surrounded by hordes of savages; his stores were exhausted,
and most of his ammunition spent. Replenished with fresh police, stores
and ammunition, I left him, taking with me all the sick and exhausted
carriers and worn-out police back to Port Moresby. Russell remained for
a week, to complete some survey work. I took my sick by easy stages,
and at the Laloki camped for three days; spending the time in shooting
game of all sorts, and gorging my charges on meat, until they were a
happy and contented lot of men.

A lagoon at the Laloki, which simply teemed with duck, was also
inhabited by an enormous alligator, which had recently seized a
Government horse by the nose, while drinking, and dragged it off.
The Government offered a reward of five pounds for the destruction
of the reptile. Whilst I was camped there, the lagoon happened to be
very low: Lario was engaged stalking a flock of ducks, when he came
suddenly upon the alligator; it opened its mouth, and he promptly
emptied both barrels of his gun down its throat, whereupon it rushed
into the lagoon. Lario yelled his discovery to the camp, and police,
carriers and I rushed down; we could locate the beast on the bottom
in three or four feet of water and about thirty feet distant from the
bank, by the bubbles and discoloration caused by the reptile’s uneasy
movements. “Oh, for some dynamite!” I sighed; but dynamite there was
none. The police, however, and a large number of carriers, rose to
the occasion: cutting poles about nine feet long, they sharpened them
at the end, waded out and formed a semicircle on the far side of the
alligator. Then cautiously walking up to the bubbles, half a dozen men
struck suddenly and savagely at the spot; the immediate response was
the appearance of a head and pair of snapping jaws. I promptly sent a
Snider bullet through the head, and it disappeared again, while the
men crowded together watching keenly the track of the bubbles. Once
more they stirred up the beast, whilst I shot him again; half a dozen
Snider bullets I must have put into various parts of its anatomy before
it apparently gave up the ghost and remained quiescent under the stabs
of the police. Then a man stood on the carcase, whilst others went to
cut vines with which to haul it ashore. There still, however, was a
remaining flicker of life in the beast; for the standing man gave a
yell of fright and vanished under water, as the alligator rolled over
on its side, dead at last.

The beast having been hauled ashore, I was surprised to find embedded
in its skull, six inches of the point of a heavy spear, which had
rotted, and round which the bone had grown. The carriers ate the brute:
by New Guinea hunting custom, however, the carcase--or in this case
the reward--belonged to the man who had inflicted the first wound, or
“first spear” as it is called, no matter how many men might have taken
part in the actual killing. Lario did not get the reward, though I told
him to apply to the Treasury, and afterwards had a fuss with Ballantine
about it, as Ballantine held that he was a Government servant and
killed the alligator in the course of his duty. Stories about the
toughness of an alligator’s hide are all bosh. A bullet from a common
fowling piece will penetrate them anywhere; but they are wonderfully
tenacious of life, and, however badly hit, usually manage to wriggle
into deep water. I have never seen one killed instantly by a single
shot, though doubtless the reptile would afterwards die from the
effects of it.

I left that abominable punt at the head of the Brown River, never
wanting to see the beast again. Russell and Macdonald, on their return
journey, tried to descend the river in it, and lost all their personal
effects as well as being half drowned, whereupon they abandoned the
thing. Later Mr. Musgrave, who had an affection for the child of his
brain, wanted it recovered for future use; but Sir George Le Hunte
said, that as it had already nearly cost the lives of two of his
officers and the head gaoler, he thought it was better left where it
was.

Upon my return to Port Moresby and having reported myself to the Acting
Administrator, Sir Francis Winter, I was told that the Government
Secretary had a minute from the Governor for me; Sir George was away
in Brisbane at the time. I went to Mr. Musgrave, and was handed a
minute to this effect. “Certain deserting carriers from the Russell
relief expedition have complained about being beaten with sticks by
Mr. Monckton and his police. Mr. Monckton to report.” “Well, I’m
damned!” I thought, “the whole of this expedition has been a mess and a
muddle from the beginning; a scapegoat is wanted, and I’m to fill that
rôle!” Then in a fury of rage I went for Muzzy. “I told you from the
beginning, sir, that the relief expedition was badly arranged; I begged
you to give me twenty constabulary, forty good carriers, and to let me
go my own way. Instead of which, I was compelled to carry out the most
asinine arrangements, and to ‘induce’ a lot of disgusted and worn-out
carriers to do work for which they were utterly unfitted. Hold your
inquiry. I myself never hit a carrier; and the police certainly did not
hit the beggars with sticks when they tried to bolt, they used steel
cleaning rods.” Muzzy held up his hand. “Mr. Monckton, will you be
quiet? You say you did not hit any man with a stick?” “Yes, sir,” was
my answer. “And also that your police did not hit them with sticks?”
“They did not,” I said, “they had no time to cut sticks; they hit the
carriers, when they gave trouble, with their cleaning rods.” “I don’t
want to know anything about that,” said Muzzy. “You deny absolutely
that any carrier was beaten, either by yourself or your police, with
_sticks_?” “Yes, sir, I do,” was my reply. “Call up the carriers I have
brought back, and ask them whether they are not contented men.” Muzzy
called up my meat-gorged men, who were then pleasantly anticipating
their pay; of course they swore that I and my police were the best of
good people. I then thanked my stars that on the way back I had stopped
and hunted to fill the bellies of those carriers, otherwise a different
tale would have been told.

Later, when I knew the complete details of Russell’s expedition and of
Ballantine’s failure to relieve him, I learnt that the whole muddle
was really due to Russell, having disobeyed orders, thereby throwing
out all arrangements. Sir George Le Hunte had directed him to proceed
to the summit of the Owen Stanley Range, but no further. Russell,
however, being a keen hydrographer, had, at the imminent risk of his
own and his men’s lives, descended upon the opposite side, and got
into difficulties; the magnificent work he did saved him from censure
or blame; but, as a matter of fact, he richly deserved the sack for
attempting it. Russell afterwards showed me a letter from Sir George Le
Hunte which began, “You dear disobedient person, I should be very angry
with you, but instead, I can only feel pleased.” I made but one remark
to Russell, and that was, “You thank your stars you are dealing with
Sir George instead of Sir William MacGregor: for if you had disobeyed
him, you would have had something to remember!”

I then received a note from Captain Barton asking me to take up my
quarters at Government House, until the return of the Governor from
Australia; he also told me that it had been decided by Council that the
untouched part of the north-east coast of New Guinea was to be taken in
hand, and that I was to be sent there as the first Resident Magistrate.
“You will be glad,” naïvely remarked Captain Barton, “to have settled
and permanent work.”

[Illustration: TWO MOTUAN GIRLS]



CHAPTER XVI


Sir Francis Winter made me Assistant to Russell in the Survey Office,
whilst awaiting the Governor’s return: I spent my time drawing maps
and copying plans, and I also began a feud with the Government Store
that lasted during the whole period of my service in New Guinea.
Russell wanted about half a dozen tin-tacks for something or other,
so I sent an orderly down to the Government Store with a note, asking
Chester to give them to him; the boy came back saying that he could
not get them. I went myself to the Store, and found Chester suffering
from a bad attack of liver. “What’s the matter, Chester, why won’t
you give me the tacks?” “Go to blazes,” said Chester, “and send me
a proper requisition.” “Surely you are not going to put me to all
that trouble for the sixteenth part of a penny?” I asked. “I am,” he
said. I went back to the office and drew out a requisition for half
a dozen tin-tacks, value one-sixteenth of a penny, and took it back
again. “No good,” said Chester, “requisition for supplies for the
Survey Department must be countersigned by the Government Secretary.”
I said nothing, but wasted an hour in getting hold of the Government
Secretary, who was engaged when I wanted him. “What tomfoolery is this,
Mr. Monckton?” said Muzzy, as he glared at my requisition. “What do
you mean by wasting my time like this?” “Chester has a liver and is
full of red tape this morning; he won’t give me the tacks without a
formal requisition,” I replied. Muzzy dashed his signature at the foot,
and off I went again and handed the requisition to Chester without a
word, though inwardly I was seething. “No good,” said Chester, “this
requisition should have been signed by the head of the department
requisitioning, not by you; Russell must sign it.” I took it back
without a word, and went to Russell. “You are a damned fine assistant,”
remarked that impatient individual; “do you want the whole day to get
me half a dozen tin-tacks?” In lurid language I explained to him what
had taken place, and Ballantine, hearing the fuss, came in and laughed
at me. Russell signed the requisition, which I took, and went off
again. Ballantine, who was chuckling to himself at some obscure joke,
then said he would walk down to the Government Store with me to see
the end of it.

Arrived there, I chucked the requisition at Chester with, “Now you
attend to that at once, you blighter.” Chester took it, and Ballantine
led him on one side and whispered to him. “I can’t accept this
requisition,” said Chester. “Why?” I asked, hardly trusting myself to
speak. “Because there is a Treasury Regulation that once the Government
Secretary’s signature has been attached to a requisition, no addition
or alteration shall be made without his previous approval. Russell’s
signature is an addition.” Ballantine rolled over screaming with
laughter. Again I took the requisition to Muzzy, and in a cold hard
voice explained the position to him. He looked at my face, said not
a word, and confirmed the alteration. Back I went to the Government
Store, and again handed Chester the requisition, Ballantine still being
there. “I can’t fulfil this,” said Chester. Boiling with indignation,
I blurted out, “Why, you blank blank scrim-shanker? If you fool me any
more, I’m going to the Administrator.” “Oh, go to him,” said Chester,
“but if you use that language here, I’ll send for the police.” Off I
bolted to Sir Francis; he listened to my heated complaint with his
usual quiet smile, looked at the requisition and smiled again, then
wrote across the form, “Government Storekeeper, fulfil this requisition
at once. F. P. W., Administrator.” Back again I went to Chester. “Now,
my beauty, you trot out my tin-tacks, unless you want to face an
inquiry for disobeying orders.” Chester took the form and wrote across
it, “Tin-tacks not in stock of Government Store.” Fortunately I was
struck speechless, and before I recovered, Ballantine seized me by the
arm and said, “Come along to lunch with me, Monckton; His Honour is
coming, and I’m certain he will be pleased to hear the end of this.”
As we went off to lunch, we met Russell also going to his. “Perhaps,
Monckton,” said Russell, “when you have finished gallivanting about and
amusing yourself, you won’t mind returning to your duties.” “Blank!
Blank! Blank!” “Hush! Hush! Monckton,” said Ballantine; “Russell for
the time being is your superior officer.”

In due course Sir George Le Hunte returned; and I was promptly
appointed to the new North-Eastern Division, being, however, given
three months’ leave of absence before I took up my new duties.
Naturally, I decided to spend my three months away from New Guinea; I
therefore arranged with Ballantine that he should send me out in his
Custom’s boat to a steamer, that was to call off the Port with a mail,
in the course of a few days.

[Illustration: MOTUAN GIRL]

Captain Fielden, who had been on Lord Hampden’s staff in Australia,
and had been persuaded by Murray to come back with Sir George for a
holiday, took it into his head to come and see me off. The day and
the ship arrived: I started off in the Custom’s boat, in the face of
a strong south-easter; the boat shipped a lot of water, and Fielden
complained about it. “Bail out the water,” I said to the coxswain, who
was a smooth-water sailor. That worthy promptly pulled the plug out of
the bottom of the boat, in order to let the water run out. I did not
notice what he was doing, until the boat was half full, and then the
plug was lost. Accordingly, we completed our journey with a man sitting
in the bottom holding his thumb in the hole, Fielden protesting all the
time that we ought to turn back. I knew better, however; for I felt
convinced that if I missed that steamer and returned, something would
turn up to find a new job for me, and therefore cost me my leave. I
have not seen Fielden again from that day to this; but when I returned
from leave, Ballantine told me he had growled that I had done my best
to drown him and a boat’s crew.

The day before I left Port Moresby, a full parade of the constabulary
was ordered by the Governor, for the presentation of medals to Sergeant
Sefa and Corporal Kimai, these two men having been recommended by Sir
William MacGregor to the Home Authorities as deserving of it. Sir
George Le Hunte presented the medals: then, to the amazement of the
assembled officers, he also presented one to the officer at that time
in command; the medal having a bar with “Tugere” stamped upon it, Sir
William MacGregor’s fight with the Dutch natives in the west. Sir
George (who of course had not been present at the fight) had himself
recommended the Commandant for it. The medals had originally been
authorized by the Home Authorities, and were only to be granted for
“good conduct” on the part of a private, or some act of conspicuous
gallantry on the part of an officer; and it was the sole reward that
any officer or private could expect to receive, and was intended by
Sir William MacGregor to be a very high one. Sir George Le Hunte, by
his hasty though kindly-meant action in granting it unearned, brought
it into contempt: no officer afterwards ever recommended a man for
the medal; and upon this officer’s wearing it in South Africa, the
War Office compelled the Colonial Office to order its recall as
unauthorized. In this way was lost the only decoration to which the New
Guinea Constabulary could aspire.

On my return to Port Moresby, I busied myself with preparations for
the new Division; Sir George, with his usual kindness, putting me up
at Government House. He told me that during my absence the _Merrie
England_ had visited Cape Nelson, and that he had selected a site for
the new Station. “You will have your work cut out for you at first,”
he remarked; “the people are as wild as hawks, and carry spears twelve
feet long.” Another time he said, “I have made up my mind that before I
leave this country, the north-east coast shall be as orderly and safe
as any other portion of the Possession. I trust you to make it so.”

I went to Barton, who was now Commandant, about my police. I had
asked for, and been allotted, ten men; but after looking through them
and finding that they were mainly recruits--and poor ones at that--I
pointed out that I had a tall order on hand and wanted the best of
trained men. “His Excellency thinks that it is better for you to
recruit your own men on the north-east coast,” said Barton; “anyhow,
these are the best I can do for you.” “It is insanity for Monckton to
recruit his own men on the north-east coast,” said Judge Winter when he
heard of the plan; “it will be the Tamata business over again.” Barton
then said that, as he could not spare the best of the police, he would
give me fifteen men instead of ten, mainly recruits, but including
Keke, Poruta, and one other of my old Mekeo men. I got my men detailed,
and set Keke and Sara (the corporal) to work, to lick them into shape
as quickly as possible. I then found, that recently the constabulary
had been increased in strength; but, as for a considerable time no
new rifles had been bought, they were very badly armed with old and
worn-out Sniders. Barton said an experimental lot of Martinis had been
ordered from England, but would not arrive for some time. I examined
each man’s rifle separately, and groaned over them all. “I may have
fifteen privates,” I then said to Barton, “but after they have been
in action for ten minutes, I guarantee I won’t have more than half of
them able to fire their rifles.” Eventually Barton gave me an order
to the Headquarters’ Officer for a dozen condemned rifles, from which
I could take parts as I wanted them, with which to mend my rubbish.
The ammunition supplied to me was apparently sufficient in quantity,
and I thought of even quality. Government Store had, however, run out
of rifle oil; but I managed to cadge a little cylinder oil from the
engineers of the _Merrie England_; we afterwards made oil from pig’s
fat, and stinking stuff it was; but it answered the purpose in the
tropics.

At last I was ready; and on the 1st June, 1900, the _Merrie England_
pushed her way through a mass of canoes, full of howling men, women,
and children, wailing for their relations in the constabulary, whom
they thought they were never to see again. Arriving at Cape Nelson,
my three months’ stores, men, etc., were landed; a flagstaff was
then erected, the Station ensign hoisted, the men of the detachment
presented arms to the Governor, and, dipping her flag, away sailed
the _Merrie England_, leaving us in the midst of a howling mob of
excited natives.

[Illustration: SIR G. LE HUNTE PRESENTING MEDALS TO SERGEANT SEFA AND
CORPORAL KIMAI]

[Illustration: KAILI KAILI NATIVES]

A hut had been constructed by the natives out of sago palms, for which
the Governor had left payment on his last visit, and in it the police
and I now took up our quarters. It was situated in a grass patch of
about an acre, on a bluff overlooking the harbour: bush extended from
the grass patch along the top of a shelving plateau of about thirty
acres in extent. After the _Merrie England_ had departed, I turned my
attention to the defence of our post: we had three months’ stores,
but a safe water supply was essential, and the Governor in selecting
the site had quite overlooked this. At last we discovered a spring
some few hundred yards away in the bush; so I accordingly had a
four-hundred-gallon tank containing rice emptied, and then re-filled
with water from the spring, in order that, should we be forced to
fight, we should not be entirely without this necessary. Our first
night at Cape Nelson was a very uncomfortable one: natives howled, blew
horns and beat drums in the bush all round us the whole night long;
whilst a large fleet of canoes assembled and hovered under the bluff on
the seaward side, until we shifted them by dropping a few rifle shots
into the water near them, and also shooting over them one of half a
dozen rockets I had begged from the Commander of the _Merrie England_.

The following morning I decided to build a stockade round our hut,
inside which no native was to be permitted to enter. Upon some hundreds
of men appearing, we arranged with them--through Poruta, who spoke a
language which a few of them understood--to bring us posts and timber
for the stockade, telling them we wished to erect a fence to keep pigs
in. We paid them for each piece of timber brought, in beads, or broken
glass bottles, which they used for shaving: some men we kept and paid
for digging a series of holes all round the camp. When all the timber
was in, we got the natives to plant the posts of the stockade; and
before they quite realized what was occurring, they had built for us a
solid wall of about four feet high, which an hour’s toil on the part
of the constabulary converted into a twelve-foot stockade. Then and
only then, the police and I breathed freely and felt fairly secure: we
now had a little fort, three months’ provisions, enough water to last
a month, and we felt fairly confident that we could hold our new home
against anything that might come against us.

The next day I thanked my stars for that stockade. The constabulary had
purchased from the natives a supply of betel-nut and prepared lime,
which they chewed; then, to my horror, I suddenly discovered that, with
the exception of three men, the whole squad was stupid and drugged from
the effects of some narcotic contained in the lime. The three men had
been on guard, and had not used either the betel-nut or the lime. I
thrashed the slumberers, but without effect; then I administered huge
doses of castor oil and calomel, which in a few hours got in its work
and restored them to their senses. A very frightened lot of men they
were when they recovered, and discovered the helpless position they had
placed us in.

Corporal Sara now came to me with a fresh alarm. “How many cartridges
have we got, sir?” he asked. “About three thousand rounds,” I replied.
“Have you looked at the boxes?” he queried next. “No,” was my answer,
“they are ordinary service cartridges, I suppose.” “They are nothing
of the sort,” said Sara; “with the exception of the rounds in the
men’s pouches and one box of 320, they are all cartridges condemned
by Captain Butterworth years ago. They burst the rifles when you
attempt to fire them.” I examined the boxes, and found they were filled
with a patent cartridge made by Eley Brothers, which was supposed
to consume its own case when fired. I made certain experiments with
these cartridges, by firmly securing rifles to trees and firing them
with a string attached to the trigger, and found that they did one of
three things on every occasion: either the explosive consumed the case
entirely and generated gases which blew the breech block clean out of
the rifle; or it did not completely consume the case and effectually
blocked up the cartridge chamber with the remains; or it left the brass
case of the cartridge and cap stuck firmly to the fire pin of the
rifle. If I could have got hold of the Government Storekeeper then, I
would have shot him, and cheerfully have hanged for doing it. Fifteen
men left among some thousands of the supposed wildest savages in the
world, and the larger portion of our ammunition more dangerous to the
user than to an enemy!

“The fever medicine,” said Sara, “is as bad as the cartridges; the
tablets go right through the men like stones.” I examined some of the
quinine tablets, which were supposed to be made by some people called
Heron, Squire and Francis. I took two, soaked them for a night in
whisky, and they were as solid as shot after it; then I put another
couple into dilute hydrochloric acid, and they resisted that. I believe
the things were made of plaster-of-Paris or cement. Fortunately I had
a couple of ounces of Howards’ Sulphate of Quinine, and half a dozen
bottles of Burroughs and Wellcome’s Bisulphate of Quinine in tabloids,
in my private stock, and could carry on with that. The iodoform
supplied for wounds was just as bad: if you put it on a wound, the
thing promptly festered, suppurated, and got angry-looking. Afterwards
I took a bottle of the filth to Sydney, had it examined, and was
told that it was composed of chalk and boracic acid, scented with
iodoform and coloured with saffron. I don’t say Heron, Squire and
Francis supplied it--there is a law of libel--but it was in bottles
bearing their name.

[Illustration: THE “MERRIE ENGLAND” AT CAPE NELSON, AND GIWI’s CANOES]

A few days after I had been established at Cape Nelson, we sighted a
schooner, and I went off to her in my whaler to get the latest news
and exercise my tongue gossiping in English. The schooner proved to
be the _Albert McLaren_, bound for the Mambare, and carrying Bishop
Stone-Wigg; he was frightfully ill with a most malignant attack of
malarial fever, and was sweltering in a tiny cabin. “I cannot go on
to the Mambare, R.M.,” said Bishop Stone-Wigg; “the schooner can go
on with stores. Will you give me a tiny corner in your camp until she
returns?” “My Lord,” I said, “I have got a tiny tent 10 by 12 feet,
and that is joined to a house 20 by 12 holding fifteen police, all
contained inside a fence enclosing an area of about half a tennis lawn;
we live hard and at any time we may die hard; but if you like to share
it, come by all means.” “Anywhere to lay my aching head,” said the
Bishop. Accordingly I took him ashore. He stayed with me a fortnight,
and we only had one slight breeze, when I made him drink a glass of
spirits every night before he went to bed, on the top of a strong dose
of quinine; he was as weak as a kitten and badly needed a stimulant.

At the end of the fortnight, the steamer _President_ came, and the
Bishop left in her for his head Station at Wedau: I accompanied him,
as he very kindly offered me the services of his Mission carpenter to
repair some damage done to my whaleboat, which had come about in this
way. The site chosen for my present house was situated over a rocky
little bay, open to the stormy south-easters, and really unsafe for
a boat to lie in: the only secure place in which the boat could be
left was half a mile away, where she was likely to be either stolen or
destroyed by natives. To haul the boat up on the rocky beach was a task
beyond the strength of the men on the Station; we therefore usually
employed some of the local natives, who were engaged clearing the
Station site for us, to help haul her up: these natives, however, were
always ordered away from the Station to their villages at five o’clock
in the afternoon. Some of the police had been sent in the whaler during
the day to collect shells and coral for lime-making purposes, and
returned after five; the result of which was that we had not men enough
to haul up the boat, and accordingly I told them to anchor her out at
the full length of the chains. Shortly after this was done, I noticed
that when the tide went out the boat’s stern would be dangerously near
the rocks, and sent a couple of police to shift her further out--which
they apparently did. The following morning I discovered the whaler on
the rocks with her stern smashed in; and then found that the two fools
I had sent had shifted her further out by hauling in and shortening
the chains, thereby allowing her to drag her anchors in the strong
night wind and smash on the rocks. The damage done was about equal
to twenty pounds: a benevolent Government held that when accidents
of this sort occurred, they were due to carelessness, and the men or
officer responsible should meet the expense out of their or his private
money. “Here’s a pretty pickle,” I said; “if I stop the two men’s
pay, they will get nothing for twelve months.” My own pay was already
mortgaged for four months ahead, to pay debts incurred on my last
leave: the Bishop’s offer, however, of his carpenter, helped me out
of the difficulty, and all I had to pay was five pounds towage to the
_President_. We plastered up the stern of the whaler to get her as far
as that.

I was a full week at Wedau getting the boat mended, for I managed to
strike Holy Week; the carpenter, being an aged and particularly holy
man, would drop his tools four or five times a day and scoot off to
some sort of service, whilst I would endeavour to carry on his work:
the day of silence and prayer was especially trying to me, as I was in
a fever of anxiety about my men left at Cape Nelson. At last, however,
I got away and started back, the Bishop coming with me as far as Cape
Vogel, where we had established a Mission Station. By the way, I nearly
drowned him on that trip, for there was no wind when we left late in
the day, and the police had fairly well exhausted themselves at the
oars long before we were across the bay; then night and a big wind
came, and we got into a tide rip off the Cape, which nearly swamped
us. Curiously enough, I never afterwards travelled at sea with Bishop
Stone-Wigg without having the most marvellous escapes from drowning.

I remember on one occasion sighting his vessel just before dark off
Cape Nelson, and--after directing that a light be hoisted at the
flagstaff--I went out in the whaleboat to pilot him into the harbour:
it was pitch dark by the time we got alongside, with nasty rain squalls
coming up at intervals. The _Albert McLaren_ started to stand in for
the narrow rock-bound entrance of the harbour, when suddenly the light
at the Station flagstaff was obscured by a rain squall, and when the
squall had passed--during which we had hove-to--the light had vanished.
After waiting for half an hour for it to reappear, I came to the
conclusion (the right one as it afterwards proved) that the police had
not noticed that the light was out, and therefore it was not likely to
be relit at all. We groped our way out to sea for some distance, and
anchored over a sunken reef, whilst I sent the whaler to try and nose
her way into the harbour and have the lamp relit: that was the last we
saw of the whaler that night, for she lost her way in the rain squalls,
and could find neither harbour nor _Albert McLaren_ again. Meanwhile,
the night got worse, the schooner’s anchor carried away, and we blew up
the coast in the dark, missing, Heaven only knows how, the many reefs
with which the coast is sown.

I spent my time on deck with the skipper, vainly trying to fix our
position on the coast from the village fires, and trying to imagine
a fit punishment for the police on shore, by whom the light had been
allowed to go out. Inman, who was now captain of the _Albert McLaren_,
was full of groans and despair. “If I had not seen your light go up
and your whaler coming out, I should have crept behind a reef and
anchored,” he complained; “now we are bound for Kingdom come.” “It
is no part of my work to be drowned in a missionary boat; it is just
an obliging disposition that has got me into this fix,” I told him.
Then I went down to the cabin, where Bishop Stone-Wigg was peacefully
writing, in spite of the racket on deck. “Well, R.M., what news?” he
asked. “The news is that we are driving through the night amongst
a lot of reefs, and the first thing that we shall know will be the
crash of the schooner’s forefoot on one; we can’t heave-to, or we’ll
inevitably smash up on the coastal rocks.” “There is a Guiding Hand,”
said the Bishop calmly. “There is no guiding hand,” I said; “neither
Inman nor I have the slightest idea where we are, and the prospect of
all of us being drowned before morning is particularly bright.” “Oh,
I meant we are in the power of a Higher Hand,” remarked the Bishop,
and calmly went on writing and making references from books. “Well, of
all cool customers,” I thought, as I returned to the deck, “the Bishop
about takes the cake.” Some few hours before daybreak the wind abated,
the rain squalls cleared away, and Inman was able to drop a kedge at
the end of about one hundred and fifty fathoms of rope, and anchor
until morning showed us our position. Daylight came, and a few hours
afterwards my whaler appeared searching for us, and I went back in her
to my Station, while the Bishop went on in his schooner to the Mambare.

At the Mambare the Bishop heard of the Opi villages, a thick cluster of
people at the mouth of that river, who at this time were by no means
too safe to deal with, or to be trusted. On his return voyage, he
calmly ordered the schooner to be hove-to off the mouth of the river,
and, accompanied by only a few Mission boys, went ashore in a tiny
dingey to pay the villages a visit, with the object of ascertaining the
suitability of the site for a Mission Station. The mouth of the Opi is
one of the most shark-infested spots in New Guinea, and of course the
Mission boys contrived to capsize the dingey in the surf; fortunately
the Bishop was a very good swimmer, as were also his boys, so he
managed to swim ashore; but an enormous shark swam alongside him to the
beach and, marvellous to relate, did not attack him. I heard the tale
from the Bishop, his boys, and the Opi natives who witnessed it.

I was not at all pleased when I heard of the Bishop having gone into
the Opi villages, for though they were not in my Division, I knew
from the officers of the Northern Division how unsafe they were; and
I begged the Bishop to come to me for an interpreter the next time he
wished to go there. It was a long time before he did want to go, and by
that time I had two police recruits from the Opi, and I gave them to
him as interpreters. “You will interpret truly for the Bishop,” I told
my two men, “but you must first tell the people that he is my friend,
and if anything happens to him I shall take such vengeance that the
women and children of the furthest Binandere people will cry at the
mention of it.” Privates Kove and Arita, the two men I sent, swore that
the Bishop should be safe, and that they would fittingly picture the
horrors that would befall the people if they threatened or injured him.
When the Bishop returned from the Opi and gave me back Kove and Arita,
he told me that he was very taken with the kindness and friendliness of
the natives, and had decided to put a Mission Station there. Some time
afterwards, I heard from Armit, then R.M. for the Northern Division and
in whose district the Opi was, asking why I had been putting the fear
of God or of the Government into the Opi people, and saying that he
was the only person officially entitled to do that. I soothed Armit,
by pointing out that if the Bishop had got killed, he was the man who
would have had to face the music with the Governor, and that I had only
been trying to do him--Armit--a good turn.

Writing about Bishop Stone-Wigg reminds me of an occasion when he
accompanied me to the Yodda Gold-field; the Yodda miners at this time
being about as hard-bitten, hard swearing, and as utterly reckless a
lot of “hard cases” as could be found under the British Flag. They
had got a cemetery--which, I might remark in passing, was afterwards
washed out, with the bones of its inhabitants, because a payable streak
of gold was found in it--and it was well filled with dead diggers.
The Bishop, after looking at it, suggested that he should read the
Burial Service over the graves. I agreed that it might be a good thing;
making a mental note that afterwards, when anxious relations wrote
to me about their dead relatives, I could say that the Bishop of New
Guinea had given them Christian burial. I sent a summons to the miners,
telling them what was to take place, and they rolled up in strength
to attend. The Bishop read the impressive service of the Church in
a voice and manner that struck home to those miners, and produced an
unexpected result. Mat Crow, a prominent man among them, was deeply
affected; and, at the end, he strode up to the Bishop, struck him
heartily on the back, and broke forth: “Boys, this is kind of the Bish.
There’s Alligator Jack and Red Bill, there’s blank, and blank, and
blank planted here, and Gawd, ’E knows whether they have rested easy;
we know what they were like, and we know what the Warden is like who
read prayers over them; he was better than nothing; but he is no good
alongside a parson, and a Bishop is fifty parson-power in one. Boys, I
move a vote of thanks to the Bish, with three times three, and may we
all have a Bish to plant us. Alligator Jack would be a proud man to-day
if he knew what was being done for him.” Bishop Stone-Wigg fled, as
the vote of thanks was carried with enthusiasm, and the cheers for the
fifty parson-power parson echoed over the graveyard.

Returning to Cape Nelson from Wedau, I found my men bottled up inside
the stockade; and was told that the Okein, a pugnacious tribe to the
north, had paid them a visit, swaggered about the Station, interfered
with the working Kaili Kaili, and generally made themselves a nuisance.

The following is a brief description of the different tribes inhabiting
the North-Eastern Division, and also a general review of the feeling
existing between them at this time. The Cape Nelson (Kaili Kaili)
people, under the leadership of their chief, Giwi, were a confederation
of shattered tribes, regarding every one to the north or south--or,
in fact, any stranger--as enemies, by whom they might be attacked or
slaughtered at a moment’s notice. To the north there lay the Okein,
a branch of the Binandere; a strong, warlike, and colonizing people
steadily pushing their way south, but halted in their southern march
by the necessity of defending the land occupied by them, against the
attacks of inland raiding tribes. To the south lay the Maisina tribe
of Collingwood Bay, a race of pirates, who terrorized the coast as far
as Cape Vogel, but were in their turn harried by incursions from the
Doriri, a mountain tribe behind them. The Kaili Kaili, who inhabited
the mountains and hills at Cape Nelson, were therefore really remnants
of tribes shattered by attack from either the Doriri, Maisina, or
Binandere people; and also the remnants of a tribe frightfully weakened
by an eruption of Mount Victory.

For some time after they had occupied the inhospitable rugged lands
of Cape Nelson, they had been subjected to periodical incursions
and slaughterings by the Okein fleet of canoes; but were eventually
saved by the good sense of their elected chief, old Giwi, who had an
uncommonly fine head and exceptional reasoning power. The Kaili Kaili
were not an aquatic people, but Giwi noticed four things: firstly,
that all attacks against his people must come by sea; secondly, that
the canoes of the invaders were made of a heavy hard wood; thirdly,
that the missiles of the invaders were heavy spears having a limited
range; and fourthly, that once the northern men landed, his lighter
people stood no chance against their charges. Giwi, in his way, was a
Napoleon. He saw that to fight the invader successfully, he must fight
on the sea; he saw that he must not fight at close quarters, but must
have faster canoes, and also missiles outranging those of the Okein;
and he laid his plans accordingly. First of all, Giwi made his people
learn to swim in the pools of the streams running into the fiords of
Cape Nelson; then he ordered canoes to be cut from a particularly light
wood, of shallow draft, and capable of great speed, though they would
not last many months; then he had made a great stock of a particularly
light and long spear, capable of being thrown a great distance. Having
completed his preparations, Giwi built an ostentatious and sham village
at the head of a fiord, round the shores of which he concealed his new
fleet, and then awaited developments. The developments soon came: a
strong Okein fleet of canoes swept down the coast, sighted the village,
and at once attacked it; it fell an easy prey, being undefended and
of no value, and the disappointed Okein fleet attempted to put to sea
again, only to find hovering on their flank a swarm of light canoes,
with whom they could not possibly close, and by the crews of which they
were, man by man, slaughtered at long range. Out-generalled, out-paced
and out-ranged, they had no hope. Very few of the Okein canoes escaped,
and, for many years afterwards, they gave Cape Nelson a wide berth as
they passed on their southern raids. Giwi and his canoes, however, at
the time I went there, were the sole obstacles to their occupying the
coast south of Cape Nelson, though they could still raid it.

The account of this fight, I had from Giwi himself, and also from some
of the Okein who took part in it, years after it had taken place; but
all their accounts tallied. In fact, the way in which I first heard of
it was rather peculiar. I was staying for the night in old Giwi’s house
as an honoured guest, and rolling over on the floor to sleep, I was
disturbed by the old boy’s chuckles. “What are you laughing at, you old
reprobate?” I demanded. “You are lying on the exact spot where I kept
the body of the Okein chief, before I ate him,” he said, and then he
unfolded the tale I have just told.

[Illustration: GIWI AND HIS SONS]

Old Wanigela, a chief of the sub-branch of the Maisina, whose people
had been subject to constant attack by two foes, the Okein by sea and
the Doriri from the mountains, took heart of grace from Giwi’s
defeat of the Okein, and laid plans for the discomfiture of the next
raiders. His plan was, however, with the exception of the long light
spears, much simpler than that of Giwi; for all he did, was to abandon
his village at the approach of the hostile canoes, and permit them,
unopposed, to enter a narrow river which ran alongside the village.
After the Okein had plundered and burnt to their hearts’ content,
and had lumbered up their canoes with loot, they essayed to return,
and were jostling and crowding together in the current of the narrow
entrance to the river, when Wanigela suddenly appeared on the bank
with his men and fairly hailed spears upon the now packed Okein, who
were taken entirely by surprise by the unexpected attack from people
whose fighting qualities they despised; thrown into confusion by
the immediate loss of many men, and unable to charge home with the
favourite weapon of the Binandere people--the stone-headed club--they
were all slaughtered, with the exception of one canoe-load of warriors,
which managed to put to sea and escape.

The two defeats had for a time cooled the ardour of the Okein for
raiding on the coast; but later, having been strengthened by fresh
families from the virile Binandere, they turned their attention to a
new field, and raided and slaughtered the Baruga people of the Musa
River. The Baruga were now in an evil case: they could not go back, for
then the Doriri from the hills raided them, that people’s war parties
sweeping the whole of the flat country. The Baruga’s sole method of
escape from the Doriri had originally been by canoes and river; but
now the canoes of the Okein were driving them up and from the river,
into the very clutches of the Doriri. Fortunately, however, Sir William
MacGregor fell in with a fleet of Okein canoes returning from a raid up
the Musa, laden with human flesh, and he inflicted yet another crushing
defeat upon them; a defeat from which they were only just recovering
when I came to Cape Nelson. They were to get yet another reverse, and
at my hands next time; but that was to come much later.

Wanigela’s victory over the Okein was, however, to prove his undoing;
for he and his people, cock-a-hoop over their defeat of the redoubtable
Okein, decided to try conclusions with the first war party of Doriri
entering their country. It was not long before a war party, a small
one of about fifty Doriri, appeared in the district: Wanigela located
them and their line of march; then, assembling his own men and many
hundreds from the parent Maisina tribe, he laid an ambush for the
Doriri. This stratagem proved entirely successful, the enemy marching
into the middle of the hidden men; Wanigela then yelled, “Now we have
you where we wanted you!” which was his signal for the attack; his men
leapt to their feet; the Doriri merely replied with a curt “Have you?”
and charged. Wanigela and thirteen of his most redoubtable fighters
were killed, many were wounded, and the rest broke and fled in every
direction. Nothing after this would induce the people of Collingwood
Bay to stand up to resist the Doriri, who now began a policy of sending
very small parties, which ceaselessly snapped up and killed men,
women, and children. Sir Francis Winter, Moreton, and Butterworth,
made an attempt to seek out and deal with the Doriri, but failed, in
consequence of taking Collingwood Bay carriers with them, by whom they
were deserted on the very first night.



CHAPTER XVII


At Cape Nelson, I was now busy in the erection of my new Station. A
New Guinea Government Station consisted of the R.M.’s house, police
barracks, storerooms, magazine, married quarters, native visitors’
house, police cells and gaol. I had applied for a grant of forty
pounds for building my own house, intending to have one made of native
material, _i.e._ hard hewn timber and a thatched roof; Sir George Le
Hunte, however, said he was not going to have his R.M.’s house like
that, and accordingly instructed the Survey Department to expend three
hundred pounds in getting timber and iron from Australia for a European
house of four rooms. Russell directed me to have cut a number of piles
of hard wood, ten feet in length, upon which the house was to be built.
He, being a surveyor, was also supposed to be an architect; as a matter
of fact, his knowledge of building was about equal to a Berkshire pig’s
grasp of navigation. This is the house that he, after great travail,
designed.

[Illustration]

He altogether forgot windows, railings, and steps; and this, too, for a
house the flooring of which would be ten feet from the ground.

At this time I had, under the supervision of a private of constabulary,
gangs of several hundred Kaili Kaili at work, clearing gardens and
carrying timber for the gaol and barracks; whilst another lot were
searching for teakwood with me, and cutting it into piles for my house.
Amongst my contingent was a short, squat, very powerful man of about
forty years of age, who had at one time been badly wounded in the head,
and at intervals broke into a frenzy of rage with no apparent reason;
this individual was named Komburua. He had engaged to work two months
with me for an axe, upon which he had set his heart, and which tool he
was permitted to use at his work until it became his own. Komburua’s
particular job was to cut the hewn piles to an exact length, as I
measured and marked them. On one occasion, as I moved from one pile
to another to measure it, Komburua seated himself upon the one I was
stretching my tape along; I shifted him with a hard spank with my
open hand, and again leant over my tape. Suddenly I caught sight, on
the ground, of the shadow of an axe flying up above the shadow of my
helmet; like lightning, I jumped to one side, just as that axe came
crashing down on the very spot over which my head had been. Before
Komburua had time to raise his axe again I had him pinned by the
throat, whilst two police, who were but a few feet away, rushing up,
first knocked him senseless with the butts of their rifles, and then,
loading them, stood at my back, as I blew my whistle for the detachment
to fall in--not knowing how much further the trouble was going. From
all directions the men came tearing up, loading their rifles as they
ran, and savagely striking out of their way any native in their path;
while the excited natives gathered in clusters and jabbered, and spears
appeared from nowhere. Poruta soon found out that Komburua’s attempt to
split my skull was due to one of his sudden frenzies of rage, induced
by my spank on his stern, and in no way concerned the other natives.
He was given seven days in leg-irons, as a gentle hint to restrain his
temper in the future, and we resumed our work.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE RESIDENCY, CAPE NELSON]

Komburua afterwards tried to get square with me by poisoning our well
at night, and, but for the accident of heavy rain falling at the
time, thus washing away the greater portion of the poison, the whole
lot of us would undoubtedly have been killed. As it was, we were all
extremely ill; in fact, two men very nearly died, and I, for the life
of me, could not make out what was the cause. The police said sorcery;
I did not know what to think; I had no suspicion of the water, though
I thought of poison; at the same time, I could not understand how
it could have been administered to all of us. One alarming sign was
that not a single native came near us. I took counsel with the police.
“There is something very wrong,” I said, “but we have to find out what
it is, before we can cure it.” “It is sorcery,” said the police. “Well,
we must find out the sorcerer and deal with him; what sorcery can do,
sorcery can undo,” I said. “The proper thing to do with a sorcerer is
to hit him on the head with a club,” said Poruta, “for they are no
good.” “All very fine,” I remarked, “but first catch the sorcerer.”
“You have said it,” said Keke (Keke and the other Kiwais had stronger
stomachs, and were not so bad as the rest of us); “these people know
what they have done to us and are awaiting results; we can’t see them,
but they are certain to have some one watching us. To-night, the
strongest of us will sneak out and catch the watchers in the early
dawn, and then we shall find out what is the trouble.” Keke’s plan
seemed the best; that night, the five strongest men crept out, and, in
the morning, they snapped up a solitary man, whom they discovered in a
tree watching the camp, and brought him in. It was a man named Seradi,
who later served for many years with me in the constabulary; in fact,
he was still serving when I left New Guinea.

I showed Seradi our sick; as a matter of fact, with the exception of
the five men by whom he had been caught, there was not one of us able
to stand. I asked, “What is the matter with these men?” “I don’t know,”
was the reply. “Why are all you people staying away from the Station?”
“I don’t know,” he repeated, which was a palpable lie. “Reeve a rope,
and hang him up,” I said. “What will the Governor say?” asked Keke;
to which I replied, “It does not much matter what he says, for if we
don’t find out what this trouble is, he’ll only have dead men to talk
to.” The police rove a rope over a beam in the ceiling: I may say that,
during our sickness, we were all living together in one big barrack
room. “What are you going to do with me?” asked Seradi, as a noose was
passed round his neck. “Hang you up by your neck until you are dead,
then cut you open and look at your inside to find out why we are sick;
you know, but won’t tell us while you are alive, and the rope round
your throat will prevent the knowledge escaping when you are dead.”
The rope tightened, Seradi choked and held up his hand. “Slack!” I
said. “You want to talk?” I asked him. “Yes,” was his reply, “I don’t
want to put you to all this trouble. Komburua poisoned your well; the
people are staying away until you are all dead, when they will come and
take all your wealth.” “Do the people want to fight us?” I asked. “Oh
no,” he said, “but if you all die, they would like your things.” “Do
you know where Komburua is?” I next asked. “Yes, alone in a bush house
about half a mile away,” said Seradi. “Very good; if you take my police
to him, and help them catch him, I will pay you two tomahawks and make
you village constable of your tribe.” Seradi apparently thought that
this was much better than being hanged, so went off with my five fairly
sound men, and shortly afterwards returned with Komburua. In due time
Seradi got his uniform as village constable, which position he filled
with ability.

Komburua got six months’ hard labour, a sentence he received with
extreme disfavour. His first job was to clean out the spring, and
dig a channel in the rock, in which to lead the water to the gaol.
“Komburua is to drink a pint of water from the well before breakfast
every morning,” I told the police, “then, if there is any more foolery
with our water, he will be the first man poisoned.” He afterwards
became a very good worker indeed, and accompanied me as a carrier on
many an inland expedition. He also became very friendly with me, in
consequence of my curing a periodic headache he suffered from. One day,
as he toiled with a crowbar at the rock of a precipice, up which we
were cutting a new road, I noticed that his forehead was all scratched
and cut, and asked him what was the matter. “There is a devil trying to
break out of my head,” said Komburua. I sent him to sit in the shade
of the gaol kitchen, and gave him some phenacitin tabloids, that eased
his head a great deal quicker than his cutting and scratching had done.
After he had served half his time, I made him prisoners’ cook to the
gaol, a position of which he was very proud (though the prisoners at
first regarded his appointment with eyes askance), and, at his earnest
request, I let him off the pint of cold water before breakfast.

I remember Komburua, on one occasion, frightening fits out of the Chief
Engineer of the _Merrie England_. I was going up the coast in that
vessel, to cut a road from Buna Bay to the Yodda Gold-field. I had with
me about a score of police and some couple of hundred Kaili Kaili: each
Kaili Kaili had an axe, both as a weapon of defence and as a tool for
work. My men--in addition to her own complement--crowded the vessel
uncomfortably; but as my men slept about the decks and it was only
for one night, it really did not matter. The night came, and with it
heavy rain; my unfortunate Kaili Kaili crawled into alley ways, galley,
cabins, in fact anywhere they could get, to be out of the wet. Officers
and crew were perpetually falling over naked bodies in most unlikely
places, and cursing Kaili Kaili and me alike--not that the Kaili Kaili
cared. The Cape Nelson police and myself were the only persons they
would listen to or obey; every one else was merely an objectionable
foreigner. Komburua, in search of a dry spot, discovered the Chief
Engineer’s cabin, that worthy being on watch; he then stretched his
dirty greasy form upon the Engineer’s bunk and went to sleep. Presently
the owner of the bunk came off watch, went to his cabin, and there
discovered a huddled mass of wet cannibal on the floor and Komburua
in his bunk; with curses and blows he shifted the men from the floor,
hauled Komburua from his bunk, and hoofed him out of the cabin.

A few minutes later a steward, falling over the tangled heap of
police and Kaili Kaili sleeping on the floor of my cabin, woke
me up, wailing, “For God’s sake, sir, go to the Chief Engineer’s
cabin; those blank savages of yours are killing him.” “Nonsense!”
I said; but that wretched steward would not let me have any peace;
so accordingly, cursing deeply all people who disturbed the sleep
of the godly with vain alarms, I paddled along the wet deck to the
Engineer’s cabin. There I found the Chief lying in his bunk, gazing
absolutely horror-stricken at the bloodshot eyes of Komburua peering
through the tangled mat of hair surmounting his hideous visage, while
he thoughtfully felt the razor-like edge of his axe. At intervals
the Chief yelped for help. “What the devil are you up to, Komburua?”
I asked, as my naked foot took him fairly on the stern; “get out!”
“He would not let me sleep in the dry, so I just gave him a fright,”
said that worthy, as he retired, carefully sheltering his stern with
his axe. “I thought the murderous brute was going to split my skull
every second, and dared not move,” said the Chief Engineer; “it’s
disgraceful that the Government should allow you to bring such savages
on board. There’s some whisky in my locker; give me a drink.” “They
are all right, and quite nice people if you are gentle with them; but
if you use coarse sailor language and blows, you offend them,” I told
him reproachfully; then I gave him a drink from his own bottle, and
absent-mindedly carried the bottle away and shared it with the second
engineer and the officer on watch.

About a week after I was first established at Cape Nelson, old Giwi
came in, followed by a strange native who gambolled like a kitten when
he caught sight of the police and myself, and exhibited extravagant joy
in divers ways. He proved to be the sole survivor of ten Dobu carriers,
who had bolted from the Mambare at the time of the massacre of Green
and his men: the other nine had been caught and eaten at intervals
along the coast by the Notu and Okein people. This man, weary and
frightened, had reached Giwi’s village; there Giwi had protected him,
and employed him as an unpaid labourer in his garden--practically a
slave. He told me that he had had a dreadful time chasing the _Merrie
England_ from fiord to fiord, when last she came, but could never quite
catch her; then one morning he had caught sight of the flag flying
over my camp, and had persuaded Giwi to bring him to me for a reward.
I bought him from Giwi for a tomahawk, and as he swore that he never
meant to leave the shelter of the police camp again, I made him cook
to the constabulary. About eight months later, however, as the _Merrie
England_ was going to his home, I seized the opportunity of sending him
there.

I then found out that numbers of runaway carriers from the diggers
of the Mambare were continually being caught and eaten by the tribes
along the coast. The local natives had their own grievance against the
runaways, for the latter used to steal their canoes and also sneak into
their gardens and help themselves to food. North and south I then sent
notices, offering a reward of a tomahawk each for all live runaway
carriers brought to me, and threatening dire vengeance against any
people killing them.

In a month, we recovered some thirty odd runaway carriers in lots
of two, three, and up to a dozen. Seradi then told me of a little
village inhabited entirely by sorcerers, male and female, some seven
miles away, where they had another runaway tied up for some diabolical
purpose. I sent Seradi and half a dozen police to bring me the captive
and arrest the sorcerers; these gentry were not at all popular with the
Kaili Kaili, though, like most natives, they stood in awe of them. The
police returned, carrying in a net a man so emaciated that his bones
were literally sticking through his skin, and his whole body showing
the marks of dreadful ill-usage; he was so weak as to be beyond speech,
and though we dosed him with tincture of opium and brandy, and filled
him up with broth, he died within a few hours. The sorcerers had seen
the police coming and escaped. My men told me that their village was
unspeakably filthy, so I sent them back, in the middle of the night,
to surprise and catch the sorcerers and burn down the village. They
only caught two, whom I sent to gaol for six months, their first job
being to bury the body of their victim. Where their filthy village had
stood, the police left a clean, smoking heap of ashes: the prestige
of sorcerers among the Kaili Kaili slumped from that day, and though
sorcerers in other parts of the Division continued to give trouble,
those amongst the Kaili Kaili people spent most of their time either
hiding in the bush, in gaol, or in explaining to a village constable
and his posse that they were living virtuous and meritorious lives.

The burning of houses was, as a general rule, strictly forbidden by
the Lieutenant-Governor as a punishment, and very rightly so; but I
felt sure that he would approve of my smoking out a lot of miscreants,
such as those I have mentioned, as indeed he did. Sorcery among New
Guinea natives may be divided into two kinds: the sorcerer practising
the first kind belongs to a class of wicked, malevolent assassins,
doing evil for the sake of evil; he is prepared to perform his devilry,
administer poison, or commit any crime for any person paying him to do
so. This class of sorcerer does not pretend to perform anything but
black magic, or to work anything but harm; and the shadow of the fear
of the brute is over the whole tribal life. Sorcerers practising the
second kind are men who make use of a benevolent and kindly magic for
good only. These pretend to possess powers of rain-making, wind- or
fish-bringing, bone-setting, the charming away of sickness, or charming
the spot upon which a garden is to be made to render it productive.
They understand massage to a certain extent, and are usually highly
respected and estimable members of the community to which they belong;
and to interfere with this second class in the practise of their arts,
would be not only cruelly unjust but decidedly unwise.

Once I had a frantic row with a Missionary Society over a member of
the class of rain-makers. This old fellow I knew to be an eminently
respectable old gentleman, and famed for many miles as a rain-maker;
in fact, I had more than a suspicion that upon occasions my own police
had paid for his services in connection with the Station garden.
Well, to my amazement, I one day received a complaint from a European
missionary, that the old fellow was practising sorcery and levying
blackmail. I knew the charge to be all nonsense, and my village
constables laughed at it; in fact, they regarded the story in much
the same light as a London bobby would a tale to the effect that the
Archbishop of Canterbury was running a sly grog shop in Wapping; but
missionaries always made such a noise that I had to investigate. I
found that there had been a drought in a Mission village, miles away
from where the old boy lived, and the natives’ gardens were perishing:
the local rain-makers tried their hands, but with no result; the
missionary turned on prayers for rain, no result; then the people got
desperate, and decided that the services of my estimable friend must be
engaged. Accordingly, to the wrath of the missionary, they collected
pigs and a varied assortment of New Guinea valuables, and sent them
with a deputation to beg him to save their gardens. He accepted the
gifts, and oracularly replied to his petitioners, “When the south-east
wind stops, the rain will come.” They went off home satisfied; as
a matter of fact, the wind had dropped before they got back and
the welcome rain set in. Having ascertained the facts, I of course
refused to interfere with the rain-maker; whereupon the missionary
complained to Headquarters that the R.M. was undermining the work of
the Mission by encouraging sorcery, and I was called upon for the
usual report. I reported that my time was already so fully occupied
that I had none to spare in “attending to harmless disputes due to the
professional jealousy of rival rain-makers.” The missionary choked with
outraged and offended pride at being put on the same plane as a native
rain-maker, and Muzzy squeaked about “contemptuous levity” in official
correspondence.

