In the beginning of July I returned to Bandjermasin, where I packed my collections and despatched them to Europe. I decided to send what goods I had, with my two assistants, to Macassar on Celebes, where the Dayaks who were to take part in the New Guinea undertaking would also be transported. It might be possible for Chonggat to do some collecting in the neighbourhood of the town. At all events, it would be more convenient to have them wait for me there than to take them to Java. Having secured passes from the resident for the two men, and given them recommendations to the Norwegian consul in Macassar, I departed for Batavia to take the last steps in fitting out my expedition to New Guinea.

At this stage of my proceedings the war broke out. On August 6 I had an audience of the Governor-General, who informed me that he was then unable to let me have either soldiers or ship for my explorations. The day before he had recalled his own great expedition on the Mamberamo in Northern New Guinea, and advised me to wait for a more favourable opportunity, promising that he would later give me all assistance. The commanding general was equally agreeable. As I had never been in British India I decided to go there while awaiting developments regarding the war, so the following Saturday found me on my way to Singapore. Here I first arranged for the safe return of my two assistants, who had been left in Macassar, where cholera had broken out. Usually natives, who range under the category of labourers, go as deck-passengers on steamers in the East. Therefore, after I had bought second-class tickets for them, and the Dutch Packet Boat Company had courteously offered to have a man meet them on arrival, I felt satisfied that they would have no trouble in landing. I then continued my journey over Penang to Madras.

In spite of the continuation of the war and the great fascination of India, in April, the following year, 1915, I decided to return to the Dutch Indies and undertake an expedition to Central Borneo, parts of which are unexplored and unknown to the outside world. Briefly, my plans were to start from Bandjermasin in the south, ascend the Barito River, and, branching hence into its northern tributary, the Busang, to cross the watershed to the Mahakam or Kutei River. Following the latter to its mouth I should reach the east coast near Samarinda. This journey, I found, would take me through a country where were some tribes never before studied.

At Colombo I took the Dutch steamer Grotius, which gave me a very pleasant week. The Dutch are a kindly nation. There were fifteen children on first-class playing on deck, and I never heard them cry nor saw them fighting. After more than nine months' absence I again found myself in Batavia, and from there I went to Buitenzorg to ask an audience of the Governor-General. He offered to give me all assistance in furthering my project, and I had the pleasure of being invited to dine at the palace. A large open carriage, with quaint, old-fashioned lanterns, called for me. The coachman and footman were liveried Javanese. It was a beautiful, cool, starlit evening in the middle of June when we drove up the imposing avenue of banyan-trees which leads to the main entrance. The interior of the palace is cool and dignified in appearance, and the Javanese waiters in long, gold-embroidered liveries, whose nude feet passed silently over the marble floor, were in complete accord with the setting.

Several weeks had to be spent in preparation for the trip. It was decided that in Borneo I should be furnished with a small escort. Further, Mr. J. Demmini, photographer in the well-known Topografische Dienst in Batavia, was attached to the expedition, as well as Mr. H.P. Loing, a native surveyor of the same institution. After much searching I finally found a man, Rajimin, a native of Batavia, who seemed competent to collect birds and animals. My kinematograph was out of order, but fortunately I succeeded in replacing it with a secondhand Pathe. The first week in August we departed from Tandjong Priok by steamer, bound for Bandjermasin, Borneo.

On our arrival in Sourabaia we learned that cholera was prevalent in Bandjermasin, and our steamer carried serum for the doctors of the garrison there. Early in the morning we steamed up the river, viewing the usual scene of Malays bathing and children running out of the houses to see the steamer pass. The most urgent matter demanding attention was to have Rajimin, the taxidermist, vaccinated, as well as the two native boys I had brought from Batavia. There were nine deaths a day, but while it is unpleasant to be at a place where such an epidemic is raging, there is reassurance in the knowledge that the bacillus must enter through the mouth, and that therefore, with proper precautions, it is unnecessary for anybody to have cholera.

A Dutch doctor in Sourabaia told me that he had been practising two years on the Barito River in Borneo, and had gone through a severe epidemic of cholera, but neither he nor his wife had been affected, although their native boy, while waiting at table, fell to the floor and in two hours expired. His wife disinfected plates, forks, spoons, and even the fruit, in a weak solution of permanganate of potassium. Of course there must be no alcoholic excesses. In the tropics it is also essential, for several reasons, always to boil the drinking water.

The Dutch use an effective cholera essence, and if the remedy is applied immediately the chances for recovery from the attack are favourable. The lieutenant who accompanied me through Central Borneo told me that he saved the life of his wife by immediately initiating treatment internally as well as by bathing, without waiting for the doctor's arrival, for the attack occurred in the middle of the night. After three or four hours she was out of danger. One evening at the Bandjermasin hotel I was startled by seeing our three Javanese men taking a sudden and determined departure, carrying all their belongings. One of the hotel boys who occupied the room next to them had shown the well-known symptoms of cholera, whereupon they immediately decamped. I at once informed the manager, who gave the boy a dose of cholera essence, and an hour later he was better. The next morning he was still improving, and on the following day I saw him waiting at table.

