Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
dinner one day and they were using their combs as forks!
They mix up their food-fish, yam, and cocoanut milk-in a cocoanut shell, which serves as a bowl to eat out of. They don’t sit round in a friendly circle, but each sits by himself, often with his back to his neighbour, and silently eats his food.
When the men have finished they hand their bowls over to the boys who sit round about waiting for them, and then they tuck in at what is left of the food.
They all wash their mouths out and clean their teeth with water after every meal. Also they wash themselves three times a day-on getting up, at midday before dinner, and in the evening before going to bed. I wish our people were half as cleanly.
A New Guinea Pirates’ Lair
One morning we awoke to find ourselves steaming along the coast of New Guinea. From the water’s edge to the range of hills above it all was dense green forest; ridge overtopped ridge beyond until the hills began to run into small mountains, but all were still covered with the everlasting forest.
There was never a sign of life or human habitation. At first we saw numbers of small clouds of smoke arising from among the trees, and we thought these must be from village fires, but we presently learnt that they were merely the wisps of morning mist which on the West Coast of Africa are called “The Smokers,” and generally mean fever hanging about.
At last among the trees on the shore we saw a little white lighthouse, and our ship turned her nose straight for it. It looked as though she meant to run on to the coral beach, but as she got nearer the trees seemed to open a way for her, and a little creek ran in behind them.
As we turned into this creek, further branch creeks opened up, and we soon found ourselves in a beautiful harbour formed by a number of thickly wooded islands. It was completely hidden from the sea. Such a lair for pirates, just like those we had seen in the Spanish Main.
But there were no pirates here now. On the islands round the harbour were charming bungalows with deep, shady verandahs and beautiful green gardens under waving cocoanut trees. The place not being very big had a name long enough to make up for its want of size – it was called “Friedrich-Wilhelmshaven.” It is a German colony. New Guinea is a very big island; part of it belongs to Germany, part to Holland, and the southern portion to Great Britain, and “Fred Bills haven,” as we christened it for short, is the chief port for the German section.
I was particularly interested in New Guinea because it was here that my brother, the Major, nearly came to an end in a scrimmage with natives some years ago.
During our stay we had good opportunity of seeing something of the natives. They are here called Kanákas, and are quite different from those we had seen two days before at Jap and Angaur.
We made a boat expedition to two or three of the islands near “Fred Bills haven” and visited the native villages on each.
The natives are rather small, well-made brown fellows with cheery, ugly faces. Except for a cloth girdle and a number of bracelets; necklets, and earrings, the men wear no clothes, and the ladies only wear a kind of apron before and behind, and an immense amount of “jewellery” chiefly carved out of oyster-shells.
The boys of the country if they become Boy Scouts have a very simple uniform, since they don’t wear anything at all, except the smile!