In Tandjong Selor I was exceedingly busy for three days getting boxes and packing the collections, and early in June I departed for Bandjermasin, on S.S. De Weert. It has been my fortune to travel much on the steamships of the Royal Packet Boat Company, which controls the whole Malay Archipelago from Singapore to New Guinea and the Moluccas. It is always a pleasure to board one of these steamers, as the officers are invariably courteous, and the food is as excellent on the smaller steamers as on the large ones. The same kind of genuine, good claret, at a reasonable price, is also found on all of them, and it may readily be understood how much I enjoyed a glass of cool Margaux-Medoc with dinner, after over five months in the utan. The sailors on these steamers are Javanese. Those from Madura, rather small men, made an especially good impression. A captain told me they never give any trouble except when on leave ashore in Sourabaia, where they occasionally remain overtime, but after a few days they come to the office and want to be taken on again. They are punished by having their wages deducted for the days they are absent, but the loss of coin does not trouble them much. If they have cigarettes and their meals they are happy, and they never accumulate money. They are engaged for one year and some of them renew their contracts.

As we sailed southward from the Kayan River we were told of a French count who with his wife lived on an island three or four kilometres long, near the coast. At first he had fisheries and sold dried fish, which, with rice, forms the staple food of the natives of Borneo and other countries of the East. He was enabled to change his business into cocoanut plantations, which to-day cover the island. According to report they dressed for dinner every day, to the end that they might not relinquish their hold upon the habits of civilised society. Later I learned that when the war broke out the count immediately went to France to offer his services.

Lieutenant C.J. La Riviere came aboard in Samarinda, en route to Holland for a rest, after being in charge of the garrison at distant Long Nawang in Apo Kayan. There are 40 soldiers, 2 officers, and 1 doctor at that place, which is 600 metres above sea, in a mountainous country with much rain, and therefore quite cool. In a single month they had had one and a half metres of rain. Officers have been known to spend three months in going from Long Iram to Apo Kayan, travelling by prahu almost the whole distance. Usually the trip may be made in a couple of months or less. The river at last becomes only four metres broad, with very steep sides, and in one night, when it rains copiously, the water may rise five to six metres. Mail usually arrives three times a year, but when the lieutenant boarded the steamer he had not seen a newspaper for five months.

He expressed his opinion that the government would find it extremely difficult to stamp out head-hunting in Apo Kayan, with its 15,000 Dayaks, because the custom is founded in their religious conception. "Our ancestors have always taken heads," they say; "we also do it, and the spirits will then be satisfied. We have learned it from our ancestors, who want us to do it." "They often ask us," the lieutenant said: "When are you going to leave Long Nawang? When you are gone then we will again take up the head-hunting." These same Kenyahs are entrusted to go to Long Iram to bring provisions to the garrison. About eighty of them are sent, accompanied by only two soldiers, and after three months' absence the goods arrive safely at Long Nawang.

On board the steamer were also two Punan head-hunters from the interior who were being taken to Bandjermasin under the guard of two soldiers. They had been caught through the assistance of other Punans, and in prison the elder one had contracted the dry form of beri-beri. He was a pitiful sight, in the last stage of a disease not usually found among his compatriots, no longer able to walk, looking pale and emaciated and having lost the sight of his right eye. They had rather wild but not unpleasant faces, and were both tatued like the Kenyahs. Their hair had been cut short in the prison. I later took the anthropometric measurements of the young man, who was a fine specimen of the savage, with a splendid figure, beautifully formed hands and feet - his movements were elastic and easy.

As it had been found impossible to secure Dayaks in the Bulungan for my expedition to New Guinea, the resident courteously offered to get eighty men from the Mahakam River. This would take at least two months and gave me opportunity to visit a lake called Sembulo, a considerable distance west of Bandjermasin. It was necessary first to go to Sampit, a small town, two days distant, on a river of the same name, where there is a controleur to whom the resident gave me an introduction, and who would be able to assist in furthering my plans. I could not afford to wait for the monthly steamer which touches at Sampit on its way to Singapore, so I arranged to make the trip on board an old wooden craft which was under repairs in Bandjermasin, and in the afternoon of June 5 we started.

