« EelmineJätka »
presents of cotton and sheath-knives, and then followed a path leading to the Dagmar through forest of a very open character. A walk of half a mile brought us to the bank of the river, here about 30 to 35 yards wide. There was very little current, owing to a sandbar across the mouth, which the natives say is dry at half-tide. The banks were jungle covered, and free from mangroves.
“Before leaving the village we bought some fowls, and a pair of young monkeys, said to be only three or four months old. They were imprisoned in a pig cage, and seemed half-starved, and were certainly very frightened as they sat clinging convulsively to each other.
“There is clear water, 300 or 400 yards wide, before Kópenhéat, with a reef on either side where the sea breaks heavily at high tide, but the anchorage is not so good as at Kunyi or Nyur."
GREAT NICOBAR-WEST AND SOUTH COASTS
“ Domeat ”_ Malay Traders-Trade Prices—The Shom Pen Language-Place
Names-Pulo Bábi—The growth of Land-Climbing a Palm TreeServitude-Population-Views on Marriage with the Aborigines—Towards the Interior-A Shom Pen Village-The Inhabitants—Canoe-buildingBarter—The West Coast–South Bay-Walker Island-Chang-ngehUp the Galathea River—Water-We leave the Nicobars and sail to Sumatra.
WE hove up anchor at 8 A.M. — the hour at which a breeze usually sprang up-and sailed for Pulo Bábi, a few miles down the coast, taking as passenger an old man named Domeat who had been staying at Kópenhéat.
He produced a number of chits for our perusal, and from one we learned that it was Domeat—now a toothless, but sturdy old gentleman, with nutcracker jaws and a benevolent expressionwho brought news of the recovery of the body of Captain Elton, commander of the station gunboat, who was drowned in the surf while attempting to land at Trinkat Sambelong * village, on the east coast, in March 1881.
Most of the letters were written by Asiatics, and from them it seemed that the last Malay vessel to call at the islands arrived in 1877. Many formerly came to purchase coconuts, but this people, like our own nation, has been ousted from the trade by the inhabitants of China and the Indian Empire.
According to our informant, the Chinese pay the coast natives one packet of tobacco (value 2fd.) for three bundles of rattan, while the Nicobarese, who act merely as middlemen, and have
* Native name = Láful.