One day, I met an old chap laboriously carrying a heavy round stone up
a hill to a yam garden. “What are you doing with that?” I asked. “I
have got a job making the yams grow in the garden up here,” he said,
“and I’m planting this as an example to the yams, of the size to which
they are to grow.” “It’s lucky for you that they are not to be any
larger,” I remarked. “If this man had got his yams in a month sooner,”
said the yam expert, “I’d have taken a stone much larger than this; but
he always was a fool.”

The professions of rain-maker, taro-grower, fish-bringer, etc., in
fact all the callings followed by the benevolent sorcerers, are, I
believe, hereditary, passing from father to son: the men really have
some sound practical knowledge, though smothered in a mass of charms
and incantations; for instance, the taro-grower knows exactly what type
of vegetable should be grown in different soils, he knows the proper
time of year for planting, he can tell the husbandman when to cut away
the sprouts, and when he should get fresh seed; he can say where corn
will be a success, and where bananas, sweet potatoes, taro or yams.
The fish-bringer knows when to expect the different fish, and where
to look for them; his reward depends upon results, for if his charms
and incantations didn’t give adequate satisfaction, the professor
would soon be regarded as “no good,” and deserted in favour of a more
successful practitioner.

[Illustration: TOKU, SON OF GIWI]

So far as the healing powers of the benevolent sorcerers are concerned,
I can vouch for those of one man myself. I was suffering from a severe
attack of lumbago, brought about by marching in wet khaki all day and
sleeping in wet blankets at night; it had begun with a very bad attack
of malaria, which I had squashed by means of twenty-grain doses of
quinine, but the lumbago remained. A son of Giwi’s named Toku, who was
thirteen years of age, was my personal servant at the time: the young
devil disappeared, and I thought that the crankiness and bad temper of
a sick man had been too much for him and that he had bolted. I maligned
Toku, however, for on the following day he came back, accompanied by
his father and the latter’s medical adviser. “My father says this man
can cure your pains,” remarked Toku. “Then for goodness’ sake let him
start work, for I can’t be made worse,” was my answer. The “doctor”
then produced two large flat stones, hung all over with charms, and,
after chanting an incantation or two over them and removing their
embroideries, demanded that they be made red-hot in the kitchen fire;
then he directed the police to make a large fire, and heat many other
stones. His directions having been carried out, he commanded that a
large iron tub that stood in my room, and which was used by me as a
bath, should be filled with hot water, and that I was to get into it.
With the assistance of several men, I doubled my groaning carcase
into it; whereupon the “doctor” sang an incantation or two over me,
called for the pile of hot stones the police had been heating, and
dropped them one by one, fizzling and sizzling into my bath, thus
raising the temperature of the water until I was in a cloud of steam.
“Ask him, Toku, whether he wants to boil the something liver out of
me,” I demanded. The “doctor” paused in listening to a long harangue
from Private Bia, in which that worthy orderly was pointing out, in
blood-curdling language, the precise spot in his ribs where he meant to
send his bayonet home, in the event of his ministrations killing me.
“Tell your master to have patience, he will soon be better,” he said to
Toku; “I am hunting the evil spirit out of him.”

The boiling operations completed, the “doctor” made me lie flat on
my face, and then plastered my back with hot wet clay, upon which he
plentifully spat; then he had brought from the kitchen his red-hot
flat stones, and, wrapping them in cloth made of mulberry bark, he
clapped them on the clay plaster. First the clay steamed and seemed
to scald right through me, then it burnt hard and set up a steady
roasting heat, but it certainly chased away my lumbago. I had, at
the time, a Pondicherry Indian as a cook; and he--attracted by my
language--appeared, gave a glance at what was happening, and then came
back shortly afterwards with some heated flat-irons and flannel, with
which he too proceeded to rub my back. The next day I was well, bar a
feeling of stiffness and a general sensation of having been scorched.
“What pay do you want?” I asked the “doctor”; “I will pay you well.” He
had meanwhile been living in the barracks, and had been entertained by
the police with tales of what would happen to him if I died. “I want
those things that your back was rubbed with by the cook,” he said,
meaning my flat-irons; “they will get me a great name.” Accordingly I
gave him the flat-irons; and I venture to say, that to this day there
will be found on the north-east coast of New Guinea an eminent and
famed medical practitioner, using among his stock-in-trade a set of
flat-irons.

About a year later I nearly lost Toku, the boy by whom my highly
satisfactory attendant had been summoned, in a peculiar way. I was
returning from the second Doriri expedition, and we were marching
before a strong rear-guard, behind which no one was permitted to lag;
Toku was carrying my belts with a very heavy revolver, and I was
marching at ease in the middle of the column. I noticed a rare or new
orchid in a tree, and sent Toku up to get it, signing to the rear-guard
as they came up to pass on with the column; Toku came down with the
orchid, and we caught up to the rear-guard, through which I passed,
not noticing that the young imp had sneaked back to the tree to catch
an iguana he had seen in it. Suddenly I missed Toku, and halted the
line to search for him; I found him absent, and hastily retraced my
steps with several of the police. We heard a shot, in the direction
of which we ran, and found the imp seated upon the corpse of a fully
armed native, and holding my smoking pistol in his hand. “I killed
him, master,” said the young villain. What had happened was this:
Toku had dodged behind the rear-guard and caught his iguana; then, as
he descended the tree, he had been snapped up by one of the numerous
natives, who were hovering on our rear and flank out of sight, in
readiness to snap up any stragglers. The man had clapped his hand over
Toku’s mouth to prevent him calling out, and had then started to carry
him off into the bush beyond earshot of my force; Master Toku, having
one hand free, had contrived to draw my revolver, and pressing it
against his captor’s head, had fired and blown the skull to fragments.
I regret to say that the hero was hoisted upon the back of a policeman,
and soundly spanked by me for “lagging behind the rear-guard, and
nearly losing my belts and revolver.”

“Fine boy of mine that,” remarked old Giwi to me when he heard the
tale, “nearly as good as I was in my youth; the people tell me that
it was a very large strong man he killed; I think I had better see
about arranging wives for him.” “You will do nothing of the sort, you
match-making old begetter of strong sons,” I said; “he will remain
looking after my shirts and things for two years, and be whacked at
intervals for his good; then I will draft him into the constabulary,
and, when he is a second-year man, I will find the price of a really
good wife for him.”

Again I find I have digressed. Muzzy once remarked to me--after telling
me the same story for about the fiftieth time--that he trusted he was
not getting into his “anecdotage.” As a matter of fact he was, but I
was wise enough not to tell him so; now I sometimes wonder whether I am
not going the same way.

I have written about benevolent sorcerers as opposed to the ordinary
ones in New Guinea. The latter are about the most malevolent and
malignant brutes unhung: they undoubtedly possess certain powers, such
as a rough knowledge of the poisonous properties of some plants or
fish for internal administration; and how to set up a virulent form of
blood poisoning ending in tetanus, by the application to a wound--or
the weapon causing the wound--of either a dried serum obtained from
decomposing human bodies, or from the mud of a mangrove swamp. The
statement that New Guinea natives poison their spears or arrows has
frequently been made, and as often denied, but seldom has any direct
evidence been adduced that they do so poison them. Personally, I am
of opinion that the actual fighting man never stoops to use poison;
but I think in some cases he pays a sorcerer, or perhaps his wife or
father does, to “strengthen” his arms, and that then the sorcerer does
poison them. For instance, on the Stuart-Russell expedition, Russell
lost a carrier by death and buried him: when I picked up Russell, we
found the body of that carrier had been disinterred and was acting as
a pincushion for dozens of spears; sharp slivers of wood had also been
inserted, these being intended for use as foot spears or stakes to be
planted in the ground to catch the unwary traveller’s leg.

New Guinea sorcerers, in my experience, kill their subjects by two
methods: firstly, by material means, that is, by the administration
of actual poison; secondly, by esoteric means, that is, by working on
the fear of the intended victim. Sir Francis Winter once told me that
though he had tried many murder cases in which sorcery was alleged,
he had never found any direct evidence that the sorcerer had caused
the death; notwithstanding the fact that in some cases the sorcerer
had actually admitted his guilt. To this I reply, that poisoning by
animal or vegetable poisons is always very difficult to trace, or
bring home to the prisoner; even when the poisons used are common or
well known, and when highly skilled chemists are employed to detect
them. In New Guinea there were no chemists, and the poisons used were
probably either very rare or quite unknown to science. The second
method to which I referred, as being employed by the sorcerer, namely,
that of fear, was worked in this way: the sorcerer sent a message to
his intended victim, telling him that he had bewitched or poisoned
him, thus so preying upon the mind of the unfortunate receiver of
the threat as to cause him either to fret himself into a fever or
commit suicide--usually the latter. In New Guinea the law warranted
a magistrate sending any native convicted of sorcery to gaol, for a
term of six months. This was all very fine; but the sorcerer always
over-awed the witnesses by saying, “I may get six months, but then I
shall be free again and you will pay.”

Among the Binandere people on the Opi River were two distinct tribes,
speaking different dialects. Tabe, the village constable of the lower
tribe, who was quite one of the most intelligent of the natives, once
gave me an instance of the manner in which the emotions will overcome
the habits of order and control instilled into the Papuan. I sent him
to arrest a noted sorcerer: after a struggle, in which many men took
part, he effected his object; then, securing all the sorcerer’s charms
and drugs, he placed them in a canoe, together with the sorcerer, now
securely tied up with native ropes, and started for the Government
Station at Tamata. On the way thither, among the chattels of the
sorcerer, a small net was found into which was plaited twenty-seven
small pieces of wood. Inquiry on the part of the village constable
elicited the fact that it was the sorcerer’s tally of lives, claimed to
have been taken by him, or of deaths induced by his arts. The sorcerer
bragged to Tabe that among the number were certain relations of his,
whom he named; and he also threatened that he would add some more,
including Tabe’s wife and children, when his six months were done.
Whereupon Tabe, incited by this threat and also by the relations of the
dead people, decided to try his own methods of curing a sorcerer, which
he did by sinking him in twelve feet of water for an hour. He then made
inquiries as to whether there were any others requiring his treatment;
an inquiry which resulted in the immediate and hasty departure of
several prominent sorcerers of the community. Proceeding to Tamata, he
surrendered himself on a charge of murder laid by himself, and in which
the principal evidence was his own statement.

In connection with this man’s action, the following is an instance of
the power ascribed to and claimed by a sorcerer, which is generally
accepted by the natives as true. Some sorcerers possess the power of
transmitting their spirits to a crocodile, whereupon the crocodile
becomes a devil with power to assume the shape of any person known
to the sorcerer; the devil-crocodile then, at the instigation of the
sorcerer, waits near a village, until it sees the man against whom
it is to act, go alone down a track or to a garden; then it assumes
the shape of a young married woman or girl well known to the intended
victim, and follows him. Upon a sufficiently secluded spot being
reached, the sorcerer-cum-crocodile-cum-girl approaches the man and
endeavours to induce him to have sexual intercourse: should he do so,
he will not discover his error until evening, when he will feel a
desire to go to the river, there to vanish for ever. It is not until
the sorcerer claims the result as his work, that the people know what
has become of him, and that he has fallen a prey to the crocodile.
Sometimes the shape assumed by the witch-crocodile is that of a
well-known and good-looking young man, and then a young married woman
or girl is seduced. In such case the woman’s first male child will be
taken by the crocodile, and the disembowelled body be later discovered
floating in the water. Occasionally, I have been told, the most careful
of persons and the most moral are entrapped by the actual shape of
husband or wife being assumed by the crocodile; and so any one may be
tricked to his or her death.

From the point of view of a native constable, thoroughly believing
in all this, and infuriated by the loss of those dear to him, it is
an injustice that a sorcerer claiming occult powers of this awful
description should be lightly punished, and then released to seek
vengeance by the exercise of dreadful esoteric means. Should he not
rather, he argues, be sought out and killed in a public, violent, and
showy manner, that will deter others from following in his footsteps?

Absurd though sorcerers’ claims to such powers be, as the foregoing
instance portrays, yet sorcery or witchcraft on the north-east coast
is no child’s play, and the shadow of the fear of it is over the whole
tribal life. Much of it, I am convinced, is due to the administration
of poison, but a great deal more is effected by suggestion; and, to my
mind, there is little difference in the measure of guilt of one who
hits his enemy on the head with a club, and of him who secretly gives
a poisonous drug and causes death by physical means, or of him again,
who, by acting on a man’s fears, administers a moral poison to the mind
and frighten his victim to death.

Some sorcerers claim to possess the power of sending forth their
spirits to work evil during the dark watches of the night or while
they slept. The Binandere people hold that the spirit of a sorcerer is
the only really dangerous one, for though two other kinds of spirits
exist, namely, “devils” and ghosts of the dead, such ghosts and devils
are innocuous; in fact Oia, a son of Bushimai’s, once told me that he
considered they served a useful purpose in frightening the women and
children from straying out of the village at night. Most New Guinea
natives have a great dread of the dark; not so, however, the Binandere;
a man of that tribe thinks nothing of travelling all night along lonely
unfrequented paths by forest, jungle, mountain or swamp, devil-haunted
though he believes them to be: whereas a Suau, Motuan or Kiwai would
die of funk. The Suau believes that when a man is asleep, his spirit
has gone forth from him, and they are very careful how they wake one
another, in order that time may be allowed for the sleeper’s spirit to
return; the Binandere does not care two straws how rapidly or noisily
he stirs up a sleeper.

I remember once an epidemic of measles breaking out at Paiwa on Cape
Vogel, and the cheerful sorcerers persuading the people that it would
continue until a live man was cut open by them, which was accordingly
done. On another occasion, at the back of Collingwood Bay, Oelrichs,
who was then my Assistant R.M., heard of a case where they shoved
lawyer vines, with thorns like this ➳➳➳➳ down the throats of some
of the people, and then tore them up again. I caught the natives
responsible for the cutting open of the man, really by a great streak
of luck. The relations of the murdered man had complained to me about
the affair; but when I came with the police, the whole of the people
had run away from their villages to some bush refuge. We searched and
we hunted, but no sign of them could we find; until at last we found
a man crippled by elephantiasis, struggling along a track. When we
caught him, he was without food and in a great fright, thinking that we
should kill him; I questioned him as to the whereabouts of his people,
but could get no satisfaction. Then, telling the police to leave him a
supply of cooked food, I gave him a stick of trade tobacco and a baubau
or native pipe, and marched on; a few minutes after we left him, we
heard yells, and sending back I found that he was willing to guide us
to the refuge of his people. “They left me,” he said, “to be killed or
to starve; you have given me food and tobacco, and if your men will
carry me, I’ll show you the hiding place.” Promptly he was picked up
and carried; and in two hours, we were marching for the coast with the
murderers on a chain.



CHAPTER XVIII


Since my first arrival at Cape Nelson, three months had gone by, during
which period the Kaili Kaili and my men had become sworn friends
and allies. The Station was nearly finished, and we began to look
anxiously for the return of the _Merrie England_; more especially
so, as our stores were running very low and a drought was preventing
our purchasing very much in the way of provisions from the natives.
The drought brought another complication: for the missionary at Cape
Vogel sent me a letter, stating that the women of the villages were
killing their infants. The practice of abortion and infanticide is
always common among the weaker non-warlike or non-cannibal tribes
of New Guinea, though unknown among the head hunters or cannibals.
I accordingly went hurriedly to Cape Vogel by boat, and threatened
and bullied the people on the subject of infanticide, and sent five
women, who had murdered their babies, to gaol; later, I had these women
transferred to Port Moresby to serve their time, as there was better
accommodation for female prisoners at Headquarters than at Cape Nelson.
Some months afterwards, I received an indignant letter from the gaoler,
asking whether I thought the Port Moresby gaol was a lying-in hospital,
as all the imprisoned ladies had either added to the population or were
about to do so.

At Mukawa, I found that, a day or so before my arrival, a large fleet
of Maisina canoes had put in an appearance, bullying and blackmailing
the inhabitants; but upon hearing that I was hourly expected with the
police, they had departed to raid elsewhere. Running up the coast
before a fair wind, I sighted the fleet of canoes leaving a small
island, but as they ran inshore I did not bother to follow them; later,
I found that an old chief, named Bogege, had been down the coast with
a party of raiders, generally raising sheol. At the island, where I
had sighted the canoes, he had landed and discovered a bêche-de-mer
trader’s house and Station, occupied by a man, his native wife, and a
dozen Suau natives. The owner was away fishing; but Bogege’s men had
outraged the women, beaten the boys, stolen everything they could lay
their hands upon, and would probably have wound up their performances
with murder, but for my boat heaving in sight. I sent Bogege a polite
message to the effect, that when I had time to attend to the Maisina,
they would have something to remember; to which he replied, “My people
have taken the feathers off their spears.” A civil Papuan declaration
of war. The fight between Bogege and myself, however, came sooner than
he expected, though, for the present, being delayed by pressure of more
urgent work.

Briefly, the following required my immediate attention. Firstly, a
tribe named the Mokoru, lying to the north of Cape Nelson, captured and
ate a number of runaway Mambare carriers: they calmly told me that they
would do the same to the police, if I interfered with them, but added,
that I myself was so repulsively coloured that they would not dream of
eating me, but would feed me to the pigs instead! “Pigs having stronger
stomachs than men!” Next, the Arifamu, to the south, ate some carriers
and snapped up one of my constabulary; he, however, escaped from them
and was rescued by us. Then the Winiapi tribe, also in the south,
plundered a trader’s vessel and defied me. “The police are but women,
and go clothed like women,” was their reply to my demand that they
surrender the offenders.

I fell upon the Mokoru first, and with good result. One dark night,
Seradi piloted the whaler up a creek leading to the house of the
principal chief, and we collared him and his son at dawn. The Mokoru,
who lived in hamlets scattered over the grassy ridges, attempted to
attack and ambush my force; but in half an hour they had learnt so
much about the effect of rifle fire in the open as to compel them to
decide that eating carriers did not pay, and also, that they had better
join the Kaili Kaili by throwing in their lot with the Government. The
Mokoru chief we caught was named Paitoto; he later turned out to be an
excellent man, and I made him Government chief and village constable
for his tribe. He told me one tale, however, that rather sickened me.
“You remember,” said Paitoto, “the morning you caught me, you were
very bad and sick from fever?” “Yes,” I replied. “Poruta made you some
soup in one of my small pots, from a pigeon he shot,” he went on, “and
you complained about the pot being greasy and made him scrub it very
clean.” “Well, what of it?” I asked. “That was the pot in which my wife
had made a stew of carriers’ hands.”

Paitoto only did about a fortnight’s gaol, and was then released to
take up his duties as v.c. Afterwards, he did a very plucky thing,
when securing a sorcerer whom I badly wanted: having made the arrest,
he locked one ring of the handcuffs on to the sorcerer and the other
on to his own wrist; and for fear that the sorcerer, on the journey,
might over-awe him, he threw the key of the handcuffs over a precipice.
Unfortunately, he then told the sorcerer such dreadful tales of what
I should do to him, that the man hurled himself over a small cliff,
carrying Paitoto with him; with the result, that Paitoto’s handcuffed
arm was badly smashed, and I had an awful job repairing it.

[Illustration: KAILI KAILI]

At last the _Merrie England_ turned up, weeks overdue, and renewed my
supplies. She also brought Richard De Molynes, a brother-in-law of the
then Governor-General of Australia, who was engaged hunting for lands
suitable for sugar growing, on behalf of some syndicate or other: I
believe the De Molynes brothers had previously gone in extensively for
sugar planting in Queensland. He remained with me, as a guest, after
the departure of the ship, in order to pursue his search throughout the
north-east. The _Merrie England_ also brought me old Bushimai and his
son Oia, from the Mambare; they had been sentenced to gaol for murder
by the Central Court, but were now to be held by me at Cape Nelson on
a sort of parole, during the Governor’s pleasure. Bushimai had already
broken out of the Port Moresby gaol, with five companions, and crossed
the island to his home; but of his five companions, only one remained,
when he reached the Mambare; and the fate of the others has always
been shrouded in mystery. Bushimai said they died of exposure and cold
on the high mountains; but when I asked him what they had found to
eat on the way, he told me that they had caught an alligator! He may
have caught an alligator; but if so, it is the first alligator I have
ever known or heard of as having its habitation on the side of a bleak
mountain range! Subsequently, after having been re-arrested, he also
succeeded in escaping from the gaol at Tamata.

Bushimai was sent to my care at Cape Nelson at his own request. I now
had one of his sons, Oia, in prison for manslaughter; and Poruta (who
was another) serving as a private in my detachment of constabulary.
Bushimai, by all conventional rules, should have been my mortal
enemy, as I had once flogged him for mutiny, and he had killed my
brother magistrate; but, as a matter of fact, we were always rather
dear friends. He was allowed to bring one wife, and a small son, with
him to Cape Nelson; I made his wife matron to the gaol, and general
over-looker of the wives of the police. Bushimai, on his first day at
the Station, began by sitting on the steps of my house; on the second
day, he had oiled himself into my office, where he sat upon the floor,
whilst I did my work or heard native cases, throwing in a little advice
at intervals; on the third day, he had made up his bed in my room; and
on the fourth day, he had picked out the largest axe on the Station,
and was acting as general overseer and adviser. “The master,” said
Poruta, “gives an order, and hits us if we are not quick; my father
hits us first to make us quick.”

I now found that a gold-prospecting party of miners had set their
hearts on penetrating into the country to the south of Collingwood Bay,
up a stream named the Laku, their cupidity having been excited by a
tomahawk stone, which had been purchased by a trader in the Bay, and
which was shot through with veins of gold. I knew quite well that if
they went in alone among the uncivilized tribes they would only end
in stirring up a lot of trouble for me; I therefore decided to escort
them beyond the range of the coastal people. Accordingly I left for the
Laku, accompanied by my police, De Molynes, the miners and their Suaus.

Arriving there, we camped on a low-lying sandy beach at the mouth of
the river, in the midst of heavy rain. The stream rose and rose in
height, until I became anxious as to the safety of my camp; and in
order to make it quite secure, shifted, late in the evening, some four
miles up stream on to higher and more solid country, and among the
Kuveri people. The Kuveri were at first much alarmed at our incursion
into their territory, and inclined from fear to be hostile; but at
last, finding that we intended no harm, and instead of interfering
with them, paid them well for any assistance they gave us, they
became very friendly. They told us that they were shut in between the
Maisina on one side, and the hostile Kikinaua tribe on the other: the
former descended periodically upon them, and carried off all their
best-looking young women, as well as levying a blackmail of pigs;
while the latter tribe constantly swooped down on their villages,
murdered and carried off--for culinary purposes--any one they could
lay hands on. Our advent they had at first regarded as their crowning
misfortune, thinking that we were yet another enemy. As they put it
to me afterwards, they would have “run away at sight of my force, but
had nowhere to run to.” I told the poor devils that, instead of adding
to their woes, we would protect them from their enemies--a promise
they at first apparently regarded as mere words. “The Maisina,” they
said in awed accents--“the Maisina are very brave and very numerous.”
Old Bushimai, who was sitting in my tent during the discussion and
listening to it with growing impatience, got up and, leaving the tent,
soon returned with his hand covered with biting crawling ants. “Look
at this,” he said to the trembling deputation through the interpreter;
“these things are even as the Maisina, and thus will we treat them.”
Then with a couple of sharp smacks he smashed the ants, and sat down to
smoke. That deputation left much impressed; meanwhile my sentries were
being posted for the night.

We had a fine, clear, starry night, and the whole camp of tired men
settled down for a comfortable rest. Bushimai slept under my hammock.
An hour before dawn, I awoke in a jumpy state of nerves, and called
to Bushimai but got no reply. More and more jumpy, I got out of my
hammock, buckled on my belts and revolver and, taking my rifle, walked
out through the sleeping camp to the sentries; as I did so, I met
Bushimai walking slowly backwards and forwards with his axe on his
shoulder. “Why don’t you sleep?” I asked him. “I felt danger in my
sleep,” he answered; “did you too?” “Yes,” I replied, “I fear I don’t
know what.” We both walked towards the sentries and met the sergeant.
“Sergeant, why are you not asleep?” I asked; “the corporal is in charge
of the sentries.” “I cannot sleep, sir,” he answered, “I woke feeling
trouble; I should like to turn out the men, but there is no reason.”
Bushimai, the sergeant and I waited until dawn, roosting round a small
fire, and watching the different men being relieved by a puzzled
corporal; then, yawning, we went off to bed again.

Later, I learnt that the Maisina had heard I was camped at the mouth
of the Laku--the camp I had vacated a few hours before--and had flung
three separate bodies of men upon it just before dawn, only to find
my expiring fires. Had we been in that camp, I am convinced that they
would have smashed us, as we should have been taken by surprise. I
leave it, however, to the psychologist to say why an attack upon a
vacated camp should affect the nerves of men four miles distant, and
why it should only affect the nerves of three men out of over one
hundred.

The following morning we marched inland into uninhabited country. The
three miners I was taking in and protecting were named Driscoll, Ryan,
and Gallagher; three wild Irishmen, whose sole topic of conversation
was the wrongs of Ireland, as extracted by them from a Fenian “History
of Ireland” which they carried. De Molynes was fool enough to argue
with them; but, after the first day, I confined myself to the society
of my police and Bushimai, in consequence of being asked: “Phwat is the
---- Government making out of us?” I felt annoyed, as, at the time, I
was feeding the men from my personal stores, and the Government was
incurring considerable expense in protecting them during a search for
gold for their own private benefit. “Blank, purse-proud Englishman, too
stuck up to speak,” I was then termed. As a matter of fact, I happened
to have been born in New Zealand, and my pay was considerably less than
that of any working miner in New Guinea.

We marched inland on a straight compass line, through jungle and
forest, cutting a track as we went; De Molynes, some police and I were
ahead, then followed a long line of carriers, then the miners and their
boys, all brought up by a rear-guard of police. At last we struck an
extensive plain, covered with wild sugar-cane from ten to twelve feet
high, through which we began to bore our way; the stuff grew as closely
together as raspberry canes, was as dry as tinder, and as tough to
cut as galvanized wire rope, the knives of the men rebounding from it
like peas off a drum. We cut our tunnel through it for about a mile;
then, noticing how extremely dry and inflammable it looked, I asked
De Molynes how sugar-cane burnt. “Like a Jew dealer’s over-insured
second-hand old clo’ shop,” he remarked; “if this catches fire, we
shall have less chance than a snowball in hell.” I halted the line,
called back to the rear-guard that there was to be no smoking, and any
tinder carried by the carriers was to be put out at once; and again
we went on. Suddenly, I heard an ominous crackling sound from behind
and, gazing back, saw a black pall of smoke rising over the rear of the
line; fortunately, there was little or no wind.

At once the long line of men in single file began to press hard on our
heels, screaming with fright: frantic with rage, I joined the police
in a solemn oath that, if we escaped, we would kill without mercy the
man or men responsible for the fire. Then in frenzied haste we cut on,
two men chopping until they fell from heat and exhaustion, then others
dashing over their prostrate bodies, seizing their tools and taking
their places, while behind came the ever-increasing roar of the fire.
Old Bushimai toiled like a man possessed of devils, dashing repeatedly
at the wall in front, and smashing with his axe, whenever the two
choppers slacked for a moment in their efforts. At last, when the
situation was apparently desperate, I sent word along the line to the
constabulary to blow out their brains as the flames reached them, after
shooting any carriers within their reach, who might prefer a bullet to
roasting. Suddenly we cut into a cabbage tree, up which one of the men
climbed. “Master,” he yelled, “the fire comes fast and the cane extends
for miles, but I see a green swampy patch with trees on the left, close
to us.” Magi, the man up the tree, extended his arm in the direction of
the wet patch, and by it I took a compass bearing, along which we cut,
emerging after about two hundred yards into an oasis formed by springs,
of about two acres of green swampy land. Man after man struggled
through by the cut track, until all were there; then, with our clothes
saturated with water and plastered with mud, we buried our faces in
moss and wet plants, and that stifling fire rolled past and over our
sanctuary.

Once safe, I inquired into the cause of the fire: as I held the inquiry
with my revolver pouch opened, and Bushimai standing alongside me
fingering the edge of his axe, it was sufficiently impressive. “It was
no fault of ours,” said the corporal in charge of the rear-guard, “it
was these fools of white men, they lit it.” I then found that, as my
order that there should be no fire or smoking had been passed back in
the vernacular, the white men had asked what was happening, and had
been told in pidgin English, “It is about fire”; whereupon they had
concluded that the advance was out of the cane on the far side, and
wished the patch burned to make the homeward march easier, and had
accordingly fired the cane before the police could prevent them.

At last we left the miners to their prospecting, in uninhabited
country, and retraced our steps to the Laku camp among the Kuveri.
These people told me that, during my absence, the Kikinaua had swooped
upon them and killed several of the villagers, whilst at the same time
the Maisina had sent in demanding the usual tribute of pigs and young
women; the Kuveri, however, had declined to pay, relying upon the
support of myself and the police. The Maisina, receiving no response
to their demands, had then changed their tactics; professing extreme
friendship towards the Kuveri, they suggested, that as the latter
were on terms of friendship with me, they should humbug us and join
with the Maisina in making a sudden attack upon my unsuspecting camp;
a proposition that the Kuveri had the good sense to decline, and to
report to me. I now had a very large bone to pick with the Maisina; but
before I could do that, I had to break the Kikinaua, and render the
Kuveri safe from inland attack by them. Accordingly, accompanied by
many Kuveri, I marched on the first Kikinaua village.

After leaving the Kuveri district, I discovered that the Kikinaua lived
across and in the midst of some particularly vile swamps, full of
plants which possessed extremely long and sharp thorns. After passing
the first swamp, we came to a strongly stockaded village named Aparu,
which, I was informed by the Kuveri, was a colony pushed out by the
Kikinaua, who appeared to be conquering and holding the country as they
advanced. This village we passed, as it had been abandoned; we soon,
however, approached a large village named Bonarua, the action of whose
inhabitants did not leave much room for doubt as to the reception with
which we were to meet at their hands. Yells of defiance were set up as
soon as our approach was perceived, and preparations for a fight made
by the natives. The village of Bonarua was one splendidly designed
for defence, being approached through a long tunnel cut through dense
undergrowth for about one hundred yards, down which one had to crawl
bent nearly double, and up to one’s knees in an unusually sticky mud:
the tunnel ended at a strong stockade, behind which was a small square
courtyard, backed by a second and much stronger stockade, flanked
by houses from which spears could be thrown on the heads of an enemy
attempting to force the gate.

Finding that it was impossible to go round the stockade owing to the
dense undergrowth, we rushed and carried the first one, the defenders
hastily falling back on the second and stronger one of the two. The
first attempt to take the second stockade failed, owing to some of
the police being delayed at the first one. On the whole of the men,
however, making a second rush at it, and Bushimai chopping away with
his axe the plaited rope hinges of the heavy wooden stockade door,
it was also carried, the defenders losing three men killed and two
or three wounded. Four prisoners were taken. News of our coming had
plainly been sent to the village, as no women or children were in it,
nor any articles such as natives value; while large quantities of
food were stacked inside the stockade, and many spears in the village
itself. There were also many more men engaged in the fight than could
have been furnished by the one village. The prisoners, upon being
questioned, admitted having constantly raided in the Kuveri district;
but pleaded in extenuation, that they themselves were constantly being
raided and murdered by a mountain tribe at the back of the Kikinaua
country, by whom they (the Kikinaua) were being driven in upon the
Kuveri. Two of the prisoners were released to carry a message to their
tribe, explaining why the visit had been made, and pointing out that
the punishment received by them was the result of their own action in
receiving us in an unfriendly manner. They were also informed that the
two men taken away would be returned, as soon as friendly relations had
been established between them and the Kuveri tribe. From what I could
gather from the prisoners later on, it appeared that the Kikinaua were
only attacked at long intervals of time by the Doriri mountaineers,
and that they could then generally manage to defend their villages.
Some time afterwards, the remaining two prisoners were returned, and
a promise of Government assistance made to their tribe, should they
in future be attacked by the Doriri. After this the Kikinaua and the
Kuveri were the best of friends and allies.

Returning to the coast after dealing with the Kikinaua, I found that
the Maisina bucks, and about a hundred of the Winiapi, had been raiding
and generally playing hell on the coast as far south as Cape Vogel,
though they had all now returned to their homes. I accordingly at once
went to Uiaku, their chief village, where I succeeded in surprising
them and grabbing half a dozen men concerned in the raiding. Whilst I
was engaged in securing these men, however, I nearly lost one of my
police, who incautiously ventured some distance from our main body and
got cut off by the Maisina; fortunately, he managed to get his back
against a tree, and to defend himself until we rescued him. We had
hardly saved this man, before the sound of firing from the whaleboat
told me that the privates I had left in charge of her were in trouble;
rushing back, we found that they had been attacked by a strong force
of Maisina; they had immediately pushed out to sea, and from there,
were firing upon their assailants. One of the arrested men was released
and sent back to his friends, with a demand that the chiefs and others
concerned in the recent raid should be surrendered to Government,
and that the remainder of the tribe should at once lay down their
arms; also, with an intimation, that obedience to this order would be
compelled by force if necessary. No notice whatever was taken of this
message, nor were any natives visible on the beach on the following
morning. On proceeding down a bush track, two of the police were again
attacked, and a general fight ensued; this fight continued for three
days, with endless manœuvres on their part and counter-moves on mine:
it ended in the hostile Maisina being driven through and out of a large
swamp, which they evidently regarded as their great stronghold, with
the loss of three killed and several wounded, they finally fleeing in a
state of utter panic.

A second prisoner was then released and sent with a message to our late
opponents, pointing out the futility of attempting to resist arrest
by force of arms, as they had been doing; and allowing them a week in
which to send in the offenders wanted in the matter of the coastal
raid. Again no notice was taken by the Maisina people of the message.
From the prisoners, I learnt later on, that Bogege, their principal
chief, was mainly responsible for the raiding at Kuveri, and had
personally conducted the party by whom the Station of the trader Clancy
had been looted and his wife subjected to ill-usage. It was palpable
that little could be done towards establishing order at Maisina, so
long as Bogege went unpunished, and was at large to influence his
people in resistance to Government authority. “Well,” I thought, “in
the meantime I’ll cripple the raiding powers of the villains as much as
I can,” and, accordingly, destroyed every large canoe belonging to them
that I could find.

Some little time later, I caught Bogege by a very lucky chance. He
always knew when I was moving with anything like a force in his
vicinity, and skipped for the sago swamps, where I could not find him;
he was too strong for a village constable to arrest, or for me to do
so, for that matter, except in strength. Bogege’s capture came about in
this way. A steamer came in from the Mambare, and the captain told me
that a launch was coming up from Samarai in a couple of days. “Ah!” I
thought, “as there are a number of petty cases of theft, assault, and
that sort of thing, to attend to at the Mission Station at Cape Vogel,
I’ll run down there in this vessel, clean up the work, and come back
by the launch; that will save me a good fortnight.” Accordingly off I
went, taking with me only a corporal, my orderly, and a private whom I
had recruited at Cape Vogel as interpreter.

We arrived at Cape Vogel: I finished my work there, and at the end
found myself with two men and three women prisoners, the latter for
infanticide. The beastly launch never put in an appearance, and later
I learnt she had broken her shaft. At last I went to the Rev. Samuel
Tomlinson and borrowed his whaleboat; it was the South-East season, and
consequently a fair wind from Cape Vogel to Cape Nelson, so that my
crew of three constabulary would be ample. “Who is going to look after
the women?” asked my corporal. “We may have to camp for two or three
nights on the way.” Private Agara, the Cape Vogel recruit, suggested
that he should take his wife for that pleasant task, she being then in
her village. This was really rather artful on the part of Agara, it
being one for me and two for himself, as first year’s men, such as he
was, lived in the barracks, and were not allowed to have their wives
with them; while the married men of longer service lived in separate
houses, and had altogether a better time. Agara knew that if he once
got his wife landed into married quarters, the chances were that I
could be persuaded into allowing her to remain. “Very good, bring your
wife; but remember she must return by the first vessel,” I replied.
Accordingly Mrs. Agara came with us.

We set sail, my argosy’s complement consisting of myself, three
constabulary, one acting wardress, two men and three women prisoners.
While running up the coast, just off the Lakekamu River, as night was
closing in, we met a Kuveri canoe, which Agara hailed; he spoke to them
for a few minutes, then turned to me and, with his eyes bulging with
excitement, said, “They say Bogege is camped on a small island close to
Uiaku, fishing; he thinks you went to Samarai in the steamer.” I sat
and thought: months might elapse before I got such a chance again; but
then, only three fighting men with me, and a small whaleboat already
cluttered up with prisoners! Prudence told me to go on to Cape Nelson
and get the detachment, common sense told me that by the time I had
done that, Bogege would probably have heard of my return and retreated
to a safer spot. “Ask them, Agara, if they know how many men he has
with him.” The reply came that, with the exception of two minor chiefs
whom they named, they had not heard who was with him. The two men
they mentioned I also wanted badly for certain devilries; they acted
as Bogege’s lieutenants in most of his villainies. “Any women or
children with him?” I asked next. “We are not certain, but don’t think
so,” was the reply. “Canoes?” I next queried. “Yes, some new big ones
he has built, how many we don’t know.” “Hm!” I thought, “it may be a
peaceful fishing party, but Bogege, his two chief scoundrels and new
canoes, looks more like fresh devilment; especially as he thinks I am
out of the way, and knows the police are all at Cape Nelson.”

[Illustration: SERGEANT BARIGI]

I looked at my men. “Well, shall we take Bogege? You have heard the
tale; he may have fifty or he may have a hundred men with him, and we
can’t find out until we are amongst them.” They looked at one another,
then they looked at me; then Corporal Barigi said, “It is for you
to say.” “Yes, you mutton head,” I snapped at him, “but what do you
think?” “I don’t think,” he answered. “You say we are to try and take
Bogege; all right, we try; you say Bogege too strong; all right, we
go to Cape Nelson.” At last I decided that the chance of catching
the old scorpion was too good to lose, and told the police we would
make the attempt; clearly they thought we were taking on the devil of
a tall order, but even so, the prospect of an uncommonly good scrap
pleased them. The men prisoners were then taken into our council;
their villages had frequently been raided by our quarry, and they both
hated and feared him. My plan was to approach the island at about an
hour before dawn, find out by the fires on which side the natives were
encamped, and then sneak up on the other side. The police and I would
land with handcuffs, while the prisoners looked after the boat; if
anything happened to us, they were to bolt at once for Cape Nelson, and
there tell the constabulary what had occurred.

We sneaked up to the island in the dark, feeling our way on a falling
tide, over the deep patches and channels of a wide coral reef. Then the
four of us crept slowly across the island, until we found ourselves
in a large camp of mostly sleeping natives; to locate Bogege was the
work of a moment, while the camp awoke with a clamour. Agara and
I got up to him. “Up with your hands, Bogege! The Government has
come for you!” said Agara. Bogege saw the uniforms and rifles, and
promptly surrendered, with the sole remark, “Those lying Winiapi told
me that ‘The Man’ had gone to Samarai.” (“The Man,” by the way, was
my name amongst the natives.) We got five other offenders as well,
Agara yelling all the time to the natives, that they were covered by
the rifles of the police hidden in the scrub. Then we marched our
handcuffed gang back to the whaleboat, and dumped them in, just as the
remaining natives discovered our weakness and the bluff we had put up,
and flew for their spears.

The whaleboat was now so far aground that, with her increased load, we
could not hope to get her off before dawn, which was fast approaching.
Hastily pulling out my revolver, I handed it to Mrs. Agara, ordering
Agara to tell Bogege and his fellow prisoners that Mrs. Agara would
shoot them, and the Cape Vogel prisoners knock out their brains with
tomahawks, if they attempted to escape or take part in the coming
fight. As they were all linked together with handcuffs, they were
fairly helpless.

The three police and I went ashore again, and took cover between the
boat and the now thoroughly incensed natives; a scrappy, desultory
fight then took place, lasting until daylight. Neither side could see
the other; the scrub, the dark and general uncanniness of the thing,
confused the natives and prevented them from charging. Spears thrown
at random, or at our rifle flashes, rattled amongst us and the stones
and bushes in which we were sheltering; whilst every now and then a
yelp or a falling body told that some of our shots were taking effect.
As soon as dawn broke the natives drew off a little; whereupon we
rushed our whaler out a couple of hundred yards over the reef, Bogege
and his fellows being made to wade and haul with the rest. We then
hastily pulled round the island to where Bogege’s camp was situated;
here, standing off in deep water, at about a hundred yards’ range, the
police made such practice that, in a few minutes, the now thoroughly
demoralized natives bolted across the island. Covered by our rifles,
our two Cape Vogel prisoners then landed, and chopped holes with
tomahawks in the bottoms of about a dozen large canoes. Then, very
pleased indeed with ourselves, we hurried home as fast as sail and
paddle could drive us to Cape Nelson; the two Cape Vogel prisoners had
taken some paddles from Bogege’s canoes, so he and his friends had the
pleasure of speeding their way to gaol with their own paddles.

On the way back, Agara thought he would take advantage of my pleased
mood to broach the subject of his wife remaining permanently on the
strength at the Station. “My wife was very useful last night,” he
began, “she is a very clever, hard-working woman; she can wash clothes
better than any of the wives of the police at the Station, white
clothes and tablecloths and things like that. Mrs. Tomlinson taught her
at the Mission.” “It must be very pleasant for you to have a wife like
that,” I remarked, apparently not rising to the occasion. “Yes, sir!
Yes, sir! But I thought perhaps you might like her to remain with me
at the Station to wash your clothes.” “Yes, Agara, but you know ‘ten
bobbers’ are not allowed on the strength.” (“Ten bobbers” are first
year’s men at 10_s._ a month.) Agara’s face fell as he repeated this to
his wife, who had been hopefully watching us, and trying to follow the
conversation; great tears rolled down that lady’s face and fell splash
on the gunwale. “Tell your wife, Agara, that if she howls now, I’ll put
her with the sergeant’s wife, and you in barracks.” Agara, snuffling
slightly himself, told her; whereupon she scandalized every one by
hurling herself into the bottom of the boat and howling dismally.
“Corporal, will you kindly tell this husband of a contumacious and
mutinous wife, that though ‘ten bobbers’ are not allowed wives, full
privates are; and that after last night he is a full private at a
pound.” Mrs. Agara dried her tears, while Agara showed his gratitude by
quite unnecessarily assisting my orderly to clean my belts and arms.

A few days after my return to the Station, a large number of Maisina
canoes appeared and landed some minor chiefs, by whom I was informed
that the Maisina desired to make peace with the Government, and would
consent to the appointment of a village constable; they brought with
them the son of a late very prominent chief as a candidate for the
office. The man was given the appointment, and subsequently I had
little trouble with that people; individual crime, of course, took
place, but organized collective communal crime, such as raiding and
plundering, became a thing of the past, and the coastal people enjoyed
a security previously undreamt of by them.

Bogege and his friends were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment;
after which, as he then saw the error of his ways, I made him also a
village constable.



CHAPTER XIX


One day, whilst I was busily engaged with my police in the erection of
our Station buildings, I being, as I thought, the only European within
miles of Cape Nelson, I was told that a diminutive whaleboat, with a
white man and a native woman as its sole crew, was crawling up to the
Station; and soon Mr. Ernie Patten, late ship’s boy on the _Myrtle_ and
prisoner at Samarai, appeared. “What the devil are you doing here?”
I asked. “This coast is no place for solitary traders.” “Trading for
bêche-de-mer and black-lipped shell with a tribe called Winiapi, just
south of the Cape,” he replied, “and been doing well.” “You are mad,” I
told him. “I have no village constable at or near that point, and the
Winiapi are particularly unsafe at present. I cannot guarantee you even
the slightest measure of protection there; in fact, I have a large bone
to pick with them on my own account.” “I go at my own risk,” he said,
“and there is no law to prevent me.” “Very true,” I answered; “if you
are determined to commit suicide, I can’t stop you. I’ll send a message
to the Winiapi though, that if you should happen to get killed by them,
I will bring all the constabulary, Kaili Kaili, and Mokuru, and fight
them at once; the trouble is, that they think they are safe among the
gorges, rugged hills, and spurs of Mount Trafalgar. That is the best I
can do for you, and I warn you that it is a poor best. Now, what do you
want with me? I presume this is not a social call.” “A divorce from my
wife,” he replied. “Who married her to you?” I asked. Patten told me,
and I looked up the name of the man, and the Gazette notices of those
empowered to celebrate marriages, and found it. “The Governor, Council,
and all the Courts of New Guinea can’t undo that marriage,” I told him;
“or, so far as I know, any Court in the world. In the Royal Letters of
Instruction, granting our Constitution, it is expressly stated that no
Ordinance permitting divorce shall be passed by Legislative Council.
You had better fix up things with your wife, or tell me all about it;
has she been going wrong?”

“It was like this,” said Patten. “My wife went ashore in a small canoe
we had got from the natives to cook our dinner, and took my revolver
with her; she was a long time, and suddenly I noticed that she had
gone to sleep alongside the cooking fire. I yelled at her, and threw a
piece of ballast that got her in the ribs.” “What did you say to her?”
I asked curiously. “I said, ‘You black daughter of a bitch, come and
get a hiding.’ She said, ‘You ----! ----! ----! ----!’” (Here some
awful language came.) “I got a rope’s end and showed it to her, then I
started to pull up the anchor to shove the boat ashore, when she said,
‘You ----! ----! Stop it!’ and ups with the revolver and lets fly at
me. I dodged below the gunwale, and every time I put my head up, she
lets go at me again; she kept me like that for hours, until I swore
that I would not touch her.” “How did you swear?” I asked, wondering
what sort of oath this interesting couple would consider binding. He
told me; it is not fit to be set down here, being a weird compound of
blasphemy and obscenity. “Fetch your wife, Patten,” I told him, and he
did so. “Mrs. Patten, what do you mean by potting at your husband?” “I
am tired of being hided on the bare skin with a rope’s end,” replied
that injured lady. “Well, Patten,” I remarked, “the only thing that I
can see for it, is to shove you both into gaol: you, for licking your
wife; her, for shooting at you. I can make you both very useful; but,
of course, you will occupy separate cells, and will not be allowed to
see one another.” Patten and his missus gazed dismally at me, then at
one another, and then jawed rapidly together in Suau, a language I
don’t understand. At last Patten said, “We want to make it up, please
let us off.” Mrs. Patten also clamoured to be let off, and turned on
tears. “All right; clear out, the pair of you,” I said; “but don’t let
me hear any more of rope’s ending or revolver practice.” Patten then
asked me to store the collection of shell and trepang he had already
got, and also to lend him some trade goods. The reunited couple then
left, to resume their dangerous trade.

The next thing I saw or heard of this pair, was their re-appearance,
some time later, in a very distressed condition. The Winiapi had one
day seized, tied up and beaten Patten, outraged his wife, and, after
plundering his boat, turned them adrift in her; they had then fallen
in with a Kaili Kaili canoe, whose crew had assisted them to make my
Station. The Winiapi had not killed them, for fear of my vengeance; but
had decided that, if they were merely ill-treated and looted, I should
not bother my head about such palpably poor and unimportant people.

I was on the point of starting with Patten for Winiapi, when the
_Merrie England_ hove in sight, with Sir George Le Hunte and Barton,
the Commandant, on board; and his Excellency decided to come with me.
I took a couple of Kaili Kaili with us to act as interpreters, and,
upon our arrival at Winiapi, induced the Governor to allow me to
go first into the bush with these two men and endeavour to get into
communication with the people, before they skipped for the hills. I
had gone some distance inland, when the Kaili Kaili said it was not
good enough, and refused to go without the police; accordingly I sent
one back with a note for Barton, asking him to send on my detachment.
He, Captain Harvey of the _Merrie England_, and all the constabulary,
followed at once, leaving the Governor behind, as the country was too
rough and hilly for him; Patten also came with them to point out his
assailants. At last I, or rather the remaining Kaili Kaili with me,
induced a number of Winiapi to come and talk, while the police silently
sneaked up; Barton, Harvey and I, having got the natives engaged in
conversation, Patten appeared and indicated about six of the offenders
among the crowd. At the sight of Patten they tried to make a bolt,
but too late; one of Harvey’s sailor fists shot out and took the man
nearest to him in the eye, knocking him over, whereupon Harvey sat
upon him and pounded him into submission; several others were caught
by the police. War horns now blew and drums beat; but though there was
a large crowd of natives at a short distance, they were apparently not
inclined to try conclusions with us, and at length we departed, with
our prisoners, unmolested. Patten, who had suffered a severe fright,
now decided, much to my relief, to confine his trading operations on
the north-east coast to localities such as Capes Nelson and Vogel,
where village constables were established; but I continued my feud with
the Winiapi, after the _Merrie England_ had departed with the Governor
and Barton.

They retaliated for the capture of the men responsible for the Patten
outrage, by murdering in cold blood an Arifamu man who was friendly to
the Government; I then chased them over their hills and looted their
gardens, but could not catch a single man, for they were much too smart
to meet me in open fight. This time they had their revenge by killing
and eating some Mambare carriers, whereupon I seized and destroyed as
many of their canoes as I could lay my hands upon; they then built
fresh ones and hid them. At last I seized their fishing grounds and
boycotted them; threatening with severe punishment any tribe, living
to the north or south of Winiapi, whom I might find trading or having
any relations with them, and offering a reward for any Winiapi native
caught outside his own district and brought to me. The result was, that
they became afraid to venture forth in small parties to fish or visit
other tribes, lest they should encounter a village constable from an
adjacent tribe, who would most assuredly have summoned help and hauled
them away to the Government Station. After being thus bottled up in
their own district for some time, the Winiapi tribe became rather tired
of this state of affairs; and they soon sent their principal chief,
with about one hundred followers, to promise to obey the laws in the
future, and to request that the chief’s son should be made a village
constable.

About this time, April, 1901, I received loud squeals and complaints
from the Maisina; they said in effect, “You have broken us and
prevented us from fighting other people, but we have lost over thirty
men by attacks from the Doriri in the last few months, and very many
people by them before that; if others are to be protected from us,
surely we should be defended from our enemies.” I was now placed in a
very awkward position. The Maisina’s appeal for help was a very natural
one: if they were forced to obey the laws and behave themselves, they
were quite justified in requiring the power forcing them into that
position, to see that others also complied with the same conditions;
but I had only fifteen constabulary to police a large Division, and I
had no assistant officer, or responsible person, to leave in charge of
my Station. The Doriri were a mere name, in so far as Government was
concerned; no one knew their strength, the locality they inhabited,
or anything else about them. All we knew definitely was that a
previous expedition, under Sir Francis Winter, Captain Butterworth
the Commandant, and Moreton, R.M., had utterly failed to reach their
country or deal with them, and left as a record of its sole result, a
surmise by Sir Francis Winter, “that the Doriri were a tribe inhabiting
the Upper Waters of the Musa River.” This was a very vague geographical
definition, for the Musa River split into three widely divergent
branches, namely, the Adaua, the Domara, and the Moni; the Doriri,
therefore, might be five, ten, or twenty days’ journey inland, over
uninhabited country.

Still, something had to be done, if the prestige of the Government was
to be upheld; and I knew that every tribe was now watching to see what
that something would be. “I will soon go to the country of the Doriri
and break them,” I told the Maisina, “but you must find me carriers.”
“If you go to the land of the Doriri,” was the unbelieving reply, “we
will find you carriers.” “Yes,” I said, “and you will bolt at night,
leaving me in the lurch, as you did when Sir Francis Winter trusted
you. Now, you are distinctly to understand this: when I go after the
Doriri, I am going to find them and fight them; if you people desert
and prevent me from finding and fighting them, I shall come back and
fight you instead, and anything the Doriri have done to you in the past
will be as nothing in comparison to what I shall make you suffer.” “We
will see,” said the Maisina, “when you go after the Doriri, instead of
talking.”

