Taylor, G. "A ramble through southern Formosa." The China Review 16 : 137-161.
[P. 137] We had arranged to start early on the morning of the 8th May, and to ensure this I left South cape at 4 p.m. on the 7th, reaching Tierasock that night about 8 p.m.
Before going farther, it may be as well to explain that Tsui Lui, Supreme Chief of the Paiwans, having drunk himself into a state approaching idiocy, the responsibilities of the chieftanship fell on his brother Bunkiet, who, although not exactly an abstemious gentleman, has yet the sense to consider that arrack cannot be both meat and drink.
When I reached Bunkiet's house, I found that, of all days in the year, this particular day had been chosen for bringing to a crisis a certain case, which, as it illustrates how amenable the aboriginals are, despite their lawless habits and surroundings, I will briefly explain.
In the month of April 1887, a Chinese peddler had been murdered by a drunken Padliao savage, not on purpose to rob him, but because he would not supply a few betel nuts on credit. The friends of the victim, Shamalee Hakkas, laid the damages at $1000, and this sum the Padliao Chief promised to pay. Some delay, however, having occurred in the collecting of this, to the savages, immense sum, to expedite matters, the Hakkas violated the rules of hospitality by seizing in their own village a relation of the Padliao Chiefs, and insisted on retaining him as a hostage. The Padliaos mustered in full strength and threatened to storm Shamalee, if the prisoner was not immediately released. The Hakkas, while deprecating violence, persisted in their right to have a surety for the payment of the money within a certain period, and threw themselves under Bunkiet's protection. So he was hard at work, devising a means of settling this knotty point, when I arrived. Certainly the prospects of an early start were not encouraging; but about midnight, copious libations of arrack having brought all into an amiable frame of mind, it was agreed that Bunkiet should bail out the Padliaoan for $1000, while the Padliaoans mortgaged to Bunkiet fields of a corresponding value. Of course next morning they must have a big drink, and as it is well known that all amicable settlements terminate in this manner, all who were within reach had gathered to participate in the spree. Luckily for us, however, the brilliant idea struck Bunkiet, that as Tsui Lui's drinking powers surpassed most, he was the proper person to superintend this stage of the proceedings, and accordingly next morning all repaired to Tsui Lui's house.
[P. 138] The genial, hospitable Capting, Chief of Kang Kou, Koalut, and the Amias, having lately taken unto himself a third wife, (he has been twice bereaved), a charming young Hakka maiden, could not tear himself away almost in the honeymoon, but instead bade me god-speed and sent his four brothers and eldest son, the flower of his household in fact, as guides and protectors, with instructions to follow me, no matter how far I went. They had arranged to reach Bunkiet's house at daybreak, and we were anxiously awaiting them, when a message was delivered to the effect that the Kong Kou priestesses, although declaring that appearances were propitious, yet considered a further ceremony, at the Supreme Chief's house, necessary for our absolute safety. The old hags had smelt the feast.
It is no use trying to run counter to those fates, and up to Tsui Lui's house we all went. In a little while the Kong Kou contingent arrived, increased by two recruits, stout Amias, anxious to see the homes of their ancestors. The more the merrier, thought all.
Our arrival did not disturb the feasting. All were too intent on trying which jar held the strongest samshu, and some were already in an advanced stage of intoxication. The little ceremony we went through proved quite interesting. We mustered seventeen, all armed to the teeth, and that number of stools being set in a circle, we were seated. The witches, standing in the centre, began waving bunches of reeds over us, and broke into a quick chant. Perhaps the rapid rate at which the samshu jars were being exhausted, expedited matters. After the chant, guava leaves, smeared over with some substance, were put into our hands. At this stage I noticed that a teacher, from the English Presbyterian mission at Taiwanfoo, located in the Supreme Chief's house, was peeping out through the door with a horrified expression on his face at seeing me joining in such a ceremony and looking the most solemn and earnest devotee of the lot. I gave him a wink and he beamed a reconciled smile; I wonder if any Chinaman can ever forget to admire duplicity. I may add that this man, who was an earnest Christian, did not make much impression among the aborigines, although he soon collected a fair following of Chinese and organized weekly services which were well attended; one enthusiastic Chinaman placing a house at his disposal. This work should be followed up, and I hope Mr. Barclay, of the English Presbyterian Mission in Taiwanfoo, will look to this. If Mr. Barclay would send some young European, an enthusiast with a spice of the church militant, down among the aborigines, good work would be done. For instance, the Chinese teacher asked a blessing before breakfasting. The Chief's wife, thinking he was casting spells, forthwith brought out her witch implements and began chanting counter spells. An ardent young European would have promptly slung her instruments out of doors, stamped on them, burnt them, or otherwise shown his contempt and their uselessness; but the docile Chinaman moved his platter to another table.
After the guava leaves, they began smearing the heads of each with an ointment. But here an unconsidered difficulty cropped up. I wore a huge sun hat, the dimensions of which were sufficient to render abortive any attempt at anointing me. When my turn came, the witch looked at the hat, and although she would not have hesitated to cast it off, if worn by any of her compeers, a natural doubt as to how I might view such a freedom made her pause and then retire among the sisterhood, where an earnest consultation was held; evidently the difficulty was not unsurmountable, for she again advanced and I received two good dabs of the paste under the chin. A benediction was then pronounced, and we were dismissed, each savage receiving, from the Chief, four sacred beads as a guarantee of invincibility.
Next the troop indulged in a war dance and slew many imaginary enemies, but my share in this was borne by my fidus Achates, Kolopiet, who, to his great delight, managed [p. 139] at each volley to fire off both barrels of my gun, believing he was only discharging one. At last, about 2 p.m., we were fairly started on our journey, and began wending our way through the Bangsut valley.
At the first hamlet three Hakkas and two more aborigines, fired with the spirit of travel and adventure, attached themselves to our party, thus raising it to twenty-two well armed men.
Up on the hills the air was cool and refreshing, but down in the valley among the rice fields the heat was stifling. First I entrusted Kolopiet with my cartridges, but then he got my gun. In a little while a coolie slung my binoculars on his pole and soon after balanced it with a bag containing the most urgent necessaries on a journey. Jacket and trousers followed, and I found that even a suit of underclothing was more than sufficient.
About 5 p.m. we reached a point where the valley began to narrow, and soon we were walking along the gulley, with high cliffs on either side. Large trees grew on the bare rocks, and, their branches meeting overhead, completely shut out the sun. At the bottom a small stream wound along, the water of which was most refreshingly cool; here a halt was called; all stripped and enjoyed a delightful bath.
From here half an hour's walk brought us out of the gulley, which we found ended in an almost precipitous descent to the sea. Carefully picking our way down to the beach, we walked for a few minutes knee deep in soft sand, and, just as the sun was setting, reached a hamlet of Chinese squatters. Poor people, they gave us all they had,&emdash;shelter from the night dews.
We cooked in the open, the savour of Findon haddocks mingling with that of Kong Kou sprats, and an enterprising member of the company, borrowing my gun, went off and soon returned with a few wild pigeons. We were all in high spirits, determined to enjoy ourselves and not be put out at trifles. I slung my hammock in a small grass hut, on the floor of which slept a dozen more. About midnight I awoke and found that all the insects in the establishment were availing themselves of the new and direct communication my hammock had established between the floor and the shelves on which stood the settler's scanty stores. To sleep again was impossible, so I woke all, knapsacks were slung, and off we went, a bright moon lighting us on our way.
