Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

any real work in this direction, and the down the stream to the sea, where it was islands still remain an almost virgin arranged the yacht was to meet thein. ground for any future explorer both in the account of this journey is full of inthis as well as other branches of natural terest, and is given in graphic but unprebistory.” From the Liu-Kiu Islands the tending language, with the charms of Marchesa started northward, bound for freshness and novelty. Marvellous is the Kamschatka, through the lonely and misty supply of fish (Salmonide), which the seas of the north Pacific, and in due time Kamschatkan rivers produced. At Narthe sharp peak of the Vilutchinska volcano chiki, on a little branch of the Avatcha

a graceful cone of about seven thousand River, where the stream is not more than feet revealed the position of the vessel, eighteen inches deep, Dr. Guillemard bewhich soon arrived at the narrow entrance gan for the first time dimly to realize the of the bay of Avatcha, which is described vast numbers of fish which annually visit as one of the finest harbors of the world, the country, and which may be said litif not actually the finest, Rio and Sydney erally to choke its rivers. yielding the palm to their Kamschatkan rival. The scenery of the coast of south

Hundreds were in sight, absolutely toucheastern Kamschatka, with its precipitous our horses nearly stepped upon them. Their

ing one another, and as we crossed the river cliffs at the foot of which none but a bird back fins were visible as far as we could see could land, its deep valleys running down the stream, and aground, and gasping in the to the sea at whose mouths still lay the shallows, and lying dead or dying upon the accumulated masses of last winter's snow, banks, were hundreds more. The odor from its pinnacle rocks like rows of huge iron these decaying fish was distinctly perceptible teeth, must be superb. Steaming steadily at a distance of a couple of hundred yards or towards land the Marchesa enters the more.

In weight these salmon varied from harbor of Petropaulovski, which is little seven to fifteen, and even twenty, pounds. more than a hamlet of about two or three They, were, for the most part, foul fish hundred inhabitants, of whom eight or ten the kind known by the Russians as the Gar

blotchy with patches of red and white, and of are Europeans. If the human inhabitants busa;* but others in fair condition were to be of the peninsula are comparatively few in found, and with a little trouble I was able to number, this is not the case with the pull out three good ten-pound fish in as many sledge-dogs, which abound. Dr. Guille- minutes with a gaff. Any other method of mard describes the sledge-dog as wonder- fishing would have been useless. It would fully well trained, cunning, and enduring, have been nearly impossible to make a cast but often obstinate and unmanageable to without foul-hooking a fish, and nine-tenths or

more of them were in an uneatable condition. a degree, being apparently indifferent to the kicks and blows showered on him by The enormous abundance of salmon his master. He is a good hunter and which thus fill the rivers of Kamschatka fisherman, supporting himself upon the is to the new-comer an astonishing sight, game and salmon he catches, but seldom, The millions of fish that are caught and in spite of his treatment, deserting his form the food throughout the year of almaster. However, his rapacity is so great most every living creature in the country that the inhabitants cannot keep sheep, the cows and horses even not excepted goats, or other of the smaller doméstic

- are, we are assured, as nothing comanimals. Raw hides, boots, and even ba- pared with the countless myriads that bies, it is said, occasionally vary his diet. I perish naturally. The rotting fish that

The harbor and rivers of Petropaulovski lined the banks and in places lay piled in teemed with fish ; and though whiting and little heaps together are not the victims, herring were abundant, they were left in as one might be disposed to conclude, of comparative peace owing to the ease with any occasional fatal epidemic; the phewhich salmon were to be obtained. To nomenon is a constant annual occurrence. the ship's crew this place seemed little The dwellings of the natives are huts, less than a paradise; the bright sunny often combined with stables, through weather and cold nights were a pleasant which one has to pass before entering the change after tropical heat, and the fore- habitable room ; the windows are made of castle mess was supplied with many unac strips of bear-gut sewed together, which customed dainties. It was the intention cannot admit much light. In the corner of the travellers to proceed northwards by land, with baggage and horses, from • The garbusa or humpback, so called from the exAvatcha Bay until they struck the head traordinary development on the back of the kelt during waters of the great Kamschatka River, the Oncorhynchus proteus of recent ichthyologists.

the spawning season, is the Salino proteus of Pallas then to procure boats or rafts, and to float | This fish, with others, is figured in vol. i., p. 127.

