Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/102

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CHAPTER IV.

FIRST EXCURSION IN NEW GUINEA.


Orders to March—Heavy Travelling—Tropical Creek—Sure-footed Mountain Steeds—Native Hunting Camp—Luncheon in the Forest—Smoking the Bau-bau—Good Country for Horse-breeding—Koiari Kangaroo hunting—The Hunters' Feast—The Koiari Tribe—Splendid Natural Panorama—Morrison's Explorations—Camp for the Night—Perilous Journeying—The Alligators' Haunt—Night in the Papuan Forest—Frightening the Devil—Fears of Danger from Natives dispelled—Morning in the Forest—A Purpose abandoned—Strike for a Koiari Village—Savage Gourmands—Steep Mountain Ascent—Magnificent Mountain Scenery—A Koiari Welcome—A Mountain Village—Dwellings on the Tree-tops—A Koiari Chief—"Photographer" in Koiari—Hospitable Offer—A Koiari Household—"Great White Chief"—Buying a Pig—A Koiari Interior—A Papuan Meal—Conference of Chiefs—Papuan Etiquette—A Tribal Feud—Uncomfortable Night—Superb Mountain Views—The Photographer in a Koiari Village—Return to the Port—A Ruined Village—Native Remains—Encounter Mr. Forbes—Missionary Hospitality.

THE order for marching being given, off started our train of sixteen porters in Indian file, making straight for a steep hill rising a little way back from the station, whilst the guide, my assistant, and myself, mounted on our steeds, strike off on a tract leading in a northerly direction, by an easier gradient, to a gap in the coast range. By making this little détour we spare our horses at the outset of the journey—a most prudent precaution, as we speedily discovered. After traversing a couple of miles of tolerably level plain, densely covered with fine kangaroo grass, we get into a country wherein undulations rise into ridges, ridges into hills, and hills into ranges so steep that no horse save one thoroughly disci-