Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Impressions of an artist in Papua, mainly of the Trobriand Islands by Ellis Silas, Book III, 27 March 1923 - 3 January 1924
A 3055/vol. 3
"Impressions of an Artist in Papua, mainly of the Trobriand islands
March 27 to Jan 8th, 1924 Book III"
Trobriand islands. 120 miles N.E. of Samarai.
Population about 9,000.
Copra, Beche-de-mer, Pearls for Trade
Lt Trobriand of the DEntrecastreaux expedition landed first at Sim Sim some fifty miles west of Kiriwina Island, on the latter he landed at Kaibola. For further details see Coleridges discoveries and travels in New Guinea amp; Australia.
The Trobriand Islands lay about Lat 8 ° .30.S. Long 151 ° E the main island (Kiriwina) was called after Denis de Trobriand, First Lieutenant of "L Esperance" one of the frigates under the command of DEntrecastreaux
To whom it may concern
This journal is a private document, naturally in the writing thereof, I did not anticipate that these books would become National property consequently in such cases where I have adversely criticised the white inhabitants of Papua, to those of you who may peruse these pages, I pray of you, use a kindly discretion, casting not abroad that which you have read in the matter thereof lest you cause undue pain to those whom it may concern.
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Once more I step through the magic portals of this fairyland, which is Papua; A fairyland, withal, possessed of
og ogres caves and fearsome monsters, grim, sinister; by the same token, are the dusky fairies and wonderous lagoons, none the less alluring; for this is a country that you either hate or love, an you do either intensely. Hence, it is not wholly without trepidation do I return, half fearful lest I find disillusionment to my first impressions, which though less accurate, may well be more vivid, for tis the mystery of the unknown which fires the imagination. Be this as it may, new adventures shall I meet with, both droll and sinister, joyous and tragic. Professionally shall I find myself in better trim; at least, so hope I. Having blazed the trail, by the same token may I avoid the many heartbreaking trials, the many seemingly fruitless efforts of my first endevours to portray something of the subtle beauties and extravagant colour schemes of this strange land; wherein nature lays on her lavish brush with impartial hand; rioting with in her imagination, contradicting many of the artistic truths common to other climes. This, though a hard school, is a good one, well worth the apprenticeship herein. We, the brethren of the brush, have, with a pretty conceit, complacently set ourselves not a few hidebound rules and theories, from the paths of which, the more timid of us fear to stray; But in this country, must one be fearless, ever watchful, the pitfalls are many. Withal must I harden myself to bear with fortitude these climatic conditions, which makes, of even the lightest work an effort, but For this is the coin in part, which needs must I pay, so pray I that I be not out with myself in the payment thereof.
9 April 19 Spiritualism
9 April 19 Papuan Wireless
10 April 21 Cookery see also Page 33 and 71
15 April 29 Strange fish nets
16 May 1 Native education
16 May 3 Sajali (Custom)
21 May 15 Natives description of painting in oils
21 May 16 Row in Sinabata
23 May 19 Mythology
24 May 19 Mythology
29 June 1 Details making Doba
30 June 1 Handling boys.
31 June 3 Details, making Doba
34 June 13 Marriage customs
36 June 20 Details making Doba
36 June 20 Details making Dye
37 June 23 Sorcery. Parrot
38 June 23 Sorcery, Parrot
39 Piccaninnies game
40 Piccaninnies game
41 June 30 Harvest
42 July 1 Cookery
42 July 1 Harvest
46 July 7 Development native carving
46 July 7 Cost of building studio
48 July 13 Burial of Warrior
54 July 19 Price list, native products
57 July 25 Sumilibaba
61 July 28 Visit of Tu-ulu
61 July 29 finishing touches Soba, see also end of book
62 July 29 ditto
62 July 30 Short drive
63 Aug 1 an old time dance
64 Aug 1 ditto
66 Aug 7 Catching arrives
68 Aug 10 Concerning models
74 Aug 22 A court case
75 Aug 25 A dance. Cost of living
76 Aug 25 Wood-carving
80 Aug 31 Cost notes, wood-carving
78 Aug 29 Comments on the figure
80 Sep 1 Wood-carving
81 Sep 1 Wood-carving
82 Sep 2 Wood carving
83 Sep 6 Manner of settlers legal disputes
84 Sep 8 Cricket
86 Sep 8 Cricket
88 to 93 Sep 16 The Art of the Trobriands
94 Sep 18 The Art of the Trobriands
95 Sep 20 Trobriands give a Covent Garden Ball
99 Sept 21 Dowary of cook-boys bride
71 Aug 16 preparing Mona
105 Oct 5 preparing Mona
106-7 Oct 5 Canoes, racing etc
109 Oct 10 Tableaux vivants
112-3 Oct 12 Kula Business
114 Oct 13 Swearing of boys.
9 April 19 Papuan wireless
115 to 126 Oct 16 Native conditions. Gumilibaba incident of July 25
120 Oct 17 Fashion. Tattoing
123 Oct 21 Trob characters.
127 Oct 30 A Garden Ceremony
128 Oct 31 Sapi mint
129 Oct 31 Mythology
130 Nov 2 A Garden Ceremony
132 Nov 5 A vivila fight
133 Nov 9 Gumilibaba July 25
134 Oct 10 Sapi Sapi
136 Oct 18 Garden puripuri
137 Oct 19 A Yam custom
139 Oct 26 Native conditions. Art notes
140 Oct 27 fishing, bow & arrow
142 Dec 1 Some notes on fishing
159 Dec 22 Some tales from the mines
145 Dec 6 The exchange of garden produce for fish
169 Jan 6 Cleaning house
170 Jan 6 Trade in pelts
171 Jan 6 Cook-boys
13 April 27 Some notes on fishing see also p 142
71-72 a court case
27th Usual schmozzle at wharf. The rumble of heavy laden lorries, the clatter and crash of winches and derricks tooting of funny little tugs and general chorus of noises common to the departure of a ship. It is the people that drift on and off the ship, the medley of people on the wharf, which characterises the nature of the ships destination. Govt officals returning to duty, releiving bank officals, stores managers, missionaries, some of this latter
apparent novices about to try their prentice hand upon the native for their weal or woe. Old timers returning to the fastness of the back blocks Signs of these difficult and depressed times that fine old character, the prospector, is conspicuous by his absence a leavening of house boys returning with their masters, adds the final touch of colour, giving promise of that other life alien to great metropoli. The ships cargo is a further index, aft in the well deck are sheep and a few head of cattle, poultry in crates, bundles of hay and of course the ubiquitous cases of petrol. The "Marsma" the vessel which carried me upon my last expedition is alongside, she bound for the Solomons. So on board to quiz fellow passengers. There Nathless the compliment is returned. A few R.C. missionaries, one in particular seemingly a fanatic; cadverous face, black beard, a visage more fitting the 15 Century, than of today. One or two mission sisters with their customers adornment of spectacles; without which no missioner is complete. Further we have four memembers of the British Pacific Science expedition, quite your system the array of cameras, voluminous diaries and other impediments common to tourists, suggests the latter rather than scientists bent upon the gentle matter of exploration and research; one in particular wears a Mexican sombrero, which appears odd, but adds to the gaiety of life. The few females en evidence to judge by appearance, does not portent flirtation excitement. Side of the ship a smother of brilliant coloured paper streamers the sheen of their fluttering in the wind, giving them the appearance of satin.
28th On my back, the cabin screen sorts of hell, a tropic heat closed port on account heavy sea. From the pantry without an emination of foul stenches of greasy washing up, the clash of crockery and cutlery common to this procedure. I curse myself for a very fool, why cannot I content one to remain on terra firma, instead of condemning myself to the punishment of this heaving world. Of a fool and his folly there is no end, wonder to what end I make anyway, cannot partake of the dire concoctions which passes for food on shipboard. Ships diet suggests the manner of food & one eats in dreams, be it bread or beef, soup or sausages, the flavour is indentical, one is dependant upon sight rather than taste to discover the nature of that which is to fill the void of an empty stomach
30th Sea calm, feel more like a real human once more, just entering the Great Barrier reef, that wonderful piece of natures work, which extends some thousand miles along the Queensland coast, within; the reef is dotted with hundreds of small islands, my main interest in the reef however, is that it keeps the ship on an even keel.
31. Easter Day; this a most inconvenient ship, nowhere to write, no smoking room, all the cabins debauch into the main saloon, which means if meal is in progress, one must procession through the saloon, in pyjamas to the bathroom. Last night some music and quite a lot which was not. Not that one should expect to find an accomplished concert party on every ship. Have just read portion of journal kept by L.O. Connolly, F.R.C.S. leader of Advance Scouts of British Science Expedition. It is as I surmised a party of wealthy men, who "faut de mieux", arranged this expedition. The names of Lords and knights supporting the expedition are many. With fanfare of trumpets, flying banners, and the plaudits of the Press, they set forth to explore land already discovered by those great old prospectors of Papua, many of this latter in their hazardous undertaking lie in unknown graves or none at all. Sad little mounds on the wayside their only banner, a waving palm; their fanfare of trumpets, the shrill screech of brightly plumed birds; their plaudits, the cries of the denizens of the Bush. By this I do not wish to belittle the efforts of this expedition about to set out. It is merely that with lifes usual worries, the contrast is so striking. The men who did the real work pass away, their praises unsung, to finish in a grave unknown, those who follow shall find their names inscribed upon the scroll of fame. It is quite possible this expedition may do some excellent work, but for the honor they lost not of the difficulties of their undertaking. With all due honour to them at least they are men who saw active service. Names of members on board A.E. Church, R.A. Prescott, F.R.S.S. H.W. Frewen, F.R.C.I. devil a bit of them carries his thinly years.
April 2nd. Cairns, N.Q Township, which has the appearance of being possessed of more pubs than stores more stores than houses. Difficult to realise that two days sail will bring us to the wilds of Papua.
3rd 4th Terrible punishing with mal-de-mer, life aint worth living.
4th Port Moresby. Kai Kai at wireless mess. Work in village of Elivanu, already feel advantages of my previous experience am better able to avoid pitfalls; Know what to look for and that which is better left alone. Natives very noisy and exciting, owing to their contact with Whites, difficult to keep them in hand, would persist in crowding round. Judge Herbert and others much surprised to see me.
5th Work Hanuabada. Kai Kai wireless mess, one of the "Sparks" a photographer to whom the natives make frequent requests to be photographed, has compelled him to make
frequent a charge of 1/-, otherwise he would have all
villagers en masse sitting round the house. These dusky clients most impatient, call every day until photos completed.
5th To Bootless, a
man mining district (copper) 14 miles from Port Moresby: curious spot, volcanic formation of hills very ugly, bungalows perched upon summit of some, gives the appearance of a row of pepper-pots. In the background enormous mountains, forbidding as though cutting off the world which lies beyond. Ashore with a certain fair damsel; efforts at flirtation a failure, dare not walk into grass on account of snakes, so perforce have to keep to rail track, find log to sit on thereby, a nasty little train with natives clinging all over it, puffing up and down, various men and boys processioning along track, causing much embarrassment and many damn words, and so a Tropic Idyll spoilt.
6th Port Moresby. Work Hanuabada. Piccaninies make quaint toy canoes, which sail with great speed, they obtain much amusement with these strange [indecipherable]. Surprise one of these wee shipwrights by purchasing his boat. Kai Kai, wireless mess; most convenient for me, it being situated close to native villages. Visit his Excellency the Governor, and others. Conference re Papuan exhibit at Empire Exhibition, they are much impressed with my suggestions, wish me to execute mural decorations if the Commonwealth Govt will grant the necessary funds, which I doubt we, though theyre asked for little enough. A pity, it is a good appointment missed. Very brilliant day. Colouring garish, shadows of posts of undressed timber, a hideous violet, shadows of white houses, very violet almost puce. While at work boys will persist in demands to look "long" picture, they catch glimpses of photos in my pocket, so no peace, until request granted.
7th To Yule Island, headquarters of R.C. Mission, a pretty little island, just after the rains looking very verdant, one comes of it almost looking like a picture of English landscape. Work of this mission seemingly of a practical nature: natives are taught, reading, writing, arithmetic, but mainly a craft, carpentry. Etc. The Missionaries are educated men who appear to be handling this problem with a broad minded vision. Unfortunately guilty of he same crime as all the whites, robeing their natives in hideous calicoes, but only those brought up in the mission from infancy, the adults are not permitted raiment, as they cannot understand, that calicoes if wet, must be changed. This mission founded July 1884. One of the missioners tells me that at Mafulu some sixty miles distance, there is a native choir whose rendering of Psaltain ? music, is equal to anything he has heard in Europe. They keep splendid timing, have a fine ear for music, and are [Indecipherable]
April 7th They are a mountain tribe and possess fine voices. Boys here bind their waists with belt of bark to an exaggerated degrees, that is the unmarried, - if they appear corpulent the girls will not marry them this latter not desirous of indolent husbands, implying to much work for them the girls. The industries of these islanders
pottir pottery which they exchange with other tribes for commodities, which they themselves cannot produce. Population about 800 and on increase. Natives are permitted to attend mass, painted up. Through the means of the confessional the priests are enable to dissuade the natives from the practice of restricting child-birth, a common failing in Papua
8th Samarai, all town to meet ship. Most of whites in from Trobriands, whom thirty [indecipherable] well en route for England are much surprised at my entrance: each and everyone asking me to stay with them, fortunate, will save me much tribulation and give me a chance to get my house in order, no mean task in this country. Walsh in, his wife expecting a child. Dr Bellamy, who has done great work in this country relates an interesting incident, he was
endevor endevouring to keep a dying native alive with injections of strychnine, the relatives were sitting round. One remarked "it no good Taubada, e want to go". Bellamy of the same opinion as myself, as to the immensity of human character of the Papuan.
9th Work on Samarai. A Mr Feriss has kindly placed his house at my disposal during my stay in Samarai. Soiree at his house, great schmozzle. Just when becoming a little to Bacchnalian. A trip round the island in launch, a wonderfully peaceful night, water like glass, but effect of trip spoilt by the racous singing of over exuberant men. As for the skipper of the "M" he was well away. Could his crew have witnessed his antics, never again would he have been able to commanded his ship. The people in their whites, the ships officers in duck with gilt buttons, suggested more a Gilbertian scene rather than an incident in real life. I gave an impromptu solo dance. Whatime the four house boys?, watched my gymnastics with goggled eyes and gaping mouth. From start to finish the night a scream, of which the funniest, the one time dignified Captain, a man of considerable bulk, and bald head, skipping round the room with a tray full of glasses of beer, which he finally succeeded in emptying over one of the fair damsels. 3 AM Moon up a walk round the palm grit promenade which encircles Samarai. The number of persons no greater than necessary to Romance. This time to Tropic Idyll more successful, very much so.
10th Morning time endevour to decide what stores shall require, a complicated undertaking for me. Withal make efforts to handle this matter economically, since all the Stores make
exactly the same charges, no means of reducing expenses. Am regarded here as the successful artist, who has made a lot of money out of his exhibitions, consequently am always being dragged into the hostel, such is the fame, shall be glad when "Morinda" sails, there will be few people to impede my progress down the street. Nice fellows all but when one is busy well rather a trial. Visit Dr Giblin. To-night a dance to the officers of the "Morinda" all my whites dirty and in the wash, possessed only of pair soiled slacks, except heavy tweed suit, impossible in this climate. After last night feel more like bed than dancing, the former no use, they will only come to the hotel and drag me out, so more work until 10PM. Have become an incorrigible "sponge", other men entertaining certain fair damsels of ship, I do the flirtations. Find these my second impressions not quite so intensely exciting as on the former occassion, but find the counts every bit as fascinating. Suppose its the old question of familiarity etc. Dance terrible stoge, marionettes dancing round to the squeak of a gramophone whatime two dogs meandered round the hall. Another late night, shall be glad when ship left. Work in Samurai. Sell some more works. Ask a certain fair damsel and sister to see view from back verandah of this hotel, from which vantage point a splendid picture, by the time we reach hotel, ten persons had collected, fortunately distance only short, help!!! I had to stand drinks to the lot, which of course is only as it should be but of small assistance to a slender purse. Hope to get away to Trobriands in two days. Although Samurai an exquisite spot, one of the jewel islands of the South Pacific, but shall go bankrupt if held up here too long. No comic opera written, could equal that which is life in Samurai. The stage setting of Palms trees, people in whites and the native element a fitting comes from the Travesties of life enacted on this stage, not least amusing to the Resident Magistrate hauling up his friend before the bench, fining him £ 15 for some breach of law, thence together to the hostel for drinks, whatime a guard is placed on the ship, to prevent the defendant leaving without paying the fine. Ship due to leave at noon, but did not so do until 3PM result, a series of peregrinations to the Hostel, saying good byes "take care of yourself mind you write" sort of business, which formula repeating at least a dozen times. To-night air is rent with the squeak of gramaphones. Weather fine.
LIST of Stores
1 Case trade tabac (30lbs) 1 gross matches, 6 doz cig papers, 4 tubes tooth paste 3lb Capstan tabac, 1 case Benzine 6 writing pads, 3 lb tea. Washing soap, 1 QUICKLITE LAMP, 1 hurricane lamp, 3 towels, 1 rug
Quite a number of commodities of which I wot not, but shall discover the deficiencies when I reach Trobriands. The back door of the hotel for me can do any more of this drink business, even could I afford it, my "Bingie" could not stand the racket.
12th Collecting stores. Stores for voyage 2 tins meat @ ¼, 2 tins fruit at ¼, 1 bot lime juice 3/- 1 tin jam ¼, rather fool idea writing such mundane matters but perchance of interest for reference.
Work Studies in Samarai, dont feel too satisfied but as both to-days sketches sold, suppose ought to be grateful.
APRIL Rumours round the township that Im to one of the three lady tourists, an impression which I shall foster. Weather beastly, heavy showers, general feeling of
sticky clammy clamminess. Great thing about Papua is never to be on time. I chased the poor devil of assistant at Stores to have everything ready for 4 oclock to-day, was informed we were loading up to-night, since prop postponed until noon to-morrow with luck. Meanwhile said assistant much "knarked".
13th Sail for Trobriands in launch "Ugly" and schooner "Bomapau" in china straits, engine trouble, anchor at Buli Buli, a delightfull palm girt cove, therein two schooners looking old and worn their sides streaked with rust, the paintwork bleached grey by the sun. On the hilltop three girls wave to us, the mission I. So kai kai and up the hill, where a jolly evening, girls full of life, unusual for these parts, dancing on a bamboo floor to the strains of a considerably delapitated condition, but good fun. 11PM torrential rain, so to cards, am dead with fatigue and bad cold. 2AM still playing, at last finish, so away half way down hill another deluge, slipping and sliding through heavy undergrowth, across planks across gullies, under archways of sago palms, refuge in boat shed. 4AM aboard, everything sodden.
15th 6AM Engine once more in moderate condition so away, feel nearly dead cold very bad, also feel chilled to the bone. Weather fine, in Miln Bay, complete breakdown, left rolling at mercy of tide but sea calm, "Bomapau hull down near East Cape, signal with mirror, so after two hours "Bomapau" returns takes us in tow. Sailing the South Pacific in a 25 foot launch does not appeal to me, in fact usual attack of nerves whilst at sea in this flimsy craft. East Cape 6PM, a beautiful spot, palms down to edge of sea, fine sandy beaches, drop anchor so to shore to mission station the usual rambling structure of native materials, D the missioner kindly offers me a bed, for which most thankful to sleep on shore, as soon get very tired of roughing it on a boat, he assists with engine, but to no purpose. His wife was expecting a child, but schooner which was to convey her to Samarai did not reach in time, so child born at mission, both however doing well. Mrs D the usual type of mission woman, these people all appear moulded from the same pattern, complete with spectacles, as per invoice.
15th Collect boys for plantation. Copra up in value, so all planters keen to catch the market. Engine hopeless, must tow to Salamo, Ferguson Island. Across to Normanby Island. Sea a rich lapis lazuli and emerald, on the reef. Masses of palms growing on the waters edge a rich yellow green against the deeper tones of the other vegetations, whole route to Salamo, and wonderful panorama of rugged volcanic mountains, lagoons and villages hidden snugly admidst waving palms, suggestion of a stage setting, in fact that which I have seen of Papua, always brings to my mental vision the suggestion of playing a part in some play, rather than an actual experience. Up Dobu Passage to Salamo, a splendid anchorage, almost landlocked. A background of great mountains, the summits hidden in the clouds, the foreshore a mass of fine palms, and mangrove swamps, the native huts making splashes of rich brown againts the tropic green of the vegatation a landscape characteristic of this part of Papua, but a work that I shall leave to the landscape painter. Salamo is to be the H.Q. of the Methodist mission, they are making a good job of it. Boat sheds, repair shops, and slipway, the sheds constituted of fibrelite with concrete flooring, the boys at this station most efficient, shipwrights building the smaller craft almost completely unaided. One whaler
they construct from a ½" scale drawing, the mission only inspecting the boat twice during its construction. In their spare time, the boys construct furniture, with such crude materials as Kerosene cases, their joinery
a most workmanlike quite excellent. The mission station itself situated about a mile inland, upon portion of the tableland at the base of two ranges; two houses in course of construction, concrete piles and flooring, fibrelite roofing, for Papua these houses will be palaces. This part of the country was the no mans land during the cannibalistic raids, which latter were practically small foraging parties, and were not carried out upon an extensive scale. Two days prior to our arrival there has just been a cannibalist orgie up in the hills. Brudo, one of the two Frenchmen who are my travelling companions relates a rather droll incident aneant cannibals, which occurred at Goodenough Island, to which place he went to recruit boys for his plantation. Two native police had been sent to collect taxes, the natives refused to pay the taxes, knocked the unfortunate police on the head and ate them. Boys came down to the beach and said "We sign on long for Tambada"? Brudo asked the reason thereof. "More better sign long for Tambada, than go long gaol; presumably, these boys were participants in the eating of the police boys. Brudo signed them on. They proved quite peaceable, and steady workers. Guided by small boy to Salamo river, the running water and verdant vegetation most refreshing to see in this intense heat, half expect to see crocadiles basking on the banks, and some large snakes writhing through the heavy undergrowth of the track but nothing untoward. Back to launch, where more Engine talk, every part of said machine having been discovered, since leaving Samarai. Brudo, naturally much annoyed at the alleged repairs.