of one of these rooms which the travellers on the heights of the four chief volcanoes entered for lunch and rest,“ was the usual lying to the south of the lower part of the tawdry eikon, and facing it a long array Kamschatka River was not lost sight of ; of clippings from the New York Police their altitudes are given as 16,988 feet for News, full of the choicest horrors of bat- Kluchefskaya ; 12,508 for Uskovska ; 15; tle, murder, and sudden death”! amid 400 for Kojerevska; and 11,700 for Tol. which lively surroundings the travellers batchinska. The first-named volcano has consumed their sour milk and bilberries, a wonderful steepness of slope, and an unpotatoes and turnips. The party struck brokenly conical shape, and is regarded the Kamschatka River not far from a little by Dr. Guillemard as being one of the hamlet called Gunal, where there are best instances that could be given of a about twenty huts and a population of mountain that owes its exact height and about ninety-four souls, all the descend- form to the slow piling up of the ashes and ants of Russians who established them. lava ejected from its crater. The Kamselves here with Kamschatdale wives in schatka volcanoes do not appear to have the last century. At this point, the head been active for many years until about waters of the river that was to bear the nine months after our author had left the travellers some four or five hundred miles country, when “a series of eruptions apbefore they reached the sea, the river is pear to have taken place which in gran, merely a little stream, barely fifteen yards deur must have rivalled those described across, and not more than a foot or eigh- by Krasheninikof in 1737." It is curious teen inches deep. The travellers contin- that the only account of these eruptions is ued their land journey as far as Sherowmy, given in the Japan Gazette, and that two where they dismissed their horse-boys years after their occurrence the fact was and horses, and began their river journey, unknown both to the Royal and Royal which was made on rafts and boats. At Geographical Societies. It was synchrothe village of Melcova the party ran short nous with the terrible catastrophe at of tea and sugar, which they were able to Krakatau in Java (August, 1883); further obtain there. The tea in use is the usual information, however, is needed on this brick tea of other parts of Siberia ; it is subject. made in cakes about ten inches by five, Arrived at Ust Kamschatka, near the and three quarters of an inch in thickness, mouth of the river on the east of the squeezed flat by hydraulic pressure, and peninsula, the travellers' river journey was stamped with large Chinese characters. practically at an end; they were now only “ Brick tea is to a Kamschatkan what four miles distant from the bar at the coffee is to a Lapp. It is found in the mouth of the river. Ascending a lookout very poorest and most miserable hut, and tower near the village they soon were gratis regarded as just as much a necessary ified with the sight of the Marchesa ap of life as tobacco." The high price of proaching from the south, and thus, after sugar places it beyond the reach of most; à month's absence, “hit off the time of the party purchased some at eighteen meeting with an exactness as curious as pence a pound. At nightfall the rafts it was fortunate.” The presence of two were run ashore at the nearest beach, and vessels in the port of Ust Kamschatka, the tents pitched on the stony or sandy the Marchesa and the Nemo, a Japanese edge of the river. The menu was not a walrus schooner, whose captain was a varied one, but to our author it was the Swede, was deemed an occurrence so unmost luxurious he had ever experienced usual that it was felt something should in camp life.

be done to celebrate it, so a feast and a

The Soup à la chasseur, boiled salmon, stewed

ball were accordingly resolved on. capercailzie or grouse, teal à la Kamschatdale, Swedes sent various intoxicating drinks; bilberry jam, and tea and coffee, form a very the supper-table groaned with cold ducks, respectable meal for a traveller whose appe- cranberries, brick tea, and other Kamtite has been sharpened by the keen air of a schatkan delicacies; empty bottles served northern autumn; and it was but seldom that for candlesticks; the ballroom roof was we failed to do justice to it. And when the low, and the “six feet three” Swedes had journals had been written up, and the birds their heads among the dried fish and other skinned, and we smoked our last pipe at the odds and ends hanging to the rafters; the enormous fire before turning in, we felt, but band was represented by an old fiddler for the natives, Kamschatka was as pleasant who, for an uninterrupted period of six a country for camping as we had ever experi- hours, gave the company the dance music enced.

most in fashion in Ust Kamschatka. The The opportunity for taking observations ' rank and fashion of the village were pres

