But the ship that would do the most good to Kamkatka, is a missionary ship. The Greek church is the religion; but no religion is much thought of in Kamkatka; hunting and fishing only are cared for. Yet I fear if missionaries were to go to Kamkatka, the emperor of Russia would send them away.
Where there are few men, there are generally many beasts and birds; this is the case in Kamkatka.
One of the most curious animals in Siberia, is the Argalis, or mountain sheep. It is remarkable for its enormous horns, curled in a very curious manner. Think not it is like one of our quiet, foolish sheep; there is no animal at once so strong and so active. It is such a climber, that no wolf or bear can follow it to the high places, hanging over awful precipices, where it walks as firmly as you do upon the pavement. Sometimes a hunter finds it among the mountains, and just as he is going to shoot it, the creature disappears:—it has thrown itself down a precipice! Is it dashed to pieces? No, it fell unhurt, and has escaped without a bruise; for its bones are very strong, and its skin very thick.
The bears of Kamkatka live chiefly upon fish and berries, and seldom attack men. Yet men hunt them for their skins, and for their fat. The skins make cloaks, and the fat is used for lamps; but their flesh is thrown to the dogs. Many of the bears are very thin. It is only fat bears that can sleep all the winter in their dens without food; thin bears cannot sleep long, and even in winter they prowl about for food. Dogs are very much afraid of them. A large party of travellers, who were riding in sledges, drawn by dogs, observed the dogs suddenly begin to snuff the air, and lo! immediately afterwards, a bear at full speed crossed the road, and ran towards a forest. Great confusion took place among the dogs; they set off with all their might; some broke their harness, others got entangled among the trees, and overturned their sledges. But the bear did not escape; for the travellers shot him through the leg, and afterwards through the body; and the dogs feasted on his flesh, instead of the bear feasting on theirs.
Hunting seals is one of the occupations of the Kamkatdales. Three men in sledges, each sledge drawn by five dogs, once got upon a large piece of ice, near the shore. They had killed two seals upon the ice, when they suddenly perceived that the ice was moving, and carrying them out to sea. They were already too far from land, to be able to get back. They knew not what would become of them, and much they feared they should perish from cold and hunger. The ice was so slippery that they were in great danger of sliding into the sea. To prevent this, they stuck their long poles deep into the ice, and tied themselves to the poles. They were driven about for many days; but one morning,—to their great joy, they found they were close to the shore. They did not forget to praise God for so mercifully saving their lives; though they were so weak from want of food, as scarcely to be able to creep ashore.
CHARACTER.—The Kamkatdales are generous and grateful. A poor family will sometimes receive another family into the house for six weeks; and when the food is nearly gone, the generous host, not liking to tell his visitors of it, serves up a dish of different sorts of meat and vegetables, mixed together; the visitors know this is a sign that the food is almost exhausted, and they take their leave.
Did I say the Kamkatdales are grateful? I will give you an instance of their gratitude. A traveller met a poor boy. He remembered his face, and said, "I think I have seen you before." "You have," said the boy; "I rowed you down the river last summer, and you were so kind as to give me a skin, and some flints; and now I have brought the skin of a sable as a present for you." The traveller, perceiving the boy had no shirt, and that his skin dress was tattered, refused the present; but seeing the boy was going away in tears, he called him back, and accepted it. A Chinese servant, who was standing by, pitied so much the ragged condition of the boy, that he gave him one of his own thin nankin shirts.
I cannot tell you much about Thibet; and the reason is, that so few travellers have been there. And why have so few been there? Is it because the mountains are so steep and high, the paths so narrow and dangerous? All this is true; but it is not mountains that keep travellers out of Thibet; it is the Chinese government; for Thibet belongs to China, and you know how carefully the emperor of China keeps strangers out of his empire.
How did the Chinese get possession of Thibet? A long while ago, a Hindoo army invaded the land, and the people in their fright sent to China for help. The Chinese came, drove away the Hindoos, and stayed themselves. They are not hard masters, they govern very mildly; only they require a sum of money to be sent every year to Pekin, as tribute.
But though Thibet belongs to China, the Chinese language is not spoken there.
The people are like the Tartars in appearance; they have the same bony face, sharp black eye, and straight black hair; but a much fresher complexion, owing to the fresh mountain air they breathe.
The Himalaya mountains, the highest in Asia, lie between Thibet and Hindostan. Their peaks are always covered with snow, and rapid streams pour down the rugged sides. The snow on the mountain-tops makes Thibet very cold; but there are warm valleys where grapes, and even rice flourish.
The people build their houses in the warmest spots they can find; they try to find a place sheltered from the north wind, by a high rock, and lying open to the south sun. Their dwellings are only made of stones, heaped together, and the roofs are flat. Their riches consist in flocks of sheep and goats. They have, another animal, which is not known in England, and yet a very useful creature, because, like a cow, it yields rich milk, and like a horse, it carries burdens. This animal is called the Yak, and resembles both a horse and a cow. Its chief beauty is its tail, which is much finer than a horse's tail, and is black, and glossy, soft and flowing. Many of these tails are sent to India, where they are used as fly-flappers.
The sheep and goats of Thibet are more useful than ours; for they are taught to carry burdens over the mountains. They may be seen following each other in long trains, with large packs fastened on their little backs, and climbing up very narrow and steep paths.
And what is in these packs? Wool: not sheep's wool, but goat's wool: for the goats of Thibet have very fine wool under their hair. No such wool is found on any other goats. But though the people of Thibet can weave common cloth, they cannot weave this beautiful wool, as it deserves to be woven. Therefore they send it to a country the other side of the Himalaya mountains, called Cashmere; and there it is woven into the most beautiful shawls in all the world.
But wool is not the only riches of Thibet. There is gold to be found there; some in large pieces, and some in small dust. There are also large mines of copper. And what use is made of these riches? The worst in the world. With the gold and copper many IDOLS are made; for Thibet is a land of idols. The religion is the same there as in China,—the Buddhist;—and that is a religion of idols.
But there is an idol in Thibet, which there is not in China. It is a LIVING IDOL. He is called the Grand Lama. There are Lamas in Tartary, but the GRAND Lama is in Thibet. He is looked up to as the greatest being in the world, by all the Lamas in Tartary, and by all the people of the Buddhist religion. There are more people,—a great many more,—who honor him, than who honor our GREAT GOD.
But this man leads a miserable life. When one Lama dies, another is chosen;—some little baby,—and he is placed in a very grand palace, and worshipped as a god all his life long. I have heard of one of these baby Lamas, who, when only eighteen months old, sat up with great majesty on his pile of cushions. When strangers entered, he looked at them kindly, and when they made a speech to him, he bowed his little head very graciously. What a sad fate for this poor infant! To be set up as a god, and taught to think himself a god—while all the time he is a helpless, foolish, sinful, dying creature!
This is the chief city of Thibet. Here is the palace of the Grand Lama. If is of enormous size. What do you think of TEN THOUSAND rooms? Did you ever hear of so large a house? Neither did you ever hear of so high a house. It is almost as high as the pinnacle of St. Paul's church. There are seven stories, and on the highest story are the state apartments of the Grand Lama. It is no matter to him how many flights of stairs there may be to reach his rooms; for he is never allowed to walk; but it is fatiguing for his worshippers to ascend so high. I suppose the priests make their Grand Lama live so high up, that he may be like our God who dwells in the highest heavens. Who occupy the ten thousand rooms of the palace? Chiefly idols of gold and silver. The house outside is richly adorned, and its roof glitters with gold.
There are many magnificent houses in Thibet, where priests live. No one could live with them, who could not bear a great noise: for three times a day the priests meet to worship, and each time they hollo with all their might, to do honor to Buddha. The noise is stunning, but they do not think it loud enough; so on feast days, they use copper instruments, such as drums and trumpets, of the most enormous size, and with them they send forth an overwhelming sound.
This unmeaning noise may well remind us of a sound—louder far—that shall one day be heard; so loud that all the world will hear it. It is the sound of the LAST TRUMPET! It will wake the dead. Stout hearts will quail; devils will tremble; but all those who love the Lord, will rejoice and say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us."—(Is. xxv. 9.)
This is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Part of it indeed is flat—that part near Hindustan; but in the midst—there are mountains; and streams running down their sides, and swelling into lovely rivers, winding along the fruitful valleys. Such scenes might remind you of Switzerland, the most beautiful country in Europe.
The chief beauty of Ceylon is her TREES.
I will mention a few of the beautiful, curious, and useful trees of this delightful island. The tree for which Ceylon is celebrated, is the CINNAMON tree. For sixty miles along the shore, there are cinnamon groves, and the sweet scent may be perceived far off upon the seas. If you were to see a cinnamon-tree, you might mistake it for a laurel;—a tree so often found in English gardens. The cinnamon-trees are never allowed to grow tall, because it is only the upper branches which are much prized for their bark. The little children of Ceylon may often be seen sitting in the shade, peeling off the bark with their knives; and this bark is afterwards sent to England to flavor puddings, and to mix with medicine.
There are also groves of cocoa-nut trees on the shores of Ceylon. A few of these trees are a little fortune to a poor man; for he can eat the fruit, build his house with the wood, roof it with the leaves, make cups of the shell, and use the oil of the kernel instead of candles.