16th Dawn of rose and gold, silver greys. Work in village of Goona. Villages not so picturesque as in the Trobriands, they are very small and do not appear to be built on any particular plan, the huts being erected in any convenient position. Such as I saw of this people but poor physique, and lack the vivacious temperament of the Trobriand Islanders. Usual heavy vegatation, the arched leaves of the Sago Palms almost cutting out the sky, the shadows between the trunks almost cavernous, the ground a carpet of rich red brown of dead leaves, but too spiky to walk upon. The many tall coco palms, limned against the background of mountain ranges, blue, purple, brown, look very beautiful. Difficult to get a decent bath on board, cannot bathe overboard on account of crocadiles, hoping for a plunge in the cool waters of the river, but no chance. We are due to sail in the afternoon, which latter evolution did not eventuate. Brudo has spent the last two days in a welter of engine grease and much swear words. In Samarai he paid £ 20 for repairs to engine and a like sum for caulking of hull. The engine which was in good order prior to repairs, now completely out of action, the hull much the worse for being caulked, but this is the nature of repairs "fashion belong Papua" seemingly a country where one really buys trouble, it is the same tale everywhere, mosquitos bad, anchor in mid stream.
17th Daybreak, slip anchor and away to Dobu Mission Station. Weather fine, the surrounding landscape mirrored in the almost still waters. At the head of the Passage, Dobu, an extinct crater the razor backed ridges running down its side giving it the semblance of a jelly mould, most beautiful. Pick up mails and away along the coast of Fergusson and past the Island of Sanario to Dum Dum, Sumarita, Koyowayna and Kwatoto, a group of islands which straggle into the open sea, many reefs, very dangerous in a blow
17th April The natives of this group make pottery, which they trade with other tribes for such commodities as they themselves cannot produce. Sundown, Brudo decide to hold course and travel all night this likes me not at all, am most nervous in these waters. Travelling dead slow, "Bomapau" heavily loaded, engines underpowered, and towing this wretched launch, no wind to assist, average speed 3 knots, if that. The three of us travel in the launch. The deck a litter of kerosene tins, cups, plates, bottles, copra bags, clothing and the general paraphernalia of travel. We three look a nice disreputable trio & Brudo, his raiment a mass of engine grease, his beard shaggy, fine line with fatigue and worry over the engine, the lines accentuated by the black grease of his toils, David a young man in not much better trim, unshaven, his onetime white clothes now grey with dirt; as to myself, managed somehow to get a shave and a catlick of a wash, but a poor effort at best, my raiment in common with the rest, much soiled, whiled away any a few moments with the screeching of a decrepit gramophone, after which putting the world straight, as to religion, politics etc. heartily sick of the journey and very nervy, darkness set in, and any sort of weather might eventuate. Many dangerous reefs, bally old launch, pitching and rolling horribly, though no wind. Our kai kai, quite good, rice onions, tinned meat, which cooked with the french touch, very palatable, keep dozing off, but too nervous to sleep, decide to go aboard the "Bomapau" think better chance of sleep. Bomapau engines also out of action pro-temp, feel most uncomfortable, breeze freshens, engines once more in action thank God. Sight land about 1 AM but dont know what land, boy fell asleep whilst steering, so compass of not much avail, make again for open sea, on account of reefs, once more land in sight, which in the dim mist of the night looks like our ultimate destination; rain blots out everything, so bout ship for Karatanu, drop anchor at four fathoms and await daylight, this night seem interminable, feel utterly weary, dirty and hungry. Daylight at last, find ourselves anchored off Muwo, Trob Islds last night we made Karatana thence back to Muwo!!!! Up anchor, and away once more for Karatana, get stuck on sand more delay, though mighty thankful to find myself in safe waters. Weather well up to sample, the usual deluge of rain, that was my experience on my previous expedition in these Islands. So to Brudis, where a hot shower and change of raiment, all routines very trival matters to jot down, but of some moment at the time. B Mrs, a hefty wench of massive proportions, who waddles rather than walks, abnormally fat for a Trobriand woman. She is attired in the usual hideous smock common to Mission and traders vivilas. There is a half cast child, divers natives wander in and around the verandah, the mixture of whites and natives, rather disgusts me. We take our meals at the table, one vivila was most shy, and would not sit with us. Some gramaphone noises, and so to bed, as ever, the
usua customary shifting of bed in mid of night on account of heavy rain.
18th Visit Karatana, a number of Kitarta vivilas (letter girls) with
their bodies decorated with white lime, having the appearance of a lace raiment, they are off for the night to visit the small boys of another village, with whom they will spend the night. One small vivila, has cleverly fashioned some small pink flowers into ropes, in a most artist manner, she was playing at Kula business (the exchange of native wreaths) and which exchange this festoon of flowers with the children of another village, so, as in every clime, tho the children ape their elders.
19th Studies, am anxious to get to work, but must remember I am in the country of IGAU, (bye and bye) some boys with hair dyed almost crimson from a dye of crushed berried, really looks quite effective. Another deluge, am consumed with impatience to commence work. In large waga with my kit to Lumleys, whom I trust shall not incommode too much, but can make no move until studio built, which if weather does not clear will be considerably delayed, as boys cannot cut the timber in this deluge. Papuan wireless is rather wonderful. Three boys were killed in an accident on Woodlark Island, their realatives on Fergusson Island some three hundred miles distant were in possession of full details within a few hours of the accident. It would have been quite impossible for any boat to reach Fergusson in less than four days, if that, as to how the information was conveyed impossible to say, this is only one of many incidents of a like nature.
The Trobriand peoples hold spiritualists seances. A number of natives collected upon the verandah, sitting in a circle, an old man in the centre, which latter went with a trance, when the defunct relatives of those present spoke to them through the medium of the old man. Upon another occasion, a boy came to his master and said "I close up finish Taubada, my mother tell me die" (the boys mother had been dead some years). The boy received a kick in the stern, and told not to be a fool. The following morning, no morning tea was forthcoming, the master went to the boys hut and found him dead, although the boy had been in perfectly healthy condition. Feel mentally conjured until I find somewhere to settle and get to work. I inspect my stores, my Benzine tins leaking, a common occurrence in Papua, almost everything one purchase from Papuan stores are generally in a damaged condition, tinned goods burst, all other commodities damaged in some manner. When sending to Samarai for stores, a certain allowance has always to be made for leakage and divers other accidents. The recent war puzzled much the natives, whom remarked to the R.M., "You say white man, e no more fight, big war e still go on, why you not let my boys fight? They are become as old women". The missioner making a collection of yams and taitu for the starving children of Europe. Tuulu, the king or chief of the Trobriands possessed sixteen wives and which to make a seventeenth, as the latter would bring with her a handsome dowery of land, owing to female infanticide due to Totem,
marriagable marriageable girls were scare scarce. All the unmarried boys rushed to the R.M. in protest. Subsequently the R.M. informed Tuulu, he could only have sixteen wives, but should one of these die, he could marry again, a few months later there was a vacancy in the domestic circle.
20th Studies in Tobiraukiva. The piccaninnies had not forgotten me, or on picnic to
Okupo Okukopopu, some five months ago, they also desired me to give a further performance of my imitation of bird sounds, and suggested another trip to the aforementioned village. The police boy, came to attention, and saluted smartly, which put me much in conceit with myself.
21st Wet sodden morning. To Tobiraukiva, forced to take refuge in police boys hut, wherein his family. The youngest piccaninnies howled at the sight of me. The fire in hut fitted same with smoke, atmosphere decidedly stuffy, fortunately hut in dilapidated condition, so much of the smoke able to get away through the
21 many interstices of the palm thatch, by the same token did the rain enter therein. The piccaninnies amused itself taking furtive glances at me, until finding itself perceived more howls, which in the confined space of the hut suppose Ill become accustomed to the wail of the rising generation one day. Afternoon, work on Auerbechs verandah, the house now being dismantled, the whole structure in a rotting condition. The house boy in charge, quite a good host, offered me afternoon tea, for which I was truly grateful. Despite infamous weather, result of work to-day satisfactory, in fact feel quite at home with my subject. Also being au fait with weather conditions in this country, am better able to make allowances, and do not heed the trying climatic conditions, following the better course of ignoring the diverse conditions. Auerbech has just offered me the use of his house, this will save me much difficulty. My raiment at the moment suggests a character in the opening scene of a comic opera or melodrama. Military boots and leggings, white pants, shirt open at the neck, leather belt and pouch, I only require a revolver to complete the outfit. With the setting of palm trees it must look quite effective, in fact I rather fancy myself. Have my hair cropped, to give it another chance to grow, my last experiment of this nature, plus coconut-oil produced excellent results, no only did my hair remain permanent, but some few stray locks appeared upon that arid patch, wherein it is difficult to define where the face terminates and the cranium commences.
Fish, more generally, grilled, i.e. placed on sticks over a fire, with leaves on top. Sometimes boiled being placed on top of the tatui and yams in the earthen pot. Taro leaves are placed over all to keep in the steam. Sea water is used whenever possible, as this contains a certain amount of salt. Sometimes the natives clean the fish but frequently it is otherwise.
Taro and bannans, boiled in earthen pot, leaf on top to keep in steam. Cocoanut shaped into fine shreds, with a sharp shell is used in most native dishes.
MONA Taro and cocoanut shaped into shreds, placed in earthen pot with cocanut milk and small quantity of sea water; left stand for a night, following day is mixed into a paste with a wooden spatula; made into small cakes, leaves wrapped round it is then boiled, vegetables also baked in hot ashes. A species of leaf is used as cabbage.
A fungoid growth found on mangrove bark, is boiled, has similar flavour to mushrooms.
Lapi oysters more generally baked in hot ashes, also over open fires. Turtle shell fish.. Meals are taken mainly on the communal system, about a dozen natives to each pot, each family supplying their share of foodstuffs, this system applies mainly I think to the evening meal, as in most huts I have been in there has generally been a pot of kai kai on the fire. Though to all appearances these people have one meal a day all day.
23rd A sodden morning. To Tobiraukiva, where a death, the relatives sitting round the corpse in the hut, chanting in lugubrious manner. The chief mourner leading the dirge, the remainder taking up the refrain. Whatime some few of the villagers stand around gaping, in just such manner as do the denizens of the poorer quarters of civilised cities upon a like occasion. The husband or wife, as the case they be, is not permitted out of the hut for a week or perhaps three weeks after the burial, except for a brief time after dark. Tobiraukiva, looking very delapittated, likewise the natives very grubby, not jolly swishing of dobas, much mud about owing to the wet, village rather adiferous, no wind, heavy atmosphere. The day spent making
[Adiferous is probably meant to be odiferous, meaning carrying a smell]
dull but important detailed studies of huts, bits of stone, and other trivial subjects, each drawing must be as complete as possible, no chance to rectify errors once out of the country. Although on last expedition made many completed canvas, when working on fresh subjects was held up for details, although thought I have made studies of eighty I required. Making these drawings a great trial of patience, requiring much will power to keep to it, bits of twigs and coconut fronds, not a thing a beauty and a joy for ever. To
Tuava Tuavi village. All mothers dash i dive into huts and drag forth reluctant and howling piccaninnies, withal with much excitement am taken to a hut, wherein, which much pride am shown a new born infant, am expected to make the happy parent a present of tabac hang it all I didnt ask the woman to have a child!! Thought perhaps they had made me judicator of a baby show, until I remembered it was in this village, I made my studies of piccaninnies when last in these parts, a fact the natives had not forgotten. Whether this display of wee brown infants, was pride in their offspring or the possibilities of Tabac, was was generally forthcoming when one of the mites sat for me, I wot not. The birth of the first born of the wife of a "rich man" is quite an important and somewhat spectacular ceremony. The husbands pays a certain number of the village vivilas, to make a mantle of banana fibre, which reaches to the feet, and at a distance, has the appearance of a sable coat (see Illustration Book II) before this robe is placed on the woman, it is put upon the ground, the vivalas kneel round in in circle, and kiss it. The robe is placed upon the woman, who is then escorted to her fathers village or uncle? Wherein she remains until the event occurs, during which period the husband is forbidden to see his wife. Shortly after the birth the wife is bedecked with elaborate earrings of sapi sapi, her hair decorated with scarlet hibiscus and other flowers, face painted, withal many strings of beads and divers other ornamentation. She is then placed upon the platform outside the hut, where she receives her husband. Two naughty wenches ask for Tabac, which in broad daylight, most bold, seeing the meaning thereof. There was a great chorous of "Tabac Taubada" when I entered the village, whose occupants seemed to consider that my return to these parts should be signalised in a befitting manner, but the expence of the municipal welcome was to be defrayed by me!!! Feeling very dull and stodgy not in the least inspired, must not occupy too much time over details of native life, this is for the anthropologist. Am taking life here so much for granted, that find it not quite so thrilling as upon the former occasion, withal my mind does not fill the bush with strange and terrible reptiles, by the same token the lagoons are not animate with crocadiles, and sea monsters.
24th Trying morning in Tobiraukiva, commence sketch sitting in blazing sun, perspiration pouring on to the paper; quarter of an hour, down comes a deluge. Have to take sketch off board, fold up stool, pack up kit, ten minutes later cessation of rain, when beforementioned evolution reversed, this procedure of packing and unpacking kit, continued throughout the morning as each shower hove up. Whatime divers flies and other insects gave me their undivided attention; Sandy (the dog) had a
scra tussel with a pig close to my feet, withal numerous natives with their families, sitting round me. The sketch however moderately successful. In the cool of the evening (i.e. stuffiness a more truthful defination but not so poetic) to Tiavi village. The lagoon silver and grey, glides silently along, the water
streaming away from its sides in long smooth ripples. The canoe glides up crunching softly upon the gently shelving beach; the palms hang over the water in graceful silouhette againts the sky. The deeping shadows of the bush, purple, green and black, the lower portion of the trunks of the palms, standing out in strong relief.
Half lost in the Their bodies but half revealed by the fast fading light, a number of natives commence the lilt of a native chant. A boy, his hair festooned with white flowers, commenced what I presume was a recitation, holding a bunch of leaves in each hand, with which he accentuated his gestures, finishing up his turn with a dance; whatime the audience looked round to see if I was laughing, having satisfied themselves in this respect, their laughter became more boisterous than ever. All through the performance the audience continued to look round to see if I was appreciating their efforts. Whatime from the dim shadows behind a palm a vivilas head peeped round at me. It being well after dusk, [indecipherable] in the dim shadows a little ahead of me, perceiving the swishing skirt (doba) of the vivila, who coquetted outrageously; looking over her shoulder to see if I was following, occasionally quickening her pace, while finding I did not take the hint, she promptly slackened and stepped off the track, greeting me with merry ripples laughter as I walked past. She was an attractive looking maiden, but I have other business not quite so diverting. Mail to Samarai per "Queenscliffe") a steamship, unusual for these waters. Anything better than a bundle of sticks tied together with string, which even the most ambitious imagination could not designate a ship, is considered a liner in these waters.
25th To Tiavi, studies of piccaninnies: settle down outside hut in such position as to block up
dorway doorway; in a short while a vivila came along and remarked, "more better you not sit there Taubada" make your clothes dirty. I did not however move, said vivila waited a short while, then with some diffidence said, "Taubada, this vivila want to cook her kai kai! The former remark re soiling clothes, was merely her tactful manner of requesting me to remove myself!!! She also said "Wot name you Taubada? More better me know how call you". To-day ask a boy to sign on as "cook boy", he said alright Taubada, me make talk first time with my wife". So to-night he will discuss the matter to decide whether or no he shall sign on to this Taubaa (i.e.me). Afternoon to Tobiraukiva dull studies of canoe details, the ceaseless chatter of the natives rather a trial. Withal piccaninnies will persist in their demand for performance of bird sounds. Weather detestable, showers, muggy, not a breath of wind, mosquitos bad, as last year S.E. due but nothing doing! To-night very still, from afar off the voices of natives in the village. To-day had to compel myself to write. Pearl season not very good this year, and European market poor. Possibly the patches are becoming worked out. In exceptionally good seasons the Traders make as much as £ 10,000, but taking a general average over a period of years it works out at £ 1,000 per annum. Running a household in this country appears a simple enough, and inexpensive; in fact the general appearance of the trading stations does not suggest the homes of people dealing in fancy large sums, but the expenses are heavy and but little show for it. Should there be children there is expence of sending them South for education and to acquire the habits of Whites. Until children may be allowed run wild for a period; it is unwise that they associate overmuch with the piccaninnies. Although this early experience of bush life makes the children self reliant; they cull much knowledge of a doubtful nature from the piccaninnies who are precocious in sex matters withal their vocabulary is not entirely discreet, all of which the infant progeny of whites acquire with considerable facility but
to the uninitiated, swearing in Papunese may sound quite picturesque.
26th Work in Tobiraukiva; a morning excursion and alarms due to the usual showers. Study not a success though for the first time managed to keep the piccaninnies quiet, they at last understood I desired no romping and talking while "I made paisor" (worked) was asked by one to take out my teeth for them to see; when I explained that my teeth were permanent, they were somewhat disappointed. Afternoon work on Auerbech verandah, shall be glad when my studio ready, always working to an audience most distracting. 5.30PM with C to Sinabata. A wonderful evening, the lagoon like a mirror, the glow of the dying sun, painting the swarthy skin of the boys a rich copper. A good trip reach Sinabata 9.30pm haul P out of his bunk and make him feed us.
27th Work in Sinabata village, dull studies of canoes, carved figure heads etc. Ask boy names of the various sections, his explanation most voluable, was anxious to tell me all he knew. See what I first took to be an acquatic exsposition of larcrosse. Actually it was a fishing expedition of about twenty canoes, they follow up the shoal one of the canoes a little ahead of the main fleet, then nets which are stretched in a V shape upon two pieces of wood, were stuck vertically in the canoes, giving this latter the appearance of giant gnats. The shoal of fish reached, much hullobuloo and knocking on the sides of the canoes whatime they form in a circle, the frightened fish jump out of the water, flashes of silver in the sun, the boys all jump into the water and commence scooping up the fish with their nets. Meanwhile the canoe which went ahead rounds up the shoal. In the villages much practicing of songs and dances for the (Miamala) harvest festival (shortly due). A good harvest this year, so should be some big dances. Pearl Traders much perturbed on this account the boys will be occupied with dancing and making "walk abouts" instead of swimming pearls. And who shall blame them. The wise old witch doctors prohibit any form of musical instruments being used until all the garden work is completed. The natives tell me the reason thereof, it that it
makes induces better crops. I opine that it is to keep them to their work, otherwise they would be gadding about and neglecting their gardens. Conversation this evening between two traders, mainly of the shortcomings of their competitors. Everywhere I visit I hear the other man severely criticised. I belong to no camp, consequently hear all sides of the question, a matter which does not interest me overmuch.
28th Up betimes, as usual inanimate until morning tea arrives, life here without this fetish would be impossible (to me) the first thing I teach my boys, is how to make tea and hold a drawing, the rest can go hang. A considerably belated and cumbersome morning toilet. In civilised parts can get through the whole process in thirty minutes at most. Here it takes me an hour or more, which largely depends upon the remainder of the household. Not being in my own place, have to put each thing away as I use it, instead of everything to hand; withal waits between, shaving, bath and matitunal cleaning of teeth. Put in the time fooling round verandah, picking bananas off the various large bunches which hang thereon, whatime am consumed with impatience at the delays, nobody is in any particular hurry in this world of Palms
those who are a he who is, is a fool, in this Tropic Clime. A disgusting sodden sky, the rain always this patters upon the roof running down in numerous cascades from the many undulations and points of the sago thatch. The ground in front is mapped into a pattern of rivulets and ponds, through which, much bedraggled poultry splutter. Everything which comes to the touch is moist. The palms hang their heads sadly over the lagoon
April 28th Puff of wind causing them to occasionally wave their feathery leaves in silent protest at the besmirched and muddy sky, which by the rules of romance, shall have been a wonderful blue. Housboys with moi held over head splash through the mire upon their domestic duties; Domestic architecture in this world of "igan" (bye and bye) is not planned it just happens, growing much in the haphazard manner as does the vegetation. There is the main structure, a rectangle, surmounted with
eith a roof of either sago thatch or shingles. The rectangle completed and floored with strips of palms, the space is then divided into just so many sections as may be deemed necessary; the partition made of moi (dried pandanus leaf). The spaces are generally for bedroom, bathroom and a kitchen, the main living room, the verandah itself. This main structure completed, additions are made as necessity dictates. Excrescences that will straggle out on the sides or rear of the house, withal the ubiquitous round water circular water tank of galvanised iron with spout to run rainwater off the room, more often than not, ignoring the angle of the roof to the more exacting laws of gravatation, not a little rain finds its way through the roof. Should happy chance provide glazing; then the window space must fit the glass; which latter by some strange fluke has drifted out from more civilised parts, where glazing is the rule, not the exception. The openings which serve as windows, have each a flap constructed of the sides of packing cases, nailed to the battens. Should wind be upon that side of the house, the flap must be closed, adequate in keeping out the wet, by the same token is the light obscured. Sanitation compels that the "small house" (lavatory) be some distance from the house, to this edifice a track which not infrequently is a litter of stones, rubble and vegetation; on wet days a none too pleasant journey withal at night, the possibility of a snake on the track. In the paddock are the boys houses and boimas (food stores) of usual native construction. Whatever these Trader houses may lack as "handsome well appointed residences, with all conveniences" at least they supply the all important factor of coolness. In a country wherein every man must be his own architect, his materials wrenched from the bush and swamp, his only assistance the unskilled labour of a people known to the outside world as cannibals; some of these houses are extraordinarily well constructed. All important appendage to these houses is the Store with attached veranah, whereon the natives sit around and gossip, awaiting such time as may please the mood of the Trader to open up and "trade" or sell them such articles as are dear to the heart of the native: Tabac, betel nut, brilliant hued calicos (whose gay colours would put to shame Jacobs coat), bells, mirrors, beads, beads, knives, bottles of cheap scent for the beaux to present to their vivilas, though I strongly suspect the former take their full share of the gift. Withal to the store a continual flow of boys and their vivilas families with kai kai, Taitu, yams, Taro, large bunches of bananas, pineapple, fish, eggs, and divers other foodstuffs, for nature has been most bountiful to this corner of Papua, which is the richest district in this wild country. All considered it is doubtful whether an M should not supplant the W, so common the word applied to this country so much by press and Publishers, whose over lurid description of Papua has given the public an erroneous conception of this strange land. Nature untamed, is not of necessity more dangerous than our
civilisation, there are dangers merely of "another kind" though one cannot ignore the always damnable and impossible climate. Thunder mutters and deluge, two hours delay waiting to sail to Surovita, said sail being four boys to paddle, storm over so away. The punt laden with heavy logs, our kit piled thereon, C & self atop, whatime the punt is kept from complete inundation by ceaseless application of bailing with the half of a cocoanut shell. Fortunately but a few drops of rain during the four hours of this tedious journey. C vexed, cursing voluably, withal endevour to accelerate speed of engine by divers slaps on their bare backs, likes me not at all. Forgot to bring kai kai, a condition somewhat ameloriated by a tin of beans and a sardine, what happy chance was in the depleted tucker box.