From South Cape to Kusakuts, a coral formation predominated and rose to a height of about 2000 feet. The higher mountain tops were capped with columnar basalt, detached masses of which, mixed with decomposing graystone, covered the slopes, and, when exposed to the action of water, filled the little bays with a fine silicious sand. After passing Kusakuts, we found the beach was of a hard blue gravel, interspersed with shingle of quartz and slate. The mountains which ran sheet down almost to the water's edge, were all of a decomposing clayey slate, the strata dipping in all directions, sometimes almost vertical and a little farther on rising from both sides to a sharp ridge. Immense masses are continually tumbling down, rendering the way extremely dangerous in wet weather.
Walking along such a path was most fatiguing work, for at every step we sank to our ankles in the loose gravel. Various points jutted out into the breakers, where we had to wait until the sea ran out, and then jump, as nimbly as we could, from one boulder to another, until we rounded the promontory. All who pass this way must do so on foot, for horse or chair would be quite useless. Just as dawn was breaking, we reached a spot where a winding inland valley opened on the sea; a small rivulet meandered among the boulders and rushes which formed the bottom of the gulch, and here by mutual consent all rested. Some pieces of dry driftwood were collected and a huge bonfire raised; on a few brands a tea-kettle began singing merrily, and, with our feet [p. 140] dangling in the cool water of the brook, we sipped the cup which cheers.
Up against the sky loomed the dark mass of the Botan mountain, and as we lay lazily stretched among the dry rushes, many a tale went round how in former days the inland Paiwans lurked here to slay their brethren of the coast, and how wayfarers boiled their pot with one eye on the priming of their firelocks; no matter how weary, their weapons never left their grasp, as the chances were that within a few yards, among the almost impenetrable brushwood, watchful eyes were regarding their every movement. Even at the present day it is not considered safe to wander too far up this valley, which is the recognised border land between the brave but more agricultural and peaceful Paiwans of the coast line, and their predatory headhunting yet cowardly brethren from the interior. I believe we would have all gone to sleep here, half were already slumbering, when an altercation between Kolopiet and a Hakka, which threatened to develop into something more forcible than words, effectually roused us. The hybrid had caught a few common black crabs and appropriating my coffee pot was busy cooking them, when it was discovered by Kolopiet, who in his rage, not only insisted on the Hakka scouring out the taint, but began pelting him with the hot crabs. The order to march ended the row, and we passed through the celebrated stone gate of the Botans, as the sun's upper limb tipped the horizon.&emdash;(See Fig. 1)
On the promontory which forms the south side of a bay, the lower rocks are trappean, but further up some slabs of graystone have slid down in such a manner, that one forms the gate post and another a lintel, on end resting on a projecting part of the cliff. The trap rock forms huge steps up which travellers must go, as the promontory cuts through the beach and into the sea. Rounding the point, more boulders had to be scrambled over, and the sun was well up when we entered the Botan encampment, a miserable collection of grass huts surrounded by a mud and rubble wall. Here the Lieutenant in charge welcomed us warmly, his staff of about 30 soldiers all turning out to see the rare sight of a European entering their gates. Poor fellows, their lot is not a pleasant one, for although this post has been established over fifteen years, they dare not venture far. No sooner does one wander beyond the usual limits, than his head pays the forfeit. It is not Botans who commit these murders, but young bucks from the interior, who will patiently lie in wait for weeks, even months, subsisting on roots and berries, until their chance comes. Oh, for the ghost of some backwoodsman or border Bill, with the pluck and patience to track up and exterminate these cowardly pests. The cutting off of a few would be an effectual deterrent, for they take care never to run their dusky heels where there is any danger.
The Lieutenant would insist on entertaining us out of his scanty stores, and a few fresh eggs, capital shrimps, some dried venison and other nick-nacks formed a capital breakfast, which we washed down with a little drop of usquebaugh, just to counteract the mountain dews.
A few hundred yards from the encampment are the hot springs of which I had often heard. A little rivulet runs at the bottom of the Botan gorge, for it can hardly be called a valley. Following this up, we came on the springs, which gushed from the side of a grassy hill, and spreading around kept moist a beautiful plot of grass. I had no thermometer, but the water felt quite warm to the hand. Occasionally some bubbles rose and, breaking, emitted a slightly sulphorous odour. Behind, an amphitheatre of hills rose to the bluff mass of the Botan. On each side, a series of cones rose towards the gorge and, clothed with the richest foliage, descended to the sea; in front, the little valley, paved with a splendid award, widened on the beach and exposed the sun just tipping the morning clouds on the eastern horizon. It was a scene worth gazing on, and one could not [p. 141] help cursing the cruel devils in human shape whose deeds made this paradise a land of horrors. But the voice of Bunkiet, who considers a valley of mud huts and paddy fields the best scenery in nature, roused me up. It was time to resume our journey.
A most weary tramp it became. The mountains ended in precipitous cliffs, between which and the sea a small strip of gravel formed the only pathway. Out at sea we could see a cool breeze ruffling the water, but the high mountains completely choked it, and under the cliffs not a breath stirred the stagnating atmosphere, whilst the sun, hot and merciless, poured his rays steadily down. On and one we trudged, wearily following every bend of the coast line; now and then some one would make a despairing spurt forward, shelter under some boulders for a few minutes, and fall in in the rear; some actually fell asleep as they walked. All along the beach, the sea shone like glass towards the land. No break interrupted the monotony of precipice and steep slope. No water could be found, and Bunkiet told me that it would be midday before we reached any shelter. Looking back at this part of the journey, I would not walk it again, no not to be King of Formosa. I kept straining my eyes ahead, but not a soul was to be seen. Sometimes we did see small specks like human beings, but they disappeared, probably hid themselves. But everything must come to an end, and about midday we could see that some distance ahead the mountains seemed to sink father inland, leaving a slight space between their ridges and the water. Very soon, turning a sharp corner, we saw the river of Allingid, and, cheered by the sight of water and shade, all increased their pace and, reaching the banks, were about to throw themselves in, when the first arrivals, shouting frantically, rushed up the mountain side. I rushed after, and found that we had disturbed a herd of wild pigs, grubbing among the roots and rushes. But the first excitement over, we were too fagged out to continue the chase, and returned to where the less excitable were already lolling in the water. Three were told off to keep armed guard over clothes and weapons, for many a head has been severed here, and the remainder were soon disporting themselves in a state of nature, I, clothed in a sun hat, being the only exception.
Like most of the streams on the East coast, this one was dammed up by sand. The heavy summer rains enable the river to force this away, but in winter the constant lash of the waves, during the steady North-east winds, again throws up the sand; and so each year they alternate between fierce streams hardly fordable, and quiet lagoons; the water above a certain level slowly percolating through the bar. At present this little lagoon was full of small fish, also numerous fresh water crabs and spiral shells, the substance in the latter being abstracted in a novel way, by breaking off the point and sucking all out through the hole. A small net might have taken out some hundred-weights of fish in a few minutes, but the aborigines who claim this spot adopt a very dog-in-the-manger policy, and neither utilize this store themselves, nor allow others to draw from it.
It was a happy thought to keep some of our number under arms, for, as we continued our journey, we found a little further on, on the banks of a small offshoot of the stream, the headless trunk of a Chinaman who could only have been killed two days previously. I insisted on the body being covered with sand, and, amid much grumbling at the fuss I made over what they considered a small matter, this was done.
On this part of the coast, the mountains had a more gentle slope to the beach and were covered with a creeping grass, no trees appearing on the sides next the sea. In the whole mass no solid rock showed. All appeared to be huge accumulations of graystone cobbles, mixed with a miry clay, their average height being as nearly as I could judge about 2000 feet.