Shortly afterwards the _Merrie England_ came in, with the Governor,
Sir Francis Winter, Captain Barton, and a strong force of constabulary
on board. I went to Sir George Le Hunte, taking with me a list of the
more recent Doriri outrages. “Something must be done at once, sir,
to stop these marauders; I can go with my men, but I am not strong
enough; also it is work requiring a second officer,” I reported. His
Excellency and Sir Francis Winter discussed the matter, and then the
Governor said, “You can have Captain Barton and his police, for the
Doriri apparently require attention urgently. Discuss the matter with
the Commandant.” “What are you going to do when you find the Doriri,
Monckton?” asked Barton. “Demand the surrender of the men responsible
for the more recent murders,” I replied. “I won’t bother about anything
that took place more than two months ago.” “If you don’t get them,
what then?” asked Barton. “Shoot and loot,” I answered laconically. “I
don’t think we should do anything of the sort,” said Barton. “I think
that we should warn the people that they must not raid the coastal
tribes.” “Rats!” I said. “They would regard us then as fools, and
promptly come and butcher a score or two more of people living under
my protection. The only way you can stop these beggars hunting their
neighbours with a club, is to bang them with a club.” Sir George and
Sir Francis sat silently listening to our conversation, and afterwards
in our official minutes of instruction I found this embodied: “In the
event of your finding the natives, and their opposing you, you will
take such steps as may be necessary to bring them into submission; if
they do not show opposition, you will use your best efforts to bring
them into friendly intercourse, but in any case you will arrest or
require the delivery of the principals concerned in the recent murders
of the Wanigela natives (nine people). I have carefully considered the
different views I have heard expressed as to this, and I am satisfied
that, under the circumstances, the right course is to exercise the
power of the Government by doing its duty in bringing them to trial
if possible, whatever views may subsequently be taken of their having
been accustomed to make their murderous raids without knowing that they
were breaking the laws of a power of which they knew nothing ... it
will produce a more lasting effect than merely telling the natives that
they are not to do it again and returning without any visible results.”
“Thank the Lord for that,” I remarked to myself, as I read the
instructions; “if we had gone in and been defied by the Doriri, as we
inevitably shall be, and then had contented ourselves with telling them
to be good children, I should have been the laughing-stock of every
tribe on the coast, and especially the Maisina.” This was my first
experience of Barton’s extremely humane and, as I thought, mistaken
feelings. “Is it not better,” I once urged him, “that a blood-thirsty
cannibal should be hanged, or some of his crime-stained followers shot,
than that a peaceful district of husbandmen should be raided, their
houses burnt, and men, women and children slaughtered and eaten? Not
to speak of the indescribable suffering and torture, both mental and
physical, that the wretched victims often undergo.” Barton agreed, but
it did not alter his nature: he was a man who instinctively shrank
from inflicting suffering in any form; if he had been a surgeon, and a
patient had come to him suffering from cancer, rather than cause him
pain by using the knife, he would put off the inevitable until too late
to be of any material benefit, and thus the patient would have died.

[Illustration: GRAVE OF WANIGELA, SUB-CHIEF OF THE MAISINA TRIBE]

[Illustration: KAILI KAILI DANCING]

The dispatch of the expedition was now decided upon; the only questions
remaining to be settled were, firstly, the route to be followed, and,
secondly, its transport. At first I was decidedly of the opinion that
the best route would be the one previously followed by me through
the Kuveri District, when escorting the miners, and then to strike,
from the end of my cut track, north-east towards the head waters of
the Musa; this route, though longer, would avoid the swamps which I
believed, at the time, entirely surrounded the coastal district of
the Maisina and Collingwood Bay. From later inquiry, however, among
the Maisina, I found that they knew of a track which led from their
principal village of Uiaku, and which would in one day carry us
clear of the swamp, and effect a very considerable shortening of the
distance. This route was accordingly determined upon. The next question
was one of carriers: though the Maisina were freely offering for the
work, I had my doubts as to whether they would not desert me, as they
had Sir Francis, if I got into a position of difficulty or danger; and
an expedition in New Guinea, deserted by its carriers, much resembled
the position of a stage coach without its horses.

I now wanted advice, and wanted it badly; but the advice I wanted I
knew could only be supplied by my own people, and not by the Governor,
Judge or Commandant. Accordingly I sent for Giwi of the Kaili Kaili
and Paitoto of the Mokoru, and, with my sergeant, called them into
consultation. “You know the Doriri,” I began, “they are bad people?”
Giwi and Paitoto said in effect that the wickedness of the Doriri was
beyond belief, but that they were uncommonly good fighting men. “Well,”
I remarked, “I am going to smash the Doriri and make good people of
them; but it is essential that when I find their country, I have full
supplies, and my constabulary in first-class fighting order: to ensure
that, I must have men I can rely upon to carry the camp equipment,
stores, and ammunition; the constabulary can’t fight if they are
burdened with that. Can I rely upon the Maisina for the work?” “No,”
was the unhesitating reply; “but you can upon the Kaili Kaili and
Mokoru; the Maisina are too much afraid of the Doriri to be reliable.
Take fifty men from our people for the actual work among the Doriri,
and the Maisina can carry as far as the borders of the Doriri country
and then be sent back. Our people can’t bolt, if you get into trouble,
for they will have nowhere to run to.” “Very good,” I said, “pick me
out about fifty good men from your tribe to come with me, and I will
fill up from among the Maisina.” Then Giwi said, “I am getting old and
too stiff for such work as you have on hand, but I will send my son,
Mukawa, and some chosen men with you.” Paitoto said, “I am neither old
nor stiff, and can well use spear and war club, and go with you. I,
myself, will lead my men; but for my greater honour among my people,
give and teach me how to use the fire spear of the white man.” “Good,”
I said, “you are two brave men; it shall be as you say. Sergeant, give
Paitoto a rifle and detail a man to teach him to shoot.”

Accordingly, on the 5th April, 1901, Captain Barton and I marched
out of Uiaku village in Collingwood Bay, in quest of the Doriri, at
the head of 159 men, 20 of whom were regular constabulary, 6 village
constables (armed), and about 50 Kaili Kaili and Mokoru, the balance
being composed of Maisina and Collingwood Bay natives. I think that,
up to this date, this was the best organized and most carefully
thought-out punitive expedition that had ever been dispatched by a New
Guinea Government. In one respect, however, we were handicapped, and
that was that, owing to the non-arrival of the s.s. _President_ with
stores for the expedition, I was obliged to purchase a quantity of
rice from the miners (to whom I have previously referred as being left
in the Kuveri District, and who were now abandoning their quest), and
this rice, instead of being packed in fifty-pound mats, was contained
in sacks weighing altogether seventy-five pounds, a cruel load for one
man, and too little for two carriers; unfortunately we had no extra
mats or bags to divide it up into again. The Kaili Kaili, however,
came to my rescue, by expressing themselves as able and willing to
carry the heavy bags, until they were reduced by daily consumption.
The Kaili Kaili and Mokoru were from first to last ideal carriers,
never grumbling or complaining at hard work, and quite prepared to
follow anywhere or do anything, and forming a pleasing contrast to the
Maisina, who began to suffer from nerves the moment that we had fairly
set our faces towards the country of the Doriri. We purposed sending
back the Maisina as soon as the food they carried was exhausted, and
then to rely entirely upon the Kaili Kaili and Mokoru.

The Maisina guided us by a winding and villainous track, across
a pestilential sago swamp, humming with mosquitoes; the track in
places was like a maze, for the purpose of confusing the Doriri
when attempting to follow it to the coast; it was set at intervals
with deadly spear pits, _i.e._ deep holes, the tops of which were
masked and the bottoms studded with firmly fixed, sharp-pointed
spears--pleasing contrivances arranged by the Maisina for the benefit
of their Doriri visitors. At length we emerged into solid country of
jungle and forest, and camped upon the bank of a narrow, rapid, and
clear river. I regret to say that, in his official report, Captain
Barton subsequently referred to my carriers as “crude savages of the
wildest kind!” They certainly did yell and dance, and indulge in
mimic warfare, half the night, until at my request they were rudely
thumped by either their chiefs or village constables; but that was
merely light-heartedness! Upon the following morning we resumed our
march, the constabulary now cutting our own track on a compass line
through heavy jungle and forest, until we came to a river bed of some
two hundred yards in width, down the middle of which a rapid torrent
flowed. This we forded by extending a long light cotton rope, and all
hanging on to it together, until the expedition resembled a straggling
long-legged centipede. Upon the other side, we found our track-cutting
much obstructed by masses of fallen trees, that had been blown down by
a whirlwind. In the early afternoon, we struggled out of the tangle
of timber on to the banks of a watercourse, that was much wider than
the last, and were here told by the Maisina that we could not reach
any further water before night; we accordingly camped, in order to
have a clear day in which to cross the supposed waterless track. This
statement afterwards proved to be a lie on the part of the Maisina, who
were beginning bitterly to repent having been fools enough to consent
to venture near the Doriri, and wanted to prevent us from going any
further. I think though, that we should have been forced to camp in any
case, as Barton had developed some colicky pains in his tum-tum, which
later turned into a mild attack of dysentery.

The river we were camped upon, the Wakioki, is a most extraordinary
stream: its waters are of a greyish milky colour, and highly charged
with some fine substance which does not precipitate when the water
is allowed to stand; the consistency of the water was that of thin
treacle, and not that of water in which a man could swim. A private
slipped in his leg and foot, withdrawing them immediately, and the
water dried upon his skin like a coating of whitewash. This was the
point at which Sir Francis Winter was deserted by the Maisina, in his
attempt to reach and deal with the Doriri. The country here was full of
wild pigs, cassowary, wallaby, and the enormous Goura pigeon, a bird
nearly as big as a turkey; duck and pigeon of all sorts were plentiful,
and the Kaili Kaili carriers spent a happy afternoon hunting. Grubs,
snakes, pigs, etc., all were game to them, and vanished down their
ever-hungry gullets. The Maisina hung about the camp, listening with
apprehensive ears to every distant sound. Two of the constabulary, who
had gone scouting in advance, returned at night and reported having
discovered fresh human footprints; these, the Maisina said, certainly
belonged to the Doriri, as no Collingwood Bay native would venture
so far inland; and, from the nearness to the coast, they thought the
Doriri must be bent on mischief.

Here was a pretty pickle! What were we to do? If we went straight on,
and there was a Doriri war party in the neighbourhood, they would
probably fall upon the Collingwood Bay villages, from which we had
drawn the best of the fighting men, and generally play the devil,
while we were laboriously wending our way to their country. At last
we decided to follow the footprints found by the police; and, in the
event of their leading us to a Doriri war party, fall upon and destroy
that party, or at all events drive it from the vicinity of Collingwood
Bay, before proceeding on our journey. Much of the country here showed
signs of extensive periodic inundation. Next day we struck camp at
dawn, and marched for the point at which the police had found the
footprints, Barton’s tum-tum being better, having been treated with
brandy, and lead and opium pills. Late in the afternoon, after marching
over rough, well-watered country, we came to a stream running into a
much larger one, and upon the banks of which we discovered a freshly
erected lean-to bush shelter, such as are used by travelling natives,
and a large number of newly cut green boughs of trees, which had been
used for making crude weirs for catching fish. From the bush shelter,
there led away in a westerly direction--the direction of the land of
the Doriri--a plainly defined hunting track; this track we followed,
until it was time to camp for the night, finding everywhere signs of
the recent prolonged occupation by natives of the country through which
we were passing. As we pitched camp, we sent out some constabulary
scouts, and they returned after dark bringing with them some burning
fire sticks, and reported that upon the bank of the Wakioki they had
discovered some large lean-to shelters, only just vacated, and with the
cooking fires still burning in them.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN F. R. BARTON, C.M.G.]

Upon the following day we marched for this spot, and found the shelter,
as described by the police, situated at the junction of the Buna
and Wakioki Rivers. Here, by the size of the shelter and the number
of footprints, we came to the conclusion that it had contained about
thirty Doriri, who were probably attached to a much larger party. We
discovered here a curious and most ingenious contrivance, in the shape
of a litter, for conveying a sick or wounded man. It consisted of a
pole about eight feet long, passed through three hoops or circles
of rattan about two feet apart, the hoops being thus suspended from
the pole when carried on men’s shoulders; round the inside of the
circumference of the lower semi-diameter of the circles or hoops,
longitudinal strips or battens of finely split palm were lashed,
forming a soft and springy litter, upon which an injured man could
suffer very little from jolting on the roughest track, or from out of
which it was impossible to fall, or, with any precaution at all on the
part of the bearers, sustain any injury; the central hoop was made to
unfasten at the top, plainly as a means of placing a man inside with
least effort to himself. I have made a rough sketch of the contrivance,
which is decidedly superior to any form of hand ambulance I have ever
read of.

[Illustration:

  AAA. Carrying pole.
  BB.  Lathes of split palm,
  CCC. Coir rope interlaced through lathes made to untie at pole.
]

The Maisina now said that the Doriri had undoubtedly gone down to the
extensive sago swamps surrounding the Collingwood Bay villages; but
careful scouting, and full examination of the direction of the Doriri
footprints, which we now found to be very numerous, all showed that
they led up the Wakioki towards their own country. We were now of the
opinion that possibly the Doriri had discovered our presence, and were
retreating upon their own villages; in any case, they were moving in
that direction. Pursuit, and that by forced marches, was now the order
of the day. With far-flung scouts, endeavouring to locate the Doriri
ahead, we began the chase, straining the endurance of the carriers to
the last ounce; the rear-guard of six constabulary and four village
constables mercilessly drove on the skulking Maisina, or helped the
truly failing Kaili Kaili with his load.

The bed of the Wakioki, up which we were now proceeding, is of a most
remarkable nature. It varies in width from 300 to 600 yards, the banks
being difficult to define, owing to the dense overgrowth of young
casuarina trees, through which many channels flow. Gaunt, dead and
dying casuarinas of huge size reared their enormous bulk from the torn,
boulder-strewn bed of the river; huge tree trunks and lumps of wood,
the bark stripped from them, and polished by eternal friction, lay
everywhere. In one place, where Mount MacGregor descends to the river,
the foot of the mountain was cut sheer off, as though cleanly severed
by the axe of some superhuman giant. It was evident that the floods,
which overwhelmed the country, fell as rapidly as they rose, for light
and heavy tree trunks were deposited at every point, from the highest
to the lowest; the fall of the watercourse, where we first met it, was
about one foot in two hundred, and it increased in steadily growing
gradient as we ascended. We came to the conclusion (the right one, as
I afterwards ascertained on the second Doriri Expedition) that the
floods and inundations were due to enormous land-slips or avalanches,
comprised of hundreds of thousands of tons of rock, earth, and timber,
suddenly descending from Mount MacGregor into the narrow gorge of the
Wakioki, which skirted its spurs, thus blocking and damming the river,
until its growing weight and strength burst the barriers and swept in
one devastating wave over the lower country. The colour and consistency
of the river were due, I found out later, to a wide stream of clayey
substance, flowing from Mount MacGregor, between rocky walls, into the
river.

Early in the afternoon, we reached a point near the gorge from
which the Wakioki emerged; and there the track scrambled up a loose
boulder-strewn bank about thirty feet high, up which we likewise
clawed. Here we found, that though young casuarinas were growing
there, it yet bore signs, in the shape of boulders, drift-wood and
tree trunks, of being the bed of the river. We found many Doriri
shelters, that had only just been vacated, and still had the fires
burning in them. Here we pitched camp, right under the magnificent
Mount MacGregor, and gazed at the mountain pines on its spurs, towering
high above the surrounding tall forest trees. Our day had been an
interesting one: sometimes we were marching over huge loose boulders,
sometimes wading through a wet cream-cheesy sort of pipe-clay,
sometimes making our way over a hard-baked cement of the same stuff,
full of cracks, and throwing off a dry and penetrating dust under
our feet, which clogged our sweating skins and choked our panting
lungs; over all of which came the distant angry voices of the likewise
sweating rear-guard, as they “encouraged” the labouring carriers to
keep up with the column.

Shortly after our pitching camp, a violent thunder-storm rolled down
upon us from the mountains; streaks of vivid fork lightning being
succeeded by instantaneous claps of thunder, the whole being followed
by a torrential burst of rain; the river rose rapidly, and the grinding
roar of the enormous rolling boulders, swept before its flood, made a
din indescribable. The carriers whimpered with funk, and I called in
the sentries, feeling that that awful storm and night were more than
mortal man, standing at a solitary post, could be expected to endure.
I was also firmly convinced that no human being, Doriri or otherwise,
would be fool enough to be abroad on such a night. We struck camp
very early the next morning, only too glad to get away from such a
storm-torn, uncanny spot. After marching a few miles, we found a Doriri
track leaving the Wakioki, and leading across the Didina ranges towards
the Doriri country at the head of the Musa River. The Maisina were now
blue with funk, and we greatly feared that they would bolt; but curses
from us, threats from the constabulary, and jeers from the Kaili Kaili,
who told them that if they left us, they (the Kaili Kaili) would make
them the laughing-stock of the coast as a set of women and weaklings,
made them pluck up their courage enough still to follow us. We found
growing on this track an extraordinary tough climbing bamboo, of a
vine-like nature, which, when cut with a knife, oozed from each joint
about a wineglassful of clear sweet water.

A severe march went on all day. Barton, who had now added a very bad
toothache to dysentery, was in command of the advance, and feeling
hard with his scouts for touch with the Doriri party ahead; I was in
charge of the rear-guard, and was severely driving the fearful Maisina
carriers. Night was closing in, the head of the line had halted to
camp, when back to me came an orderly, with a message from Barton.
“Hurry up; we are within touch of the Doriri.” The Maisina, on hearing
the magic word Doriri, rushed like scared rabbits for the camp. Upon
the rear-guard coming up with me, Barton told me that the scouts ahead
had seen a man up a tree, who was calling to a party of Doriri ahead
of him. The Maisina now fairly collapsed with fright, and begged us to
go back, saying that we should all be eaten if we stayed. Barton and I
consulted as to what was to be done with them: to send them back was
our best course, but then, if by any remote chance there happened to
be any Doriri left in the country we had traversed, they would stand a
good chance of being cut to pieces, as we could not weaken our force,
on the eve of a fight, by detaching constabulary to escort them. They,
however, settled the question for themselves. Fearful as they were of
going on with us into the land of the dreaded Doriri, they were still
more afraid of leaving us and having to follow a lonely road back;
finding that we were determined to go on, and that the constabulary
and Kaili Kaili apparently treated the Doriri with contempt, they
quaveringly said they would follow.

We felled trees, and made our camp as strongly defensive as possible;
needless to say, the Maisina required no pressing to do their share
of this work, but toiled like veritable demons, clearing scrub and
dragging trees into a stockade, long after the order had been given,
“That will do the camp; post the night guard.” Everything now pointed
to the one conclusion, and that was that if the party, on whose heels
we had followed all the way from Collingwood Bay, did not include
the actual murderers by whom the murders of six weeks ago had been
committed, it undoubtedly consisted of the tribe by whom innumerable
murders had been done previously, and who had kept a whole district
in a state of tension and misery for years. We were now right on the
borders of the Doriri country, for during the day we had ascended the
summit of the Didina Range, which formed the watershed between the
streams of Collingwood Bay and the Musa River. We had then crossed a
fine plateau and descended a small stream flowing towards the Musa,
which suddenly fell, by a series of cascades, over a precipice into
a valley; the track made a difficult circuit round this cascade, and
when we had descended into the valley we found the bottom covered with
stagnant water, forming a veritable quagmire, impassable to our heavily
laden men, although the Doriri had somehow or other gone through it.
Round this, we found it necessary to cut a siding, which led us to the
banks of the Ibinamu, the most eastern affluent of the Musa River,
which rose in Mount MacGregor and was now seen by Europeans for the
first time. The Maisina guides had long since left the country with
which they were acquainted, and in any case would have been quite
useless from fright.

While in camp that night, Barton and I consulted together. There
appeared to us to be very little doubt, that the party just ahead of
us must be now quite aware of our presence in their vicinity, and be
laying their plans accordingly; as a matter of fact, we found out
afterwards that they were in a state of blissful ignorance. It never
for one moment entered the heads of the Doriri that any possible
danger could come to them from the cowed people of Collingwood Bay,
and Government or police they had merely heard of as a sort of vague
fable; of the effect of rifle fire they knew nothing, and with spears
they had never as yet met their match. “What are we going to do
now?” said Barton. “Capture or entirely destroy the party ahead,” I
replied. “I hate scientifically slaughtering unfortunate savages,
who are quite ignorant of a sense of wrongdoing,” said Barton. “By
every code in the world,” I said, “civilized or savage, the people
who commit wanton and unprovoked murder can expect nothing else
than to be killed themselves. Besides, our instructions are plain and
our duty clear.” The Maisina spent the night in a miserable state
of apprehension and fear, having quite made up their minds that the
cooking pots of the Doriri would be the ultimate fate of the whole lot
of us; the constabulary and Kaili Kaili were in a great state of joy
at the prospect of a fight, and the scroop-scrape of stones on the
edges of the Kaili Kaili tomahawks, the nervous chatter of the Maisina,
and restless prowling of the constabulary went on all night. Poor
Barton was writhing in agony from toothache, and begged me to keep my
“infernal savages” quiet; but it was a hopeless task.

[Illustration: ARMED CONSTABULARY, CAPE NELSON DETACHMENT]

Dawn broke, and no time was lost in striking camp, and resuming our
march down the river in the direction of the voices heard by the scouts
on the previous day, and towards the Doriri villages. Barton and I had
an arrangement by which we took alternate days in advance or rear, as
the rear-guard work was fatiguing and disagreeable in the extreme; on
this day it happened to be my turn in front. I saw plainly that unless
something was done soon to give the Maisina confidence in us, and in
the power of the constabulary to protect them, they would all knock
up; they were sick already from funk and want of sleep. First went the
four scouts, comprising two constabulary recruited from the Binandere
people and two village constables of the Kaili Kaili, hawk-eyed men,
oiling their way silently in advance, feeling for an ambush or touch
with the Doriri, and marking the track to be followed. Then I came,
with the advance-guard composed of my own men; next the Kaili Kaili,
then the Maisina, with village constables and constabulary scattered at
intervals among them, in order to hearten them; and last, Barton and
his police. The carriers had strict orders, in the event of fighting in
front, to rally on the rear-guard.

While a difficult piece of walking was causing the carriers to straggle
rather more than usual, and thus delaying Barton and the rear-guard,
two of the scouts came back and reported that they had discovered
men, how many they could not ascertain, in the bush on one side of
the river. These men were, in my opinion, the party whom we had been
following all along, with possibly others; and from their silence, I
concluded that they had either laid an ambush, or still more probably
formed a portion of a body of men coming round on to the flank of our
extended line. I dared not risk sending the scouts out again, with
a probability of their falling into the hands of a strong party of
Doriri, and should I delay to communicate with Barton, and lose time
in waiting for the rest of the police and carriers to come up, I might
allow time for an attack to develop on our dangerously straggling line,
with an absolute certainty of a stampede on the part of the Maisina on
top of Barton and the rear-guard, and a possible bad slaughter before
Barton knew what was occurring or could clear his police. I therefore
hastily detached seven police; and ordered the others, with the village
constables and Kaili Kaili carriers who were nearest to the front, to
draw out into the clear river bed and there wait for the Commandant,
who I knew would be steadily coming up. In the meanwhile I, and my
seven men, made a detour into the scrub on the exposed side of our
line, with the object of both intercepting any attack that might be
coming, so as to allow of a better fighting formation being adopted,
and to come out on the rear and flank of the men seen by our scouts.

After we had crawled and forced our way for some distance under a
dense tangled undergrowth over marshy ground, we suddenly emerged
upon a couple of bush shelters, from one of which a Doriri sprang up
in front of us with a frightful howl of surprise and alarm, and armed
with spear and club. In response to a hasty order from me, the man
was shot dead and a rush made upon the shelters, from which three
more men leaped, all armed. Two of these men were at once knocked
over by the police, and secured uninjured; a fourth, who fought most
desperately, frantically dashing about with a club, leaped into the
river, and though evidently wounded in half a dozen places, still stuck
to his club and made his way across to the scrub on the opposite side
of the river, hotly pursued by two police. Never have I known a man
so tenacious of life as that Doriri. I myself sent four ·303 solid
bullets through him as he bolted, and yet he ran on. We found him
afterwards dead in the scrub, quite half a mile away. On gaining time
to look round, I saw about a dozen Kaili Kaili, who, in defiance of my
order that they were to remain on the river bed and wait for Barton,
had thrown down their loads and were rushing to join the two police
chasing the man across the river; while tearing, like devils possessed,
through the tangled undergrowth towards me came the remainder of the
Kaili Kaili and Mokoru, under the leadership of old Giwi’s son, Mukawa.
They afterwards explained that they were coming to the help of the
police and me. Knowing the awful job Barton must be having to keep the
Maisina together when the firing broke out suddenly in front, and still
expecting at any moment to see a rush of Doriri on our now demoralized
line, I recalled the police and proceeded to collect carriers in the
bed of the river, while Barton, with the remaining carriers, was
getting up to us.

[Illustration: KAILI KAILI CARRIERS WITH THE DORIRI EXPEDITION]

When Barton finally arrived, I found the poor old chap had undergone
a dreadful time. Firstly, his toothache had prevented him from eating
any breakfast; then, as he had painfully struggled over the rough
track shepherding the terror-stricken Maisina, the roughness of the
track and his empty condition had brought on a recurrence of his
dysentery. Halting, he had removed his revolver and belts, and was
in a helpless state, when suddenly the crack of rifles came from the
front, and his personal servant rushed at him and endeavoured to buckle
on his discarded accoutrements; the Maisina were howling with terror
and crowding all round him; his constabulary, fairly foaming with
impatience to be in the fight, were endeavouring to make a break for
me and took him all his time to hold; while the Kaili Kaili threw all
restraint to the winds, as they cast their loads on the ground, and,
flourishing their tomahawks, flew to the sound of the firing. “Their
own white master and their own police” were fighting, that was enough
for the Kaili Kaili; they should not lack the assistance of their own
people, be hanged to the Port Moresby police! Kaili Kaili into the
fighting line!

Three Dove Baruga men had accompanied the expedition as carriers; they
had been staying with the Kaili Kaili just before we started, and,
as they came from a village situated on the lower Musa, the Doriri
prisoners could understand their language; therefore I used them as
interpreters. The prisoners, upon being questioned, said that they had
formed a portion of a large party returning from Collingwood Bay; and
in response to a possibly not quite fair question as to who had killed
the Collingwood Bay people a few weeks ago, they proudly said that
they had themselves, or rather the party to which they belonged. The
remainder of them had gone down the river to their village early that
morning, and were quite in ignorance of our presence in the valley. So
accordingly we started in pursuit.

The river bed had now widened to a bare boulder-strewn watercourse,
along which we could march in a close column instead of the long
straggling line of men in single file. About four in the afternoon,
during a period of intense still muggy heat, a rolling crashing
thunder-storm descended upon us from Mount MacGregor, worse even than
the last we had experienced. Fork and chain lightning struck the
boulders of the river bed, while balls of blue fire rolled among them.
“Better extend the men,” said Barton; “a close column of men on the
march gives off an emanation that is said to attract lightning; and one
of those flashes among our packed lot might play hell.” I watched the
course of the storm for a moment, and then pointed out to Barton how
the lightning only seemed to strike among the boulders of the river
bed, and not among the forest trees bordering it. “I am all for camping
in the tall timber,” I said; “when the dry electrical disturbance has
passed, the skies will probably open and let go a veritable lake on
top of us.” “It is said,” remarked Barton, “that the neighbourhood of
tall trees should be avoided in a thunder-storm; but I’m hanged if
I don’t think they are safer than this place.” The Doriri prisoners
were the only natives with us at all apprehensive of the lightning,
they knew the peculiar beauties of their own storms, and were greatly
relieved when they found us wending our way to the trees; the Dove
Baruga men had by this time told them that we were a peculiar people,
who did not kill prisoners nor eat the bodies of the slain.

Before we were safely in camp, and during the operation of pitching
the tents, down came a torrential downpour of rain, soaking us all to
the skin. No one, who has not undergone the experience, can possibly
realize what a tropical rainstorm can be like; the water does not fall
in drops, but appears to be in continuous streams, the thickness of
lead pencils; it fairly bends one under its weight, and half chokes one
with its density; and all this in a steaming atmosphere of heat that
reduces one to the limpness of a dead and decaying worm. In Captain
Barton’s case, his misery was increased by the spiky pangs of toothache
and the slow gnawing of dysentery.

Tents were pitched at last, rain and storm passed, leaving a cool
and pleasant evening, camp fires burnt cheerily and cooks were busy
preparing the evening meal. Barton had stopped his toothache by dint
of holding his mouth full of raw whisky, and eased his tum-tum with
a prodigious dose of chlorodyne; pyjamas had replaced our sodden
clothing, the Kaili Kaili were gaily chattering, and even the Maisina
were plucking up their spirits, safe as they all thought in a ring
of watching sentries, when bang went a rifle some distance away. I
ran down to where a couple of sentries had been posted, at the mouth
of a stream leading into the camp; they had vanished. I whistled for
them, thinking that they had merely moved a few yards away, and were
concealed in the scrub; Barton heard my whistle, thought that I wanted
assistance, and came to me with a number of constabulary. We then
hastily dispatched half a dozen police to find out what had become of
the sentries; they did not return until after dark, and then appeared
bringing the missing men and another private of constabulary with
them. The latter bright individual had quitted the camp without leave,
and run into half a dozen Doriri, at whom he had promptly fired; the
Doriri decamped, as the sentries deserted their posts and rushed to
his assistance. The sentries were told in chosen language exactly what
was thought of them, and fearful threats made as to the fate of the
next men who left their posts without orders. The roaming private was
“punished,” as the Official Report put it; as a matter of fact, he was
soundly walloped on the bare stern by his sergeant with a belt, a
highly illegal but most efficacious means of inducing him to see the
error of his ways.

That night we had a little conversation with the Doriri prisoners,
and learnt that their villages were small and widely scattered, and
that their food supplies were none too good. They really made their
expeditions to Collingwood Bay in order to hunt game and make sago, and
the killing of the people there was only a supplementary diversion,
though of course the bodies of the slain gave them an agreeable change
of diet. “Will your people fight?” I asked. “Yes,” was the reply, “of
course they will; but those fire spears of yours are dreadful things to
meet. If it was the Maisina, now----” Here they stared contemptuously
at those unhappy people, who wilted accordingly. “Never mind the
Maisina, they are my people now,” I cut in; “will the Doriri fight
us?” “Yes, once,” was the reply, “until they have learnt all about
those fire spears.” “Yes, what then?” I queried. “They will bolt for
the hills, where you can’t find them, and starve there, for we have
little food.” “Monckton,” said Barton, “you are not going to be callous
brute enough to starve those unfortunate devils in the hills?” “No,” I
answered, “but I am going to break their fighting strength, and teach
them the futility of resisting a Government order before I leave.”

The carriers now put in a request to me that they might be allowed to
eat any future Doriri killed; urging that, if they did so, it would not
only be a great satisfaction to them but also a considerable saving
to the stores of the expedition. “Really,” they urged, “there was no
sense in wasting good meat on account of a foolish prejudice.” “You
saw what happened to the disobedient private to-day?” I said to them.
“Yes, he was most painfully beaten on the stern by the sergeant,” they
said. “Quite so,” I replied. “Well, the carrier, be he Kaili Kaili or
Maisina, who as much as looks with a hungry eye upon the body of a dead
Doriri, will first be beaten in the same way by the sergeant, then by
the corporals and lance-corporals, and then by the privates, until
his stern is like unto the jelly of baked sago.” This fearsome threat
curbed the man-meat hunger of the anthropophagi. After this we put in
a peaceful and undisturbed night; even the Maisina sleeping soundly,
happy at last in the belief that the dreaded Doriri would meet their
match in the constabulary, and that the chances of their going down
Doriri gullets were quite remote.



CHAPTER XX


We struck camp at daylight and moved down the river, soon coming
upon a number of well-built native lean-to shelters, showing signs
of having been recently and hastily vacated; many articles of value
to natives had been abandoned, including some cleverly split slabs
of green jade from the hills of Collingwood Bay, which they used for
making stone heads for disc clubs, tomahawks or adzes; also earthenware
cooking pots, which the Maisina identified by the pattern as of their
manufacture. A little later we espied a small village situated upon
a spur of the Didina Range; a patrol of police searched the village,
but the inhabitants had decamped; a number of spears, however, were
taken and destroyed. Next we discovered, situated upon a rise in the
river bed, a village of about eighteen houses; this village was also
deserted, so we took possession and occupied it. In this village we
found ample evidence, in the shape of articles manufactured by the
Maisina and identified by them, of the complicity of its inhabitants in
the raiding; a large store also of recently manufactured sago, clearly
proved that they had only just returned from the Collingwood Bay
District.

Here we camped, in order to dry our clothes and give our carriers
a well-earned and much-needed rest. The prisoners told us that the
village was named Boure, and they looked on dismally while the
police and carriers slaughtered all the village pigs, and ravished
and devastated the gardens, which were but of small extent. Barton,
as he thought of the grief of the evicted inhabitants, looked quite
as unhappy as the prisoners, while the work of destruction went on,
and many a crack from his stick a too exultant yelling Kaili Kaili
received, if he incautiously approached too near that humanitarian.
“You know now what it feels like to have your villages raided,” said
the Dove Baruga to the prisoners; “we and the Maisina have had years of
it at your hands.” Our now happy carriers spent a cheery night, gorging
and snoring alternately, and well housed from the rain.

Upon leaving Boure next morning, the track led down the river bank
through thick clumps of pampas-like grass, twelve feet high; beastly
dangerous country to traverse amongst a hostile people. I was with the
advance, when suddenly we heard the loud blowing of war horns and the
defiant shouting of a large force of men moving up the river on our
left. I at once changed our line of march towards the direction of the
Doriri, but after going on a short distance, the grass became so thick
and the track so narrow, as to prevent any safe fighting formation
being retained. A halt, therefore, was made, and the constabulary
formed into two bodies, fronting two lanes in the tall grass, from
either of which the now expected attack might develop, the carriers
being packed between the two lines of police. The voices of Doriri
calling, and horns blowing, could now be heard on our front, rear, and,
alternately, on each side, which looked as if we were to receive an
attack simultaneously on front, rear and flanks. A worse position to
defend it was almost impossible to conceive: spearmen could approach
unperceived, and launch their spears, from the cover of the grass, into
our packed men; while club men could get right on top of us, before we
could see to shoot with any degree of certainty of hitting what we were
shooting at; and once amongst us, shooting would be out of the question
for fear of killing our own carriers. In the event of our advancing
towards a better position, we should be forced to straggle in a long
line of single file, which would expose our carriers to flank attack;
and in the case of a Doriri rush we should be in imminent danger of our
line being cut in two. The prisoners told us that the Doriri were now
shouting challenges and explaining that they were about to make an end
of the whole lot of us. We waited some time: the Maisina whining and
collapsing from funk, and the constabulary strung up to the last pitch
of nervous tension, waiting with finger on trigger for the expected
attack; one private, in his excitement, accidentally exploding his
rifle. I fancy that the Doriri were not quite certain of our exact
position, as we kept very quiet and the report of a rifle is difficult
to locate in thick cover, also I think they were no more anxious to
engage us in that horrible spot than we were anxious to receive them
there.

Barton and I consulted, for something had to be done, as the Maisina
were getting into a state of hysteria; we decided to bring matters to
a head by sending ten of the constabulary to crawl through the grass
and locate the Doriri, with a view to advancing then our whole force.
The ten men left, and shortly after yelled to us to come on. Advancing,
we found that the police had emerged from the grass upon a long open
stretch of sandy river bed, down which a large body of armed natives
were dancing towards them, yelling furiously and brandishing spears,
clubs and shields. The police were standing in line, holding their fire
for orders; I ran up to them, with some additional police, and ordered
them to fire into the advancing natives. Crash went a volley, two men
fell, shot dead, while many others staggered into the surrounding
long grass, more or less badly wounded. The Doriri, though apparently
frightfully surprised at the effect of the rifle fire, still held their
ground; but, as the steadily firing constabulary line moved rapidly
towards them, they began an orderly retreat. Barton then came up; but,
with a long line of straggling carriers in the rear open to attack, we
did not consider it expedient to permit a police pursuit, and they were
accordingly recalled. We followed the tracks of the retreating party
down the Ibinamu, till it junctioned with the Adaua; here we found that
the greater portion of the attacking force had crossed to the other
side of the river.

The Maisina, from a state of utter collapse, had now ascended to
the highest pinnacle of jubilation; loud were their crows and great
their boasting. “The hitherto undefeated Doriri had met a force
comprising Maisina, and had retired before it with loss, and were now
in full retreat!” They made no allowance in their savage brains for
the fact that the unfortunate Doriri had encountered, for the first
time, a strange, powerful, and terrifying weapon in the shape of our
rifles--things which flashed fire, accompanied by a terrible noise, and
dealt death by invisible means at great distances. “I have never known
such damnable rotters as the Maisina,” said Barton, “they are howling
and paralysed with funk one minute, and gloating over a few dead Doriri
the next. They are like a costermonger rejoicing at a victory over his
wife or mother, gained by dint of kicking her in the ribs.”

We now prepared to cross the river in pursuit of the retreating Doriri:
rafting was out of the question, as the river was eighty yards wide,
ran shoulder high, and was as swift as a mill-race. The first thing to
do was to place a piquet on the opposite bank to cover our crossing;
accordingly, some of the strongest swimmers amongst the constabulary
waded and swam across, with their rifles strapped on their shoulders
and cartridges tied on the tops of their heads, while they were covered
by watching men on our bank. Having crossed, they yelled that there was
a shallow bank in the middle of the river, affording secure foothold;
this information was a great relief to us, as our cotton rope was not
long enough to stretch across the full river, and our lighter men
(including Barton and myself) were not strong enough to wade without
its assistance. On that shoal, therefore, we stationed some strong men,
who held the end of our rope; then we all crossed safely on to it, and
there clung together, until the constabulary, after repeated attempts,
succeeded in carrying the rope over the remainder of the river, where
they tied it to a tree. We then left our strongest men to hold on to
the mid-river end, and struggled across, with the loss only of a few
bags of rice; after which we hauled the rest of the men across, they
clinging to the end of the rope. Thus our crossing was accomplished.

Following the track of the retreating natives, we came to the Domara
River, where the Doriri foot-tracks dispersed in various directions.
The Domara had a fine wide sandy beach, admirable country to fight in
from our point of view. The prisoners now told us that Domara village
was close at hand, and there accordingly we went, only to find it
freshly deserted. It was a village containing, I should estimate,
about 180 to 200 men; it was circular in shape, and surrounded by a
moat, partly natural and partly artificial, ranging from fifteen to
twenty feet in width, and about ten feet in depth, and clean and well
kept. The houses were elevated on poles of from twenty to thirty feet
high; the poles were merely props, as the main weight of the house
was sustained by stout tree trunks, forming a central king post;
sometimes additional support was given by pieces of timber fastened
to live areca-nut palms. The village was certainly an example of high
barbaric engineering skill; moated as it was, and with its high and
easily defended houses, a very few of its male inhabitants would be
necessary for its defence against any force armed only with spear and
club. Hence it was easily seen how the Doriri were enabled to keep so
many men absent in Collingwood Bay for so long a period. Some small
gardens near were remorselessly stripped to furnish the carriers with
their evening meal, and every village pig and dog was slaughtered;
many spears and arms were also found and burnt, the Maisina taking
keen delight in cooking Doriri pig over a fire made of Doriri spears.
We remained two days in this village, while patrols of police went out
and endeavoured again to get in touch with, or capture, Doriri; and the
carriers plundered and destroyed gardens to their hearts’ content and
Barton’s grief. The Doriri, however, had apparently had a bellyful of
the awesome, magic fire-spear, and had departed from their villages for
the hills. We found in the village, of all extraordinary articles, the
brass chain plate of a small vessel, now ground into an axe head.

Now evidently had come the time for departure: the Doriri had learnt
that there was a power stronger than themselves, and a power, too, that
could make itself unpleasantly evident. The most essential thing to do
was to convey a message to them, telling them to abstain from raiding
Collingwood Bay in the future, if they did not wish again to incur the
anger of that power. This we were shortly able to do. We then left on
our return journey, though by a different route.

Leaving Domara village we marched, for about five miles, through
jungle interspersed at intervals with small, old, and new gardens; but
nowhere did our scouts get into touch with the natives, until we came
to the Adaua again, near its confluence with the Domara. The river,
at this point, was about one hundred yards wide and in flood, quite
unfordable, and far too dangerous for rafts, as the cataracts and
rapids of the Musa, passing through the Didina Range, were but a short
distance below. The Doriri use a small, triangular raft made of bamboo,
and are much skilled in its use; our men, however, were quite unable
to manage the contrivance, it requiring as much knack as a coracle.
Ilimo village, to which one of our prisoners belonged, was situated on
a spur on the opposite bank; and from thence we could hear the voices
of natives calling to one another as they watched our party. The scouts
reported a small village lower down the river, and upon the same bank,
which our prisoners told us was called Bare Bare; so there we went for
the night, or until the river went down sufficiently to permit of our
passage across. Bare Bare village was deserted, and apparently had
been so for some weeks; it was approached by narrow winding tracts
leading through a dense tall jungle of wild sugar-canes, which were
well sprinkled with spear pits. We cut a wide straight lane through the
jungle to the river, in order that our people might go and come with
water in safety. The scouts found near here a new and much better ford
than the one we had seen in the morning, and which our lying prisoners
had said was the only one.

Doriri yelled, howled, and blew horns on the opposite bank most of
the night, but did not venture to cross or interfere with us. In the
morning the scouts reported that the passage of the river was possible
at the new ford, so there we went. As we prepared to cross, eight
Doriri appeared on the opposite bank, in full war array, dancing,
yelling, turning and smacking their sterns at us. An ominous sound of
opening breech blocks spoke plainly of the opinion the constabulary
had formed of what would occur before we passed the ford. “We must
clear that bank of natives and place a guard there, before the carriers
attempt the river,” I said to Barton; “there are only eight men in
sight, but the scrub may swarm with them, and if a man were swept off
his feet by the current and carried down the river, he would most
certainly be speared before help could reach him.” Barton agreed, and
I ordered the six strongest of the constabulary and a corporal to
cross the river and guard the landing point. The men started across,
and had got within about fifty yards of the dancing, yelling natives,
who still defiantly remained there, when I yelled to them: “Corporal,
shoot those men!” The corporal halted his men, and, shoulder high as
they were in the fast-flowing water, fell them into line; then slowly
and deliberately, as if parading at the butts, he put them through
the movements of firing exercise. “At one hundred yards with ball
cartridge, load!” came his voice; “ready!” “My God!” said Barton, “it
is like witnessing an execution!” and covered his face with his hands.
“Present!” came the corporal’s voice again; “fire!” One man leapt into
the air and rolled over, some of the others jumped as though stung;
then they picked up the fallen man and bolted into the scrub, while
the constabulary occupied the spot just vacated by them. “It is early
in the morning,” said Barton, “but I am going to have a little whisky
after that.”

All that day and the next we spent in crossing some very steep country
in the Didina Range, in pouring rain, having awful difficulty in
starting fires with which to cook our food, as all the dead wood
was sodden with water. My personal servant, Toku, son of Giwi, at
last, however, found a species of tree, of which he had heard from
his father, that burnt readily even in its green state; after this
we always carried a supply of this tree with us, with which to start
the other wood. Getting fires lighted in rain on the mountains is not
the least of the minor discomforts of inland work in New Guinea, and
without fires one’s carriers are foodless, cold, and miserable. On
future expeditions, from the experience I gained on this one, I always
made my carriers make their carrying poles of a light, dry, highly
inflammable wood, and when the worst came to the worst, took their
poles to start the fires with, and made them cut fresh green ones for
use until we could again get light dry poles.

Scrub itch and leeches made things very interesting for us in the
Didina hills. The former is a tiny little insect, almost invisible
to the naked eye, that falls in myriads like a shower from certain
shrubs, and promptly burrows under one’s skin; it is not until one is
warm under the blankets at night, that it gets its fine work in and
renders sleep impossible, until one collapses from exhaustion. Stinging
trees are another joy; they are harmless-looking shrubs with a pretty
glossy leaf, that sting one more than the worst of nettles; one of my
carriers, on the second Doriri expedition, fell over a bank into a
clump of the infernal things, and was in such agony that I had to put
him in irons to prevent him from destroying himself, while we greased
him all over with warm rifle oil. Leeches don’t need any describing,
only cursing, which they got very freely indeed from our bare-legged
police and carriers, as they beguiled their leisure moments scraping
festoons of the brutes off their legs; they wriggled through one’s
putties and breeches in a marvellous manner, and rare indeed was the
night when we did not find half a dozen gorged brutes somewhere in our
clothing, and knew that one would later develop a like number of nasty
little ulcers.

After crossing the Didina Range, we dropped down to a clear stream,
the Dudura, upon which was situated a village of the same name; the
inhabitants fled, but the constabulary succeeded in catching one man
and his wife. The Collingwood Bay carriers knew of the village, both
by name and reputation, and swore it was one of the worst offenders in
raiding them. I put a very unfair direct question to the man. “Do you
go to Maisina to kill people?” “Yes,” he naïvely answered, “of course
I do,” as if it was the most natural thing in the world. “I am very
sorry,” I told him, “but Government disapproves of the promiscuous
killing of people, and you must come with me until you have learnt
better.” The man’s wife was then told that we were taking him away in
order to complete his education, but that later he would be safely
returned to her. “You are a set of murdering thieves,” she said. (She
was, I may remark, a strong-minded woman!) “I have not killed the
Maisina, but you have looted my house.” “Point out any man of ours,
by whom you have been robbed,” was the reply, as we ordered the whole
expedition to fall into line. Unerringly she picked out several of
the Kaili Kaili, incorrigible looters, and abused them vehemently,
the while they reluctantly made restitution. Her confidence was then
gained by a present of trade goods, to maintain her during the enforced
absence of her husband, and as payment for conveying from us to the
Doriri a full explanation as to the reason of our visit and hostility
to them: she was a most talkative dame, and I doubt not held forth
at length to the Doriri. Her husband seemed to regard the prospect
of a sojourn in gaol as rather a relief from the company of his very
masterful wife.

When we were leaving Dudura, Barton put in a plea for the natives.
“Monckton,” he said, “let us now avoid any conflict with the natives;
the poor devils did not know what they were doing in the past, they
have now had their warning, and I can no longer stand seeing you use
your police against them, coldly and mechanically, as if they were a
guillotine.” “All right, Barton,” I replied, “the rôle of executioner
does not appeal to me any more than it does to you, but it is sometimes
a necessary one; still, I will defer to your views, and spare the
people if possible. I only trust that the lesson we have already read
them has been sufficiently severe.” Afterwards I had cause to repent my
moderation, as the Doriri mistook our clemency, as savages invariably
do, for a sign of weakness, and went on the raid again.

Taking our Dudura man with us and walking down the Dudura stream,
we soon emerged upon the banks of the Musa, which at this point was
a headlong tearing torrent, quite uncrossable; gradually, as we
descended the banks of the river, the valley widened and the beach
became better. In the afternoon, sounds of chopping were heard, and a
native was discovered busily engaged in felling a tree. “I want that
man alive and uninjured,” I said to the police. “He has got an axe and
looks a sturdy fellow,” they replied; “it looks difficult.” Still, the
constabulary, when told to do a thing, generally managed to accomplish
it, difficult or not. Four of them noiselessly slipped away into the
scrub, crept upon four sides and within a few yards of the working man,
unperceived by him; a private then attracted his attention by yelling
suddenly at him from behind; he gave a howl of surprise and alarm, and
sprang round to defend himself, with his axe raised ready to strike.
Then silently and swiftly as a springing greyhound, a Mambare private
rushed in and leapt upon his back, bearing man and axe to the ground
with the impetus of his rush; the others sprang and threw themselves
upon the pair, and after a minute of a yelling, tangled, scrambling
worry, during which he used his teeth with good effect, our quarry was
disarmed and handcuffed. He was a fine, powerful, intelligent man,
and, after he had been induced to stop yelling and made to understand
that he was not going to be killed, he answered questions readily.
“Who are you?” we asked. “Gabadi, of the village of Dugari, lower down
the Musa,” he replied. The Maisina here said that Dugari was a most
iniquitous village, and concerned in all the raiding. It was, however,
imperatively necessary that we should get into friendly communication
with some of the tribes of the Upper Musa, and if we retained Gabadi
as a prisoner, we could not attain that end; we now wished to make the
object of our expedition clear beyond any possibility of misconception
in the minds of the Doriri. Gabadi was therefore released, returned
his axe, and given some tobacco, to ease his mind of any feeling of
fright or annoyance at the sudden manner in which we had effected our
introduction to him.

We then asked him to go down the river to his village, and tell the
people where we were, and that we wished to be friendly; also, that
we would buy all the food they chose to bring us. Gabadi said that
his wives had been in a camp some little distance away from the place
where we had caught him, and that they had fled while we were engaged
in making his acquaintance; he would therefore like first to find
them, in order to leave them safe in our camp while he went off to
Dugari. During his absence we pitched camp. After howling for some
time in the forest for his wives, he returned to us in disgust; and,
after remarking that the silly women would probably alarm half the
river, proceeded to make himself comfortable for the night among the
carriers. The intrusion of Gabadi was regarded by the Maisina portion
of the carriers in much the same light as a roomful of rats might be
expected to view the sudden introduction of a bull terrier into their
midst. Continuing our way down the river, we came to a small village
on the opposite bank; Gabadi, whose night with us had now given him
full confidence, called to the people and told them who we were, and
asked them to bring food to us. They soon rafted across a quantity of
vegetables and a pig, for all of which they were well paid. Then, at
great length, we explained to the people who we were, where we had
been, what we had done, and why we did it; and they promised faithfully
to repeat it to the Doriri. Upon seeing the prisoners, all of whom they
appeared to know, and especially the last man captured at Dudura, who,
from the concern they showed at his being in our hands, was certainly a
person of considerable importance, they were most eager to ransom him;
for which purpose pigs and goods were freely offered. They were told,
however, that he would be returned when he had learnt the ways of the
Government, but not till then.

We were now informed by Gabadi that a large and very bad sago swamp
lay between us and Dove village on the right bank of the river, while
a good track led down the left bank through Gewadura. We accordingly
made rafts and crossed the river, which proved to be no light matter.
I got a scare during this operation, for I foolishly crossed first
with only Toku and Gabadi with me, before any of the constabulary
had come across, as they were busily engaged in making rafts; when,
suddenly, a whole mob of truculent-looking natives appeared, who said
they came from Mbese village, and who, it was plain, did not regard us
in any too friendly a light. The watchful Barton saw me surrounded by
strange natives, and promptly sent my constabulary across, and gladly
I welcomed them. A few of the Mbese men subsequently helped in the
crossing of the rafts, but mainly they stood sullenly aloof, gazing
sympathetically at our chained prisoners and savagely at us, plainly
wondering whether an attempt at a rescue was worth while or not, and
eventually coming to the conclusion that we looked too strong. They
flatly refused to guide us to Gewadura, or point out the track there.
“Some day, rude people of the Mbese,” said the Kaili Kaili, “we will
meet again, and our master will tell us to teach you manners; you are
only bush rats, and the police and we will drive you through the bush
like rats!” Gabadi stuck steadily to us, and for a consideration in
the shape of a tomahawk, undertook to guide us as far as the Gewadura
track, but no further. From this point to the sea coast, the course
of the river had been traversed and mapped by Sir William MacGregor,
therefore our troubles and difficulties were now very considerably
lessened.