29th To WASAISOVA. en route some vivilas, baskets on head on their way to waterhole, they reconnoitred me through the interstices of the leaves, thereupon retired a short distance, held a confabulation, presumably satisfied themselves I was not an ogre, continued on their way. My presence however embarrassed them they being about to make their matitunal ablution in the lagoon; they managed quite deftly without
the pr breach of the proprieties. In the village, where a boy occupied painting up his wooded canoe, a fine piece of work, true to scale, including the carved prow and sides, his paint brush, the handle a piece of fibre from frond of palm leaf, the hairs of the brush fine fibre tied round. The red pigment, made from some red soil (possibly clay) the black, crushed charcoal, the white portions painted with lime. The vivilas of this village arrant coquettes, while I was at work, they would creep round to the side of a hut, taking furtive peeps at me, should perchance I turn my head, away they would fly like the wind. Their doba (skirts) flying up at a dangerous angle. One particularly attractive maiden, embarrassed me much. While I was endevouring to make a study of her, holding up a piece of matting in front of her each time I essayed to put pencil to paper, she would then dash boldly forward, give a whoop, run away and smile at me from the fastness of a coco pal. She coquetted in this manner for half an hour, then taking another vivila by the hand (the custom when the bold hussies are out for business) and with many theatrical gestures, intimated we should hie to the cover of the bush!!! Most embarrassing in the full glare of a midday sun, with the whole village for audience. My work completed, I leave the village, the vivilas old and young following me en masse. My last view before a bend in the track hid them, was a number of vivila heads looking over the bush making the tabac sign. This episode appeals not to the Mrs Gundys, nevertheless most droll. The setting of cocoa palms and natives huts, the quaint piccaninnies, the whole seen lit with the blaze of Tropic Sun, in the foreground two vivilas holding hands. A number of youths off to catch the midday meal, and here is a touch of fairyland. Their nets were made of spiders webs, strung across hoops of fine twigs!!! A seemingly flimsy material but evidently strong enough to catch the small fish with which they shortly returned. Evening time to Teari. Most of the inhabitants bedizened, oiled up, their faces elaborated decorated. They were very noisy and excited; they usually get worked up about this season when the Miamala commences. Practicing of song, and a seemingly rather naughty dance, if I may judge by the few movements I witnessed some of the vivilas give. Afternoon to Tobiraukiva. Piccaninnies desired me to give a performance of bird sounds to the whole village, nothing doing thank you. A big day, very fatiguing, finishing up with studies of a parrot, which latter when not gyrating, stuffing its head into my pockets, was hopping on the branch. Fine all day!
April 30. The morning fitting up a small room at Auerbechs where at last I can work undisturbed, light not up to much, but then this is Papua. There is great rivalry amongst the villages in to which produces the finest yams and is possessed of the greater number of stone axe heads (a piece of native wealth). One season Tobiraukiva was boasting throughout the island, the preminence of its products, displaying their yams and axe heads in various villages culminating in a display in Gunulibaba, (the largest village; "slinging off" at the Gunulibaba people. Suddenly the Karatana villages "hove up" with a considerably superior exhibition whereupon the Tobiraukiva crowd fled with contumely. This rivalry about their gardens is the cause of many feuds. Seemingly artists not in the boom on Karawina, ten days ago I caused it, to be proclaimed that I desired a cook-boy; up to date, no applicants,
so far for this exalted post.
Complete water-colour of Salamo. Studies in Tobiraukiva. Boy brings my clever replica of fish net in miniature, this one actually used by the piccaninnies, which latter receive a very thorough education. At a very early age the vivilas are instructed in the making of their dobas (skirts), prepare and cook food and general domestic duties. The boys are taught to make nets and canoes in miniature, to transact kula business, gardening and such other accomplishment connected with native life. The nets and canoes are made in miniature, the former to put to practical to practical application from three to four years of age both sexes are adept at handling canoes, they commence their apprenticeship as seamen at the early age of two years, by bailing out the canoes, acquiring further knowledge as their years increase. This is one of the causes of the natives antipathy to the Mission, they whish to initiate their progress into becoming efficient in the fundamental necessities of life almost from birth. Although a knowledge of the three R may be useful
knowled to those who wish to become cook and house boys to white people, these latter are in such a negligible quantity and is in any case a side issue, in any case mission knowledge to the native is of little practical value, and is not justified to the neglect of their agricultural and domestic duties, which is the life of the native. That they should be inculcated into the necessity of cleanliness, and display a little more discretion in sex matters is well enough, but justifiable, only so long as it does not impede the more important issues of life. A knowledge of the three R will fill an empty stomach, by the same token it will not charm the fish out of the sea or cause taitu to grow unassisted. "tea-pot", an ex cook boy desirous of singing on to me remarked that he, "like me altogether too much", rather a flighty individual is this lad, many suggestions aneant procuring me vivilas for me, finding by my experience, these latter missies, appear sufficiently capable of transacting their own business.
2nd To Tobiraukiva for moonlight studies, visibility poor, sky cloudy. A vivila seemingly much disappointed that my visit to the village was only for ginigins (sketching) although nearing midnight the village much occupied preparing to the Sagali (feast) which will be celebrated tomorrow. Vivilas most fastidious in the preparation of Mona )a special dish) all the ingredients very carefully prepared. One boy busy putting the final polish upon a long spatula presumably a ceremonial utensil, the ordinary spatula used for culinary purposes, is just a small piece of roughly finished wood. The visitors bring their own coiola (food) tins, and that prepared by the village, is placed in little heaps, which a "rich man" or Guiau distributes. Boys and their vivilas walking about holding hands or practising the normal flirtatious subtfuges common to the white people. Although the natives treat sex matters in such a broad manner, I have never yet seen the embarrassing spectacles common to the parks and open spaces in civilised cities.
2nd Work a "dud". Cook boy will not singn on, wants to work in the garden. Trobriand natives, in fact the Papuans generally, great scandle-mongers. Mrs L off to a pearl patch with vivilas from Teavi, which latter are "swimming pearls"
3rd Morning work at Gunulibaba, in absence of A. house boys hold sagali on verandah, a noisy chatterfercation. To Tobiraukiva, once more essay the exasperating task of working in the open, alternate half hours of cloud and sunshine, withal being near water-hole; all afternoon chorous of infants protesting at their ablutions. The whole fortnight a succession of drab muddy days, complete absence of colour.
4th Work in Teavi (oils) little more successful, but weather as usual, patchy, compelling me to ignore the occassional bursts of sunlight, natives so interested some sat out the whole four hours watching its progress, despite occasional showers, later in the day heard some of them discussing this particular study in detail.
5th Work in Teavi (oils)) afternoon sun shifts too rapidly to obtain a successful result withal lighting unsteady owing to clouds. Much snobbery between the vivilas of Tobiraukiva and Teavi, some women from both villages were "swimming pearls" at Karibi. The Tobiraukiva vivilas, who consider themselves the best people, commenced to order about the Teavi vivilas, forming cliques and "putting on side". Fine all day, but cloudy evening. Heavy showers. One of the vivilas badly stung by a sting-ray. These fish make a most horrible wound, the poison causing great pain. The vivila was very brave, while we rubbed crystals of permanganate of potash into the open wound; this is necessary to kill the effects of the poison, which
other unless promptly treated is liable to prove dangerous.
6th Sodden day, fed up with this colourless weather. Work in room at A. Administrator of Native Affairs along, most interesting man.
7th To Teavi. Queue of vivilas with their piccaninnies in hope I will portray their youngster. Teach a piccaninny to wipe its nose on a leaf, a habit which I wish all natives would acquire. Although born in the country, natives suffer as much from malaria as do we . A mission vivila accustomed to wearing calicoes suffered from sunburn. A vivila wearing a belt informed Mrs L that before she could take the best off, or upon the occasion thereof, a sagali (feast) would be held the reason thereof I wot not.
8th Pack up and away for Sinakata village. To Teavi for a canoe, boy stood alongside. Made no effort to move. Inquire reason thereof. "I want that you pay me good Taubada". These are a complex people, most difficult to understand, their conception of business, infantile. Although have frequently worked in this village, given them Tabac to sit and paid for such curios as I have obtained from them, despite this, for some reason best known to their peculiar temprement this boy did have no confidence in me. Weather hot, "faut de-mieux" wear an orange coloured handkerchief under my hat, wild excitement in village at the spectacle thereof. To Lousia. A bright sunny morning out but half an hour, when a squall, result wet to the skin, there appears no finish to the liquidity of the climate, am thoroughly weary of this everlasting wet and dirty mud coloured skies, and always a troublesome kit, even if only to go a short distance, must always be prepared for a deluge, which means that to make Sketch that might take perchance but half an hour, the whole kit has to be packed as though going upon a long expedition. Per "Gero" to Sinakata, where I stay Parkes plantation for a few days. Fleet of Dobu canoes arrives, pennants flying, much blowing of conch shells. These canoes are of large dimensions for this class of craft. Their
figure prows not so elaborately carved, general lines and proportions, not so good as Trobriand craft, whereas in this latter, the canoes from stern to stern, curve in a gentle arc, both ends of the former (Dobu) are horizontal. For the painter, however, the Dobu canoes, being larger, there is
more to get hold of, the masses larger.
May 8 Two Dobu boys having a difference, much excitement and noise, all the village talking at once. The fight consisted of the two combatants, yelling and gesticulating at each other, the winner seemingly is he who possesses the strongest lungs. Moonlight nights sit of chattering into the small hours of the morning, nevertheless, at daylight they are up as usual to commence their daily duties. No work-boy in sight, genuine shortage of labour throughout the Islands. Natives too busy in their gardens, which is well enough. Tis better they should possess more important intents than Tabac, and acquiring Tawding "Trade" Endevor to purchase sapi necklaces, nothing doing, they appear to place great value upon their personal adornments, these seemingly heirlooms, or possess some potent charm, necklaces comprised mainly of trade beads, they appear none more willing to part with, though no ruling can be made, like the white people, depends upon the mood and Tabac conditions of the native at the time the bargain is suggested. Visit David a pearler, he is weary of being compelled to remain within the precincts of this house, which he cannot leave, as natives might come in with pearls, should he be absent, the pearls would fall into the hands of his competition. Competition is very keen. Another method is to follow the pearling fleet in their boats, taking with them "Trade" and money, to snap up the pearls before the other man gets it.
May 9th Have nearly reached limit of my patience, this ceaseless rain, and colourless conditions, most depressing, no cook-boy yet. A Vabuta boy I had upon my last expedition happened along. Had just completed arrangements with him to fetch and carry for me, but Poole will not let him about the house,
upon owing to this boys penchants for vivlas both single and married, so no boy. Arrival of large fleet of canoes from Vabuta, pennants and calicoes flying to the breeze, much blowing upon conch shell, and shouting from the village. The came in full speed, furiously digging up the water with their paddles, jumped ashore and went tearing up to the chiefs hut, this latter was not at home to them he did not wish to give them a sagali, they were considerable vexed, so they up at away to Kavataria upon kula business; to get possession of a much prized pair of amulets, which Kavataria won from Tobiraukiva last year. Am fortunate to have seen this fleet, maybe another two years before the native wealth comes round to this village again. This exchange of wealth extends to almost every village as far as Dobu, some sixty miles distant. The status of a village largely depends upon the possession of these highly prized articles, which latter in appearance are very dull indeed. The amulets are circles of white shell, with a few dull gewgaws attached thereto, the axe head just pierse of polished stone. Jade, I think. The arrival of Dobu canoes had nothing to do with the Vabuta fleet, Sinakata is a common port of call for the former. Vivilas this side of water have made no overtures to me so far.
10th Work in Sinakata. Sun streaming through the palms making spots of rich yellows and greens, vibration of light everywhere. The foreshore noisy with the joyous shouts of piccaninnies racing their
10th - toy canoes; others tearfully disputing the right of their mothers to wash them. From the fastness of a hut, whose door is closed, emanates the wail, (strident chords) of a widows mourning chant, halfway through a chord she missed the correct tone, stopped and commenced again the the right ring. Twenty vivilas, basket on head, gaily decorated faces, bedecked with leaves and flowers, the shells on their Bagidoga ringing gaily as they tripped through the village en route for a sagali. I am surrounded with my usual audience, who speak in whispers, lest I volley at them DIS!!! (be quiet) they forget themselves occassionally calling friends and relatives to come and see the Ginigin (drawing).l One or two vivilas, enormous basket of full of yams, balanced upon their head, stooped down to better see the work, quite regardless of their head gear. I was slightly aprenhensive but needlessly so, their ability to
remind balance articles upon their head is quite extraordinary. Once saw a girl on the track with an empty beer bottle upon her head. Afternoon working in oil, always a damn difficult task in this climate and light. There is no fixed meal hour here at P. Get a meal if he should happen to think of it; at best a doubtful proportion with him so order the meals myself. Weather fine all day. A commotion in the village, sounds as if a fight in progress, doubt advisable of investigating with no more fearsome weapon than a walking stick, decide to take the risk. The row possibly with the Dobu and Vakuta boys, at present visiting Sinakata on Kula business. The village completely obscured by the darkness, nothing whatever visible from out the depths the noise of a tremendous chatterfercation, some of the voices quite close to me. My lamp discloses groups of natives, talking, gesticulating, shouting in frenzied excitement, at sight of my lamp, they shut off steam, forget their grievance and come round to inspect and admire my patent hurricane lamp, like children admiring a new toy. Dobu boys asked the villagers who I was, " What taubada this one?" whereupon said villagers at some length became most discursive, gave a long, and seemingly minute description of my ginigins (painting) feel disposed to sign on this boy as my press agent. See apparently the work I have been doing impresses these dusky critics. It was rather a weird scene, a background of great masses of dense shadows, patterned with patches of sky and palms, trunks of trees, bits of huts, and natives half revealed by the rays of my lamp, the shiny skin of the boys rather points of light. The natives stare at my press agent who is eulogising the achievements of my "ginigins", a few vivilas creep up to listen. I turn my lamp upon them; with a giggle they melt into the shadows. Meet house boy, he remarks "Altogether boy they fight Taubada, giving me details of the scrap, which as usual concerned a vivila, which latter enamoured of a youth, would have none of the other fellow. This latter tried to take her by force, calling upon the other Dobu boys to support his cause. Whereupon a lung power contest ensued. There being some three hundred boys in the "show up" it was possible to hear them, particularly as the canopy of palms which covered the village acted as a sounding board. They did also get to it "Kicking" each other with their hands though how the devil they could see who and what to hit in that solid darkness beats my comprehension. The show was practically over when I arrived, they were standing in groups discussing the points of the fray, in just such manner as would white people under similar circumstances. So home and to bed, have since discovered the youth concerned is our house boy.
11th A vivila to "sit" which she did very well for two hours, naturally her pals came to look on, put drawing away. Vivilas, en masse, request me to get it out for them to see. How immensely interested are these people. They do not look at the work, with the casual manners of the merely curios, but study the works, pointing out to each other
the minutest details, which they are quick to observe. Afternoon working oils, not much go, colour poor, pigment sticky. Weather fine until 6 PM light showers. Two pieces of old sheeting given me for paint rags, once more serve their original use, forgot to bring my sheets.
12th Work in oils, afternoon studies in Sinabata, a vivila with piccaninnie came to have a look, mouth of said piccaninnie level with my ear, it gave a series of yells, - Tablau. Crocadile came up three yards from where I was standing, but made off, for which much relieved. Shall set a bait for it to-night. Plantation boys vivilas practising songs, just outside the door, at such close quaters, rather discorting. This side of Island, devoid of fruit, but little fish, and no vivilas coming to the house for Tabac.
Although Sinabata is a coastal
town village, the inhabitants have become so spoilt by A a pearl trader, who has practically bought the village in order to get pearls, that these people have become so lazy, they will not even fish for their own requirements, but wait for one of the other villages to get the fish, from whom they purchase it. Weather, showery. Get a minute piccaninnie to carry home my sketch upon which honour he thrusts out his chest with great pride, to questions from passing natives he gives accounts of the sketch in detail, like a bus conductor calling out names of stopping places. "Cocoanuts, betel nut, Boimas, this inventory of the sketch he repeats every time. Three vivilas come in to the room every night to watch me write. A. happened to call, their was a cry of "Dim! Dim! (white man) a flutter of skirts and flying feet, and they disappeared into the black space of the darkness without.
13th Studies of vivilas, Sunday and a sodden day, take afternoon off. Natives clean their teeth with betel nut skin. Their teeth become blackened through eating betel nut, they regard this discolouring as beautiful.
14th Work in oils Sinabata village, fairly successful, but strong light a great trial, ask one of the house vivilas to "sit", but she "no want" inquire reason, with some persuasion she remarked, "e not ginigini all some glass (i.e. camera) and further explained that I did not obtain a good likeness!! Talking with Poole on verandah; outside three vivilas cleaning up the ground, which neccessitated considerable bending, and resultant stern view, though nothing untoward. Question of unions was discussed, I referred to the very droll Federated Union of Fish Fryers of Gosport, England whereupon we both laughed. Suddenly a veritable tornado of flying skirts and we were confronted by three highly voluable and indignant maidens who remarked "What for you make laugh at behind belong us"!! ? The exact expression they used with reference to their posterior portion of their anatomy was considerably [indecipherable] flowery. We experienced the greater difficulty in explaining to them that they were not in the scene when we laughed. Afternoon to Sinabat to get two kikita vivila (little girls) to "oil". The two I selected were in working skirts and grubby. Much excitement and rushing in and out huts to get themselves cleaned up and bedecked, and very charming they appeared when the embellishments were completed. A sort of getting ready to have their photo took "business. The mother brought them round to the house, but added to their number in the interim, evidently thought it to be a family
affair group. They sat in a row on the verandah, whatime the fond parent, pulled and patted things into place. Was anxious to get to work, needs must the mother borrow a comb from a passing boy and get to work frizzing up their hair, despite my exspostulations, she continued frizzing fiddling until she considered they looked their best. The work was "dud" half the village had come round to look on, whatime poultry and cats fooled round my legs. The wee mites "sat" we;; or rather stood, one of the little victims looked very weary by the time I had finished with her, stood for an hour and half with five minute rests. Weather fine all day.
15th Hell of a night, wind screamed, howled and moaned, thunder crashed, rain pounding on roof, made a fair bid to outnoise the thunder. Pressure of this weight on the roof must have been enormous. No sleep, at dawn; two cocks crowed under my bed, pigs squealed and rioted,
MAY 15. Although am in one of the back blocks of the world, escape noise, I cannot. Both day and night is one riot, in the villages, howling piccaninnies chatterfercation of natives, at A & L, native jabbered, comixed with divers other household noises, including the rioting of domestic and farm animals. Following is a dissertation of a native concerning myself, as told to one, David a pearler. "What fashion belong im this one Dim, Dim Taubada? e come long village with bokis (box) e look long (at) cocoanut, take altogether something like hair belong im (paint brush) e put im water, red an altogether something long board (palette) make em gini gini long board, quick time e make look cocoanut like read, I never see fashion all same in long new Guinea, e get em papier, all same I look e make em tau " (boy). Visit three small villages. Kaulas, Kanabaruka, Kaola. Not up to much, but track rather pretty,
showe weather showery, sunset rather good, but have seen better. Finding it extremely difficult to school myself to make necessary but dull detail studies, before leaving the country want to get as complete collection as possible, aslo also to know my subject so thoroughly, that can play about when on to large canvas: Landscape does not compose well, have not yet been able to paint a subject exactly as seen owing to poor composition.