[P. 142] About 2 p.m. we reached Chen-a-mia, another little valley with a small stream. Here we found a community of eleven Hakka families, their houses forming a square surrounded by a strong bamboo stockade. All the level parts of the valley, extending to about a square mile, were under rice cultivation, and looked charming. Five miles up among the hills a large tribe of Paiwans dwelt, to whom the Hakkas paid black mail. The Paiwans confined themselves strictly to hunting, leading a most idle life, tobacco and betel-nut being the only things cultivated. Wild pig and deer are so abundant that a big hunt once a month kept their larders sufficiently supplied. The Hakkas were most hospitable, laying all their stores at our disposal and refusing any compensation. In fact I found this the rule all along. travellers are always welcome to a bite and sup.
We were now close to the San-tiao ling or treble-ridged mountains, inhabited by the most cruel and predatory tribe of Paiwans on the coast. I call them Paiwans, but Bunkiet said they were another race. They are true Cains, and combined expeditions of Paiwans from the south, Pilam Amias, Tipuns, and Nickas, have several times attacked and nearly exterminated them, burning down their houses and destroying all traces of habitation; but a large number escaped among the mountains and soon returned to their old pursuits, perhaps with a little more caution. So dangerous to travellers was this part of the coast, that the Chinese authorities erected a rather well-built encampment here, making it a Colonel's command; still, hardly a week passes but some one is missing. This tribe is not the only one that has proved incorrigible. Close to Liang Kiau bay, on the west coast, the Bahas kept up head-hunting and fighting all comers until the tribe was extinguished. At present they are a thing of the past, living only in the blood-curdling tales of how they lured and slew their unsuspecting victims.
The sun had set when we reached Toa-tek-ko, another military station. Toa-tek-ko is a huge gap in the mountain rage, similar to those already noticed. We were made welcome in the encampment and every kindness shown. It was lucky we had reached some shelter, for, during the night, rain fell in torrents, and, worse still, and which is the great cause of sickness among the troops, a cold fog descending from the mountains made the temperature fall, I should think, at least 10 degrees. If a watchman were told off to cover up all sleepers when such a change occurs, fevers would not be so common. The soldiers lie in their beds in a state of nudity, sweating at every pore, a chill descends, and next morning the majority are in a high fever. As I passed along, demands for a fybrifuge were incessant. Fortunately experience dictated my carrying abundance of quinine, which I distributed freely. I cannot resist taking this opportunity to remark on the supineness of Chinese generally. In 1886 Dr. Myers of Takow, hearing of the prevalence of fever, generously offered to supply quinine at cost price, if I remember rightly, $2.80 per ounce bottle. I made this as generally known as possible, thinking all would jump at the chance of obtaining the remedy so cheaply. A great many had experienced the beneficial effects of quinine on their own persons, and many more by reputation. An incessant stream of letters and applicants continually pour in on the station, soliciting a little of the 'fever medicine,' its use being always followed by good results; of course the supply is gratuitous. I wrote to several officers, merchants, and others, who could afford to buy a few bottles and either distribute doses in charity, or sell small quantities to people too poor to buy a whole bottle. But not a grain would they buy; most had actually the effrontery to tell me that they had been making enquiries and found that the people were afraid to take 'foreign medicine,' although these same people, a few days before or after, applied [p. 143] for small doses for sick friends! Still, in order to give the poorer a chance, I sent to two populous centres two bottles on sale, and, when applicants reached me, referred all to them. For the dose of 10 grains only 50 cash was charged; yet not a grain was sold, and latterly I directed that doses be given gratuitously so long as the supply lasted. Immediately there was a rush not only of the sick, but also the whole, the latter intent on laying in a stock against future possibilities. For the last four years Dr. Myers has gratuitously kept me supplied with fresh vaccine matter, in order that the poorer classes might not be victimised by the quacks who profess to vaccinate, but use condensed milk and oftener pus. The first is at any rate harmless, but the latter infects children with grievous skin diseases. To the really poor any services are gratis, but to the wealthier I hinted that small donations for the Takow Hospital would be thankfully received; but instead of giving the dollar or two they could well spare, I found some sent their children by the hands of poor people, and thus escaped the payment of any fee. In four years I have not received a single cent. Yet no people spend more money on medicines than the Chinese. The most absurd decoctions are eagerly bought and drunk, native doctors often ruining people by the exorbitant fees they demand, no money no physic, being generally their motto. For all this I do not consider all Chinese doctors to be cheats. I have known many possessed of great curative skill, and who, as herbalists, would rank second to few.
Next morning the sky was cloudless, and the sun's rays, a few minutes after its rise, scorched as strongly as at midday. This great heat soon caused the whole shore and mountain sides to be clothed in vapour. One felt as if walking through a Turkish bath. An hour and a half of this, on the soft yielding gravel, began to tell on some of the company, and all were glad to reach Kap-tsu-ling. We passed the little encampment unobserved, and took shelter under the precipices of this cleft in the mountain range.
The Kap-tsu-ling gorge drains the mountains for many miles inland. Scarcely 100 yards in breadth, it is overhung by beetling cliffs, over the edges of which stretched the giant limbs of immense trees; overhead the pall of fog, which caps the mountains, enveloped all in gloom; the whole making the channel look like the entrance to some horrible region of eternal darkness. The bottom was covered with graystone boulders, scoured white; while on each side, to a certain height, the soft decomposing sandstone, interspersed with masses of whinstone, was scraped smooth and bare by the enormous volumes of water which rushed along during the incessant rains of the wet season. Here one of our troop, Bura Vur, began to show symptoms of beings affected by the great heat, but quinine and strong tea strengthened him somewhat and enabled us to proceed.
Another hour's walk, with the sun burning like a furnace, and not a breath of wind to drive away the stifling air which absolutely packed itself under the cliff, completely prostrated Bura Vur, while Bunkiet and two others hung out signals of distress. Happily, little rivulets descend from the cliffs every few hundred yards, and, the water being pure and cool, formed a refreshing solace. We halted where a considerable stream rushed down a steep gully, forming, just before reaching the beach, a pretty cascade, and having volume enough to overcome the filtration through the gravel, so that it rippled across the beach, a clear rivulet, nearly a foot deep. Whether the awful heat caused exaggerated appreciation or not, I cannot say, but this water felt as cold as if it had passed through ice. We could trace the gully until it disappeared in the mist on the mountain tops. The water thus had a cool source and being shaded everywhere by the luxuriant vegetation, its temperature was no doubt far below that of the sea. I will never forget the soothing effect of the bath I enjoyed. An Amia cut down a [p. 144] bamboo and, making of this an extempore bucket, I sat under a rock, while he poured douche after douche over me. The remainder, stretching themselves at full length, lay lazily allowing the water to run over them. We all got so cooled down that the kettle was set a boiling, and hot coffee handed round. Some 1500 feet up the mountain, we observed a solitary Paiwan, industriously engaged among his tobacco and taro patches. Soon another Paiwan came along the beach. He possessed a couple of native knapsacks which he wanted to sell. While they were haggling over the price, I made a rude sketch of his profile.
Bura Vur having become seriously ill, we bargained with this man to get another man and carry our sick friend to Tavalee, where we hoped to spend the afternoon. I proposed to sling my hammock on bamboo and carry him thus, but, in less time than I take to write it, they had made a chair, rude it is true, but, as I afterwards found, both comfortable and convenient.&emdash;(See Fig. 2)
About midday we reached the Dzu ng station of Kan-a-lun. Dzu ng is a tuber, in size, shape, and appearance, resembling yams. It is found about a foot under the soil, sending up a trailing vine. When mashed up, a rich red juice exudes, which is in great request as a tan for nets; its preservative qualities being considered superior to that of oak bark.