[ocr errors]

ent; the "fair sex" were represented by schatka, the result of two days' visit to fourteen individuals who sat round the Betchevinskaya Bay, the total bag conroom; these ladies were “just a wee bit sisted of fourteen big-horns, some seals, fishy." For the rest, our author who is besides teal, duck, and golden plover. a most amusing writer as well as a man of Two bears, though badly bit, managed to science shall tell his own story:

escape owing to the denseness of the

scrub. A dance had just ceased as we arrived, and

The big-born is most delicious we took our seats in placid ignorance of what meat, and it " was declared on all hands was in store for us.

that no such mutton had ever been tasted Presently the squeak of the fiddle was heard, and instantly the ladies before.” The carcases were salted down rushed in search of partners. There was a and preserved for future use; and the men great move in the direction of the two Swedes all agreed that there was no country like and the rest of the party; and as became a Kamschatka, where salmon, grouse, and modest old bachelor I prepared to faire tapis mutton were to be had for the killing. serie with the papas and mammas. But it was Dr. Guillemard gives a list of the birds destined to be otherwise, for on raising my shot or observed by his party during their eyes I found that two fair damsels were suing visit to Kamschatka, from which list, and for the honor of my hand. The young from others given by Russian naturalists, women were not beautiful. However, there was no time to be lost. The seal-hunter,

the recorded species number one hundred the American nigger, and the tall Swede were

and eighty-six. already hard at it, and slipping my arm round

The stay of the Marchesa in the Sulu the waist of the nearest fair one I plunged Islands, a little group north-east of Borneo blindly into the dance. The affair was simple in the eastern archipelago, extended over enough at first. The dance merely consisted a period of about six weeks. Here, says in shuffling slowly round the room side by side, our author :the gentleman with his left arm free, the lady accompanying the music with a sort of monot. I had to contend with the fact that, in many onous chant. Time was of no particular ob places, that master naturalist, Mr. A. R. ject, and smoking was permitted; and as we Wallace, had preceded us; nothing could be had partaken neither of the cranberries nor more fortunate for a traveller, nothing more the corn brandy, we felt as well as could be disadvantageous to an author.

The “ Malay expected under the circumstances. It was Archipelago” may still be used as the guidenot for long, however. Suddenly the music book for those beautiful islands, for they have stopped; everybody clapped hands; and, been almost untouched by the great changes short and stern, the order rang out in Rus- which Europe has witnessed during the last sian, “Kiss." There are moments in which quarter century. even the stoutest spirit quails. I turned a

The extraordinary calmness of the sea despairing glance on my partner, and my heart of these regions struck our author. Not sank within me. All hope was gonel We all know how in moments of supreme emo- only was its burnished surface unbroken tion the most trivial details become indelibly by a single breath of air, but no trace of stamped upon the mind. The scene is now swell was visible to mar the glassy plain. before me. I saw the redhaired seal-hunter Everything was aglow with the heat.' An. bend down to meet his fate like a hero, his choring off Meimbun on the mouth of a green tie dangling in the air; I saw a gallant little river, a few canoes with bamboo outOfficer who had served Her Majesty in many riggers came on both sides the Marchesa, climes struggle nobly to the last. Slowly my somewhat mistrustfully, fearing the prespartner's arms dragged me down .

the lips stole upwards. I nerved myself for a natives there has been war for more than

ence of Spaniards, between whom and the final effort, and all was over! Before the next dance I had fled.

two centuries. However, the sight of their

fellow-countrymen -a little rajah with Dr. Guillemard and his party met with his suite of three Sulu attendants, to whom good sport near Betchevinskaya Bay, and the Marchesa was giving a passage from succeeded in killing several big-horns or Sandakan, in north Borneo, to Meimbun Kamschatkan wild sheep (Ovis nivicola, soon allayed their suspicions, and the Eschscholtz). This wild sheep frequents travellers landed in Sulu territory," where the precipitous slopes of the sea-cliffs, every prospect pleases, with the single and is also met with in the interior of the exception of being mistaken for a Spanpeninsula; they keep in small herds of iard. from three to nine individuals. Of the four- Dr. Guillemard's descriptions of scenteen specimens obtained all were males, ery are always charmingly given, and even whose ages apparently ranged from three without the aid of the admirable illustrato six years. As an illustration of the tions which often accompany them one abundant sport to be obtained in Kam- I can almost imagine that one had oneself