16th Piccaninnie studies Sinabata. Unquestionably these people are very fond of their piccaninnies always amusing them and taking them for walk about. See quaint toy canoe arrange to "Trade" same whereupon the owner, a vivila of some forty years of age collected about a dozen companions and heading the procession toy in hand made for the house. Upon arrival all ask to see ginigini (drawings) though tired have not heart to refuse their request, they were immensely impressed all talked at once and pointed out divers details, whatime P vivila put on superior airs, puffed at a cigarette and endevoured to look as thought quite accustomed to ginigini (drawings) weather fine. Trouble with my sight, mainly through lack of sleep, I fancy. To Sinabata where give boy tabac to get me two boys to carry my kit to Gausowita, an hour later per medium of a vivila, sent back the tabac with message "they no want go, altogether long work long garden" which is Papuan tact, for, - we are not damn will going to take your kit. Auerbech, a trader, has so spoilt these villagers, that they have become besotted with Tabac, will not work either for themselves or anyone else, withal are filled with self importance, owing to the fact that A lives like a pig, permits is native woman to knock him about, and puts up with contumely in order to get peace out of the natives, tells them withal he is a great man in Dim Dim (
White Australia) with such an example, quite naturally these villagers have lost all respect for the Whites, in itself a menace, where there are so few of us and this few scattered, over a wide area. When I received this message I was furious. Dressed myself up with leggings etc, take hurricane lamp and stick away to the village, arrived therein, sat me down, lamp by my side, call the whole village out, some two hundred including chief. Then let forth my fury upon them, I was very vexed, I said; "You no savey fashion belong me, I be in
May 16th Dim Dim (England) I big chief belong ginigini (painting) me all some big government; what all this gammon (lies) you make about garden, I not all some George (A) another fashion belong me. To-morrow when sun e come up two boy with wagga (canoe) come quick time; if not, I send big chief belong village to
goal gaol. I almost shouted this at them in thunderous voice the while scowling at them in ferocious manner. Flatter myself I looked very threatening, though actually despite my rage, felt disposed to laugh at the ludicrous situation. Next morning to very humble natives arrived well before time to carry myself and kit.
17th To Gausowita per canoe. First two boys for my collection, to assist erecting my studio. Afternoon clearing land, a subject I was not of, but have made fairly good start, over to my room at Auerbech, find natives making feast on verandah, clear out the whole bunch. These children must be given to understand that the white mans wishes are to be respected.
18th Land clearing a "dud" had to sub it out and do it again. My two boys working fairly well, but slow. As I approach my paddock, no sound of industry. Lumlys boys working on intermediate paddock signal my approach, crash and riot of prodigious work in my paddock. My cook boy arrives, could not wait until reach house to give me complete compendium of his qualification for the
poss position, judging by his eulogistic description of his abilities, he must have been chef to most of the Royal families of Europe; withal there is no task he is not competent to undertake (so he says) from building a cathedral to navigating a submarine. Fed up, walking about bossing my two boys, so to room where paint a little. Fishing fleet of some twenty canoes bring in large catches, which they take to the bush to exchange for garden produce. Weather, showers.
19th With three boys to cut timber in mangrove swamp, nightmare, expensive, scrambling, slipping and sliding through mud and slime, stumbling over gnarled and twisted roots, no solid foothold anywhere, in places the boys up to their thighs in the mud. Great difficulty in finding required timber. Worked our way some six hundred yards into the swamp, trees which are straight enough, boys tell me wood no use, at last. Find the right stuff, fell two which became entangled into the top branches of other
the trees, no means of cutting these away, have to commence on others, at last fell and strip one endeavour to get it on to canoe, the weight of it caused it to sink into mud. Heavy shower soaked to skin. Wet, tired, hungry and thoroughly depressed return having accomplished nothing. Team of piccaninnies from Teavi to clear land, they commenced work with great shouts of joy, looking up between spasms, with great air of pride. They worked well and appeared to thoroughly enjoy it. Now possess all the boys I require. What with the boys who should have come in, and didnt, others who came in unexpectedly, confused me considerably, kind of add six and deduct five etc sort of business. However all sorted out to the required number. Hire hut in Teavi for boys sleeping quarters. Weather fine except the one shower which soaked me. One hour painting
May 19 Origins of Coconut Mythology.
In the village of Dogma on N.E. Coast a fishing village. Whenever the inhabitants went fishing, be the catch good or bad, there was one man, who invariably returned with a big haul, but would not enlighten the others the secret of his success. At last the villagers became so curious they decided to investigate. This particular fisherman always went off on his own, they sent a piccaninnie to follow him, but remain hidden from the latter in the bush which bordered the beach. The child followed the man about two miles, the latter stopped, made a careful survey to see he was not observed, then proceeded to take off his head, which he deposited on the beach. Headless he waded into the sea, and bent down, whereupon the fish entered the cavity of his neck into his body. The man returned to the beach, stooped down and emptied his catch. Then felt around until he could find his head replaced it and returned to the village. Meanwhile the piccaninnie had run on ahead and related what he had witnessed. The villagers would not believe the boy, concluded it was the fabrication of childish imagination; so on the next occasion sent an old man to watch. As hitherto, the man took off his head and repeted his former performance, but while he was groping about the beach for his head, the old man dashed forward, snatched it up and threw it some considerable distance into the bush, from which subsequently a coconut palm grew. And the headless man died. If this tale is doubted, inspect a coconut; it will be observed that at one end are three spots which are the eyes and mouth of the man.
Debasi. Spirit of the Banana. When planting bananas, the natives handle them with great care, lest they bruise the spirit.
Origins of Trade between the village of Boera near Port Moresby and Wamea.
Edai Siabo, a chief was dragged out of his canoe by the sea god Dirava. Siabo was pulled under
and sea and placed in a cleft in the coral. The God said to Siabo, dont be alarmed, no harm shall befall you. I have a dish which I wish to taste, whereupon a dish of sago was brought. Siabo tasted thereof and found that it was good, asked Dirava from whence he procured it? The God told him where it could be obtained, and instructed Siabo to construct a canoe of certain dimensions and design, with sails the shape of crabs claws, to fill the canoe with earthen pots and sail west until he reached a certain village, wherein he could obtain all the sago he desired. Having given Siabo full instructions he took him to the surface and placed him in the canoe. When Siabo returned to the village he set about constructing the canoe of the design hitherto unknown. This greatly puzzled the inhabitants of Boera. Siabo then collected a cargo of cooking-pots, the particular industry of the village, and sailed in a westerly direction, until he reached the village described to him by Dirava, which was the village of Wamea. The inhabitants of which upon sight of this strange craft, collected their arms and rushed down to the sea,
Pulled the canoe ashore and made prisoner Edia Siabo. When they discovered the cooking pots, the like of which they had never
seen beheld, they were much elated with their loot, hurried back to the village to try them. A council was held as to the fate of the prisoner, some were for killing him, but the elders of the village, wisely remembered that when these post were broken, they could not be replaced as the prisoner was the only man who knew from whence they came. They asked Siabo where he found them obtained them. He replied that he brought them to exchange for sago, and that he would bring a fresh cargo each year. Whereupon they filled his canoe with sago and Siabo sailed back to hi village, much to the surprise of this latter, who had forgotten about him. Siabo was a deformity and so ugly, that no girl would have anything to do with him. Each year he made his trip to Wamea with a freight of pots, returning to his village loaded with sago, eventually he became very rich, married the prettiest girl in the village and lived happily ever after. The trading of sago is still carried on between these two villages, that is the reason origin of its this canoe the Lakatoi being depicted upon the Papuan postage stamps.
20th Work on moonlight study at A. A dud. Thought had made enough foreground detail studies, find have only a few. Commence of S.E.
21st Up betimes, and to polish boots and leggings and so to collect my boys for expedition into mangrove swamp. Commence collection of aforesaid at 9Pm gathered in by 11Am away for punt, fondly confident all boys with me. One away to obtain water, another follows to get fire stick. These two return, others off for punt, which latter fast in mud, all boys away to get her off, punt afloat, find have forgotten paddles, boy to fetch same, discover absence of tomahawk, away two more boys. At last all kit to hand, boys assembled and counted, difficult task owing to their peregrination. So aboard and away into shower! Wet, discomfortable. Swamp reached, I ashore and stepping very daintly lost my shiny boots and leggings become demoralising, was over nice in this, first footstep, took me up to knees in glutinous mixture of best quality mud, next step, well above knees. Whatime for a second, claw the air, slither amongst rotting stumps, fall into tangle of roots and all manner of abominable things. My shirt and pants pattern of mud spots so into fastness of
swamp gloom within. Where mud is not, a mass of tangled and knarled roots, sticking out of mud thousands of pointed stakes, upon which become impaled if loose footing upon slipping roots, upon which support myself by clinging to slender branches, which latter at intervals break, precipitating me into the mud beneath. These roots the only means of getting across quagmire. So round in circles to find trees straight enough for my purpose, but they were always either too short, twisted or over bulky, find what I think the very thing, boys remark "e no b-good, e rotten" all break up".
May 21 more dithering and sliding over the mire, perspiration pouring off in streams; atmosphere heavy with foul emanations from mud and rotting vegetation, dismiss tree, not ambitious to decorate landscape with graceful curves or weird contortions, boys to work, it cut through, take cover for crash to ground, tree makes hesitant movement, as though undecided what action to take. Limbs waving in the air, it falls
to ground forward, embraces top foliage of other trees, there remnants in state of suspended animation, flaunting grotesque limbs at me, leering, malignant, glaring defiance at my puny efforts, thus had I to leave it, useless for my purposes or any other, seek out further victims, no foothold other than flimsy roots and liquid mud. After many efforts, in which most of the felled timber, did not fell, but clung desperately to upper limbs of other trees eventually after prodigious labor, at last get one to earth. Sit on damp stump feet in mud, watching boys cut tree into required length. Rather fancied myself leggings, shirt open at throat, orange hankerchief round head à la pirate, feel really buccaneerish, until a tree is falling scramble in the mire to escape injury, despite fact I was well away from danger zone. This programme repeated throughout day, sans food, sans water, did not bring those owing to continued delays prior to getting away, become thoroughly depressed, all this tribulation just to put coloured pigment on piece of canvas. Boys worked splendidly, after working all day without food, carry the heavy timber, through impossible swamp to punt. How they managed this beats me, the appearance of the sheer weight of this bulky timber made my limbs ache. Five huts in Tobiraukiva burnt down. Good and chattels of occupants bestrew ground ; skirts, bowls and other domestic paraphernalia of native life. All villagers talking at same once, few piccaninnies throwing coconut shells of water on fire. Some wise person placed green palm leaves on huts in track of fire, this prevented fire spreading as result of fire one hut [indecipherable] old fighting shield, valuable I believe, but very unbeautiful. I traded this with the owner, an old man for two sticks tabac. Cook boy arrives with his vivila, this latter a prepossessing damsel.
22nd Studies. Water colour piccaninnie, fairly successful. Sent boys on their own to cut timber. Worked very well, already jealousies between Niaman my cook-boy and boss boy this latter tells me "e want to boss altogether too much, e no good". Feel rather like a child with a new toy with this boy. My cook-boy also brought a vivila along for me presumably this is a custom amongst the white people here, so told him "Fashion belong me different".
23rd To the swamp for timber. Afternoon to Lousia to sign on Niamani (cook-boy) find he has not paid govt tax for three years, consequently all he will drawn at end of his six months service with me will be ten shillings plus his two sticks tabac per week. Think some error here, must
May 23 investigate the matter. Dobu, most anxious to be allowed to wear singlet, disappointed because request not granted, dont want my boys too much Dim Dim fashion. Weather fine.
24th Thoroughly knocked up after my scramble through swamp which was mostly on all fours clinging to roots. Slight touch fever, not enough to prevent work. Piccaninnie studies Tobiraukiva
25th Studies in Teavi. Water-colour piccaninnies. Weather fair. Down with flu
26th Mainly building troubles. i.e. my boys know I no savvy fashion belong New Guinea" with result much slackness. Find cook-boy, dressed up in calicoes (against order) playing the role of big boss, he was sitting down, smoking, and giving orders in a lordly manner, making not the least effort to give assistance. To-day Sat, all the boys endevour to overdraw pay, in "Trade", i.e. calicoes, Tabac etc. My chief difficulty, is my ignorance as to exact working capacity of a boy, also a fairly accurate judgment as to weight a boy can manage, no use driving a boy beyond his limit, by the same token is it bad for him not to put in his full share of work. Meanwhile sick and tired of building this studio, which I must have. Tell all the boys "that I no swear plenty, but if too much gammon I fight big" doubt me if they were impressed.
[A table of One Weeks Pay for Boys]
Wages Per week 2/6 - 15/-
Rations(cost) 3 sticks tabac per day 5/-
Sat Tabac 2 sticks per boy 3
Sub Total - £ 1.0.3
Boss boy wages 5/- -
Total - £ 1.5.0
Signing on fee 6/-
Wages per week = 2/6
Sat Tabac 2 stick tabac 6
Sat Tabac 1 stick tabac cook boys vivila (wife) 3
Still very shaky. To bed for an hour covered with heavy blankets and hot water bottle, 10 grains quinine to emporium tabloids. Dont know if fever, flu or result of chill fancy the former.
Last expedition took 5 grains quinine per day, for five months, no fever. This trip 5 to 10 grains per week, result, fever, though slight, not enough to impede work for more than half day.
27th Work in room at A. To Teavi to make studies of fish nets, had nearly completed, a vivila thinking it was finished, pointed out to me that I had forgotten to put in the edge of the net, they were all immensely interested. This day being Sunday, all the
natives much bedecked, making "walk abouts" the boys in one separate from the girls,
sometime averaging from six to a dozen are out on the war parth to see if they can "get off". The are always particularly excited on Sundays, and disposed to be very frivilous more especially the vivilas, when I left the village about sixteen of the bold hussies (all ages) followed me. Trouble with my cook-boy (Dobu) and his Mrs. Dobu wants to "throw away" his wife (divorce) and get him some other damsel. Swore at his wife last night, she bolted crept into the hut of a married boy, this latter being asleep was unaware of her prescence, seemingly my cook-boy thought this an all sufficient excuse to meet his ends. nothing doing.
Remainder of Trobriand Islanders have ostracized Boitala (wood-carvers) village on account of this latter eating bush pig and sting-ray. They trade with these villagers but socially, will have nothing to do with them.
28th May Work at A. Pen & ink. A disgusting day of hell riot from sunrise to 9.20pm mainly manage, shall be glad when my studio built where a chance to collect my scattered wits. Cook-boy again bothering me re a vivila to live with me, shall have to put a stop to these importunities. Weather dull and heavy.
29th This ceasless riot (domestic) has torn my nerves to rags cannot sleep. Pourri Pourri (poison) case being
heard tried at Residency, very involved. All boys in Smabatu village fined for not keeping village clean, also in investigation to why I was not provided with canoe and carriers. This village of loafers getting it will in the nick, though the native is not to blame, Auerbech is responsible. These people rapidly take their tone from the white people with whom they are most frequently in contact. It is unfortunate that this in the main, the class of white men frequenting Papua, are most vulgar and illiterate, fit descriptions of the manner in which Auerbech lives, see March, Book 1. This is a man whose possesses a plantation, and makes a considerable sum out of pearling.
The specimens of wood-carving brought along recently, most awful rubbish, due to the constant demand by whites for souvenirs, these latter people content to accept any rubbish. I explain to the boys that they must keep up the standard of their work another case of commercialism killing Art. The days of quietitude before the white man trod these shores is over, for ever. No longer does the native work at his craft from the sheer pleasure of producing a thing of beauty; he is being taught to desire the things which white people desire, has been caught in the maelstrom of greed, an
discontent and the thousand and one evils which our civilisation has brought us, nathless he will cull some good with it, but then (the natives) days of contented peace are finished. A piccaninnie to "sit" was most patient, after standing sometime, looked at me repeatedly as if asking permission to "sit down". I generally watch out for signs of fatigue with my piccaninnie models, but on this occassion there was not time, "sitting"
out over, call piccaninnie to give him the customary Tabac, apparently misunderstood me, think I had not finished; with weary steps, it commenced to reenter the room. Framed in the doorway is made such a pathetic little figure dropping drooping head and dragging feet; like a little prisoner returning to prison. The deep shadows of the fast dying day, adding to the effect. As a rule my piccaninnie models are most boisterous, after a sitting, this quaint child was the exception.
30th Sodden leaden day, almost too dark to work. Water-colour of piccaninnie. Trouble with boys who would not go into the swamps in this torrential rain I dont blame them. Whether or no I had the right to expect them so to do, is another of the many points with which I am not au fait in handling native labour. To Teavi to make studies of piccaninnies. The boy who attempted to pourri pourri another sentenced to two months gaol, there is quite a lot of this
poisioning poisoning being practised. On the whole, apart from weather, a fairly quiet day, fro which the Lord be praised.
31st From 4AM to 9PM Furious bombardment of thunder, crashes which shook the house, followed torrential rain, a wall of water which
cut hid the landscape the whole day. Weather that stupifies, natives and whites alike, the latter wisely put in the day sleeping. Whatime I endevour to fall through the fog mental and physical, a great effort to work, result, scarcely successful. Never was such cursed damned weather as since my return to Trobriands. My mental vision of Papua is becoming one of grey, brown, and sad dirty grey skies . Am wearying of the continued difficulties against which I am battling, a fight all along the line, but results of this last month not so bad. A few successful water-colours, withal many important but dull studies, which I foolishly neglected
31st to make upon my former expedition. Weather retards construction of studio, still living in other peoples houses, which does not give me the necessary freedom so essential to the prosecution of my work. But most fortunately that at last I have somewhere to stay pro temps. One important factor, the natives models are commencing to understand what I require of them, though have to work very rapidly; they become restless fairly quickly. With exception of course. Never did I feel how essential a thorough mastering of technique is, no time for fumbling
here in this country one must go straight ahead, if any sort of success is to be obtained. Effects are so fleeting, movement of light so rapid, a succession of similar weather conditions so rare, that almost everything has got to be obtained within two to three hours. Moonlight even more so, in ten months have only had three really good moonlight nights.
June 1 Water-colour piccaninnies, pen & ink drawing. Studies in Teavi. More trouble with my boys. They are developing a tendency to possess sick relatives, who they desire to visit at inopportune moments, the Boss boy wish to attend the last moments of a favourite neice, who was "close up finish" (nearly dead). Unfortunately he seemed quite unable to remember the name of said neice, and finished up with a wonderful tale of how some bush boy had gammoned him aneant this subject, actually he wanted the time off to see if he could find a softer job at Auerbechs, but wish to hang on to my job in case there was "nothing doing" at Auerbechs. He is still working for me. Exactly how to handle a native (like most things) requires experience. Unfortunately my boys have sufficient perspicuity to realise that I am totally ignorant of the subject. Consequently are endeavouring to make capital out of it swearing and cursing the boys appears to me only to confuse them, withal much too noisy a business to appeal to me. Meanwhile on Saturday the Boss Boy (plate) will find himself short of one stick of Tabac, two sticks is the government order, but I had been giving my Boss boy three. Certainly the native requires managing with a firm hand, they possess no sense of proportion, and soon "play up if any laxity is displayed. Withal they do not take kindly to the White
mans burden; they like to take their time over a job, and work at it when so the mood moves them. Which is but natural in a country where time is not. Nevertheless when Sat arrives, with joyful indifference for the future they "blew in their gain at the stores, purchasing brilliant coloured calicoes, Tabac and other trifles, dear to their heart. Exactly what is a fair wage for a native is a abstruse subject. Certainly to overpay them is bad very bad, makes them lazy and to reliant upon the white mans products. Moreover they become imbubed with self importance. These Trobriand peoples possess a happy irrespressable nature which seems a pity to spoil, as must inevitably happen with the march of civilisation with its attendant responsiabilities. In their village life, nature and their own code compels them to work, withal they possess a domestic interest; which is eliminated when working for a white man, in this latter case, they live in "boy houses", they make their "walk abouts" but the senses of possessing a home is absent. Fortunately a wise Government has ordained that a boy may not be signed on for a greater period than three years; they can re sign for a further period if they so desire, but more generally they prefer to return to their village for a space. Their trading instincts are very acute, they practice many of the subtfuges common to the white, and exercise much guile, which annoys the whites considerably that the native should display such business acumen, in commercial enterprises, such as they are. In Teavi see vivila at work on a Doba (skirt). The banana leaf is first scraped with a shell, then cut into thin strands with the serrated edge of a small crab shell. Acquired these two implements for my collection. That I should desire to possess these absurd trifles, puzzled the vivila, remarked "oh ginigini" (to make a drawing of) which is now an all sufficient explination to the native for my seeming idiosyncrasies. All my timber on the ground, ready for erection of studio, expect shall find myself a lot short of required amount. Weather fine but cloudy.
2nd Morning, watching my boys fill in post holes, shall go daft if too much of this, must watch them or they will scamp the work, though they did well enough to-day. Afternoon commence w.c. of piccaninnie. To Teavi for studies. This is my piccaninnies village, when I require studies all I have to do is select, size, shape, colour and age neccessary.
2nd The sitting over small piece of tabac is given. One proud father brought along two piccaninnies, one under each arm: one thing civilisation has brought the native decent tracks, clean villages, and immunity from tribal raids. Last night, full moon, so to Tobiraukiva but colour poor, too much mist. When visiting a village at night, natives used to thing I was in search of a vivila, since they have become accustomed to my habits, no more embarrassing in this respect, though last night three dim forms loomed up over a mound, there was a peal of merry feminine laughter, and the forms melted into the heavy shadows. Weather fine sunny.
3rd Complete water colour of piccaninnies, w.c. pleasant medium in this climate, the paper remains damp, which facilitates modelling. To Okupukopu, where A. boss boy posing as the big man, dressed himself up in white coat, pants, and shoes, white scarf round head, he processioned through village, one boy in front carrying blue umbrella, one at his side, with his lime gourd. One in rear carrying rifle, another his basket, the idea of this "walk about" was to create an impression with the vivilas. Vivilas busy at work making dobas, to scrape down banana leaf, they were using a board similar in shape to tomahawk stone, but of considerable size, possibly originally
these boards this process was done on a stone, but now supplemented by these board. Home by canoe. Tobiraukiva police boy escorted us to the village. Presumably after the Sinabata affair, the A.R.M. has cautioned all police boys to assist me. When I entered Tobiraukiva, this boy, usually indifferent, came to the attention and saluted smartly. Weather fine, but muggy.