At midday we came to a large abandoned village and extensive deserted
gardens, which had originally been marked on the map as Gewadura,
but the former inhabitants had been slaughtered and driven out by
incursions of Doriri, and had built a new, strongly stockaded village
lower down the Musa. At about five in the afternoon, during very
heavy rain, we were preparing to camp in low-lying country plainly
subject to inundation, when Barton, who was gazing disgustedly at our
unpromising looking camp site, sent on his corporal to see if there
was not a better spot for camping that could be reached before night.
The corporal returned and reported a large village in sight round a
bend, which the Dove men said must be Gewadura, a village friendly
to them; so they at once went on to announce our presence. Back they
came, bringing four most friendly natives, who guided us to a splendid
camp site alongside the village, where men, women and children brought
us huge quantities of food and pigs, and assisted us in clearing the
camping ground. The villagers left us as soon as night had fallen,
retiring within the gates of their stockade. The next morning, taro
and all native vegetables were brought to us in abundance, for which
we paid well. Gewadura village was new, large, and very clean, and had
in its midst a number of houses built in the very tops of gigantic
trees. The people were delighted to hear that at last the Doriri had
been called to account for their murderous raids, and had been taught
that even the land of the Doriri was not secure from the anger of the
Government. Three men volunteered to guide us to Dove, and exclamations
of delighted wonder came from the people as the expedition filed
through the gates of their stockade, and they saw some of their ancient
enemies, the Doriri, led past by the village constables.

We arrived at Dove in the evening, and were received with every sign
of pleased welcome natives can show; they ferried us across the river
in their canoes. Two of our carriers belonged to the village. The good
wives rushed to the cooking pots, while the good men hunted the family
pig with a spear, and the village dogs streaked for the bush, some,
alas! being too slow and furnishing a portion of many a savoury stew.
Some of the manifestation of joy we could well have dispensed with:
leeches, scrub-itch, mosquitoes, stinging trees, lawyer vines, rough
tracks, all had done their worst to our suffering skins, and covered as
we were with sores and abrasions, we submitted, as perforce we must,
with but ill grace to being violently embraced, hugged, stroked and
handled. The two Dove men acted as showmen, and exhibited the prisoners
to all and sundry, who cautiously inspected the disgusted Doriri, much
as country children peep at a caged tiger in a menagerie; while the
Doriri’s feelings, under the regard, seemed much the same as those of
the said tiger.

The next day Barton and I, with the prisoners and two of the
constabulary, went down the river in a canoe to Yagisa, the police and
carriers proceeding overland to that village. From thence, a native
track led behind Mount Victory to Wanigela village in Collingwood
Bay, over which the Dove men undertook to guide us; they said it was
a good track and would take us to Wanigela in two days. It might be
considered a good track by an eel, an alligator, or a Dove Baruga
native, but we discovered that, from our point of view, it was one
of the most infamous roads in New Guinea. First we marched through
sticky bogs, painfully dragging our booted legs, laden with pounds of
mud, through a glutinous substance varying in depth from six inches to
two feet, and punctuated with sludgy holes, anything from four to six
feet deep, which looked exactly the same, and into which we repeatedly
fell; the frantic cursing of the just engulfed man being aggravated by
the half-concealed smiles of the lucky one who had, on that occasion,
escaped. All this under deluges of rain and in an atmosphere of
steaming heat, with fresh leeches getting into one’s clothes on every
side. We then came into a pandanus swamp, through which we walked up
to our waists in water and treading upon roots; every time we slipped
upon the greasy things, and grabbed at the nearest tree to recover
our balance, we caught hold, with festering hands, of a spiky thorny
pandanus stem and got yet a fresh supply of prickles in them; if we
missed our hold, we rolled over into the nearest spiky tree and got the
thorns into some other portion of our anatomy.

At last we emerged on to rolling hills and the spurs of Mount Victory,
passing on the way a village site, the former inhabitants of which
had been slaughtered and scattered by the Doriri; on the third day we
reached a Collingwood Bay village, named Airamu, two miles from the
coast and Wanigela. Airamu village is fortified in a peculiar way:
it is circular in shape and is built round half a dozen very tall
trees, the tops of which are occupied by houses, stuffed with stones,
spears and missiles, for the reception of raiding Doriri; the whole is
enclosed within two circular stockades, the outer of which is built
almost horizontally. A peculiar feature of the houses is, that each
one has its separate dog entrance; this consists of a hollow trough,
cut out from a palm, and running from the ground through a hole in the
floor, up and down which the dogs run constantly in and out of their
owners’ houses.

Our work was now done: the Doriri had been found, punished to a certain
extent, and warned what would be the result of further raiding; time
alone would show whether the warning was sufficient. The Upper Musa
tribes, also concerned in the raiding, had likewise received an object
lesson as to their fate, if they did not mend their ways.



CHAPTER XXI


Barton and I returned to Cape Nelson on the 24th of April, and found
all in order; we waited there for the return of the _Merrie England_,
as she was to take Barton and his men away, and bring stores for me.
Day after day, week after week, went by; our supplies of European
food were soon finished: tea, coffee, sugar, meat, biscuits, tobacco,
shot cartridges, all were done; fish and native vegetables, washed
down with cold water, our sole fare; and still, daily, we scanned the
horizon for the hourly expected _Merrie England_, or any vessel from
which we could get stores, but none came: until, on the 14th of June,
the _Merrie England_ put in a belated appearance, and we were told
that the Revs. J. Chalmers and O. F. Tomkins had been murdered in the
Western Division; so we had been left, while she hunted the murderers.
I thought then, as I think now, that however great the excitement might
have been over the murders, still some little thought should have
been given to two isolated officers on the north-east coast and their
possible plight; if a Government vessel were not available, a Mambare
trader might have been instructed to call in at Cape Nelson (several
passed in the distance), instead of our being left, as we were, from
March until June, entirely cut off from the world, newsless and
semi-starved.

Captain Harvey and I had a slight breeze over something or other, I
have forgotten now exactly what it was, on the occasion of this visit;
which resulted in my turning sheep-stealer. The ship had got a pen of
sheep for fresh meat, some half dozen or so, on which I cast a hungry
eye. “Harvey, old chap,” I said, “tell the butcher to kill one of the
muttons, and leave me a joint.” “You did not call me ‘old chap’ this
morning,” said Harvey, “you called me a ‘marine Fenian,’ and said
my voice was worse than that of the wooden bird in a cuckoo clock;
you also said that you were surprised at my being entrusted with the
navigation of anything more valuable than the gaol sanitary punt; there
were several other things you said, including that you would ask the
medical officer at Samarai to examine me for incipient softening of
the brain.” “That was in the heat of argument,” I answered; “you must
remember that you used language that, if I did my duty as a beak, would
be well worth five bob a word to the revenue; but I made allowances,
because I fancied you must have put in some of your early training as
apprentice to a Bargee. How about my mutton?” “You will see,” said
Captain Harvey, and sent for the chief steward. “Thanks, Harvey,”
I said, and waited. “Steward,” said Harvey, on that functionary’s
arrival, “see that no sheep are killed before we are back at Samarai.”
“All right, skipper,” I said, “I will make you sit up for that before
long.” “I don’t think you should have meat,” commented Harvey, “you
have been living too well, and your blood has got heated.”

The ship was to sail at dawn; accordingly I went ashore and called my
constabulary into consultation. “To-night,” I said, “you are to steal a
sheep from the _Merrie England_. Can you grab and lower the brute into
a boat, without making a noise and causing it to baa?” “Very simple to
do,” they said, “but what about the watch on board?” “The constabulary
are all on shore, and wouldn’t tell in any case,” I told them; “and at
anchor, there is only one night watchman on duty; I’ll settle him.”
That night I went off, and remained on board until all the officers had
gone to bed; then I waylaid the night watchman. “Lonely work, yours,”
I said, “come to the saloon and I’ll give you a drink; I’ve got a
bottle down there. My police will look out while you come.” He rose
like a trout at a May fly, and I called out to my corporal, “Corporal,
the watchman goes below with me for a few minutes, you must look out
sharply.” “I understand, sir,” replied that smart non-com. Five minutes
later he came to the saloon, where the watchman was indulging in his
second drink. “The men are getting very sleepy, sir, will you be long?”
I left at once; a shapeless bundle of sail at the bottom of the boat
containing a large fat sheep, with its mouth securely tied, showed how
successful the raid had been.

[Illustration: THE “MERRIE ENGLAND” AT CAPE NELSON]

Captain Harvey had a happy Irish knack of leading me into crime; from
sheep stealing he led me later into body snatching, a still more
heinous offence. Time had elapsed; Oelrichs was my Assistant R.M.,
when the _Merrie England_ one day appeared, and after I had completed
my work in the Governor’s cabin and was leaving, Harvey waylaid me
and wiled me into his cabin; where, after producing vessels of strong
waters and cigars, he mysteriously whispered, “Monckton, I want you
to do me a very great favour.” “Well, what is it?” I asked. “Do you
want me to let you down lightly if you come before me in my official
capacity, or what?” “Well, the fact is,” said Harvey, “I am under
great obligations to a doctor in Brisbane, who has been most good
to my family; he has an ethnological turn of mind, and hankers for the
skull and skeleton of a New Guinea mountaineer, a Doriri for choice.”
“Do you expect me, a senior officer of the Service, apart from my
judicial position, to go out, shoot and stuff a Doriri for your medical
scientific friend?” I asked in surprise; “if so, I must tell you that
I draw the line at homicide, even of Doriri.” “Don’t be a fool,” said
Harvey, “I am serious; you can buy me a skeleton somewhere, I don’t
care how old or decayed.” “I can’t,” I said; “such a request on my part
would, in the first instance, start all sorts of yarns of sorcery; and
secondly, since one trader bought up a lot of skulls and grew orchids
in them like flower pots, afterwards selling them in Europe as sacred
or devil orchids worshipped by Papuans, and another chap cleaned out a
lot of caves of skeletons and sold them to make bone dust for manure,
there has been an Ordinance prohibiting traffic in human remains.”
“There is no question of traffic,” said Harvey, “you must find plenty
of graves in abandoned villages, and can easily dig me up a skeleton.”
“‘Desecration of Sepulchre’ happens to be a penal offence, my dear
Harvey,” I remarked; “I wish the favour you ask did not contain a
considerable risk of free lodging for the pair of us in one of his
Majesty’s houses of entertainment; neither the diet nor the lodging
appeal to me.” “Damn your scruples,” said Harvey. “Museums and savants
always manage to get skeletons; if you were an Irishman, instead of a
cold-blooded Englishman, you would do it for the fun of the thing, not
to speak of obliging a pal.” “Skipper,” I said, “my father came from
Kent, but my mother came from the Curraugh of Kildare, and the Irish
strain is always getting me into trouble, as it will probably do once
more over this night’s work. I will give you your bones; though you
don’t deserve them after your action last year in turning an eminently
respectable magistrate and his police into sheep-stealers. Tell one of
your crew to blow your whistle for my boat, and come ashore with me.”
The night happened to be very dark, wet and windy, and my boat’s crew
had departed for the shelter of the boat shed on shore.

“Where will you get the bones!” asked Harvey. I explained that some
five or six months before, the Collingwood Bay people had found
a Doriri man badly wounded by a wild boar in the forest, and had
brought him to me; he was too far gone to cure, when I got him, and
died without our being able to ascertain his name or village, and his
corpse had been planted in our cemetery. Going ashore, I summoned
Oelrichs and my sergeant, a Kiwai man named Kimai, and explained to
them that I wanted them to go and disinter the Doriri. Oelrichs said
that he did not think that body-snatching, in the middle of the
night, was included in the duties of an Assistant R.M.; and Sergeant
Kimai said that nothing would induce the Western or Eastern men in the
constabulary to go corpse hunting in a cemetery after dark. I persuaded
them into undertaking the job, however; and, accompanied by half a
dozen Northern police, who had no fear of ghost or devil, they departed
on their cheerful quest. Harvey and I waited hours, listening to the
rain and wondering why they did not return; at last, about two in the
morning, I took Harvey back to the ship, fearing that he would be
missed and inquiry made as to what we were up to.

A couple of hours later, alongside came my boat, and a dripping
Oelrichs crawled into Captain Harvey’s cabin, followed by Sergeant
Kimai and a Mambare corporal bearing a very smelly sack. “My God!”
gasped Oelrichs, “give me a drink, and Sergeant Kimai one too; he has
seen seventeen ghosts and quite a score of devils. If it had not been
for the Mambares, I never should have got the corpse.” “What do you
mean, Oelrichs,” I asked, “by keeping me sitting up all night wondering
what had become of you? I did not tell you to picnic all night in the
graveyard, I told you to bring the Doriri.” Oelrichs flung up his
hands and appealed to the universe at large to witness my appalling
ingratitude. “The Kiwai men buried that Doriri,” he said, “and the
sergeant was not there, so no one knew where he was, and the grass had
grown over his grave; we dug up about an acre, and quite six other
corpses, before we found him. The smell nearly killed me, and Kimai saw
spooks all the time.” “You look out that no one discovers this,” I said
to Harvey, “or we shall all be in the devil of a row.” Harvey shoved
the smellful remains into a drawer under his bunk, where he kept them
until he reached Samarai and got the doctor to fix them up in a cask
with disinfectants. He certainly went through a lot for his medical
friend.

But I must return to more serious affairs. I have referred in this
chapter to the reason of the _Merrie England_ remaining away for such
a length of time from Cape Nelson, namely, the murder of the Revs.
Chalmers and Tomkins by natives in the Western Division. The death of
such a well-known pioneer missionary as Chalmers, of course excited
intense interest and sympathy throughout the Empire; much was written
at the time in the Press, missionary publications, and by New Guinea
officials through official channels, but something yet remains to be
said from the point of view of an onlooker, neither swayed by sentiment
nor eager to praise or condemn. Firstly, in order to arrive at a proper
sense of proportion, one must consider the characteristics of the
European actors in the tragedy; the natives we can eliminate, for from
their point of view--as it is from my own--the killing of Chalmers and
the looting of the vessel was no greater crime than would have been the
killing of a wandering trader, at whose hands they had suffered no hurt.

Chalmers, one must remember, was not of the ordinary type of
missionary, but was of the type of a David Livingstone; and, though
belonging to the London Missionary Society, was--like Livingstone--as
much an explorer as a missionary. He was a man of particularly forceful
character, who was inclined to take unnecessary risks, and this trait
had been accentuated by the recent death of his wife; the very boat he
was using on the fateful journey was her last gift to the Mission, or
really to him. Tomkins calls for no remark: a young man, but recently
from a religious training school, always taught to regard Mr. Chalmers
as the wisest and best of men, he was not likely either to understand
the danger of the action they were about to take, or to differ in any
degree from Chalmers’ views. Next we come to the Resident Magistrate
in charge of the Division, who should be, in the first instance,
responsible for the lives of all in his district, missionary, trader
or native. This officer, at the time, was the Hon. C. G. Murray,
who had recently succeeded the experienced Bingham Hely. Murray had
arrived in New Guinea as assistant private secretary to Sir George
Le Hunte, not so very long before; he had then been transferred to
the Government Secretary’s Office as a clerk, and from thence been
promoted to be Resident Magistrate of the Western Division, without
the slightest district or divisional experience, or training of any
description; if Murray had any knowledge of natives, it could only have
been acquired at Eton, the Bachelors’ Club, West End drawing-rooms and
country houses, or by dint of working a typewriter under Mr. Musgrave’s
fostering eye in the Government Secretary Department at Port Moresby,
where an irate washerwoman, demanding payment for an overdue account,
was the most dangerous native likely to be encountered.

Now Mr. Chalmers, before leaving on the journey that was to end in
the death of himself and his young companion, as well as that of
many friendly natives, and was eventually to lead to a great deal of
bloodshed, culminating in the suicide of one of the most promising
officers New Guinea ever possessed--Judge Robinson--had been to Murray
and told him what he proposed doing, and said that “he intended that
it should be his last journey of any importance”; and Murray made no
effort to dissuade him, nor did he, in the absence of dissuasion,
make any effort to secure the safety, by means of his constabulary,
of the Mission party, in admittedly one of the most dangerous parts
of New Guinea. The natives in the vicinity of Cape Blackwood had an
exceedingly bad reputation, of which Murray either was, or should have
been, aware. In the year 1845, they had attacked the boats of H.M.S.
_Fly_, the Cape having been named Blackwood after her captain, and the
Fly River after the ship. The only subsequent occasions upon which they
had been visited were in 1892 and 1898 by Sir William MacGregor, when
his Excellency, skilled as he was in native ways and backed by his
trained men, had but narrowly averted hostilities with them. To the
experienced eye, a number of men embarking in a punt to shoot Niagara
falls, would go to no more certain death than would a few unarmed men
landing, at that time, in any village on Cape Blackwood; and Murray
should have used every means in his power to prevent it. There can be
no two opinions about this.

Chalmers went to Cape Blackwood, and the inevitable result followed. I
now give the exact wording of the official report, first notifying the
tragedy to Headquarters, and sent by Murray’s assistant, Jiear:--

  “SIR,

  “I have to report that the London Missionary Society’s schooner
  _Niue_ returned to Daru late last night from what was intended to
  be a trip to Cape Blackwood, and thence along the coast back to
  Daru. The captain of the _Niue_ states that on the 8th instant,
  while anchored off Risk Point on Goaribari Island, near the mouth
  of the River Omati, a party consisting of the Rev. James Chalmers,
  Rev. Oliver Tomkins, nine Mission students, natives of various
  villages on Kiwai Island, Naragi, the chief of Ipisia, and James
  Walker, a half-caste native of Torres Straits, left in their
  whaleboat and landed in a small creek near the village on the
  island. The landing took place about 7 a.m. on the 8th instant, and
  it was the intention of the party to return in about half an hour
  to have breakfast.

  “The party was totally unarmed. After waiting until about midday
  the _Niue_ moved off about half a mile to await the return of the
  party.

  “The _Niue_ was surrounded here by a large number of canoes, full
  of armed natives, who boarded the schooner and took away all the
  “trade,” tools, and clothing belonging to the Mission party. The
  _Niue_ stayed at this place until the next morning, and then sailed
  round the island, but could not see or hear anything of the party,
  and so the captain decided to return to Daru to report, taking
  seven days to reach here.

  “The natives were naked and had on their war paint, and were
  yelling the whole of the time the _Niue_ remained in the vicinity.

  “The people on the _Niue_ are quite sure that all the party were
  murdered.

  “The Resident Magistrate is at present away on a trip to the Bamu
  River district, and is probably not aware of the occurrence. I am
  therefore sending a small cutter with all the available police
  and some ex-constables, with the necessary arms and rations; also
  a report of the occurrence to him, in case he should see fit to
  proceed to the spot before returning to Daru.

            “I have, etc.,
                “A. H. JIEAR, Subcollector of Customs.”

From this dispatch, three things are clear:--

  1. Chalmers, Tomkins, and a considerable number of Christian
       natives, were in the hands of the Goaribari.

  2. A surmise might be made that they were already murdered, but
       there was not a single shred of evidence to that effect.

  3. Mr. Jiear clearly expected the Resident Magistrate at once to
       proceed to the spot and effect a rescue, if such rescue were
       yet possible; and for that purpose had sent additional police
       and reservists to strengthen the force that the R.M. then had
       with him.

How then would an experienced officer--such as the senior officer in
charge of a Division should be--have reasoned? The answer is plain.
He would have placed himself in the position of a chief of the tribe
holding the captives, and reasoned thus: “We have got a certain number
of a strange tribe in our hands, the vessel in which they came has
escaped, and probably fled back to that tribe with the news; before
we kill our captives, perhaps it would be better to wait a short time
and see what that tribe will do.” Never, in my opinion, was the need
of haste more evident; and how did Murray rise to the occasion? It
must be remembered that Chalmers’ party landed at Goaribari on the 7th
of April; well, on the 22nd of that month, while Murray was in the
Gulf, he was given a circumstantial account of the affair, and at once
started for Daru, which lay in the opposite direction; it is true that
he missed the cutter sent to him by Jiear, with additional police,
but he reached Daru on the 24th of April, when the news was confirmed
by his own assistant, and then wasted precious moments in sending a
report, of which I give the following extracts:--

“On hearing the fuller particulars, and from my knowledge of the
natives near that part, I could no longer believe that any of the party
were alive; and although I should have liked to have at once proceeded
to the spot, it was impossible; the means suitable for the conveyance
of even the small detachment of police under my command being wanting.

“I therefore decided to wait for the return of the _Niue_, or possibly
the arrival of the _Merrie England_, with your Excellency on board, as
it also occurred to me that you would wish to deal with such a grave
matter yourself; besides, all the survivors had departed in the _Niue_,
and thus I was left without a guide.”

And then he continues:--

“I may also mention that this massacre has created the intensest state
of sorrow, excitement, and revenge on the part of the Kiwai Island
natives, both for the death of Messrs. Chalmers and Tomkins, and for
the ten Kiwai boys who were with them. Their great desire was to be
allowed to muster all the large canoes on Kiwai, go to the spot, wipe
out the offending tribes, and bring their heads to Kiwai. I, of course,
informed them that I could not allow such a proceeding, and that the
Government would take care that the offenders were properly punished.”

Murray first shows that he had no means of transport, and then
conclusively proves that he had at his disposal a fleet of canoes,
capable of transporting a regiment from one end of New Guinea to the
other. And yet Murray sat doing nothing until the 26th of April, when
he reported:--

“At 3 p.m. on the 26th of April, the s.s. _Parua_ arrived from Thursday
Island, having on board a detachment of the Royal Australian Artillery
under Lieutenant Brown in connection with the massacre.”

Murray enclosed a copy of the letter brought to him by the soldiers
from the Officer Commanding at Thursday Island, which was as follows:--

  “SIR,

  “I have the honour to inform you that I have received instructions
  from the Artillery Staff Officer in Brisbane to furnish a
  detachment consisting of one officer, two non-commissioned
  officers, and eight gunners of the Royal Australian Artillery to
  leave here by the s.s. _Parua_ at daybreak to-morrow, 25th instant,
  to act in defence of the ship, and also protect, if required, the
  Resident Magistrate and his followers.

  “The detachment will be under the command of Lieut. Brown, Royal
  Australian Artillery, and are armed with rifles and 100 rounds per
  man. I have instructed Lieut. Brown to report to you on arrival and
  to place his detachment at your disposal, and act solely under your
  instructions.

            “I have, etc.,
                “WALTER A. COXEN. Captain, R.A.A.”

Murray now had at his command the strongest fighting force that
any district officer had ever had available in New Guinea: he had
twelve white soldiers, all picked shots; he had eighteen regular
constabulary, well armed, and he could have called up fifty or more
time-expired men of the constabulary, if he had required them; also as
many bowmen as he pleased, the latter in companies under the discipline
and control of village constables and Government chiefs, not a savage
horde, but a controlled force as well armed as the Goaribari. There
was no possible further excuse for delay: Murray’s alleged grounds for
such, namely, weakness of force and lack of transport, had been cut
from under his feet; but the only action taken by him was to steam for
Port Moresby, on the possible chance of finding the _Merrie England_
there, first forwarding this interesting epistle to the Officer
Commanding at Thursday Island:--

  “SIR,

  “In reply to your letter of the 24th April, I have the honour to
  inform you that the _Parua_ arrived to-day at 3 p.m. with the
  detachment of the R.A.A. under Lieut. Brown.

  “Even with the addition of the native contingent of police
  stationed here, I do not consider there would be sufficient force
  to cope with the villages concerned, certainly not as effectually
  as they should be.

  “I have therefore decided to proceed in the _Parua_ to Port
  Moresby, collect some more police there, then return to Daru, pick
  up my Daru police and interpreters; from Daru proceed to the place
  of the massacre.

  “I have instructed Lieutenant Brown to this effect.

            “I have, etc.,
                “C. G. MURRAY, R.M., W.D.”

In this report Murray clearly showed an entire lack of initiative,
judgment, nerve, or grasp of the situation. He was not in command of
a punitive expedition--such could always follow at a later date, if
the worst had happened--but of a force more than sufficient to effect
a rescue, if the missionaries were still alive, or so to overawe the
natives as to prevent their immediate murder. Another most imperative
reason for haste on Murray’s part was that the South-East Monsoon was
due, during which it was impossible for any landing to be effected at
Goaribari; in fact, it did come on while the _Merrie England_ was there
and expedited her departure, gravely endangering a launch and whaleboat
returning from the shore to the ship.

As a matter of fact, it was afterwards ascertained that Chalmers and
his party had been murdered soon after landing, and no action on
Murray’s part, however prompt, could have saved them; but nothing in
Murray’s then knowledge justified him in not taking immediate action to
ascertain whether they were killed or not; and nothing justifies the
Governor in not having called him to account for lack of initiative.
I do not wish to infer in this that Murray was guilty of personal
cowardice, for I knew him well, and he was no coward; but I do think
that the placing of a very young untried man in a responsible position,
and that a position in which he could not obtain the advice of older or
more experienced officers when grave matters affecting human life were
at stake, was a lamentable blunder, which brought about the foregone
and inevitable result. Had Moreton, Hely, or Armit been in charge of
the Western Division, or Sir William MacGregor been Governor of New
Guinea, I feel certain that Chalmers would not have been permitted to
meet his death in such a way.

Murray reached Port Moresby, only to find that the Governor and the
_Merrie England_ had already left for Goaribari, to which point
Sir Francis Winter then instructed him to proceed. The following
telegram from the Lieutenant-Governor of New Guinea to the Governor of
Queensland gives a concise history of the action then taken:--

            “S.Y. _Merrie England_, off Cape Blackwood.
                “Gulf of Papua, 5th May, 1901.

  “_Merrie England_ was starting for Cooktown 27th April in
  accordance with my telegram of that date, when London Missionary
  Society’s schooner _Niue_ arrived Port Moresby, reporting massacre
  of Mission party and looting of the schooner at Goaribari Island,
  mouth of Omati River, 12 miles west of Cape Blackwood, Gulf of
  Papua, on 8th April, hitherto hardly known and not yet under
  Government control, visited by Sir William MacGregor in 1892 and
  1898. I should have visited it two months ago if I had not been
  called away to North-East by death of Armit, R.M., and murder of
  miners on Upper Kumusi, in which case it would probably not have
  happened. I left at daylight 28th in _Merrie England_ with _Ruby_
  launch in tow, Government party and Rev. Hunt, L.M.S., called at
  Hall Sound for additions to party and Rev. Dauncey, L.M.S. Smaller
  steamer _Parua_ chartered by Queensland Government joined us off
  Orokolo 1st May with Murray, R.M., Western Division and detachment
  of R.A. under Lieutenant Brown from Thursday Island _viâ_ Daru
  and Port Moresby. Proceeded together to island, arrived noon 2nd
  May, _Merrie England_ anchored three and a half miles outside,
  and _Parua_ entering channel inside island, low and thick bush,
  five miles across. Boats landed at three villages simultaneously,
  natives immediately commenced hostilities. We fired on them and
  occupied villages, total killed twenty-four and three wounded
  as far as is known. No casualties in our party except native
  constable on sentry at night slightly wounded by sniping arrow.
  Captured one prisoner belonging to neighbouring island. Obtained
  names of principal murderers and villages concerned. Mission
  party consisting of Chalmers, Tomkins, a native chief of Kiwai
  Fly River Estuary and ten Kiwai Mission boys all killed and
  eaten and whaleboat broken up at Dopima Island, where massacre
  planned. Some articles and pieces of boat recovered, some human
  remains not recognizable. After careful consideration I decided
  to visit all villages on island and vicinity, reported to be
  implicated, burning the large fighting men’s houses but no other
  dwelling-houses of women and children. Villages at top of soft mud,
  thick impracticable bush and swamp behind, very strong tides. Found
  it impossible to get prisoners. Ten villages, nearly all large,
  visited by us. Camped night in two of them. Burnt all fighting
  men’s houses, except in the prisoner’s village, small, spared on
  account of assistance given by him. Some fighting canoes destroyed.
  Regret to say at last village visited by one party, wind sprung up
  after large house fired and carried flames to several other houses,
  purely accidental. Returned to ship evening fourth. South-east
  fortunately held off, as coast unapproachable during it. Can do
  nothing further until next North-West season, when I shall return.
  There will be no further fighting or burning. I am satisfied this
  is last massacre of this kind on coast of British New Guinea.
  Regret nature of punishment but action absolutely necessary at
  once, and best in the end. Further report will follow, but above
  contains all material particulars. Please convey my best thanks
  to Queensland Government for prompt action in sending _Parua_ and
  assistance to Murray, and to Commandant Defence Force my grateful
  appreciation of Lieutenant Brown and the men under his command.
  _Parua_ leaves this morning fifth for Thursday Island for coal.
  Return Port Moresby and send ship Cooktown for stores, and finish
  eastern cruise as formerly arranged on her return.

  “To his Excellency Lord Lamington, G.C.M.G., Brisbane.”

Then, if we take the following statement made by the only prisoner
taken at the time, we have the whole history of the events which took
place up to the departure of the punitive party from Goaribari on board
the _Merrie England_.

Statement of Kemere of Dubumuba, taken prisoner at Dopima, Goaribari
Island:--

  “The name of the village that I was captured in is Dopima. I,
  however, belong to Dubumuba, a village on Baiba Bari Island. I,
  myself, was not present at the massacre; only the big men of the
  village went. I have, however, heard all about it. My father,
  Marawa, sent me to Dopima to get a tomahawk to build a canoe. The
  name of the village you camped in the first night is Turotere.
  The first suggestion for massacring the L.M.S. party came from
  Garopo, off whose village, Dopima, the _Niue_ was anchored. Word
  was at once sent round that night to villages in the vicinity to
  come to help. It is the usual custom for people of surrounding
  villages, when a large boat is sighted, to congregate in one place.
  The following villages were implicated: Dopima, Turotere, Bai-ia,
  Aidio, Eheubi, Goari-ubi, Aimaha, Gewari-Bari, Ubu-Oho, Dubumuba.
  The next morning all the canoes went off and persuaded Messrs.
  Chalmers and Tomkins and party to come on shore in the whaleboat.
  Some of the natives remained to loot the _Niue_. When they got on
  shore Messrs. Chalmers and Tomkins and a few boys entered the long
  house, the rest of the boys remaining to guard the boat. These
  last, however, were also enticed inside the house on pretence of
  giving them something to eat. The signal for a general massacre was
  given by knocking simultaneously from behind both Messrs. Chalmers
  and Tomkins on the head with stone clubs. This was performed in the
  case of the former by Iake of Turotere, in that of the latter by
  Arau-u of Turotere. Kaiture, of Dopima, then stabbed Mr. Chalmers
  in the right side with a cassowary dagger, and then Muroroa cut off
  his head. Ema cut off Mr. Tomkins’ head. They both fell senseless
  at the first blow of the clubs. Some names of men concerned in the
  murder of the rest of the party are: Baibi, Adade, Emai, Utuamu,
  and Amuke, all of Dopima; also Wahaga and Ema, both of Turotere.

  “All the heads were immediately cut off. We, however, lost one
  man, Gahibai, of Dopima. He was running to knock a big man [Note:
  this must be Naragi, chief of Ipisia] on the head, when the latter
  snatched a stone club from a man standing near, and killed Gahibai.
  He (Naragi) was, however, immediately overpowered. The other boys
  were too small to make any resistance. In the meantime the people
  in canoes left at the _Niue_ had come back after looting her of
  all the tomahawks, etc. This party was led by Kautiri, of Dopima.
  Finding the party on shore dead, it was determined to go back to
  the _Niue_ and kill those on board. However, the _Niue_ got under
  way, and left, so they could not accomplish their purpose. I think
  the crew of the _Niue_ were frightened at the noise on shore. Then
  Pakara, of Aimaha, called out to all the people to come and break
  up the boat, which had been taken right inside the creek, it being
  high water. This was done, and the pieces were divided amongst
  people from the various villages. Pakara is the man who followed
  and talked to you in the Aimaha Creek for a long time. Directly
  the heads had been cut off the bodies, some men cut the latter up
  and handed the pieces over to the women to cook, which they did,
  mixing the flesh with sago. They were eaten the same day.

  “Gebai has got Mr. Chalmers’ head at Dopima, and Mahikaha has got
  Mr. Tomkins’ head at Turotere. The rest of the heads are divided
  amongst various individuals. Anybody having a new head would
  naturally, on seeing strange people coming to the village, hide
  them away in the bush, and leave only the old skulls in the houses.
  The same applies to the loot from the _Niue_.

  “As regards the skulls in the houses, those having artificial noses
  attached to them are of people who have died natural deaths; those
  that have no noses attached have been killed.”

  “Taken by me

            C. G. MURRAY, R.M., W.D.”

Time went on: Murray, who had only taken the billet while he waited
for a more congenial appointment, heard of a private secretaryship in
South Africa and promptly left for there; Jiear, whose sole experience
in handling natives had been gained under Murray, succeeded him as
R.M.; Sir George Le Hunte was appointed Governor of South Australia
and departed; and a young lawyer, Christopher Stansfield Robinson, who
had but recently been appointed Chief Justice in lieu of Sir Francis
Winter, recently resigned, acted as Administrator; it had always been
the custom in New Guinea for the Chief Justice to perform that duty
in the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor, in place--as in most Crown
Colonies--of the Colonial Secretary. Robinson was a young man, for
whom one might reasonably predict a brilliant career. He was the son
of the Venerable Archdeacon Robinson of Brisbane, and therefore his
early training had been hardly that of the swashbuckler he was later
made out to be; but Robinson had not previously been in command of
other men, nor had he any administrative experience. That he was a
humane man was proved by the fact that almost his first work was to
endeavour to improve the conditions under which the European miners
on the gold-fields lived; his second, to prepare Amendments to the
Native Labour Ordinance, with a view to better care being taken of
native indentured labourers; and his third, to endeavour to better the
conditions under which the officers in the Service worked.

At the time Sir George Le Hunte left, the heads of Chalmers and Tomkins
were still in the hands of the Goaribari natives, and some of the
actual murderers were still uncaptured, although the men and their
names were known. It was essential, in Robinson’s opinion, that the
heads should be recovered, and the murderers apprehended and brought to
trial; for, even in the eyes of the natives of the Western Division,
the killing of the Mission party had not been an act of war or revenge,
but patently a cold-blooded treacherous murder of men who were, at the
time, in the position of guests and entitled to the protection of the
very men by whom they were done to death. Robinson decided to go to
Goaribari and get the murderers and heads.

The point of interest now is the composition of his party: firstly,
Robinson himself, Governor of the Possession and in Supreme Command,
but quite inexperienced in the work he was undertaking; next, Jiear,
R.M. of the Division, to whom the Governor would naturally look for
advice and guidance in the matter; but Jiear, as I have already shown,
was also inexperienced, being only a Customs clerk, who had suddenly
found himself in the position of officer in charge of a Division,
after a short training under a man as ignorant as himself. Next we
have Bruce, Commandant of Constabulary, also a recent arrival in
the country, inexperienced in dealing with natives, a soldier pure
and simple, and incompetent to advise as to any action other than a
purely military movement; lastly, Jewell, secretary to Robinson, a
young Englishman recently imported by Sir George Le Hunte, and until
now, engaged in copying letters in the Government Secretary’s Office.
Robinson, Bruce, and Jewell had all arrived in New Guinea at the same
time. There was, therefore, on board the _Merrie England_, from the
Administrator downwards, not one man who had previously been engaged
in similar work to that which they were about to attempt; the ship’s
officers do not count, as they have nothing to do with either the
planning or carrying out of district work.

Robinson told me, when he was with me in the Northern Division, what he
purposed in the way of recovering the heads and arresting the men in
the Western Division; and I expressed a hope that he would take one of
the more experienced officers with him, and volunteered to accompany
him as A.D.C., for I had some leave due to me and was prepared to spend
it in that way. I was, however, at the time very weak from protracted
malaria, work and worry; so his Excellency said, “You are worn out and
need change and rest; take your leave and go south.”

Judge Robinson went to Goaribari in 1903, within a year of his
appointment. Soon after their arrival a number of natives were
induced, by the display and gift of trade goods, to go on board the
_Merrie England_; among them were several of the men who had actually
participated in the murders, and were identified by a Goaribari man,
whom they had brought back with them in the ship. It was decided that,
upon a given signal, these men were to be seized by the constabulary.
This was done: a violent struggle then began on different parts of the
ship’s deck, between the suddenly grabbed men and the police; the other
natives fled over the side into their canoes, and then, in conjunction
with their friends in other canoes, opened arrow fire on the ship, upon
whose deck the struggle was still going on. The constabulary promptly
answered with rifle fire; by whom the first order to fire was given
has never been quite clear. Several natives were hit, others jumped
overboard from their canoes and swam for the shore. Every man on that
ship, with one exception, then lost his head: Robinson grabbed his
rifle and began wildly blazing at every canoe in sight; Jewell saw a
man hit with a bullet, and promptly went into screeching hysteria; what
the R.M. did, Heaven and he alone know; some of the European crew of
the ship took shelter in the chart house and other refuges, and one of
the officers, at least, got his fowling-piece and blazed away. Bruce
alone kept his head, ordered the “cease fire,” and thumped every man
he found firing; but most of the men were out of sight of one another
behind deck houses, etc., and each man imagined that, as long as the
firing continued, a fight was going on and blazed away. As a matter of
fact, I am convinced that the damage done to the Goaribari was very
slight; canoes were emptied, but principally by the men in them diving
over the side and making for the shore. The Governor, at the best, was
a vile shot; the detachment of constabulary on board came from the
Central Division, where, under Captain Barton’s régime, their musketry
practice had become a farce, and Bruce had not had time as yet to get
it up again.

The _Merrie England_ returned to Port Moresby: the European crew, most
of whom had been planted in safe security, described the dreadful
battle in which they had taken part; the constabulary bragged of their
prowess, and the number of Goaribari each individual had shot; many of
the police were related to the tribe from which the Kiwai boys came who
had been murdered with Chalmers, and therefore were only too prone to
magnify their deeds for the benefit of their relations; while Jewell’s
hysteria had evolved at least ten men shot by the Governor, from the
one he had seen struck by a bullet, fired by some hand unknown.

Now appears upon the scene the Rev. Charles Abel of the London
Missionary Society, on his way south to incur the greatest danger he
was ever likely to shove his head into, namely, that of being choked
to death at some suburban muffin worry, or dying from mental strain
induced by the necessity of telling tales of dire peril incurred
in his work, or clergyman’s sore throat from relating stories of
cannibalism and crime. He had not been within hundreds of miles of
Goaribari, but on his way down the Queensland coast he found an
enterprising reporter, and unburdened his soul of a circumstantial tale
of treachery, bloody murder and slaughter, on the part of the Governor
of New Guinea. “Nothing less than a Royal Commission will satisfy the
European population of Port Moresby; their indignation is profound,”
he announced, and quite forgot to say that the European population of
Port Moresby consisted of a handful of public officials, half of whom
were jealous of so young a man as Robinson being put over their heads,
and that the rest of the men were profoundly uninterested in the whole
affair.

It was a dull season at the time for the Australian papers; they had
not had a fight in their Parliaments, or a sensational murder for some
time. Here was a chance of selling their rags! Never mind sacrificing a
good man, on the unsubstantial hearsay statement of an individual whose
living greatly depended upon his power of romancing. The Press fairly
howled for the head of Robinson, as did also certain Australian members
of Parliament; according to them, he was a man to whom the Emperor Nero
or Captain Kidd were as angels in comparison; while happy comparisons
were drawn between the _Merrie England_ and the “blood-drenched
_Carl_, brig,” a notorious and particularly infamous early Australian
“black birder.” The Administration in Australia bowed to the storm,
votes might be at stake, and the announcement was made that a Royal
Commission would be appointed to inquire into the matter, and that
though Robinson would not in the meantime be suspended, he would be
summoned to Sydney, while an Administrator would at once be sent to
succeed him. Practically the attitude of the authorities amounted to
this: “We intend to offer up Robinson as a sacrifice, but we must
give him some form of trial before we judge and immolate him; in the
meantime we will fill his job, in case there should be any doubt as to
our intentions.”

Sir George Le Hunte was then asked to suggest the name of an officer,
then in the Service, suitable as an Administrator; and his Excellency
replied, “Captain Barton.” This was rubbing it into Judge Robinson with
a vengeance; Captain Barton was a junior magistrate, under Robinson
in both his judicial and administrative capacities, and he was now to
regard Barton as his chief. Jewell was transferred to Captain Barton as
private secretary. Robinson had fallen, unheard and untried, from the
highest position in the country to that of a man looked at with eyes
askance by those by whom he had formerly been regarded with awe, and
who now were afraid that they might possibly become involved in his
downfall.

Now, to Robinson there only appeared to be one course left, and he took
it. Every vessel brought fresh gusts of execration against him from
Australia; Bruce alone in Port Moresby sympathized with him; Moreton
and myself, the only two men he could call friends in the Service,
were hundreds of miles away, ignorant of his plight, and in any case
powerless to help; the very native servants at Government House knew
that he was a disgraced man, and that on the morrow the Jack on the
flagstaff would fly in honour of another, while he went in humiliation
to trial and possible dishonour. Whilst all the house was plunged in
sleep, Robinson sat late at night writing an account of his views and
actions, and the troubles of his Administratorship, and concluded by
fully accepting all responsibility for the action taken at Goaribari,
and exonerating all others concerned. He then took his revolver, and
walking out under the flagstaff, there blew out his brains. So died
Christopher Stansfield Robinson, first Australian Administrator of New
Guinea, murdered as clearly as ever a man was murdered, by the lying
sensation-mongers who had hounded him to a suicide’s grave.

The Royal Commission was held, and the officer concerned exonerated
from blame; Robinson had gone to answer for his act and alleged misdeed
at the Highest Court of all, the Court before which his traducers will
some day stand and be judged. The surprised man was the Rev. Charles
Abel; he was proceeding south to give evidence, when he suddenly heard
that the Judge, by whom the Royal Commission was conducted, held
the--to him--extraordinary view, that the evidence of a man who had
been at the time six hundred miles distant from the scene, and only
heard various garbled versions at second, third, fourth and fifth hand,
was not admissible. This was hard luck for Abel! He had made himself
prominent in the limelight as a principal performer on the stage, and
suddenly the stage manager said, “What is that super doing there? Send
him back to his own job of selling programmes!” Robinson, however, had
gone; nothing now could bring him back.

Apart from the loss to the Service caused by Robinson’s death, a very
bad example had been set, and the Service and public had been taught
that clamour, abuse and misrepresentation, if sufficiently persisted
in, could pull down any officer, however highly placed, even to the
King’s Representative; and soon indeed, later, Barton, the Governor;
Ballantine, the Treasurer; and Bruce, the Commandant, all went down
before the same methods.



CHAPTER XXII


I find that I have wandered too far in advance of my time, and also
away from the North-Eastern Division. Some six months after I had
opened the new Station at Cape Nelson, the Government Secretary, the
Judge and Treasurer, and in addition, my old enemies of the Government
Store, all came down upon me for irregularities in making and sending
in Court and Gaol returns, copies of the Station Journal, and receipts
for stores received: the Treasurer and Government Store-keeper
complained bitterly that I was seriously delaying the clerical work of
their Department in consequence. I reported that nothing else was to
be expected; that I had an enormous new district to bring into order,
the work in which necessitated frequent and long absences from my
Station, and that when I was away, my Station was solely in charge of
a Corporal of Native Constabulary, who could neither read nor write,
and I begged that a Malay or Manilla man, like Lario or Basilio, might
be sent to me to act as native clerk and overseer. The Governor was
away in Australia, and the Judge in the Western Division; accordingly
Mr. Musgrave dealt with my request. In due course, a vessel came in
bringing a sallow, lank, unwholesome-looking youth of about twenty
years of age, a cockney, bearing a letter from Muzzy saying that he was
to act for me as clerk and overseer.

“Do you know anything about book-keeping?” I asked him. “No, your
worship,” he replied. “Don’t call me that, except in Court, you
fat-head; Sir is quite enough,” I said. “Do you understand building?
There is much of that going on at present.” “No!” was the reply.
“Agriculture, then? We grow most of our food here.” “No!” ”Drill?”
“No!” “Can you shoot?” “No!” “What in Heaven’s name can you do?” I
asked; “surely something?” “I was a fishmonger’s boy in London; then I
got a job as steward on a tramp steamer; I left her at Thursday Island,
and learnt billiard marking in a pub there, while I was employed as
a waiter; then, hearing that there were some billiard tables in Port
Moresby, I went there to try for a job; I could not get employment,
and went to the Government Secretary to apply for a free passage
out of the country, and he sent me here.” “Holy Moses!” I said to
myself, “this is exactly what I expected Muzzy to do; I suppose I
am lucky that he did not send me a mid-wife!” “You don’t seem very
promising material for me to work upon,” I remarked aloud, “but I will
see what we can make of you. First, I will render you able to defend
yourself. Sergeant, take away this man and teach him to shoot; then
tell off a couple of men to teach him to swim.” “What will the police
call me?” he asked; “Sir or Mister?” “Hoity toity!” I said, “this is
beginning early! What were you called when you were a waiter?” “Bert.”
“Very good. Bert you will be to the constabulary, until we have made
something of you; and I shall call you by your surname without any
prefix at all.” “Shall I live with you or the constabulary?” he next
queried. “I don’t like niggers.” I saw my orderly, who was standing
stiffly at attention, watching for an opportunity to tell me something,
give a quick glance at the sergeant, who still waited with a motionless
face. “With neither,” I replied; “I will send the gaoler into barracks
and give you his house, until we have one of your own built. But
remember this: the term nigger, as applied to a native of this country,
is strictly forbidden; it is an objectionable term of contempt, and
especially so when applied to men wearing the King’s uniform. You have
already done yourself harm by using it in the presence of men who are
at present in the position of your teachers.”

I was at my Station for about a month after that, endeavouring to make
the man useful, but he was exceedingly useless for anything except
copying letters and keeping check of the stores that had been used.
I then went away for a couple of weeks, and on my return found that
a blackguard, beach-combing trader, whom I had once gaoled for four
months and whom Sir Francis Winter had also incarcerated for another
period, had called at the Station and fraternized with the agreeable
“Bert”; the pair of them had then scandalized the whole Station by
going on a wild drunk for three days and nights, during which period,
the constabulary told me, a large whaler had passed the Cape, filled,
they believed, with runaway carriers from the gold-fields. The police
had not cared to leave the Station while the drunken riot was going on,
for fear that the drunks should do some damage either to themselves
or the Station, therefore the whaler passed unchallenged. I was
exceedingly annoyed; the more so, that recently I had been keeping a
strict watch on large and strange canoes or boats passing, on account
of a habit miners’ carriers had developed of stealing their employers’
fire-arms and goods, and making a bolt for their homes in either stolen
boats or canoes. They then, in some instances, added to their crimes
by shooting stray natives or plundering the gardens of small, weak,
outlying villages; on one occasion the offenders had had impudence
enough to refuse to produce or surrender their stolen fire-arms, when
they were overhauled by my whaleboat, under command of my corporal;
and it was not until the corporal had ordered the police to load their
rifles, and had clearly shown that he meant fight, that they yielded
to the superior force. “Bert” begged hard to be let off this time,
and swore that he would be good in future; he wailed that he had been
lonely and miserable when the trader arrived, and, in his joy at having
a white man to talk to, had lost his head.

I overlooked his offence upon that occasion, at the same time
administering a severe reprimand; but his culminating act came when,
on my next absence, a large canoe was sighted, and he went in the
whaleboat with the police in pursuit. When they got within a short
distance of the canoe, the police hailed her and found she was a Kaili
Kaili canoe loaded with fish, which her crew were in a great hurry
to land and smoke; the constabulary told “Bert” this, whereupon he
demanded that the canoe should stop and give him some fish. The Kaili
Kaili did not like him in the first instance, and, in the second,
they knew that he had no right to demand their fish so they continued
on their way; whereupon the jackass fired several shots at them with
a rifle, fortunately killing no one. Upon my return, an indignant
deputation of Kaili Kaili waited upon me to know why “the man without
either strength or sense” had fired at them. I sent for “Bert” and
demanded an explanation, which he gave thus: “These natives don’t treat
me with enough respect; I must do something to show my authority.”
Accordingly, I showed my own authority by telling him to pack his goods
and get away next day to Samarai, by the s.s. _President_.

To that point I also went in the same vessel, with the intention of
trying to find a more suitable man. I did get one, a splendid chap
named William Mayne, a Scotch ex-ship’s carpenter, who had gone broke
at the gold-fields, got loaded up with fever, and wanted to recuperate.
He was, like most Scotsmen, a man of good education. I made him
acting gaoler and overseer, pending the Governor’s approval. When the
_Merrie England_ with Sir George arrived, some months afterwards, I
sang Mayne’s praises. “A really good man, sir; he can repair a boat
and build a house; he has taught some of my men blacksmithing and
armourers’ work; he keeps his books well and cleanly, and only gets
drunk on New Year’s Eve. He has an old certificate of character from
a Scotch minister, and all his ship’s discharges are marked V.G.” “He
seems to be the very man I require as Head Gaoler and Overseer of Works
at Samarai,” said his Excellency; “I have had great difficulty in
finding a suitable man for the post.” “But, sir,” I wailed, “I found
him, and really I cannot get on with ex-billiard markers, waiters or
tailors; they are no use to me, and they get on my nerves the whole
time.” The Governor laughed. “I shall not ask you to,” he said; “I
will give you a full Assistant R.M., young, strong, competent, and a
gentleman. Barton, send Mr. Yaldwyn here.” Yaldwyn came, was introduced
to me, and then left the cabin. “He will do, sir,” I said, “I like his
cut.” Poor Yaldwyn! I did not foresee, within a few months, firstly,
his disgrace, and then his death.

Yaldwyn proved to be an uncommonly cheerful and bright person; nothing
ever made him down-hearted, and the more I worked him the better
he liked it. He became very popular on the Station, both with the
constabulary, prisoners, and natives at large; he was perpetually doing
them small kindnesses. A child of the wife of one of my constabulary
would be sick, Yaldwyn would mix up condensed milk or meat lozenges for
her, and show her how to give them. Once, an elderly prisoner moped and
pined, and Yaldwyn came to me. “Old so-and-so is bad, I think he should
be let go.” “Do you, Mr. Yaldwyn? But only the Governor has power to
remit a sentence once passed,” I remarked. “Yes, I know; but he won’t
be here for months, and the poor old blighter, who has only got six
months, will die unless he sees his home, he’s fretting awfully; do let
him go for a week or two.” “Can’t be done, my dear man, by the visiting
justice for gaols. I am here to administer and uphold the law, not
to break it,” I said. The first time he turned dolefully away; then
I called him back. “Mr. Yaldwyn, I am going to Cape Vogel to-morrow,
and shall be away for a fortnight; if so-and-so should happen to spend
that time in his village, and be safe in gaol and in good health upon
my return, of course I cannot be expected to know of it, and it is no
one else’s business.” “Yes, but you would know; you always find out
everything,” he said. “Perhaps if you dropped a hint to my orderly that
I did not wish to know on this occasion, I might remain in ignorance;
in fact, I might be even as dense as you appear to be!” Yaldwyn thought
for a moment, then permitted himself the liberty of winking at his
superior officer before departing. Yaldwyn loved to sing, and thought
he had a singer’s voice. He had: it was as bad as mine--only useful
for scaring crows! As a general rule, I forbade him to sing; but when
I felt unusually cheerful and strong, I would permit him a stave or
two in the evening. He would begin “Maid of Athens,” in a bass that
shook the window, and then wander into a rusty baritone, streaked with
falsetto screeches. On one occasion, after suffering in silence for
quite ten minutes, I broke in upon the melody. “Yaldwyn, did your voice
ever break when you were a boy?” I asked. “Yes, of course it did. Why?”
“Because I wondered why your parents did not have it mended with giant
cement or seccotine or something,” I remarked, as I went off to the
barracks, leaving him thinking. When I returned, half an hour later, I
found him chuckling, having at last grasped my very feeble joke. “I’ve
seen it,” he said, “it is very clever; I’ve written it down to use on
some one else!”

Some time afterwards, Macdonnell, district surveyor, was attached to
the North-Eastern Division staff; he had a very nice trained voice,
and was in the habit of singing as he worked at his plans. He came to
me one day and said, “I say, R.M., is Yaldwyn all there?” “Yes,” I
answered, “a little slow in the uptake, but he has plenty of brains.
Why do you ask?” “Oh,” replied the surveyor, “I was singing at my work
just now, when he came in and looked at a piece of paper; then he said
to me, ‘Why did your parents not have your voice mended with cement or
gum?’ and sat down and roared with laughter. When I said that I could
see no joke, and only thought the remark rude and pointless, he said it
was something very clever you had said to him.” “I did say something of
the sort, I remember now; but you tell him a story and then hear him
repeat it later, and you will understand,” I replied.