The JACK-TREE bears a larger fruit than any other in the world;—as large as a horse's head,—and so heavy that a woman can only carry one upon her head to market.. This large fruit does not hang on the tree by a stalk, but grows out of the trunk, or the great branches. This is well arranged, for so large a fruit would be too heavy for a stalk, and might fall off, and hurt the heads of those sitting beneath its shade. The outside of this fruit is like a horse-chestnut, green, and prickly; the inside is yellow, and is full of kernels, like beans. The wood is like mahogany,—hard and handsome.
But there is a tree in Ceylon, still more curious than the jack-tree. It is the TALPOT-TREE. This is a very tall tree, and its top is covered by a cluster of round leaves, each leaf so large, that it would do for a carpet, for a common-sized room; and one single LEAF, cut it in three-cornered pieces, will make a TENT! When cut up, the leaves are used for fans and books. But this tree bears no fruit till just before it dies,—that is till it is fifty years old: THEN—an enormous bud is seen, rearing its huge head in the midst of the crown of leaves;—the bud bursts with a loud noise, and a yellow flower appears,—a flower so large, that it would fill a room! The flower turns into fruit. THAT SAME YEAR THE TREE DIES!
PEOPLE.—And who are the people who live in this beautiful land?
In the flat part of the island, towards the north, the people resemble the Hindoos, and speak and think like them; and they are called Tamuls.
But among the mountains of the south a different kind of people live, called the Cingalese. They do not speak the Tamul language, nor do they follow the Hindoo religion. They follow the Buddhist religion. You know this is the religion of the greater part of the nations. Ceylon is full of the temples of Buddha. In each temple there is an inner dark room, very large, where Buddha's image is kept,—a great image that almost fills the room.
The priests in their yellow cloaks, with their shaven heads and bare feet, may be seen every morning begging from door to door; but proud beggars they are,—not condescending to speak,—but only standing with their baskets ready to receive rice and fruit; and the only thanks they give—are their blessings.
There is another worship in Ceylon, and it is more followed than the worship of Buddha, yet it is the most horrible that you can imagine. It is the worship of the DEVIL! Buddha taught, when he was alive, that there was no God, but that there were many devils: yet he forbid people to worship these devils; but no one minds what he said on that point.
There are many devil priests. When any one is sick, it is supposed that the devil has caused the sickness, and a devil priest is sent for. And what can the priest do? He dances,—he sings,—with his face painted,—small bells upon his legs,—and a flaming torch in each hand; while another man beats a loud drum. He dances, he sings—all night long,—sometimes changing his white jacket for a black, or his black for a white,—sometimes falling down, and sometimes jumping up,—sometimes reeling, and sometimes running,—and all this he does to please the devil, and to coax him to come out of the sick person. This is what he pretends;—but in reality, he seeks to get money by his tricks. The people are very fond of these devil-dancers; it tires them to listen to the Buddhist priests, mumbling out of their books, the five hundred and fifty histories of Buddha; but it delights them to watch all night the antics of a devil priest.
What is the character of these deceived people? They are polite, and obliging, but as deceitful as their own priests. They are not even sincere in their wrong religion, but are ready to pretend to be of any religion which is most convenient. The Portuguese once were masters of Ceylon, and they tried to make the people Roman Catholics. Then the Dutch came, who tried to force them to be Protestants. Many infants were baptized, who grew up to be heathen priests. Now the English are masters of Ceylon; they do not oblige the people to be Christians, yet many pretend to be Christians who are not.
A man was once asked, "Are you a Buddhist?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a Mahomedan?"
"Are you a Roman Catholic?"
"What is your religion?"
Such was his answer. This man had no religion at all,—he only wished to obtain the favor of the governor. But will he obtain the favor of the Governor of the world, the King of kings?
We have said nothing yet about the appearance of the Cingalese. Both men and women wear a piece of cloth wound round their waists, called a comboy; but they do not, like the Hindoos, twist it over their shoulders; they wear a jacket instead. Neither do the men wear turbans, as in India, but they fasten their hair with a comb, while the women fasten theirs with long pins. The Cingalese ladies and gentlemen imitate the English dress, especially when they come to a party at the English Governor's house. Then they wear shoes and stockings instead of sandals; the gentlemen contrive to place a hat over their long hair, by first taking out the combs; yet they still wind a comboy over their English clothes. The Hindoos do not thus imitate the English, for they are too proud of their own customs. Hindoo ladies never go into company; but Cingalese ladies may be seen at parties, arrayed in colored satin jackets, and adorned with golden hair-pins, and diamond necklaces.
You have heard of the foolish ideas the Hindoos entertain about castes. It is the Brahmin priests who teach them these opinions. The Buddhist priests say nothing about castes; yet the Cingalese have castes of their own; but not the same castes as the Hindoos. There are twenty-one castes in all; the highest caste consists of the husbandmen, and the lowest of the mat-weavers.
Below the lowest caste, are the OUTCASTS! The poor outcasts live in villages by themselves, hated by all. When they meet any one, who are not outcasts, they go as near to the hedge as they can, with their hands on the top of their heads, to show their respect. These poor creatures are accustomed to be treated as if they were dogs. What pride there is in man's heart! How is it one poor worm can lift himself up so high above his fellow-worm, though both are made of the same dust, and shall lie down in the same dust together!
This town is built among the high mountains. It was built there for the same reason that the eagle builds her nest on the top of a tall rock,—to get out of the reach of enemies. But the proud king, who once dwelt there, has been conquered, and now England's Queen rules over Ceylon. No wonder that the proud king had enemies, for he was a monster of cruelty. His palace is still to be seen. See that high tower, and that open gallery at the top! There the last king used to stand to enjoy the sight of his subjects' agonies. Those who had offended him were killed in the Court below,—killed not in a common manner, but in all kinds of barbarous ways,—such as by being cut in pieces, or by swallowing melted lead. At length the Cingalese invited the English to come and deliver them from their tyrant; the English came and shut him up in prison till he died, and now an English governor rules over Ceylon.
The greatest curiosity to be seen at Kandy is a TOOTH! a tooth that the people say was taken out of the mouth of their Buddha. It is kept in a splendid temple on a golden table, in a golden box of great size. There are seven boxes one inside the other, and in the innermost box, wrapped up in gold, there is a piece of ivory, the size of a man's thumb,—that is the tooth of Buddha! Every day it is worshipped, and offerings of fruit and flowers are presented.
This is the chief English town of Ceylon, as Kandy is the chief Cingalese town. The English governor lives here, but he has a house at Kandy too, where he may enjoy the cool mountain air. There is a fine road from Colombo to Kandy, broader and harder than, English roads; yet it is out through steep mountains, and winds by dangerous precipices. But there are laborers in Ceylon stronger than any in England. I mean the ELEPHANTS. It is curious to see this huge animal meekly walking along with a plank across its tusks, or dragging wagons full of large stones. Among the mountains there are herds of wild elephants, sometimes a hundred may be seen in one herd. There are no elephants in the world as courageous as those of Ceylon, yet they are very obedient when tamed. If you wished to visit the mountains, you might safely ride upon the back of the sure-footed elephant, and all your brothers and sisters, however many, might ride with you.
MISSIONARIES.—There are some in Ceylon, and some of the heathens have obeyed their voice.
There was once a devil priest. Having been detected in some crime, he was imprisoned at Kandy, and while in prison he read a Christian tract, and was converted. Thus (like Onesimus, of whom we read in the Bible,) he escaped from Satan's prison, while shut up in man's prison. When he was set free, he was baptized by the missionary at Kandy, and he chose to be called Abraham. What name did he choose for his son, a boy of fourteen? Isaac. He buried his conjuring books, though he might have sold them for eight pounds. His cottage was in a village fifteen miles from Kandy. He had left it—a wicked man; lib returned to it a good man.
After some time, a missionary went to visit Abraham in his cottage. A good Cingalese was his guide. The walk there was beautiful, along narrow paths, amidst fields of rice, through dark thickets, and long grass. No one in Abraham's village had ever seen the fair face of an Englishman; and the sight of the missionary alarmed the inhabitants. Abraham's family was the only Christian family in that place. How glad Abraham felt at the sight of the missionary,—almost as glad as the first Abraham felt at the sight of the three angels. When the missionary entered, Abraham was teaching his wife, for she was soon to be baptized. By what name? By the name of Sarah. There were seven children in the family. How hard it must be for Abraham to bring them up as Christians, in the midst of his heathen neighbors. Even his brothers hate him, wound his cattle, and break down his fences. Once they pointed a gun at him, but it did not go off. Abraham's comfort is to walk over to Kandy every Saturday, to worship God there on Sunday with the Christians; and he does not find fifteen miles too far for his willing feet. May the Lord preserve Abraham, faithful in the midst of the wicked.
This is the largest island in the world, except one. Borneo is of a different shape from our Britain, but if you could join Britain and Ireland in one, both together would not be as large as Borneo. Yet how unlike is Borneo to Britain! Britain is a Christian island. Borneo is a heathen island. Yet Borneo is not an island of idols, as Ceylon is. All heathens do not worship idols. I will tell you who live in Borneo, and you will see why there are so few idols there.