4th "Fed up with this studio building stunt, watching other people work, does not appeal to me, withal standing like a very fool superintending work which I do not understand. Owing to my extravagant ideas, and lack of knowledge of handling native labour, have made a mistake in making this studio so large i.e. 27 " x 14" which means [indecipherable] in Dim Dim fashion, in lieu of New Guinea manner, fortunately Lumley has been kind enough to see me through, but detest being compelled to encroach too much on his kindness. My cook-boy asked for his money, to pay a relatives tax, was forced to explain to the poor blighter, that not having paid his tax for three years, all he will receive at the end of six months will be 10/- the Govt grabs the balance. On this day finished, for which am mighty glad. Weather showery, normal mud coloured sky.
June 5th Work on studio going better, though too slow to please my exactions. One boy (John Down, ex missionary / fairly good carpenter in a rough way. Very helpful. Had not made studio so large, should have been almost completed by this time, any way can work better in large studio. Weather fine. Fear shall loose cook-boy, he has embezzled 19/- belonging to another boy, which latter is making court about it. Cook-boy thought I would pay up altogether fear this "blighter is a bad egg". Weather fine. Boys much interested in instructing me how to rig model canoe, which I have dissembled for purposes of transit. Natives always refer to me or about me as Tobakan (the bald headed one) polite Im sure.
6th Work on studio, clearing ground. Weather fine.
7th Same tedium of watching others work, must remain on job or studio will never be completed New Guinea fashion; boys do not hurry, withal o do not understand how to "swear them up". One boy anxious to "sign on" but think he would be more ornamental than useful, which is saying nothing at all. Most fortunate with weather, which has enabled me to get the more important of my structure completed. Boy just in with tale of shipwreck, a schooner up on reef off some distant island, crew short of kai kai. Poole and L off to succour and if pos salvage the ship,
which wish I could have joined them, but must get damned studio completed.. What a botheration just for purpose of dabbing pigment on pieces of calico. To-day colour rather good
8th Same blanky studio business. Having acquired some insight into the Papuan character, whenever I get on the job, generally count up boys to see if all present. To-day could not find one of them after some little time, happened to look up at the roof there was the "bird" perched up on the ridge pole gazing blankly into space, time and work of no account. Boss boy asked permission to send another boy to the village for his lunch. Sort of Plunder and his mate business. Work going so slowly, the nonchalant manner of the boys, most exasperating, toward end of day, thoroughly "fed up" swore them up a bit, result little bit of a hustle. Weather still holding fine, mighty thankful, gives me good opportunity to get building well on, though consumed with impatience, that cannot get to palette, fine weather so rare in this country. Colours fairly good.
I become very impatient with the stupidity of my boys and their slow methods, which perchance is not quite fair of me, for they are such children, how they enjoy to make a game of their work. This afternoon a few Teavi boys happened along, as is their wont, one of whom sat on the ridge pole and played a tin whistle; another amused himself with reed pipes, between pauses, asking me to make my fingers creake, an exercise
whith which greatly intrigues them.
9th Work on studio, cook-boy quite excited, when I commenced to plan out that section which will serve as studio, ran round to all the other boys shouting "cook em kai kai for Taubada long this place". Dabbling with water-colours; a "dud" finding it a nerve racking business living in the house with a Tornado, particularly when said disturbance is desireous of managing me, in common with with all the boys and other domestic impediments. Pay boys there Sat tabac, some optimists returned to me, with the remark "boy company" by the same token it was understood I was to take charge of same. The boys pool their tabac which is referred to as "making a company". One whole week of fine weather with but a few showers.
10th Water-colour a "dud" Studies in Tobiraukiva. Vivilas much intrigued explaining to me the process of making a doba (skirt) when I took portions of the raw material and suggested that I should make one myself, there was much mirth, withal considerably more, when I mistook a capita, that is a piece of pandanus leaf which the men wear to cover
cert certain portion of their anatomy) for part of a doba. Weather fine. Strong S.E. Vivilas preparing a dish of comprised of Modoba, Utukwki, and sasali, these vegetables in appearance rembesl resemble a form of bean, I had not the courage to taste them, particularly in their raw state.
11th Drepressing day, more boy troubles. Sat gave boys permission to go to their villages, Monday, (usual Monday business) they did not return until 2 Pm carrying small bundles of Pandanus leaf, about piccaninnie weight; excuse given, that owing to all villages building, material scarce. That much building activity in progress is true, that material scarce are gammon". Papuan a most perverse blighter to manage, one day hes full of business, the following day out for a loaf. Meanwhile sidetracked by damn studio building. Morning wasted, waiting about for my boys. Being assisted by the Govt i.e. whitelying is one thing, working upon my own, quite another. The few bits of household utensils was hoping to borrow, a difficult proposition. Empty bottle, tins,
boys boxes and old newspapers and such other rubbish at a premium, Dont know what the devil shall do, two months, before can get stores from Samarai. Withal forgot to bring mosquito net
June 11 To borrow same is equivalent to borrowing the horse of a
cow-boy pun Texan cow-puncher. Dont know what the hell I shall do. No net means fever. Shall experience difficulty obtaining necessary building materials. Vivilas busy making dobas (skirts) and other finery, boys working in gardens, garnering the harvest. Studies in Teavi, one hour.
12th Full up sitting like a very fool, gaping at my boys working, all my time is being spent in this futile manner, anyway think it a bad example for them to have a white man loafing round doing nothing, cannot do any of the work myself, for one thing too heavy, also lack of knowledge. So to finish this foolery and to Tobiraukiva to make studies. My boys do not understand roofing with pandanus leaf, shall have to engage the Teavi boys, who are specialists in this branch. To-day wonderful blue sky, fresh breeze almost cool.
13th Piccaninnie studies Teavi, one little girl refused to "sit" dont blame her; meanwhile villages gathered round to watch their youngsters being ginigini (sketched), much intrigued were they, when I made the wee mites walk about carrying cocoanuts on their head. To-day spent dashing up to studio building, and stealing time for studies. My boys have got me well on a string; one bundle of Katrua (Pandanus leaf) which appeared both heavy and bulky, found could lift it with my little finger!
Forthwi Forthwith asked which Kikita vivilas (little girls) brought it in, this did not appeal to their amour propre.
[Amour propre is French for self love and as used in this context probably means self esteem]
The studio nearing completion perhaps utensils was hoping to borrow, will not, I fear, materialise, am anything from three weeks to as many months from any stores!!!. My cooking-boy allowing his imagination run riot as to the wonderful dishes he is going to cook for me. Since there will only be a bush fire, and doubtful if even a billy can, I fear he is going to suffer some disappointment. There exists a quaint marriage custom with
real relations to the culinary department. Bef prior to the married couple taking up residence, the brides mother places in the hut cooking stones (pieces of coral) and a cooking pot. Should it so chance that the husband should throw out of the hut, either the stones or pot, the wife will immediately leave him, even though to his subsequent regret, the husband may have thrown them out in a fit of rage, nevertheless the wife will not return. This throwing out of the kitchen, is presumably the Trobriand method of divorce. One of Lumleys house boys is "throwing away" is wife, on account of her being unable to bear him any children, he is particularly anxious to be possessed of a piccaninnie. Withal the daughter of one of the big chiefs is in love with him. My boys making wooden spans, put wood through fire to temper it.
14th "Dud" day, damn studio business, boys "gammon" put in some quite reasonable tales, which may or may not be true. Great building boom, most villagers rebuilding, makes it difficult for me to obtain
materials. One of Ls boys, a great hefty fellow, suffering from a boil on his arm, which Mrs L is give attention to. He cried and called for his mother whatime his vivila held him in her arms, and petting him, an amusing spectacle very. Studies in Tobiraukiva. Two old dames sitting under shade of the dying material for Dobas and talking scandle. A quiet walk along track, to avoid noises elsewhere, no peace disturbed by a crowd of boisterous tan and vivilas, making a "walk about" all bedizened and beflowered, the boys with their arms around the girls necks, with the crowd divers piccaninnies who requested a performance from me, of imitations of my bones creaking. Weather fine.
15th Bedlam day. Teavi crowd commenced work on roof, after one hour cleared out, boys from another village continued for remainder of day, but will not resume work. My Boss boy sitting in shade of tree chewing betel, whatime he knocked the bark off twigs, the kind of work generally done by piccaninnies., the remainder of boys also slacking. These islanders have too much tabac, consequently will not work fo white people suppose they are quite justified in fact perhaps just as well. Weather fine. The only two who put in good work were Dobu and his vivila, put them on the commencing kitchen, which being their particular quarter, possessed a personal intent.
16th Mixed and trying day. Boys arrived to roof studio, much puzzled as to why I leave a hole in the roof (i.e. toplight). Boys first decide not work the whole day, on account of heavy wind; then decide they will, I arrange to have their kai kai cooked. They suddenly remember it is Sat so finish up at midday, to make "walk about" my own boys I kept going until 5.30. Lost so much time loafing during week, must get studio completed. Pay off plate, one of my boys, who had been giving considerable trouble,
the look on his his look of disappointment most pathetic. They are accustomed to being sworn at, "cannot understand" fashion belong me", who does not swear, but gives them their congé. Feel very weary and tired. Though this building of a studio has been a great trail to me (mainly my impatience to get to my own work) Thank God I have still retain my idealistic aspect of this strange and wonderful country. Certainly much of my trouble due to lack of comprehension of the subtlities of the native temperament, withal I have no white man upon which to model my methods of controlling the Papuan, forever swearing, and threatening does not appeal to me, as a right and proper course. There must be some middle line, between "bully ragging" or pampering the native, both methods of which are bad, damn bad.
June 17 Water-colour, piccaninnies, weather, rain.
18. Sad wretched day, usual Tropic deluge, sent my boys out for timber, did not think weather would be so bad, but was much annoyed with them, gave usual week end leave, with instructions to return Sunday night, one only
obg obeyed, the remainder showed up Mon morning with excuse, weather too wet to return. To view H Deakins schooner "IGAU" this vessel constructed by himself with help of boys, a most creditable piece of work. Water-colour rather a dud no sleep two nights, much impatient at delay with studio, not here tearing my nerves to shreds though the situation not without humour.
19th Boisterous day, heavy gale, torrential rains, this house leaking like a seive, force of win blowing in rain. Boys, piccaninnies, vivilas, this latter bedecked; always at end of day, the work completed, they decorate themselves with flowers, one saucy wench asked for tabac, must admit rather fascinating maiden, but me too busy. Full up with keeping journal, must continue lest regret latter, this being most adequate method of keeping a reference. Conditions here becoming difficult requiring much tact.
20th Heavy day cutting and sawing timber for studio, result many blisters while working with
adge adze, two boys along remarked "sina gaga" (very bad) in which they were correct. Had a go putting on Katoua, in order to discover average time it should take boy. These leave have edges and spine of spikes, many remained in my hand, did not attain quite the speed I anticipated. Some vivilas joked aneant my bald head, the while they intimated I should rub some cocoanut thereon. A boy kindly correct me when I did not pronounce native words correctly, also said he would make talk with me, in order that I may learn the language. Swore up cook0boy, result he put in good work to-day. Weather fine. A picanninie but few weeks old has already been decorated with tortishell earrings. DOBA. NOKU One of the dyes used, is a root which in the raw state is a rich cadmium, lime and salt water is added, after root has been scraped into fine shreds, this turns the yellow into a bright red, unlike the mangrove bark day dye, the former is not boiled. That portion of doba to be dyed is tied into small bundles.
21st Another detestable day sawing and hacking, working in the rain, the day a series of squalls. Teams of piccaninnies to assist, in the main shouting and impeding the work, though all smiles. My boys work much better if I am working with them, not standing and gaping vacantly into space. Certainly at moment difficult to obtain labour; that which I can get is naturally unskilled, consequently have much heavy work to do myself, for which latter
21 am not physically fitted, withal boys so slow, become so impatient must assist my hands all cuts, blisters, so sore I can scarcely hold pen. This building stunt a terrible impediment to work, withal in this impossible climate must have a studio, this latter imagined would take two weeks erecting now nearly as many months and still incomplete cannot obtain moi for walls, and divers other necessary materials altogether feeling very weary and most depressed at this complete stoppage to my work.
22nd Muck and mud, stones and timber, wind and rain, such rain, there was no escaping it, beats through everything, with streamlets trickling down neck, superintend the dull process of digging post holes, and divers other equally detestable jobs, studio little further forward, one boy working with me, very good, best of my team. The others away cutting palms for floor. How they must curse me, the Papuan dislike rain, intensely. This annoying hinderance to my work, fortunately only two weeks up to day. Call in all boys to fright "em up if they no work good". How bizarre are moonlight nights in Trobriands, the new moon just in and weather most damned.
23rd My boys out with Lumleys boss-boy, result they put in a full days work, first time, since they have worked for me. To-morrow Sunday, they will have to work to make up for their slackness, I hate spoiling their "walk-about" because they always look forward to these gay week ends of painting up
of and floral decorations, flirtations with vivilas, family visiting and divers other festiviaties. However cannot delay longer with erection of studio. To-day a Sorceress to speed up the conversational powers of Lumleys parrot. A most interesting and quaint procedure, but in common with mst most Papuan stunts of these natives; there was nothing spectacular. The sorceress, in appearance, just an ordinary vivila, no adornments, not even an elaborate Doba (skirt) just palm a plain working Doba. She seated herself at end of verandah, where all the other natives had brought their Kowla (vegetables) to trade. The then pro sent to the village chief, for a betel nut. They were sacks full here, seemingly these would not sever the purpose, presumably the betel, had to have been
Jun 23 in the possession of a chief, which gave it special qualities. The betel duly obtained, this she ground in a mortar,
such as similar in pattern to those used by old people use for grinding their betel, a small quaintity of lime was added, and the grinding continued until the ingridents were of the required strength and consistency, with the pestal she then smeared this over her lips and made a streak down each side of her f mouth, a boy then handed her a fresh leaf, she she this she placed over the pestal and motar, put it to her mouth, holding the leaf in such a manner as to exclude air, in a low scarcely audiable voice, she commenced to mumble and incantation into the gourd mortar, whatime she smiled at my interest in the procedure. The spell having been cast, quickly removing the mortar from her mouth, holding the leaf firmly over the top lest the spirit should fly out. A boy then brought held the surprised, screaming and exspostulating parrot. The old woman rapidly removed the leaf, and with the pestal, covered the beak and tounge of the parrot. The annoyed bird was then released. The woman handed the pestal and mortar to the boy, who immediately washed both throughly. This latter unusual, inasmuch as the natives greatly value betel, and will not waste any. But as this was pourri pourried charmed, as used only for this purpose, it was destroyed. This ceremony has to be performed twice, after which it is considered that the bird will be enabled to speak clearly. It is quite possible there may be properties in the lime and betel which in some manner affects the throat and toungs of the bird. The sorcery item on the programme, may be just a trick of the trade; though I opine the sorceress is quite confident, that the incantation has much to do with the efficacy of the treatment. Although the Bush natives i.e. villages away from the coast, may be only a mile or two inland, these Bush natives are very frightened of the salt water, they cannot swim, and will not venture on the water; only recently a piccaninnie was drowned in but three feet of water; because the parents were too strike>scred scared to wade in to its rescue. One of Lumleys house boys is experiencing domestic difficulties!! "No matter Taubada, I buy a bush vivila, she more cheap, I get one for a Kaboma and a belt, Salt water (i.e. coast villages) vivilas too dear". This is probably due to the Salt-water natives being pearl swimmers, withal are more in touch with the white Trader, consequently (for a native)
make much money, withal they possess a high opinion of themselves, considering themselves far superior to the Bush natives. Though this latter are far better workers, in fact most natives who have not been in contact with the Traders or Missions particularly the latter are
bett much better boys more honset honest and work better. Water-colour of Sinakata a "dud" mind so occupied with this nightmare studio building stunt, it has quite thrown my mental capacity out of gear. Weather better, but fails damnable what a hell of a climate!!!!!
24th Complete water-colour "Sinakata" a "dud" curious about all the work I do here, while in the country, feel most dissatisfied with the results, this may be due to glare of light killing the work. Shall not make any effort as to anthipological exactitude where it interferes with my work. Studios Tobiraukiva and Teavi, too much Sunday element prevalent, just a few natives in village, one old woman dying leaf for doba, soft spoken old dame, unusual for a Trobriand, who generally speak in loud tones. Made me feel quite off work, this old lady placidly seated beside the cauldron in the shade of a palm, softly humming a chant, whatime she plied her trade. Moonlight fairly clear, so to Tobiraukiva. In the softly hazy night appeared most poetic, though much noise in the village, the
inhbit inhabitants all talking at once, general atmosphere of excitement, probably due to load of betel nut, which arrived to-day.
25th Fatiguing day with the studio, regret made it so large which however has this advantage, top-light open to the weather, larger floor space gives me an opportunity of keeping out of the wet At least hope so. Boys worked well, weather fine. The difficulty of obtaining native materials, ordinarily a simple matter, suggest war conditions, withal the importance of little things, old newspapers, boxes of empty bottles etc, is too pregnant of 1914 18 to be altogether comfortable, rather weary of roughing it; but must see the job through. Expect shall be happy enough when setted down to work.
26th Moonlight studies Tobiraukiva
27th Water-colour a dud, moonlight studies Tobiraukiva. Moonlight is piccaninnies time, not infrequently they play until the small hours of the morning. Watch one of their games. Five piccaninnies sit in a
semi-circle, the remainder hide in the deep shadow of a hut or boima, two holding a moi, walk up to these latter, one of whom crawls under the moi, this trio then walk up to the fire, the piccaninnies under the moi crawling on all fours, one of the five then has to guess who is hidden under the moi; this is as much of the game as I could understand. To central space of village vivilas and boys disporting themselves, whatime the former give me the "glad eye" disconcerting to my studies, which completed a talk with the chiefs of trade, village matters, mayhap some scandle, though I could make but little of the conversation. One old boy declaimed with some eloquence in a most thearical manner. The reflections from the fire upon the one side and light from the moon on the other, with background of waving palms was quite a stage effect, not such as I would care to put on canvas.
28th Studio building very slow, the white people here consider Ive erected a large place, this does no so appear to me, now building taking shape. Dobu (cook-boy) much excited, but quite non-plussed with regard hole in the roof, asked what I was covering it with, explain it will be open to the weather wildly excited
aske remarked, "Where you put your head bed Taubada" I question could not answer, dont know myself. To Teavi to make studies. I have been much caracatured by artists both great and small, these people have gone one better. Upon the end of the ridge pole of the chiefs hut, is a head carved in one (Mawamala) upon a new hut is a caracature of myself, in word, moustache painted on in black, the ends nicely curled, withal my bald head much in evidence. Great was their mirth when they showed me their handiwork, I became so excited trod on a piccaninnie, much schmozzle. Their everlasting noise tearing my nerves to pieces. Noise in the village, noise here, noise at Auerbeck, can get no peace, quite impossible to concentrate on my work which going all to hell. Climatic conditions not placid. If weather fine, a riot of wind which tears and whistles through the trees, interminably for weeks, when no wind, riot of rain and thunder. This last three night of moonlight, wonderful, colour very strong, definite greens, reds etc.
29th Studio building. Send Dobu for straight piece of wood; he returned at dusk proudly bearing upon his shoulder a much twisted and beknotted piece of timber. Whatever devillry he may concoct with in culinary art, hes a "dud" at cutting timber. Originally (in imagination) this studio was to be a rough shanty thrown up in a few day. As result of divers causes this has developed into quite a decent structure. The heavy Tropic rain compels that a building be water-tight, to encompass this it is just as quick to make a good job of it as to build native fashion, withal shortage of native materials has forced me to construct in a different manner than would otherwise have been the case. One of the Teavi boys asked "What fashion belong me that I no sleep long (with) vivilas?" It being a habit amongst the white men visiting these parts to so do, that I am otherwise occupied puzzles the native, also remarked to a trader "What fashion this Mr Silas, and Dr Molanaski they no work " meaning presumably laborious tasks.
30th Another day of studio schmozzle, some natives instead of bringing six plaited palms brought only two. I naturally gave them the proportionate amount of stick of tabac. One old boy rubbed his portion of his tabac upon his unshaven chin intimating he was filing down tabac to exact amount. To Tobiraukiva, where all at work bring in harvest from the gardens, and carefully arranging the Taitu in conical piles outside the Boimas, this being the harvest, the vivilas wear their gala dobas (skirts) all painted up and very gay, on ordinary occassions when going to the gardens they wear a simple work skirt. The scene very gay shafts of sunlight slanting through palms, general air of excitement, piccaninnies very exuberant, peeping at me from behind huts, darting off when I looked at them, some wee mites had the temerity to creep up right behind me, flying like the wind when I turned round, dobas and floral decorations flying to the breeze. A vivila most downcast that I gave her a piece of plain paper in lieu of a piece of newspaper, but quite cheerio! when I gave her a piece of the latter. A Tobiraukiva boy enamoured of a particular vivila
has re which latter loves him not, and will not give ear to his suit; he has requested our
house boy to pourri pourri said maiden that she may return the affections of the love-sick swain. The house boy has asked for his sapi-sapi (native money) presumably he wots of a friend round the corner who will assist him to negotiate the love affair, and the happy pair will exchange taitu and live happily ever after perhaps!
