Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/101

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31
FIRST LANDING IN NEW GUINEA.

without whose valuable aid and assistance the good lady would not manage to get on very well. Granny "bosses" all hands with a wonderful amount of tact and firmness. I presented the old dame with a gorgeous brooch, which delighted her immensely; we shook hands, and I was repaid for my gift by a smile that quite lighted up the grim and wrinkled face of the New Guinea grandame.

Anxiety about the weather, which was changeable, with sudden gusts of rain, disturbed my rest through the night. Towards daybreak the rain abated, and although the weather still wore an unsettled look, we resolved on making a start, our genial host being of opinion that we should have clear skies and gentle airs after passing the coast-range. Seated at our early breakfast, under the verandah, the troop of native boys, who were to act as porters for the party, made their appearance. Being a "New Chum" myself, I had left the task of engaging these carriers, and arranging the commissariat department, to Mr. Lawes, junior; but almost at the last moment this young gentleman was called away on some Government service, and Mr. Hunter took his place as guide. An experienced leader of expeditionary parties is Mr. Hunter, and was right hand man to Captain Armit, when engaged in explorations here. There was, therefore, every reason to place entire confidence in our new guide. Our packages were equally distributed amongst the boys, some of whom were of the Motuan and the others of the Koiari tribe. One of the boys at the mission station had been told off to act as our head cook, and in virtue of this superior station he was accorded a lighter burden than the rest.


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