Many people have come from Malacca, and settled in Borneo; so the island is full of Malays. These people have a cunning and cruel look, and no wonder;—for many of them are PIRATES! It is a common custom in Borneo to go out in a large boat,—to watch for smaller boats,—to seize them—to bind the men in chains, and to bring them home as slaves. There are no seas in the world so dangerous to sail in, as the seas near Borneo, not only on account of the rocks, but on account of the great number of pirates. What is the religion of Borneo? It is Mahomedanism. But the Malays do not follow the laws of Mahomet as the Turks do. They do not mind the hours of prayer, nor do they attend regularly at the mosque. This is not surprising, for they do not understand the Koran. Mahomet wrote in Arabic, and the Malays do not understand Arabic. Why do they not get the Koran translated? Mahomet did not wish the book to be translated. Why then do not the Malays learn Arabic? I wonder they do not, but I suppose they are too idle, and too careless. The boys go to school and learn to read and write their own easy language—the Malay; and they learn also to repeat whole chapters of the Koran, but without understanding a word. Still they think it a great advantage to know these chapters, because they imagine that by repeating them, they can drive away evil spirits.
The Malays observe Mahomet's law against eating pork; but many of them drink wine, though Mahomet forbids it. However, they follow Mahomet in not having dancing at their feasts; indeed, their behavior at feasts is sober and orderly, for they amuse themselves chiefly by singing, and repeating poems. They have only two meals a day, and they live chiefly upon rice, which they eat, sitting cross-legged on the floor. They get tea from China, and drink many cups during the day, in the same way as the Chinese.
The ladies are treated like the ladies of Turkey, and shut up in their houses, to spend their time in folly and idleness.
The men scarcely work at all, but employ the slaves they have stolen at sea, to labor in their fields. Their houses are not better than barns, and not nearly as strong; for the sides and roof are generally made only of large leaves. They are built upon posts, as in Siam. It is well to be out of the reach of the leeches, crawling on the ground.
The Malays dress in loose clothes, trowsers, and jacket, and broad sash; the women are wrapped in a loose garment, and wear their glossy black hair flowing over their shoulders. The rich men dress magnificently, and quite cover their jackets with gold, while the ladies delight to sparkle with jewels.
This is the capital. It is often called Borneo, and it is written down in the maps by this name. It is one of the most curious cities in the world; for most of the houses are built in the river, and most of the streets are only water. Every morning a great market is held on the water. The people come in boats from all the country round, bringing fruit and vegetables to sell, and they paddle up and down the city till they have sold their goods.
The Sultan's palace is built upon the bank, close to the water; and the front of his palace is open; so that it is easy to come in a boat, and to gaze upon him, as he sits cross-legged on his throne, arrayed in purple satin, glittering with gold.
There is a mosque in Bruni; but it is built only of brick, and has nothing in it but a wooden pulpit; and hardly anybody goes there, though a man stands outside making a loud noise on a great drum, to invite people to come in.
These are a savage people who inhabit Borneo. They lived there before the Malays came, and they have been obliged to submit to them. They are savages indeed. They are darker than the Malays; yet they are not black; their skin is only the color of copper. Their hair is cut short in front, but streams down their backs; their large mouths show a quantity of black teeth, made black by chewing the betel-nut. They wear very little clothing, but they adorn their ears, and arms, and legs, with numbers of brass rings. Their looks are wild and fierce, but not cunning like the looks of the Malays. They are not Mahomedans; they have hardly any religion at all. They believe there are some gods, but they know hardly anything about them, and they do not want to know. They neither make images to the gods, nor say prayers to them. They live like the beasts, thinking only of this life; yet they are more unhappy than beasts, for they imagine there are evil spirits among the woods and hills, watching to do them harm. It is often hard to persuade them to go to the top of a mountain, where they say evil spirits dwell. Such a people would be more ready to listen to a missionary than those who have idols, and temples, and priests, and sacred books.
Their wickedness is very great. It is their chief delight to get the heads of their enemies. There are a great many different tribes of Dyaks, and each tribe tries to cut off the heads of other tribes. The Dyaks who live by the sea are the most cruel; they go out in the boats to rob, and to bring home, not slaves, but HEADS! And how do they treat a head when they get it? They take out the brains, and then they dry it in the smoke, with the flesh and hair still on; then they put a string through it, and fasten it to their waists. The evening that they have got some new heads, the warriors dance with delight,—their heads dangling by their sides;—and they turn round in the dance, and gaze upon their heads,—and shout,—and yell with triumph! At night they still keep the heads near them; and in the day, they play with them, as children with their dolls, talking to them, putting food in their mouths, and the betel-nut between their ghastly lips. After wearing the heads many days, they hang them up to the ceilings of their rooms.
No English lord thinks so much of his pictures, as the Dyaks do of their heads. They think these heads are the finest ornaments of their houses. The man who has most heads, is considered the greatest man. A man who has NO HEADS is despised! If he wishes to be respected, he must get a head as soon as he can. Sometimes a man, in order to get a head, will go out to look for a poor fisherman, who has done him no harm, and will come back with his head.
When the Dyaks fight against their enemies, they try to get, not only the heads of men, but also the heads of women and CHILDREN. How dreadful it must be to see a poor BABY'S HEAD hanging from the ceiling! There was a Dyak who lost all his property by fire, but he cared not for losing anything, so much as for losing his PRECIOUS HEADS; nothing could console him for THIS loss; some of them he had cut off himself, and others had been cut off by his father, and left to him!
People who are so bent on killing, as these Dyaks are, must have many enemies. The Dyaks are always in fear of being attacked by their enemies. They are afraid of living in lonely cottages; they think it a better plan for a great many to live together, that they may be able to defend themselves, if surprised in the night. Four hundred Dyaks will live together in one house. The house is very large. To make it more safe, it is built upon very high posts, and there are ladders to get up by. The posts are sometimes forty feet high; so that when you are in the house, you find yourself as high as the tall trees. There is one very large room, where all the men and women sit, and talk, and do their work in the day. The women pound the rice, and weave the mats, while the men make weapons of war, and the little children play about. There is always much noise and confusion in this room. There are a great many doors along one side of the long room; and each of these doors leads into a small room where a family lives; the parents, the babies, and the girls sleep there, while the boys of the family sleep in the large room, that has just been described.
You know already what are the ornaments on which each family prides itself,—the HEADS hanging up in their rooms! It is the SEA Dyaks who live in these very large houses.
The HILL Dyaks do not live in houses quite so large. Yet several families inhabit the same house. In the midst of their villages, there is always one house where the boys sleep. In this house all the HEADS of the village are kept. The house is round, and built on posts, and the entrance is underneath through the floor. As this is the best house in the village, travellers are always brought to this house to sleep. Think how dreadful it must be, when you wake in the night to see thirty or forty horrible heads, dangling from the ceiling! The wind, too, which comes in through little doors in the roof, blows the heads about; so that they knock against each other, and seem almost as if they were still alive. This is the HEAD-HOUSE.
These Hill Dyaks do not often get a new head; but when they do, they come to the Head-House at night, and sing to the new head, while they beat upon their loud gongs. What do they say to the new head?
"Your head, and your spirit, are now ours. Persuade your countrymen to be slain by us. Let them wander in the fields, that we may bring the heads of your brethren, and hang them up with your heads."
How much Satan must delight in these prayers. They are prayers just suited to that great MURDERER and DESTROYER!
The Malays are enemies to all the Dyaks; and they have burnt many of their houses, cut down their fruit trees, and taken their children captives. The Dyaks complain bitterly of their sufferings. Some of them say, "We do not live like men, but like monkeys; we are hunted from place to place; we have no houses; and when we light a fire, we fear lest the smoke should make our enemies know where we are."
They say they live like monkeys. But why do they behave like tigers?
An English gentleman, named Sir James Brooke, has settled in Borneo, and has become a chief of a large tract of land. His house is near the river Sarawak. He has persuaded the Sultan of Borneo, to give the English a VERY LITTLE island called the Isle of Labuan. It is a desert island. Of what use can this small island be to England? English soldiers may live there, and try to prevent pirates infesting the seas. If it were not for the pirates, Borneo would be able to send many treasures to foreign countries. It is but a little way from Borneo to Singapore, and there are many English merchants at Singapore, ready to buy the precious things of Borneo. Gold is found in Borneo, mixed with the earth. But I don't know who would dig it up, if it were not for the industrious Chinese, who come over in great numbers to get money in this island. Diamonds are found there, and a valuable metal called antimony.
The sago-tree, the pepper plant, and the sugar-cane, and the cocoa-nut tree are abundant.
The greatest curiosity that Borneo possesses are the eatable nests. These white and transparent nests are found in the caves by the sea-shore, and they are the work of a little swallow. The Chinese give a high price for these nests, that they may make soup for their feasts.
ANIMALS.—Borneo has very few large animals. There are, indeed, enormous alligators in the rivers, but there are no lions or tigers; and even the bears are small, and content to climb the trees for fruit and honey. The majestic animal which is the pride of Ceylon, is not found in Borneo: I mean the elephant.