July 1st Studies in Tobiraukiva. All busy bringing in harvest and arranging taitu outside the Boimas. Against each pile, the stem of a palm leave is placed, shorn of the fronds, completely upon one side, the other denotes the number of taitu in the pile, by means of leaving a portion of each frond to the required number, every tenth frond not being cut so close to stem. Piccaninnies request me to repeat the lettering on label of my chalk box. They gathered round in a bunch, repeating the letters after me, all of which they managed with exception of H,
this they experienced much difficulty in pronouncing this letter. These youngsters not satisfied with one side of the label, insisted upon a repeat performance of the reverse side, fortunately it was not a sheet of newspaper. Both sexs present, one of the villagers, however, sent away the vivilas the second time this has occurred, the reason thereof, have been unable to discover, this is the only village, where I have noticed this procedure, which appears unusual, in a country where there exists so much sex freedom, withal three adult vivilas smiled at me from the fastness of a palm and made the tabac sign the bold wenches! Afternoon to the coast near Olivaleili, colour of reef poor, coast and beach uninteresting. Visit chief of village, he is the second biggest chief on the Island. His job, "Close up finish" he was lying in his hut a bag of bones, dont think he will last out the week, his Boima (a fine one) all to wrack. Although this village but two miles from coast, the inhabitants much more deferential, their raiment simple and do not paint up lavishely, as is the case on coast, where natives disposed to be come impertinent, withal vivilas not so bold. This day being Sunday, my boys to work all morning to make good some of the time they wasted "gammoning" me, two of the boys work well, these I pay overtime in tabac. A placid day, exceptional for this boisterous climate. In Olivaleili. An old woman cooking a dish of taitu and fish. The taitu first scraped into fine shreds, then worked into a thick paste, water being added until paste of the required consistency, fish part of the process I did not see. I opine this taitu paste will serve a similar purpose as does batter.
2nd Studies in Teavi. Studio building, arrive, find three new boys have put themselves on the job one bringing his piccaninnies, all the boys away to cut timber, wails from interior of house, find wee brown mite sitting in centre of studio, cascades of tears pouring down its face, in one hand a huge taitu, it was scared of being left by its parent and would not be comforted. Dobus vivila to inspect kitchen, which will also be their sleeping quarters, the maiden highly excited, cleaning up the place, which is premature the building incomplete, there will soon be another litter of chips and other refuse indegenous to building. To-day hang the doors, a case of making the house to fit the doors, try palm leafs for walls, a failure light streamed through. Whatime the boys much amused at my building efforts. The whole show like a comic opera. First a wall of palm bark which twisted up and practically useless, palm leaf equally so, moi which is the best material cannot obtain, shall have to try pandanus leaf, a slow process, one which the boys like not, on account of the leaf being full of thorns, damn sick of the whole business. Weather fine. Second visit to Tobiraukiva, to see Boimas stored nothing doing. Boys asking me when I get me a vivila, explain, this no fashion belong me". They cannot get the idea at all, since most white men visiting Trobriands, provide themselves with a native wife, pro-temps.
3rd Studio at last going ahead, quantity of moi in to-day. Can now complete walls, withal boys highly pleased, they like not handling Kartoua which would have been the only alternative. Make fireplace, flatter myself this quite a creditable performance, also framework for bed, much comment from boys, re this latter, one took the foot rule, measured off remarking, one foot for Taubada. e stop, one foot for vivila, then remarks aneant vivilas rather too intimate to put down; meanwhile all the boys in exuberant spirits, laughing, singing, jumping about, at slinging off at my endevours, one in particular (Mosolubi) my most difficult boy to manage, always up to some trick; a great diddler and scatter-brain. This studio
like has the appearance of having been evolved from the frenzied imagination of a heath Robins; the furniture, strange and fantastic shapes, constructed mainly of twigs and bits pieces of bush string (waiuga) not a nail has been used in the whole construction. The foundation solid enough, ten inch timber, and a base of large boulders, there is the making of a good house, can spare no more time to finish properly.
July 3rd One bold hussie has been haunting the precincts of the studio ever since it commenced to take shape, rather fancies shes in the running as Mrs E.S. pro temps nothing doing. Cohabitation
between is regarded as a perfectly natural matter in the Islands. Although this sex freedom is practised from the age of puberty, have never witnessed anything indecent behaviour, such as is prevalent in other countries, so called civilised, withal Trobriand peoples possess their own code of modesty, vivilas when bathing, should they see a canoe with boys in it even at a distance they will immediately don their raiment, by the same token are they equally discreet, with regard to other of natures functions. The piccaninnies whom I took to Okupukopu nine months ago, still remember this picnic, and frequently asked me to take them again. Weather fine.
4th The exasperating Comedy, Building a studio progresses. Enter boy with heavy load of timber at one door, still retaining his burden exit on further side!!! Cook-boy wildly exciting getting kitchen in order, the result fantastic, he had lined the place with rows of shelves, leaving no space for table, presumably his vivid imagination pictured rows of plates and dishes standing theron, actually there will be one plate, one cup, one saucer, the extravagant dimensions of the studio has led him astray. Visitors from villages to view hole in roof. i.e. (top-light) got them all puzzled, likewise myself as to what will happen when the rain doth come. Dare not leave boys a minute or they get something wrong, what work and botheration it all is, must have it for my work. Make a table, a truly strange and wonderful edifice. A network of structure, anyway it is firm will not rock when Im at work, wish could say same of floor, which is undulating. Weather fine colour good.
5th Studio nearly completed. To E Auerbecks, a man who spent a considerable time in German New Guinea prior to the war. He relates that the treatment of the native under the German Administration was brutal in the extreme. The natives were flogged under any or no pretext, shot for the most trivial offences, in one particular instance two police boys tired of their brutal treatment ran away, they were caught made to dig their own graves and shot. If a white man had a grudge against a native, he had but to send a chit to Police Hequarters the native would be sent for, and without trial flogged. It is such conditions as there that make a it
dangerous for the white man, the natives very naturally regarding every white man as mortal enemy. A few years back the German warships station in G New Guinea, used to bombard native villages merely for diversion. Seemingly the Dutch are nearly as bad. One Hollander had be relating a shooting up to Mr M a trader. M remarked "Yes, but
what why did you shoot them, what for? The Hollander replied "But they were natives I shoot because of that?" Although in their part of Papua cannibalism is unknown, in other Division this pernicious habit is still practised, though not openly, and only by the older generation, the present generation has been weaned from this habit, incidently it is the women who are the greatest offenders in this respect.
6th Building troubles nearly at end, for which praise the Lord. A series of unfortunate conditions
my made my task doubly difficult. Under ordinary circumstances outside labour would have brought the materials, my own boys had to cut and prepare everything. What a slow and tedious process in doing everything. Digging an clearing had to be done, with sticks and hands, shovels unknown. All the tools used, one adze, hatchets, crow bars and one saw, chisel and mallet. There is not a single nail in whole building. Main structure held with pegs, the smaller timbers tied with waiuga, the tendrials of a weed. Found the boys very stupid, although apart from main structure, Papuan native principal of construction used; that they were building a white mans house, quite put them off their balance, they doing the most stupid things which they would not do when building their own huts. To Tobiraukiva, weather fine.
7th Studio completed. Boys paid off. Many native visitors, a vivila asked, "When Sinabada (white woman) she come", explain am not possessed of a wife. They much surprised and with a very naughty look, pointing to the bed, "more better you get a New Guinea vivila, the bold wench! They much fascinated with blind for top-light, making me show them how it worked. One vivila had a go at this became so excited, would not leave hold of the cord, whatime she laughed with delight at her efforts. Domestic atmosphere at L somewhat difficult, to Teavi and Tobiraukiva to get a canoe. Nothing doing, Tobiraukiva, all working in garden so they said. Teavi busy making fish nets. Water-colour not much go, trying Japanese treatment which admirably suits the delicacy of these subjects. See four Tobiraukivas figures of women, heated in semi
7th naturalistic manner, the breasts simply but well modelled, showing strong sense of observation. Was much surprised, this shows a marked advance in their development of naturalistic treatment, presenting possibilities, which I did not think exsisted, this alters my opinion considerably as to the evolution of their craft on
domestic European principals. The remainder of the figures crude and grotesque, quite out of proportion to the extraordinary clever of the breasts.
Cost of Building Studio
Size 27 x 14 kitchen attached 9 x 7 and small house"
Main structure i.e. wall posts, wall plates, ridge pole and supporting beams for floor mangrove.
Flooring Palm Bark
Walls Moi - Pandanus leaf and palm bark
Roof Kartaur pandanus leaf of finer texture
Main structure pegged
Remainder Tendrails of a weed (waiuga)
Trade Tobacco 5/- per lb 26 sticks to pound
Materials supplied by outside labour No of Sticks 77 Equal to 31/2 lbs equal to 15/-
Labour including Sat tabac 2 sticks per boy
And food for boys, also extra labour
5 boys, seven weeks
1 boys four weeks
1 boys two weeks
No of sticks 337 equal to 15 lbs equal to 3/17/6
5 boys, seven weeks @ 2/6 per week equal to £ 4/7/6
1 boy, four weeks @ 2/6 per week equal to 10/0
1 Boy (skilled) two weeks @ 5/- per week equal to 10/0
Total £ 9/10/0
Plus personal superintendance
About one month personal attention
[Sketch showing plan and elevation of Studio]
8th To Tobiraukiva for canoe. In Sinabata, nothing doing one boy would not even come out of hut to speak, this made me furious, yelled at him to come out, whatime villagers gather round, imagined my shouting to be impressive, the crowd however, laughed considering it a huge joke. Call police boy. After some persuasion, am given a canoe, outrigger old, no buoyance, get out a little way, canoe almost capsize, whatime shore lined with natives, laughing at my discomforture enjoy the fact of "putting it across the white man, admit the situation possessed humour, but scarcely conducive to the pestige of the white man, return, call policeman, which latter implies I cannot get canoe, threaten to put him in prison, later canoe arrives. Both Tobiraukiva and Sinabata largely influenced by two low Traders, Mess A. whose disgusting manner of living have quite killed the white mans pestige. So away with Dobu, his vivila and one boy this latter by compulsion. Lowering clouds, midday sky. A great black mass moving across the water, then it broke, a torrential downpour which beat the water into foam,
blocking obliterating the shore. Stupefying the boys, fortunately but short distance from destination.
9th Have made hell of muddle of my domestic arrangements. Trader promised to lend me few utensils, receive information he cannot do so after boat has left for Samarai. One ship was bringing my mosquito net, another neccessary utensils. I now find myself with house but nothing to put in it. Ships cannot remember my requirements until I want them. To Sinabata to make studies. Weather disgusting, colourless, leaden, depressing. At moment feel like to slip anchor for home, weary of all these difficulties. Withal white people here difficult to understand, although British born, they have lived so long in Papua, they almost foreigners; their own code of etiquette and morals, which I cannot grasp, and a mental vision which does not extend beyond this Territory, illetirate [illiterate] but supreme egosists, much resenting any visitors comments or observations relative to Papua, anthropological or otherwise. All this very amusing, a world of ten souls
with possessed of a much depleted stock of the aspirated H. Damn gramophone noises, cant do journal rot.
10th On "Aero" to Gusowita. Heavy wind, sea choppy, but made a good passage, doing this trip in record time. To divers traders to beg, borrow or steal utensils. Nothing doing, cannot even get empty tins or bottles, dont know what the devil to do, natives too
June 10th occupied to make me anything, much worried.
11th To Mission store, fortunately able to procure a few articles, though very expensive. Kettle 6/- teaspoon 1/6 fork 1/6 knives 3/- each cup & saucer 1/5 tea-pot (earthenware) 3/-. All the articles of the crudest and cheapest make. Cook-boy and his vivila move into studio, like two children, laughing with delight, running about the place, arranging their kit. Studio gets full blast of heavy S.E. wind, blows studio all over the place, shakes easel, makes things generally uncomfortable, what a hell of a climate no peace. The palm bark I had to put on green, has twisted up making floor very fatiguing to stand upon. Village natives gather round studio. They regard all white mens houses as a continuous side show. Always a crowd sitting round trading stations, cannot understand why I will not permit same. Bitterly cold wind.
12th more studio troubles, now compelled to cover weather side with palm leaf. Palms of floor crabbed up, not a square foot of even flooring to stand upon, most fatiguing. Bed completed, two copra sacks strung through two pieces of wood resting on a wooden frame, quite comfortable. Find my cook-boy to be a [indecipherable] scoundrel, forced to keep everything locked up, he has not paid his taxes, embezzled his friends monies, wholly weary of my domestic difficulties of which apart from exsisting hardships indigenous to the country, I have muddled badly. London in war time mild in comparison to my troubles of the last two months, shortage of labour, no native materials. Weather fine but boisterous wind a great trial, blowing through the many intestices of the studio. Commence work once more, a "dud" have not yet got my mind into its accustomed rut. Tu-ulo, brother of the big chief, just died. Difficult to get the natives to understand, that they must not sit about onside the studio. Every trading station has a boys verandah attached where the natives may foregather to discuss current topics and trade. This breach of custom on my part, they cannot understand
13th To Oliveleli to witness the laying in state of the second greatest chief of the Trobriands. With his
death demise the last of his line dies, he leaves no issue. His successor will be chosen by Tu-ulu, when this latter dies, the man chosen by Tu-ulu will then return to Omarakna. As I approach the village, down the wind comes the sound of lamentations, doulful beating of a drum, and mournful wails on a
conch shell. The late chiefs hut is situate in the centre of the village, to the left of this, his boima, in sad state of disintegration, seated at the base large numbers of vivilas, some few with bright calicoes make splashes of colour against the dull red browns of the skin. In the right of the hut are seated their men. From the tracks debauching into the central space of the village, some processions of mourners from outlaying villages; each procession is carrying a long piece of wood, which will form part of the bier. As each train comes up to the hut, they are met by five vivilas, form in one row, carrying respectively the late chiefs lime gourd, basket, moi, and other impediments. A few yards in front of these four the chiefs widow, an old emaciated creature, smothered with patches of black, in one hand she waves cassowary plumes (these are used during the dance seasons and other festive occasions). Tears are
pouring streaming down the faces of this quintette, they marching forward in a slow halting dance, whatime they wait lugubriously. The vivilas of the visiting mourners then place their hands on the shoulders of the five chief mourners, while the men move forward to the hut, then all in tears the vivilas move to the hut, the chief mourners moving backwards, this procedure occurring every time natives from the other villages arrived, which latter walked in single file. One vivila, a young girl, more heavily blacknosed than the others, walked upon her knees up to the hut, then bending down kissed the hands of the widow. Meanwhile the five vivilas continued their strange dance to and from the hut, and occassionally walking round it, always holding with clasped hands the late chiefs impediments. Strange fantastic shapes moved within the darkness of the hut wherein lay the corpse. Make my way hither, and with not a little trepidation peer within. On either side of the hut are seated a row of vivilas their mournful wail rending the air. At one end, a vivila beating the dirge. Am bidden enter; dazzled from the light without, can discern no corpse. A bunch of plumes resting on a vivilas lap. "Amberi guiau"? (where is the chief?) I enquire, to find that I am standing next to the body, which was being rocked in the laps of the four vivilas. His body bedecked with all the panoply that was his during life. Upon his head a headress of cockatoo feathers, sapi sapi and white shells. His lips painted with betel nut juice, one of the women holding the jaw closed. Sapi sapi belts, the lower portion of his legs encompassed with strings of white shells. Upon his arms, the amulits,
the much prized part of waigua (native wealth) am bidden be seated; whatime the vivilas momentarily ceased their wails to ask for tabac. The diminutive
dimensions of the hut, the crowded condition therein, proximity to the corpse, and prevailing atmospheric conditions not conducive to my acceptance of the invitation, which I decline. Betake me to the open air and sunlight. Meanwhile the sagali being prepared. Whatime three of the big men of the village came forth and gave an oration the purpose of which I could not gather. The food for the feast was piled in small heaps consisting of baked taitu, a piece of pork, and three cocoanuts. Two of the chief men of the village then walked to each pile calling out the names of those who were to partake thereof. All being duly distributed, one is brought to me by a commanding personality, although but in his bare skin, gentleman was written thereon. A fine looking native, high forehead, not to heavy nose. As a point of etiquette I partook of a tatiu, very excellent I found it. Meanwhile one of the nuts cut for me to drink, intimate I do not require it, the dusky nobleman replied: "You gammon taubada" implying that I should require a drink after eating (this unusual for the natives generally grab a nut on the least pretext). Having explained I had eaten sufficient, I pointed to the raw pork, intimating that it be distributed amongst the others, misunderstanding my meaning the boy to the pork returning with it duly cooked. The sagali (feast) over with one accord the lamentations renewed, all moving forward to the chiefs hut. While some prepared the bier with moi, others dug at the side of the hut, upon the spot where it was presumed the Beku (stone axe head, much valued) was buried. The chief being too ill, prior to his death, to divulge its whereabouts, a stone was found, taken out, and a coconut planted in the hole. Then all gathered round the bier; the corpse, now shorn of all its pomp (seemingly nothing more than parchment and bones) was carried head foremost out of the hut, placed on the bier, as quickly as possible, the body was covered with moi, in which it will be buried. The bier was then placed upon the shoulders
of the bearers and Wanoi commenced his last long journey to the Land of his Gods. A long train of brown figures splashed with spots of colour; at its head this sad little bundle of moi containing a few bones which was a mortal! The procession wound through the village past the slender timber of the palms, whose heads meeting above, composed the sky as the aisles of a great cathedral, so on to the track bound for Omanakana (the Royal village) some twelve miles distant. Wanoi had wished to be buried close to the village he had so loved, and was beloved of. But the Royal mandate had gone forth. Tu-ulu wished that he be buried where all the other chiefs rest at Omanakana. Long after the tail of the procession was hidden from view, the moaning and lamentation filled the air. The Tropic sun blazed down on the now desolate village; remnants of the feast; coconut husks, pieces of taitu, fragments of dried palm leaf litters the ground. Upon the edge of the village, a few old and bent cronies, too weak to follow the proccession, crouch moaning and wailing. A few piccaninnies, but half consious of what is toward prattle and play, as is their wont. The tall palms hang their graceful heads in silent grief, in the distant bush, a parrot screeches. Came the sound of a great sigh, potent, full of anguish; mahap twas but the wind rustling through the palms, who shall say.
Pre to the advent of the Government the controversy between Tu-ulu and the followers of Wanoi, as to place of burial would have resulted in bloodshed, as it is, both parties have been placated, by holding a sagali in both villages. Wanoi being a good and much beloved man, his body would have been cut up and eaten, the remains interred and after the flesh had duly rotted, the bones would have been exhumed. Had the man not been a favourite he would be buried whole. After a death when there is no lineal descendant, the deceased property is destroyed, his coco palms and betel cut down. This practise has been discontinued. Nevertheless Wanoi did not wish his canoe to pass into strange hands, a distant relative had
had commenced its destruction, but Mrs L persuaded him to let her purchase the canoe which is very large. I was fortunate to be present at this ceremony. Wanoi being one of the few remaining chiefs, which latter with the march of the white man are fast dying out.
14th Move in to studio, looking quite O.K. and so far comfortable, shall know better when rain comes. Cannot understand the white people here. Have stayed with the Lumleys three months, during which they have done all they could to assist me and more. I am completely dependent upon the food I can obtain here. But Mrs L wants to corner all fish, eggs, fruit, what little food I should require, could scarcely affect her stores. Also am without a mosquito net (a serious matter in the Tropics) until stores arrive, which should be in about a week, they know I am without, but have not offered to lend me one. There is no question of animosity we are as good friends as ever. I hope to remain so but food I must have. More trouble with cook boy who is an arrant rogue. Lumleys home just sent along a mosquito net, and some bread, am most thankful, did not relish the idea of ships biscuits for six months. Weather cold.
15th Painting in studio, "dud". Kai Kai coming in fish paw paw poultry bananas, but the very devil, I have no salt.
16th Finding it very difficult to regain my mental equilibrium, brain besotted with studio and domestic matters. Natives cannot understand that they must not settle down for the day, outside the studio. I find it still more difficult to explain the reason thereof clatter of tongues awful. Cook-boys vivla catching sight of photo of my beautiful sister, Angela, exclaimed "whe-e-e-e-ew!!!! And forthwith endeavoured to imitate the pose in the photo. Kai Kai to-day morning tea, paw paw. 1 PM fish, yams, taitu. 6 Oclock chicken, boiled yam taitu, bread & jam, have to boil everything no frying pan yet to hand. Fish cooked native fashion, over the fire, quite palatable. Cook-boy shaping very well, his domestic efficiency is as good, as are his morals bad. X.V.
17th And so the days unfold, the years slip round, I cannot realise that to-day is Life and not some vague happening of a distant future, remote, intangiable. But Art is such a long road, to halt on the way and consider how far she is on with the forming thereof, is the Abyss, for distance travelled is so little
17th that perhaps tis well to think of the morrow. Meanwhile, my menage proceeds some old how, find have forgotten to order a quantity of stores, it being two to three months wait from time of ordering, am wondering what will happen when my scant supplies are finished. There is an abundance of native foods, but little comes my way, fear Mrs L has cornered the lot. Last of my chicken finished, the morrow so far holds just nothing other than taitu and yams, a small piece of pineapple. Today studies at Kadukakala, not much of a village and of course the usual difficulty of ever chasing light, not the same effect for half an hour, what a difficult country for the artist is this, often wonder whether it is not wasted endeavour. One has to make ones subject. While heavy wind lasts work in studio almost impossible, cannot put down a study without it being blown away to pin down half a dozen studies, all of which are required at alternate moments an impossible feat. Cook-boys vivila to "sit" a bold wench, who made divers doubtful overtures. The undulations of the floor soon tired her. X.V.
