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MURDER OF LORD MAYO
two torchbearers in front ... and the Viceroy stepped quickly forward before the rest to descend the stairs to the launch. The next moment the people in the rear heard a noise, as of 'the rush of some animal,' from behind the loose stones; one or two saw a hand and a knife suddenly descend in the torchlight. The private secretary heard a thud, and instantly turning round, found a man 'fastened like a tiger' on the back of the Viceroy. In a second, twelve men were on the assassin; an English officer was pulling them off, and with his sword hilt keeping back the native guards, who would have killed the assailant on the spot. The torches had gone out; but the Viceroy, who had staggered over the pier side, was dimly seen rising up in the knee-deep water and clearing the hair off his brow with his hand, as if recovering himself. His private secretary was instantly by his side in the surf, helping him up up the bank. Burne,' he said quietly, 'they've hit me.' Then in a louder voice, which was heard on the pier— I'm all right, I don't think I'm much hurt,' or words to that effect. In another minute he was sitting under the smoky glare of the re-lit torches, on a rude native cart at the side of the jetty, his legs hanging loosely down. Then they lifted him bodily out of the cart, and saw a great dark patch on the back of his light coat. The blood came streaming out, and the men tried to stanch it with their handkerchiefs. For a moment or two he sat up in the cart, then he fell heavily backwards. 'Lift up my head,' he said faintly; and said no more."*
Leaving Phænix Bay, we steamed past Chatham Island, where the sawmills are situated, and where a number of hospital convalescents are kept busy with the easy task of manufacturing rope and mats from the coir prepared in Viper Jail. On the approach of a hurricane, vessels in port proceed up harbour and anchor above this island, where they are secure from all danger.
Our next stopping-place was at Haddo, where we visited the Andamanese in their Homes, and out on the water saw a number of natives fishing from canoes.
* Rulers of India Series—The Earl of Mayo, by Sir W. W. Hunter.
The sheds in which the aborigines are domiciled are substantial structures of attap, standing near the sea in the shade of coco palms. We found present eight or nine women, and twice that number of men and boys, who, on catching sight of our advance, ran out of doors to meet us. Two or three babies present were carried by the mothers in a broad band suspended from forehead or shoulder. The first thought that flashed into one's mind on perceiving them, with their small stature, sooty skins, and frizzly hair, was that here were a number of juvenile negroes (“ niggers”): they are, however, far better-looking than that people, and some of the women might almost be called pretty, even when judged from a European standpoint.
For clothing, the men wore breech-clouts of red cotton, and strings of beads or small shells about the neck : the ornaments of the women consisted of similar necklaces, and several girdles of beads or bark, in the lowest of which a green leaf was inserted, by way of apron. The hair of the women was slightly shorter than the men's, but worn in a similar fashion—all but a circular patch on the top of the head, like a skull-cap, was shaved away, and this was often divided by a broad band of bare skin running from back to front. Chest and back were covered with skin decoration of the cicatrice type, which, healing without any tendency to keloid, left a smooth mark, distinguished by its lustre only from the normal surface. Many had smeared themselves with fat, which gave the skin a very shiny appearance.
The bows carried were of the recurved paddle type that attains its greatest development in the Andamans,* and the arrows were armed with formidable iron points and barbs: the heads of these are detachable, and are connected with a shaft by a short cord of fibre, which is wound about the arrow by twisting the head in its
* A somewhat similar weapon to this remarkable bow is found among the Oregon Indians, and also seen in the composite bow of the Eskimos, while a third, still more closely approaching it in appearance and principle, is found in New Ireland and the New Hebrides.
An interesting account of the Andamanese bow, with a series of photographs showing the various stages of construction, has been contributed by Mr M. V. Portman to the Archery volume of the Badminton Library.