Yet the woods are filled with living creatures. Squirrels and monkeys sport among the trees. The leaps of the monkeys are amazing; hundreds will jump one after the other, from a tree as high as a house, and not one will miss his footing; yet now and then a monkey has a fall. The most curious kind of monkey is found in Borneo—the Ourang-outang; but it is one of the least active; it climbs carefully from branch to branch, always holding by its hands before it makes a spring. These Ourang-outangs are not as large as a man, yet they are much stronger. All the monkeys sleep in the trees; in a minute a monkey makes its bed by twisting a few branches together.
Beneath the trees—two sorts of animals, very unlike each other, roam about,—the clumsy hog, and the graceful deer. As the largest sort of monkeys is found in Borneo, so is the smallest sort of deer. There is a deer that has legs only eight inches long. There is no more elegant creature in the world than this bright-eyed, swift-footed little deer.
This is the name of a great empire. There are three principal islands. One of these is very long, and very narrow; it is about a thousand miles long,—much longer than Great Britain, but not nearly as broad. Yet the three islands together are larger than our island. There is a fourth island near the Japan islands, called Jesso, and it is filled with Japanese people.
You know it is difficult to get into China; but it is far more difficult to get into Japan. The emperor has boats always watching round the coast, to prevent strangers coming into his country. These boats are so made, that they cannot go far from the shore. No Japanese ship is ever seen floating in a foreign harbor. If it be difficult to get into Japan, it is also difficult to get out of her. There is a law condemning to death any Japanese who leaves his country. The Chinese also are forbidden to leave their land; but they do not mind their laws as well as the Japanese mind theirs.
I shall not be able to tell you much about Japan; as strangers may not go there, nor natives come from it. English ships very seldom go to Japan, because they are so closely watched. The guard-boats surround them night and day. When it is dark, lanterns are lighted, in order the better to observe the strangers. One English captain entreated permission to land, that he might observe the stars with his instruments, in order afterwards to make maps; but he could only get leave to land on a little island where there were a few fishermen's huts; and all the time he was there, the Japanese officers kept their eye upon him. He was told that he must not measure the land. It seems that the Japanese were afraid that his measuring the land would be the beginning of his taking it away. However, he had no such intention, and was content with measuring the SEA.
He asked the Japanese to sell him a supply of fruit and vegetables for his crew, and a supply was brought; but the Japanese would take no money in return. He wanted to buy bullocks, that his crew might have beef, but the Japanese replied, "You cannot have them; for they work hard, and are tired, they draw the plough; they do their duty, and they ought not to be eaten; but the hogs are lazy; they do no work, you may have them to eat, if you wish it." The Japanese will not even milk their cows, but they allow the calves to have all the milk.
If you wish to know why the Japanese will not allow strangers to land, I must relate some events which happened three hundred years ago.
Some Roman Catholic priests from Spain and Portugal settled in the land, and taught the people about Christ, but they taught them also to worship the cross, and the Virgin Mary. Thousands of the Japanese were baptized, and were called Christians. After some years had passed away, the emperor began to fear that the kings of Spain and Portugal would come, and take away his country from him, as they had taken away other countries; so the emperor began to persecute the priests, and all who followed their words. One emperor after another persecuted the Christians. There is a burning mountain in Japan, and down its terrible yawning mouth many Christians were thrown. One emperor commanded his people instead of worshipping the cross, to trample upon it. To do either—is wicked; to do either is to insult Christ.
All Christians are now hated in Japan. The Dutch tried to persuade the emperors to trust them; but they could only get leave to buy and sell at one place, but not to settle in the land.
There are many beautiful things in Japan, especially boxes, and screens, and cabinets, varnished and ornamented in a curious manner, and these are much admired by great people in Europe. There is silk, too, and tea, and porcelain in Japan; but they are not nearly as fine as China. There is gold also.
There are as many people in Japan, as there are in Britain; for the Japanese are very industrious, and cultivate abundance of rice, and wheat. Oh! how sad to think that so many millions should be living and dying in darkness; for the chief religion is the false, and foolish religion of Buddha, or, as he is called in Japan, "Budso." How many names are given to that deceiver! Buddha in Ceylon; Fo, in China; Gaudama, in Burmah; Codom, in Siam—and Budso in Japan!
What sort of people are the Japanese?
They are a very polite people—much politer than the Chinese, but very proud. They are a learned nation, for they can read and write, and they understand geography, arithmetic, and astronomy. There is a college where many languages are taught, even English. The dress of the gentlemen is elegant;—the loose tunic and trowsers, the sash, and jacket, are made of a kind of fine linen, adorned with various patterns; the stockings are of white jean; sandals are worn upon the feet, but no covering upon the head, although most of the hair is shaven, and the little that remains behind, is tied tightly together; an umbrella or a fan is all that is used to keep off the sun;—except on journeys, and then a large cap of oiled paper, or of plaited grass is worn. The great mark by which a gentleman is known, is wearing two swords.
The Japanese houses are very pretty. In the windows—flower-pots are placed; and when real flowers cannot be had, artificial flowers are used. In great houses, the ladies are shut up in one part; while in the other, company is received. The house is divided into rooms by large screens, and as these can be moved, the rooms can be made larger, or smaller, as the master pleases. There are no chairs, for the Japanese, though so much like the Chinese, do not sit like them on chairs, but on mats beautifully woven. The emperor's palace is called, "The Hall of the Thousand Mats." Every part of a Japanese house is covered with paper, and adorned with paintings, and gold, and silver flowers; even the doors, and the ceilings, are ornamented in this manner. Beautiful boxes, and porcelain jars, add to the beauty of the rooms.
The climate is pleasant, for the winter is short, and the sun is not as hot as in China; so that the ladies, and gentlemen, are almost as fair as Europeans, though the laborers are very dark.
But Japan is exposed to many dangers, from wind, from water, and from fire—three terrible enemies! The waves dash with violence upon the rocky shores; the wind often blows in fearful hurricanes; while earthquakes and hot streams from the burning mountains, fill the people with terror.
But more terrible than any of these—is wickedness; and very wicked customs are observed in Japan. It is very wicked for a man to kill himself, yet in Japan it is the custom for all courtiers who have offended the emperor, to cut open their own bodies with a sword. The little boys of five years old, begin to learn the dreadful art. They do not really cut themselves, but they are shown how to do it, that when they are men, they may be able to kill themselves in an elegant manner. How dreadful! Every great man has a white dress, which he never wears, but keeps by him, that he may put it on when he is going to kill himself: and he carries it about with him wherever he goes, for he cannot tell how suddenly he may want it. When a courtier receives a letter sentencing him to die, he invites his friends to a feast; and at the end of it, his sentence is read aloud by the emperor's officer; then he takes his sword, and makes a great gash across his own body; at the same moment, a servant who stands behind him, cuts off his head.
This way of dying is thought very fine, and as a reward, the emperor allows the son of the dead man to occupy his father's place in the court. But what a place to have, when at last there may be such a fearful scene! Missionaries cannot come into Japan to teach the people a better way of dying, and to tell them of a happy place after death.
This is the largest island in the world. It is as large as Europe (which is not an island, but a continent). But how different is Australia from Europe! Instead of containing, as Europe does, a number of grand kingdoms, it has not one single king. Instead of being filled with people, the greater part of Australia is a desert, or a forest, where a few half naked savages are wandering.
A hundred years ago, there was not a town in the whole island; but now there are a few large towns near the sea-coast, but only a very few. It is the English who built these large towns, and who live in them.
Australia is not so fine a land as Europe, because it has not so many fine rivers; and it is fine rivers that make a fine land. Most of the rivers in Australia do not deserve the name of rivers; they are more like a number of water-holes, and are often dried up in the summer; but there is one very fine, broad, long, deep river, called the Murray. It flows for twelve hundred miles. Were there several such rivers us the Murray, then Australia would be a fine land indeed.
Why is there so little water? Because there is so little rain. Sometimes for two years together, there are no heavy showers, and the grass withers, and the trees turn brown, and the air is filled with dust. I believe the reason of the want of rain is—that the mountains are not high; for high mountains draw the clouds together. There are no mountains as high as the Alps of Europe; the highest are only half as high.
THE NATIVES.—The savages of Australia have neither god, nor king. Some heathen countries are full of idols, but there are no idols in the wilds of Australia. No,—like the beasts which perish, these savages live from day to day without prayer, or praise, delighting only in eating and drinking, hunting and dancing.
Most men build some kind of houses; but these savages are satisfied with putting a few boughs together, as a shelter from the storm. There is just room in one of these shelters for a man to creep into it, and lie down to sleep. They do not wish to learn to build better huts, for as they are always running about from place to place, they do not think it worth while to build better.
A native was once sitting in the corner of a white man's hut, and looking as if he enjoyed the warmth. The white men began to laugh at him, for not building a good hut for himself. For some time the black man said nothing, at last he muttered, "Ay, ay, white fellow think it best that-a-way. Black fellow think it best that-a-way." A white man rudely answered, "Then black fellow is a fool." Upon hearing this, the black fellow, quite affronted, got up, and folding his blanket round him, walked out of the hut. How much pride there is in the heart of man! Even a savage thinks a great deal of his own wisdom, and cannot bear to be called a fool.
