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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, the 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 saw Hopetown 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 a command from the head-man, other clapping their hands above their heads in natives emerged from the shelter; a few unison. As the throbbing tones of the loungers standing by began to shake off yemnga grew louder, heads, hands, and their lethargy and arouse the sleepers feet began to gyrate and whirl. Faster and basking in the sun. One of the party had faster they went round and round; then a long clay pipe in his mouth, and another came wild leaps into the air, with arms a cigar I had given him; two women, half and legs swinging wildly. Louder and hidden by bushes, were coaxed out (the louder rose the intoxicating twang and women are all very timid), and joined the throbs of the music, and the faces of the line that was forming, the clay pipes still blacks became wilder than before, and they in their mouths; while up from the jungle began to shout and utter unearthly cries, came several others, men and women, with which echoed through the jungle. Intense their bodies decorated with clay until they excitement took possession of them, and all had all the appearance of being clad in control was lost. They would leap and fancy tights, looking highly theatrical in fall and rise and sway and whirl until their fantastic and grotesque array.
nothing was clear but a vision of black At a signal from the leader, a droning bodies and arms and legs and feet in a sound, which surged into a throbbing cloud of dust. twang, came from the yemnga as several One by one the frenzied dancers colplayers began tapping it. This primitive lapsed and fell to the ground, the throbmusical instrument consists of a shield- bing sound of the music died away, and shaped piece of wood, the point sticking in the dance was over. the ground. The players, skilfully thrum- When the exhausted dancers had reming on it with their feet, produce weird covered sufficiently, they gave an exhibicadences that vibrate in monotones.
tion of their skill with bow and arrow. A Two lines had been formed; the leader section of a log about five feet, six inches advanced and retreated, the others follow- high, placed two hundred yards away, ing. As they moved, they bent their bodies was used as a target.
Their aim was gracefully and in time, at first slowly, true, and the weapons deadly. They took
the greatest delight in hitting the log up, it cast gorgeous tints of rose and gold and felling it. They use three kinds of over the quiet Andamanese Sea, the waarrows, one for shooting fish and turtle, ters of which were so clear that fish could another for hunting wild pigs and iguana be plainly seen sporting in the depths, and for food, which are plentiful, and another a fresh breeze from the northeast filled the for warfare. This latter is composed of a air with the fragrance of the forests, and shaft and arrow-head connected by a fiber brought new life after the excessively hot taken from a creeper found in the jungle. days and nights that had preceded. As the point imbeds itself in the body, the It was now time to let go the tow-line, shaft falls away of its own weight, and if so heading for the mouth of a creek, we the victim is running, which is most likely, proceeded as far as Dumla Churog, a desothe shaft, being still connected to the im- late spot in the jungle, bedded arrow-head by the fiber, soon The trip up the creek was strenuous, for brings the unfortunate to the ground. I the heat was now intense (135° Fahrensecured several good pictures of this group heit in the sun). Each man worked siof Andamanese, who were singularly nat- lently, while backs ached, arms grew tired, ural and unaffected in having their photo- perspiration ran down their brown bodies, graphs taken.
and by the time we made the landing it At dawn the next morning we put our was easy to see that the men were losing outfit aboard the boat, secured a tow to courage. They were just beginning to the lighter which was conveying prisoners realize what they were "up against.” to the other side of the island, where they Dense underbrush came down to the slugwere engaged in felling padouks, and asked gish waters of the creek on each side, and the officer in charge of the tug to be on the save for the gentle swish of the paddles and lookout for us upon his return, as the con- the occasional rustling of the leaves and victs are taken back every night. We the flap of wings in the jungle, there was coasted for thirty miles, and through the
no sound. Middle Straits, dividing the South from Finally we reached the clearing and the Middle Andamans. As the sun came waded to the muddy bank. It was here