66

more

been among the party of travellers. Of | represented; while, on the other hand, the scenery at Meimbun he writes:- cockatoos, brush turkeys (Megapodius),

peculiar to the Austro-Malayan sub-region Had I to introduce my readers to the most of which New Guinea is the central and un-European scene I know of, I think I should typical mass, and numerous species of ask him to take a seat with me in a native

pigeons, inhabit the Philippines. The canoe and paddle up the graceful windings of Aora, as far as is known, shows similar the Meimbun River. At its mouth the huts, built on seaweed-covered piles, form each a

peculiarities; many typical Malayan genseparate island. The floors are raised a bare era are absent, while a large Australian three feet above the level of the water, and and Austro-Malayan element is present in one needs not better evidence of the fact that the archipelago. Dr. Guillemard's visit here at least we are in stormless seas. On in the Sulu Islands resulted in an ornithothe palm-stem platforms in front of the en- logical collection of more than two huntrance the natives squat, while around are dred specimens, comprising sixty-four playing half-a-dozen naked little Cupids, now genera. Before the Marchesa arrived, plunging into the water, now paddling races very little was known of the zoology of the in miniature canoes. A little further, and we enter the river, whose water is so clear and archipelago. Dr. Guillemard's list, though pure and bright that one longs to tumble in, by no means an exhaustive one, is clothes and all. Close to the banks lies the than sufficient to show the main source market-place, a picturesque jumble of ponies, from which the bird life of the archipelago ripe bananas, red sarongs

, palm-leaf stalls, is derived,” so that Sulu is “geographic and flashing spears. Beyond, the sea-going cally purely Philippine, just as it is politpraus are hauled up on shore, their unwieldy ically by the treaty of 1885.”. sterns a mass of quaint carving. Then through The history of the archipelago would a tiny reach bordered by the Nipa palm, whose consist of little else than a record of the graceful fronds, thirty or forty feet in length, constant civil wars which have raged bespring directly from the stream, and we find ourselves in a sort of upper town, where the tween the natives and the hated Castilians houses are built with seeming indifference since the time of their seizure of the Phil. either in or out of the water. The place is ippines, and their

efforts to establish their the absolute perfection of beauty and untidi- power in Sulu. By an agreement between

Overhead the eye rests on a wealth of England, Spain, and Germany (in 1885), verdure — bamboo, banana, durian, jack-fruit, the sovereignty of Spain is recognized and the arrowy betel palm, with its golden over the entire archipelago; i.e., all the egg-like nuts. In these happy climes man's islands lying between Mindanao and the needs grow at his very door. Cold and hun- coast of Borneo. Spain renounces all ger, misery and want, are words without a claim to north Borneo and a few small meaning. Civilization is far off indeed, and islands adjacent in favor of England, and for the moment, at least, we have no desire acknowledges British sovereignty over all for it.

the islands within three miles of the main. Notwithstanding the proximity of Bor- land of north Borneo; and it is stipulated neo and the Philippine Islands, their flora that there shall be perfect freedom of and fauna are remarkably distinct. The commerce and navigation in the Sulu former is almost typically Indo-Malayan archipelago. Of the various interesting in its zoological features; its fora shows matters which presented themselves to an equally great similarity to that of the the travellers in the Sulu Islands we have Malay peninsula. In its physical aspect no space to speak; we will only notice also, Borneo, like Java and Sumatra, is the tree which the Sulus plant in their connected with the mainland by a subma- cemetery near to the carved wooden monrine bank of great extent, where the sound-uments, this is a species of Michelia, ings are uniformly very shallow; so that called by the natives the dead man's flowat one period of the world's history Bor- er-tree. neo was united with and formed the south

Buddhist and Mohammedan alike plant the eastern limit of the great Asiatic continent. Champac above their dead; so should we, too, It is different with the Philippine Islands, I think, did our climate permit it.

Day after which are markedly insular in their fauna day throughout the year the tree blossoms. and flora. Only one species of monkey Day after day the delicately creamy corollas inhabits the archipelago, while the species fall entire upon the grave, retaining both their found in Borneo and other Indo-Malayan

freshness and their fragrance, unlike any other

flower. islands are numerous. Elephants, rhinoc

For how long after they have closed

over our loved ones are our graves decorated, eros, tapirs, and tigers are absent, and I wonder? Here Nature, kindlier-hearted there are only a few small rodents. Among and unforgetful, year after year lays her daily the birds, many Malayan genera are un offering of Champac blossoms upon the tomb.

ness.