Here a pleasant surprise awaited me. Some time ago my friend, Mr. Molloy of Takow, paid South Cape a visit, and I accompanied him on his way back as far as Heng Chun. While strolling through the city, we came on a few savages from the interior, trying to barter rolls of tobacco for axe heads and hoes; but tobacco is plentiful around Heng Chun, and the poor fellows looked most hungry and disconsolate. We soon loaded them with iron implements, and after a square meal they set off rejoicing. I now learnt that on their return they related all this to the Chief, who swore by the sacred beads that, if ever a red hair came his way, he would show that he appreciated such kindness. This same tribe have their habitation near Kan-a-lun and are the principal gatherers of dzu ng. The Chief was down superintending the weighing &c., and I was no sooner sighted than an eager gesticulating crowd surrounded me. Having some acquaintance with the language spoken, I could hear I was receiving a friendly reception, but things culminated when one of the very men we befriended in Heng Chun, appeared, and recognised me as one of the red-hairs he had told of. Nothing would satisfy them now, but I must go to their village behind the mountain, a tramp I was nowise inclined for. Pigs would be killed, betel nut palms demanded, arrack would flow,&emdash;such were the enticing allurements set forth. I pleaded fatigue, and eager hands began to make a chair. At last I appealed to Bunkiet. He made a sign to the orator of our company, who stood up and harangued them to the effect, that I was on business of importance, the success of which would be fatally marred by any delay, but that on my return we would be happy to partake of their hospitality, and with this promise they had to be satisfied. Still, the Chief determined to serve us in some way, had three chairs made, and sent men of his tribe to carry the sick man, Bunkiet, and myself, to Tavalee. By this time, the sun having passed west of the hills, the beach had cooled down, and a gentle breeze sprang up carrying masses of black clouds down from the North-east. About 3 p.m. we sighted the flagstaff on the Tavalee encampment and knew that the worst part of our journey was over.
The Tavalee river is a turbulent stream even during the dry season, and its course being through blue clay strata, its waters are always muddy. During the rainy season it becomes a stream over half a mile broad, for months impassable even to catamarans, so rapid is the rush of water. Rain began to fall as we reached its banks, where we met the Sub-Prefect of [p. 145] Pilam on his way to Taiwanfoo. We were wet, yet looked service-like; while a more bedraggled sorry lot, than his straggling escort, it would be almost impossible to behold. But he sat in his chair be-robed, be-buttoned and be-spectacled, his bearers struggling through the water up to their waists. I am sure his official feet got very wet, but he would never compromise his official dignity by drawing them up. I expect, if they had all swept out to sea, he would sooner drown than forsake the chair, for by keeping his seat, would he not, if he perished, appear before the Dragon king of the eastern ocean, intact, and thereby secure the consideration his rank entitled him to? Bunkiet and I retired behind a bush until all had passed, and although we were wet and shivering, could not help laughing heartily at the despicable lot. In a few minutes we were all being warmly welcomed and housed by the Chief of Tavalee.
The Tavalee tribe are a branch of the Tipuns. By natural increase, the parent tribe became too numerous to subsist on their original lands, and from time to time divisions moved off and founded new settlements. The ruling family of the southern Paiwans are of Tipun descent, and the Chief of Tavalee dominates over all Paiwans within easy reach. The present Chief, Lang Bah, is a pleasant genial young man, who has been as far as Taiwanfoo and Anping. His tribe are mainly agricultural, but through their surroundings have become also eager hunters. They are now on peaceful terms with all their neighbors, whether aboriginal or Chinese, and bear a good reputation. It is worthy of note that the Chief and his family are total abstainers. In 1885, when a pestilential scourge swept over Formosa, many in this village died, and it was observed that those who habitually indulged in intoxicating liquors fell the easiest victims. By the way, I was told the same thing in the Pescadores, where about one third of the inhabitants were swept away that same year. In Tavalee therefore the use of arrack is an exception, not the rule. Wild boar are abundant in the mountains behind, also bears and leopards. The Chief wished to organize a hunt, but we were anxious to reach Pilam.
Next morning our route lay through the Tavalee fields which extended over an area of about four square miles. It was a relief to walk upon firm ground after our recent experience on the yielding gravel. Alas, we soon again descended on that monotonous beach, and found we might not expect better roads on this side of Tipun. The Tavalee chief accompanied us up to the spot where the first Tipun families landed many centuries ago, (I will remark on this father on), and he and my companions spent some time chanting and worshipping by the graves of their common ancestors. Rounding this point, we entered on the Tipun plain, and crossing the river began our ascent to the village.
The Tipun village is situated where a loop of the larger valley raises itself towards the mountain slopes. A stream, fifty yards broad and waist deep, sweeps round the hill and, bending towards the valley, encloses one half of the village, which is additionally protected all around with an impenetrable stockade of live bamboo and various prickly shrubs, lined in the interior by a low stone wall. The approach is through a narrow alley admitting only one abreast. A broader cart road exists, but is purposely circuitous, and fortified at various bends with bastions; piles of logs standing ready to form barricades. A young Chief met us near the outskirts of the village and directed us to the Palangkan.&emdash;(See Figs. 3, and 3a.)
Around Pilam each village possesses, according to its size, one or more Palangkans, which are large houses built to accommodate the youths from the time they attain puberty until married. Their food is prepared by the parents and taken to the Palangkan; the young lads never being allowed to reside in the paternal home. In these buildings all [p. 146] public matters are discussed, and any visitor may enter, hang up his belongings, and begin cooking at the public fire. Any article left here is perfectly safe. Skins or other articles are brought and hung up here for public view, the owner meantime returning to his home in, perhaps, a distant village. If the article is bought, he will receive the price whenever he may happen to call for it. By day the building is watched by the youths in turn, and it often happens that one may find a village totally deserted, all being out among their fields, and the only exception is the boy who drowsily nods in the doorway of the Palangkan. Whenever a public meeting is desired, or any important intelligence received, the watchers attach to their waists the iron bells which hang at the entrance, and begin running through the village, their speed being according to the urgency of the summons.
The Supreme Chief was out in the fields, or the rather unpleasant contretemps, which followed our arrival, might not have arisen. Before entering the village, Bunkiet and twelve others, all of the blood royal, clothed themselves in their robes of state, which, although as scanty as their usual clothing, were of silk elaborately embroidered, and covered with silver bugles, chains, and other ornamentations dear to the savage heart. Gun covers were taken off, and the barrels polished until they shone like silver; all baggage was transferred to the other members of the party; the ammunition pouches were hung in proper order, and lastly the white scarf, which denoted that the wearer is a warrior ready to encounter all comers, was donned. With guns loaded and a spare cartridge held between the teeth the band entered the village, and, savages as they are, they looked a gallant troop of lithe young fellows. The young Chief who received us knew perfectly well who we were, but seemingly it was the proper thing to affect not to. Grasping a gun and signing to several braves to do the same, the two parties began to chant somewhat as follows.
'Who are you of the shining muskets and jingling clothes?'
"We are princes of the blood and warriors from the great confederation of the South.'
'If you are princes, you are Tipuns; if you are warriors, you can hit the mark. Prove your tale!'
'We are ready.'
Immediately a small disc, made of the frond sheath of the Betel palm, three inches in diameter, and having a small black spot in the centre, was stuck on a bamboo erected in a field about sixty yards off. We were directed to hit this. Our long journey was not the best preparation for such a trial of skill, so I can excuse Budkiet earnestly asking me if I thought I could hit it, and desiring me to make the first trial. I consented, and selecting a cartridge from among some I had prepared specially for distance shooting, containing an extra charge of powder and slugs set in tallow, placed it in my left barrel full choke, fired, and blew the thing entirely way. A roar of astonishment and delight rose from the crowd. A new target was set up and a piece of the old one brought for examination. The edges looking jagged, they were eager to know what curious bullet I used. Bunkiet and the remainder having managed to make three bits, we were all received as warriors worthy of the name. The bells were sent round, a general fusilade being kept up as our people and the Tipuns vied at the targets. But soon after affairs took a different complexion.