Shortly after Yaldwyn’s arrival, I went to Samarai in search of Mr.
Macdonnell and his assistant, both of whom had been appointed to
the North-Eastern Division some time before, and had failed to put
in an appearance. I found them there, engaged with a boat’s crew of
six survey boys, superintending the reclamation of land; they had a
whaleboat and full camp equipment. They had received instructions from
the Chief Government Surveyor to proceed by steamer to Samarai, do
any little thing that required doing there, and then come on to the
North-Eastern Division, where I had plenty of work for them. “What the
dickens are you doing here?” I asked Macdonnell. “You are a charge upon
my Division, the poorest in the Possession, and here you are doing
gratuitous work for the richest!” “The fact is,” he answered, “there
has not been an opportunity of getting up to you.” “You had your whaler
and crew,” I replied, “and it’s a fair wind all the way at this time
of year; trot out another excuse.” “I can’t get Turner, my assistant,
away; he has fallen in love with the publican’s daughter, and spends
all his time spooning with her. He has got a couple of hundred a year
of his own, as well as his pay, and is deuced independent.” “Oh, he is,
is he!” I said; “well, we sail at midnight, with or without him.”

Moreton, R.M., was away on leave, and Symons acting in his place;
accordingly, I went to him. “Mr. Symons, I want the _Siai_ to take
the Survey party and myself to Cape Nelson.” “I am very sorry, but
I can’t let you have her without orders from Headquarters,” he said.
“I will give you a written requisition for the vessel’s services,” I
replied. Symons would not let me have her, however; afterwards I heard
that he had arranged a picnic party on board her for the white women
of Samarai, for two days ahead; it was a case of while the cat, in
the shape of the R.M., was away, he--the mouse--was to play. I then
chartered a cutter for Cape Nelson, and sent Macdonnell a formal notice
that we left, as previously arranged, at midnight. He replied, that
Turner had said that he could not be ready, and would not come. “Very
good, Mr. Macdonnell,” I said, “he is your subordinate, not mine;
but you, your whaler and boat’s crew, come with me. I shall report
to Headquarters, that Mr. Turner having refused duty, I shall act as
your assistant myself until a substitute is sent to you, or lend you
Yaldwyn. I shall also report that I have taken upon myself to suspend
Mr. Turner, until the decision of the Chief Government Surveyor be
known.” Turner then resigned himself to his fate and the missing of
Symons’ picnic, and sailed with us.

I had taken a strong liking to Macdonnell, who was a most pleasant
companion, and on one occasion, I flatter myself, I saved his life. As
we were very crowded and he was a much older man than the others, I
asked him to share my bedroom, for I had a spare field bed and there
was plenty of room for two. One night, a beastly hot close night with a
thunder-storm on the point of bursting, we both woke up sweating from
the heat, and Macdonnell said he would go into the next room and get
a whisky; I declined, and he left to help himself; then, changing my
mind, I got up and followed him into the ante-room. He always drank his
whisky--Scotch custom--neat, and took the water afterwards; he poured
out a tot and waited a minute while I did the same, then, just as I
poured water into mine and started with surprise at seeing it turn a
milky white and hastily sniffed at it, he tossed his off. I did not
wait to look at him--he had got hold of a whisky bottle full of pure
carbolic acid, which I had filled that day, and had never noticed the
large red “Poison” I had written across it--but I made one jump for
the medicine shelf, snatched down a pint bottle of olive oil, shoved
him on to his back, and poured the oil down his throat; then, yelling
loudly for Yaldwyn and Turner, I found and poured about half a pint
of Ipecacuanha wine after it. “Is it burning?” I asked. “No,” gasped
Macdonnell, “only my lips.” Yaldwyn and Turner appeared. “Macdonnell’s
poisoned by carbolic acid,” I said, “bring me a pound of butter, and
tell my cook to make a quart of luke-warm salt and water, and tell him
to jump like hell about it, or I’ll murder him.”

The butter came, of course in a semi-melted state, as tinned butter
always was, there; then, with my fingers I began to cram it into his
mouth and throat. “I shall be sick,” groaned Macdonnell, as he tried
to shove me away. “You infernal idiot,” I replied, “that is just what
I want you to be.” Then came the hastily prepared luke-warm salt and
water. “Down with this,” I told him. He took a gulp or two. “I can’t,”
he gasped, “it’s too beastly.” “If you don’t take it,” I said, “Yaldwyn
and I will belt the very life out of you.” He got it down, though, at
the finish, he was swelling like a bull frog. “Can you be sick now?” I
asked. “No,” he said. “Hell!” said Yaldwyn, “either his guts are clean
burnt out, or he has got an inside like an ostrich!” “Get some cotton
wool and some string,” I ordered. “What are you going to do now?”
asked the unfortunate victim. “Shove the cotton wool down your gullet,
and haul it up and down, until that copper-lined still, you call your
stomach, rejects something,” I said. “Help me to the edge of the
verandah,” said Macdonnell. “Verandah be damned; be sick here on the
floor at once if you can,” I ordered. He shoved two fingers down his
throat, and then vomited like Jonah’s whale. I retired hastily, and did
a minor performance on my own account, from sympathy. Macdonnell went
on at intervals, once he had begun, for quite two hours; then he got
better and complained of hunger. “As much milk as you like until midday
to-morrow, but nothing else,” I said. The sole ill-effects Macdonnell
suffered from half a gill of pure carbolic acid were badly burnt lips,
where the oil had not at first touched, as it had been poured direct
into his mouth from the bottle.

I have mentioned an approaching thunder-storm as the reason of
Macdonnell and myself wandering from our room in search of the drink
that had such dire effects upon him. Well, Cape Nelson, and in especial
the point upon which our Station was built, was very subject to
thunder-storms; and, until I at length induced the Government to give
me a lightning conductor for my house, it was our invariable custom,
when a really bad one came on, to bolt for the gaol or lower ground,
where the lightning apparently never struck. When Captain Barton was
staying with me after the first Doriri expedition, I had, stored in
my house, several cases of gelignite and dynamite, which I used for
blasting a road up a rocky precipice; when it first arrived I noticed
that the nitro-glycerine was oozing through the paper covers of the
cartridges, and that it was really unsafe; but, as it had been very
expensive, I did not like destroying it as my Station could not afford
a further supply, and I knew that the Government Store people would
swear it was quite good, and that I should get no refund; accordingly,
I found a place for it in my house, where I could keep an eye on it,
and watch whether it got worse.

One night there came on a most awful thunder-storm, and I thought of
the stuff and showed it to Barton. “You understand high explosives,” I
said; “there is enough gelignite here to blow this house and ourselves
into atoms so small that one would have to search the universe at large
with a fine tooth-comb to find any remains. I am doubtful as to the
effect of an electrical disturbance upon it; have a look at it.” Barton
looked. “The stuff is fairly oozing nitro-glycerine; get rid of it, or
put it in a safe place at once, is my advice.” I called my orderly,
Private Oia, and told him to get a couple of men and remove the stuff
with great care to a safe place. “Where shall I put it, sir?” he asked.
“Oh, chuck it into the sea,” I replied. “Very good, sir,” and he called
a couple of men and removed the boxes. Twenty minutes later there came
a terrific flash of lightning; deafening thunder and an awful sound
on the iron roof of the house followed instantaneously. My flagstaff,
seventy feet high and three feet thick at the base, situated only
twenty feet away from the house, had been struck and splintered into
shivers, some as small as wooden matches, which had fairly rained on
the roof. “Thank the Lord,” I remarked, as we gazed at the spot where
once had stood that lordly pole, “that we had first got rid of that
gelignite.”

The next morning, I walked into the storeroom under the house, and
the first thing my eyes lighted upon was the gelignite! My very blood
froze! “Oia,” I yelled, “come here and be killed!” “What is the matter,
sir?” asked he. “I told you to remove that stuff to a safe place, and
you have put it here. Do you call this a safe place?” I asked. “You
told me, sir, to put it in a safe place; there was nowhere else I could
put it last night without it getting wet; and when I asked you where
I was to put it, you told me with the double meaning you often use,
[_i.e._ irony] ‘to put it in the sea.’” Oia, poor man, had thought I
was being sarcastic at his expense, by way of impressing on his mind
the necessity of keeping the stuff extra dry.

The time came for me to go again to Samarai, a quinsy in my throat
forcing me to visit the nearest doctor--Vaughan, medical officer at
Samarai. Vaughan was not really a fully qualified doctor, but was a man
who had been for a length of time in the Indian Medical Service, in
which he had gained a considerable amount of experience. He had come to
the country as the manager of a company, which he had formed himself
in Australia, to exploit the rubber lands of the Musa River, but his
company had gone bang, and Sir George Le Hunte had appointed him to
act as medical officer at Samarai; this appointment was afterwards
much questioned, but really at the time there was no duly qualified
man available. Moreton, R.M., was back, and accordingly--as of old--I
took up my quarters with him. In gossiping with Vaughan, who, by the
way, was a great friend of the Rev. Charles Abel, he told me that the
Mission had got hold of some serious outrages perpetrated by miners in
Milne Bay, and in which they alleged Symons was concerned. “But Moreton
is in entire ignorance of all this,” I said. “Yes, Abel is going to
spring it on the Governor, upon his return from Australia,” said
Vaughan. “That is a nice Christian performance,” I thought, and then
said to Vaughan: “It is probably only some cock-and-bull Mission yarn.”
He answered, “It is nothing of the sort, I know the evidence they have
got.” “Pooh! Medical officers are like missionaries, hardly competent
to know what is evidence and what is assertion or mere rumour.” Vaughan
had a warm temper, and I saw that I was working him the right way. “If
I had not promised Abel not to say anything definite about the charges,
I would soon shatter your self-conceited sufficiency,” he snapped. “All
right, don’t get warm, I am going to look at my men,” I replied. “I’ll
leave you sitting on your mare’s nest,” and off I went, leaving Vaughan
snorting.

I then strolled over to the house Moreton had allotted to my men;
they were sitting, chatting and smoking, on the verandah. “I hear,”
I said, after a little casual conversation, “that these Samarai boys
say, that we, of the North-Eastern Division, are ignorant bushmen
‘with no knowledge,’ that we only come here at rare intervals because
the Samarai people are ashamed of our being seen by strangers.” “They
shall pay for that,” said my men. “Yes, but how?” I asked; “I can’t let
you fight them.” “Can’t you put them in gaol, sir?” asked they. “No,
not without first finding out something they have done for which to
punish them.” “Perhaps we can find out something about them,” said my
men. “You are wise men,” I said, “not fools, as these Samarai people
say; that is the thing to do. Now, you keep your mouths shut, put on
your smartest uniforms and swagger down the street and buy cigarettes,
then go to the ginger-beer shop, buy ginger beer and drink it there.
Some of them are bound to notice you, and follow to watch; offer any
that do so, cigarettes and ginger beer; then go to the stores and buy
sardines, salmon, and sweet biscuits, that will attract more attention;
they won’t miss a feed like that, if you give them the slightest
encouragement. Get them back here and, as you feed, brag of all your
fights and the arrests you have made; they will almost certainly answer
by telling you what they have done lately, then keep your ears open
and your mouths shut.” “Oh, master, it is good. We go dig a pit for a
pig, a deep pit. But what about money?” questioned they. “You put in
one shilling each, and here is a sovereign. To-night my orderly will
bring me what news he can, to-morrow you will parade near Mr. Moreton’s
house, and each man will tell me what he has learnt,” I answered. Then
off I went to Moreton’s, where, later, I heard sounds of laughter and
revelry coming from my own men’s house, and concluded the pig was in
the pit.

Shortly afterwards, my orderly appeared. “Master, we have a fence round
the pig and it does not know it.” “Where is the fence?” I asked. “In
Milne Bay; some white men and the Samarai boat boys caught some men
there and killed many pigs, and the white men killed some people.” “In
fight?” I asked. “No, murder. One man was led away into the bush by
the white men, with a rope round his hands, and was never seen alive
again.” “Was Mr. Symons there?” I inquired. “At the killing, we do not
know; at the capture, yes,” he returned, in answer. “Phew!” I whistled,
“the Mission have got a bomb for Moreton! This sort of thing twenty
miles from his Headquarters, and he in ignorance of it!” Then, to my
orderly, “Go back to your house, and tell our men not to let the pig
discover the fence.” It was high time now that I sought Moreton. “Did
Symons tell you anything about trouble in Milne Bay?” I asked him.
“Yes, he said that there had been some gold stealing, but that he had
arrested the offenders and all was quiet again,” he replied. “Well,
Moreton, there have apparently been some serious outrages there, in
which Symons is alleged to be concerned; the Mission have got hold of
it and are waiting until his Excellency returns to report direct to
him, in order to get you into grave trouble for being in ignorance
of the matter,” I told him. “How do you know this?” he asked. “A
hint dropped by Vaughan of knowledge possessed by Abel, in the first
instance; next, I have had my boys pumping Symons’ boat’s crew, and
they confirm it,” I replied.

“It is a bad business,” said Morton, “but I don’t see how I can be held
responsible. Symons has had charge of Milne Bay for a considerable
time. These things have also occurred during my leave of absence, and
while Symons was acting as R.M.” “I see plainly how you will be held
responsible,” I said; “Symons was your subordinate, and if you choose
to give him entire charge of a district in your Division, you should
have occasionally looked in there, to see how things were going;
you know perfectly well that the R.M. is the person responsible for
anything wrong in the Division, whether his fault or not, and to plead
ignorance is the worst excuse you can make. It is clear to me, that
you must have lost entire touch with the village constables in Milne
Bay, for they are trotting in and out of Samarai every second day, and
yet you have heard nothing.” “I have allowed Symons control of the
Milne Bay village constables; they report to him and are paid by him,”
said Moreton. “What!” I exclaimed, “have you been egregious ass enough
deliberately to allow the control of a district of village constables
to pass out of your hands, the one service that allows you to keep your
hand on the pulse of the district, and informed of what is going on?
Moreton, if the crimes have taken place in Milne Bay, that I believe
have been committed, then a fairly big scapegoat will be wanted by
the Governor, and you will about fill the bill.” “Symons had charge
of Milne Bay with the Governor’s consent and approval, and Symons did
not like to be interfered with there,” said Moreton. “The fact remains
that Symons was an officer subordinate to you, he had not joint control
with you, he had control subject to your approval of his management of
the district; anything he has done there, unless expressly disapproved
of by you, can only be held as done with your approval,” I replied.
“Symons reports direct to Port Moresby,” said Moreton. “Don’t you
ever read his reports, or the copies?” I asked. “No,” said Moreton.
“Then you are in the soup up to your neck,” I remarked; “for, on your
own showing, you have entirely neglected and ignored one portion of
your Division, and that portion a district right under your nose.”
“What am I to do now?” said Moreton. “A little advice would be better
than a scolding.” “Do!” I said; “investigate at once, and if there is
anything in the charges, take immediate action against all concerned;
you will then have shown that you are alive to what is going on in your
Division, and that you are doing your duty.” “Will you see Vaughan and
the Mission, and first find out for me what they know?” he asked. “Yes,
I will do it at once, though it is not my affair,” I replied.

Off to Vaughan I then went. “Doctor, I have been talking over what you
told me yesterday about Milne Bay with Moreton; he has decided to make
immediate and full inquiry, and has asked me to ascertain what direct
charges the Mission is prepared to bring against any person or persons.
Can you arrange that I see the Rev. Charles Abel in the matter?”
Vaughan arranged it, and I saw Abel, who, after some demur, gave me a
list of alleged murders and outrages in Milne Bay, committed by three
miners attached to a Government party commanded by Symons. I took the
list to Moreton; and then, at his request, went to Milne Bay, where I
obtained sufficient evidence to show that one miner had deliberately
shot an unarmed native, and that another had shot a woman: there was
also evidence to the effect that a man arrested by Symons’ boat’s crew
had been handed over to the miners and led away into the bush, after
which he had never been seen alive again, though there was no evidence
of his death, other than that the natives had found a body too far gone
to identify. There were a lot of other charges, in which the evidence
was not clear. “What is to be done now?” asked Moreton. “Arrest the
miners, charge them with murder, suspend Symons from magisterial
duties, and leave at once for Port Moresby to consult with Sir Francis
Winter,” was my advice.

On the top of everything else, there was a village constable missing,
named Lailai; he had been appointed by Symons some nine months
previously. Symons, by the way, had no authority to appoint village
constables; this could only be done by the Governor, or by the Resident
Magistrate by delegated authority. Lailai belonged to a village named
Daiogi, one of a group burned by the miners accompanying Symons’ party.
The following, an extract taken from my notes at the time, is the sort
of evidence I elicited:--

“Lulubeiai, of the village of Daiogi, says, ‘I am the only child and
daughter of Lailai. Lailai is dead. I know he is dead though I have
not seen the body. He was a village constable. He went one day to the
camp of the white men; he never came back. Gamadaudau, of my village,
told me that he had seen my father tied up and beaten by the white man,
Steve Wolff. My village is burnt and my people scattered. I know no
more.’ Gamadaudau says, ‘I am a native labourer in the employ of Robert
Lindsay, a miner, and I knew Constable Lailai. He came to the white
men’s camp, and was tied up and beaten by Wolff and Morley, and his
uniform was taken away by Wolff. Lailai was thrice flogged during the
day by Wolff, and was left tied up to a tree for two or three nights;
he was then led away by Wolff, Lindsay, and two other white men whom I
do not know. He was tied up with ropes, but in such a fashion that he
could walk. What happened after that I do not know.’ Two months later a
native of Buhutu found the skull and some portion of a human skeleton
in the bush, and from the fact that Lailai was the only man dead and
not accounted for, and from the fact that near the remains were a pair
of arm rings such as Lailai was in the habit of wearing, he came to
the conclusion that he had found Lailai’s body, and so informed his
fellow villagers. Then this. Charles Ward, miner, sworn. ‘I remember
going with Mr. Symons to Wolff’s house, Wolff gave Mr. Symons Lailai’s
uniform. Mr. Symons asked where he had got them. Wolff said he had
found them in a deserted house.’”

This case afterwards broke down in the Central Court, for though
Moreton and I conclusively proved that Lailai was missing, the evidence
of his death was not strong enough; and even if we could establish
that, then the only thing that we could prove was, that he had been
maltreated by the miners, but not that they had murdered him. I had
listened to the dead Lailai’s daughter, and seen her grief at losing
her only relation; and I swore that, even if Wolff escaped on technical
grounds on the first charge, he should not on a second, if effort on my
part could prevent it. There was a second charge. Wolff had shot a man,
who was running away, and a native with Wolff had seen the shot fired,
and knew the running man well, while others with him had seen the
killing, but could not swear to the identity of the dead man. The dead
man’s relations, however, were able to identify his body. In this case
there was no possible weak link. I arrested, upon Moreton’s warrant,
Lindsay and Morley in Samarai; they were on their way to a new gold
rush at Cloudy Bay, whither Wolff had already gone.

There was now no doubt that very grave offences had taken place in
Milne Bay; and that if Symons had not condoned them, he had at all
events shown a lamentable ignorance of such things as a missing village
constable, a shot woman, and sundry other strange events, such as the
always strictly forbidden burning of villages; and all these things had
taken place in a locality in which a village constable’s truncheon was
the only force likely to be required.

Moreton was frightfully distressed when he learnt the full extent
of the mischief done. “What am I to do, Monckton?” he asked; “it is
dreadful to think that these things have occurred in my Division.” “If
it were my Division,” I answered, “I should arrest every one, however
remotely concerned, Government official, boat boy or miner, and send
them for trial to the Central Court; but as such a measure might appear
too drastic a one, and you would bear sole responsibility for it, up
sticks and away for Port Moresby and Sir Francis Winter is still my
advice. You have to go half-way there, in any case, to arrest Wolff
at Cloudy Bay. In the meantime, I will hie me back to my own Division
and work.” “For the Lord’s sake, don’t leave me now, laddie,” said
Moreton, using the old name by which he had called me when first I came
to the Possession; “I would not leave you in the lurch.” “All right, I
will stick by you, old man,” I said; “but we must sail at once to Sir
Francis, report, and get his authority for me to remain with you until
this matter is cleared up.”

That night we sailed for Port Moresby in the _Siai_, reaching there
after a prolonged passage. Sir Francis Winter instructed me to remain
with Moreton, and that we were jointly to investigate every criminal
charge brought by either the Mission or others against any person, but
not to bother about vague assertions or rumours unsubstantiated by some
concrete evidence.

On our way back from Port Moresby to Samarai, we arrested Wolff at
Cloudy Bay: Moreton was rather bad at the time from malaria, and
asked me to do it; he also asked me to effect the arrest personally
and not to use the police, as the miners objected to being arrested
by natives. Accordingly I went ashore; and, leaving the police in the
boat, I walked up to Whitten Brothers’ store, which was crowded with
newly arrived Australian diggers, strangers to me. Robert Whitten was
in charge of the store, and I went to him at once. “Hello, stormy
petrel!” he said, as soon as he saw me. “There is no trouble here, what
do you want?” “I want a man named Wolff,” I answered; “point him out,
if here; or tell me where he is.” “There is your man,” said Whitten,
pointing to a black-bearded Russian Finn with a villainous countenance,
and plainly more than half drunk. I went up to Wolff, while the whole
crowd of diggers watched me. “Your name is Stephen Wolff?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, “and what the hell has it to do with you?” “Oh, nothing
to do with me personally,” I said; “but I happen to have a warrant for
your arrest upon charges of wilful murder, and sundry other felonies.”
“Where?” asked Wolff. “Milne Bay,” I answered; “you must come with me.”
He broke into a storm of blasphemy and abuse of Moreton, Symons, and
the Government, and swore that he would not come; several sympathizers
among the miners also murmured.

I let Wolff blow off steam; then I said very quietly, “Stephen Wolff,
in the King’s name I command you to yield yourself.” Wolff still cursed
and raved. “Stephen Wolff, twice in the King’s name.” Wolff made a grab
at a bottle to throw at me. I slipped my hand inside my jacket, grasped
and cocked my revolver, while Robert Whitten and a miner grabbed Wolff.
“Wolff, I mean to have you alive or dead; I don’t care which. For the
third and last time, in the King’s name, chuck up your hands, quick!”
Wolff was a wise man, he surrendered promptly, the urging of Whitten
and the miners being hardly necessary; but he had gone very near to
dying in his boots.

We got back to Samarai to find our troubles only beginning. Lindsay
and Morley, who were awaiting trial in gaol, had made up their minds
that their present predicament was due to the Mission and Vaughan;
accordingly, in order to get even with Vaughan, they made a sworn
confession that they, with him, had outraged certain native women,
while they were in his employment on the Musa River. Rape at that time
was a capital offence in New Guinea. Moreton and I had perforce to
investigate this charge; but could find no evidence to its truth, other
than the unsupported testimony of the men already under commitment for
murder, whose motive for charging Vaughan was only too evident. We
finished our cases; and the defendants were all lodged in gaol pending
the return of the Governor and the sitting of the Central Court.

Unfortunately the hullaballoo and scandal over the whole affair had
thoroughly alarmed the Milne Bay natives. The trial of Vaughan, whom
they regarded as partly responsible for the bringing to justice of the
miscreants by whom they had been maltreated, finally convinced them
that no one who stood on their side was safe, and accordingly they
prepared to skip for the bush; which, if they succeeded in doing, would
deprive us of all or most of our witnesses. Something had to be done
to reassure them, and that something at once. Moreton and I discussed
the matter and decided that an officer with police should be stationed
there. It was now imperatively necessary that I should return for a
time to my own Division; accordingly I volunteered to lend Moreton,
Yaldwyn and six good constabulary, until such time as the _Merrie
England_ and the Governor returned; assuring him that Yaldwyn’s happy
disposition made him a general favourite among natives, and that he was
the very man to undo the harm that Symons’ unhappy associations with
the Milne Bay outrages had caused.

Moreton gratefully accepted my offer: therefore, on my return to Cape
Nelson, I instructed Yaldwyn to proceed to Milne Bay with a detail of
the North-Eastern detachment of constabulary. “I don’t want you to do
any work, Yaldwyn,” I told him, “I want you to sit down quietly in
Milne Bay and smooth down the natives. Do nothing there, and above all
things avoid any row or fuss with the Mission; Moreton has got a peck
of trouble already, and it does not need adding to.” The next event
was the arrival of the _Merrie England_ at Cape Nelson with Sir George
and Sir Francis on board, and the first thing I was told was, that
they were going to take me to Samarai to hear--amongst other cases--a
charge laid by a missionary against Yaldwyn of outraging a native
girl attached to the Mission. I was simply flabbergasted. “I can’t
understand this at all,” I told Sir Francis, “Yaldwyn is the last man
in the Service to do anything brutal or unkind; why, I can’t even order
a recalcitrant private half an hour’s pack drill without his trying
to beg him off! There is something damned fishy about this business.”
“That is exactly what I think,” said Sir Francis, “and that is why I
want you to take the case.”

[Illustration:

  HONBLE. M. H. MORETON, R.M.      MR. MANNING, P.S.

             SIR GEORGE LE HUNTE, K.C.B.      SIR FRANCIS WINTER, C.J.
]

The _Merrie England_ brought me Mr. A. E. Oelrichs to take Yaldwyn’s
place as Assistant R.M. He was a very competent man, and remained with
me up to the time I left the country for good and all; he had, however,
one decided drawback in my eyes, and that was his enormous size; he was
an elephant of a man, weighing, when in fine trim, nineteen stone, and
plainly only suited for Station or boat work. “What on earth did
you bring me that giant for?” I asked Captain Barton; “you know what
patrol work here is like, and this means that I shall have to do the
lot.” “He was due for promotion,” said Barton, “and so I suggested to
the Governor that he should be sent here.” “In order to get him out
of your own Division,” I suggested; “thank you, Barton!” Barton was
taking the Resident Magistrateship of the Central Division. Oelrichs,
however, turned out a good, loyal assistant, a good drill instructor
and disciplinarian, and very competent generally.

He afterwards told me that his first impression of me was, that I was
the most callous brute in the Service, for he had hardly been half
an hour at the Station before he was seized with violent colic and
collapsed in a heap on the floor of my office, groaning like a horse
with gripes. “Here!” I yelled to the police, “get some blankets and put
them in a corner out of the way; then put this man on top of them and
undress him.” I then gave the “fat man,” as he was ever after called
in the Division, a dose of opium and brandy. “How do you feel now?”
I asked. “I am dying,” groaned Oelrichs. “Well, I consider it a most
ungentlemanly thing, your coming here and choosing my office as the
most fitting place to die in: still, I suppose the dying wishes of a
man should be respected; die there, by all means, but do it as quietly
as possible,” I remarked. “What is all this?” asked Macdonnell, as
he came in and gazed surprisedly at the quaking mountain of misery.
“A dying elephant, and a particularly noisy one,” I replied, looking
up from my papers; “see what you can do for him, I’ve no time. He is
grieved also at the lack of a coffin; I’ve told him such luxuries as
coffins are unknown north of Cape Vogel, but I will allow him a blanket
to be sewn up in, perhaps as he is extra large, two blankets.” Off then
I went to the _Merrie England_ and Samarai.

Arriving at Samarai, I went in search of Moreton, and found him fairly
broken up. “This last affair of Yaldwyn’s is the finishing touch,” he
said, “and the Judge has been giving me hell for accepting the charge
in its present form; also for allowing a missionary to remove a female
witness from my Court, and adjourning the Court until your arrival,
instead of fining or jugging the man for contempt. The fact is, there
is such a stew of trouble already, that I didn’t want jugged missionary
added to it.” “Well,” I remarked, “we had better begin at once on
Yaldwyn’s case; you send for Yaldwyn and I will send a couple of my own
men for the missionary and the girl.”

We held and concluded our inquiry. The evidence showed plainly that,
though Yaldwyn had been with the girl in his own camp, yet she
was there of her own will and accord. Some Mission natives knew of
the affair and told the missionary, by whom the girl was promptly
taxed with her offence, and she naturally said that she had been
unwilling; whereupon the missionary--not the girl or her father--had
laid the charge. The criminal charge against Yaldwyn was dismissed;
and I submitted the evidence to Sir Francis Winter, who noted, “The
magistrates were quite right in dismissing this case; there is not the
slightest criminal element in it.” The Governor’s minute was short and
sweet. “R.M., North-Eastern Division, dismiss Yaldwyn at once.” I went
to his Excellency and begged him to permit Yaldwyn to resign; pointing
out that, though his conduct had been highly improper, he had been most
unfairly charged with a horrible crime of which he was not guilty, and
that the disgrace of that alone was a punishment he felt severely. It
was no use, however; Yaldwyn was dismissed. He then slunk away to Milne
Bay, where he moped and pined for a month, and then died. Symons, the
man responsible for the state the district had got into, was reduced
from magisterial rank, and sent as a clerk to the Treasury; the fact of
his being a married man with a family being taken into consideration by
Sir George. Moreton was reduced and transferred to the South-Eastern
Division, the R.M. there being sent to Samarai in his stead. This
was rough luck on Moreton, who was innocent of all wrongdoing, and
had married in Australia during his last leave; for, when he was
transferred from pleasant Samarai to unpleasant Woodlark, his wife
refused to come up and live with him. The miners received varying
punishments, from fines up to sentences for manslaughter.

A man was now wanted for Milne Bay, pending the arrival of Campbell,
the new R.M.; and Turner, Macdonnell’s assistant--who had consistently
loafed ever since he had been in the Service--applied for and got
the job, he pointing out to his Excellency that he intended to marry
at once; that was enough for Sir George, the domestic virtues always
appealed to him, and so Turner got the easiest job in New Guinea at
fifty pounds a year more salary than the sweating Assistants of the
Northern and North-Eastern Divisions. Macdonnell, his late chief,
who had toiled like a tiger, had his services dispensed with; mainly
because Turner’s supineness and laziness on the north-east coast had
prevented Macdonnell doing the amount of work his chief expected.
Turner’s appointment always struck me as a particularly silly one:
the reason that he received it was undoubtedly owing to the fact that
he was about to marry; but Turner was to marry the daughter of Mrs.
Mahony, a Samarai publican. Now, of all things the natives were to be
guarded against, it had always been instilled into us that the chief
one was any suspicion of their obtaining liquor; and yet here, one of
the watch-dogs appointed was to have a direct and intimate connection
with the liquor trade in his own district: a man could hardly be
expected to watch, gaol, or heavily fine his own wife’s mother. My work
in Samarai was now done, and it behoved me to return to my regular
duties; accordingly, I went back to Cape Nelson.



CHAPTER XXIII


On my return to Cape Nelson, I found that Oelrichs had recovered,
and had made a start with his new duties; he had begun them very
vigorously too; for, as we sat at lunch on board the _Merrie England_
while she steamed in for the harbour, an officer ran down to report
that my whaler was chasing a lugger, and after that lugger the
steamer accordingly went. When caught, she proved to be full of
villainous-looking Frenchmen, probably escapees from New Caledonia;
they had landed at Cape Nelson for water and vegetables, and Oelrichs,
having his suspicions of them, had requested them to await the arrival
of the _Merrie England_, whose smoke was then on the horizon. They
had, however, seized a favourable opportunity and bolted. They said
they were bound round New Guinea for Singapore; so we got rid of them
by towing them up, and turning them adrift well within the German
Frontier, for which gift I trust the Kaiser’s subjects were duly
grateful.

Shortly after my return I received a complaint from the Arifamu, a
tribe living to the north of my Station, that they had been raided,
and some of their people killed, by a strange tribe from the north;
so, taking a dozen constabulary and my whaler, I set off in search
of the raiders. I found them all right; or rather, to their sorrow,
they found me! One night we landed and camped at the mouth of a small
river, the Barigi, quite in ignorance of the fact that the country
near-by was inhabited, and that by the very people we were after. My
camp was surrounded on three sides by an impenetrable swamp, and upon
the fourth by a smooth strip of beach, which fronted the river; upon
this strip I posted a sentry. Late at night, my corporal woke me up and
said, “Bia [the sentry] says that there are canoes approaching, which
will not reply to his challenge.” I jumped up and grabbed my rifle,
while the corporal alarmed the men, and ran down to the sentry who,
just as I got up to him, again sharply challenged: “Who goes? Stop or
I fire!” Suddenly, close into the beach there shot a canoe, the men
in which were paddling standing up, fully armed and plumed for war;
while behind it, again, we heard the splash of other paddles. “Fire,
Bia!” I said, as I drove a bullet through the steersman and started to
empty the magazine of my rifle into the canoes. Corporal Barigi ran up
to me and began firing at the still advancing canoes, followed almost
immediately by the remaining police, who sent a crashing volley into
the first canoe, which fairly emptied it of all but one man, and it
drifted away with the current; the sound of retreating paddles was now
heard, and we were not again disturbed until just before dawn, when I
was again aroused to listen to a strange splashing and snorting. We
then lay on our arms on the beach until day broke, when we found that
the sound was caused by crocodiles worrying the bodies of the killed,
and tearing them away from each other’s jaws. We made things extremely
interesting for those crocodiles for a few minutes, and then sat down
to wonder why we had been so suddenly and viciously attacked during the
night by the natives.

Paddling slowly up the river after breakfast, we heard a slight sound
in the mangrove swamp on one side, and on investigating, the police
captured a man with his hand badly shattered with a bullet; I dressed
and bandaged the wound, pending our return to the Station, when I could
amputate it. We then found out that the attack upon us was a mistake on
the part of the natives: it appeared that some distance up the river
there lived a tribe, an offshoot of the Baruga, under a chief named
Oiogoba Sara, a mighty fighting man; these people had recently raided
the Arifamu, and were full of pride at their exploit. My camp fire
had been seen by a prowling canoe, which had reported it to Oiogoba
Sara, who had concluded that it belonged to a small travelling fishing
party of Kaili Kaili or Arifamu, and had dispatched two canoes, with
instructions to rush the camp and slay every one in it.

“It was most kind and considerate of Mr. Oiogoba Sara to call upon us
so soon after our arrival,” I said to the police; “I think we will
return the compliment by taking him to Cape Nelson for a few months.”
So inland, in search of Oiogoba Sara and his village, we accordingly
went; eventually we discovered the village quite unperceived by the
villagers. The wailing of women showed clearly, as we crept up, that
the reverse of the night before was already known. Oiogoba was keeping
no watch, and before he knew what was upon him, we were in his village
and he was seized by two police, from whom he at once broke away and
seized his club; some of his people fled immediately, others began to
put up a fight to rescue him, but, upon two being killed and others
wounded, they broke and fled. Oiogoba was an enormously powerful man
and fought like a veritable tiger. “Take him alive,” I yelled at the
police, as they dodged his club and made repeated attempts to spring
upon his back. Oiogoba, charging like a wild boar, broke through the
circle and leapt into the river, which was about up to his waist,
hotly followed by the police; one private dived and grabbed him by
the ankles, whereupon Oiogoba tried to get at him with his club, but
another private sprang in and caught him on the club arm with the butt
of his rifle, smashing that member; a few seconds then saw Oiogoba
pulled down and secured.

I set his arm in splints, and then said, “What do you mean, you old
scoundrel, by killing the Arifamu, who are my people, and attacking my
camp?” “I did not know the Arifamu were your people, I know nothing
about you; if I had known, I certainly should not have been fool enough
to interfere with you,” he said. “What are you going to do with me?
Kill and eat me?” “No. Take you home with me, mend your arm, and teach
you the ways of the Government; then return you to govern your district
for the Government. You are a strong brave man like Bushimai of the
Mambare.” “I have heard of Bushimai,” said old Oiogoba Sara; “is he one
of your people?” “Yes,” I answered; “the man who held your arm, while
I tied it up, is his son.” I kept him for some months at Cape Nelson,
and then returned him to his tribe as Government chief, and he proved a
very useful man.

Complaint was often made in New Guinea that the Government recruited
its constabulary and village constables from the gaols. This was true
in many instances; but it must be remembered that many of the prisoners
were not criminals in the European sense of the word, they were merely
men of strong personality, like Oiogoba Sara, who had found their way
to gaol from simply following the ancient customs of their people, and
were quite ignorant of any feeling of wrongdoing; and such men almost
invariably proved the best servants of the Government, for they brought
their already existing authority among their people to aid them in
enforcing their newly conferred strange authority from Government. The
result was, that a strange tribe of raw savages could frequently be
brought into a state of law and order, without their perceiving the
real change that was being effected, and without undue disturbance of
the tribal or communal life.

[Illustration: OIOGOBA SARA, CHIEF OF THE BARUGA TRIBE]

The village constable and Government chief system in New Guinea had
been originated by that very wise man, Sir William MacGregor, with
the assistance and advice of Sir Francis Winter; it was a splendid
thing, for by it one was enabled to make the people govern themselves,
and that without their feeling that any undue restriction or coercion
had been used. I think after the departure of Sir William, I
was the sole man in the country who really realized the value and
potentialities for good work of this service, and also utilized it to
its fullest extent; and it always seemed to me ten thousand pities
that this was so, and that it had not been developed to its uttermost
limits. Only a brilliant brain such as that of Sir William MacGregor,
or Sir Francis Winter, could have originated the scheme. Let me take an
example: assuming a murder, or any serious crime, had taken place in a
village of raw natives without a village constable or Government chief,
and I heard of it; then, the arrest of the offender would be made by
constabulary--strange armed men--and the whole community would be
alarmed; the women, children and witnesses would all fly for the bush,
and regard the whole matter in the light of a hostile raid by a foreign
enemy. Take the same village and the same offence with a village
constable or Government chief firmly established; then, upon the
offence being reported, it was only “old so-and-so,” whom the villagers
knew well, who donned his uniform and, accompanied by the elders of the
village, seized the offender and hauled him forth for judgment; and
this without in the slightest degree disturbing the village life or
alarming the uninvolved people. The difference, to draw a parallel, was
simply this: supposing some English villagers saw one of their number
seized by a patrol of Russian or German soldiers,[A] they would be
alarmed and indignant; but if they saw him collared by their own local
bobby, they would not bother their heads further than to gossip.

        [A] Written before the War.

In weak villages, the village constable gave the villagers a sense
of protection, for he was a constant reminder that a force existed
able to protect them from their enemies, with which he was intimately
connected; whilst in strong and turbulent villages, his presence was a
constant reminder of a watching Government, and therefore a deterrent
to crime. They were not without their faults and drawbacks, of course,
but no people are, unless kept under constant supervision; their main
fault was to levy blackmail. The natives, however, very soon learnt
what their constable’s powers were, and then would lose no time in
reporting any abuse of them. In the North-Eastern Division, I had
the younger village constables drilled, and they formed an excellent
reserve for the constabulary.

In the Northern Division, in later years, I had in one instance a woman
as village constable; she had a very masterful personality and had
ruled her village before the advent of the Government. She did splendid
work and only once gave me trouble, and that was when she summarily
divorced her husband; he was rather glad than otherwise, as the
position of consort to the official lady was not altogether a bed of
roses. But then she picked out a fine-looking young man of her village,
about ten years younger than herself, and ordered him to marry her.
He was struck with consternation at the prospect, and bolted for an
adjoining village; she pursued him, and ran him in upon the charge of
disobeying the village constable. Two other village constables near-by
were scandalized at the affair; they ran in the pair and brought them
before me, when, in answer to my inquiries, the lady official stated
her grievance. “Why won’t you marry her?” I asked the man. “It seems
the best way to settle the matter.” “I’d sooner go to gaol,” he said
briefly. “Well, I am blessed if I see any way out of it,” I said; “if
you return to your village, I believe she will marry you sooner or
later. Wanting to marry you is not a crime.” “Can I enlist in the Armed
Constabulary?” he asked; “I should be safe there.” “Yes, that will be
the best; I’ll send you to Cape Nelson.” “Are you not going to make him
marry me?” asked the redoubtable dame. I shook my head. “Then I suppose
I’ll have to take so-and-so back again,” she remarked, naming her
recently divorced husband; which I may mention she finally did.

I have mentioned crocodiles tearing at the bodies of the dead in
the mouth of the Barigi River. In New Guinea there appear to be two
different species of the brute, for in some rivers they are small and
innocuous, while in others they are large and of extreme ferocity;
the latter species I have known to attack and take a man out of a
canoe--_Crocodilus porosus_ I believe the reptile is named. On another
occasion one of the beasts, sleeping partly submerged in the mouth of
the Vanapa River, was struck by the prow of the _Ruby_ launch, and
promptly came open-mouthed after her; and yet another time one rose
out of the sea in Buna Bay and nearly grabbed one of the crew of the
lugger _Peuliuli_, whilst he was painting the vessel’s side. This
particular species is equally at home in either salt water or fresh; it
ranges from China to Persia, and south to New Guinea and the Solomon
Islands. Dr. Gray, in his “Catalogue of the Crocodilia,” refers to this
particular reptile as “the salt-water crocodile”; but I have found
the _Crocodilus porosus_ in fresh-water streams in New Guinea, miles
inland, and just as savage and dangerous as in the mouths of tidal
rivers.

On one occasion, in order to cross a flooded stream at the head of
the Kumusi River, my men felled an enormous tree, which fell with a
resounding splash into the water, sufficient, one would think, to scare
away every reptile within half a mile. Hardly had the sound ceased and
the splash subsided, before a private of the constabulary was running
across the tree trunk, which was a few inches under the surface of
the water; before he could reach the other side, a crocodile arose
and made a grab at him, catching him by the red sash about his waist;
fortunately, however, the man managed to slip off his sash, and then
tore across the tree, while the crocodile disappeared under the surface
with the sash. I have been told by the Mambare natives that the brute
has a trick, if any person unwarily stands on the edge of a muddy
river, of swimming rapidly past and knocking that person into the river
with a blow from its powerful tail, after which it disposes of its
victim at its leisure. The brute makes a sort of nest and lays its eggs
in marshy jungles, which occur on the banks of rivers, and I have found
them a hundred miles from salt water.

Some of the ancients among the crocodiles get marvellously cunning:
there was one beast of my acquaintance that inhabited a deep pool in a
small stream at Wanigela in Collingwood Bay, and he was a great thorn
in the flesh of the villagers; for, watch as they would, they could
never see him in daylight, whilst pigs and people disappeared at night
with unpleasant frequency, and in the morning, no more was to be seen
than the trail of his tail and claws. The villagers sent me complaint
after complaint about the beast, alleging that it was a devil and no
real crocodile. I sent the police to watch for it, but they did no
better than the natives. At last the people complained that they did
not think much of a Government that could not rid them of such a pest;
and I became really annoyed with the crocodile. “Kill a pig, a fat pig,
and let it go rotten,” I advised the villagers, “then I will come and
deal with the brute.”

I went to Wanigela in about a week’s time; the pig was really high by
then and a choice morsel for a crocodile. On to that pig’s corpse I
tied about a pound of dynamite, with a yard of fuse attached; then,
pulling the whaler into the middle of the hole the beast was supposed
to inhabit, I lit the fuse and chucked the pig over the side. We had
an exciting time then, for piggy was too far gone to sink and began
to drift on the surface towards the houses in the village, where all
the inhabitants were assembled to watch our operations; hastily we
chased the carrion and tore off the burning fuse; then we got a number
of large stones and weighted piggy well, before tilting him over the
side again; he sank this time, and we hurriedly vacated the spot. I
had fixed a five-minute fuse, time sufficient, I thought, for the
crocodile to discover the delicious morsel we had sent him: soon came
the explosion, and a few seconds later, out crawled on to the sand-bank
an enormous old crocodile, only to be greeted with a veritable hail
of bullets, spears and curses, whereupon he flopped back once more
into his uncomfortable domicile. “I don’t think he will trouble you
again,” I told the Wanigela people, and went off home. The next day
they sent and told me that they had found the crocodile’s body and
were eating it; I thought that eating your enemy after having destroyed
him was certainly the most complete revenge possible. Afterwards I
saw the jaw bones, and, to my amazement, discovered that some of the
teeth were decayed; I then thanked my stars that I had not the teeth
of a crocodile in which to have toothache, for it seemed too awful to
contemplate altogether!

Again I find I have digressed; the subject of village constables was
always a weakness of mine, and the crocodiles seem to have crept in,
just in the same manner as they sneak into villages. Return I now
to Oiogoba Sara. This old chief gave me much information about the
geography of his district, and the relations of one tribe with another;
he also told me a marvellous tale of a strange aquatic tribe inhabiting
a huge morass, not more than half a dozen miles from his principal
village, who, he declared, were unable to walk on hard dry country. At
first I did not believe him, but he stuck to his story, and Giwi of the
Kaili Kaili told me that he had often heard rumours to the same effect;
accordingly I determined to investigate the truth for myself.

Some time after, about September, 1902, old Oiogoba Sara was released
from gaol and returned to his village as Government chief; and just
then two friends of mine, L. G. Dyke Acland and Wilfred Walker, arrived
on a visit to me. They were both men who were fond of shoving their
noses into the little-known parts of the globe: Walker had a mania
for collecting strange birds, and had been everywhere on the earth in
search of them; Acland possessed a mercurial disposition that led him
into all sorts of trouble, from fighting in South Africa and prowling
in Siberia, to eventually--after he left me--tiger hunting in India,
where he succeeded in getting very thoroughly chewed up by a tiger,
and losing an arm. I told them I had little to offer in the way of
amusement or sport, but that if they chose to accompany me, I was going
in search of a very strange aquatic tribe I had heard of, and then on
to a fight with a lot of raiding cannibals. The former appealed to
Walker, the latter to Acland; therefore they both decided to come with
me.

The people, of whom we were going in search, were styled by Oiogoba
Sara, “Agai Ambu”: “Ambu” is the Binandere word for man, “Agai” for
duck; therefore the translation of the name “Agai Ambu,” which was
used generally among the tribes, is the “duck- or web-footed people.”
We went to old Oiogoba’s village on the Barigi River, this time in
friendly fashion, and were warmly welcomed. The old chief insisted,
much to my disgust, upon his wives cooking my food, and the village
women, that of my police; the constabulary got on all right, but
Acland, Walker, and I preferred a frugal meal of sardines and biscuits
to the feast prepared for us of fat pork and stewed dog! Leaving
old Oiogoba’s village, we were guided by him in a westerly direction
towards the Musa River and the morass alleged to be inhabited by the
strange people.

[Illustration: AGAIAMBU VILLAGE]

As we receded from the banks of the Barigi, the country got lower and
more marshy, showing signs of prolonged submersion under water. It
was, I may remark, the driest year experienced for a long period on
the north-east coast. At last we emerged upon the reed-covered bank of
a huge shallow lake or lagoon, and within sight of a village built on
tall poles, in the midst of reeds and water, some half a mile distant
from the shore. “There,” said Oiogoba Sara, “there are the houses of
the Agai Ambu, the duck-footed people, whose feet are so tender that
they cannot walk on dry land.” “How long have they been there?” I
asked. “From a time extending beyond the memory of my father’s father,”
he said; which is about the length of reliable native tradition in New
Guinea.

The bank of the lagoon, upon which we stood, was in reality neither
soil nor earth, but a springy substance composed of decaying humus and
marsh plants, upon which one had constantly to shift one’s position
to avoid sinking up to one’s knees in water; it fairly hummed with
mosquitoes and swarmed with large black hairy spiders. The surface of
the water was alive with wild duck, teal, grebe, plover, and geese,
beyond counting, and all remarkably tame; it was covered also with
water-lilies, over the floating leaves of which, water-fowl ran. Never
have I seen a spot so abundant in bird life. The water itself teemed
with fishes of a carp-like variety, some of which I caught and sent to
the British Museum, where they were discovered to be a species new to
science. The name allotted to these by the British Museum authorities
is _Electris Moncktoni_. At intervals there jutted in upon the bank of
the lagoon, lake, or morass, whatever one likes to call it, extensive
sago swamps. The lagoon is fed by the overflow waters of the Musa
River: I had previously been much puzzled, when upon the second Doriri
expedition (which, by the way, I refer to later), by finding flooded
waters from the river flowing in well-defined streams, and apparently
contrary to all known habits of rivers, away from the river proper in a
north-easterly direction; and with no known outfall for flood waters on
the coast north of the mouth of the river;--flood waters from a river
such as the Musa have such a distinct yellow colour, that their advent
to the sea could hardly be missed by any passing vessel. Now, this
apparently unnatural phenomenon was accounted for; the flood waters of
the Musa were discharged into this reedy lake, and there precipitated
their mud and sediment, thence finding their way to the sea by many
swampy--but clear--streams.

At Oiogoba’s suggestion, I concealed our party in the reeds, as he
explained that though the Agaiambu were on friendly terms with his
people, they were mortally afraid of every one else, as they were so
helpless on dry land, and that if they thought strangers were present
nothing would induce them to leave their canoes. Oiogoba’s people
maintained trading relations with them, exchanging vegetables in
times of plenty, and at other times, stone implements and earthenware
pots for sago and smoked or fresh fish. The Baruga natives (Oiogoba’s
people) now yelled to them, asking them to come ashore to trade with
them; and forthwith several canoes set out from the village to the
shore. As soon as the first canoe arrived, containing two men, the
Baruga called to me to come up, and they attempted to seize the men
to retain them for me, but they struggled into the water, where the
semi-amphibious Agaiambu easily escaped from the clutches of Baruga and
the police, who had hastily rushed to their assistance; they then swam
back through the water-lilies and clinging weeds of the lake to their
village, their retreat being covered by other Agaiambu canoes, the
crews of which brandished spears, paddles, and poles, and hurried to
the help of their friends. The police and Baruga, who were all powerful
men--much stronger men physically than the Agaiambu--and strong
swimmers, could no more succeed in holding those men in the water while
swimming than they could hold a large eel.

“Here is a pretty mess!” I said to old Oiogoba Sara. “I have thoroughly
frightened those people, who have done us no harm, and now we shall see
nothing further of them.” Fortunately we had in our hands the canoe in
which the first two men had come; it was unlike any other Papuan canoe
on the north-east coast, being hollowed from a single log and without
an outrigger; it was also as thin as an egg-shell, round bottomed and
extremely light, and neither my constabulary nor the Baruga could get
into it without its capsizing immediately. I might just as well have
asked them to mount and ride at once an old-fashioned high bicycle, as
expect them to navigate that thing without long practice. “If I could
only get some of my people over to the village of the Agaiambu with
presents, I think that we could get at least one man to come here,
and then the rest would be easy; they have no steel tools, and would
run any risk to possess your tomahawks or adzes!” said Oiogoba. “Fit
the canoe with an outrigger,” I told the police. “It’s too fragile to
stand such,” they reported, after examination of the craft. “Make two
outriggers, then,” I ordered, “and lash the canoe firmly between them
to the cross-pieces.” This was done; two Baruga then embarked, taking
with them a new tomahawk, a long knife, and some bright-coloured beads
and print, and started for the agitated Agaiambu village, in which we
could see great excitement was prevailing.

As our embassy approached, the inhabitants hastily crowded into their
fragile cranky canoes, and began to bolt from their village. The two
Baruga, shouting and yelling professions of friendship, held up their
gifts and slowly forced their canoe through the water-lilies and weeds;
the Agaiambu, seeing the slow progress of the captured canoe encumbered
with its outriggers, hovered in the close vicinity, until the two
Baruga had deposited our gifts upon the platform of one of the houses;
after which they retired; whereupon the Agaiambu returned and inspected
the--to them--untold wealth. “There is plenty more like that,” yelled
the two Baruga, “if you will only come ashore and sell us fish, and let
our master look at your feet.”

