« AnkstesnisTęsti »
tim of fever or other disease, or starves. was later found to be an escaped convict There is also a system in vogue by which from the penal settlement at Viper Island. the more friendly tribes of savages co- When picked up, he had been on the raft operate with the authorities in capturing for twenty-nine days during one of the escaped convicts and receive rewards for southwest monsoons, and had secured the return of the unhappy deserters. water by catching the rain and sucking it More often, however, the head-hunters from his turban and loin-cloth. He lived kill the fugitive and return only the head, upon flying-fish that flew aboard the raft,
receiving the reward just the same, the eating them raw. He was swept off the killing adding zest to the chase and the raft many times by the waves, but had returning of the head being the easiest managed to cling to it. After a month in and quickest way of earning the reward. a hospital at Rangoon, he was returned to
Under these conditions there are few Viper Island prison and solitary confineattempts at escape, though many remarka- ment. bly hazardous dashes for liberty have been Another daring attempt at escape was made from time to time, which, though made by a party of six convicts who were futile, were most daring. Sometime ago sent with two native policemen to a small the steamer Fultata picked up a poor, ema- island off the Middle Andaman to work. ciated wretch who was sighted on a small They managed to escape from the guards, bamboo raft off the Arakan coast. He and, hoisting the sail of the small boat,
started out in a gale in the direction of the had come upon a dozen convicts workBurma coast. The boat, which had both ing in the forests with an overseer. Two sail and oars, proved seaworthy, and after of the convicts had been killed with the seven days of heavy weather they were deadly arrows of the savages, and a posse dashed upon the rocks of the Tenasserim of fifty native policemen had been sent out coast, and the boat wrecked. All escaped to find the Jarawas and the convicts who with their lives, and eventually reached were missing. As a result, conditions in the Siamese border, where they were ap- the islands were very unsettled. One prehended by local authorities and re- thing favorable to my trip into the inturned to the prison.
terior, however, was the fact that a naThis digression must suffice as indicative tive chief had recently died, and the war
of the character and environment of the riors, or most of them, were away in the so-called civilized beings who unwillingly northern part of the islands attending the share the Andaman Islands with the abo- feasts and dances in celebration of the rigines, who, while savage and consis- election of a new leader. This, coupled tently inhuman in their treatment of with the fact that native policemen were strangers, are nevertheless free from hein- still searching the forests for the band of ous crimes toward one another, and, at marauders which had attacked the conleast beneath their skins, are not so black victs, left the southern section more or as they are sometimes painted.
less free from head-hunters, and I resolved On landing at Port Blair, it was learned to proceed inland without delay, taking that two convicts had been murdered by with me Subodha, Kumali the Hindu one of their fellows and that a short time snake-charmer, Maladive and Lacadive before a party of head-hunting Jarawas boatmen, and the Hindu bearers.
As we skirted the coast, I witnessed a the more friendly natives to acquire the lively scene, for we came upon a large ways of civilization. As inducements, clay party of savages who were out fishing. pipes, tobacco, biscuits, and beads are left Their method is peculiar. They stand up at the base of trees near the shelter. The in their dugouts and balancing nicely, natives come in from the jungle periodispear the fish and shoot turtles as they cally and take everything they can find. lazily float on the surface. They are ex- The laziest remain several days, then with pert fishermen, and present a weird ap- the treasured pipes and trinkets return to pearance, their black bodies, utterly de- their fastnesses and their old tricks. After void of clothing, shining in the sun. They the supply of tobacco is exhausted, they use the turtle oil to lubricate their bodies, smoke dried trepang, a fish found clinging which gives them a shine that glistens. to the rocks, which appears to be a cross As the party were so-called friendly An- between a sea-slug and a jellyfish. Tredamanese and near the settlement, we pang has slight narcotic properties which were in no danger from them, and they produces an effect not unlike opium. continued to aim their spears and arrows Despite the nature of the country, news at the fish, although they were curious and travels fast in the islands, and the fact that somewhat exercised over our presence. a searching-party was out probably was
The first stop was nearly opposite responsible for the large number of savHopetown landing, some distance from ages in and about the government shelter civilization as represented by the prison, at the time of our visit, the natives doubtand at the point where the government has less considering themselves more secure erected a structure called the Andamanese when near the settlement than in the Home. This is only a rudely built shelter jungle. at the edge of the jungle, built by the colo- At any rate, we found a large party in nial authorities for the purpose of coaxing the vicinity. As our boat grounded on the stony beach, crowds of the little blacks, varies from sooty black to yellowish brown, men, women, and children, came running is woolly, and is known as of the “pepperdown to look at us. They were almost all corn" type; and when kept short, it resemof them entirely naked, the men carrying bles nothing so much as a worn-out blackbows and arrows. All were tattooed and ing-brush, as it grows in little knobs, with elaborately scarified, and some of them, bare spaces between. The hair of the womostly women, were bedaubed with clay men is worn off about the top of the head and red ocher in designs representing the in most cases, and some of the men have veins of trees. They presented a fierce affected a parting of the hair in the center and warlike appearance, and were totally by rubbing the head with a stone until the unlike any aborigines I had ever seen.
hair wears away. The Andamanese are an interesting race About the waists of some of the party to ethnologists. They are probably one of that crowded about the boat were girdles the most ancient of races remaining on the of dry leaves and seaweed, ornamented earth and stand close to the primitive hu- with beads, and at the back were appenman type. As such, they are of great eth- dages formed by a large bunch of leaves. nological importance, probably preserving Approaching what seemed to be the in their persons and customs, owing to an head-man, I pointed to the cocoanuts my indefinite period of complete isolation, Maladives were throwing out of the boat, characteristics of the oldest races. They at the same time exhibiting tobacco and have been called dwarfs and pygmies, but clay pipes. The sight of these things acted without truth. In stature they are small, like a charm, and broad grins, showing the average height of the men being rows of beautiful, white teeth, replaced 4 feet 1034 inches, the women 4 feet 774 the suspicious glances. As one of my native inches, but their figures as a rule are sym- boatmen acted as interpreter, I soon esmetrical and graceful. While among the tablished myself on a friendly. footing, and darkest of savages, the Andamanese are when I had him request a dance, they not absolutely black. The hair, which quickly formed themselves in line. At