A long time ago some Tipun families founded the community known as Nickabong, a village which now exceeds Tipun both in size and the number of its inhabitants. Still, up to within a late period, they bore the semblance of a fealty to their ancestral Chiefs. About three years ago, irritated no doubt by some act of more than ordinary superciliousness, they threw off their old allegiance and declared [p. 147] themselves independent. Bloodshed followed, and at present whoever gets the drop fires. Two days before our arrival they had fought a battle, the day and ground having been agreed upon in a very chivalrous manner. The result was most disastrous to the Nickas who left 149 men on the field, the Tipuns losing only eight. This had embittered matters; the Nickas accusing the Tipun Chief of treachery in the matter of an ambush, which, opening fire on the Nicka flank, was the main cause of their defeat. Unceasing hostility was declared, and they threatened to carry fire and sword into Tipun itself if ever they got a chance. The fusilade and noise made on our arrival, combined with the loud tinkling of the messengers bells, made those in the more distant parts of the Tipun village, as also those working in the fields, think that the Nickas had actually carried out this threat. Down towards the Palangkan they poured, all armed and in a high state of excitement. On learning the true state of affairs, the new-comers became, if possible, more excited. Enraged at the want of forethought which had caused such an alarm, it required all the authority of the Supreme Chief to prevent some of the more irritable, pouring a volley into those who still blazed away at the target in blissful ignorance of the commotion. One young man, captured when a boy from the Diaramocks and adopted as a son by one of the Chiefs, defied suasion, and was on the point of firing, when a happy idea possessed me, and, striking up the muzzle of his weapon with one hand, I held out my own gun in the other and pointed to the target; like a child with a new toy, he forgot all else, and was soon as merry as the rest.
The hubbub ceasing somewhat, our party gathered together and approached the Supreme Chief, who, clad in robes of tapestry work of a beautiful geometrical pattern, stood waiting. The salute was given by each interlocking the fingers of his right hand with those of the Chief's twisting the wrist, each brought the back of the other's hand towards himself, both kissing the hand thus presented.
A drinking bout followed, jar after jar being emptied, the whole lot becoming more or less intoxicated. Still the utmost mirth and good feeling prevailed. Having had nothing to eat since sunrise, I felt most disagreeably hungry. To open my own stock would have been an insult to our entertainers, who were extending to us what is considered the height of hospitality. Eventually, about sunset, the welcome news came that dinner was laid in the Chief's house.
Compared with the Southern Paiwans, the Tipuns are filthy in their persons and habitations, but at the same time are far more cleanly than the Paiwans of the interior, as I will relate father on. As a rule, the Tipuns eat with their hands, all dipping into the same pot; on the present occasion, however, chopsticks and bowls were produced. Boiled rice formed the staple, flanked by sweet potatoes, cabbage, boiled pork, dried venison, and the inevitable arrack. It is considered the height of courtesy to fill a big bowl with the spirit, invite your vis-à-vis to drink with you, both assisting to hold the bowl and drinking together from opposite sides of the vessel. This was bearable, and one could also get over the kindly cramming of neighbours, who, in the exuberance of good feeling, kept incessantly poking tit-bits of pork and venison into one's mouth; but it was reserved for the female members of the household to introduce the nauseous. The ladies did not sit with us; their turn to show hospitality came after each had declared himself full to overflowing. Then our female friends busied themselves in supplying tobacco and betel-nut ad libitum. The Head Chief possessed a widowed daughter who never failed to press on me a liberal share of betel-nut and tobacco. The chewing of one green betel is sufficient to make a novice quite giddy, but so long as they were presented to me in [p. 148] bunches, I could stow them away in a small bag I carried. Soon, however, the young widow came with one duly flavoured with lime and wrapped up in the leaf usually taken with it. Bunkiet whispered that I must try and chew this just for form's sake, and I had to open my mouth and allow the burning morsel to be thrust in, with the result that the whole membrane of the mouth became cracked and sore. But even this experience paled before my next, when the widow approached and, withdrawing a half masticated chew, pressed it on my acceptance; at this, however, I drew the line, although such a favor would have been eagerly welcomed by any of my companions.
Soon the inevitable questions, regarding one's country and kin, were put and answered, and the old Chief, bringing out an old board on which some rude diagrams were cut, told me, how long ago some red-haired people dwelt among them for some generations, but one day a ship came and they all went on board and sailed away. They had promised to come back again, and the diagrams on the board were supposed to show the houses and fields held by them, which can yet be traced, and would be restituted if ever they returned. I was asked if I was of their race, and, before I could reply, Bunkiet said I was, and that my purpose in coming had been to revisit the old home of my ancestors; but that I had no intention of taking up my abode there. Then the Chief became doubly communicative, and more arrack was brought in, while the widow became more pressing, almost ardent in her attentions; which fact was highly relished by Bunkiet. As I elected to sleep in the Palangkan, and had already arranged my bed near an open window in the gallery, I pleaded fatigue and retired. The remainder drank themselves to sleep, each reposing where he sat.
A hard bed did not hinder me from sleeping soundly, and only next morning I discovered that my legs were raw from flea bites. The fleas are a prominent feature of Tipun. An ordinary flea will furtively insert itself under your trowser leg or sock, and bite, so gently, as if it would rather not, unless driven thereto by dire necessity; but the Tipun species approach the bulk of an ordinary spider, veritable spring-heeled Jacks, who cover amazing distances in one leap, and can be both seen and heard coming. Any object, such as thick flannel, by obstructing the accustomed case of penetration, stimulates them into an exertion, which, to judge from my suffering, invigorated their appetites, and gave zest to the enjoyment of a nutriment the monotonous sameness of which, no doubt, had palled on them for some time past. The Palangkans are bamboo erections floored with rushes and straw, forming a paradise for fleas. Such a thing as house-cleaning is undreamt of. When the insects become too numerous, which is known, I suppose, by a certain haziness of the atmosphere, the whole is set fire to, and a new one built.
Next morning I received a confidential visit from the Chief, who, remarking that he heard I lived in a condition of single blessedness, began chanting praises of his daughter, who he said had been greatly attracted by Bunkiet's depictions of the delights of South Cape, and that nothing would please him better than an alliance with one of the red-hairs, whom he had heard were skilful warriors possessing boundless store of powder and lead, two things this tribe wanted badly; they had the money, but the Chinese had strictly prohibited the sale of munitions of war. I mentally resolved to be even yet with Bunkiet who, I could see, was having a little fun. I gave the Chief a polite but evasive answer, for I knew he was making an earnest and honourable proposal. On entering for breakfast, I noticed the widow had decked herself in Chinese raiment. No doubt she thought this would prove irresistible. Another young damsel began recounting to me the widow's many excellencies, among others how many measures of rice she could [p. 149] pound in a day. I was deaf to the charmer, but I may state that the young widow and her mother afterwards actually came to Pohson and there made a last attempt on my peace of mind.
We did not leave Tipun until the third day after our arrival. Bunkiet and three others became much weaker and unable to move; in fact, we all needed a little rest. A sub-Chief, a most humorous fellow, attached himself to me, guiding me to all places he thought would be of interest.
The Tipun village occupies a beautiful site. The river flows onwards to the sea through a succession of fields richly cultivated. Millet waved luxuriantly in the wind; a profusion of buckwheat, barley, hemp, and sugar cane, beautifying the landscape and proving the fertility of the valley. In the fields more close to the village many orange and peach trees stood, while each little house was surrounded by a small orchard containing tobacco, betel palms, orange trees, peach trees, and several other fruits I had never seen before. Although the forenoon is hot, in the afternoon a cool mist descends from the mountains, refreshes every one, and keeps the fields moistened. Almost every night there is at least one shower of rain. A little way behind the village I came on some splendid strata of slate, exactly similar to the Welsh variety, even to the sparkling iron pyrites. The mass of the mountains is graystone, but there is little regularity. Here it is graystone, there slate, and perhaps, between, a huge mass of coral. It looks as if everything had got jumbled together, in some immense convulsion.