The resident, Mr. L.F.J. Rijckmans, was kind enough to order the government's good river steamer Otto to take us up the Barito River to Puruk Tjahu, a distant township, where boats and men might be secured and where the garrison would supply me with a small escort. Toward the end of August we departed. On account of the shallow water the Otto has a flat bottom and is propelled by a large wheel at the stern. We had 5,000 kilograms of provisions on board, chiefly rice and dried fish, all stored in tin cans carefully closed with solder. There were also numerous packages containing various necessary articles, the assorting of which would be more conveniently done in Puruk Tjahu. We also brought furniture for a new pasang-grahan in Muara Tewe, but the steamer could have taken much more.

The evening of our departure was delightful, and a full moon shed its light over the utan and the river. I occupied a large round room on the upper deck, and felt both comfortable and happy at being "on the move" again. Anchoring at night, there are about five days' travel on the majestic river, passing now and then peaceful-looking kampongs where people live in touch with nature. A feeling of peace and contentment possessed me. "I do not think I shall miss even the newspapers," I find written in my diary.

On approaching Muara Tewe we saw low mountains for the first time, and here the river becomes narrower and deeper, though even at the last-named place it is 350 metres wide. The water assumed a deeper reddish colour and was speckled with foam, indicating a certain amount of flood caused by rains higher up the river. We passed a family of wild pigs grubbing up the muddy beach in search of roots. There was a large dark one and a huge yellowish-white one, besides four young pigs dark in colour. At Muara Tewe, where we had to make a stay of two days, the doctor of the garrison said that in the case of the common species of wild pigs the full-grown ones are always light in hue. Doctor Tjon Akieh, who came here from Surinam, had some amusing monkeys, a native bear, tamer than most cats, and a very quiet deer. In a steam-launch he had gone four days up the Ajo River, a tributary to the Barito from the east, which passes between limestone cliffs. In that locality the Dayaks are rarely visited by Malays and therefore have retained their excellent tribal characteristics. The men are inclined to obesity.

After leaving Muara Tewe we passed many small kampongs which were less attractive than those at the lower part of the river. The farther one proceeds the more inhabited are the banks. In this vicinity, eleven years previously, a violent Malay revolution which had lasted two years was finally suppressed. As usual, the revolt was headed by a pretender to the sultanate. The steamer in which we travelled was a reminder of those days, for it had two gun-mountings on its deck and my cabin, round in shape, was lightly armoured.

Puruk Tjahu (puruk = small hill; tjahu = running out into the water) lies at a bend of the river in a somewhat hilly and quite attractive country, which is blessed with an agreeable climate and an apparent absence of mosquitoes. The captain in charge of the garrison told me that he, accompanied by the native kapala of the district, was going on a two months' journey northward, and at his invitation I decided to follow him as far as Sungei Paroi. I hoped that on my return a supply of films and plates, ordered from London and already overdue, might have arrived. It was, however, a very difficult proposition to have everything ready in three days, because it was necessary first to take out of my baggage what was needed for the journey. It meant the opening of 171 boxes and packages. Convicts were assigned to assist in opening and closing these, which afterward were taken to a storehouse, but as I had no mandur I alone had to do the fatiguing work of going through the contents. The doctor of the garrison kindly furnished me with knives and pincers for the taxidermist, as the collector's outfit was missing from the boxes that had been returned from Macassar.

The Otto needed only one and a half hours to run down stream to the Muara Laong, a Malay kampong at the mouth of the river Laong, which we intended to ascend by boats to the kampong Batu Boa, where the overland journey was to begin. As soon as we arrived in the afternoon the kapala was sent for to help in procuring a sufficient number of prahus for the next day. I brought twenty-nine coolies from Puruk Tjahu to serve as paddlers. The kapala was unable to find enough prahus, but it had grown dark, so we waited, hoping for better luck next day.

In the morning search was continued, but no great results were obtained. The Malays evidently disliked to rent their boats, which were coming in but slowly. In the meantime our luggage was being unloaded to the landing-float. Mr. Demmini was able to secure some large prahus, among them a specially good one belonging to a Chinaman, and the goods were placed in them. At 11 A.M. all the baggage had been unloaded from the steamer, and having worked like a dog for the last few days I felt that I had earned twenty minutes for my usual bath, applying tepid water from a tin can, with rough mittens. According to the opinion of those best able to judge, bathing-water in the tropics should be of the same temperature as the body, or slightly lower. There are three important items in my personal outfit: A kettle in which drinking water is boiled, another (of a different colour) in which water for bathing is heated, and a five-gallon tin can which serves as a bathtub.