The steamer was small, slow, and heavily laden, so it was not a very pleasant trip. As we sailed down the great Barito River on a dark and cloudy evening, from the deck, which was scarcely a metre above the muddy water, one might observe now and then floating clumps of the plants that thrive so well there. On approaching the mouth of the river the water, with the outgoing tide, became more shallow. The Malay sailor who ascertained the depth of the water by throwing his line and sang out the measures in a melodious air, announced a low figure, which made the captain stop immediately. The anchor was thrown and simultaneously a great noise of escaping steam was heard. Before the engine-room the sailors were seen trying to stop the steam which issued, holding sacks in front of them as a protection against being scalded. Coupled with my observation that there were no life preservers in my little cabin, nor anywhere else, the situation appeared disquieting, but the captain, a small-sized Malay and a good sailor, as all of that race are, reassured me by saying that it was only the glass for controlling the steam-power that was broken. After a while the escape of steam was checked and a new glass was put in.

The old craft kept up its reputation for rolling excessively, and I was glad when finally we entered the smooth waters of the Sampit River. We stopped for a couple of hours at a small kampong, where I made the acquaintance of a Polish engineer in the government's service, who was doing some work here. He told me that thirty years ago, in the inland country west of Kotawaringin, he had seen a young Dayak whose chest, arms, and legs, and most of the face, were covered with hair very similar in colour to that of the orang-utan, though not so thick. The hair on his face was black, as usual. There were no Malays at that head, but many Dayaks. I have heard reports of natives in the Schwaner mountains, who are said to have more hair on the body than Europeans, of a brownish colour, while that on the head is black. Controleur Michielsen, [*] in the report of his journey to the upper Sampit and Katingan in 1880, describes a certain Demang Mangan who had long, thin hair on the head, while on the chest and back it was of the same brown-red colour as that of the orang-utan. His arms were long, his mouth large and forward-stretching, with long upper lip, and his eye glances were shy. Among the Dayaks he was known as mangan (red).

[Footnote *: Controleur W.J. Michielsen, Verslag einer Reis door de boven distrikten der Sampit en Katingan rivieren in Maart en April, 1880.]

About noon we arrived at Sampit, a clean, attractive village situated on slightly higher ground than is generally available on Bornean rivers. The stream is broad here, having almost the appearance of a lake. As is the custom, a small park surrounds the controleur's residence, and in the outskirts of the town is a small, well-kept rubber plantation belonging to a German. Sampit is a Katingan word, the name of an edible root, and according to tradition the Katingans occupied the place in times long gone by.

The weather was remarkably dry, so that the tanks at the corners of the controleur's house, on which he depended for water, were becoming depleted. When the fruits of the utan are ripe, the orang-utan may at times be heard crying out in the neighbourhood, but on account of the dry weather they had retired deeper into the jungle. Chonggat shot only one, which was but half-grown and easily killed by a charge of shot. It is often difficult to discover an orang-utan because he has a knack of hiding himself where the foliage is densest, and if alarmed will proceed along the branches of tall trees and thus disappear from sight.

This intelligent, man-like ape is probably not so common in Dutch Borneo as he is supposed to be. Mr. Harry C. Raven, who collected animals in the northeastern part, told me that in a year he had shot only one. The orang-utans are generally found in Southern Borneo and do not go very far inland; in Central Borneo they are extremely rare, almost unknown. It is to be hoped that these interesting animals will not soon be exterminated. A Malay, the only hunter in Sampit, told me that some are so old that they can no longer climb trees. When wounded an orang-utan cries like a child in quite an uncanny manner, as a Dutch friend informed me. According to the Dayaks, it will wrest the spear from its attacker and use it on him. They also maintain, as stated elsewhere, that orang-utans, contrary to the generally accepted belief, are able to swim. Mr. B. Brouers, of Bandjermasin, has seen monkeys swim; the red, the gray, and the black are all capable of this, he said.