The Tipuns are, without doubt, descended from some emigrant families, probably from Japan, as their name would denote, but certainly from some northern islands. The creek, now hardly distinguishable, is pointed out where the first families landed, and the locality where the first houses were built is held sacred. The bamboos still grow where they were planted, and little green plots appear among the trees which cover the gentle slope of the hill. Here every year sacrifices are made, and no wood is allowed to be cut, nor guns fired, near the place. The Chief told me that several Chinese who had attempted to cut the wood had fallen dead before they got far away, struck down by the spirits. I did not doubt that the Chinese fell dead, but opined within myself that the avenging spirits took the shape of lead bullets propelled from Tipun muskets. However the Chinese do not attempt to violate this spot now, and, to the credit of the Chinese officials be it said, they uphold the right of the Tipuns in this respect. Of course it is natural for the Chinese to sympathise with anything having reference to ancestors and graves.
The Tipuns work in iron and silver, both metals having been received from abroad as far as their traditions extend back. Where they came from is not now known. Chinese have not been the only traders. Other nationalities came to this place, but the descriptions are so vague that little beyond mere guess-work can be done in the way of identifying those visitors of olden time.
On the third day we left for Pohson about noon. The Chief, with a small escort, accompanied us as far as the Nicka river. The Nicka fields lie between Pohson and Tipun, so since war broke out, the way from Tipun to the Chinese settlements is barred, except to large bodies of men. The Chief cautioned us as to Nicka ambuscades, at the same time relieving us by adding that as a rule they did not molest strangers. On the banks of the river, the Chief, before bidding us good-bye, went through an elaborate incantation designed to ensure a prosperous journey. Seven stalks of sedge were cut down, and on each stalk two sacred beads were tied by hairs plucked from his head. A large boulder was placed in position and the stalks stuck in front. Three more stalks were cut and one bead attached to each with thread; these were laid flat on a sandy mound. A corresponding number of one-third parts of [p. 150] betel-nut were touched by us and laid beside the sedge stalks. The seven stalks represented us, explained the Chief, and the three all enemies; thus victory would be assured. Kolopiet irreverently remarked that if the numbers were reversed we would still be able to lick them, but he was promptly frowned down. After thanking the Chief for his kindness, we proceeded on our way, and, sure enough, just a little ahead, behind some hedges, we saw the glitter of firearms. Three coolies, sturdily trudging in front, immediately discovered that some disarrangement of their sandals required rectifying; and dropped to the rear, leaving Bunkiet leading, and myself next. Bunkiet looked at me, then drew himself up and stepped out, as if any idea of danger was just the idea farthest from his thoughts. I promptly recalled Kolopiet from his roaming around after pigeons, and directed him to insert a couple of the cartridges containing greased slugs, and keep close behind; I heard the click-click as the others drew a few cartridges from their pouches and stuck them in their waist-belts. All moved on as unconcernedly as possible. When we had approached sufficiently near, I suppose, for those in ambush to see we were not Tipuns, they stood up, seven or eight in all, and courteously greeted us as we passed. I had almost forgotten to state that several Chinese, males and females, also some Amias and Pepohoans, altogether over twenty persons, had waited a whole day in Tipun in order that they might cross this strip of ground in our company.&emdash;(See Fig. 4.)
From Tipun to Pohson, a distance I should say of nearly ten miles, our way lay through highly cultivated fields, the whole valley being as level as a billiard table, and fairly watered, although not sufficiently so for rice cultivation.
Passing through the large Amia village of Balangau we entered Pohson. The sight of a European with such an escort drew the whole Chinese population to the doors; opinions being divided as to whether I was a missionary, or a shipwrecked mariner, the majority inclining to the latter idea; but no crowd followed, neither did I overhear a single offensive expression. In Tipun I had met the Tsung-li (official compradore) of Pilam, and he invited me to put up at his house. I was very glad to enter his clean, decent dwelling and sit in a comfortable chair. The father of this same Tsung-li had been compradore to some foreign firm in Takow, and thus my host's boyhood was spent among Europeans. This explained his kind invitation, which, with his official position, proved of no small advantage during my stay. Very soon officials from the different yamens trooped in to enquire who I was. I had with me the means of satisfying them fully, and received permission to wander wherever I pleased, an escort of soldiers being placed at my disposal; the latter I declined with thanks. Here I may state that, both in Pilam and along the different routes, I experienced the utmost kindness and courtesy at the hands of all Chinese officials.
Pilam is known as the plain of the eight cities of Pilam, Tipun, Nicka, Balangau, Neekee-neekee, Cowahsan, Pinasikee, and Paksikou.
Pilam is the oldest village, and residence of the Chief of the eight cities. The Pilam Chieftainship, long ago, passed into the hands of the Tipuns. Nicka, Pinasikee and Paksikou are also branches of the Tipuns. Balangau, Cowahsan and Neekee-neekee are Amia villages.
The Tipuns, as I have already stated, are certainly descended from emigrants, and I have not the least doubt but that the Amias are of similar origin; only of later date, and most probably from the Mejaco Simas, a group of islands lying 110 miles to the North-east.
From points on the Chinese mainland, distant from Formosa 120 miles, the mountains of the latter can be seen during fine weather, so they must have been also visible to the Mejaco islanders. What then is more probable [p. 151] than that some fishermen, having been blown on to the Formosa coast, should return, and tell of the beauties of this land, its sparse population and fertile valleys, thereby enticing whole families to venture across to that land towards which many of them had, no doubt, already cast longing eyes.
By all accounts the old Pilam savages, who merged into the Tipuns, were the first settlers on the plain; then came the Tipuns, and a long time afterwards the Amias. The Tipuns, for some time, acknowledged the Pilam Chief as supreme, but soon absorbed both the chieftainship and the people, in fact the only trace left of them now, is a few words peculiar to the Pilam village, one of which, makan (to eat), is pure Malay. The Amias submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Tipuns. Here we have a natural sequence of events. A few families arrive, and submit to those already in possession, receiving, in return, grants of land and liberty of settlement, and it is always thus when new-comers are not under the aegis of a powerful nation.&emdash;(See Figs. 5, and 5a.)
The village of Pilam was once the capital of East Formosa. Here the King of the coast actually held court, and when he went out was attended by an escort composed of the flower of the eight cities. Now the once strong confederation is completely dissolved, as witness the warfare between Tipun and Nicka; each village fights for its own hand. Pilam village remains situated in a bamboo grove which retains its pristine beauty, but here also the glory of the people is departed; the last Chief died in the fulness of years, not long ago, and with him ended the race. One daughter remained; she married a Chinaman, took to opium and sold the crown to some Chinese virtuoso. By the way, the aboriginal women, who marry Chinese, nearly all become confirmed opium-smokers. Their husbands are chiefly to blame, by enticing them to try just one smoke, as they clean and light the pipes.
The Nickas are celebrated for the bronchocele which disfigures them all. On some the enlargement, rising above the ears, entirely obliterates all trace of neck. The Pilam women are celebrated for their beautiful voices, which have wonderful power and volume. The Amias, however, are the only women with pretty features; some are really good looking. An Amia may take unto himself a Chinese wife, but an Amia woman is never known to marry a Chinaman. The Amias are increasing rapidly, being even now the numerically strongest single tribe on the coast. Balangau holds about 1,000 souls and Cowahsan the same. Neekee-neekee has only a few hundreds, but the Amias have other settlements along the coast. Tipun has about 3,000, Nicka 4,000; in all 7,000 inhabitants. Pilam holds about 1,000, and the remaining villages together 2,000, giving the total population of the Pilam plain at over 18,000, excluding Chinese.