18th Ask cook-boys vivila to "sit" again, but she will have none of it, despite offers of extra Tabac, to Teavi studies. Work on moonlight subject. Not much good really clear moonlight night few and far between consequently difficult to obtain necessary studies, practically dependent upon memory, which does not carry far. Moonlight here possesses a peculiar quality of light indigenous to the Tropics. Very difficult. Big shelter erected at rear of studio, a little peace at last from ceaseless clatter of tongues. Wind still heavy, dull, cloudy. Cannot yet break my boy in to not disturbing me while at work. The other whites here do not mind, what manner of damn clatter goes on, consequently natives cannot understand my attitude.
19th Work on moon light (oils) not much go, Palms, particularly in oils, too finiking, undoubtedly water-colour or chalk best medium for this subject. Some kai kai come in, which most fortunate, rather hand to mouth exsistence, inasmuch as food will not keep in this climate, although when it is brought in, its usually in large quantities, more than I can possibly get through. Weather, wet, studio roof leaking in few places, not so bad as I anticipated.
Price list of native products.
- Quantity Stick of Tabac equal to
Taitu, yams, taro lbs 14 ½ - 1 1/2d
Pumpkin, sweet potatoes large ½ - 1 1/2d
Bananas - about 50 on bunch 1 3d
Pineapples 4 1 3d
Paw paw 8 1 3d
Cypra, a species of lime 8 ½ - 1 1/2
Chicken large 3 9d
Eggs 4 1 3d
Fish (small) 15 ½ - 1 1/2d
Prawns (large) 10 ½ - 1 1/2d
Crabs & Crayfish according to size ½. ¼. 1. 3/4d
Lapi oysters 40 ¼ -
remonstrate with one house boy, always asking for tabac, came the retort corteous "give me little piece tabac, I smoke. Dogs, cats, they no talk, man, e talk an smoke". These natives appear to possess an inherent sense of courtesy; though perchance this may only be guile be this as it may. Their manners of refusal is quaint.
20th Wholly and utterly "fed up". All morning stopping leaks in roof with pandanus leaf, the serrated edges of which so lacerated my hands, too sore to touch anything. Weary of so much time been fritted away over trivial matters, which this damn climate neccessitates. Walk about in Teavi where all the village at home, and at work. Vivilas making skirts; boys fish nets, or grinding axes, an working upon divers other matters. Piccaninnies pop their quaint little heads out of the huts, with a "hallo Taubada!!" one vivila making a mask from which she appeared to derive much amusements. Others bedecking themselves for the nights "walk about". In one hut a mourning party intoning a requiem, adjacent to it a boy playing on a tin whistle. A piccaninnie wailing though its ablutions, which owing to inclement weather, was being performed upon the threshold of the hut, by such amount of water as a cocanut shell will hold. The heavy damp air is laden with the smoke of the many fires where the evening meal is being prepared. Despite this depressing sad bleak day, these villagers appeared quite cheery, despite the fact that I have seen Papua under more happy weather conditions. I shall always think of the Tropics as a series, muddy skies, green, grey and brown, how very little there is to relieve this monotony of tone, is particularly evident when seeking subject matter. The flat low laying country of these coral atols does not lend itself to vanity, though in detail there are some quite charming spots, beautiful upon the rare occasion, when weather is good. Certainly the colouring is not good, when fine. Colour too garnish, during wet, impossibly muddy.
Meanwhile I am practically isolated from my fellows, the gaucheries of some of the vulgar traders make their company impossible, the Mission crowd, narrow and ignorant. Withal being "bully ragged by an ex barmaid of a mining camp (wife of a trader) is not without humour. A good hearted woman, disgustingly coarse in her language, and makes up in
avous avoirdupois what she lacks in manners. One of those people to whom it is impossible to be polite. My standard of etiquette precludes this. Rather fancies herself a second Mrs Mahoney, in which role , a distinct failure.
21st Work on black and white. First three days without bread not feeling the privations as much as expected on the whole feeling rather weary of the many difficulties, mainly climatic. Heavy wind. Fine no rain. To Teavi. Although after 8PM most of them occupied upon some work, particularly the vivilas, the dance season about to open, and their dresses not completed. No time to wait for Sun to dry pandanus leave to expedite drying, four sticks stuck in ground and split down centre, a fire is placed in front, the leaf drawn through the splits in the stick. Owed by the usual retinue of piccaninnies, mimicking my actions. Sit down by one of the fires and "make talk" preferably company to the vulgar traders (some o them that is). Naturally divers articles offered me for sale. Who in this world is not possessed of something they wish to sell, except infants in arms; even they are ready to sell their ill humours for a sweet. Tis always worth while to go to the village, some droll adventure sure to happen, though am become so accustomed to the native, have lost much of the vivid impressions of my first expedition.
22nd Black & white of Wanois obsequies. All afternoon a stream of native visitors to view this work. Seemingly I have "pit it over" as they were discussing individuals in the picture, withal the vivilas seemed greatly intrigued that I had got the hang of the dobas (skirts) correct; expressing their approval by patting their own dobas and pointing at the picture, not satisfied looking at the completed work, needs must they inspect the preparatory studies. I hear that divers natives are hunting up a wife for me. Very good of them Im sure to take such a personal interest in my affairs, but just at the moment am not advertising for a dusky maiden. While at work to-day, a five foot snake glided under the
[Sketch entitled Kalabetiga, sharks teeth set in wood, used in wood-carving]
table at me feet, and made across the floor. Called cook-boy to bring tomahawk, he stood gaping at the reptile, had a go at it with my stick, but it made away.. It may or may not have been venemous I do not know. Shall now feel beastly uncomfortable there are so many openings in studio, where reptiles may hide. Tomorrow, must have all surrounding bush cleared and all hole stopped up. Weather fine. Wind heavy. News to-hand that "Sumatra" leaving Sydney with mails for Papua, foundered when day and a half out of Sydney. All lives lost. Such is the meanness of my character, that my first thought was as to the importance or otherwise of mail due to me. Of the unfortunates lost in the disaster, but a secondary thought.
23rd So far no masterpieces either embryo or projected. Mental capacity dried up: meanwhile developing nice crop of New Guinea sores, on both hands and feet, most painful and a damned nuisance. To-day all holes stopped up and adjacent ground cleared of scrub, thus should eliminate the companionship of snakes, large ones at any rate. Wind tears through every nook & crannie (of which there are many) in the studio. Wondering if ceaseless wind is not a greater evil than intense light of Sun. My only alternative strangely enough last year, when I had top-light to North, my little S.E. wind. S.E. is the best season, cooler, not so many mosquitos. Nevertheless its increasing the difficulty of my work. That incorrigable scamp, my cook-boy, last night brought me a wife, was quite upset because I resented his enterprise. And such a specimen as he brought!!!!! Not one of the many dainty maidens, but some awful old hag, shaven head, her body smothered with the mourning charcoal. Half suspect he did it for a joke, though hes such a damn scoundrel, everything he touches is "short weight" or wrong somewhere, that he thought perhaps I would be quite pleased, nay delighted with his choice of Mrs E.S. Of course the underlaying motive was to get some tabac, rather fancy said dusty maiden was some boys vivila lent for the occassion, made a study of the woman, not inspiring. This evening cold. Weather fine. To Tobiraukiva, where all practising for the dance, the vivilas and boys most merry and excitable. Effect quite stagy. Purple sky. The palms waving to the breeze, the fronds of the leaves catching points of light from the Moon. In the foreground a circle of fires with natives seated round. In the centre, the drummers,
July 23 standing their long wooden spears resting on shoulder. Vivilas, boys, piccaninnies play around. The dobas of the vivilas shimmering like silk as they caught the light of the moon. In the deep shadows, the dimly revealed groups of natives form grotesque patterns.
24th Work on moonlight study. Afternoon to Tobiraukiva to see dance, which was to have been performed at 3 PM. All boys away to Okupukio to get betel nut. 6PM they had not returned. Meanwhile the dish of mona (a special concoction for festive occassion) has been prepared and cooked. The absentees were not waited for, but all joined in the sagali. Mail in.
25 This morning, Connolly of British Scientific expedition called. Busy with mail and store. Afternoon once more in search of dance, which have not yet located, there seemingly being no fixed dates or times for these affairs. So to Gunilibaba, where being held a big sagali(feast) inhabitants of other villages present. Each village contributing to their share of the feast, bringing in their quota in strangely fashioned V shaped crates. Great the chatterfercation. In the crush trod on a yam and broke it. Great the wroth of the owner thereof until tabac forthcoming when all smiles. Numerous boys, whom at sometime or other I employed came to renew acquaintances, the usual question put "topaiqui taubada" (tabac master) to the Guiau (chiefs) hut this chief an old villain responsible for much poimi pouni, poisoning, he made me sit in the shade of his hut, whatime I was offered a drink of cocoanut milk, I returning the courtesy in kind. Part of the sagali finished, those coming from afar pack up and away. No dance. Later arrived Connolly, most fortunate for then occurred the incident I was always dreading to witness, the roasting of a live pig: the pig is tied to pole by it four legs, its snout tied up, in order to stifle its squeals. Another pole is placed transversely and four boys hold the animal over the fire while they singe off its hair. The it was that Connolly displayed that side of character which makes the British so truly lovable. Whereas men of another race would, with a mere shrug of shoulders, remarked "Cest lhabitude". I had been rather anxious all the afternoon. Saw one pig despatched in the usual humane method, concluded all was well, hear squeals, looked round, saw
[Sketch with the annotation Stone axe head (Lutua). These vary in size, are much prized as native wealth now used for trade purpose, formerly for cutting now supplanted by steel. Those with the straight grain considered the most valuable]
July 25th pig being held over the fire. "My God, look, I remarked". We both turned and ran for the scene of action. Connolly grabbed one boy by neck and wrist, and dragged him to give him sample of what the pig as suffering. I landed into the others, and dragged the poor brute off the flames. Fortunately these are not a fighting people, there were over 300 natives present, we possessed no weapons of any kind, and particularly at a sagali the natives are worked up. The boys subdued, the pig despatched in a humane method, were just leaving, when some more boys commenced upon another pig. The same process was enacted, we were furious, just "milled" into the bunch of them. Whatime anticipated a knob on the head from some one of the natives. All possess tomahawks. Commenced the despatch of this second victim. Never did animal hang so tenaciously to life. Thought we should never get the poor brute out of its angony. This incident occurred in a
village mission village, where a mission school situated. Oh yes, you can have your beautiful yachts, your delightful homes, your smug hypocritical canting prayers is this then the best influence you have on the native after thirty years. Nice comfortable easy life for you, thats all you you damned missionaries care. Free labour to execute your work, and the ever open door to go round with the hat, damn you. I would a thousand times wished I had not witnessed this incident. This indeed a rending asunder of ideals, a falling to Earth of my lofty ideals of wonderful Papua. So beautiful but withal so cruel. Is your beauty any the less, that the quality of mercy is not in you. Can you, dainty maidens, with the flashy merry eyes, can you, funny quaint brown piccaninnies. I wish oh how I wish But, this then is life. Laughter, sorrow, joy, pain, always hand in hand. Life and Death, cheek by jowl. Is this really then Life? And the graceful palms hang over the waters softly rippling waters of the lagoon, amiring the reflection of themselves therein seeming to say Yes this is Life but are we not Beautiful? Comes a touch of comedy. Arrives this evening, my cook-boy "Taubada, my vivila she wild long me, altogether boy, they come make talk vivila belong me" I fight em.
Forthwith I make Court. Call in Plaintiff and defendant, duly advised them, as to Dim, Dim methods of solving the eternal triangle. Find lemon yellow in moonlight subjects (water-colour) turned quite black, which cannot account for, but that colour bad. As have in no manner altered my palette for treatment of these subjects.
26th Morning, touching up moonlight water-colours, taking out where possible, the deleterious effects of Lemon yellow, substituting Yel ochre. Not quite as effective but safer. Afternoon with Conolly once more in search of the elusive dance. This time more successful. Wonderful day, clear blue sky fresh breeze. Through Kapwapu, a rather shabby bush village, Kadukwakala, Ialaka to Luia, where two boys who helped me build studio, they seemingly most pleased to see me. In this village a dance. About twenty performers, gorgeously beplumed, many of them quite handsome men, the white feathers making a fine contrast to their copper skins. Fifteen drums of different tones, withal the piccaninnies had fashioned for themselves toy drums of most quaint contrivance. The dance similar to most Trobriand dances, with but slight variation. The dancers kept splendid time, knew their steps and movements with exactitude, no single boy watching his fellow, but all listening intently to the time of the drums. They took their dance most seriously, every movement I believe, possesses some signification. The eldest of the dancers had his face painted black tip of his nose white, upon his forehead a tope, this in conjunction with the vivilas skirt, given him the appearance of an old woman. The youngest of the dancers taking up the rear. One vivila amongst the performers. The scene not spectacular, there were not enough performers to make it so. To Wabutma, where vivilas singing a most pretty and quaint song, quite the best Ive heard in the Trobriands, one in particular a good voice. Seemingly when a song or dance is held there is no sagali, for which both of us mightily pleased. So home by moonlight, via Gunilibaba, Wasaisua, Oieweowa and Teavi. Very tired and footsore, but a good happy afternoon.
27th Water-colour. Letter from A.R.M. stating that he is taking action re the Gunilibaba pig roasting, also instructs we must not act or take law into own hands, but apply to Govt.
[Sketch titled Carved Wooden Comb (SINATA)]
Meanwhile I presume the pig is to continue to roast, neither will the A.R.M. lend me a rifle to put animals quickly out of their agonies, presume the former written as a nocere from, which naturally shall not adhere, but "mill" into brutes first ask questions later. One of my boys tells me "devil devil e stop ouse belong me, e altogether much fright, e stand door belong kitchen, very wicked devil devil, vivila belong brother belong im she no fright, throw stone, devil devil e go. For last thru night Lumleys dog around the house emitting blood-curdling noise, tearing round the bush apparently chasing shadows. Been in studio but few days, already supplied with a ghost. Cook-boys vivila making overtures to me. "I oku sina boina Taubada" (for my good master), followed by a request for a calico. Explain, this no fashion belong me, more better get New Guinea Doba. So she to the village to purchase a skirt. One Teavi youth has attached himself to my menage, does not want me to send him away. Weather beautiful full moon. To Tobiraukiva, where all the world a stage. Never did nature so closely resemble a
scenic stage setting. Backyard of Palms, groups of natives sitting round fires, what latter made strong patches of scarlet and orange against the cooler tones of the moonlight, which was of that peculiar quality of light indegenous to scenic effects, in foreground groups of natives seated, talking, smoking, moving through the dancing shadows. The centre of this natural stage occupied by the drummers and the beplumed performers, whom as they gyrated were first caught by the light of moon, then by the warmer colour of the firelight. The final touch to this seeming artificial effect, was at close of performance, when the leader exclaimed "knock ouff". The show over the younger members, commenced to dress up in various portions of the raiment, dance and fool round generally in just such manner as would white people at the conclusion of a dance or amateur theatricals. Whatime the elder people made sedately for home, the youngsters brought out cocoanuts and settled down to make a night of it. The youths commenced on the drums whatime the vivilas walked round arm in arm. I was bidden joint he motley, felt much inclined so to do, but not advisable to make too free with natives. One vivila who had gone into mourning pointed to her shaven head, then at me remarking mukiwalla (like me). Owing to Death in the village Teavi not holding dance this season, so they to other dances.
28th Work on moonlight (oils). Fear studio a failure, this continued belting by the S.E. wind making things difficult
28th to live for weeks in perpetual wind, a great trial. Tu-ulu, king of Trobriands, paid me a visit. Although its understood that all natives, must go to the boy house. Tu-ulu walked straight into studio and settled down followed by his retinue,
which consisted the chief units of which, his son-in-law, brother (Iokupow) and nephew (Lamawala-Guian) the heir apparent. The son-in-law, who could speak English acted as interpreter. The king said "I old man, too much talk at Teddy and Charlie place, I go long the big chief, gini gini, (painting) and sit here quiet rest ere I resume my journey. Give him piece of tabac and plate of bananas, then his got nephew brought him betel-nut ready crushed feared he would commence to spit on floor but all well he ate the nut and not as is the common practice, spitting out the juice. Then Tu-ulu remarked: I close up finish, I very old man, I no more travel, so come see dim dim (white men) for last time. Once I die, nobody even know I had lived. This king who send you make the gini gini, suppose he give plenty money. I replied "Suppose all same, you give me this one lime spoon you promised me ten moons ago, I take it, show the Big King (George). Tell him this one belong Tu-ulu, suppose you die, spoon e live all same, all time I say this one belong Tu-ulu". This idea appeared to greatly cheer the old bird. Who forthwith replied, that immediately he returned to his village, he would issue instructions to have a lime spoon made and decorated immediately, and would duly send it shall thank him when I see it. This regal one, having duly rested partaken of refreshment. I was requested to inspect his gift of a yam which he had brought me. His chief boy carry his gourd, leading, myself, Tulu, and remainder of retinue in rear, we filed out to inspect yam, certainly a fine specimen of its kind, six feet long, and decorated in lime with a crude scroll work. Express my delight at his regeal gift, present the monarch with five sticks tabac and piece of newspaper. So he away, much refreshed and less moribund. The succession falls to the first male issue of his sister. This afternoon to Tobiraukiva, dancing damned bad. Village place, dirty after last night sagali. No audience a few grubby piccaninnies playing around, the performers, but indifferently interested, Moonlobogi to "sit" for me. Soon became tired of the job, moving about the whole time.
29th Sketching canoes, though not least inspired to paint thereon. So to Teavi, where a vivila having doba
tried fitted and trimmed, presume she the dressmakers assistant. The dobas placed upon her the while another vivila seated, trimmed the edge with a knife. Both
[Sketch titled Broom (Siavaborsiduia)]
July 29 very serious, although much chatterfercation and laughter around them, they intent on their work. My cook-boys vivila to buy a new doba, came home looking mighty fine. But as usual with any deals Dobu makes, this spirit not quite à la mode, but single row tippets and the dyed portion
not a dull red the doba simple. Weather beautiful, most healthy, withal no rain, simplifies living conditions, but wind makes work in studio difficult. Sample menus of my daily meals. 7am Tea, paw paw. 8am Eggs, taitu, tea 1pm chicken taitu or yam 6pm Crab, chicken broth. Boiled chicken, taitu yams or sweet potato. Bananas crushed in milk. This varied by fish, though not much of latter, too much wind. First week without flour in any form.
30th Studies Teavi & Tobiraukiva, in which latter village much banging of drums. The spirit, Baloma, having witnessed the dances, is now desired to betake himself to his island of Tuma. To this end the drums are beaten to frighten him out of the village. Outside each hut are displayed the worldly wealth of the inhabitant tomahawk stones, belts, gourds, doba, taitu, yams, fish nets etc. The chief had quite a good display, four tomahawk stones, arm shells, sapi belt, and three new dobas, his appeared to be the only exhibit about which any care had be taken, the other huts no adornments but for the knowledge of the event impossible to tell anything toward. The idea of thus exhibiting their wealth is in order that when Baloma makes the tour of the village, he will see that all are in a flourishing condition and well cared for. Those of the inhabitants not possessed of overmuch go to a Trader and borrow commodities to place in front of their huts. Tobiraukiva crowd rather blazé about the whole affair. Banged on drums for a spare had a smoke oh! Whatime grubby piccaninnies disported themselves in the usual manner. The only visible difference between this occassion and an ordinary day in village, was the absence of vivilas, whom presumably not permitted to participate in the event. Baloma having made the tour of the village, all the boys and male piccaninnies, beating on drums and any old thing chase Baloma out of the village, from whence to the next, where a similar ceremony is performed. So the ghost drive will continue until Baloma reaches the coast, where with stones and sticks he will be chased into the sea and so to Tuma. Difficulty in persuading cook-boys vivila to wear new skirt, wants to keep it for "walkabouts"
July 31st Commence on sunset subject, experiment with painting on a bright orange red ground - very trying, but keeps canvas full of warmth and light. Study of a vivila, sat fairly well but figure poor. This evening a boy brought his daughter aged about 12 or 13 years I think, wanted to sell her to me for the night!!!! perforce explained to this delightful gentleman, this not fashion Dim Dim, so he away and NO Tabac. Next time he comes, shall kick bottom belong him". Blustering wind eased off for which mighty thankful. My cook-boy persistently indulging in astonishing war-whoops, is quite upset when I tell him to "shut off steam" while I can work.
August 1st Work on sunset canvas, considerable improvement, had need. Boy came to sell taitu, promptly collared him and induced him to "sit" which he did very well, for one hour with rests, after which intimated he wished to return to his village some distance hence. Half suspect this but a polite excuse to avoid further sittings. Lumleys give a sagali, quite a good turn out, the whole of the village of Teavi attended, coming along the track, coming along the track en masse, first the boys, carrying crates of
yams taitu, cocoanut, and long yams tied to sticks, these yams have only seen at sagalis, they are elongated and not tuber form as are generally grown. After the feast cricket then a dance, this latter one of the old dances long since prohibited by the Mission. Unlike the usual form of dance generally given, that is lugubriously walking round to a gregorian chance. This dance full of fire and brim, have never seen the natives so thoroughly enjoy a dance. They laughed until tears ran down their faces. The drummers chanted a song, the words of which presumably lewed. The dancers costumes most bizarre. One boy, doba as head dress, another doba round waist leaving the lower portion of his anatomy exposed to view, some wore leaves, others a few cockatoo feathers in their hair, one boy had a bunch of scarlet flowers between his legs, which he endeavoured to expose to view as often as possible during the dance. They all carried the customary pandanus leaf. They danced round making all manner of postures, in parts not unlike the American cake-walk. All wearing dobas. At the conclusion of the dance all fall round lifting the dobas so as to expose their capitas. Be the dance lwed lewed or otherwise
[Sketch titled Wooden Shied. No longer in use Inatula]
August 1st it was vigorous and full of life, more in keeping to the class of dances I had anticipated witnessing. This dance was an impromptu affair, they appeared to enjoy it much more thoroughly than their orthodox interpretation withal great their mirth at their travesties of the dancing costumes. Last night much blowing of conch shells. )Am told this the driving out of the Spirits from all the villages simultaneously this theory may be incorrect.