The Agaiambu discussed the matter, and then picked out one of their
number, whom they apparently considered of slight value or little loss
if we did kill him, and handed him over to the two Baruga, who brought
him to me. The man selected kept up an unholy wailing all the way,
and then nearly died of funk when he saw the--to him--awful colour of
Acland, Walker, and myself. Hastily I gave him an adze, a tomahawk,
some print, beads, and a mirror, and ordering the police to strip the
outriggers from the canoe, told him he could take it and return to
his people whenever he liked; immediately if he saw fit; he got into
the canoe with his gifts, and pushing off a few yards from the edge,
conversed with us at ease. “What do you want with us?” he asked. “Only
to look at you and your village,” I replied, “through Oiogoba your fame
as swimmers and fishers has spread through the land, and I wanted to
know whether you were as clever as he said you were; also I want some
of those birds,” at the same time pointing to the geese and ducks that
were crowding in the vicinity. “We can get you those,” he answered.
Meanwhile his fellow villagers, seeing he had not been hurt, approached
in canoes. “Tell him, Oiogoba,” I said, “that I’ll get some for myself
with a noise and in a manner strange to him, and that if he is not
frightened and brings me the birds I have killed, I will give him yet
another tomahawk.” Oiogoba told him, and added that he was to yell to
the approaching canoes that he was all right and not to be frightened;
which he did.

I then hastily beckoned to my boy to bring my gun, and shot a duck,
blazing the second barrel into the brown of a rising flock, half a
dozen of which fell, some of the cripples scurrying off; the Agaiambu
man collapsed with a yell of funk, and was just making a bolt of it,
when Oiogoba yelled, “Catch our birds! It is all right!” The man
looked at the birds, picked up the dead, and then started off after
the cripples, and within one minute was yelling to the other hastily
departing canoes to come and help him catch them. The instinct of the
chase had overcome his fears; we were now brother hunters in pursuit
of a common quarry. A very few minutes now saw the remaining Agaiambu
landing amongst us; I ordered the police to start pitching camp and to
take no notice of them, whilst I sat on the ground with Oiogoba Sara,
and merely noticed the still very timid Agaiambu by chucking any man he
induced to come within a few yards of us, a gift of some sort.

“What is this strange-coloured being?” they asked Oiogoba, “a man or
a devil?” “A man, whom I now serve,” he answered; “he is very wise
and very powerful, and, if you don’t offend him, very kind; if you
wish to please him, bring fish and sago for his people, and he will
pay you most generously.” Off went the Agaiambu, and shortly returned
with vast quantities of fish and sago; also a pig, very fat indeed,
but whose feet were as soft and tender as a blancmange; this they
brought as an offering to me. They were getting reassured by now, and
my gifts in return for the pig included penny whistles and Jews’ harps,
which delighted their simple souls; soon indeed their women, who were
hovering in canoes a short distance away, and whose curiosity had
brought them, were told by their lords and masters to come ashore as we
were quite safe people.

The work of pitching camp was steadily going on, and beastly work it
was, for the police had to drive poles into the squidgy marsh and build
platforms on them, upon which to pitch the tents; at last my tent was
complete, whither I at once retired to change my wet things, followed
by the curious eyes of the Agaiambu. My cook, Toku, was busily engaged
outside preparing our midday meal, when suddenly I heard his voice
raised in exhortation. “Oh!” he said, “you must not come here!” and
peeping out, I saw an Agaiambu woman depositing at his feet a string
of fish. “What does she say?” I asked Oiogoba, who was sitting on my
platform ready to act as interpreter if necessary. “She says they are
for you,” he answered. “Tell her to send her husband for payment,”
I replied. This being done the husband waddled up. “I don’t want
paying,” he said, “you are good people, I give the fish to you.” On
the man’s shoulder he had suspended a stone-headed adze for hollowing
canoes, a clumsy tool at the best. “Ask him, Oiogoba, to give me that
adze,” I said. Somewhat reluctantly he handed over his most valued
tool. “Barigi,” I then said to that worthy, who, although my corporal,
always insisted upon fussing about me and my clothes when camp was
being pitched, “fit a plane iron to the head of this, instead of the
stone, and give it back to him.” Barigi did so, and that Agaiambu
sat and gloated over a tool such as in his wildest dreams he had
never previously imagined. I had now gained the full confidence of the
Agaiambu: taking advantage of this, Walker, Acland, and I put in that
afternoon shooting ducks and geese, assisted by them and furnished with
their canoes, they rendering them suitable for our purpose by lashing
them together in groups of two or three; they also acted as retrievers
of the shot game.

[Illustration: AGAIAMBU MAN]

Now for a description of this remarkable people, the only authentic
account that can ever be written, as they are now practically extinct;
and Acland, Walker, and I are the only Europeans who ever had an
opportunity of fully observing them and their habits. Sir Francis
Winter, when Acting Governor, saw them on a later occasion, and
described such as he saw; and after that Captain Barton; I accompanied
both Administrators, but neither had as full nor as good an opportunity
as I, their discoverer, had upon my first visit.

Firstly, the true type of Agaiambu differed from other natives in these
respects--I say advisedly the true type, because there were certain
members of the tribe who nearly approached the ordinary type of Baruga
native; but this was explained by the purchase of their mothers from
the Baruga people. Placing an Agaiambu man alongside a Baruga native
of the same height, one found that his hip joints were three or four
inches lower than that of the Baruga, one also found that his chest
measurement was at least on an average three inches greater, while his
chest expansion ran to as much again. The nostrils of the Agaiambu were
twice the size of those of any native I have ever seen, they appeared
to dilate and contract like those of a racehorse. Above the knee on the
inside of the leg was a large mass of muscle; on the leg below the knee
there was no calf whatsoever, but on the shin bone in front there was
a protuberance of a sinewy nature. The knee joints were very wrinkly,
with a scale-like appearance; the feet were as flat as pancakes, with
practically no instep, and the toes long, flaccid, and straggling.
Walking on hard ground or dry reeds, the Agaiambu moved with the
hoppity gait of a cockatoo. Across the loins, instead of curving in
fine lines as most natives do, there was a mass of corrugated skin and
muscle. The skin of their feet was as tender as wet blotting-paper, and
they bled freely as they crawled about upon the reeds and marshy ground
of our camp. They had a slight epidermal growth between the toes, but
nothing resembling webbing as alleged by the Baruga; the term “duck
footed,” therefore, had only meant tender footed, or, more literally,
“water-bird footed.”

They were extraordinarily adept at handling their light, cranky
canoes, and they were more at home in the water than any people I
have either seen or heard of, and appeared to stand upright in that
element without any perceptible effort; the one thing that my Mambare
police feared, who were all very powerful swimmers, was entangling
clinging water-weeds, but the Agaiambu would dive among them without
the slightest fear. They told me they caught duck and water-fowl
by squatting in a bunch of reeds, or covering their heads with
water-weeds, until a flock settled near, whereupon they would dive
under the flock and pull a bird or two under without disturbing the
rest; then, regaining their reeds or lump of weed, they would draw
breath and repeat the performance. They told me that they had once been
a numerous tribe, but that about thirty years before some epidemic had
swept through them and killed most of the people. They did not know
how long they had occupied the marsh or from whence they came; they
had, however, a vague tradition to the effect that their ancestors had
originally taken refuge in the marsh, and built a village on an island
to escape from raiding enemies--the island, however, had long since
disappeared. Their language was a dialect of the Baruga of the Musa
River; so I conclude they originally came from that part, probably
bolting in canoes before the attack of some raiders down the flood
waters of that river, which had borne them to the site of their present
abode.

Their diet consisted principally of fish, water-fowl, sago, and the
roots of water-lilies. They kept pigs swung in cradles underneath
their houses, lying on their bellies with their legs stuck through
the bottom, and fed them upon fish and sago; the pigs never had any
exercise, and most of them were procured as suckers from the Baruga,
but some they bred in their houses. The Agaiambu houses were of
rectangular oblong shape, and built on poles stuck in a depth of about
ten feet of water. Their dead they disposed of by wrapping the body in
mats made from pandanus leaves, and then tying it upon a stake stuck
in the water; the body itself was secured well above flood level. I
both saw and smelt two of their “graves.” At one house they had a tame
half-grown crocodile tied up at the end of a rope. I tried to induce
two of them to return with me to Cape Nelson, as I knew my account of
them would be ridiculed; but their fear of the hard dry land was too
great to overcome.

[Illustration: AGAIAMBU WOMAN]

Captain Barton later took a photograph of an Agaiambu man, which I
here insert, but the individual he photographed was by no means a good
specimen of this strange people; for, by the time I took Barton there,
most of the tribe had been decoyed ashore and slaughtered by a raiding
party of Doriri, an event I refer to later. Sir Francis Winter, who
also on one occasion went with me to see them, gives the following
account in an official dispatch to the Governor-General of Australia:--

“The Ahgai-ambo have for a period that extends beyond native
traditions lived in this swamp. At one time they were fairly numerous,
but a few years ago some epidemic reduced them to about forty. They
never leave their morass, and the Baruga assured us that they are not
able to walk properly on hard ground, and that their feet soon bleed
if they try to do so. The man that came on shore was for a native
middle-aged. He would have been a fair-sized native, had his body,
from the hips downwards, been proportionate to the upper part of his
frame. He had a good chest, and, for a native, a thick neck, and his
arms matched his trunk. His buttocks and thighs were disproportionately
small, and his legs still more so. His feet were short and broad, and
very thin and flat, with, for a native, weak-looking toes. This last
feature was still more noticeable in the woman, whose toes were long
and slight and stood out rigidly from the foot as though they possessed
no joints. The feet of both the man and the woman seemed to rest on
the ground something as wooden feet would do. The skin above the knees
of the man was in loose folds, and the sinews and muscles around the
knee were not well developed. The muscles of the shin were much better
developed than those of the calf. In the ordinary native the skin on
the loins is smooth and tight, and the anatomy of the body is clearly
discernible; but the Ahgai-ambo man had several folds of thick skin or
muscle across the loins, which concealed the outline of his frame. On
placing one of our natives, of the same height, alongside the marsh
man, we noticed that our native was about three inches higher at the
hips.

“I had a good view of our visitor, while he was standing sideways to
me, and in figure and carriage he looked to me more ape-like than any
human being that I have ever seen. The woman, who was of middle age,
was much more slightly formed than the man, but her legs were short and
slender in proportion to her figure, which from the waist to the knees
was clothed in a wrapper of native cloth.”



CHAPTER XXIV


At the time we were camped on the shore of the Agaiambu lake, I
noticed growing on the bank of a stream leading into it, a D’Albertia
creeper, with white blossoms instead of the usual vivid scarlet; I
had never seen a white one before, and have never seen it since. The
D’Albertia, whose botanical name, by the way, is _Mucuna Bennetti_, is
quite the most marvellous and beautiful creeper in the world; but as
yet all attempts to transplant it, or introduce it into cultivation,
have failed. No water colour nor slickness of oils can reproduce the
wonderful brilliance of scarlet colour of the ordinary variety of this
plant; its blossoms simply strike one dumb with their startling beauty.
Perhaps, in time to come, some Yankee millionaire may charter a special
steamer and transplant a D’Albertia, as they transplant grown pine
trees; but, until that day comes, the people, who do not care to seek
it in its haunts, will lack the sight of the most wonderful plant in
the world.

From the Barigi River, I went on to investigate complaints made by
a tribe named Notu, situated at Oro Bay on the north-east coast, of
attacks made upon them by an inland tribe named Dobudura. The Notu,
who were a set of murdering blackguards themselves and a curse to the
coast, told me that they had hitherto been on most friendly terms
with the Dobudura, but that lately the latter tribe had been raiding
them, and killing by torture any people they captured. “We don’t
mind fighting,” said the Notu, “and we don’t mind being killed and
eaten, for that is the lot of men, but we do object to having our
arms ripped up and being tied to posts or trees by our own sinews,
and having meat chopped off us until we die!” “I will deal with the
Dobudura,” I told them, “but afterwards I am going to make you sit up
and squeal; for, to my certain knowledge, you have recently killed and
eaten two Mambare carriers; also, I have heard of quite a number of
mysterious disappearances of people in the vicinity of your villages.”
“Crocodiles,” said the Notu, “they are bad here.” “Yes,” I told them,
“two-legged crocodiles. Now, what started your row with the Dobuduras?”
“Sorcery,” they said. “Have you scoundrels been playing with sorcery?”
I asked. “No,” they answered, and assured me that their virtue in that
respect was almost beyond belief; to which I answered that I thought it
was!

They then told me that the prevailing drought had badly affected the
Dobudura country, and many of that people’s gardens had perished;
while a sago swamp, upon which they relied in times of scarcity, had
got as dry as tinder and been swept by fire. Some rain had fallen in
the immediate vicinity of the Notu villages at Oro Bay and had saved
the Notu gardens; whereupon the Dobudura people had ascribed their
misfortunes to the work of Notu sorcerers, and set out to make things
extremely unpleasant for the Notu. “Is the Dobudura tribe a numerous
one?” I asked. “Yes, much more numerous than we are,” they told me. The
Notu could muster about three hundred fighting men, and, therefore, I
concluded that the Dobudura had probably about four or five hundred men.

At dawn I marched inland in search of the Dobudura country, accompanied
by Acland and Walker, and taking with me about seventy Notu armed with
spear, club, and shield, to act as scouts and guides, twenty-five
constabulary and village constables, and about sixty Kaili Kaili
under old Giwi. The track, after clearing the coastal swamp, ran
through alternate belts of tall forest and grass, and was well worn
and defined; it showed signs of the recent passage of large bodies of
men. The Notu marched in front, flung out as a screen of scouts, a
position they were not at all keen on occupying. We marched until about
noon, when, as we neared the edge of a belt of forest we were passing
through, the Notu came running back and got behind the column, saying
that the Dobudura were in sight. We emerged on to a grassy plain,
and sighted a village surrounded by a thick grove of cocoanut and
betel-nut palms; three or four Dobudura were standing, fully armed and
plumed, watching for us to emerge from the forest; they had evidently
discovered our advance into their country.

They at once gave tongue to a prolonged blood-curdling war-cry “Oooogh!
Aarrr!” which was taken up by a number of other men invisible to us;
then came the long deep boom of the conch shells and wooden war horns;
the beggars clearly meant fight. I ordered the police to kneel in line
just inside the edge of the forest, and then sent the Notu into the
open to yell their own war-cry, and draw the Dobudura into the open. We
could now see dozens of plumed Dobudura heads bobbing up and down in
the tall grass, about a mile away; but, though the Notu came tearing
back several times in alarm at having discovered a Dobudura scout close
to them, no further advance was made by them, though their war-cry was
going on constantly. “Those fellows are waiting for reinforcements,” I
said, “I’ll take them in detail”; and advanced upon the village, while
the Dobudura scouts hung on our flank and rear.

Approaching close to the village, I ordered the police to rush it,
which they did, only, however, just as rapidly as the Dobudura vacated
it on the other side. I judged, from the number of holes in the ground
made by the Dobudura sticking their spears upright in the ground
while they rested, that about a hundred and fifty men had been in the
village. In the centre of the village there was a platform, about four
feet high, stacked with skulls, some quite fresh and with morsels of
flesh adhering to them. “Ours,” said the Notu. “See that hole in the
side of each skull? That is where they scrape out the fresh brains!”
Every skull had a hole in exactly the same place, varying in size, but
uniform in position. The village was full of pigs and fowls, which the
police and carriers killed. Dobudura scouts still hung about us, but
their main body had vanished. A group of four or five of them got up a
tree, about five hundred yards distant, and, as we continued our march,
watched us and shouted directions and information of our movements to
invisible Dobudura ahead. I ordered half a dozen constabulary to fire
at the men in the tree, which they did, Walker and Acland also firing;
the men dropped rapidly from the tree, but none of them were hit,
though the sound of rifles, heard by them for the first time, must have
disturbed their nerves a little.

As we continued our march, we found that we were surrounded by a thin
ring of Dobudura, who were now quite silent. They gave one a funny
feeling--the feeling of being surrounded by a thin invisible net which
always gave when pressed, only to close again when we relaxed our
pressure. “Master, be cautious; I think we shall find a big fight,”
said Barigi. “Keep close together, and your tomahawks ready,” old Giwi
told his Kaili Kaili. I detached half a dozen constabulary and told
them to sneak through the long grass and break the ring of Dobudura
scouts. They left; and soon I heard shots. The police returned,
bringing with them the spears, clubs, and shields of two men they had
shot; but, hardly had they returned, when the ring reformed. We marched
on once more, my flanking police constantly having slight skirmishes
with small bodies of the Dobudura, but nothing like a fight taking
place. The Dobudura were clearly carrying out some well-defined plan:
they were not afraid of us, that was certain, or they would have bolted
altogether; neither did they mean to come into open collision with us
yet.

At last, still accompanied by the watching ring of men, we came to the
bank of a river, upon the opposite bank of which an armed Dobudura
was standing, shouting to others behind. “Get me that man alive!” I
ordered. Ten police at once plunged into and across the river, and
tore after him as he fled. Walker, like an idiot, imagined that he
could keep up with the swift police, and went after them, before I saw
what he was doing. He paid for his folly, for he got the fright of his
life. He was, of course, soon easily out-distanced by the constabulary,
who did not for a moment imagine that any white man would be fool
enough to try and keep up with them, and suddenly he came to a place
where the track divided, and could not tell which one the police had
taken; he also now became conscious that the forest around him was full
of Dobudura, he could hear their voices, and he did not dare to attempt
to return to my party alone, for he had gone too far. Accordingly, at a
venture he took one of the tracks, and luckily for him it was the right
one, for in a few minutes he walked right into the returning police,
who had captured a woman; she turned out to be a Notu woman, captured
some time before by the Dobudura. If Walker had taken the other track,
he would most certainly have been killed, as the police reported that
it was held by a strong force of Dobudura. I gave him a severe lecture,
telling him that work of this description was worry enough for me,
without its being complicated by the escapades of congenital idiots.
“I suppose next,” I said, “if you see a native climb a cocoanut tree
like a monkey, you will imagine that you can do it too! If you do try,
please take care and fall on your head, and then you will come to no
harm.” Walker was extremely annoyed, and said that he did not believe
the Dobudura would fight at all.

Village after village we entered, all being deserted at our approach.
At one spot on our line of march, a very big Dobudura nearly got
Sergeant Kimai, who was slightly away from his men on one flank.
The man crept up, and then rushed silently at Kimai with a club;
fortunately he caught sight of him, and, dropping on his knee, blew
the man’s stomach in at a yard’s distance. My young devil, Toku, and
some Kaili Kaili, discovered a Dobudura sneaking up, and the man fled
finding that he was discovered; whereupon Toku shot him in the stern
with a small pea rifle of mine he was carrying. The man clapped his
hand to the place, and went off in a series of jumps, or, as Toku put
it, like a kangaroo! Each village we entered had the same platform
filled with skulls, some years old, others but a few days; while in
some villages an additional decoration in the form of ropes hung with
human jawbones was provided. The skulls were all those of people killed
and eaten, and were of both sexes and all ages, from that of an infant
to that of a senile old man or woman.

At last we came to a big village of two hundred houses, where two
men were shot in a skirmish, and a man and a woman captured by the
scouting police. The man was sullen and would not answer questions;
the woman talkative, when once she found that she was not going to
be killed. She told me that most of the men were away fighting the
Sangara, but that swift messengers had gone for them, to tell them
of our invasion. I gave the man and the woman some tobacco, and then
showed them how a bullet would pass through a shield or even a cocoanut
tree; then I told them to seek out their chief and tell him that it
was useless his fighting me, but that I must stop him fighting the
Notu people, and that he had better come and see me himself next day,
offering him safe conduct. So off they went.

Platforms of skulls were at each end of this village; hundreds of
skulls, and there was one heap of about thirty quite fresh ones, the
adhering flesh had hardly had time to go bad. I nearly lost Private Oia
here: he had leant his rifle against a tree a little distance away from
the main body, and was squatting on the ground, when a Dobudura crept
up and rushed him with a club; Oia sprang up towards the enemy, just as
the club swung down for his head, and succeeded in catching the blow
from the wooden handle on his shoulder, instead of the cutting-stone
disc on his head. Oia then tore the club from the man’s grasp and
dashed out his brains with it. “These Dobudura may be all right with
the spear, but they are no good with the club,” said Oia to me. “Why?”
asked I. “If that fool had been close enough to make a side cut at
my knee instead of a down cut at my head, he would have got me,” he
said; “to use the down cut against a stooping man is folly, as it is
so easily avoided!” Oia, like his father, old Bushimai, was an expert
in the use of a club. The old man despised a shield, considering it a
useless encumbrance, and trusted to his clever manipulation of his club
to ward off missiles.

Night was now closing in, with threatening rain, and then the Notu
calmly told me that the Dobudura preferred to fight at night, which
was quite contrary to all usual native custom; this to me was a very
alarming statement, as it was also to the police. “I don’t like this at
all,” I told Acland, “I have been an absolute fool. This village alone
must be able to furnish quite three hundred men, and the other villages
we passed through a like number at least, which makes six hundred;
while there may be a dozen other villages within easy reach, for all I
know. I should have camped early in the day in the forest, and built
a stockade for the night. If these beggars choose to rush us in the
dark, the police won’t be able to distinguish carriers from Dobudura in
the tangled mess there will be; and I have not enough police to keep
up a sufficiency of sentries round the camp, without the whole force
being on duty all night.” Just before dark, our late prisoner walked
in and told us that the men from the Sangara district had returned,
and the chief proposed to pay us a visit that night. My sentries were
posted at the time, but the man had got through them and right up to
me, unchallenged. My police and the Notu protested strongly against
our receiving visitors at night. “It’s contrary to all our customs to
receive visitors at night, and there is something behind this,” they
said. “Return to your chief, and tell him I will receive him in the
morning,” I told the messenger, “but that any one coming near my camp
to-night will be shot immediately,” and off he went.

“If there is a fight to-night, how are we to distinguish the carriers
from the Dobudura?” I asked Barigi. “Let each carrier keep by him a
glowing fire-stick, and seize and wave it when the fight comes,” he
replied, “then we can shoot at the men without fire in their hands.”
It was good advice, and I took it; and each carrier took good care
that--like the wise virgins--he kept his light burning. The night wore
on: we three Europeans lying on the ground with our revolvers buckled
on, our rifles ready to grasp, and with our pockets uncomfortably full
of cartridges; the police, that were not on duty, lay on their rifles,
and each carrier kept spear or tomahawk handy. Old Giwi croaked about
the folly of our camp, and exhorted the Kaili Kaili and his two sons,
Makawa in my police and Toku my servant, to fight strongly. I stationed
men at houses at each end and side of the village, with fire-pots full
of live embers, and instructed them--in the case of an attack--at once
to set fire to the dry sago-leaf roofs, in order to give us light to
fire by. The nerves of the whole party were now in a state of tense
expectation, and the Notu quietly bewailed their folly in coming with
me. “If we are smashed up,” I told Walker and Acland, “don’t let those
beggars get you alive.”

All at once I heard the voice of a village constable, in the circle of
sentries, raised in anger, “What two fools are you, walking past me
without fire-sticks? You know the orders!” The order had been given by
me that any carrier moving about the camp was to carry his fire-stick.
The men made no reply, but rushed past him from our camp into the
night; whereupon he fired after them, and immediately there broke out
a blaze of fire from the rifles of the sentries all round the camp. I
found out later that the two men were Dobudura who, unperceived, had
been right through our camp, studying the disposition of my force.

Then came the blood-curdling war-cry of the Dobudura all round us,
which was answered by a yell of defiance from the Kaili Kaili,
and a howl of terror from the Notu. “Fire the houses! Fall in the
constabulary!” I yelled amid the din. Suddenly bang went a rifle at my
side; I turned and saw Walker. Then came a yell of protest from the
Kaili Kaili. “What the devil do you think you are doing?” I demanded.
“Firing at the enemy!” he answered, wild with nervous excitement.
“Trying to murder my Kaili Kaili!” I told him shortly. Walker calmed
down and ceased firing. The houses shot up into a blaze, and lit up
the village and surrounding grass for fifty yards; the constabulary
and village constables rapidly formed in line, and the Kaili Kaili and
Notu, who were frantically waving their fire-sticks, lay down, in order
that we might fire over them. The noise died away as quickly as it had
risen, and the Dobudura departed as swiftly as they had come, without
pushing their attack. I was extremely puzzled, but decided that perhaps
they would yet come; so the men stood as they were, in the light of the
burning houses, until three in the morning, when rain fell upon us,
and the Notu said we were now all right, as nothing would induce the
Dobudura to fight in the rain.

It was not until long afterwards, when I was on really friendly terms
with the Dobudura, that I learnt what had saved us that night. They had
discovered our advance into their country, almost immediately after
we had left the coast, and had decided to draw us as far as possible
into their district and avoid a fight until the men from Sangara could
return; then to throw every available fighting man upon my camp just
before dawn. They knew a large portion of my force was comprised of
Notu, whom they despised, and expected would bolt at the first attack.
Their chief, who devised the scheme, had wished to visit my camp to see
for himself how my force was disposed; finding he could not do this, he
had sent men who had crept unperceived past the sentries. Some of the
men had already returned to him with news, and he was waiting for the
others, when bang went the village constable’s rifle and he fell dead,
shot through the heart. The fire from the ring of sentries had also
killed and wounded several others. Struck with dismay at the loss of
their leader, and appalled by the flashes and sound of the rifles, they
had then drawn off until dawn should come; but with the dawn came the
rain, and that damped their fighting ardour. I, however, did not know
this at the time, and was considerably surprised at the whole behaviour
of the Dobudura. Glad was I when dawn came, for, on top of the nervous
tension of the whole night, I knew that I was the person responsible
for having got my party into such a dangerous position.

In the morning, there were the ever present encircling Dobudura scouts,
silent and watchful. “Damn these people!” I said, “they have got upon
my nerves. I am going to run away and get more police; my men can’t
march and hunt them all day, and keep watch all night.” Back for the
coast we marched, the Notu scouting in advance, while the rear-guard
was composed of constabulary. As we passed through and vacated each
village, it was at once reoccupied by many people, and a gradually
increasing body of Dobudura followed on our track. At one point, as
we entered the forest, I sent a man up a tree to look back, and he
reported large numbers of men creeping after us in the grass. I halted
my men and faced about, thinking that perhaps they had at last made
up their minds to come to conclusions with me; the men in the grass
halted too, and after waiting some time for an attack to develop and
none coming, I sent out a flanking party to try and get round them,
but their ever-watching scouts detected my manœuvres and the Dobudura
retreated.

We reached the Notu village again that night, when the old people of
the village thanked me for fighting the Dobudura, and proffered gifts
of necklaces made from dogs’ teeth and shells. That night we slept
like stone dogs, police, Kaili Kaili, and all our party, while the
Notu people kept watch. The following day I took the whaler, and with
half a dozen police, Acland, and Walker, sailed for the Kumusi River;
from which point I could send a message overland to Elliott, Assistant
R.M. at Tamata, asking him for more police. The Kaili Kaili and the
remainder of the constabulary I left encamped at Notu.

We nearly got swamped crossing the bar of the Kumusi River, a beastly
shark and alligator infested spot. “Lord love a duck!” said Acland,
“yesterday you nearly got us eaten by cannibals! To-day you offer us a
choice between drowning, sharks, or crocodiles! If I ever hear any one
saying that your guests are not provided with plenty of excitement and
variety, I shall call the speaker a liar, if he’s small enough!” Oates
kept a store for Whitten Brothers at the mouth of the Kumusi, from
which the Yodda Gold-field was supplied per medium of the river; so
here we waited for a week for the return of my messenger to Elliott. We
spent our time catching big sharks and groper on a stout cotton line;
we got one groper of four hundred pounds weight, and some enormous
sharks, which our men ate. The fish had a curious effect upon Private
Oia, for he suddenly went into high fever, and then his outer skin
crackled all over and peeled off; he told me that the same thing had
happened to him once before, after he had eaten a large quantity of
shark.

A. W. Walsh, Assistant R.M. from Papangi Station, now put in an
appearance with a trader named Clark; they had been searching for
a track from Bogi on the Kumusi River to the Mangrove Isles on the
coast. I at once commandeered Walsh’s services, together with his nine
police, for service against the Dobudura. Walsh was an Irishman, a
happy-go-lucky fellow who had gone broke farming in Australia, and
had then been given a small appointment in New Guinea. His detail of
police were very slack and untidy: he afterwards served under me in
the Northern Division, and I had a devil of a job straightening up his
men. Then arrived from Tamata ten police, sent me by Elliott, a smart,
well-drilled lot; also old Bushimai appeared, with about fifty fighting
men in canoes, Bushimai stating that he had heard I had sent for help
to Tamata, and thought that he would bring some men to my assistance.
I now had a force, I considered, sufficient to smash up any tribe in
New Guinea; namely, forty-four constabulary, an extra European officer,
and carriers comprised of such redoubtable fighting men as Giwi’s Kaili
Kaili, and Bushimai’s Mambare--Bushimai’s men were also good night
fighters.

Once more, accordingly, I returned to Oro Bay to march against the
Dobudura. I found the constabulary and carriers that I had left at that
point in good health and spirits, except one man who had suddenly died
and been buried by the police. The Notu, however, had all bolted for
the bush; and, upon asking for the reason, I found that while I was
at the Kumusi they had captured, killed and eaten two runaway Kumusi
carriers, and they knew that I should call them to account for it, also
they were by no means keen upon putting in another night at Dobudura,
the big village where we were previously attacked. The Notu and their
offences, however, could wait, first I had to finish with the Dobudura;
accordingly I again marched for their villages, this time full of
confidence.

We found that the Dobudura had planted concealed spears on the track,
as well as spear pits; but they were easily discovered by the scouting
Mambare, and avoided by us. “These bush fools think we are children!”
said old Bushimai, when we found the things; “perhaps before we leave
they will know different!” At the first sight of the out-lying Dobudura
village, we saw that it was crowded with armed plumed men, back to whom
rapidly fled four of their scouts, as my force emerged from the forest.
I hastily detached the Papangi and Tamata constabulary respectively as
right and left flanking parties, and advanced straight upon the village
with my own men; the police had orders to take as many prisoners as
possible. Getting close to the village, I ordered my men to rush it,
which they did; but the Dobudura, suddenly discovering that they were
being attacked upon three sides at once, hastily decamped, and the
police only succeeded in capturing two old men and a youth who were not
swift-footed enough to escape them. All the other villages were also
vacated at our approach, rows of grinning skulls alone receiving us;
and again we had an encircling screen of Dobudura scouts around us, but
this time they had a lively time, as now I did not care what attack
was made upon my main body, and could therefore detail plenty or side
patrols of police to chase or shoot them.

All that day I drove the Dobudura before us: whenever they showed any
signs of forming, or putting up a serious fight, I at once flung out
my flanking parties and developed so severe an attack upon their front
and sides as to send them flying back to the next village; until we
came to the big village of the night alarm. Here apparently their full
force was assembled, and prepared to make a stand. I at once united
the two flanking parties into one under Walsh, with orders to make a
flank attack, whilst I made a direct one. The Dobudura had, however,
lost their leader; and, as my force advanced, some fled, while others
tried to put up a fight but without method or order, until several were
killed, and again they fled as my force occupied the village. A good
number of prisoners were taken, including several women, whose presence
showed that the Dobudura had been fairly confident of holding their
village against us.

Night was now fast coming; and, made cautious by first experience, I
vacated the village for the forest on the bank of the Samboga River,
where the Kaili Kaili and Mambare hastily felled trees and built a
stockade, while half the police were dispatched in pursuit of the
scattered Dobudura. Several they shot, others they captured; but that
night we passed in sweet security within the walls of our stockade,
though Walker was the only white member of the party not down with
fever. I questioned the prisoners, who told me that the spirit of the
Dobudura was broken, and that though some of that tribe wished for a
pitched fight with me, others were afraid, while the death of their
chief had caused divided councils in the tribe. “Why do you kill the
Notu?” I asked, “that is the sole reason why I fight with you.” “We
were always friendly with the Notu, until two years ago,” they replied,
“but then their sorcerers began making a drought, and we had nothing
except sago to eat; then the sorcerers destroyed that also, so we had
to eat the Notu! The proof of the wickedness of the Notu is that they
had rain while we had none.”

Here, in the early morning, I nearly lost one of my men: my party was
scattered over an area of about an acre, chatting and tending their
cooking-fires, when a Dobudura man crawled unperceived right amongst
them and hurled a spear into the loins of a man; the man staggered
forward and plucked out the spear, turning round as he did so to
face his assailant, and then received a second spear clean through
the forearm; this also he plucked out, and hurled it at the Dobudura
completely transfixing him, just as that individual was struck by
spears, tomahawks, and bullets from all directions. I made certain
after I had examined my man’s wounds, that he could not possibly
live; but as a matter of fact he did, and in a month was a whole man
again. In this instance I did not know which to admire most, the pluck
of my own man or the courage of the Dobudura who had come to what he
must have known was certain death. “I wish he had been taken alive,” I
remarked, as I looked at the corpse, “he would have made a fine village
constable.”

Another Dobudura also lost his life in a valiant attempt to bag a man
of mine: we were marching in single file through an open space covered
with grass about two feet high, when suddenly a Dobudura rose out
of the grass and hurled a spear at a Kaili Kaili carrier; the Kaili
Kaili saw it coming and dodged, with the result that the spear merely
grazed his ribs. As the man was in the act of launching a second spear,
another Kaili Kaili reached him and clove his skull to the teeth.

All that day I endeavoured to bring the Dobudura to a final fight, but
engage my full force they would not. Several of their scouts were shot
and others taken prisoners, and in one place half a dozen constabulary
and a score of Mambare were vigorously attacked by a strong force; but
upon more constabulary and the Kaili Kaili running up to the sound of
the firing, the Dobudura retreated. I began to feel very sorry for the
Dobudura, their resistance to me was so courageous and so hopeless.
The Cape Nelson constabulary, at the time, were far and away the best
detachment in New Guinea, and the Mambare and Kaili Kaili with me
among the very best fighters; while in Giwi and Bushimai, I had as
lieutenants the two most wary, wily, and cautious fighting chiefs in
the Possession. Prisoner after prisoner I released to carry messages
to them, telling them that I did not wish to fight or kill any more
of them, and pointing out the futility of resistance to my force; but
still they went on, apparently hoping that sooner or later I should
give them an opening to get home upon me; still, to my request that
their chiefs should meet me in a neutral spot and discuss their killing
of the Notu, they turned a deaf ear.

At last I marched for the coast again, feeling that my only hope of
settling the Notu-Dobudura difficulty was by training the prisoners I
had captured, and making them realize the strength of the power they
were up against. As I vacated each village on our return march, it was
at once reoccupied by the Dobudura, still defiant and unconquered. In
the last village, I left ten constabulary concealed in the houses,
who made things very hot indeed for them when they attempted to enter
the apparently vacated village. Afterwards, through my prisoners, I
got upon good terms with them and turned their chief into a village
constable, and they furnished me with carriers for many a future
expedition.

I learnt much later that, after I had left their district, the Dobudura
had a very rotten time; for the Sangara--against whom they had
dispatched and recalled a war party at the time of my first appearance
in their district--had been apparently watching events very closely,
and I had hardly withdrawn before they fell upon and remorselessly
slaughtered the Dobudura, before they had time to recover from the
disorganization caused by me.

The wife of the old chief of the Dobudura, whom I later made village
constable, was one of the finest charactered women I have ever known,
either white or brown. I remember once, when returning with Tooth from
the Lamington Expedition, camping in the village, worn, tired, and
with a hungry lot of carriers. She received us, and explained that her
husband, the chief and village constable, was away, so that she was
making all arrangements for a supply of food for us. In thanking her
and talking to her before I left, I asked, “Have you no children?” “I
had two sons,” she replied, “but they are dead.” “How did they die?”
I asked. “You killed them,” she said. “Good gracious!” I answered in
surprise, “how do you make that out?” “One was killed in the night,
when about to attack your camp,” she said, “the other speared one of
your people and was killed in your camp.” “I am very sorry,” I said, “I
wish I had your two sons marching there,” pointing to the constabulary,
“for they were very brave men.” “It was not your fault, I don’t blame
you,” said the old dame, “we were a foolish people; but my husband and
myself wish we had our two sons again.”



CHAPTER XXV


About this time I received a message that Sir Francis Winter had
departed, and that Mr. Musgrave had assumed the administratorship,
pending the appointment of a successor to that official, or the return
of Sir George Le Hunte. Likewise I received orders at once to prepare
to accompany the Acting Administrator on a journey of exploration, for
the purpose of discovering a practicable road from Oro Bay to the Yodda
Gold-field, together with instructions to collect carriers for the said
expedition.

I therefore hastily departed for Cape Nelson; and on my arrival at
that point, at once hoisted about sixteen feet of turkey-red at
the flagstaff--the signal that I wanted carriers for an important
expedition, and also that all village constables and chiefs were to
come to me immediately. Within a few hours the men began pouring into
the Station, generally accompanied by their wives and relations, who
were prepared to camp there until they knew what was in the wind, or
until their husbands and relatives had departed with me.

A few hours after my arrival the _Merrie England_ came in, and when
I went on board I was informed that the Acting Administrator did not
intend to make the proposed journey in person, but that he had decided
that I should act for him and that I should be accompanied by Mr.
Tooth, a Government surveyor, whom he had brought with him for that
purpose. The _Merrie England_ was swarming with extra Central Division
police, who were landed to camp for the night in my barracks. His
Excellency also informed me that, as he suffered from nausea on board,
he wished to sleep at the Residency; upon which I sent for my house
boys and told them to prepare my bedroom for the Acting Governor and
to make up a bed for me in my private office, which they did. Upon my
landing from the _Merrie England_, Oia, my orderly, remarked, “What
are we to do with the bones of the white man in your room?” “Oh, shove
them under my bed until this trip is over, and I have time to attend to
them,” I said. For a short time before Oiogoba had brought me the bones
of a man, which he informed me he suspected from the decayed state of
the teeth in the jaw to be those of a white man: he, or rather his
sorcerer, had roughly articulated them, after the manner in which they
had previously seen me prepare the skeletons of the smaller mammals.

Night came, the whole station was plunged in the most profound sleep,
with the exception of the sentries and myself. I was sitting in a bath,
and was taking advantage of my first spare moments in order to read my
private mail brought by the _Merrie England_, when suddenly a shriek
rent the air from the Acting Governor’s room, followed by a scamper
of feet across the verandah, a loud yell, and then a shot. Hastily I
jumped from my tub, donned my pyjamas and arms, and bolted for the
Governor’s room, while the noise of an alarmed Station became louder
and yet louder.

When I reached His Excellency’s room I found the mosquito nets
surrounding the bed in a blaze, whilst he was capering up and down the
room, jibbering something to which I had no time to listen. I hurriedly
tore down the burning nets and trampled them underfoot; the need for
haste is evident, when I mention that thousands of rounds of cordite
cartridges and several hundred-weight of gelignite and dynamite were
stored in cells beneath my room. Just as I finished trampling out
the flames, a rush of feet came; Sergeant Barigi on the one side and
Corporal Bia on the other, with their respective squads, swarmed into
the house, mother naked, except for bandoliers, bayonets and rifles,
and prepared to kill at sight. Before I had time to question his
Excellency as to what was the reason of the alarm, the sentry dumped
up upon the verandah the stunned body of the Governor’s boy, with the
remark, “I’ve got him, sir!” Then came screams, shrieks, and howls
from the women and children in the married quarters, coupled with the
yells of the non-commissioned officers of the respective detachments
falling-in their men on the parade ground, and the shrill call of a
bugle from the gaol compound, a quarter of a mile away, calling for
the night guard; mix with that the beating of the drums of the native
chiefs in charge of the carriers assembled for the expedition, crown it
all with the bellowing of the _Merrie England’s_ foghorn hysterically
calling for her boats, and it may be imagined that a fair state of
pandemonium reigned!

And all about nothing! His Excellency had gone to bed; then, in the
dark had got up and felt for an object under his bed, and had inserted
his fingers into the eye-holes of my skeleton’s skull, and being rather
puzzled, had called for his Motuan boy to bring a candle. The boy
groped under the bed, grabbed the skeleton, and, being a superstitious
Motuan, had given a yell and promptly dropped the candle, which fired
the mosquito nets; he had then bolted over the verandah, where he had
instantly been flattened out by the sentry, who immediately afterwards
fired his rifle to alarm the guard.

The prisoners in the gaol, most of whom were runaway carriers from the
Mambare, had heard the riot and imagined that the Station was attacked
or taken; they accordingly had made frantic efforts to break out and
escape, for fear of being murdered--efforts which the ordinary warders
were powerless to restrain; hence the wild bugling for assistance. In
twenty minutes, however, peace reigned once more; some one yelled to
the _Merrie England_ that it was not battle, murder, or sudden death,
but merely a compound of funk and imbecility. Sergeant Barigi’s squad
went and quietened the agitated prisoners, while Corporal Oia and his
men explained to the rest of the Station that the trouble was only due
to a fool of a Motuan having been scared of my skeleton!

Tooth, the surveyor the Governor had brought with him, was a most
peculiar individual; he had spent most of his life surveying in the
arid wastes of Northern Australia, and had there lost every ounce
of superfluous flesh, as well as acquiring two delusions; one of
which was, that his frame and constitution were like cast-iron and
not susceptible to fatigue, and the other, that an extraordinary
Calvinistic brand of religion that he had invented was the only true
means of grace. He had only made one convert, so far as I could
understand, namely, his wife.

I discovered Tooth’s idiosyncracies during the first ten minutes we
were alone together, while we were discussing the arrangements for our
expedition. I noticed two large S’s embroidered on his collar. “Mr.
Tooth,” I asked, “what do those S’s mean? Surveyor?” “No,” he replied,
“Salvation.” “Are you a member of the Salvation Army, Mr. Tooth?” “I
was,” he said, “but I differ with them,” and then began to explain
his own particular brand of dogma. “Oh, Lord!” I thought, “what am
I in for?” Then I cut in hurriedly to the discourse, as a dreadful
thought struck me. “Mr. Tooth, are you a teetotaller as well?” “No,”
said Tooth, “that is one of my differences with the----” I hastily
interrupted him by yelling for a boy and telling him to bring drinks;
then, before Tooth could get going again, I struck in, “This expedition
of ours will in no way resemble a Methodist picnic. We shall first
have to penetrate a coastal belt full of swamps and rotten with fever
of the most malignant type; there, forced marches will be the order
of the day, and sometimes it will be necessary to use other than
Kindergarten methods to persuade carriers of the type I shall have with
me, that such marches are for their own benefit; next, we shall skirt
Mt. Lamington, and that mountain is the haunt of some particularly
venomous tribes, who are perpetually fighting, and who regard every
stranger as an enemy to be slain at sight; we shan’t have a chance to
get into anything like friendly relations with them, for Walker and
De Molynes have had one scrap with them, Elliott another, and they
chased Walsh clean out of their district. Now, what I want to know is
this, have you any conscientious scruples about shedding blood? You
can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and you can’t take an
expedition past Mt. Lamington without some one being killed on one side
or the other. Personally I have a strong aversion to being coarsely
speared in the midriff or rudely clubbed on the head, or having similar
things done to my constabulary or carriers, and should prefer the
casualties to be on the other side.” “If the heathen in his wickedness
rageth,” said Tooth, “the heathen in his wickedness must die, also I
have a wife to think of; but it is sad to contemplate that his soul
will be damned.” “That’s right, Mr. Tooth,” I said, “when the heathen
rageth, you think of Mrs. Tooth and be hanged to the heathens’ souls.”
He then got up and groped in his bag, producing therefrom an antiquated
ivory-handled revolver of Brobdingnagian proportions; a thing throwing
a ball about the size of a Snider bullet. “What do you think of that?”
remarked the proud owner. “I’ve had it twenty-five years!” “The Lord
help the heathen you shoot with that thing; you’ll disembowel him,”
I said, as I gazed in awe at the ponderous piece of artillery and
shoved a finger into its cavernous muzzle; “also the ammunition will
be the devil’s own weight for you to carry. Let me lend you a service
revolver; it will be quite as effective and half the weight.” He,
however, declined to be parted from his beloved piece of ironmongery,
explaining to me that weight did not matter to his iron constitution;
he, however, consented to take a service rifle, instead of an enormous
American repeating fowling-piece he had as his second armament.

After viewing Tooth’s provision of what he considered suitable arms
for a difficult expedition, curiosity compelled me to ask him what
instruments he proposed taking. He thereupon departed for the _Merrie
England_, and returned followed by about a dozen carriers, bringing one
six-inch theodolite, one five-inch ditto, one three-inch ditto, one
sextant, one artificial horizon, two hypsometers, two chronometers, two
aneroid barometers, a circumferenter and two prismatic compasses, one
Gunter’s chain, one six-chain tape, one table, one chair, a complete
set of mathematical instruments, three large bottles of different
coloured inks, a paint box, a large stand telescope, an enormous roll
of plan paper, together with at least six flat field-books and several
tomes of logarithmical tables, astronomy, bridge building, etc.
“Thunder and sealing-wax!” I exclaimed, “have you plundered the entire
Survey Office? Or do you think we have an elephant transport?” “Oh no.
The Hon. A. Musgrave and I compiled the list, and he gave me an order
to draw the things from the Survey Department,” said Tooth. “It’s
damned hard luck,” I remarked, “that whenever Muzzy tries his hand at
an inland expedition, I should invariably be dragged into it; it is
about up to him to light on some other unfortunate for a change. It
seems to me that there is little to choose between the command of one
of Muzzy’s expeditions, and that hell you have in store for the souls
of the heathen!” I then carefully selected from the stock a three-inch
theodolite, a prismatic compass, an aneroid, and a hypsometer; and
from the library, a Trautwine’s Pocket Book and a Nautical Almanack.
“There you are, Mr. Tooth,” I told him; “that is all I can transport,
and it is ample. We are not making an exact survey of the German
frontier, or laying out a Roman road, but are looking for the easiest
and most practicable route from a point on the coast to another in
the interior; a meridian altitude by day, and a star by night, are
all the observations we require. You have what we need for that in my
selection, the rest is but lumber.”

Before continuing the tale of our expedition, a little story about
Tooth will fit in here. We had long since found the route for the road,
and Tooth, Elliott, Walsh, and myself, with several hundred Kaili Kaili
and Binandere, were engaged in cutting it through an immensely high
forest. Elliott and Walsh were both assistant officers of mine, and
were, as a rule, stationed with small detachments of constabulary at
different posts amongst difficult tribes; they differed one from the
other in every respect save one, but were close friends. Walsh was a
public-school boy and the son of an Irish baronet; Elliott, a working
miner of little education, who had received a temporary appointment
at Tamata Station to fill a vacancy caused by the rapid deaths of the
officers previously stationed at that salubrious spot; he had proved
himself to be so useful at police patrol work and work among the
miners, as to be permanently retained. The respect in which the two
men were alike was, that both possessed happy mercurial temperaments,
and neither feared anything on earth except me--it being my business
to stand between them and the hot water they were perpetually getting
into at Port Moresby, also to chasten them at frequent intervals (too
frequently I fear they thought), for the good of the district and their
own welfare. Take them either apart or together, neither could be taken
for promising members of the Young Men’s Christian Association, but
Tooth chose to consider them as possible brands to be plucked from the
burning; if he had raked New Guinea through, he could hardly have
found a brace of more unlikely converts than were that bright pair.

Well, we had got a strip of tall trees chopped off at the butts, of
about a quarter of a mile in length and twenty-two yards in width, and
the infernal things were so tangled up at the tops with a network of
vines and creepers, as to refuse to come down. Natives crawled about
the trunks chopping, others climbed neighbouring trees and hacked at
the vines; the work was frightfully dangerous, as the men swarmed
underneath everywhere, and one never knew the moment when the whole
mass of timber would come crashing down on top of them. Suddenly the
expected happened, down came the lot, the workers scuttling like
rabbits into the adjoining forest; all but one escaped, but a huge
pandanus top fell upon him and flattened him out. The crashing, tearing
and rending of that avalanche of falling timber then ceased, and from
under the pandanus trees came the screams of a man apparently in mortal
agony. “Cut him out!” I yelled. “Who the devil is it?” “Komburua,” was
the reply, as fifty naked natives flew with their axes to the spot, and
almost immediately turned tail and fled howling into the surrounding
forest, while the howls of Komburua continued, containing if anything
a still keener note of agony. “Curse it! Have the choppers gone mad?”
I howled. “Forward the Bogi and Papangi detachments! Cut that man
out at once!” Walsh and Elliott seized axes and, followed by their
respective squads, attacked the tree under which lay the screaming
Komburua. Then we found trouble thick and plenty; about a dozen nests
of hornets, as big as bumble bees, had come down with the timber and
got busily to work; they had routed the naked choppers in one act, but
the constabulary, under the storm of blasphemy and threats showered
by Walsh, Elliott and myself, stuck to the work, in spite of hornet
stings, until the man was released. I then examined Komburua, who kept
up a constant moaning, but could find nothing broken or any sign of
internal injuries. “Damn you,” I said, as I cuffed his head, “there
is nothing the matter with you, and you have got us all badly stung
by beasts with stings like red-hot fish-hooks!” “Nothing the matter!”
wailed Komburua. “Nothing the matter! First the whole forest falls on
top of me, and then all the red and green ants in the country begin to
eat me!” It was quite true; that pandanus top had contained several
nests of savagely biting red and green ants, which had shaken out on
top of the pinned Komburua; when I looked again closely at his skin, I
found he was bitten all over. He afterwards said that the ants had been
so thick that they had to take turns in biting him, as there was not
enough room on his skin for them all at once. But I think this was an
exaggeration.

Tooth didn’t get stung, he had been some distance away when the
accident occurred, and only arrived in time to hear the language used
in the culminating stage of the extrication of Komburua; and at that
language Tooth was greatly grieved. He saw three souls bound for one
of the worst lodgings in that particularly vivid hell of his creation,
souls, too, of men with whom Tooth was on terms of cordial friendship;
it therefore behoved him to do something to save those friends. Now,
a New Guinea Resident Magistrate’s relations with his officers in my
day were very much the same as those of a captain of a man-of-war with
his; they might be on most cordial terms of friendship, but they lived
apart and fed apart; or if, as usually happened, these rules were
relaxed when we were engaged on work such as the present, still no
comment would be caused by the R.M. having his dinner in his own tent
or absenting himself from the nightly conclave, and it would be a gross
breach of etiquette to intrude upon him then.

That night I dined in my own tent, and afterwards I neither visited
the general mess-tent, nor sent and invited any officer to mine. Tooth
felt the fervour of his creed working in him; some one must be saved.
Elliott had used the worst language; he would begin with him. He waited
until Elliott had turned into his hammock, then wended his way thereto.
Walsh, whose tent was alongside, overheard the conversation, and told
it to me some time afterwards. Tooth began in this wise: “Alec, I
want something from you.” “It’s no good, Tooth, I haven’t a blanky
bob; if I had, you would be welcome to it,” replied Elliott. “It’s
not that,” said Tooth, in sepulchral tones, “neither a lender nor a
borrower be. It is something more precious than gold.” “Osmiridium,”
hazarded Elliott, “I had some that I got on the Yodda, but I gave it
to a barmaid in Sydney.” Tooth changed his tactics, “Alec, I want to
probe into your being,” he said. “After those blasted hornet stings,
I suppose; I’ll see you damned first. Ade has dug them out with a
needle already, and anyhow I would not have a bull-fisted blunderer
like you digging at me.” “No,” said Tooth, “it is your immortal soul I
wish to cleanse and save.” “Hell’s flames!” said Elliott, sitting up
in surprise, “are you mad?” “No,” replied Tooth, “I am not mad, and
hell’s flames consume souls, they do not cleanse; I wish to save you
from them. The language that you and Walsh and the R.M. used to-day was
enough to damn you to all eternity, and you all constantly use it and
worse.” “If you have ever heard the R.M. or Walsh use worse language
than they used to-day under the hornets, you are a lucky man; it must
have been something quite out of the common, and an education to any
ordinary man. Why, a college of parsons could not have improved upon
it, or you, Tooth, could not have equalled it.”

Tooth then preached Elliott a fearsome sermon, according to Walsh;
which was interrupted by Elliott in this way. “Look here, Tooth, I’m
damned if I see what my soul has got to do with you, or why you should
take on a parson’s job; but, anyhow, the best thing that you can do is
to save the soul of the R.M.! Then you will get the lot of us, Walsh
and Griffin, Bellamy, the two Higginsons and fat Oelrichs; if you
convert the ‘Old Man,’ he’ll make things so hot that we’ll have to get
saved or clear out! In fact, I think you would get all the police as
well. Now, get out of my tent!”