It is impossible to give an estimate of the number of Paiwans in South Formosa. The majority inhabit the inaccessible mountains of the interior. As a rule they are a cruel, head-hunting, predatory, passionate, race, easily excited and when excited caring for nothing. They are true hunters, subsisting almost entirely on the products of the chase, cultivating enough taro to nullify the effects of a purely flesh diet, and enough tobacco to supply their own wants. Other tribes can both brew and drink arrack, but do so only on occasion; the mountain Paiwan is only sober when he can neither beg, buy, nor borrow the spirit; they absolutely bow down and worship it. The language, appearance, manners, and customs of the Paiwans, point them out as of Malay origin, and, as far as I have yet ascertained, they are the earliest settlers in South Formosa, very probably the first.&emdash;(See Fig. 5b.)
The first Pepohoans came no doubt from the Loo Choo islands; they resemble the Chinese more, and always support a higher [p. 152] civilization. They have no language of their own, but speak Chinese or that of the nearest aboriginal tribe, with equal facility. All half-castes attach themselves to the Pepohoans, who thus may be called the creoles of Formosa.
Pepohoans, Tipuns, and Amias are all agricultural, have their mechanics and artizans, and only hunt for amusement. They occupy and cultivate all the more accessible and fertile parts on the east coast. The Tipuns dominate over the Paiwans wherever they approach them, but the Pepohoans and Amias are content if left in peace; yet they have taught the Paiwans some severe lessons when the latter mistook a peaceful disposition for cowardice.
The Tipuns and Amias have distinct languages of their own, but can also speak Paiwan. All tribes from the interior&emdash;and during my journey I met with members of many&emdash;speak dialects of the Paiwan; but I believe the purest Paiwan is spoken by the Subong aborigines, who, occupying the hills behind Tang Kang, form the most powerful and combined aggregation of the race, and have not yet been subdued or cozened into even a semblance of allegiance to the Chinese.&emdash;(See Fig. 6.)
The theory of a cataclysm has been put forward to account for the aboriginal races. One might just as well introduce the mythical convulsion which lost Atlanta to Europe and detached Great Britain from the neighbouring continent, to account for the painted savages Caesar found in England. If men similar to the present race of aborigines existed at the time of the supposed cataclysm, that submergence must have occurred certainly not earlier than the bronze age, and, being almost within historical times, would have left comparatively indisputable self-evident traces. If the races which existed at the submergence were afterwards absorbed or driven out by new-comers, then the cataclysm theory is not required; plenty of time has elapsed, even in the iron age, for new-comers to have populated Formosa ten times over and still be considered aborigines. The acceptance of a cataclysm theory also necessitates the acceptance of one of two improbabilities: either that Fukien was at the time inhabited by a Malay race, or that the original people all perished in the disruption&emdash;for the oldest races of Formosa are without doubt of Malay origin. Their language, the Paiwan, is a patois of Malay, and is also, so far as I have seen, the Latin of the land, becoming gradually more pure and nearer the original as the more central and inaccessible tribes are approached. Affinity of language and resemblance in manners and customs are the only proofs I can adduce in support of the view that the Paiwans are of Malay descent. To conclusively authenticate their Malay origin, would be as difficult as to trace the Hovas of Madagascar to the same source, although the latter also resemble the Malays in person, language, and manners, and are supposed to have ousted some Negro race. It is as absurd to advocate a cataclysm theory for Formosa, as it would be to advance it for Luzon, Madagascar or New Zealand; yet the Maoris of the latter are held by some of the more theoretical ethnologists to have been originally emigrants from Sumatra, and he would be a bold man who would venture to suggest that these three islands formed part of the South Asian Continent even in the Neolithic age, for in the Neolithic age no such thing as a distinct Malay race existed. Those who advocate cataclysms to account for the presence of such a migratory animal as man, deserve that popular cataclysm of the good old times&emdash;a ducking. The aborigines of Formosa can be accounted for in a far more simple and natural manner, by assuming that the Malays, the Norsemen of the East, discovered and inhabited it, and this hypothesis finds support in the fact that Gilbertus Happert's Dictionary of the Formosan language, based on the Favorlang dialect, 1650 -- the Favorlangs were a tribe well to the north&emdash;[p. 153] contains many words which are in everyday use among the Paiwans, and, more conclusive still, these as well as all those others more nearly approximating in the different dialects, are words indisputably Malayan.
Formosa looks very much like a link of that volcanic chain which, beginning in Saghalien, ends in Sumatra, and includes Japan, Luzon, and the Celebes. These islands are supposed to have been separated from the Asiatic mainland during the general subsidence and intense volcanic action which followed the Post-Pliocene period. Certainly nothing is more marked in Formosa than the traces of former volcanic action, even of upheaval of a very recent date. From South Cape to Pilam, between the parallels of 22û and 23û North Latitude, the whole formation between the two coasts resembles nothing more than if a series of cones were set as closely together as possible on a level base. A little debris washes down, fills up the interstices, and we have the narrow gorges and little valleys which wind everywhere. In the very centre there is a ridge of higher cones jammed if anything closer together, and from this ridge the cone tops descend in regular series to the coast line; the descent on the east side being more quick and steep than on the west. This same difference continues out to sea; on the east coast 10 fathoms of water can be found 10 yards from the shore, while 20 yards out 20 fathoms will be the depth, and so in 30 miles off 1000 fathoms is reached; and soon that immense descent, the Pacific precipice.
Appearances suggest the sinking of the land after the Carboniferous Period, its being covered by coral deposit, and afterwards shot up through this envelope. Especially is this the case in the southern parts. Comparatively recent volcanic action of the greatest intensity elevated the land still more, causing an odd jumbling together of strata; graystone, columnar basalt, metamorphized slate, as well as huge masses of coral limestone, can all be found within the area of a mile; the many hot springs, geysers, and inflammable gases, attesting that this agency only slumbers. A little way inland from Pilam, a sharp ridge of coal crops above ground, while not 500 yards off are men quarrying out coral for lime-burning.
Most mountain sides are covered with a mixture of sandy loam and sandstone cobbles which, continually washing down, has effectually filled up all the little creeks and bays which at one time did exist on the East coast. At Balangau the Amias had just dug a well nearly sixty feet deep before reaching water, and this depth would be about that of the sea level. Neither at bottom nor sides was there any appearance of solid rock. The excavation showed plainly that the whole Pilam valley is formed on what was once a well-sheltered bay, only recently filled up and raised above the sea by accumulations of mountain debris and river deposit. I examined the sides of the well from top to bottom, but found no strata or distinct layers of deposit. The whole was a mass of sand, shingle, and small boulders of slate, quartz, and sandstone, all worn smooth by the action of water. Bits of shell and branches of coral showed that the sea beach must have at least extended to this place, which is now three miles inland.
Our original intention had been to have a grand hunt among the Pilam mountains, but the sickness among us, which developed into severe ague, destroyed all hopes of accomplishing this. The second day after our arrival at Pohson, I bespoke a passage back for all by junk, but that same night a gale sprang up and the heavy sea forced all craft to weigh anchor and stand off. Bunkiet now became seriously alarmed, and, after due consultation both of their own spirits and a joss, decided that the best plan would be to make an immediate return home before they became father prostrated, and I combated in vain this resolution. [P. 154] Away they all went and reached their homes three days afterwards. Some of them had to be carried part of the way back, and did not recover their usual strength until over a month afterwards. Becoming interested in the place and its surroundings, I determined to take quiet rambles around and await the return of the junks; in fact, I was rather glad the grand hunt did not come off, so sultry was the weather.