Sometimes the natives build a house strong enough to last during the whole winter, and large enough to hold seven or eight people. They make it in the shape of a bee-hive.
Their reason for moving about continually, is that they may get food. They look for it, wherever they go, digging up roots, and grubbing up grubs, and searching the hollows of the trees for opossums. (Of these strange animals more shall soon be mentioned.)
The women are the most ill-treated creatures in the world. The men beat them on their heads whenever they please, and cover them with bruises. A gentleman once saw a poor black woman crying bitterly. When he asked her what was the matter, she told him that her husband was going to beat her for having broken his pipe. The gentleman went to the husband, and entreated him to forgive his "gin" (for that is the name for a wife or woman). But the man declared he would not forgive her, unless a new pipe was given to him. The gentleman could not promise one to the black man, as there were no pipes to be had in that place. The next morning the poor gin appeared with a broken arm, her cruel husband having beaten her with a thick stick.
The miserable gins are not beaten only; they are half starved; for their husbands will give them no food, and they—poor things—cannot fish or hunt, or shoot; they have nothing but the roots they dig up, and the grubs, and lizards, and snakes they find on the ground. Their looks show how wretchedly they fare; for while the men are often strong and tall, the women are generally thin, and bent, and haggard.
Yet the woman, weak as she is, carries all the baggage, not only the babe slung upon her back, but the bag of food, and even her husband's gun and pipe; while the man stalks along in his pride, with nothing but his spear in his hand, or at most a light basket upon his arm; for he considers his wife as his beast of burden. At night the woman has to build her own shelter, for the man thinks it quite enough to build one for himself.
Such is the hard lot of a native woman, while she lives; and when she dies, her body is perched in a tree, as not worth the trouble of burying.
I have already told you, that the natives have no GOD; yet they have a DEVIL, whom they call Yakoo, or debbil-debbil. Of him they are always afraid, for they fancy he goes about devouring children. When any one dies, they say, "Yakoo took him." How different from those happy Christians who can say of their dead, "God took them!"
People who know not God, but only the devil, must be very wicked. These savages show themselves to be children of debbil-debbil by their actions. They kill many of their babes, that they may not have the trouble of nursing them. Old people also they kill, and laugh at the idea of making them "tumble down." One of the most horrible things they do, is making the skulls of their friends into drinking-cups, and they think that by doing so, they show their AFFECTION! They allow the nearest relation to have the skull of the dead person. They will even EAT a little piece of the dead body, just as a mark of love. But generally speaking, it is only their enemies they eat, and they do eat them whenever they can kill them. There are a great many tribes of natives, and they look upon one another as enemies. If a man of one tribe dare to come, and hunt in the lands of another tribe, he is immediately killed, and his body is eaten.
The bodies of dear friends—are treated with great honor, placed for some weeks on a high platform, and then buried. Mothers prize highly the dead bodies of their children. A traveller met a poor old woman wandering in search of roots, with a stick for digging in her hand, and with no other covering than a little grass mat. On her back she bore a heavy load. What was it? The dead body of her child,—a boy of ten years old; this burden she had borne for three weeks, and she thought she showed her love, by keeping it near her for so long a time. Alas! she knew nothing of the immortal spirit, and how, when washed in Jesus' blood, it is borne by angels into the presence of God.
But though these savages are so wicked, and so wild, they have their amusements. Dancing is the chief amusement. At every full moon, there is a grand dance, called the Corrobory. It is the men who dance, while the women sit by and beat time. Nothing can be more horrible to see than a Corrobory. It is held in the night by the light of blazing fires. The men are made to look more frightful than usual, by great patches, and stripes of red and white clay all over their bodies; and they play all manner of strange antics, and utter all kinds of strange yells; so that you might think it was a dance in HELL, rather than on earth.
It may surprise you to hear these wild creatures have a turn both for music and drawing. There are figures carved upon the rocks, which show their turn for drawing. The figures represent beasts, fishes, and men, and are much better done than could have been supposed. There are few savages who can sing as well as these natives; but the words of their songs are very foolish. These are the words of one song,
"Eat great deal, eat, eat, eat; Eat again, plenty to eat; Eat more yet, eat, eat, eat."
If a pig could sing, surely this song would just suit its fancy. How sad to think a man who is made to praise God forever and ever, should have no higher joy than eating!
And what is the appearance of these people?
They are ugly, with flat noses, and wide mouths, but their teeth are white, and their hair is long, glossy, and curly. They adorn their tresses with teeth, and feathers, and dogs' tails; and they rub over their whole body with fish oil and fat. You may imagine, therefore, how unpleasant it must be to come near them.
THE COLONISTS OR SETTLERS.
Once there were only black people in Australia, and no white; now there are more white than black; and it is probable, that soon, there will be no black people, but only white. Ever since the white people began to settle there, the black people have been dying away very fast; for the white people have taken away the lands where the blacks used to hunt, and have filled them with their sheep and cattle.
There are two sorts of white people who have come to Australia. They are called "Convicts," and "Colonists."
Convicts are some of the worst of the white people;—thieves, who instead of being kept in prison, were sent to Australia to work hard for many years. It is a sad thing for Australia, that so many thieves have been sent there, because after their punishment was over, and they were set at liberty, some remained in the land, and did a great deal of harm.
Colonists are people who come of their own accord to earn their living as best they can.
It is a common sight when travelling in Australia, to meet a dray drawn by bullocks, laden with furniture, and white people. It is a family going to their new farm. In the dray there are pigs, and you may hear them grunting; there are fowls, too, shut up in a basket; and besides, there are plants and tools. When the family arrive at the place where they mean to settle, they find no house, nor garden, nor fields, only a wild forest. Immediately they pitch a tent for the mother and her daughters to sleep in, while the father, his sons, and his laborers, sleep by the fire in the open air. The next morning, the men begin to fell trees to make a hut, and they finish it in a week;—not a very grand dwelling, it is true, but good enough for the fine weather; the floor is made of the hard clay from the enormous ant hills; the walls—of great slabs of wood; the roof—of wooden tiles, and the windows—of calico. When the hut is finished, a hen-house, and a pig-sty are built, and a dairy also underground. A garden is soon planted, and there the vines, and the peach-trees bear beautiful fruit. The daughters attend to the rearing of the fowls, and the milking of the cows, and soon have a plentiful supply of eggs and butter. The men clear the ground of trees, in order to sow wheat and potatoes. Thus the family soon have all their wants supplied; and they find time by degrees to build a stone house, with eight large rooms; and when it is completed, they give up their wooden hut to one of the laborers. This is the way of life in the "Bush;" for such is the name given to the wild parts of Australia.
Some settlers keep large flocks of sheep, and gain money by selling the wool and the fat, to make cloth and tallow. A shepherd in Australia leads a very lonely life among the hills, and he is obliged to keep ever upon the watch against the wild dogs. These voracious animals prowl about in troops, and cruelly bite numbers of the sheep, and then devour as many as they can. Happily there are no large wild beasts, such as wolves, and bears, lions, and tigers; for these would devour the shepherd as well as the sheep.
But there are men, called "bush-rangers," as fierce as wild beasts. These are convicts who have escaped from punishment. They often come to the settlers' houses, and murder the inhabitants.
The natives are not nearly as dangerous as these wicked white men; indeed they are generally very harmless, unless provoked by ill-treatment. They are willing to make themselves useful, by reaping corn, and washing sheep; and a little reward satisfies them, such as a blanket, or an old coat. When some of the flock have strayed, the blacks will take great pains to look for them, and seem as much pleased when they have found them, as if they were their own sheep. The black women can help in the wash-house, and in the farm-yard; but they are too much besmeared with grease to be fit for the kitchen. It is wise never to give a good dinner to a black, till his work is done; because he always eats so much, that he can work no more that day.
Some of these poor blacks are very faithful and affectionate. There was one who lived near a settler's hut, and he used to come there every morning before the master was up; he would enter very gently for fear of waking him,—light the fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together, and set the kettle on to boil; then he would approach the bed, and putting his hand affectionately on the hand of the sleeper would whisper in his ear, till he saw him open his eyes, when he would greet him with a kind and smiling look. These attentions were the mark of his attachment to the white man.
This black was as faithful, as he was affectionate. Once he was sent by a farmer on a message. It was this, "Take this letter to my brother, and he will give you sixpence, and then spend the sixpence in pipes for me." The black man took the letter, and went towards the place where the brother lived. He met him on horseback. The brother after reading the letter, rode away without giving the sixpence to the bearer. What was the poor black man to do? "Shall I go back," thought he, "without the pipes? No. I will try to get some money." He went to a house that he knew of, and offered to chop some wood for sixpence, and with that sixpence he bought the pipes. Was not this being a good servant? This was not eye-service; it was the service of the heart. But there are not many natives like this man. They are generally soon tired of working. For instance, a boy called Jackey, left a good master who would have provided for him, to live again wild in the woods, and went away with the blanket off his bed.
ANIMALS.—There are few of our animals in Australia, or of their animals in England. There is no hare, no rabbit, no nightingale, no thrush, in Australia. Once there were no horses, nor cows, nor sheep, nor pigs; but now there are a great many. Much terrified were the natives at the sight of the first horse which came from England; for they had never seen such a large animal before.