From a reliable source I have the following story. Eight Malays who had made camp on a small promontory on the river, one morning were sitting about sunning themselves when they were surprised to see an orang-utan approaching. He entered their camp and one of the Malays nearest to him instinctively drew his parang. Doubtless regarding this as an unfriendly action, he seized one of the poles which formed the main framework of their shelter and pulled it up, breaking the rattan fastenings as if they were paper. The Malays now all attacked with their parangs, but the orang-utan, taking hold of the end of the pole, swept it from side to side with terrifying effect, and as the locality made it impossible to surround him, they all soon had to take to the water to save themselves.

My informant, who had spent several years travelling in Southern Borneo buying rubber from the natives, told me that one day his prahu passed a big orang-utan sitting on the branch of a tree. The Malay paddlers shouted to it derisively, and the animal began to break off branches and hurled sticks at the prahu with astonishing force, making the Malays paddle off as fast as they could. The several points of similarity between man and highly developed monkeys are the cause of the amusing saying of the natives of Java: the monkeys can talk, but they don't want to, because they don't like to work.

The controleur obligingly put the government's steam launch Selatan at my disposal, which would take me to the kampong Sembulo on the lake of the same name, whence it was my intention to return eastward, marching partly overland. One evening in the middle of June we started. On entering the sea the small vessel rolled more and more; when the water came over the deck I put on my overcoat and lay down on top of the entrance to the cabin, which was below. The wind was blowing harder than it usually does on the coasts of Borneo, and in the early morning shallow waters, which assume a dirty red-brown colour long before reaching the mouths of the mud-laden rivers, rose into waves that became higher as we approached the wide entrance to the Pembuang River.

The sea washed over the port side as if we were on a sailing-boat, but the water flowed out again through a number of small, oblong doors at the sides which opened and closed mechanically. The launch, which was built in Singapore, behaved well, but we had a good deal of cargo on deck as well as down in the cabin. Besides, the approach to Pembuang River is not without risks. The sand-bars can be passed only at one place, which is twelve or thirteen metres wide and, at low water, less than a metre deep. The route is at present marked out, but in bygone years many ships were wrecked here.

As the sea became more shallow the yellow-crested waves of dirty water mixed with sand assumed an aspect of fury, and lying on my back I seemed to be tossed from one wave to another, while I listened with some apprehension to the melodious report of the man who took the depth of the water: "Fourteen kaki" (feet)! Our boat drew only six feet of water; "Seven kaki," he sang out, and immediately afterward, "Six kaki!" Now we are "in for it," I thought. But a few seconds more and we successfully passed the dangerous bar, the waves actually lifting us over it. My two assistants had spent the time on top of the baggage and had been very seasick. We were all glad to arrive in the smooth waters of the river. The captain, with whom later I became well acquainted, was an excellent sailor, both he and the crew being Malays. It was the worst weather he had experienced in the two years he had been at Sampit. According to him, conditions in this part of Borneo may be even more stormy from August to November.

In the Malay kampong, Pembuang, I procured a large pomelo, in Borneo called limao, a delicious juicy fruit of the citrus order, but light-pink inside and with little or no acidity. After the exertions of the night this, together with canned bacon, fried and boiled potatoes, furnished an ideal midday meal. Necessary repairs having been made to the engine, next day, on a charming, peaceful afternoon, we continued our trip up the river. An unusually large number of monkeys were seen on both sides, and the men sat on the railing, with their feet hanging outside, to look at them. The red, long-nosed variety did not retreat, but looked at us calmly from the branch where it sat; other species hurried off, making incredibly long leaps from branch to branch. Shortly after sunset we threw anchor.

Lake Sembulo is about sixteen kilometres long by about one in width. The lake is entered suddenly, amid clumps of a big species of water plant which in season has long white odoriferous flowers. Very striking is the white bottom and the beaches consisting of gravel or sand. How far the sandy region extends I am unable to say, but Mr. Labohm, the chief forester, told me that in the Sampit River region northeast of here, and about twenty metres above the sea, he walked for two days on whitish sand, among rosaceae and azale, the forest being very thin. The comparatively clear water is slightly tinged with reddish brown on account of its connection with the Pembuang River, which has the usual colour of Bornean rivers. Low receding hills rise all around as we steam along, and the utan, which more or less covers the country, looks attractive, though at first the forests surrounding the ladangs of the Malays are partly defaced by dead trees, purposely killed by fire in order to gain more fields.