Pigeons and partridges were plentiful all around the settlements, but I wanted higher game, and hearing that a little way inland pheasants could be found, made preparations and set out. On our way we met a Nicka with a splendid cock pheasant slung over his shoulder. I examined the bird but found no trace of a bullet, and in surprise asked the Nicka what shot he used. He put his hand into a pouch and showed me&emdash;some dried peas! I found little skill was required, the birds being plentiful among the sweet potatoes, and not a bit wild; any one could make a bag at random. These pheasants were all of the common brown variety, but farther in other kinds are met with. Besides pheasants I found hare, partridges, and pigeons; it was a veritable sportsman's paradise.
Up beyond Cowahsan among the Pepohoans, deer and birds are abundant, also leopards, bears, wild pig, and a sprinkling of wolves, but this place is a good days' march from the coast, and a sporting party would have to be properly equipped for camping out, as also accompanied by some savage chief with a few of his men; this reassures the aborigines, and removes fear of accidents and complications from the official mind. I may remark that to succeed with the latter, means the complete success of the trip.
About fifteen miles inland grow splendid fir trees. I did not penetrate far into the forest, some specimens on the verge quite satisfied me. Through the forest ran a considerable stream of water, in fact a sawmill would pay handsomely.
The Chinese settlement of Pohson is merely a congregation of merchants and brokers, with the inevitable civil and military officials; the latter living in miserable mud erections, far less comfortably housed than the merchants.
There is a good junk trade at Pohson. These craft bring principally cloths, but also iron ware, such as pots, pans, hoes, axes, &c.; of late years earthen-ware has also formed a considerable item. They receive in return, barley, hemp, hemp-seed, hides, rattan, deer sinews, deer horns, leopard skins, bear skins, and a large item, the dzu-ng or bark tubers already noticed, whole junk loads of which are taken to the principal fishing points on the mainland. Aborigines are the main producers, Chinese, other than merchants, acting as interpreters, go-betweens, petty brokers, peddlers, and agents at the outlying stations.
Pohson grows rapidly; rows on rows of shops thrive, and the annual value changing hands must be great. The Chinese authorities at one time contemplated raising the place into a separate prefecture, but the absence of even an apology for a landing, and the utter unsuitableness of the soil to the cutting of any channel or small refuge, have caused them to select Chock-e-day instead, where the clearing of a small bar will render available a river, navigable to small craft for many miles inland, and for a few miles having an average depth of over 20 feet.
In spite of disadvantages, Pohson will always retain a trade as the entrepot for all South-eastern Formosa, being near the parts more thickly populated by the aborigines.
I found that the cloth most in demand is a strong cotton fabric of Chinese manufacture, sixteen inches wide, and cut into lengths of twenty-six feet. It is if anything rather stronger than American drill. This cloth is bought on the mainland by weight, taken to Taiwanfoo, and there dyed, the [p. 155] colours suiting the aboriginal taste. On the East coast each piece passes current as value for one dollar.
The manner of trade, and profit accruing, is as follows:&emdash;A junk arrives laden with various stuffs, either on speculation under a supercargo, or to a merchant's order. If the former, the supercargo lands and negotiates with a merchant, who takes over the whole, and in return guarantees a full cargo of whatever may be wanted. We will suppose bark nuts are wanted in exchange for cottons. Each piece of the cotton already described is charged against the merchant at 72 cents per piece for black, and 62 cents per piece for blue, the demand being at the rate of five of black to two of blue. The merchant supplies some go-between or interpreter, perhaps his own out-agent, with so many pieces of this cloth at one dollar each piece, thus making a profit of 30 per cent, on a whole-sale transaction. A cart-load of bark nuts is taken as weighing 960 catties, and charged to the supercargo at seven dollars per load, the go-between paying the merchant a commission of fifty cents per cart as brokerage, which raises the merchant's profits on the whole transaction to 37 per cent., and it must be remembered he runs little or no risk. This is not bad, still it is small compared with that made by the supercargo, who buys at 70 cents per picul and sells in, say Wenchow, at $3.50 to $4.00. The savages who actually gather the bark nuts receive two pieces of cloth per cart-load, leaving a margin of five pieces to the go-between, and out of this he fees the different Chiefs, pays cargo-boat charges, and stands treat generally. Still he makes a handsome profit, but he risks his life, and many an agent loses it. The profits run about the same in all transactions.
The only articles of European manufacture I noticed, were flimsy cottons dyed red, and as flimsy serges of red, green and yellow; the former is threaded out by the aboriginals and used in embroidery or binding the hair; the latter is torn up in strips about four inches broad, and a strip of each colour sewn together into over-all leggings reaching up over the thighs. Enquiring how it was that European cottons, being so much cheaper, did not suit the market, I was told that the great objection was weakness; they would not stand the every-day tear and wear, in fact would not be worth sewing together; besides the Chinese cloths are made in widths which suit the purchaser; two widths sewn together form a trowser leg, four widths a jacket, while the widths of western cottons cause a great waste of material. 'They are all right for the linings and under-clothing of the more affluent,' said the merchant, 'but they would not stand among the bushes.' 'Why,' continued he, 'do you not produce a fabric like this,' and he held up a piece of a 50 lb. American flour bag, 'this would suit us better than the Fukien stuff; it is strong, yet soft and inclined to felt together.' I of course said I did not know, and wondered what European merchants were doing in allowing the work of land-looms to take entire possession of such a field. Evidently more attention is being paid to the securing of Government contracts than the opening up of new markets.
While making excursions here and there around Pilam, I saw several of the dreaded Diaramocks, known to Chinese as the Tailams. Repute has it that they are cannibals, but I doubt it. Those I saw were, if anything, more intelligent and had a more intelligent and pleasing cast of features than any of their neighbours. They are simply an off-shoot of the Paiwans and speak a similar dialect. They are considered very treacherous, and I allowed myself to be dissuaded from paying them a visit, although two members of the tribe pressingly invited me.&emdash;(See Fig. 7.)
I came back to South Cape by a junk which had to complete her cargo by calling at several dzu-ng stations on the way down. I was thus enabled to redeem my promise made to the Kau-a-lun Paiwans, and visited their village, where I was welcomed by [p. 156] the Supreme Chief's wife, his Highness being busy on the beach tallying the loads of dzu-ng by tying knots on a creeper. I found the village dirty in the extreme. The inhabitants were covered with vermin, on whom they revenge themselves by doing to the vermin what the vermin does to them. The sight was most disgusting. Food was set before me, and for form's sake I took some dried venison, but no arts could induce me to taste the arrack brewed by such frowsy-headed individuals. Their houses were similar to those of the Tipuns; one large room with beds in the corners and billets of wood for stools. The people seemed destitute of the common necessaries of life, yet each boy of twelve possessed a gun without which he never left the dwelling.
I made short runs inland at two other stations where we stopped, but a description of one serves for the whole.
Interesting and amusing as my ramble was, the limited time at my disposal admitted only of a hurried and cursory look at things. To one with a few months' leisure, the East Coast of Formosa would well repay a visit. Many things, both amusing and instructive, may be seen in this yet most incognita terra. The highest mountain in Formosa, Mount Morrison 12,850 feet high, is accessible, and Chinese tell of gold and copper being found near its base.
For the few illustrations which accompany this narrative, I am indebted to Mr. Harding, A.M.I.C.E., Amoy. Aided by some acquaintance with the matter depicted, he kindly changed my rude sketches into admirable delineations, which, if done justice to by the engraver, may be accepted as correct representations of the originals.