The largest beast in Australia is the Kangaroo, remarkable for its short fore-legs, and its great strong hind-legs, and for the pocket in which it shelters its little one. It is a gentle creature, and can be easily tamed. A pet kangaroo may often be seen walking about a settler's garden, cropping the grass upon the lawn. But though easily tamed, a wild kangaroo is not easily caught; for it makes immense springs in the air, far higher than a horse could leap, though it is not as big as a sheep. When hunted by dogs, it gets, when it can, into the water, and turning round, and standing still, dips the dogs, one by one, till it drowns them.
There is another beast, called the opossum, not much bigger than a large cat, and it also has a pocket for its young ones. But instead of cropping the grass, it eats the leaves of trees. It has a gentle face like a deer, and a long tail like a monkey. It hides itself, as the squirrel does, in the hollows of trees. Like the owl, it is never seen in the day, but at night it comes out to feed. The blacks are very cunning in finding out the holes where the opossums are hidden, and they know how to drag them out by their long tails, without getting bitten by their sharp teeth. With the skin of the opossum the natives make a cloak.
The wild dogs, or dingoes, are odious animals. They may be heard yelling at night to the terror of the shepherd, and the farmer. They are bold enough to rush into a yard, and to carry off a calf, or a pig; and when they have dragged it into the woods, they cruelly eat the legs first, and do not kill it for a long while.
These three—the kangaroo, the opossum, and the dingo,—are the principal beasts of Australia.
Among the birds, the emu is the most remarkable. It is nearly as tall as an ostrich, and has beautiful soft feathers, though not as beautiful as the ostrich's. But the most curious point in the emu is,—it has no tongue. You may suppose, therefore, that it is neither a singing bird, nor a talking bird; it only makes a little noise in its throat. But if it is silent, there are numbers of parrots, and cockatoos, to fill the air with their screams. In England, these birds are thought a great deal of, but in Australia, they are killed to make into pies, or into soup. Parrot-pie and cockatoo-soup, are common dishes there. However, many of the parrots and cockatoos, are caught by the blacks, and sold to the English, who send them to England in the ships.
There are not such singing birds in Australia, as there are here. Though there is a robin red-breast there, he does not sing as sweetly as he does here. But there are laughing birds in Australia. There is a bird called the "laughing jackass." He laughs very loud three times a day. He begins in the morning;—suddenly a hoarse loud laugh is heard,—then another, then another,—till a whole troop of birds seem laughing all together, and go on laughing for a few minutes;—and then they are all quiet again. Such a noise must awaken many a sleeper on his bed. At noon the laugh is heard again. At evening there is another general fit of laughter. These birds are not like children, who laugh at no particular hour, but often twenty times a day. The laughing jackass is almost as useful as a clock, and it is called, "the bushman's clock."
This is a famous place, for here the English first settled, and here it was thieves were sent from England as a punishment. Some were sent there for fourteen years, and some for twenty-one years, and some for life. How did the place get the beautiful name of Botany? which means "the knowledge of flowers." Because there were so many beautiful flowers seen there, when Captain Cook first beheld it. Yet the name Botany Bay, does not seem beautiful to us; for it reminds us not of roses, but of rogues; not of violets, but of violent men; not of lilies, but of villains.
This town is close to Botany Bay. It is the largest town in Australia. It is a very wicked city, because so many convicts have been sent there. Many of the people are the children of convicts, and have been brought up very ill by their parents. Of course there are many robberies in such a city, far more than there are in London. Who would like to live there! yet it is a fine city, and by the sea-side, with a harbor, where hundreds of ships might ride,—safe from the storm. It is plain, too, that Sydney is full of rich people, for the streets are thronged with carriages, driving rapidly along. The convicts often become rich, after their time of punishment is over, by keeping public-houses, and when rich they keep carriages.
If you were in Sydney, you would hardly think you were in a savage island; for you would see no savages in the streets. What is become of those who once lived in these parts? They are all dead, or gone to other parts of the island. The last black near Sydney, used to talk of the old times, and say, "When I was a pick-a-ninny, plenty of black fellow then. Only one left now, mitter."
It is much better to live here than in Sydney, because convicts have never been sent here. Numbers of honest poor people are leaving England and Ireland, every year, to go to Adelaide. When they arrive at the coast, they get into cars, and are driven seven miles, passing by many pretty cottages, and gardens, till they arrive at Adelaide. There they find themselves in the midst of gardens; for the houses are not crowded together, as in our English towns, but are placed in the midst of trees, and flowers, and grass; because there is plenty of room in Australia.
But there is one great evil both in Sydney and in Adelaide, which is the dust blown from the desert, and which almost chokes the inhabitants. If there were more rain in Australia, there would be less dust.
Australia is divided into three parts:—
I. New South Wales. Capital, Sydney. II. Western Australia. Capital, Perth. III. South Australia. Capital, Adelaide.
 The Australian mountains are about seven thousand feet high.
VAN DIEMAN'S LAND.
This island is as cool as Great Britain; yet it is not a pleasant land to live in; for it is filled with convicts. There are no natives there now; they died away gradually, except a few, who were taken by the English to a small island near, called "Flinder's Island." They were taken there that they might be safe; yet they never ceased to sigh, and to cry after their native land.
THE YOUNG SAVAGES.
Many travellers have tried to see the land in the midst of Australia, but hitherto they have not succeeded. After going a little way, they have been obliged to return, and why? Because they have found no water.
I will give you an account of the journey of Mr. Eyre. This traveller wished to go into the midst of the land, but finding he could not, he travelled along the coast, at that part called the Great Bight (or the Great Bay).
He set out from Adelaide with a large party, but various accidents occurred by the way, and at last he found himself with only one Englishman, and three native boys. The eldest was almost a man. His name was Wylie, and he was a good-tempered, lively youth. The second was named Neramberein. I shall have nothing good to relate of him, but a great deal of evil; for he was indeed a very wicked boy. The youngest was called Cootachah—a boy who was easily induced to follow bad examples.
Mr. Eyre was the chief person in the party, and his English companion was Mr. Baxter. Ten horses carried the packages, and six sheep were made to follow, that they might be killed one by one for food.
All these poor animals suffered terribly from want of water. Sometimes they went a hundred miles without a refreshing draught. The horses became so weak, that the travellers were unwilling to mount their backs; and as for the sheep, they could scarcely crawl along.
Many ways of getting water were tried. One way was digging up the roots of trees. A little,—a very little,—water may often be squeezed out of the end of a root; because the root is the mouth of the tree, and sucks up water from the ground. Another way of getting water was by gathering up the dew in a sponge. Enough dew to make a cup of tea might sometimes be obtained; but not enough for the poor beasts to have any. When the travellers, by digging, could make a well, then they were glad indeed; for then the beasts could be refreshed as well as themselves.
The whole party were become so weak from fatigue and thirst, that they could not get on fast, and they found it necessary to save their food as much as possible, that it might last to the end of the long journey. They took a little flour every day out of their bag, and made it into a paste. Sometimes they caught a fish, or shot a bird or beast, and then they had a hearty meal. When they killed one of their sheep, then they had plenty of mutton. At last, all the sheep were killed but one.
It happened at this time, that one of the horses was so sick that he could not move. It was plain he would soon die; therefore the travellers determined to kill him, and eat his flesh. Mr. Eyre was grieved at the thought of killing his horse, neither could he bear the idea of eating horse flesh; but then he feared, that if the horse were not killed, the whole party would be starved.
The native boys were delighted when they knew the horse was to be eaten; for they had long been fretting for more food. They would like to have devoured it all on the spot; but they were not allowed to do so; the greater part of the flesh was cut off in thin slices, dipped in salt water, and then hung up in the sun to dry, to serve as provision for many days to come. The boys were permitted to devour the rest of the carcase.
With what haste they prepared the feast! They made a fire close to the carcase, and then cut off lumps of flesh, which they roasted quickly, and then ate. They spent the whole afternoon in this manner, looking more like ravenous wolves than human creatures. When night came, they were not willing to leave their meat, but took as much as ever they could carry into their beds, that they might eat whenever they awoke. Next day, they returned to the roasting and eating, and the next night again they took meat with them to bed.
Mr. Eyre wondered at their gluttony and he thought it necessary to give them an allowance of food, instead of letting them eat as much as they liked. He gave five pounds of meat to each boy every day. Five pounds is as much as a shoulder of mutton—and ten English boys would think it quite enough for dinner; but the Australian boys were not satisfied!
Mr. Eyre began to suspect that in the night they stole some of the meat hanging up to dry on the trees. Therefore one night he weighed the meat, and in the morning weighed it again. He found that four pounds were gone. He thought it was very ungrateful of boys, to whom he gave so much, to steal from his small stock. As a punishment he gave them less meat next day than usual.
He entreated the boys to tell him who was the thief. The eldest and youngest declared that they had not stolen any meat; but Neramberein would not answer at all, and looked sulky and angry, and muttered something about going away, and taking Wylie with him. Mr. Eyre replied, that he might go if he pleased, while at the same time he warned him of the dangers of the way.