After a couple of hours we arrived at kampong Sembulo, which has an alluring look when viewed from the lake, lying on a peninsula with handsome trees which mercifully hide most of the houses. The kapala of this Malay settlement, who came on board in a carefully laundered white cotton suit, had courteous manners. He kindly arranged for three prahus to take us and our belongings ashore.

There was a diminutive pasang-grahan here, neatly made from nipah palm leaves, where I repaired, while Chonggat and Ah Sewey put up tents near by. The presence of two easy chairs which had been brought from Bandjermasin seemed incongruous to the surroundings, and had an irritating rather than restful effect on me. Both Malays and Dayaks are very desirous of securing European furniture for the house of the kapala, and will carry a chair or table for hundreds of miles. On the occasion of my visit to the Kenyah chief of Long Pelaban, in the Bulungan, he immediately went to a heap of baskets and other articles occupying one side of the big room, dug out a heavy table with marble top, which was lying overturned there, and proudly placed it upright before me to be admired. That this piece of furniture had been brought so great a distance over the kihams was almost incomprehensible.

I had a talk with the kapala and a large number of people who soon gathered in front of the pasang-grahan. The Dayaks who originally lived here have disappeared or amalgamated with the Malay intruders, who in this case are largely composed of less desirable elements. It soon became evident that no information could be gained from these people in regard to the traditions of the place. One man said that if I would wait four or five days (in which to be exploited by the wily Malay) he would undertake to bring me three old men of the place, whereupon the kapala, who was more obliging than the rest, went to fetch one of these, who pretended to have no knowledge in such matters.

In order to get relief from the increasing throng of men and boys, I went for a walk, in which I was joined by the kapala and the mantri, a small native police authority whom the controleur had sent with me to be of assistance in making arrangements with the Malays. An old-looking wooden mosque, twenty years old according to reports, stands at the turn of the road. Near by is a cemetery covered with a large growth of ferns and grass, which hides the ugly small monuments of the graves. The houses lie along a single street in the shade of cocoanut-palms and other trees. On account of the white sand that forms the ground everything looks clean, and the green foliage of handsome trees was superb. Everywhere silence reigned, for the women, being Mohammedans, remain as much as possible inside the houses, and no voice of playing or crying child was heard.

On returning from our walk, near sunset, I asked the kapala how much I had to pay for the bringing ashore of my baggage. "Fifteen rupia" (florins) was the answer. As things go in Borneo this was an incredibly excessive charge, and as my intention was to go by boat to the Dayak kampong on the lake, and from there march overland to the small river, Kuala Sampit, I demanded to know how much then I would have to pay for twenty men that I needed for the journey. "Five rupia a day for each," he said. Dayaks, who are far more efficient and reliable, are satisfied with one rupia a day. Those near by protested that it was not too much, because in gathering rubber they made even more a day. At that rate it would have cost me a hundred florins a day, besides their food, with the prospects of having strikes for higher pay all the way, according to the Malay custom.

Luckily the Selatan had delayed its departure until next morning, so I was not yet at the mercy of the greedy natives. The kapala seemed to have as little influence with the people as the mantri, who plainly was afraid of them. I got a prahu and went out to the captain, who arranged to take us back next day, away from these inhospitable shores. At dusk he accompanied me ashore, and in a refreshingly courageous manner read them the text, telling them that I, who came recommended from the Governor-General, was entitled to consideration; that it was a disgrace to the Malay name to behave as they had done, etc. While I was eating my evening meal two long rows of men were sitting outside on the ground, watching the performance with close attention.

Next morning the Selatan's boat came to assist in bringing us on board again. After the captain's severe arraignment last night the mantri seemed to have spurred up his courage. He said that two rupia would be sufficient to pay for our luggage. I gave one ringit (f. 2.50), which the captain said was ample. The kapala, who had exerted himself to get our things on board again, thanked me for the visit and we steamed away, arriving safely in Sampit a couple of days later.