At Kudat, in British north Borneo, sociability are stamped on the pet's counwhere the party stayed a week, Dr. Guille- tenance. mard was able to add considerably to his The Marchesa visited Sumbawa and the zoological collection. In one of the morn- neighboring islands of Flores and Samba, ing's rambles along the pleasant jungle which lie east of Java. Sumbawa is about walks and long stretches of beach, fringed one hundred and seventy miles long, and with cycas and casuarina, our author came is tolerably thickly populated, chiefly with across a small bird (Mizornis bornensis) people of Malay race. These islands are fast entangled in the web of a spider of the but little known to Europeans. They are genus Nephila.

Dutch possessions. There are two sulThese structures in the tropical forests of tanates, Sumbawa and Bima, over which this part of the world are often of large size the Dutch exercise a certain amount of and great strength; but I was astonished to authority. A Kontroleur resident at Bima find ihat they were sufficiently strong to cap- is the sole European upon the island. A ture a bird which, in this instance, was as marked difference between the island of large as a goldfinch. For the moment my Sumbawa and the islands of the Sulu feelings of humanity overpowered me, and I group at once struck the travellers; the released the captive; but directly afterwards I regretted that I had done so, as the conclu

surrounding country was parched greatly, sion of the drama might have been of interest. and the trees were nearly as leařess as The spider, though evidently somewhat de- our own in winter. From April to July terred by his unusually large capture and the little or no rain falls, and the buffaloe's violent shakings of the web, showed no inten- move along' in clouds of dust. This is tion of flight, and quietly watched the issue of due to the south-east winds, which sweep events close by:

over the dry desert lands of Australia and It was during his visit to these parts parch up the countries that lie in their that Dr. Guillemard and his fellow-travel- path as far as Java. It was the intention lers became the fortunate possessors of of the travellers to visit and, if possible, “the best pet that ever took up his quar

ascend Tambora, which was

once the ters on board the Marchesa."

One day

scene of one of the most appalling vol. Mr. Gueritz, the resident of Kudat, re

canic eruptions ever known. Owing to ceived a present in the shape of a'live the dense and thorny jungle that clothed animal from an English-speaking Malay

the sides of the mountain, and to the abin the service of the British North Borneo sence of the slightest track, the idea of Company, with the following note an

an ascent was deemed nearly impractica

ble, or at least attended with too many nouncing his arrival :

difficulties, and was abandoned. The great My bast Compliments to yau. I was sent eruption, of which Mr. Wallace has given yau 27 faowels and one while man. Plice Recives By the Bearar and Plice Ped the Bord most violent on the 11th and 12th, and did

an account, began on April 5, 1815, was Hayar and I was sick. – A. C. PITCHY.

not entirely cease until the following July. The "while man” an orang-utan, The sound of the explosions was heard which Mr. Gueritz presented to the Mar- over eleven hundred miles in one direcchesa. He was called Bongon, from the tion, and over nine hundred in a nearly small village at the head of Marudu Bay, opposite one. Whirlwinds carried up which the Marchesa visited. Bongon was men, horses, cattle, and whatever else a formidable-looking beast, and was en came within their influence, into the air; closed in a large wooden cage, and at first large trees were torn up by the roots and he was fed through the bars with all pos- covered the sea with floating timber; sible precaution.

streams of lava flowed to the sea, destroyOne day, however, he managed to escape, ing everything in their course. Ashes feil and we suddenly discovered that he was of in thick quantities and rendered houses the most harmless and tractable disposition. at Bima, more than sixty miles away, unFrom that moment Bongon became the pet inhabitable. Along the seacoast of Sumof the ship, and was spoilt alike by the crew bawa and neighboring islands the sea and ourselves. Indirectly this was, no doubt, suddenly rose to the height of from two to the cause of his death, a much-deplored event twelve feet, and vessels were forced from that took place some months later on the coast anchorage and driven ashore.

The town of Celebes.

of Tambora sank beneath the sea and There is an admirable engraving of Bon- remained permanently eighteen feet deep gon on page 105 of our author's book. where there had been dry land before. No doubt it is a very striking likeness; Out of a population of twelve thousand philosophic inquiry and good-humored persons inhabiting the province of Tam

was

e

« ElőzőTovább »