Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/341
TRAVELS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MOUNT YULE.
practised, and the string used by the natives at Port Moresby and in the Astrolabe ranges is dispensed with here and replaced by a wide fibre cloth fastened like a suspender at the back, terminating in a long pendant ribbon-like tail. The women wear a short petticoat dyed black, and seldom more than one, but at Port Moresby, Hulu, Kerepunu, and other places the women generally wear two or three; at every house I saw hammocks made of bark cord, on the same principle as our European hammocks.
I stayed at Nauea for several days, and explored the locality, and found it most valuable for pastural and agricultural purposes. It will no doubt in time to come play an important part as a European settlement, and I have every reason to suppose the climate is salubrious, as all the people here looked exceptionally healthy.
There is one thing about the Papuan all over New Guinea that I am sorry I cannot record favourably on, that is, their statements and promises cannot be relied upon. When it came to the day of my departure to proceed on my journey towards Mount Yule—from Nauea about two days' march—here also I was refused assistance, on the ground that the Nauea people feared that the mountain people would kill me; but on investigation I found it was nothing but jealousy of my trade, as they did not wish it to pass into the hands of other tribes. Notwithstanding my remonstrances, I could not induce them to take me beyond their own district, and I with sorrow and dismay had to return to the coast, and leave Mount Yule unexplored for the present by me.
The Nauea natives gave many interesting narratives relating to the people on the other side of Mount Yule, such as the existence of a tribe with long tails. The natives in the Astrolabe ranges have the same story about Mount Owen Stanley; although I did not attach much importance to these wonderful tales, what I saw and heard greatly stimulated my desire to visit Mount Yule.
In reference to the Hilda River, whether it will be of any practical navigable service to future settlers is more than I can say. The natives say the river always contains plenty of water; at the time of my visit the wet season had already set in, and the river banks were overflowing,