The next morning, as soon as breakfast was over, the three boys all rose up and walked away. Mr. Eyre called back the youngest, as he felt he was misled by his elders, but he let the others go. They had stayed with him till the horse was all eaten up, except the dried pieces—but now they hoped to get more food, when travelling alone, than with Mr. Eyre.
As soon as the boys were gone, Mr. Eyre determined to stop some time longer where he was, that he might not overtake them. There was one sheep still remaining, and which seemed very restless all by itself. This sheep was killed for food, and in that place there was plenty of water; so that the little company fared well that day and the next; especially as Mr. Baxter had the good fortune to kill an eagle, which made an excellent stew.
Just as the travellers had finished their evening meal, they were astonished to see the two runaway boys approaching. Wylie came running up, declaring that both he and his companions were sorry for their bad behavior, and were anxious to be received again, not being able to get enough to eat. But though Wylie acted in this frank manner, his companion was very sulky. He said nothing, but seated himself by the fire, pouting and frowning, and evidently much vexed at being obliged to come back. Mr. Eyre thought it well to give the boys a lecture on their bad conduct, especially upon their thefts; for they now owned that they had stolen meat from the trees, though they had before denied it. But though Mr. Eyre reproved the boys, he treated them very kindly, for he gave them some tea, and bread and meat for supper.
The next day the whole party continued their journey. They were obliged to be very sparing of their food, lest when it was gone they should get no more. But their greatest trial was the want of water.
After travelling during four days, they stopped one evening in a rocky place at the top of high cliffs, hoping that if any rain should fall, some might be caught in the hollow places among the rocks. That evening they ate no supper; for having had dinner, they might do without supper.
Before they lay down to sleep, they made themselves places to sleep in, by setting up boughs, as shelters from the wind. They also piled up their goods in a great heap, and covered it with oil skin, to keep out the damp. Mr. Eyre did not sleep when the rest did, for he undertook to watch the horses till eleven at night, and then he agreed to change places with Mr. Baxter.
The hour was almost come, and Mr. Eyre was beginning to lead the horses towards the sleeping place, when he was startled by hearing a gun go off. He called out,—but receiving no answer, he grew alarmed, and leaving the horses, ran towards the spot, whence the noise had come.
Presently he met Wylie, running very fast, and crying out, "Oh! Massa, Oh! Massa, come here."
"What is the matter?" inquired Mr. Eyre.
Wylie made no answer.
With hurried steps, Mr. Eyre accompanied him towards the camp. What a sight struck his eyes! His friend Baxter, lying on the ground, weltering in his blood, and in the agonies of DEATH.
The two younger boys were not there, and the goods which had been covered by the oil-skin, lay scattered in confusion on the ground. It was too clear that one of the boys had KILLED poor Baxter. No doubt it was Neramberein who had done it!
It seems that the boys had attempted to steal some of the goods, and that while they were gathering them together, Baxter had awaked, and had come forth from his sleeping place, and that then one of the boys had shot him.
Mr. Eyre raised the dying man from the ground where he was lying prostrate, and he then found that a ball had entered his left breast, and that his life was fast departing. In a few minutes he expired!
What were the feelings of the lonely traveller! Here he was in the midst of a desert, with no companion but one young savage, and that young savage was not one whom he could trust; for he knew not what part Wylie had taken in the deeds of the night. He suspected that he had intended to go away with the other boys, but that when Baxter was murdered, he had grown alarmed. Wylie indeed denied that he had known anything of the robbery, but then he was not a boy whose word could be believed.
The remainder of that dreadful night was passed by Mr. Eyre, in watching the horses. Anxiously he waited for the first streak of daylight. He then drove the horses to the camp, and once more beheld the body of his fellow-traveller. How suddenly had his soul been hurried into eternity, and into the presence of his God!
It was Wylie's business to light the fire, and prepare the breakfast. Meanwhile, Mr. Eyre examined the baggage to see how much had been stolen. These were the chief articles he missed. All the bread, consisting of five loaves, some mutton, tea and sugar, tobacco and pipes, a small keg of water, and two guns. And what was left for the traveller? A large quantity of flour, a large keg of water, some tea and sugar, a gun, and pistols. But would these have been left, had the ungrateful boys been strong enough to carry them away?
Mr. Eyre desired before leaving the fatal spot to bury the body of his friend; but the rocks around were so hard, that it was impossible to dig a grave. All he was able to do, was to wrap the corpse in a blanket before he abandoned it forever.
Slowly and silently he left the sorrowful spot, leading one horse, while Wylie drove the others after it. During the heat of the day, they stopped to rest. It was four in the afternoon, and they were soon going to set out again, when they perceived at a distance—TWO WHITE FIGURES! two white figures! and soon knew them to be the two guilty boys, wrapped in their blankets.
Mr. Eyre had some fear lest the young murderer should shoot him also; yet he thought it wise to advance boldly towards him, with his gun in his hand. He perceived that each of the wicked youths held a gun, and seemed ready to shoot. But as he approached, they drew back. He wished to speak to them in order to persuade them not to follow him on his journey, but to go another way; however he could not get near them; but he heard them cry out, "O Massa, we don't want you; we want Wylie." The boys repeated the name of Wylie over and over again; yet Wylie answered not, but remained quietly with the horses. At length Mr. Eyre turned away, and continued his journey. The boys followed at some distance, calling out for Wylie till the darkness came on.
Mr. Eyre was so anxious to get beyond the reach of these wicked youths, that he walked eighteen miles that evening. And he never saw them again! I do not know whether he had ever told them of the true God, of that EYE which never SLEEPS, of that EYE which beholds ROBBERS and MURDERERS in the night;—but whether he had told them or not of this great God, they must have KNOWN that they were acting wickedly when they robbed their benefactor, and murdered his friend; and they must have felt very MISERABLE after they had done those deeds.
Alone with Wylie, Mr. Eyre pursued his journey along the high clefts of the Great Bight, or Bay.
For five days they were without water for the horses; at last they dug some wells in the sand. But by this time one of the horses was grown so weak, that he could scarcely crawl along. This horse, Mr. Eyre determined to kill for food. Wylie, delighted with the idea, exclaimed, "Massa, I shall sit up, and eat the whole night." And he kept his word. While his master was skinning the poor beast, he made a fire close by, and soon began tearing off bits of flesh, roasting, and eating them, as fast as he could. Mr. Eyre, after cutting off the best parts of the flesh to dry, allowed Wylie to eat the rest. See the young glutton, with the head, the feet, and the inside, permitted to devour it as best he could! He hastened to make an oven, in which to bake about twenty pounds to feast upon during the night. It is not wonderful, if during that night he was heard to make a dismal groaning, and to complain that he was very ill. He said, indeed, that it was working too hard, had made him ill, but his master thought it was eating too much, for whenever he woke, he found the boy gnawing a bone.
Next day, Wylie was not able to spend his whole time over the carcase, for he had to go, and look for a lost foal; but the day after, it was hard to get him away from the bones.
For some time the travellers lived upon dried horse flesh, with a kangaroo, or a fish, as a little change. Wylie continued to eat immoderately, though often rolling upon the ground, and crying out, "Mendyat," or ill.
One night he appeared to be in a very ill-humor, and Mr. Eyre tried to find out the reason. At last Wylie said in an angry tone, "The dogs have eaten the skin." It seems he had hung the skin of a kangaroo upon a bush, intending to eat it by-and-bye, and the wild dogs had stolen the dainty morsel. Wylie was restored to his usual good-humor by the sight of some fine fishes his master had caught. Next time the boy shot a kangaroo, he took good care of the skin, folding it up, and hiding it.
One day he was so happy as to catch two opossums in a tree. His master determined to see how Wylie would behave, if left entirely to himself. He sat silently by the fire, while Wylie was cooking one opossum. The boy, having got it ready for his supper, took the other to his sleeping place. His master inquired what he intended to do with it. Wylie replied, "I shall be hungry in the morning, and I am keeping it for my breakfast." Then Mr. Eyre perceived that the greedy boy intended to offer him neither supper nor breakfast. Accordingly he took out his bag of flour, and said to Wylie, "Very well, we will each eat our own food; you eat the opossums you shot, and I eat the flour I have; and I will give you no more." In this manner, Mr. Eyre hoped to show the boy the folly of his selfishness. Wylie was frightened at the idea of getting no more flour, and immediately offered the smaller opossum to his master, and promised to cook it himself. What a selfish, and ungrateful boy! Wylie had a wicked heart by nature, and so have we. Only he had not been taught what was right, as we have been. This is a prayer which would suit well every child, and every man in the world, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
Mr. Eyre continued to be kind to Wylie, though he saw the boy did not really love him.
But the troubles of the journey were nearly at an end. At last the travellers saw a ship a few miles from the shore. Oh I how anxious they were that the sailors should see them! What could they do? They kindled a fire on a rock, and they made a great deal of smoke come out of the fire. Soon a boat was seen approaching the shore. How great was the joy of the weary travellers. The sailors in the boat were Frenchmen, but they were not the less kind on that account. They invited Mr. Eyre and Wylie to accompany them to their ship.
When the young savage found himself on board, he was almost wild with delight, for he had now as much to eat as he could desire, and he began eating biscuits so fast, that the sailors began to be afraid lest he should eat them all; and they were glad to give him fishes instead, as they could catch plenty of them.