The following evening, as we all sat round a camp fire after having
messed together, I noticed that Tooth seemed to be labouring with some
deep thought, while Elliott and Walsh kept exchanging meaning glances.
At last the latter pair got up and went off to their tents, telling
me that they had their journals to write up, a palpable lie, as the
sole report they had to make was a line to the effect that they were
upon duty with me. Then, after a little beating about the bush, Tooth
brought the conversation round to religion, and suddenly it dawned
upon me that he was endeavouring to convert me; anger was my first
feeling, then I smiled to myself and broke in on his discourse. “My
dear chap, to prevent misunderstanding we had better come to some
agreement at once. Like you, I also have a peculiar religion, I am an
esoteric High Churchman, and it is one of the tenets of my faith that
laymen belonging to that creed do not discuss it with any other than a
fellow esoteric High Churchman or a Lady of the Order of St. John of
Jerusalem. Our conversions are all made by retired celibate bishops of
not less than sixty years of age. You may have noticed that I never eat
butter or fat, or touch milk in any form, these are rules of esoteric
High Churchism, imposed as a penance to mortify the flesh. Please do
not say any more.” (As a matter of fact I hate milk, butter, or grease
in any form.) Tooth gasped with surprise, then simply remarking, “that
to each man his own belief, but he did not see how I reconciled mine
with the language of yesterday,” went off to bed. “Very good, Mr.
Tooth,” I thought, “I’ll teach you before long not to go soul hunting
among the New Guinea R.M.’s,” and lay low for him accordingly.

I eventually squared accounts with Tooth in this way. He, like many
other strong healthy men, had a great horror of illness; he also was
strangely ignorant of all disease other than malaria. Now, Tooth got a
boil on his stern, he also got scrub-itch on the back of his neck and
scratched it until it was raw, then he cut his arm and came to me for
treatment; I put some iodoform dusting powder on the cut and bandaged
it up. Next day his arm was worse, and I discovered that he was one of
those people whom iodoform poisons, instead of healing; accordingly I
washed it off and dressed his arm with boracic acid. Tooth was now very
alarmed. “Do you think there is any danger?” he asked. “I don’t like
your symptoms,” I answered, “now we will just detail them, in order to
see whether my suspicions are correct. Firstly, you have a big boil on
your sit-upon.” “Yes,” quaked Tooth. “Secondly, you have an irritant
eruption on the back of your neck.” “Yes.” “Then your blood is in
such a bad state that a strong drug like iodoform won’t heal a simple
cut.” “Yes.” “Now, look here, Tooth, be very careful how you answer
this: have you got a rash on your body?” I knew he must have one,
for we were all covered with prickly heat. “Yes,” said Tooth, “look
at it.” I looked at it, and then pulled a face that I flatter myself
would have been worth something to an undertaker as a stock-in-trade.
“My God!” said he, “what is it?” “One more question, Tooth, before my
worst suspicions are confirmed. Do you feel devilish hungry half an
hour before meals?” (His appetite, I may remark, was proverbial in the
camp.) “Yes,” he groaned, “sometimes so hungry that I have a sinking
feeling. Oh, what is it?” “Tooth,” I said, “I hardly like to tell you.”
“Tell me the worst; anything is better than this suspense.” “Phytosis,
poor old chap. It is a horrible disease, and passes on in a family for
generations when once it is acquired; it is mentioned in the Bible,
King Solomon suffered from it.” Tooth’s groans would now have melted a
heart of stone, but I remembered his attempted conversion of me, and
hardened mine.

“I have never heard of it in my family,” he said. “No,” I replied,
“the symptoms point to your having acquired it off your own bat.” “How
do you catch it?” he asked in despair. “Usually from evil living,”
I replied. Tooth fairly howled, “But I have never lived evilly.”
“Perhaps not, Tooth; but you can catch it by sitting on a seat that a
person suffering from it has sat upon, or drinking from a vessel from
which that person has drunk.” Tooth’s groans now were heart-rending;
then a glimmer of hope came to him. “But,” said he, “there is no one
in this camp suffering from it.” “No,” was my reply, “that is very
true; but this disease takes exactly two months and seven days to
develop, and that takes us back to the _Merrie England_, where I have
grave suspicions of one of the stewards, the one who looked after
your cabin.” I regret to say that at this point Tooth used language
concerning that unjustly slandered steward that was nearly as strong as
that used by my team in the affair of the hornets. “What is the course
of the disease?” then wailed Tooth. “If my diagnosis be correct,” I
answered, “you now have the first symptoms, the second will be that
your hair and teeth will fall out, the third your nose will drop off,
and after that you will smell so badly that small hoses, charged
with disinfectants, will have to be played upon you until you die.”
“Can you do anything for me, until I can consult a doctor?” he asked
despairingly. “Oh yes,” I answered, “the lugger _Peupiuli_ will be at
Buna Bay in a fortnight, and she can take you to Samarai; but in the
meantime my treatment must be a drastic one.” “Anything, anything,”
said the persecuted man. “All right, Tooth; one packet of Epsom’s
salts, hot, before breakfast every morning, and every Saturday night I
will mix you a bolus.”

Poor Tooth began the treatment; at the end of a week he was a very
limp man indeed, but his boil had gone and his cut was healed. Then
he complained that my treatment was too drastic, and that he was
getting as weak as a schoolgirl and being starved to death, for his
food could not benefit him. I asked him whether he expected me to
be able to cure a dreadful disease like his with babies’ soothing
powders, and then explained that his hunger and weakness were due to a
failing circulation, which I hoped it would not be necessary for me to
stimulate with blisters on his stomach and back.

Tooth continued my treatment until the _Peupiuli_ arrived, when he
departed hastily in her to Samarai; and there, to his rage and relief,
he was of course told by the doctor that there was nothing the matter
with him. Oelrichs told me afterwards that he had sworn he would report
me for misusing Government drugs, but Oelrichs then told him, that
if he did, the R.M. would probably reply, “that he might have been
mistaken in the nature of the surveyor’s disease, but the latter must
have had a bad conscience to cause him to submit to the treatment.”
Poor Tooth choked with rage; but he was not a man that bore grudges or
carried a bitterness long, and we were soon the best of friends again.

“What was the matter with Tooth?” asked Walsh, as he, Elliott, and
I sat round the camp fire on the night of the victim’s departure.
“Nothing,” I replied. “Good Lord! Then what did you scour him to the
bone for?” “Excess of religious fervour!” I answered. “By the way,
which of you two ornaments to the Service had the cheek to set him on
to your chief? I think that requires looking into!” Both looked uneasy.
“Is it Pax?” asked Walsh. I nodded. Then I heard about Tooth and
Elliott.

I have decided not to continue the tale of this expedition. It has
been published in official reports, and is simply a story of swamps,
mountains, fever, and fights, a common sort of tale lacking all
interest, hence I go on to Robinson’s more important Hydrographer’s
Expedition.



CHAPTER XXVI


On the first of July, 1903, the _Merrie England_ arrived at Cape
Nelson, bringing the Administrator, Mr. Justice Robinson. His
Excellency informed me that he intended to visit the Yodda Gold-field
at once, and to proceed with all possible speed towards the
construction of a road to that point, also that he wished to know
before the work was begun whether there was any possible alternative
route to that already explored, and recommended by Mr. Surveyor Tooth
and myself from Oro Bay. I replied that it was possible that a route
existed leading from Porloch Bay, behind the Hydrographer’s Range to
Papaki (or Papangi, as my men called it). Sir William MacGregor’s map
showed the Yodda River as heading there; this, however, I knew from my
own explorations to be incorrect; but Sir William must have some reason
for thinking that a long valley ran between the Hydrographer’s and the
Main Ranges, and this was also my own belief. Walker, R.M., and De
Molynes, A.R.M., had sent in a report and map of their explorations in
that part of the country, also showing a valley, but they said it was
the valley of the south branch of the Kumusi. “I have that report and
map,” said his Excellency. “Well, both are pure fiction,” I replied.
“What do you mean by that?” he asked. “One moment, sir, and you will
know,” I answered, and sent an orderly for Private Arita, and upon his
appearance questioned him as follows.

“You were with Mr. Walker and Mr. De Molynes when they went up the
Kumusi to Papangi?” “Yes, sir.” “How far did they go beyond Papangi?”
“Two hours’ journey, to where the Kumusi emerges from the hills;
then we came back,” was the reply. “Did Mr. Walker ever visit that
part of the country again?” I asked. “No, sir.” “There you are, your
Excellency,” I said, “Walker drew a map and furnished a report upon a
country scores of miles beyond the furthest point he reached. The whole
thing is simply guess-work.” “Why do you think Sir William MacGregor
placed a long valley there?” asked the Governor. “He probably saw a
valley, or what looked like a valley, from the summit of the Main Range
on his Victoria Expedition, and from a height of twelve or thirteen
thousand feet, hills of two or three thousand might look like a flat.
Anyhow he was wrong in his assumption that the Yodda River headed
there; and in any case he never made any definite statement to that
effect, he simply noted it as a possibility. The fact now remains that
we know absolutely nothing of the country between the Hydrographer’s
Range and the Main Range; Sir William MacGregor’s theory has been
proved wrong by later explorations of the Yodda, while Walker’s map and
report are not to be seriously considered.”

“What do you think about it?” asked Robinson. “I cannot tell,” I
answered. “It is possible or probable that there is a long fertile
valley drained either by the Barigi River into Porloch Bay, or by an
affluent of the Kumusi, or by both; or the country may be auriferous;
or again it may be a succession of hills and ranges of a few thousand
feet; it is impossible to know without traversing it. If there is a
long valley there it would be the best route to the Yodda.” “Well, I
am going to find out,” said Robinson, “and you are coming with me; the
details of the equipment and personnel of the expedition are now in
your hands. When can we start?” “To-morrow, sir,” I answered, as I went
off to warn my men and send for carriers, wondering why everything hot
and unwholesome always fell to my lot. I was not at all enamoured of
the prospect, for neither Robinson, Bruce, nor Manning was acclimatized
to the country or knew anything about the work, and I saw that if
anything went wrong--as well it might--I should be the scapegoat.

The following day I left with the Governor for Porloch Bay, taking with
me ten of my constabulary, a dozen armed village constables, and about
130 Kaili Kaili as carriers; to which were added the Governor’s boat’s
crew of eight constabulary and the Commandant’s travelling patrol of
twenty. At Porloch Bay my old enemy but now dear friend, Oiogoba Sara,
appeared and gave us much assistance. He had all his fighting men
under arms to repel a threatened attack from a raiding hill tribe, and
wanted us to stop and help him; but as I very soon found out that he
was confident of beating off his enemies, the Governor decided to go on
with our more important work, especially as I told him that the mere
passage of our force through Oiogoba’s country would discourage the
raiders, as indeed old Oiogoba himself thought.

Here, I went through the stores and equipment provided by Manning for
the Governor’s use, and remorselessly cast out such things as lager
beer, potatoes, tinned fruit, etc. These things, I told Manning, were
about as useful to an expedition of this sort as a pair of bathing
drawers to a conger eel. “But his Excellency may wish to invite some
one to lunch or dinner at the Yodda,” squealed Manning. “Then his
Excellency’s guests can share his Excellency’s fare of bully beef,
biscuits, rice, and yams.” “Mr. Monckton, sir,” appealed Manning, “is
leaving behind a great deal of your private stores.” “Exactly what
I expected he would do, Manning. I am glad my impression of him is
confirmed. Perhaps you are fortunate that he has not left you behind as
well!” replied Robinson, who was a man all through.

Our first camp was at old Oiogoba’s village of Neimbadi on the Barigi
River, which the old boy, by dint of building new stockades and tree
houses, had now turned into a strong position. At dawn on the following
morning we struck camp, and, guided by Oiogoba and his escort of
spearmen, struck inland to where the Barigi River forks, and thence
followed the northern branch, the Tamberere, along its tortuous and
rocky course until noon, being compelled to cross and recross the
beastly stream no less than five times. In the afternoon, after
ascending a rocky gorge, we emerged on to rolling grass hills, and
eventually camped for the night at an altitude of about 1000 feet. From
here bearings on Mounts MacGregor and Lamington gave me my position;
and I told his Excellency that a line as near west-north-west as
possible was our route, and one that would determine whether a valley
suitable for a road existed behind Mount Lamington or not. Personally,
however, I was of the opinion that from the look of the land ahead some
rough country lay between the supposititious valley and us.

The country we were camped in was a sort of “no man’s land” or border
land lying between the Baruga tribe and their mountain enemies, amongst
whom could be numbered the Aga, who inhabited the inland slopes of the
Hydrographer Range, and were now right ahead of us. This tribe I had
heard was in the habit of poisoning its spears; but, like almost every
other story to that effect in New Guinea, this proved untrue. Oiogoba
and his escort left us here; he returning to take charge of the defence
of his village against the expected raid. I, however, kept his village
constable with me to act as an interpreter.

From this point our way now led over steep-sided hills of two to three
thousand feet in height, at the bottom of which there were deep rocky
gorges through which ran very rapid streams. From the top of one big
hill we espied in the distance high tree houses, belonging to an
outpost of a tribe named Gogori, so my village constable told me. The
country lying between us and the houses was frightfully precipitous
and rough, and the descent and ascent of the slopes made extremely
interesting by loose boulders accidentally dislodged by the men
above falling on those below. In most places it was only possible to
proceed in Indian file, which of course meant that when a boulder was
dislodged it practically enfiladed the long line.

Boulder dodging on a very steep slope is interesting because one never
knows where it is coming, and therefore has to wait to dodge until it
is almost into one, in order to prevent stepping into instead of out of
its track. Sometimes the loaded men in endeavouring to avoid one stone
would start others, whereupon all of us at the lower end had a truly
lively time; though I never knew a man actually struck. There is an art
in dodging a boulder on a hillside. One hears a sudden yell of warning
from the individual by whom it has been started on its career, then a
running fire of curses and laughter from the men; curses, as each man
watches the course of the boulder and waits to jump aside; laughter,
as--the feat accomplished--he watches the expressions and listens to
the language of those below awaiting their turn!

Our order of march was as follows. First went four constabulary scouts,
two Mambare and two Kaili Kaili, keeping from one to three hundred
yards ahead, and making the easiest line to be followed; then I came
with the interpreters and ten of the constabulary, followed by the
Governor, Manning, and his Excellency’s armed boat’s crew; behind them
again came a long line of carriers, studded at intervals with armed
village constables; while Bruce and his constabulary brought up the
rear.

The country now in front of us was very broken and precipitous, and
after descending one particularly steep slope of about a thousand
feet we found it terminated in a deep gorge, into which we descended
by means of vines, which we tied to trees at the top and slid down.
We followed the gorge for some four miles or so, wading sometimes up
to our waists in water, until we suddenly found ourselves in a sort
of huge cup or amphitheatre surrounded on all sides by precipices and
high hills. I asked the Baruga village constable if he had ever been
there before. He replied, “No,” though he had heard of the place, and
vowed if it had not been for the police and myself nothing would have
induced him to come, as it was haunted by devils! He had hardly spoken,
when crack! crack! crack! went the rifles of the scouts. “There! What
did I tell you?” said that v.c., turning pale under his dusky skin,
“the devils have found the scouts!” “Then I am sorry for the devils,”
I remarked; as, in response to a nod from me, half a dozen police tore
off to support the scouts.

“The devils” turned out to be a small party of mountaineers, who had
discovered and suddenly attacked my scouts. No damage was done by
them, other than a spear hole through Private Mukawa’s haversack.
Several of the mountaineers were wounded and two captured; they had
been demoralized and terrified by the--to them--appalling noise and
effect of the rifle fire. One of the captured men was a leper. We
could not make them understand a word we said; their language was quite
strange to the Baruga village constable; but by signs we endeavoured to
explain to them that we were not enemies, and we gave them a few small
presents, and sent them off to rejoin their friends.

Leaving the amphitheatre, we followed a steep gorge until our way was
barred by a waterfall 150 feet in height, which brought us to a full
stop. It was not a particularly enviable situation in which we found
ourselves, for in the event of natives on the top discovering us, they
would be quite likely to begin dropping stones, spears, tree trunks,
etc., on our heads, without our being able to retaliate. Until one has
taught him differently, the inland Papuan holds the simple creed that
every stranger is an enemy to be killed at sight.

At last Sergeant Barigi discovered a faint track leading up a narrow
side gorge; so, taking half a dozen police with me, I followed it for
about a mile, the bottom gradually rising the whole time, until it
also terminated in a waterfall about twenty feet in height. Resting
against the side of the waterfall was a smooth pole, up which the local
natives apparently climbed. After many efforts Corporal Bia and four
police succeeded in climbing up it, and stationed themselves as a guard
at the top, while I sent word to the Governor to come on. When more
police arrived, they made a ladder of poles and vines, and by its help
we emerged from the “abode of devils” on to a steep hillside, up which
we climbed with considerable difficulty in the wake of the scouts, who
were now reinforced by Corporal Bia and his four men.

At the top of the hill there was a small stockaded village vacated
by its inhabitants, into which Bia and his scouts carefully crawled.
Whizz! suddenly came a spear from the air, passing between the crawling
Bia’s arm and body, and pinning him to the ground by his jumper. He
looked up and spotted a bushman on a platform at the top of an enormous
tree. Whizz! Whizz! came a couple more spears, which he dodged. The
bushman leant over for a more deliberate shot at him. “You have had
three shots at me,” said Bia; “now here is something for yourself!”
And he potted that bushman like a rook. There was a large garden near
the village full of yams, to which the carriers and police helped
themselves, leaving, however, salt and tobacco in payment.

From here we followed native tracks from one hilltop to another; each
hilltop crowned with a small stockaded village the inhabitants of which
always fled at the hail of our scouts, and reoccupied the village after
we had passed through; at each village we left small presents as a
sign that we were not hostile marauders.

After leaving the village we got into a waterless rocky volcanic
country, consisting of a sort of scoria, and soon were all suffering
from the pangs of thirst. From early morning until late in the forenoon
of the following day we went without water, the scouts ranging for
miles on a fruitless quest, till the laden carriers showed signs of
severe distress. At last the scouts discovered a garden with a man at
work in it, and captured him. We gave the man a few beads and a zinc
mirror, and he soon got over his fright; he spoke a peculiarly musical
language, but none of my men could make head or tail of it. We made him
understand by signs that we wanted water, and that we would give him
a long-knife and a tomahawk as a reward if he guided us to it; he, in
his turn, made signs that he would do so, and went off with Sergeant
Kimai and a few police. After a couple of hours the sergeant came back,
and reported that the man had led him north, south, east, and west,
and had then tried to bolt. “Take him out of the Governor’s hearing,
and give him a taste of your belt,” I told Kimai. “I have already done
that,” replied that worthy sergeant; “I had to do it carefully for fear
of leaving marks, but he is a very pig for obstinacy.” “There must be
water somewhere near his garden,” I said. “Take him to a sunny spot
and fill his mouth with salt; then run him up and down, and when he
blows sprinkle his nose with dry wood ashes!” In about an hour’s time
the man was brought back, and I could plainly see that he had a thirst
sufficient to make a drunkard of an Archbishop! He eagerly made signs
of drinking, and pointed in the direction we wished to go. In half an
hour he had taken us to a pool of indifferent water, which we drank up;
and in another twenty minutes to a fine stream.

At about four o’clock on the afternoon of this day we came upon a
group of villages surrounded by gardens. The scouts waved calico and
green boughs, and yelled “Ovakaiva” (peace); the inhabitants, however,
would have nothing to do with us in a friendly way. One enterprising
individual stalked Sergeant Barigi, and knocked him over with a
stone-headed club; before he had time to finish him, however, Private
Tamanabai noticed what was going on and shot his assailant.

Just ahead of us there was a stockaded village, situated on a spur
in a very strong position, and right across the track that we should
be obliged to follow. Fortunately most of the men belonging to it
were away, and I was able to take the village without bloodshed, by
threatening a flank attack, and then suddenly rushing my men into it.
Its inhabitants retreated to another village, from whence they hurled
abuse and defiance at us. Private Maione was able to talk to these
people, as they spoke a language resembling that of the Sangara tribe,
which he knew. They demanded what we meant by “polluting their country
and village by our obscene presence!” Maione replied that we were but
travellers passing through their country, and that we did not want
to fight, but would pay well for food, guides, and assistance. They
replied that they would “provide us with all the fighting we wanted!”

The Governor now told me that he did not wish any fighting to take
place, nor any natives to be shot, and personally gave an order to this
effect to the police. I told his Excellency that the last thing either
myself or my police wanted was to fight, but that I certainly had no
intention of allowing either my men or my Kaili Kaili carriers to be
killed by bushmen. Whereupon his Excellency said, that as I could not
see eye to eye with him in the matter, he would release me from the
command and place Bruce in charge: which he did.

The immediate result of Bruce’s disposition of our force was that
Maione, my personal orderly, and our only interpreter, was badly
speared, and a strong attack was developed against us. We had a very
bad time during the night staving off attack after attack. Then Bruce
came to Robinson, and said, “I don’t understand this sort of fighting,
neither do my men, and their nerves are going. Monckton’s men do; but
they are all sulking badly, and the carriers are following suit.”

Bruce also asked me to look at some of his own and the Governor’s men
who appeared to be sickening for something or other; which I did; and
also questioned them. They told me that a strange sickness was sweeping
through the native villages at Port Moresby just about the time they
left. “Measles! as I am a living sinner!” I exclaimed, and went off
to the Governor. “Some epidemic has broken out amongst the men, sir;
and they say it is similar to a new illness in Port Moresby. I am
afraid it is measles,” I told him. “The Chief Medical Officer told me
that there was a slight outbreak of German measles, but said that he
did not consider that it was dangerous,” replied his Excellency. “It
might not be dangerous to well-housed European children or natives at
Port Moresby; but with hard work and the wet of the mountains, not
to speak of having to wade through streams, these men of mine will
die like flies. Besides, each man that sickens overloads the others,
and we already have one dangerously wounded man to carry, with a
probability of more.” “What do you advise?” asked the Governor. “Make
for the coast, where shelter can be obtained for the men, as fast as
we possibly can,” was my answer. “How?” he asked. “A bee line over
the Hydrographers,” I replied. “That is, abandon the work we are on
and confess failure! That will never do: my very first work! Did Sir
William MacGregor ever do such a thing?” he asked. “I have never heard
of his doing so,” I replied. “Then why do you advise me to take such
a course?” he demanded. “For the sake of the lives of my men, and for
your Excellency’s own sake. If we continue to lose a large number of
men, the press and public will kick up a fuss.” The Governor then
called Bruce into consultation; after which he called for me again.

“This fiasco is most distressing to me,” he said. “But Mr. Bruce agrees
with you that the risk in going on is too great; in fact, he goes
further, and says that we should not reach Papangi with sick men.”
“I do not think that the risk is too great, and I would undertake to
reach Papangi with little or no loss, if I were allowed to do it in
my own way; but I could not do it in the manner we are attempting it,
and therefore recommend making for the coast.” “How would you do it?”
“Fling my scouts ahead for miles to examine the country and report to
me, who would be with an advance party; and then keep bringing up the
main body on the best route by forced marches. The sick men would then
have only the easiest country to cross, and would know that they were
going to camp every night in a carefully chosen site with good wood and
water. But if they are going to blunder over the country, sometimes
without fire, at others without water, and subject to perpetual alarms
from hostile natives, they can never do it.” “Very good, then; you are
to take full command once more, and get us to Papangi,” ordered the
Governor. “I understand, then, sir, that my men are not in the future
to wait until they are speared before defending themselves?” “Give the
orders you think best,” he replied.

That night no one got any sleep; natives beating drums, blowing
war-horns and yelling at intervals, the whole night through, and trying
hard to stalk the sentries; the latter, lying flat on their stomachs,
potted religiously at every moving object that came within their
vision. Just before dawn, the people--who, by the way, were called
Kaina--massed in the scrub for a rush; but the sentries had marked
the manœuvre and warned me. Whereupon I ordered a volley to be fired
into the spot; which, judging from the yelps, yells, and sound of men
running through bushes, apparently had a considerable effect. After
dawn they had all disappeared.

“What would they do to us, if they caught us?” asked the Governor,
who was looking very haggard from want of sleep, and from worrying
over the ultimate fate of the expedition. “At the best, kill and eat
us,” I answered, “perhaps torture us first. They are a bad lot in this
part. A short time ago some similar natives caught two miners, Campion
and King, on the Upper Kumusi, the part we are making for, and stuck
stakes through their stomachs and roasted the pair alive. When a native
woman interceded, they stunned her and chucked her on the fire also.
Ask Maione about them, if you are interested; he knows all about their
nice little ways.”

All that day natives hung round our line of march, but avoided a fight;
and the scouts discovered numerous spear pits, six and eight feet deep,
studded at the bottom with sharply pointed spears, pointed upwards and
covered with twigs, leaves, and earth--horrible traps for the unwary.
Other delicate attentions were small, exceedingly sharp spears, fixed
at an angle in grass or scrub to catch one about the knee or thigh. But
I will leave the tale of the rest of the expedition to Judge Robinson,
and give an extract from his Official Dispatch to the Governor-General
of Australia.

  “On 10th June we left camp at 9 a.m. and found the track very
  sticky and slippery. After walking about three miles Mr. Monckton
  who was in front with half a dozen police surprised a native in a
  garden. He nearly succeeded in spearing Tamanambai, who wounded
  him in return. The surprised native was evidently a sorcerer, and
  while we were examining his bag of tricks and charms, consisting
  of pebbles, pieces of bone, stained pieces of wood, etc., we heard
  the sound of war-shells and war-cries. Some of the carriers were
  some distance behind and we had some difficulty in hurrying them
  up, and an attempt was made to attack them in our rear which was
  repelled. This was followed by a frontal attack in which four of
  the hillmen were killed. We then followed circuitous native tracks
  affording good cover in the grass for the enemy’s spearmen, and
  two or three met their fate in this way. We were evidently well
  watched; and turning suddenly on to another track we reached
  the foot of a steep and slippery hillock upon which was a large
  village of about forty houses. We were evidently expected to come
  by another track, and our arrival by the steep path was apparently
  unexpected. Only two hillmen were killed in the encounter at this
  village. Although they were in a position to have caused some
  loss amongst our party as we came up the hill, none of the police
  received any hurt, possibly owing to our having surprised the
  village as already described. After we had left this village our
  scouts were attacked several times. Two men were shot. One sprang
  out upon the path ten feet from Arita, who, without having time to
  unsling his rifle from his shoulder, shot his assailant dead before
  the poised spear had time to leave his hand. The natives here were
  of good stature and warlike. I saw no evidence of steel tools and
  they are apparently not yet emerged from the stone age. They were
  all armed with formidable spears, shields, and stone clubs. The
  country is rather thickly populated, and the natives do not trouble
  to build stockades to their villages. We found tobacco growing in
  the gardens in great quantities and of the most excellent quality.
  I see no reason why these hills should not in the future produce
  all the tobacco required for Australian consumption. Tobacco is
  apparently indigenous to New Guinea, and I have been informed that
  some leaf which Sir William MacGregor sent to England was sold
  for 18_s._ per lb. When burnt the tobacco in these hills emits an
  excellent aroma; the flavour also is good, but of course what we
  smoked was not properly dried and prepared. In almost every garden
  were quantities of sugar-cane, paupau, pumpkins, sweet potatoes
  and, of course, the inevitable taro and yams. There are also
  quantities of an excellent nut, probably the _Terminalia Katappa_
  (?) superior to a walnut in flavour. I looked for nutmegs but
  did not find any, although the bark of a tree found has a taste
  and scent resembling the mace of commerce. The country abounds
  in a variety of fibrous plants which could probably be turned to
  valuable account. We camped for the night on the site of a village
  situated on a spur of a mountain 2329 feet in height, from which
  we located the southern peak of Mount Lamington, 55° N.E. We also
  saw a high peak 6280 feet high bearing 109° S.E., apparently behind
  Oro Bay. This mountain peak is higher than Mount Lamington. It
  has hitherto borne no name, and I have named it Mount Barton in
  honour of the first Premier of the Australian Commonwealth. I have
  since located the mountain from the sea, and although the clouds
  considerably obscured the view, it is probably the most conspicuous
  point in the Hydrographer’s Range.

  “I was aroused before daybreak the next morning by the now familiar
  war-cries of natives; and the sentries were speedily reinforced by
  a line of police at each end of the spur upon which we were camped,
  prepared to repel a rush. The hour just before dawn appears to
  be a favourite time for an attack amongst Papuans, and we found
  evidence afterwards that these natives had camped for a portion of
  the night in some numbers in the scrub at the edge of the clearing,
  and had denied themselves the comfort of a fire, so that their
  presence might not be disclosed, making small shelters of branches
  to protect them from the chill mountain air. They evidently
  intended to take us by surprise, and to rush our camp, but finding
  it so well guarded and no doubt feeling very cold, their spirits
  failed them and they contented themselves with loud challenges,
  threats, and blowing of war-shells, which were responded to, I have
  no doubt, in equally uncomplimentary language by our police and
  carriers. We could hear them moving in the undergrowth, but they
  wisely refrained from emerging into the clearing. Mr. Bruce fired
  at a dark form in the dim light, and after continuing their warlike
  demonstrations for some little time longer, they retreated when the
  first streaks of dawn began to appear.

  “The panorama when the sun rose was one of great beauty. Looking
  backward in the direction of our route, the valley at our feet
  and the bases of the surrounding mountains were swathed in thick
  white clouds, heavy with mist, like banks of snow; Mount Barton and
  Mount Lamington showed clear out against the morning sky, and far
  more distant rose the lofty heights of Mount MacGregor, soon to be
  enveloped in the gradually rising clouds.

  “We obtained no view of Mount Victoria, but Mr. Monckton recognized
  the gap in the Owen Stanley Range, and Mount Nisbet in a S.W.
  direction from it.

  “I omitted to mention that one of the village constables captured
  a woman of exceptionally dour and unprepossessing exterior on the
  previous evening who was able to speak to Maione. She informed him
  she knew the way to Papaki, and pointed in the direction which Mr.
  Monckton had approximately estimated it to be, viz. W.N.W. from
  the point. I decided to bring the woman with me some distance as a
  guide, but we subsequently found that she did not appear able to
  show us any native tracks, and we were obliged, as heretofore, to
  rely on the compass, which had for some days shown a considerable
  northerly deviation in the direction of Notu, possibly due to the
  close proximity of the ironstone formation of Mount Lamington. I
  subsequently left the woman at Bogi and instructed the Assistant
  Resident Magistrate there to endeavour through her to get into
  friendly relations with her people.

  “Endeavouring unsuccessfully to find a spur running in the
  direction in which we wished to go, we were obliged to continue our
  mountain climbing, which seemed to become steeper and more arduous
  as we proceeded. As we skirted a village a native called to us
  from the distance, and although we did our utmost to induce him to
  approach us, and made signs of friendship, we could not encourage
  him to do so. At evening we camped at an altitude of 2639 feet.
  Twenty-five cases of measles among the carriers.

  “Next day, 12th of July, was repetition of the day before. The
  route was even more steep and it was not possible to follow a N.W.
  course. Moreover there was no indication of any alteration in the
  configuration of the country. More carriers suffering from measles.

  “13th July. After discussing the position it was decided to remain
  in camp to-day and rest the carriers, Mr. Monckton to take eight
  police and to investigate the country ahead. After breakfast,
  accompanied by Mr. Bruce and Mr. Manning, I ascended to the top of
  the hill upon which our camp was situated, and upon cutting some
  timber obtained a view of the sea to the north, and of a hill in
  the distance which one of the police said he recognized as the
  Opi Hill. Upon our return to the camp we found that the bushmen,
  who were apparently watching our movements and had evidently seen
  Mr. Monckton’s departure and imagined that possibly most of the
  rifles had gone with him, threatened an attack. They called out
  from the thick jungle as before. We waited for some time, but could
  not see any of our visitors, whom we judged to be a distance of a
  hundred yards on the steep slope of the hill opposite our camp. We
  fired a volley in that direction and a second one also, which had
  the desired effect. A subsequent inspection did not disclose any
  traces of our shots having taken effect, although bullet marks were
  plainly seen all round where the natives’ footprints were.

  “Mr. Monckton returned at 4 p.m. with the report that by making a
  rather precipitous descent he had found a small creek which led
  into much more even country by native tracks. He had seen signs of
  natives everywhere, and a tree had been cut in one place only a
  short time before he passed.

  “The carriers had a bad night, thirty of them ill with measles,
  added to which they felt the cold very much at night.

  “Next day, 14th July, we made the descent mentioned by Mr. Monckton
  to a height of 1856 feet, following the creek. At luncheon time we
  threw out scouts, one of whom was attacked by a native who hurled a
  spear at him, and was shot. Travelled in all nine miles and camped
  in an old garden over-run with sweet potatoes. The native denizens,
  anticipating our doing so, had sown the place with foot spears, and
  one carrier was slightly wounded in the foot.

  “Next morning going to the bank of the creek which flowed close to
  the camp, I suddenly looked up and saw the head of a native peering
  at me from the high bank opposite. Upon seeing that he was observed
  he disappeared, but in a few moments thirty or forty of them
  disclosed themselves. These we endeavoured to conciliate also but
  ineffectually, and upon taking our departure fixed on a prominent
  tree in the garden were left two steel adzes as payment for the
  potatoes eaten by the party, surmounted by a green bough.

  “Following the bed of the creek all day and thereby avoiding the
  mountains drained by it, up to our waists in the cold stream, we
  made fairly good progress. It rained in torrents in the afternoon
  and we were all very cold and uncomfortable. At night (1539 feet)
  the whole camp could be heard coughing; one or two cases of scurvy
  appeared.

  “16th and 17th July. We continued to make our way, often with
  much difficulty, along the bed of the same creek which, increased
  by several affluents, had become a mountain torrent. Its general
  course was W. by N., and its many windings at the base of the
  surrounding hills lengthened our journey. Occasionally we were able
  to cut off a corner, and at other times were compelled to take to
  the mountains to avoid an impassable gorge. The fording of the
  river moreover had become difficult; it was as much as one could do
  to breast the swiftly running current. We saw some small speckled
  mountain ducks with yellow bills of a species probably new to
  science. One of these was shot and skinned by Mr. Monckton for the
  British Museum. It was satisfactory to learn from the hypsometer
  that we were dropping to a lower altitude, and on the evening of
  the 17th, after being obliged to leave the river and to take to
  the mountains, and after having negotiated a rather difficult
  precipice, the side of which dropped sheer some hundred feet into
  a torrent below, we struck a native track and emerged at dark once
  more on the right bank of the river, now become well entitled to
  the name, and opposite to a suspension bridge of vines, where were
  some native huts, and clear evidence, in the shape of an improvised
  oven constructed of large round stones such as are used to cook
  human flesh, that not long before a cannibal hunting-party had
  encamped there. One of the police who comes from this part of the
  country now recognized the river which we followed from its source
  as the Kumusi (the right branch), information which relieved me not
  a little as, in view of the fact that our supply of rice for the
  carriers and police was fast diminishing (we arrived at Papangi
  with only five bags), I confess to have felt some anxiety during
  the last few days on that score, and none the less when I learnt
  some days previously that Mr. Monckton’s orderly had inquired of
  him as to what we should do if all the food were finished before we
  had reached Papaki. Mr. Monckton replied that we should still go
  on until we reached Papaki. The orderly suggested that the better
  course would be for Mr. Monckton and the Cape Nelson police to
  clear out and leave the others of the party to do the best they
  could. Mr. Monckton replied that that would never do, and asked him
  what he proposed to do with Maione, his wounded comrade; but he had
  evidently left him out of his calculations!

  “We all suffered not a little from scrub-itch, an invisible,
  microscopic tick, which, burrowing under one’s skin, raises a lump
  and causes intense irritation. Leeches were also very troublesome
  in the scrub, and whenever there was a slight halt one became
  covered with these bloodthirsty creatures. If one adds to these
  pests, bulldog ants of the most aggressive kind, trailing vines to
  trip one whenever vigilance is relaxed, and a variety of prickly
  trees and vines, it will be understood that exploration in New
  Guinea, as in most tropical lands, has its discomforts.

  “On the morning of the 18th July, however, none of these small
  discomforts were remembered, and still following along the course
  of the Kumusi River, we passed through an unfinished garden at
  which was a hut containing a quantity of yams. These I instructed
  the carriers to take, leaving a pound of tobacco--more than the
  equivalent for the yams--in payment. From here we could descry
  Mount Victoria, 270° due west, and also Papaki about seven or eight
  miles distant. Proceeding a little further we came to more gardens
  in which were natives at work, but instead of their being friendly,
  as I expected they would be, so near the Government Station, they
  quickly disappeared and presently were heard the blowing of the
  war-shells and loud cries. A village through which we passed had
  evidently just been deserted, and we could hear the occupants
  calling to one another in the bush. I learnt later that these
  natives had recently driven out or exterminated the tribe that
  formerly occupied the country, which would account for the number
  of deserted gardens we passed.

  “Later in the afternoon Arita, one of the police who accompanied
  the late Mr. Walker, R.M., on his expedition to punish the
  murderers of the two miners, Campion and King, pointed out the
  furthermost point reached by him. I knew Campion when he was
  seeking his fortune as a miner on the Etheridge Gold-field, North
  Queensland. I grieved to learn of the manner of his death at the
  hands of these treacherous natives, to whom he had shown nothing
  but kindness, and who had affected to be friendly disposed towards
  him. The natives in this vicinity have not yet been brought into
  subjection, and require, in my opinion, a severe lesson. They are
  certainly difficult to deal with, as when attacked they betake
  themselves to the mountains, where it is difficult to follow them.
  So impudent are they that only a month prior to my visit they threw
  spears into Papaki Station, which is, by the way, the worst site
  that could possibly be chosen for a Station, being three-quarters
  of a mile from water which is in abundant supply all round, and
  flanked by an open plain leading to the creek covered with long
  coarse grass affording excellent cover for an inimical attack. I
  propose removing this Station to a point on the proposed road to
  the Gold-field in the near future.

  “Our camp at eventide was on the banks of the Kumusi a couple of
  hundred yards above the rapids and opposite to Papaki.

  “The river had been spanned here by a native suspension bridge of
  vines, which had been cut, but by next morning, 19th July, the
  police and carriers had constructed rafts, and in a comparatively
  short space of time the whole party had safely crossed to the other
  side. A few hours’ walk and Papaki Station was reached. There I was
  received by the A.R.M., Mr. Walsh, and by Mr. Elliott, A.R.M. at
  Bogi.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “From Papaki Mount Lamington and Mount Barton can be distinctly
  seen; the former, called by the local natives Bapapa, bears
  easterly 86°, and the peaks of the latter (Koriva) 92° and 98°. A
  high mountain to the south-west, probably Mount Bellamy, called by
  the natives Ufumba, bears 250°, and Mount Victoria (Paru) 265°.
  Peaks bearing 194° and 110° from Papaki, forming what the miners
  call “The Divide” between the Kumusi and Yodda Rivers, are called
  by the natives here Burupurari, and are comparatively close to the
  Station. They do not appear to have any European name, and I called
  the highest Mount Monckton.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “I should like here to record my high appreciation of the good work
  performed by Mr. Monckton upon this somewhat trying journey inland.
  His knowledge of bushwork and experience with natives made it
  possible for me successfully to make the inland expedition, and to
  see for myself the real condition of affairs in the interior; and
  the knowledge and experience thus gained I trust may prove useful
  in the administration of this new country.”

Here I resume again my own tale. Our arrival at Papangi practically
ended my labour in connection with finding our way through new country,
as from that point to the coast our route lay through well-known
policed country, where Walsh, Assistant R.M., held his sway; and where,
therefore, it was his duty to pick the stages and camp sites. Bruce,
Elliott, and I marched in advance with the whole of my constabulary
and the sick, who were carried and helped along by their stronger
friends. Papangi carriers, engaged by Walsh, carried our luggage. Then
came the Governor, Walsh, and Manning; while the Papangi detachment of
constabulary brought up the rear.

At about four in the afternoon I decided to camp, in order to get my
sick under cover before the evening rains came on; I expecting the
Governor’s party to arrive within a few minutes. An hour went by: the
Papangi carriers came in, and reported that Walsh, the Governor, and
Manning had dropped behind to gather orchids and land shells. More time
elapsed, and I began to get anxious and sent back Sergeant Barigi and
ten men to look for them, also Elliott’s corporal, who knew the country
well. The night was coming on fast when the corporal returned to say
that they had found the Governor and the rest of the party, sitting
between the Kumusi and another big river, just above their confluence.
They should have crossed the former by a native bridge three miles
further back; and the Governor, being tired, was in an awful rage with
Walsh and had sent to tell me to get him over.

Cursing bitterly all wild Irishmen who lost their ways in their own
districts, and incidentally put Governors in a passion, I, together
with Elliott, wended my way to the spot; only to sight across fifty
yards of dark, murky-looking water a very angry potentate, sitting with
his private secretary on a sand-bank, while a disconsolate Walsh sat
some twenty feet away, plainly in deep disgrace! “What are you doing
there, sir?” I yelled. “Mr. Walsh has contrived to land me here, and
now suggests that I shall walk three miles back along a most infernal
track, and then on an unknown distance to camp, in the dark!” he fairly
bellowed; “get me out of this!” By this time it was raining steadily.
“The only way that I can bring you over is by making rafts,” I yelled;
“and by the time I get back, and the rafts are made, it will be late
at night. Can you swim?” “Yes.” “The damned place has alligators,”
whispered Elliott. “That’s all right, Elliott; you and I are going over
with the detachment to fetch him. Strip!” And I yelled again to the
Governor, “We are coming for you, sir!”

Then Elliott and I, together with all the police, swam across. When
we landed at the other side, we found a naked representative of his
Majesty, accompanied by an equally naked P.S., waiting on the bank.
Walsh was trying to make protests, but was having a literally cold
shoulder turned on him. His Excellency’s escort were making bundles of
his and their clothes, and tying them on their heads, my men relieved
them of some, and while they were tying them on, Walsh, who was
frantically undressing in an hysterical condition, squeaked, “R.M., the
damned crocodiles will get him, and we shall get the sack!” “In you go
first, Walsh,” I coldly replied.

“Though it was necessary for me to swim across, Monckton,” remarked
his Excellency, as he dressed and glowered at Walsh, “pray tell me why
it was necessary for you, Elliott, and the police to do it twice?”
“To give the crocodiles a larger choice, sir,” I answered. “Not even
a crocodile would be fool enough to mistake Walsh for a Judge or a
Governor!”

That night we arrived at Bogi Station, a police post, where Mr.
Alexander Clunas, the local big-wig, waited upon the Governor and
invited the whole party to dinner; an invitation that circumstances
prevented both his Excellency and myself from accepting. The remainder
of the party, however, went, with somewhat ill results! The reason
for my being unable to accept Clunas’ invitation was that I had to
attend one of my carriers, who was very ill with measles. At two in
the morning my poor man died, game to the last, and so long as a
flicker of strength remained, faintly smiling his thanks for any little
attention paid to him.

A few minutes after his death I heard the distant bellowing of a huge
voice uplifted in song, and correctly guessed it was the “tea party”
returning home up the hill through the gardens, and judging by the
voices, in a lamentable state--

    “There washe fliesh ’pon wasser
     But she wash flier shtill,”

came through the night in Bruce’s bull voice. Then, as the noise got
nearer, there came crashing sounds of heavy bodies falling into banana
trees and sugar-cane, mingled with exhortations from the police and
European curses. “Shove, corporal, shove!” came the voice of Sergeant
Antony. “I am shoving, shoving strongly, but I can’t shove a whole
bullock alone,” snarled the corporal. Then came further crashes, and
the sound of panting, labouring men. “Better carry him,” a suggestion
by a private. “Wontsh be carried. Wontsh go home till morning.” Bruce
was getting musical again. His Excellency was awakened by the riot, and
came out to me. “What is all this, Monckton?” he asked severely. “I
imagine, sir, it is the return of the tea party. I think you had better
not hear or see anything,” I replied. “Disgraceful!” said Robinson, as
he snorted and went back to bed.

Then Manning appeared, supported by two police, his arms round their
necks and theirs round his waist; while a third pushed behind. “This is
a damned nice drunken state to return in, with the Governor present,” I
said, as the police held him up as an exhibit to me. “Not drunksh, ill,
verysh ill,” he squeaked feebly. “Thinksh got measles.” “Undress him,
and shove him into bed,” I told the police. Then a heaving, struggling,
revolving mass of about six police appeared, dragging and shoving the
unwieldy bulk of Bruce. “Don’t make such an infernal noise, Bruce,” I
said; “if you rouse out the Governor you will get hell, and you are
disturbing my sick. I am surprised at you; I thought you had a head.”
Bruce pulled himself together in some marvellous manner known only to
himself, and I managed with the help of the police to get him quietly
into a hammock. “Where is Walsh?” I demanded. Bruce smiled fatuously
and snored. “Mr. Walsh, the two store-keepers, and the engineer of
the _Bulldog_ launch, are all under the table; Mr. Bruce told us to
lay them there like sardines,” said Sergeant Antony. “All right,” I
answered, “tell the sentry to call me at the first peep of dawn,” and
then turned in.

At daylight I routed out the erring ones, gave them a strong dose of
bromide and calomel (they did not know about the calomel), and sent
them off to swim in the river, then to go on to the store where they
could get shaved, and where I promised to send them clean shirts and
things. “You, Bruce, are inspecting the pay sheets and returns of the
Bogi detachment. You, Manning, are making arrangements for me for the
burial of my dead man. Don’t come back until after breakfast, and
remember your lies; also try to look as sober as you can. Walsh can
stop away until the evening.”

“Where are Bruce and Manning?” asked his Excellency, as we met at
breakfast. “I must take action of some sort over their disgraceful
conduct of last night.” “Don’t know anything about it officially, sir,”
I said, “they will appear in a presentable state in about an hour, with
plausible lies to account for their absence. As a matter of fact, I
sent them in the cold, damp dawn to dree their weird in the river. They
have been through a devil of a time lately, and old Clunas would make
an Archbishop drunk; they will be sorry enough for themselves when the
bolus I have given them gets in its work.” Some time later the culprits
appeared, looking wonderfully fresh, considering everything. “Where
have you been so early, Commandant?” asked Robinson. “Auditing the pay
sheets of the local detachment, sir,” promptly answered the unrepentant
prodigal unwinkingly. “And you, Manning?” “The R.M. was rather tired
this morning, sir, and I went to make some arrangements for him about
the burial of the dead man,” lied Manning. Robinson stared at the pair
of them for a few seconds, then, taking his stick, went off for a walk
in the gardens.

“Did he believe us?” asked Bruce. “Of course not, you asses!” I said,
“he both saw and heard you last night; besides, I told him all this
morning. But he is pretending to believe you in order to avoid having
to take official notice. Why didn’t you two fools stick to lager?”
“Clunas had such a feed for us, turkey, goose, ham, bottled asparagus,
and real potatoes,” said Bruce. “All right,” I interrupted, “I know
what Clunas’ feeds are like; get to the drinks.” “You need not be so
blank pious,” growled Bruce; “if you had been there you would not have
come home at all, you would have stopped under the table with Walsh!”
“You are a slanderous and ungrateful brute, Bruce!” I replied. “What
did you drink?” “Clunas had some bottled cocktails, and insisted upon
our having one each as an aperitif; then he made us have another to
prevent the first feeling lonely; then at the feed we asked for lager
beer. ‘Lager be damned!’ said Clunas, ‘this is no Methodist Sunday
School!’ and shoved a pint bottle of still Burgundy in front of us.
When we got to coffee he gave us a fine old liqueur brandy, and then he
insisted upon showing us how his father brewed punch. By God! Clunas’
father must have been a strong man! That punch would make an elephant
drunk! I don’t know how many glasses we had, but Manning went and lay
outside and was sick, and I stuck to my guns until I had them all under
the table, and then I came away.” For a few days after this there was a
distinct chill in his Excellency’s manner towards the erring ones!

From Bogi we went down the Kumusi River in whaleboats and canoes,
meeting on our way one Ambushi, the chief of a Kumusi tribe and a
village constable, whom I at once arrested. “I have a little list of
nine recent murders by that man,” I told the Governor; “he is one of
the most dangerous thugs in New Guinea, and always manages to bamboozle
that weak ass Hislop. I have sent this man message after message,
that unless he mended his ways I should hang him on his own cocoanut
tree, and the only notice he has taken is to add yet another crime
to his list. One of his most recent performances was the deliberate
and cold-blooded murder of a child of ten years old, who was staying
with its mother in his village. The old blackguard had some guests at
a feast; he had plenty of pig, dog, and fish, but that wasn’t good
enough; so he called to the unsuspecting woman to bring her boy up to
him, and when she obeyed he dashed out the child’s brains before the
mother, and added them to the menu. The woman knew it was useless going
to Hislop, so she sent to me through Sergeant Barigi. I don’t believe
the old reprobate is ever without human meat.”

“Ah! Mr. Ambushi!” I remarked to that worthy, “I have been long in
coming, but I have come now, and a strong rope, a long drop, and your
own cocoanut tree is your fate! And I have a little list of some of
your friends who are due for seven years’ hard labour.” “Only I can
hang, Monckton,” said the Governor. “Yes, sir,” I said, “and when you
have heard the evidence that I shall produce, you will be only too
anxious to exercise that right.” We reached the beach, and I sent for
the witnesses; when they heard that Ambushi was safely in custody, they
were only too anxious to come. I sent Ambushi before the Judge on three
separate and distinct charges of murder fully proved; I also sent a
list of other murders I was bringing against him, without counting such
minor crimes as robbery with violence, abduction, rape, and assault!
The Judge heard the cases, then he told me to stop. “I can hang the
man three times over already,” he said, “and he has richly deserved
it in each case.” Ambushi was then sentenced to death. “I want to
make certain, sir, that he does hang instead of having his sentence
commuted by Executive Council at the last minute, so I shall keep my
list, and have another go at him if he escapes the death penalty.” “The
last decision as to the Royal clemency lies with me as administrator,”
replied his Excellency. “Ambushi shall be hanged; and furthermore he
shall be hanged, as you promised, on his own cocoanut tree in his own
village.”

The final scene took place in Ambushi’s village some weeks later.
A wet, dull morning, the Kumusi rolling by in heavy yellow flood,
a launch containing a white-faced ship’s officer, engineer, and
seamen, hanging on to the bank, a crowd of sullen natives, silent
and watchful, and myself shivering with fever, holding a warrant
in my hand, whilst a ring of the North-Eastern constabulary, with
bayonets fixed, stood round a cocoanut tree, to which was attached an
ominous-looking cross-piece with two dangling ropes; a sergeant, with
a sharpened tomahawk, sat on the cross-piece. One noose was adjusted
round Ambushi’s waist, a file of constabulary seized the other end, and
Ambushi swung up until his shoulders touched the cross-beams, where
the sergeant fitted the second noose round his neck. “All clear, sir!”
called the sergeant, raising his tomahawk. “Cut, sergeant!” Down fell
the tomahawk on the rope round his waist and exit Ambushi. “Oh, people
of the Kumusi, take warning by the fate of Ambushi and do no murder!”
called Barigi, as the launch swung into the swollen river, and we
hastened away from the spot.



CHAPTER XXVII


Since the writing of the last chapter much has happened; war has broken
out, and I must go and fight in Kitchener’s Army. I had intended to
conclude my book with a description of the ascent of Mount Albert
Edward, and journey right across New Guinea from Kaiser Wilhelm’s Land
to the Gulf of Papua. Both these expeditions were full of interest: men
who wore wooden armour, a huge new mammal, prehistoric pottery, all had
their part. Perhaps if this book proves of interest to people and all
goes well, I may write an account of these expeditions at a later date.