Much refreshed from my bath, I felt ready for further action. In the morning I had requested the captain not to wait for me, and he had already left. At 12 o'clock the Otto departed, and a few minutes later our flotilla was under way. We stayed over night at Biha, a small but clean Dayak kampong. The Murungs, as seen here for the first time, are rather shy, dark-complexioned, somewhat short and strongly set people. They are not ugly, though their mouths always seem ungainly. The next day we arrived at a Malay kampong, Muara Topu, which is less attractive on account of its lack of cleanliness and its pretense of being civilised.

I soon realised that it would not be possible to overtake the captain, still less to proceed overland, as our men from Puruk Tjahu were rather a poor lot. They were Malays with the exception of three Dayaks, and one of these, an Ot-Danum, had accepted Islam and therefore had imbibed many Malay ideas. The majority of them were personally amiable, but physically, with few exceptions, they were even below the Malay average, having weak, ill-balanced bodies. I saw one man, when pushing his prahu, fall into the water twice, and the men in my prahu often nearly upset it. In view of these conditions I decided to stop over at the large kampong Tumbang Marowei. Something might be gained by a stay among the Murungs, and meantime the overdue photographic supplies, much needed for our inland expedition, would possibly arrive.

The kampong created a pleasant impression, the space in front toward the river, which the Dayaks are compelled to clear and keep clean, being unusually extensive - almost approaching a boulevard on the river bank. Along this are four communal houses arranged lengthwise, in two pairs, and elevated on upright posts. Between the groups and farther back is a smaller house. There are areca-palms and other trees planted in front, and at the back the vast jungle begins immediately. Most of the people were absent, burning trees and bushes that had been cut down to make new fields for rice-planting, the so-called ladangs, but about sunset they returned, and all were quite friendly in their manners.

We asked the kapala if he could have the people dance in order that we might photograph them, but he said that would not be possible unless a feast were made, a necessary part of which would be the sacrifice of a babi (pig), whereupon an agreement was easily reached that I should pay for the babi six florins, and that the Murungs should perform. The feast was held one day later and was more interesting than I had expected. It took place in front of the house where the kapala resided, and here a sacred pillar stood, by the Katingans and others called kapatong, erected on the occasion of a death.

A striking feature in Dayak kampongs, especially in remote regions, is the presence of such upright pillars, carved more or less completely into human form and standing before the houses. These are invariably for the benefit of a dead person whom they guard, and if the deceased was well provided with earthly goods two or three are furnished. They are made of ironwood and often higher than a man, but usually only the upper part is actually worked into shape, though many instances are observed of smaller statues the entire surface of which is crudely carved. When a death occurs many duties are incumbent on the surviving relatives, one of the first being to make the kapatong, the soul of which waits on and guards the soul of the departed one.

A good-sized domestic pig had been brought in dependent from a long pole about which its feet had been tied, and it was deposited at the base of the kapatong. One man held an upright stick between the legs of the animal, while another opened the artery of the neck with one thrust of his knife. The pig was next lifted up by the carrying-pole so that the blood might run into a vessel, which was handed to a man who climbed the kapatong and smeared blood on the image of a human being at the top. This indicated that the feast was for the benefit of the soul of that ironwood statue, because it is an invariable custom for the blood of a sacrificed animal to be smeared on the principals of any feast or ceremony, and this is also done when attempting to cure or ward off illness. The same custom obtains in the case of those about to be married; or, if children are to be named, if a move is made to a new home, blood is first daubed on the house.

The pig was then carried a little farther away, where the space was more favourable for dancing, which soon began to our edification. It was the same type of dance that is universal among the Dayaks wherever I have been, although other varieties are seen in Borneo. This principal one consists of moving in a circle around the sacrificial offering, which is lying at the foot of an upright rod to the top of which a piece of cloth is tied, or at the base of a sacred jar (blanga). The participants join hands, and the movement is slow because an essential feature consists in bending the knees - heels together - down and up again, slowly and in time; then, moving one step to the left and bringing right heel to left, the kneeling is repeated, and so on. The men danced for a long time, at first by themselves, then the women by themselves, but most of the time the circle was made up of alternate men and women. The latter, most of them stocky and somewhat coarse-looking, danced with surprising excellence. Though children of nature may be without good looks, there is decided attraction in their grace and easy movements.

It did not look difficult, so I joined in the dancing, as I have done many times among other races. Greatly to the amusement of the natives I demonstrated that I had caught the right steps, and then seated myself in a chair which was the pride of the kapala and which had been brought out for my benefit. While watching the performance I was surprised to see two of the women, about the only ones who possessed any charm of appearance, coming toward me, singing as they advanced. Each took me by a hand and, still singing, led me forward to the dancing circle, where a man who had been offering rice brandy to the people from a huge horn of the water-buffalo adorned with wood shavings, stepped forward and offered it to me. Lifting it I applied my face to the wide opening as if drinking. Twice I pretended to drink, and after participating a while longer in the activities I retired to my place of observation.

No doubt the Dayaks had gladly acceded to my wishes in making the feast, because dancing and sacrifice are believed to attract good spirits which may be of assistance to them. In the evening there was a banquet with the pig as the piece de resistance; and a young fowl was sent to me as a present.