For twelve days Wylie and his master lived in the ship, and then left it, laden with provisions, and dressed in warm clothes.
They had still many miles to go along the shore, but they suffered no more from want of food and water.
Great was their rapture when they first caught sight of the hills of St. George's Sound; for then they knew their journey would soon end. But they had rivers to cross on the way, and in trying to get the horses over, they nearly lost the poor beasts, and their own lives too. For three days their clothes were dripping with wet, and the last night was one of the worst; but then they knew it was the LAST, and that thought enabled them to bear all. So does the Christian feel when near the end of his journey. He is in the midst of storms, and wading through deep waters, even the deep waters of DEATH; but he knows that he is near HOME.
It was in the midst of a furious storm, that these travellers arrived at their journey's end. Though they were now close to the town of Albany, neither man nor beast were to be seen; for neither would venture out. At last, a native appeared, and he knew Wylie, and greeted him joyfully, telling him at the same time that his friends had given him up for dead a long while ago. This native, by a loud shrill cry, let his countrymen know that Wylie was found; and presently a multitude of men, women, and children, came rushing rapidly from the town, and up the hill to meet him. His parents and brethren folded him in their arms, while all around welcomed him with shouts of joy. His master was kindly received at the house of a friend; but he did not meet with so warm a welcome as Wylie, for he was not like him in the midst of his family.
The kind master overlooked all Wylie's faults during the journey, and remembered only his kindness in keeping with him to the end. He even spoke in his favor to the government, requesting that Wylie might have a daily allowance of food as a reward for his good conduct. What great reason had this young savage to rejoice that he had not listened to the enticements of his wicked comrades, when they called him so often by his name, and tried to induce him to forsake his kind master!
Mickey was born in the wilds of Australia; yet he was a highly favored boy; for he became servant to a missionary. This was far better than being, like Wylie, the companion of a traveller.
Mickey was a merry and active little fellow, and was a great favorite with his master's children. The older ones taught him to read, and the little ones played with him. During the day, Mickey took care of the cattle, and at night he slept in a shed close by his master's house. He might have been a happy boy, but he soon fell into sin and sorrow.
One evening he was in the cooking-house, eating his supper with another native boy, his fellow-servant. The oven was hot, and the bread was baking. Mickey opened the door of the oven, and looked in. That was wrong; it was the first step towards evil. Mickey had eaten a good supper, and ought to have been satisfied; but, like his countrymen, he had an enormous appetite, and was always ready to eat too much when he could. He took some of the hot bread, and gave some to his fellow-servant. How like was his conduct to that of Eve, when she took the fruit, and gave some to Adam!
That night Mickey was nowhere to be found, nor his little fellow-servant either. Where could they be? Their master sent people to search for them; but no one had seen them. It seemed strange indeed, that a boy who had been so kindly treated, and who had seemed as happy as Mickey, should run away. The good missionary and his children were in great grief, fearing that some accident had befallen the lads.
But when the time came to take the bread out of the oven, they began to suspect why Mickey had gone away. They saw some one had stolen large pieces of bread. They said, "Perhaps it was Mickey who stole the bread, and perhaps he is ashamed, and so he has run away." What a pity it was that Mickey did not come, and confess his fault; he would have been pardoned and restored to favor. Even a good boy may fall into a great sin; but then he will own it, and ask forgiveness, both of God and man. Still Mickey was not like those hardened boys who robbed Mr. Eyre, for he was ashamed.
Month after month passed away, but no Mickey appeared. The missionary feared that the boy would never return, but live and die amongst his heathen countrymen.
One day, however, he was told that a man was at the door, who wanted to speak to him.
"Who is he?" inquired the missionary.
"A schoolmaster, sir," replied the servant.
"And what does he want?"
"He has brought with him some native boys, and he wants you to come out and see them, and speak a few words to them about their Saviour."
The missionary gladly consented to go out to behold so pleasing a sight, as a school of native boys. As soon as he appeared, several young voices called out, "Mickey no come."
The missionary was surprised, and inquired of the boys, "What do you mean? where is Mickey?"
"Mickey no come," repeated the boys. "He too much frightened."
"Why is he afraid?" asked the missionary.
"Because he steal de bread," replied the boys.
The missionary now began to look around, and soon espied Mickey, trying to hide himself behind a fence. He called him; but Mickey, instead of coming, went further off. Two or three boys then ran towards him, and attempted to bring him back, but Mickey resisted.
The missionary then went into the house hoping that the trembling culprit, seeing he was gone, would come out of his hiding-place.
Very soon he was told, that Mickey was standing with the other boys at the door. Then the good missionary appeared again. Looking kindly at Mickey, he said, "Why did you run away?"
"Because me steal de bread; me very sorry."
The missionary held out his hand to the sorrowful offender, saying, "I forgive you, Mickey." The boy eagerly seized the kind hand, and holding it fast, and looking earnestly up in the missionary's face, he said, "When me steal again, you must whip me—and whip me—and whip me—very—very much." Again the missionary assured the boy he had entirely forgiven him—and then Mickey began to jump about for joy.
How glad Mickey would have been to return to the service of his old master! But that could not be; for that master was just going to set sail for England, to visit his home and friends, and he could not take Mickey with him. Just before he went, he provided a feast for many of the native children, and gave them a parting address. Mickey was there—no longer afraid—but glad to look up in the face of his beloved friend; for now he knew he was forgiven.
When the moment came to say "Farewell," the children ran forward, eager to grasp the missionary's hand—but none pressed that hand so warmly and so sorrowfully, as the little runaway.
I know not whether that generous master, and that penitent servant ever again met upon earth; but I have much hope they will meet in heaven; for Mickey seems to have been sorry for his sin; and we know the promise: "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." And why? Because the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. There are many sinners who were once as much afraid of God, as Mickey was of his master; but who have been pardoned, and who will be present at his HEAVENLY FEAST.
ATTRACTIVE AND INTERESTING
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS.
* * * * *
Blossoms of Childhood. By the author of the "Broken Bud." 16mo. 75 cents.
Bunbury. Glory, Glory, Glory, and other Narratives. 25 cents.
Cameron. The Farmer's Daughter. Illustrated. 30 cents.
Commandment with Promise. By the author of "The Week," &c. Illustrated. 75 cents.
Duncan, Henry. Tales of the Scottish Peasantry. 18mo. 50 cents. The Cottage Fireside. 40 cents.
Duncan, Mary Lundie. Rhymes for my Children. 25 cents.
Far Off in Asia and Australia. Described by the author of the "Peep of Day," &c. Illustrated. 16mo.
Fry, Caroline. The Listener. Illustrated. $1 00.
Frank Netherton. Or, the Talisman. Illustrated. 16mo.
Infant's Progress. By the author of "Little Henry and his Bearer." Illustrated. 75 cts.
Jamie Gordon. Or, the Orphan. Illustrated. 75 cents.
Kennedy, Grace. Jessy Allan. 18mo. 25 cents. Decision, or Religion must be all or nothing. 25 cents. Anna Ross. Illustrated. 30 cents.
Michael Kemp. The Happy Farmer's Lad. Illustrated. 40 cents.
My School Boy Days. Illustrated. 18mo. 30 cents.
My Youthful Companions. A Sequel to the above. Illustrated. 30 cents.
My Grandfather Gregory. Illustrated. 25 cents.
My Grandmama Gilbert. By the same author. 25 cents.
New Cobwebs To Catch Young Flies. Illustrated. Square. 50 cents.
Opie, Amelia. Tales and Illustrations of Lying. 18mo. 40 cents.
Old Humphrey's Addresses—Observations—Thoughts—Walks in London—Homely Hints—Country Strolls—Sea Captain—Grandparents—Isle of Wight—Pithy Papers—Pleasant Tales—North American Indians. 12 volumes. Each 40 cents.
Osborne, Mrs. David. The World of Waters. Illustrated. 75 cents.
Pastor's Daughter. By Mrs. L.P. Hopkins. Illustrated. 40 cents.
Peep of Day, and "Line upon Line," and "Precept on Precept." 3 volumes. Each 30 cents.
Pollok, Robert. Tales of the Scottish Covenanters. 16mo. 75 cents. Helen of the Glen. 18mo. 25 cents. The Persecuted Family. 18mo. 25 cents. Ralph Gemmell. 18mo. 25 cents.
Stories on the Lord's Prayer. By the author of "Edward and Miriam."
Sigourney, Mrs. L.H. Water Drops. 16mo. 75 cents. Letters to my Pupils. Portrait. 75 cents. Olive Leaves. Illustrated. 75 cents. Boys' Book. 40 cents. Girls' Book. 40 cents. Child's Book. 35 cents.
Sinclair, Catherine. Charlie Seymour. 18mo. 30 cts.
Taylor, Jane. Hymns for Infant Minds. 40 cents. Limed Twigs. Colored plates. 50 cents. Contributions of Q.Q. Illustrated. $1. Original Poems. Illustrated. 40 cents.
Tucker, S. The Rainbow in the North. Illustrated. 75 cents.
Week, The. By the author of the "Commandment with Promise." 75 cents.
Wilson, Professor. Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life. 75 cents.