[Illustration: BRITISH NEW GUINEA]



INDEX


  Abel, Rev, Charles, of the L.M.S., 247–249, 258–260

  Acland, L. G. Dyke, at Cape Vogel, 104

  --, --, accompanies the expedition to the Agaiambu and Dobudura,
          274–279, 282–293

  _Ada_, lugger, expeditions of, 32–57

  Adade, of Dopima, 244

  Adaua River, the, 207, 226

  Ade, Private, 154, 157, 300

  Admiralty Islands, the, 62

  Aga tribe, the, 306

  Agaiambu Lake, 275, 282

  -- tribe, description of the, 274–281

  Agara, Private, and his wife, 200–203

  Ahgai-ambo tribe, the, 280

  Aia Kapimana, father and son, 127, 128, 130, 131, 136

  Aidio, village of, 244

  Aimaha, village of, 244

  Airamu, village of, 232

  _Albert McLaren_, schooner, 54, 169–171

  Alligator Jack, 173

  Alligators, stories of, 54, 103–105, 132, 160, 161, 193, 319

  Ambushi, chief, 322, 323

  America, pearls in, 45

  Amphibious tribe, an, 274–281

  Amuke of Dopima, 244

  Anglican Mission, the, 31, 54, 105

  Anson, Captain, of H.M.S. _Orlando_, 63

  Antoinette, Sister, 136

  Antony, Sergeant, 320

  Ants, 159, 299, 317

  Aparu, village of, 197

  Arabia, 68

  Arau-u of Turotere, 244

  Arbouine, Charles, at Samarai, 28, 59, 75, 111

  --, --, on sponges, 56

  Arifamu tribe, the, 206

  --, --, cannibalism among, 192

  --, --, raid on, 268–270

  Arita, Private, 172, 304, 312, 317

  Armit, R.E., 75, 145, 242

  --, --, appointed to the Northern Division, 143, 147, 172

  --, --, at Samarai, v, 3, 4, 28, 75, 82

  --, --, his advice, 85, 100, 111

  --, --, his snakes, 134

  --, --, murder of, 242

  --, --, on ghosts, 111

  --, --, trades in rubber, 72

  Aru Islands, the, 62

  Australasia, Federation of, 10

  Australasian Parliament, 62

  Australia, bubonic plague in, 64

  --, Commonwealth of, 313

  --, De Molynes, Governor-General of, 193, 312

  --, gold-fields of, 13, 14

  --, Labour Government of, 62

  --, Marine Board, 65

  --, population of Northern, 61, 62

  --, sale of pearls in, 4

  Australian Artillery, Royal, 240

  Awaiama Bay, 53, 55, 56

  Awaiama, murder at, 73


  Bachelors’ Club, 154, 237

  Baiba Bari Island, 243

  Baibi, of Dopima, 244

  Bai-ia, village of, 244

  Ballantine, Treasurer and Collector of Customs, 111–113, 249

  --, at Port Moresby, 136, 161, 163–165

  --, his relief expedition, 154, 162

  Bamu River, the, 239

  Bapapa, 318

  Bare Bare, village of, 226

  Barigi River, the, 104, 268, 272, 274, 305, 306

  Barigi, Sergeant, 201, 269, 278, 284, 287, 295, 296, 308, 309, 318,
          322, 323

  Bartle Bay, 153

  Barton, Captain, appointed Administrator, 248, 253

  --, --, as Commandant, 151, 166, 205, 208

  --, --, as private secretary to Sir G. Le Hunte, 149, 150, 153, 157,
          162

  --, --, as R.M. of the Central Division, 119, 247, 265, 266

  --, --, at Winiapi, 206

  --, --, cures a snake-bite, 135

  --, --, proceeds against the Doriri, 208–232, 256

  --, --, visits the Agaiambu, 279, 280

  Baruga tribe, the, 219, 269, 276, 279–281, 306–308

  -- --, defence of the, 175

  Basilaki, island of, 53, 57

  Basilio of Manilla, 117–124, 135, 250

  Bêche-de-mer, trade in, 4, 41, 56, 191, 204

  Bellamy, 301

  Bert, my clerk, 250–253

  Betel-nut, trading for, 150, 167

  Bia, Corporal, 185, 268, 269, 295, 308

  “Bill the Boozer,” 14, 21

  Billy the Cook, his pub, 73, 75, 83, 94, 95, 100

  -- -- --. _See_ Wisdell.

  Binandere tribe, the, 172, 173, 217, 274, 298

  Binandere, Bushimai chief of, 132

  --, fearlessness of the, 115, 135, 189

  --, sorcerers, 187, 189

  --, warfare, 175

  _Black Maria_, 55

  Black-water fever, 135

  Blayney, Dr., R.M. for Central Division, acts as Treasurer and
          Collector, 113, 117, 126

  Body snatching, 234–236

  Bogege, chief of the Maisina, 191, 192, 199–203

  Bogi, village of, 154, 289, 299, 314, 319–322

  -- mining camp, 54

  Boianai, punitive expedition to, 106–108

  Bonarua, village of, 197

  Bouellard, Father, at Makeo, 121, 135, 140–143

  Boure, village of, 222

  Brady, Jim, gold-digger, 23–26, 62, 63

  Bramell, Government Agent, acts as Customs Clerk, 113, 114

  -- at Mekeo, 113–116, 118, 129, 140

  --, attempted murder of, 129, 130

  Brisbane, 161

  --, Archdeacon Robinson of, 245

  --, doctor, 234

  --, Royal Australian Artillery, 240

  British Museum, 37, 275, 316

  Bromilow, Rev. William, of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, 31, 48,
          73, 84, 85

  “Brother John,” timber merchant, 60

  Brown, ex-pugilist, at Woodlark, 146–148

  Brown, Lieutenant, R.A.A., 240, 242, 243

  Brown River, 155–161

  Bruce, Commandant of Constabulary, 246–249, 305–322

  Bubonic plague in Australia, 64

  Buhutu, village of, 261

  _Bulldog_ launch, 320

  Bullen, quoted, 12

  Buna Bay, 54, 180, 272, 303

  -- River, the, 213

  Burial of the dead, native customs of, 87, 122–127

  Burns, Philp and Co., Messrs., of Sydney, 1, 4, 24, 28, 29, 70,
          73, 111, 136, 153

  --, --, --, charter the _Nabua_, 58, 59

  Burroughs & Wellcome, Messrs., 22, 168

  Burton, Richard, 37

  --, --, accompanies the author, 62–69

  Burupurari, 318

  Bushai valley, gold in, 22

  Bushimai, chief, 189, 270, 286

  --, --, at Cape Nelson, 193–196

  --, --, crime and punishment of, 80, 81, 85, 99, 114

  --, --, his scars, 132

  --, --, joins expedition against the Dobudura, 290, 292

  Butterworth, Captain, Commandant of Constabulary, 143, 168

  --, --, accompanies the author on a punitive expedition, 99, 101–105

  --, --, deals with the Doriri, 176, 207


  Cachalot, the, 33

  Cæsar, Julius, 9

  Cairn Islands, climate of, 61

  Cameron, Chief Government Surveyor, 12, 13

  Campbell, A. M., R.M. of the South-Eastern Division, 143–145, 148, 266

  Campion, miner, 311, 317

  Cannibalism among the Mokuru, 192

  -- -- the Notu and Dobudura, 282, 284–286, 290

  -- at Cape Nelson, 174

  -- on board ship, 63

  -- on Goodenough Island, 36, 152

  -- on the Kumusi, 182, 311, 316, 322

  Cape Blackwood, Chalmers at, 237, 238, 242

  Cape Nelson, 50, 104, 128, 134

  -- -- Constabulary, 166–168, 180, 189, 201, 229, 236, 251, 292,
          294, 316

  -- --, Judge Robinson at, 294–296

  -- --, raids on tribe of, 173–176

  -- --, station at, 165–169, 177, 233, 250

  -- --, thunder-storms at, 256, 257

  -- --, whaleboat at, 169

  Cape Vogel, 49, 50, 53, 55, 198, 253, 265

  -- --, alligator at, 104

  -- -- Mission Station, 73, 170, 191, 200

  _Carl_, brig, 248

  Carruth, trial of, 73, 94, 95

  Central Court of New Guinea, 21, 92, 193, 261, 262, 264

  -- Division Constabulary, 294

  Ceylon, pearl fisheries of, 44

  Chalmers, Rev. James, murder of, 233, 236–249

  _Changsha_, China steamer, 62

  Chasseurs d’Afrique, les, 14, 48

  Cheltenham College of Agriculture, 62

  Chester at Port Moresby, 155, 163, 164

  China, 272

  --, pearls in, 44

  --, sandalwood trade with, 60, 61

  China Straits, the, 18, 27

  -- --, mother-of-pearl shell in, 44

  -- --, _Nabua_ founders in, 59

  Chinese, the, bêche-de-mer soup, 56

  -- ineligible as diggers, 17

  Chinese on Rossel Island, 13

  Chinese on Thursday Island, 61

  Clancy, at Nivani, 144, 145, 191, 199

  _Clara Ethel_, s.s., 75, 136

  Clarence River, the, 67

  Clark, murder of, 9, 78, 81

  Clark, Rev., at Taupota, 105

  Clark, trader, 289

  Close, death of, 82

  Cloudy Bay, gold rush at, 262, 263

  Clunas, Alexander, 319–322

  Clyde, the river, New Guinea, 78

  Cocoanut palms in Samarai, 5

  --, trade in, 56

  Codfish, dreaded by divers, 33

  Collingwood Bay, Maisina tribe, 173, 176, 190, 216, 219, 225

  -- -- mining expedition, 194

  -- --, swamps round, 209, 213, 216, 232

  -- --, Uiaku, 210

  Colonial Office, the, 165

  Conflict Islands, 56

  Constabulary, native, at Mekeo, 114–117, 138, 145

  --, --, at Nivani, 144

  --, --, system of, 79, 165, 270

  --, --, their medal, 165

  Cook’s Passage, 69

  Cooktown, Queensland, 1, 3, 65, 67, 75, 242, 243

  --, --, Diamond Jubilee celebrations at, 68, 69

  Copra at Dobu, 48

  -- at Iwa, 20

  Coral Island, rats on a, 46

  -- mushrooms, 40, 47

  -- Sea, the, charts of, 13

  -- --, pearl fishing in, 32

  Court mourning, 45

  Cox, Alfred, accompanies the author, 63–66

  Coxen, Walter A., Captain, R.A.A., 240

  Crimean War, the, 101

  Crocodiles, stories of, 188, 272–274, 319

  Cromwell, Oliver, 9

  Crow, Mat, miner, 173

  _Curlew_, lugger, 32–57

  Curragh of Kildare, 235

  Curtis, Commander, 137

  --, --, acts as surveyor, 11


  Daiogi, village of, 261

  D’Albertia creeper, the, 282

  Daru, 137

  Daru, Murray at, 238–242

  Dauncey, Rev., 242

  Dawson Straits, 34, 36

  De Lange, Assistant R.M., v

  -- -- at Daru, 137, 138

  De Molynes, Richard, as Assistant Resident Magistrate, 297, 304

  -- --, --, at Cape Nelson, 193–196

  Didina Ranges, the, 215, 216, 222, 226–228

  Dinner Island, 3, 4

  Divers, methods of, 33–35, 40, 47, 51–53

  Divorce, laws on, 204

  Dobu, Island of, 48, 49

  --, Bromilow at, 73, 84

  -- carriers, 181

  --, on the Fly River, 151

  Dobuan language, the, 36

  Dobudura tribe, the, their feud with the Notu, 282–293

  Domara River, the, 207, 225, 226

  Dopima Island, implicated in murder of Chalmers, 243–245

  Doriri tribe, the, cannibalism among, 221

  --, --, expeditions against, 185, 208–232, 256, 275

  --, --, procuring a skeleton of, 234–236

  --, --, raids of, 173–176, 198, 207, 280

  “Dove, The,” 14

  Dove village, 230–232

  -- Baruga men, 219, 220, 222, 231–232

  Drake, Sir Francis, 9

  Driscoll, miner, 195

  Dubumuba, village of, 243, 244

  Ducie, Earl of, 12

  Duck shooting, 277, 316

  Dudura River and village, 228, 230

  Dugari, village of, 229

  Dumai, of Mambare, 78–81

  Dutch New Guinea, 62

  -- -- --, Tugere, 165

  Duvira Bay, 78

  -- --, the _Siai_ in, 81

  -- village, 80


  East Cape, 32, 55, 58, 139, 153

  Eastern Division, 143

  -- --, alligators in, 103

  -- --, Resident Magistrate of the, 36

  East India Islands, fauna of, 37

  _Eboa_, s.s., 30

  --, chase of the, 85, 86

  Ede, trader, 14, 19

  Eheubi, village of, 244

  _Electris Moncktoni_, 275

  Eley Brothers, 168

  Elliott, Alexander, miner, on the Mambare, 78, 81

  Elliott, Assistant R.M., 289, 297–303, 318

  Ema, of Turotere, 244

  Emai, of Dopima, 244

  Enamakala, chief, 149, 152

  --, --, discipline administered to, 88–91

  Endeavour River, 2

  Epidemics, enteric, 122–127

  --, measles, 189, 310–319

  --, small-pox, 152

  Etheridge Gold-field, North Queensland, 317

  Eton College, 13, 62, 237


  Fanshawe, Captain, 101

  Farquhar, at the Golden Fleece, 29, 30

  -- sails in the _Guinevere_, 70, 71

  Fear of heights, 158, 159

  Fellows, Rev. --, on the Trobriands, 43, 73, 85–90

  Ferguson Island, 34, 39, 146, 148

  -- --, cannibal raid on, 93

  -- --, native shot at, 73

  -- --, pearl fishing off, 48

  Fielden, Captain, 164, 165

  Fijian teachers in New Guinea, 124

  Fiji Islands, the, MacGregor representative of, 10

  --, --, Winter, law officer in, 12

  Finn, miner, 134, 135

  Fires, camp, 227

  Fish, _Electris Moncktoni_, 275

  Fish-bringer, profession of, 184

  Fisherman Island, 69

  Fishing, methods of, 46, 152

  _Fly_, H.M.S., 238

  Fly River, De Lange drowned in, 137

  --, --, Le Hunte on, 151

  --, --, MacGregor on, 238

  French convicts, escaped, 75

  “French Pete,” 14


  Gabadi, of Dugari, 229, 230

  Gahibai of Dopima, 244

  _Galatea_, s.s., 23, 92

  Gallagher, miner, 195

  Gamadaudau of Daiogi, 261

  Game, pursuit of, 141–143, 161, 212

  Garopo, village of, 244

  Gebai of Dopima, 245

  German Harry on the _Galatea_, 23, 73, 92

  -- --, stories of, 7, 8

  German New Guinea, 1, 62, 268, 324

  -- -- --, coal trade with, 111

  -- -- --, Graham in, 86, 87

  -- -- --, small-pox in, 74

  German trade in New Guinea, 2

  German trader in the Gulf of Papua, 118

  Gewadura, village of, 230, 231

  Gewari-Bari, village of, 244

  Ghosts at Mekeo, 129

  -- at Samarai, 109–111

  Giorgi, ex-private, 97, 103, 106, 109

  Gira River, the, 81

  Gisavia, “boy,” 21

  Giulianetti, Amedeo, at Port Moresby, 155

  --, --, his death at Mekeo, 11, 127–129

  Giwi, chief of the Kaili Kaili, 173–175, 181, 209, 210, 227, 274,
          283, 284, 287, 292

  --, his son Toku, 184, 186

  Glasgow, Earl of, Governor of New Zealand, 1

  Goaribi tribe, the, murder of Chalmers by, 238–249

  Goari-ubi, village of, 244

  Gogori tribe, the, 306

  Gold-fields on Sudest Island, 13

  -- -- on Woodlark Island, 12, 14, 16–26, 62, 76

  -- --, runaway carriers from, 181, 192, 206, 251

  -- --, Yodda, 172

  Goodenough Island, cannibalism on, 36, 93, 152

  -- --, cocoanut plantation on, 73, 94

  -- --, natives of, 38

  -- --, pearl fishery off, 32–40

  -- --, punitive expeditions to, 55, 92, 94–105, 148

  -- --, signs of mourning, 139

  -- --, sling throwing on, 38, 152

  -- Bay, murder at, 105–108

  Goria, murderer, 85, 99

  Gorman, Siebe, Messrs., 23

  Gors at Port Moresby, 111

  Gorupa, the, 33, 289

  Goura pigeons, 141, 212

  Government Stations, composition of, 177, 250

  -- Store, feud with, 163, 166–169, 250, 256

  Graham, John, gold digger, 26, 27, 30

  --, --, steals anchor and chain, 73, 85–87

  Gray, Dr., on crocodiles, 272

  “Greasy Bill,” 14

  Great Barrier Reef, 69

  Green, John, R.M., v, 9, 143

  --, --, at Mekeo, 113

  --, --, murder of, 73, 77–82, 181

  Griffin, 301

  Griffiths, Sir Samuel, 10

  Groper. _See_ Gorupa.

  Guba, experience of a, 85

  _Guinevere_, the, expeditions in, 64, 95

  Gulf of Papua, 137, 149, 242, 324

  -- --, German trader in, 118


  Haddon, Professor, anthropologist, 37, 136

  Hall Sound, 118, 138, 140, 242

  Hampden, Lord, 164

  Hancock, storekeeper at Tamata, 134, 135

  Hanuabada boys, 130, 154–156

  Harte, Bret, 25

  Harvey, Captain, at Winiapi, 206

  --, --, leads me into crime, 233–236

  _Hastings_, H.M.S., 101

  Hector, Sir James, 37

  Heinke, Messrs., 23

  Hely, Bingham, 242

  --, --, death of, 137

  Heron, Squire and Francis, Messrs., 168

  Higginsons, Messrs., 301

  Hislop, R.M., 322

  Holmes, Rev, W. J., his alligator story, 104

  _Hornet_, lugger, 32–57

  Howards’ Sulphate of Quinine, 168

  Hunt, Rev., 242

  Hunter, “The Sandalwood King,” 60

  Hurricanes, wrecks in, 58

  Hydrographer’s Expedition, Robinson’s, 303–323


  Iake of Turotere, 244

  Iasa Iasi, 49, 50

  Ibinamu River, the, 216, 224

  Iguanas, 132, 186

  Ilimo, village of, 226

  _Illustrated London News_, 71

  India, tiger-hunting in, 274

  Indian Medical Service, the, 257

  -- Rajahs, buy pink pearls, 45

  Infanticide at Cape Vogel, 191, 200

  Inman, Captain, 1, 3, 70, 136, 171

  Insect pests, 227

  Ipisia, Nalaki, chief of, 238, 244

  _Ivanhoe_, schooner, 17, 75, 76

  Iwa, island of, 19–21


  Jade, slabs of, 222

  Japanese on Thursday Island, 61

  Jesuit Mission, French, 23

  Jewell, secretary to C. S. Robinson, 246–248

  Jews, the, sponge trade in hands of, 56

  Jiear, A. H., Subcollector of Customs, 238, 239, 245–247

  “Jimmy from Heaven,” 14

  _John Williams_, L.M.S. steamer, 64

  Jones, Doctor, health officer in New Guinea, 5

  Jones, Mervyn, Commander of the _Merrie England_, 12, 13, 137


  Kaili Kaili tribe, the, as carriers, 210–232, 283–292, 305, 310

  -- -- --, raids on, 173–176

  -- -- --, signs of mourning, 137

  -- -- --, sorcerers among, 182

  -- -- --, work at Cape Nelson, 178, 180, 191, 204, 298

  Kaina tribe, the, 307–311

  Kaiva Kuku, secret society of, 119

  Kanakas, the, 61–64

  Kautiri of Dopima, 244

  Kavitari, exhuming the dead at, 87, 88

  --, trade at, 47

  Keke, Corporal, at Cape Nelson, 166, 179

  --, --, at Mekeo, 116, 138

  --, --, on the relief expedition, 154, 157

  Kemere, his report of massacre, 243–245

  Kikinaua tribe, the, cannibalism among, 194

  -- --, expedition against, 197, 198

  Kimai, Sergeant, 129, 165, 235, 236, 285, 309

  King, miner, 311, 317

  Kipling, Rudyard, defines a native, 139

  Kitchener’s Army, 324

  Kiwai Island, 238, 240

  -- tribe, the, 179, 189, 235, 236

  -- -- Mission boys, 243, 247

  Komburua, anecdotes of, 178–181, 299

  Koriva, 318

  Kove, Private, 172

  Kowold, German, v, 11, 12

  -- at Mekeo, 113, 117

  Kuku Kuku tribe, the, 119

  Kulamadau mine, the, 22

  Kumusi River, the, 54, 104, 154, 272, 289, 304, 312, 316, 318, 323

  -- -- carriers, 290

  -- --, murder of miners on, 242

  Kuveri district, 199, 209, 210

  -- tribe, the, protection of, 194, 197, 198, 200


  Lailai, constable, 261

  Lakekamu River, the, 200

  Laku, the river camp at, 194, 195, 197

  Laloki River, camp at, 155, 156, 160

  Lamington Expedition, 293

  --, Lord, Governor of Queensland, 243

  Land, laws _re_ possession of, 53, 148

  Languages of New Guinea, 78

  Lario, Malay, 250

  --, --, on the relief expedition, 158–161

  Laughlan Isles, the, 14

  Lawyer vines, 190, 231

  Leeches, 227, 231, 316

  Legislative Council of New Guinea, 12, 48

  Le Hunte, Sir George, appointed Lieutenant-Governor of New Guinea,
          148, 149

  --, --, appointed Governor of South Australia, 245

  --, --, appoints me to the North-Eastern Division, 163–167, 177

  --, --, at Cape Nelson, 208

  --, --, at Winiapi, 205

  --, --, awards medals, 165

  --, --, his appointments, 253, 257, 266

  --, --, his instructions to Russell 162

  --, --, his sentence on Yaldwyn, 266

  --, --, impulsiveness of, 151, 152

  --, --, investigates murder of Chalmers, 241–243, 248

  --, --, on the Fly River, 151

  --, --, on Pusa Pusa, 50

  --, --, on the Trobriands, 149–151

  Lindsay, Robert, miner, 261–263

  Liquor laws of New Guinea, 94, 266

  Lithium, lake containing, 39

  Litter, native, 213

  Livingstone, David, 237

  Lloyds’ underwriters, 58

  Lobb, gold prospector, 14, 19

  Logia Island, cemetery on, 74

  London, 56

  --, money-lender, 64

  London Missionary Society at Mekeo, 139

  -- -- --, _John Williams_, 64

  -- -- --, murder of Chalmers of, 237–249

  -- -- --, Rev. W. J. Holmes of, 104

  -- -- --, Samoan teachers of, 81, 124

  Longner Hall, Shrewsbury, 37, 62

  Louis, of the Chasseurs d’Afrique, 14, 48, 49

  Louisade Islands, 6

  Lulubeiai, of Daiogi, 261

  Lumbago, cure for, 184

  Lynch, 82


  Macdonald, head gaoler, 160, 161

  Macdonnell, district surveyor, 254–256, 265, 266

  MacGregor, Lady, 100

  --, Sir William, Governor of New Guinea, v, vi, 1, 162

  --, -- --, appoints me as Collector of Customs, 111–113

  --, -- --, at Mohu, 133

  --, -- --, at Port Moresby, 70

  --, -- --, defeats the Okein, 175

  --, -- --, determines Mission spheres, 139

  --, -- --, forbids cutting cocoanut trees, 139

  --, -- --, his map, 304, 305

  --, -- --, his native constabulary, 4, 270, 271

  --, -- --, his Native Labour Ordinance, 6

  --, -- --, his Ordinance _re_ liquor, 94

  --, -- --, his qualifications, 10, 11, 126, 13

  --, -- --, inspects the gaol, 101

  --, -- --, interview with, 9

  --, -- --, leaves New Guinea, 140

  --, -- --, on the duties of Resident Magistrates, 72, 100, 105

  --, -- --, on Enamakala, 91

  --, -- --, on flogging, 99–101

  --, -- --, on Fly River, 238, 242

  --, -- --, on the Mambare River, 77, 78, 81

  --, -- --, on the Musa River, 9, 230

  --, -- --, on Patten, 94

  --, -- --, on the trouble in the Trobriands, 43, 90

  --, -- --, recommends medals, 165

  --, -- --, sends tobacco to England, 313

  --, -- --, stamps out malaria, 5

  --, -- --, story of his appointment, 10

  Mackay, C.B., Colonel Kenneth, his “Across Papua,” 5

  Mackenzie, gold digger, 22, 24

  Magi, Private, 196

  Mahikaha of Turotere, 245

  Mahony, Mrs., publican, 266

  Main Ranges, 304

  Maina, village constable, 124

  Maione, Private, 310, 312, 314, 316

  Maisina tribe as carriers, 207, 209, 210–232

  -- --, the, expeditions against, 191–203, 207

  --, --, the, raids on, 173–176

  Maiva, epidemic at, 120

  --, Missions at, 140

  Makawa, 287

  Malaria in New Guinea, 5, 16

  Malay Archipelago, 63

  -- crews, discipline of, 41, 42

  Malays on Thursday Island, 61

  --, prohibition for, 95

  Mambare, the, 9, 47

  --, Armit on, 143

  --, Bishop Stone-Wigg visits, 169, 171

  -- constabulary, 229, 236, 280

  -- crocodiles, 273

  -- fighting men, 290–292

  -- gold-fields, 55, 78

  -- miners, 76, 80, 92, 147, 148

  -- murderers at Samarai, 73, 77, 85, 114

  --, punitive expedition to, 78, 81

  Mambare, runaway carriers from, 181, 182, 192, 206, 251, 282, 296

  -- traders, 233

  -- snakes, 134, 135

  Mangrove Isles, the, 289

  -- ulcers, 16

  Manigugu, gaoler, 110

  Manning, on the Hydrographer’s Expedition, 305–322

  Marawa, father of Kemere, 243

  Mayne, William, Head Gaoler, 252

  Mbese, village of, 230

  McIlwraith, Sir Thomas, 10

  Medicine, practice of, 184, 185

  Mekco carriers, 156, 158

  -- constabulary, 114–117, 138, 145, 166

  --, economic plants at, 117

  --, experiences in the district of, 113–143

  --, ghosts at, 129

  --, Sacred Heart Mission at, 60

  --, sharks at, 104

  --, shooting parties at, 141–143

  --, snakes at, 134

  --, sorcerers at, 114, 120–128, 130

  Melanesians, the, 61

  Meredith, head gaoler, 12

  _Merrie England_, the, 49, 50, 59

  -- -- at Cape Nelson, 165–167, 182, 191, 193, 205, 208, 233, 252,
          264, 268, 294

  -- -- at Goaribi, 233, 241–243, 246–248

  -- -- at Nivani, 144, 148, 149

  -- -- at Samarai, 99, 105, 111

  -- -- at the Trobriands, 149, 151

  -- -- at Woodlark Island, 14

  -- --, Komburua on, 180

  -- --, Mervyn Jones, Commander of, 12, 13

  -- --, on the Musa River, 9

  -- --, purser of, 72

  -- --, sheep stealing from, 234

  -- --, trips to Thursday Island in, 137, 140

  Milne Bay, crime in, 258–267

  -- -- Mission Station, 258–264

  Miners at Milne Bay, 258–264

  -- at Woodlark, 145–148

  -- at the Yodda, 172

  Mining Act of New Guinea, 148

  Missions, Foreign, complain of sorcery, 183

  --, --, organization of, 30, 31

  _Mizpah_, cutter, voyages in, 32–59

  Mohu, discipline of, 132, 133

  Mokuru tribe, the, 204, 209

  -- --, cannibalism among, 192

  -- -- carriers, 210, 211, 218

  Moni River, the, 207

  Monsoons, North-West, 27

  Moratau, Island of, 37

  Moresby, Admiral, 78

  Morley, miner, 261–263

  Moreton, Hon. M. H., Resident Magistrate of the Eastern Division,
          v, 12, 21, 28, 43, 55, 70, 111, 242

  --, -- --, at Samarai, 145, 146

  --, -- --, deals with the Doriri, 176, 207

  --, -- --, ghostly feet in his house, 109–111

  --, -- --, goes on leave, 72–76, 254

  --, -- --, goes unarmed, 149, 150

  --, -- --, his responsibility for the Milne Bay affair, 258–267

  --, -- --, methods of, 84, 93, 96, 98

  --, -- --, on the Mambare, 77, 78, 81

  --, -- --, on the _Siai_, 42, 47, 53, 143

  Mosquitoes at Mekeo, 128

  Mother-in-law, murder of a, 73, 105

  Mother-of-pearl, 32

  Motuan boy, 295

  -- language, the, v, 78

  -- tribe, 189

  Mount Albert Edward, 324

  -- Barton, 313, 314, 318

  -- Bellamy, 318

  _Mount Kembla_, pilot of the, 111, 112

  Mount Lamington, tribes of, 296, 297, 306, 313, 314, 318

  -- MacGregor, 214, 216, 219, 306, 314

  -- Monckton, 318

  -- Nisbet, 314

  -- Trafalgar, 204

  -- Victoria, 304, 314, 317, 318

  -- Victory, 232

  -- --, eruption of, 173

  -- York, Goodenough Island, 37

  Mourning, native signs of, 139

  Mukawa, son of Giwi, 191, 210, 218, 307

  Muroroa, 244

  Murray, Hon. C. G., as R.M. for the Western Division, 237–245

  --, -- --, assistant private secretary, 149, 150, 152, 154, 165

  _Murua_, wreck and repair of the, 144–146, 148

  Musa River, the, cannibals on, 9

  -- --, --, Doriri tribe on, 207, 209, 215–219, 228, 231

  -- --, flood waters of, 275

  -- --, Kowold’s death on, 11, 113

  -- --, rape on, 263–267

  -- --, rubber on, 257

  -- --, Sir William MacGregor on, 175

  Musgrave, Hon. Anthony, Government Secretary, as Acting
          Administrator, 294–298

  --, -- --, at Port Moresby, 112, 113, 136, 163, 184, 186, 237

  --, -- --, investigates attempted murder, 129, 130

  --, -- --, sends me a clerk, 250

  --, -- --, organizes an expedition, 154–162, 298

  _Myrtle_, mail schooner, 1, 2, 32, 60, 61, 204


  _Nabua_, wreck of the, 58, 59

  Nalaki, chief of Ipisia, 238, 244

  Napoleon I., Emperor, 9

  Native labour, 61, 62

  -- Labour Ordinance, 6, 245

  Naval Reserve, 13

  Navarre, Archbishop of, 31, 140

  Neimbadi, village of, 306

  Nelson, Sir Hugh, 10

  New Britain, 75

  New Caledonia, French convict settlement, 14, 75, 268

  Newcastle, Australia, storm off, 65, 66

  New Guinea, British, Lieutenant-Governors of. _See_ Sir William
          MacGregor and Sir George Le Hunte.

  -- --, Protectorate of Southern, 57, 68

  -- -- sores, 16

  -- --, steamship communication with, 1

  New Zealand, farming in, 62, 145

  -- --, Governor of, Earl of Glasgow, 1

  -- --, holiday in, 59, 62

  -- --, Sylvester in, 16

  Niagara Falls, 238

  Niccols, Harry, carpenter, 58, 59

  Nicholas the Greek, stories of, 6, 7, 57

  _Niue_, L.M.S. schooner, 238–245

  Nivani Government Station, 144, 148, 149

  --, wreck of the _Murua_ at, 144

  Nord Deutscher Lloyd, the, 2

  Normanby Island, gold prospecting on, 84

  -- --, pearl fishing off, 48

  North-Eastern Division, appointment to, 162, 164–166

  -- -- --, coast of, 49

  -- -- -- constabulary, 166–168, 271, 323

  -- -- --, Resident Magistrate of, 50

  -- -- --, tribes of, 173

  Northern Australia, 296

  -- --, population of, 61, 62

  Northern Division constabulary, 271, 290

  -- --, dangers of, 38, 82, 143

  North-West Monsoon, the, 27

  Notu, 314

  -- tribe, the, 181

  -- --, their feud with the Dobudura, 282–293


  Oates, Captain, 53–56

  --, storekeeper, 289

  Oelrichs, A. E., Assistant R.M., 190, 234, 264, 268, 301, 303

  --, --, his body-snatching expedition, 235, 236

  Oia, Private, at Cape Nelson, 193, 257, 294, 296

  --, --, eats shark, 289

  --, --, son of Bushimai, 189, 286

  Oiogoba Sara, chief, 269, 270, 274–278, 294, 305

  Okein tribe, 181

  -- --, attacks the Kaili Kaili and Maisina tribes, 173–176

  Omati River, the, 238, 242

  Opi Hill, 315

  -- River, 81, 104, 187

  -- villages, Bishop Stone-Wigg visits, 171, 172

  Orchid, devil, 235

  O’Regan the Rager, 29, 30, 75, 76

  _Orlando_, H.M.S., 63

  Oro Bay, Notu of, 282, 283, 290, 304, 313

  Orokolo, 242

  Otto, seaman, 67–69

  Owen Stanley Range, the, 37, 154–162, 314

  Oysters, pearls in, 35

  --, Trobriand Islands, 42, 47

  --, varieties of, 38, 45


  Paitoto, chief of the Mokuru, 192, 209, 210

  Paiwa, epidemic of measles at, 189

  Pakara of Aimaha, 244

  Palmer, crew, 95

  Papangi Station (Papaki), 289, 290, 299, 304, 311, 314, 316–322

  Papuans, the, 13, 61

  -- employed by diggers, 17

  Paris, bêche-de-mer in, 56

  Park, Resident Magistrate, 82

  Paru, 318

  _Parua_, s.s., 240–243

  Pâté de foie gras, curried, 75

  Patten, Ernest, his expeditions with his wife, 204–206

  --, --, punishment of, 73, 92, 94

  Pearl fishery, methods of, 23, 32–39, 47, 49

  -- trade in New Guinea, 4, 17

  Pearls, causation of, 35

  --, varieties and values of, 44, 45

  Pelicans, 66

  Persia, 272

  --, British Consul in, 68

  _Peuliuli_, lugger, 272, 303

  Philp. _See_ Burns, Philp and Co.

  Poisoning, cases of, 178, 187, 189, 255, 306

  Pondicherry Indian cook, 185

  Pope, the, pearls presented to, 44

  Porloch Bay, 304, 305

  Port Macquarie, 66

  Port Moresby, 59, 69–71, 81, 130, 137

  -- --, alligators at, 103, 104

  -- --, Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co. of, 1

  -- --, carriers, 155

  -- -- gaol, 191, 193

  -- -- Government House, 153, 237, 247–249, 298

  -- --, Judge Winter in, 262

  -- --, measles at, 310

  -- --, Murray at, 241, 242

  -- --, post of Collector of Customs at, 111–114

  -- --, presentation of medals at, 165

  -- --, Sir William MacGregor leaves, 140

  -- --, snakes at, 135

  Poruma, Moreton’s attendant, 83, 87–89, 93, 96, 100, 106–110

  Poruta at Cape Nelson, 166, 167, 178, 192, 193

  -- at Mekeo, 114–116, 120, 127

  Pottery, native, 222

  _President_, steamer, 169, 170, 210, 252

  Prisons Ordinance, the, 100

  Pumpkin diet, 123, 133

  Pusa Pusa, harbour of, 50, 51


  Queensland, 1, 7, 13

  -- aborigines, 61

  --, bêche-de-mer in, 56

  --, crew from, 69, 95, 97

  --, Etheridge Gold-field, 317

  --, Lord Lamington, Governor of, 242, 243

  --, miners from, 78

  -- Mining Act, 17, 148

  --, Premier of, 10

  --, sugar planting in, 193


  Radava, murder at, 106

  Rain-makers, 183, 184

  Rape in New Guinea, laws on, 263

  Rats as crab fishers, 46

  Resident Magistrate, attempted conversion of, 298–303

  -- --, attempts on the life of, 107, 129, 133, 178

  -- --, duties of a, 72–75, 153

  Rhodes, Cecil, 10

  Risk Point, 238

  Road cleaning in New Guinea, 132, 133

  -- making in New Guinea, 60, 140, 180, 256, 298–300, 304

  Robinson, Christopher Stansfield, Chief Justice of New Guinea,
          79, 237, 245–249

  --, -- --, his Hydrographer’s Expedition, 304–323

  --, Venerable Archdeacon, 245

  _Rock Lily_, cutter, 55

  Rohu, his snakes, 134

  Rossel Island, 13, 149

  Ross-Johnston, as private secretary to Sir William MacGregor,
          11, 70, 71

  Rothwell, officer, 13

  Rous, Tommy, proprietor of the Golden Fleece Hotel, 27–32, 74

  Royal Anthropological Institute, 37

  Rubber, New Guinea, 257

  --, first trader in, 72

  _Ruby_, launch, 81, 242, 272

  Russell. _See_ Stuart-Russell.

  Russia, pearls in, 45

  Ryan, miner, 195

  --, --, shoots a native, 73, 84, 85


  Sacred Heart Mission, the, 11, 31

  -- -- -- at Mekeo, 60, 113, 116, 120, 124, 132, 136, 139–143

  -- -- -- at Mohu, 133

  St. Aignan, Island of, 5, 45, 149

  _St. Paul_, s.s., 13

  St. Vincent, Administrator of, 149

  Samarai, 19, 26, 32, 199, 200

  -- Court House, 55, 76

  -- gaol, 42, 47, 76, 77, 85, 101, 147

  --, Golden Fleece Hotel, 27–32

  --, Government Reserve, 3–6, 74, 101, 109

  --, investigation of outrages at, 262–267

  --, Macdonnell at, 254

  --, medical officer at, 257–264

  --, _Merrie England_ at, 233–236

  --, Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co. of, 1, 4, 5, 24, 29

  --, official duties at, 70–74

  --, refuse hole in, 18

  --, Tooth at, 303

  Samboga River, the, 291

  Sandalwood, trade in, 60, 61

  Sandhurst, 62

  Sangara tribe, the, 286–288, 293, 310

  San Joseph River, the, 104, 124

  Sara, Corporal, at Cape Nelson, 166, 168

  --, --, at Mekeo, 115–117, 120

  Sariba, Island of, 57

  Satadeai acts as interpreter, 92, 95, 97

  -- as police-constable, 37

  -- goes pearl fishing, 36–40

  --, sling thrower, 152

  Sawfish, 46

  Scratchley, General Sir Peter, Commissioner of New Guinea, 4

  Scrub itch, 227, 231, 316

  Seaforth Highlanders, the, 12

  Secret societies, danger of, 119, 120

  Sedu, Corporal, 80

  Sefa, Sergeant, 165

  Seligmann, Dr., F.R.S., at Yule Island, 136

  --, --, --, his _Melanesians of British New Guinea_, 91

  Seradi, 192

  -- turns informer, 179, 182

  Seymour Bay, 39

  Shanahan at Tamata, 81

  Shanahan, death of, 143

  Sharks, cowardice of, 33

  --, effects of eating, 289

  --, stories of, 104, 172

  Sheep shearing, 153

  -- stealing, 234

  Shrewsbury, 37, 62

  _Siai_, s.s., 28, 42, 53, 55, 143, 254, 262

  -- at Woodlark, 146–148

  --, my imprisonment on, 83

  --, on the Mambare, 81

  --, repairs to, 73, 94

  -- runs on a shoal, 101

  Siberia, 274

  Silva, pearl fisher, 50, 51, 53

  Singapore, 268

  Sione, coxswain of the _Siai_, 21, 81, 83–85, 87

  --, Mrs., 83, 97, 99

  Slocum, “Captain,” 64, 67

  Snakes at Mekeo, 134

  Solitary Isles, the, 66

  Solomon Islands, the, 62, 272

  Sorcerers at Cape Nelson, 178–182, 192

  -- at Mekeo, 113, 114, 120–128, 130, 135, 138

  -- at Notu, 282, 283, 291

  --, methods of, 183–190

  -- on Goodenough Island, 152

  -- on the Trobriands, 92

  South Africa, Murray in, 245

  -- --, war in, 165

  South Australia, Sir George Le Hunte Governor of, 245

  South-Eastern Division, 127

  -- --, constabulary of, 144

  -- --, duties of R.M. of, 143

  -- --, Moreton R.M. of, 266

  South Seas, slavers in the, 1

  Sponge trade, the, 56

  Spooks in Samarai, 109–111

  _Spray_, yawl, 64, 67

  Steel, schooner master, 1

  Stinging trees, 227

  Stone-Wigg, Rt. Rev. John Montagu, Bishop of New Guinea, vi, 10 31

  -- --, his illness at Cape Nelson, 169

  -- --, his sheep, 153

  -- --, visits the Opi villages, 171 172

  -- --, visits the Yodda Gold-field, 172

  -- --, voyages with, 169–171

  Stuart-Russell, Chief Government Surveyor, 11 143, 154, 163, 177

  -- --, relief expedition after, 154–161, 187

  Suau tribe, the, beliefs of, 189

  -- -- carriers, 194

  -- --, language of, 205

  -- --, signs of mourning among, 139

  Sudest Island, 5, 45, 53, 149

  -- --, gold reef on, 13, 14

  -- --, pearl fishery of, 17, 32

  Sugar-cane, fire in, 196

  Sugar planting, 193

  Suicide, native methods of, 131

  Suloga Bay, 26, 27

  Sulphur, acres of, 39

  Surgery, cases of, 131, 157

  Sus Barbirusa, 37

  Swordfish, 45, 46

  Sydney, 168

  --, German Harry in, 8

  --, Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co. of, 1, 4

  --, Oates family of, 53, 54

  --, purchase of a schooner in, 62–64

  Sylvester, F. H., goes to New Zealand, 16, 19

  --, -- --, his journey to New Guinea, 1–3

  --, -- --, his marriage, 62

  Symons, Subcollector at Samarai, 72–74, 77, 85, 95, 145, 146, 254, 255

  --, implicated in the Milne Bay outrages, 258–267


  Tabe deals with a sorcerer, 188

  Tamanabai, Private, 309, 312

  Tamata, Armit and his snakes at, 134

  --, Elliott, Assistant R.M. at, 289, 290, 298

  -- gaol, 193

  -- Government Station, 188

  --, murder of John Green, Assistant Resident Magistrate, at,
          77–82, 166

  Tambere River, the, 306

  Taro-grower, the profession of, 184

  Taupota, 101, 105

  --, Anglican Mission at, 105

  Taylor, officer, 13

  Teste Island, 19

  Thompson, his cocoanut plantation, 73, 94, 98, 102, 103

  --, storekeeper, 24, 25

  Thursday Island, 59, 61, 83, 137, 140

  -- --, centre of pearling industry, 61

  -- -- hospital, 49

  -- --, Royal Australian Artillery at, 240–243

  -- --, Sacred Heart Mission, 136

  -- --, trips to, 137, 151

  Tobacco in New Guinea, 313

  Toku, Giwi’s son, 184–186, 227, 230, 278, 285, 287

  Tomkins, Rev. O. F., murder of, 233, 236–249

  Tomlinson, Rev. Samuel and Mrs., at Cape Vogel, 200, 202

  Tonga Islands, Campbell in the, 145

  Tooth, surveyor, stories of, 293–304

  Torres Straits, 41, 238

  -- --, pearl fisheries of, 44

  Totemism, 39

  Traitor’s Bay, 78

  Trautwine’s Pocket Book, 298

  Trobriand Islands, the, 4, 39, 146, 148

  -- --, Enamakala, chief of, 88–91

  -- --, Mission on, 43, 73, 85

  -- --, native weapons, 91

  -- --, passage to, 40

  -- --, pearl fisheries, 34, 44, 47

  -- --, their claims to fame, 42

  Tubi Tubi, island of, 53, 56

  Tugere, battle of, 165

  Turner, assistant surveyor, 254, 255, 266

  Turotere, village of, 244, 245


  Ubu-Oho, village of, 244

  Ufumba, 318

  Uiaku, village of, 198, 200, 209, 210

  Upper Kumusi River, the, murder of miners on, 242

  Utuamu of Dopima, 244


  Vanapa River, the, 272

  Vaughan, medical officer at Samarai, 257–264

  Veipa, village of, 120–123

  Victor, Father, at Mohu, 133

  Victoria, gold rush in, 14

  -- Expedition, the, 304

  --, Queen, Diamond Jubilee, 68

  Village constabulary, system of, 270

  Vitali, Father, at Mekeo, 121, 136


  Wagipa, island of, 36, 38, 92

  Wahaga of Turotere, 244

  Wakioki River, the, 211–215

  Walker, R.M., 82, 297, 304, 317

  --, James, murder of, 238

  --, Wilfred, accompanies the expedition to the Agaiambu and
          Dobudura, 274–279, 282–293

  --, --, at Cape Vogel, 104

  Walsh, A. W., Assistant R.M., 289–291, 297–303, 304, 318

  Wanigela, chief, 174–176

  -- tribe, 208

  --, village of, 232, 273

  Warapas, mate of the _Siai_, 81, 83, 87–92, 106

  --, Mrs., 83, 97, 99

  Ward, Charles, miner, 261

  Wari boys, 19

  War Office, the, 165

  Watson’s Bay, 64

  Weaver, market gardener, 153, 154

  Wedau, 105, 152, 153

  --, Bishop Stone-Wigg at, 169, 173

  --, Holy Week at, 170

  Wesleyan Methodist Mission, the, 31, 43, 48

  West Australia, pearl fisheries of, 44

  Western Division, the murder of Chalmers in, 233, 236, 245

  _White Squall_, the, 24, 25

  Whitten Brothers, Messrs., their business, 5, 29, 54, 263, 289

  Whitten, Robert, at Cloudy Bay, 263

  --, --, at Samarai, 77

  Whitten, Hon. William, M.L.C., accompanies the author, 67–69

  --, -- --, --, his early days in New Guinea, 4, 28

  Wickham purchases the Conflict Islands, 56

  Wilsen, Karl, gold digger, on Woodlark Island, 19, 21

  Winiapi tribe, the expeditions against, 192, 198, 201, 205–207

  -- --, the, Patten trades with, 204

  Winter, Sir Francis, Chief Justice of New Guinea, vi, 12, 59,
          107, 149, 251

  --, -- --, advises _re_ constabulary, 270, 271

  --, -- --, as Acting Administrator, 143, 161, 163, 164

  --, -- --, at Goodenough, 152

  --, -- --, deals with the Doriri, 176, 207–209, 212

  --, -- --, goes to Thursday Island, 137

  --, -- --, his resignation, 245, 294

  --, -- --, on flogging, 100

  --, -- --, on the Milne Bay outrages, 261, 262, 264–266

  --, -- --, on the North-Eastern Division, 166

  --, -- --, on the _Siai_, 42, 47

  --, -- --, on sorcerers, 187

  --, -- --, on the Trobriands, 149–151

  --, -- --, visits the Agaiambu, 279–281

  Wisdell, William, ship’s cook, 2, 32–42, 47–57

  Witchcraft. _See_ Sorcerers.

  Wolff, Steve, miner, 261–263

  Woodlark Island, 149

  -- --, discovery of gold on, 12, 14, 16–26, 62, 76

  -- --, Moreton at, 266

  -- --, troublesome miners on, 74, 145–148


  Yagisa, village of, 232

  Yaldwyn, Assistant R.M. at Cape Nelson, 253–256

  --, his dismissal and death, 264–266

  Yams, cultivation of, 184

  -- on the Trobriand Islands, 42

  Yodda Gold-field, the, 154, 159, 160, 180, 289, 300, 304

  -- --, Bishop Stone-Wigg at, 172

  -- --, Judge Robinson visits, 304

  -- River, the, 304, 305, 318

  Yule Island, 59, 60, 119

  -- --, convalescence on, 136

  -- --, Sacred Heart Mission, 139


  Zanzibar, Sultan of, his First Minister, 149


THE END



Unconducted Wanderers.

  By ROSITA FORBES. Demy 8vo. With over 70 Illustrations from
  Photographs by the Author and others. =12s. 6d.= net.

“Unconducted Wanderers” is a very amusing travel book of the best
sort. After a spell of war work the author and a woman friend went
to America, and thence to the South Seas, to Java, the Malay States,
Siam, Cambodia, China and Korea. The book is extremely lively in tone
and fresh in feeling, and the observations and experiences of the
travellers, particularly in China during the Rebellion, are of quite
unusual interest.

_Evening Standard._--“Those in search of the perfect companion for a
lazy afternoon in a hammock will find their wants admirably supplied
by ‘Unconducted Wanderers.’ Their adventures are retailed with an
unfailing humorous touch, and the scenery and occupants of these far
foreign strands are painted in descriptive language, which is always
vivid and at times beautiful.”

_Westminster Gazette._--“Happily and frankly instructive--just gossip,
compounded of observation, humour and the joy of the experience. Such a
book is good to read.”

_Times._--“There is a freshness of its own in Mrs. Forbes’ writing due
to her zest of life, and to the vivid manner in which she sets down the
impressions that come crowding upon her.”


A Dweller in Mesopotamia.

  By DONALD MAXWELL, author of “Adventures with a Sketch-Book,” “The
  Last Crusade,” etc. With numerous Illustrations by the Author in
  colour, half-tone and line. Crown 4to. =£1 5s. 0d.= net.

In “The Last Crusade” Lieut. Donald Maxwell gave us an extremely
entertaining account of the Holy Land: in this volume we have the
very necessary corollary in a vivid description of Mesopotamia. In
this, as in the former book, Mr. Maxwell is able to deduce interesting
parallels between the days of the Old Testament and modern times, and
he has drawn for us delightful sketches of the “Mouth of Hell,” the
Garden of Eden, Babylon and other strange places. Although Mr. Maxwell
was official artist to the Admiralty, this is no war book, for he was
sent out rather too late to follow the campaign, a fact for which Mr.
Maxwell’s readers will be thankful, as he was thus able to follow his
own tastes and to see the country in a fairly normal condition.


Macedonia--A Plea for the Primitive.

  By A. GOFF and DR. HUGH A. FAWCETT. With Drawings in colour, pencil
  and line. Demy 8vo. =£1 1s. 0d.= net.

Since the days of Alexander (and probably before) Macedonia has vied
with Flanders for the unenviable reputation of being the cock-pit of
Europe. Centuries of subjection to the unspeakable Turk has interrupted
the march of civilization--especially as regards the outward and
material side of things. The result is that people now inhabiting
the land are primitive to a degree unknown elsewhere in Europe, and
that their domestic arrangements, their general mode of living, their
utensils and implements, are much the same as they were thousands of
years ago. These people, then, and their country form an intensely
interesting study, but, unfortunately the tourist and the antiquary
cannot with safety visit them.

During the war, however, it was the privilege of the authors of this
book to be able to explore this unknown land very thoroughly, and Mr.
Goff’s most interesting account of it, together with Dr. Fawcett’s
extremely clever drawings, form a volume of unique value.


The Diary of a Sportsman Naturalist in India.

  By E. P. STEBBING. Profusely illustrated from photographs and
  sketches by the Author. Demy 8vo. =£1 1s.= net.

_The Times._--“He knows how to tell his experiences with pith and
point, and his jungle lore is set out so as to appeal both to the
novice and the initiate.... As a faithful account of conditions as they
have been during the last quarter of a century Mr. Stebbing’s book is
likely to have a definite and permanent value; and he knows well how to
entertain as well as to instruct.”


  Topee and Turban, or Here and There in India.

  By Lieut-Col. H. A. NEWELL, I.A. With Illustrations from
  photographs. Demy 8vo. =16s.= net.

Col. Newell’s guide-books to the various provinces of India are well
known, but in the present volume he shows that it is not only Indian
Geography with which he is conversant. He is equally at home with the
History of India, with its Art and Mythology, its folk-lore, Religions,
and its numerous races--whether it be in Kashmir or the Deccan.

The present book, which is very profusely illustrated with
reproductions from photographs, is the record of numerous motor tours
through the various provinces, in each of which Col. Newell tells us
what is worth seeing--the landscape, or architecture, or for historic
association, while he tells us all about the races who inhabit each
particular district.


JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, VIGO ST., W.1.



Transcriber’s Notes


The Table of Contents was added by Transcriber and placed in the Public
Domain.

In the advertisements at the end of the book, boldface is indicated by
=equals signs=.

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation marks
were corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

The Index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page
references, but references to pages v and vi actually are to page viii.

Symbols on the Title Page and page 190 are similar to illustrations in
the original text. The illustration on page 177, near the beginning of
Chapter VII, looks like squares with squares.

This book also was published under the title “Taming New Guinea: Some
Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate.” The two editions
appear to be identical except for the Title page.





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