2nd Work on black & white dance. Weather fine, rain water given out, now using spring water, hitherto by some considered dangerous. So far no ill effects.
3rd Black & white, dance subject, usual difficulty of strong contrasts, no big masses to handle. Cook-boy most proud made some banana fritters, taitu scraped to a paste, one egg and milk. Not bad, but trifle stodgy. Now some move on by the old scoundrel to introduce me to one of Tuulu daughters, with the idea that I shall sleep with her, so he intimated, from what I can gather, this brilliant scheme of his in order to obtain betel nut. Fear Im not biting. First some boys wife or window, then a piccaninnie vivila aged ten years, now the kings daughter. Cannot get the fool to realise the transparency of this machinations.
4th Finish Black & white, subject unsuited for this medium. Kings daughter did no materialise neither did the betel nut, much to Dobus disgust. So far not one of the tricks he has essayed has fructified never was such a hopeless rougue. To Teavi rather good effect, the ruffled waters of the lagoon a pale green sky lit by the dying sun, tall palms leaning out on to the lagoon swayed by the blustering breeze. For the house I am bereft of romance. The pandanus thatched, palm floored house, coloured cook-boys, vivilas, palms lagoons all the elements of romance all are here, but my heart cold, taking all for granted, unseeing all those elements which have hitherto inspired me
in lieu entheusiasm has been supplanted by indifference, which I do pray pass away with all due expedition, time passing and nothing of note accomplished. Any talk with Dobus brother, much interested in matters Dim Dim, asking me many questions as to how commodities are manufactured, cotton, paper, boxes etc. "Suppose I go Dim Dim (white mans country) they kill er me?" I sign long you, I like to see altogether something belong Dim Dim".
5th Work on sunset canvas. Afternoon to Wasaisuia, where Taparna being held, missionaries walked around for about half an hour then a few natives collected, sitting on a log other taking up position on boimas and divers other vantage points. First all collected, first a hymn then this native divine gave a sermon, which he appeared to be saying by rote, it was of short duration, the audience treats the matter
as would most congregations that is to all outward appearances. This Mission being from Gunilibaba spoke to him about the pig episode. Scrivener spoke to him on the matter, but this missioner, though he possibly has the best intentions in the world, would not be strong enough to handle this matter, this a white mans job, and is up to these latter to look into the affair. It is quite obvious that little or nothing had been said to the natives on subject, otherwise they would have been more covert, and not roasted the pigs while two white men in the village. Then to Oiewedva where one of the Trobriand comedians, he had not forgotten my corn cob pipe, or his inimitable mimicing of my smoking it. He gave a repetition performance. To-day being the Sabbath, all the village very excitable, requested a close inspection of my gold crowned teeth, with further request that I remove same for their more intimate inspection, appeared surprised this not possible. The piccaninnie vivilas at cricket, and mighty noise therewith, they took their runs whether they hit the ball or not, making their score on a fern leaf. The sun dropping behind the horiz and splashed the landscape with rose and gold, and so though the quiet, most is quiet after the stream of natives which followed had left, of the evening along the track to my shanty. Whatime ere leaving two vivilas cast naughty looks in my direction. This night talk severely to my incorrigable rogue of a cook-boy, impossible to cure of trickery, it has become a habit with him. The small boy who has attached himself to my menage, has so done with view to serving a domestic apprenticeship, in order at a later date to sign on to a cook-boy. Here domestic service is regarded as an honour and something achieved certainly they could give points to so called white domestics, being possessed of a general all round knowledge of cookery, washing and general domestic duties. They are troublesome in many ways and light fingered, but this amply compensated for by the efficient manner in which they execute their duties. It is unfortunate that my chief boy, should be about the greatest scoundrel that ever dodged gaol. His brother quite the reverse, asked me why I should not live in Samarai in order that he sign on "long me".
Aug 6th Work on sunset canvas. Later to Tobiraukiva and Teavi in latter village vivilas at cricket, whatime the boys are playing a return match at Tobiraukiva.
The sun died in a glory of purple and gold, its last rays catching the tops of the higher palms making of them trees of beaten gold. Night coming apace fills the village with deep shadows. Smoke from the evening fires largely drifts skyward. In the deeper shadows of the tree under which I sit, a [indecipherable, possibly soiree] of dusky maidens gather round, breaking out into one of their lilting chants, gently swaying their lithsome bodies to the rythm of the song, hunting, mystic, filling the heart with unfulfilled desire, speaking poignantly of forgotten things, ancient memories
speaking calling through the ages. The maidens langorous move alluring.
7th To villages of Kapivapu and Okaikoda, bush villages. Like the peasentry of other climes, these bush natives are less sophisticated than those living on the large coastal villages which latter might be designated the metropoli of these islands in their relationship to the bush villages. Partake of midday meal in a hut wherein all the family, an old man and woman, two piccaninnies, two boys. One side of the hut are ranged the coconut shells like arrangement which serves for beds, at the far end is the earthen cooking pot which eminates much steam from its contents. The vegetables cooked. The old woman places three wooden plates upon the ground. These plates identical in pattern to the European article. With a sharpened stick, she takes out the taitu, which is in slices, and places them on the plates, pouring off the soup from the vegetables, into cocoanut shells when all take their fill from the repleted plates. Occasionally with baked taitu, a mussel shell is used to scrape out the contents. Make a study of village, which in the hard blaring light of the midday sun not interesting. Leave the village followed by vivilas and piccaninnies, the former in most boisterous mood. My cook-boy tells me he has "caught a vivila". Catching vivilas seemingly an art. So far have only witnessed the first part of this interesting procedure. The vivila first coyly peeps round from behind the safe cover of a hut, this she continues to do, until she has attracted attention, whereupon she will dash away and clasp hold of the hand of another vivila, both of whom will then boldly advance, retaining hold of each others hand, but retiring with considerable speed when the boy approaches. This procedure is continued, with variations, until the vivila considers herself caught, whereupon having decided to her satisfaction that she has become enmeshed in cupids net, she will clasp her accomplice round the waist and hug her, whatime she giggles and looks slyly over her shoulder. Meanwhile all the vivilas in the village are working themselves up into excitable mood. Many mischievous glances are cast in directions of the principal actors, which latter seemingly arrange an assignation; anyway nothing further eventuates until after sundown.
But I must
There must I leave it for the principals to supply any further information on the subject. In Okakaido see mother with new born child, the skins of both almost as light and as [indecipherable] as Europeans. Okaikoda is unique, inasmuch as the women and piccaninnies do not work the gardens with the men, only fetching the vegetables when they are fully grown. See a "company" garden. i.e. a garden that is worked by several boys in conjunction. The number of boys in the company denoted by strips of pandanus
hun attached to a stick.
8th Studies in Teavi, piccaninnies, quaint lassies in their new dobas. They endeavoured to remain still but without success. Much dissatisfied with slow progress of work. Cook-boys catch brought home, a sagali ensuing. My kitchen adjacent to studio, this most disturbing. X
9th Study of vivila, the maiden became impatient would not "sit" for long, regretable she being a fine subject, presented a wonderous doba, consisting of about a dozen separate patterns. To Teavi for study of piccaninnie. Found the wee mite in a hut at kai kai. Quite nude, her lavish adornments hanging outside the hut not without considerable persuasion induce the child to come out, but sitting a failure she being both hungry and sleepy. Much covet her quaint doba, though will not make an offer for it. I wish to retain the mental vision of the wee lassie attired always in that quaint doba. As the years roll on she will grow up, become possessed of piccaninnies of her own, possibly equally brown and quaint but to me, she will always remain that wee lassie but three years of age. Further process of catching vivilas, the "caught" maiden in company with her accomplice, will forming thither, taking with her a basket of yams or taitu, as present for her captor. Vivila catching is also done en masse, a practice more common during the dance season, when full war paint is brought into action, causing many casualties amongst the beaux of the villages.
Complete water-colour of piccaninnie, rather pleased with result. To Teavi for studies of vivilas, but all about to set out for water, and looking mighty fine in their new dobas: express my admiration thereof, seemingly with more entheusiasm than tact, came the retort: yes, doba good, vivila no good, she nothing" endeavour to cover my omission by remarking that vivila very fine" whether or no this
was a salve to their offended vanity, I trust not and these are savages, if you please!!!!. Cannot cure Teavi of the pernicious habit of cadging tabac. Frequently explain:" gala ginigini, gala tabac" (no drawing of piccaninnies, no tabac, nevertheless every time I go into their village, they dive into huts, haul out their infants, for me to view, considering this sufficient excuse to ask for tabac. Food supplies arrive spasmodically, either feast or famine. Yesterday down to my last egg, and but little taitu remaining. To-day fish, poultry and plenty of vegetables. Unfortunately, excepting the vegetables nothing will keep longer than a day. The cook-boy in order to
appear show a seeming interest in my welfare, talks in English to any boys transgressing my orders, as the boys cannot understand English, its all very amusing. Oh these great grown children always singing, much merry laughter and children. Trickery acknowledging no master work for whom they please and when they please. Since I no longer stay with the A.R>M. the question of models extremely difficult, one to two hours is the outside limit. For which they will "sit", and owing to the abundance of tobacco on the Island, one sitting is about the most I can expect, nothing will persuade them to "sit" again. The question of a completed canvas continued direct from life, is now quite out of the question. When with the Govt, I was able to obtain prisoners as hospital patients for models, even though they were unreliable. To-day the cook-boys vivila to "sit" against her will, result she would not remain still. Even increased quantity of tobacco would increase rather than reduce, the difficulty inasmuch as white mens requirements are concerned, so long as they possess sufficient tabac for the immediate present, they will not work until their supply is exhausted, consequently to complete a figure from life, would be a lengthy process. Fortunately upon my last expedition I stayed at the Residency where all things considered, I was fortunate with regards my models.
Black & white of cricket match. To Teavi. The boy "Teapot" asked me what village the sun went to at night. With assistance of cocoanut and a stone, I demonstrated the action of these two planets. The boy much elated with this information, proceeded to make a tour of the village, imparting his new discovered knowledge. He further asked me if I was born with gold stopped teeth. As I surmised the raison detre of the drummers holding spears during the dancing, is a survival of the days when raids were prevalent, seemingly a boy dare not leave his village boundary alone, should he be so unwise,
the belligerent denizens of the villages would spear and bury him. If a boy ran off with another wife, the whole village of the injured husband, would arm themselves and make work on the offender which generally resulted in the latters death. These Islanders have a name for each of the winds, N. S. E. W.
12th Black & white, cricket match. To Teavi where vivilas at cricket, I informed one maiden, she was not making her runs correctly, came the customary retort, as interpreted to me: "Well thats my business not yours. Some of them with new dobas, of pandanus, when new, they are a beautiful shade of green, the long white strips of pandanus making a splendid contrast. To Tobiraukiva, where boys at song, a new one, have not hitherto heard, more melody than their usual chants, commencing with the tenors for the first few bars, when the bass take up the medly, really most effective. The village in complete darkness but for the fire close to the singers. Seen thus it was typical of the villages of romance suggesting all manner of adventures. Two vivilas en route for a sagali called in to know if I would make gini gini, drawings of them.
13th Black & white. Relay studio floor, this puts an end to its undulations, which were most fatiguing. Walk about" Teavi where insistent howls for tabac, a great nuisance, these people as bad as the carriers with their ceaseless "backsheesh". Greatest difficulty in keeping natives out of the studio, they will persist in walking in uninvited to see the drawings etc. These greatly fascinate them, each desiring me to go and work in their particular village.
14th\Work on sunset canvas not a masterpiece. Successful in keeping boys from interrupting my work in studio by simple expedient of blocking up door. To Tobiraukiva, en route a crowd of natives returning from a sagali; a procession of exquisite bronze nudes, but for the dainty skirts, swinging gracefully to the movement of their lithsome limbs. Atop their heads each supporting baskets and mois without which they never travel. Unless boat arrives with stores, shall be in bad way. Now reduced to smoking "trade" rolled in newspapers. My supplies of even this, very meagre. Plenty of native kai kai, plenty that is , if one is successful in competing with ones neighbours. i.e. Lumley and Auerbech, the former cornering the eggs, the latter when he arrives with his relatives will corner all products by the simple expedient of putting up the price, in which he is a very fool,
for the native having procured sufficient tabac, will then not bring in supplies. The Islanders are very independent, will not work for whites unless in the mood. We are in this country, seemingly by tolerance for what they can get out of us, which after all is "quid pro quo" the white man, including the missionaries, who obtain a comfortable easy livelihood. A propos of the pig roasting, this would not have occurred but for the wicked indifference of the missionaries, whom now seek to salve their conscience, by suggesting, that such things do not occur, when it is common knowledge to the reverse. Meanwhile, the missioner appears quite unable to answer my pertinent queries re this subject. A large size python in bush close to studio, must endeavour to catch it, time permitting. House boys unable to distend their abdomens with the rations supplied by their master, got together other house boys hailing from of their own district, and are touring the villages giving dances in return for which they receive cocoanuts and yams. The Blustery S.E. blowing without cessation for six weeks, becoming very trying, the ceaseless rioting. Preferably to the other alternative, torrential rain.
15th Wok on sunset canvas, rather a "dud" almost impos. To make studies, strength of sun too much, after five minutes impossible to see.
In Stores Samarai
Toothpaste Shaving Soap
Paw Paw Crabs
Bananas Milk from Lumleys cows
Beans Lapi oysters
Have not partaken of flour in any form for three weeks, becoming quite accustomed to Taitu as substitute (taitu similar to potatoes)) owing to lack of rain, now compelled to use water from village (Teavi) water-hole, was given to understand this water deleterious, but all whites using it; no ill effects not pleasant for washing purpose, and I opine, bad for teeth owing to lime. This country notorious for the amount of false and ignorant information that is imparted. The majority whites here ill lettered and conceited fools, filled with their own importance and state of mind induced, presumably by living with ignorant savage, and being shit off from the world. Withal their knowledge of the country in which they live i.e. Papua is extraordinarily limited their preceptive power equally so. Although they have not troubled to study the country or its peoples, they deeply resent scientists and others from the outside world forming their own theories. However all are most hospitable and equally ready to "help one over the fence" with ones physical and well as mental requirements.
The son of Wanii (the late chief) just dead. This will mean another crop of blackened bodies and shaven heads, which makes and extraordinary transformation. One vivila who had lost her brother, came to my boys house to don her mourning. She entered the hut, a robust, winsome maiden, lovely rich brown hair, a ravishing doba. When she made her exit, quite unrecognisable, shaven head, blackened body, drab skirt, it gave her the appearance of being emaciated and old. When a commoner is buried the arms are crossed European manner, the body is
tied wrapped in three pieces of moi. Scorceres are buried face down, the native theory being that should they desire to dig themselves out, they would have to did down, consequently digging burying themselves deeper.
Work on sunset canvas. Studies Taubiraukiva where vivilas preparing dish of mona, two vegetables (Tauau & Tauwau) are beaten into pulp with a mallet (
Katumura Kaitutu) the vegetables being first dipped into water then placed on piece of flat wood (Katumura). When I say the only alternative to fine weather is rain I err, one may have wind and rain, but no fine weather minus the blustering S.E. which still rages.
Black & white canoe race. Mother of one of my models called, with three other vivilas to see study, but all works kept at Lumleys so could not satisfy this curiosity. Trivial enough events these, but I suppose worth recording. S.E. died down after seven or more blustering weeks, vegetation becoming dried up, can now hear surge of the breakers on the distant reef, by the same token mosquitoes should shortly be on the wing. "Make court" amid much chatterfercation
Plaintiffs arrive, bringing with them a pig, which latter, however no bearing on the case, which as usual had for "leit-motif" a vivila. Boy from village of Kadukivikala informs "Harry" (one of my boys) that there is a particularly gorgeous specimen of a
villag vivila in his village who would like to sleep with him (Harry). His mind full of delights to come, hies him to the village, in anticipation of being met by a pair of flashing eyes of dusky maiden, in lieu of which it is steel that is flashed, full of chagrin "Harry" returns minus the vivila. In order to obtain tabac the boy either lied to "Harry" or made arrangements with the vivila without the permission of her beau; was unable to ascertain whats the truth, anyway, the main idea was to obtain tabac. "Harry" being of an amorous disposition fell to it. Finding of the court was, Boy to endeavoured to obtain tabac the principal offender, altogether too much gammon
[Sketches of two implements mentioned in the text a Kaitutu and a Katumura]
and a damned scoundrel to wit. The plaintiff must not brandish knives or other offensive weapons, but refer all complaint to the A.R.M. That there being many dark eye damsels on the island of Kiriwina, that in future "Harry" betake himself to other haunts, withal not to meddle with the boys vivilas, married or otherwise. All of which of course sounds very fine and to the point, but exactly how much of it was understood by the Court quite another matter. Anyway after this homily I duly dismiss Court.
19th Nothing of consequence. Have tabulated much trivial detail, interesting only that these Islands are unknown except to a very few, withal so much that is printed relative to Papua is inexact, that something light on to what actually life is in Papua, may be worthy of record, though even this is but the impressions of a single individual. Not only short of Dim Dim stores, but trade tabac running out, which very serious. These natives will not give, or leave on credit, not so much as a single taitu, this refers to even those whom I am intimately acquainted with. Fortunately S.E. blown out, so perchance a boat into Samarai for stores.
Apart from love-making and sexual intercourse amongst the the young and betel chewing and tabac smoking amongst both young and old, feasts are the chief form of recreation. (extract from anthropological report No 1. Suav-Tawa). Types of minor feasts are connected with stages in the building of a home, completion of a canoe, fish net etc and are, in the main, methods of payment for labour.
To Teavi and Tobiraukiva in search of model, the former village away at a dance, the latter working in gardens. Withal as the trials of "sitting" become known my difficulty in obtaining models increases. I had arranged to have fire outside during fine weather to minimise danger from fire. These people one too many for me, the fire was outside alright, - but they have built a house round the fire, which addition to my studio once more places the fire indoors!! S.E. worse than ever.
To Tobiraukiva in search of model, make overtures to several vivilas, nothing doing; eventually persuade one to "sit" this lasts ten minutes, then she will have none of it. To large audience, much mirth. Teavi and Tobiraukiva, my two nearest villages, now useless for models, despite their need of Tabac
they will not "sit" were I suggest to sleep with them, this would meet their approval. The 2nd stage is preparing Mona, is executed by the boys. A large cauldron supported on three stones under which a fire each boys holds a plate containing the vegetable, which is rolled in the form of pancakes. One boy with platter containing finely ground cocoanut. The water boiling, each boy consecutively places a piece of the vegetable into cauldron, at certain propitious moments some of the cocoanut is sprinkled in comes forward an old man, with a wooden spatula some four feet in length (Kanaiva) with this he stirs the cauldron. The cooking not completed here, they taking the mona in cauldron to Olievelazi a village some two miles distant. Find cook-boys vivila sitting on studio floor gazing up rapturously at a photo of my sister (a very beautiful girl) "who this sinabada?": explain it is my sister, "Ioku Bima" (bring her here) repairs to studio walls, damn wind blowing through everywhere.
Water-colour of vivila rather successful, not direct from life, this now quite impossible, cannot persuade models to sit long enough to compelled to work from rapidly made pencil notes. Scene opens, Teavi village, the soft light of the moon spreads its silver glow upon the shimmering fronds of the palms. The deep shadows of a boima are illumed by the orange glow from a flickering hurricane lamp, which throws a warm glow upon the natives assembled round the yam house. Seated on platforms of Boima an artist, the paper upon the bord which he holds, making a bright splash of light against the subdued tones of the surroundings. Wail of piccaninnies, hear off.
The Magistrate (an artist)
Bomandi: a vivila some forty five years of age, one of the many aged woman whom the artists cook-boy had selected as a bedfellow for the artist.
Bomdoiya. the defendant, a vivacious vivila, boisterous, withal a bold wench.
Nainiani: a cook-boy, one time in Papuan police force, a thoroughly scurrilous rogue and perverter of the truth and principal witness for the prosecution
Harry: Nainianis brother
"Teapot": a Teavi boy interpreter for the Defendant
Vivilas, piccaninnies, boys and general village crowd.
Much chatterfercation from the crowd, after repeated crys of Dis!! (silence) order is restored and the court opened. For brevity only questions put by the magistrate are written down.
Bomanudi: I saw this vivila hide something under her Doba which appeared to be a half masticated leg of chicken.
Naimani: (filled with importance upon being once more associated with the law, stands at attention making a salute, whatime the abnormal extension of his chest, whilst so doing would suggest that his ribs unable to stand the strain will burst through his skin.): Yes taubada, this one vivila, she hide something behin doba belong er
Bomdoiya: I come first time studio belong this Taubada for tabac, e no got. I sent boy scharlie place, e get em three stick tabac. I go long kitchen Teddy place, I go long kitchen place this Taubada, I no take kai kai belong Dim Dim".
Naimani: I make table, big fellow room belong you, I see Bomdoiya go kitchen place belong you:
Bomdoiya: "I stand kitchen place, two fellow people with Naimani, scharlie dog e come inside take Kum Kum (chicken)
Bomanui: "I see no tabac, but one piece chicken"
Naimani: I see dog take head belong fish".
Bomdoiya: I see Mr Seeles e come back, I take em knife tabac, put im long Doba".
Naimani: I see this one vivila in kitchen with hands behin back, I ask wot she want".
Bomdoiya:" See dog take chicken, I throw stone long dog I say to Naimani, wot this one dog kai kai. I then sit stone where dog he leave piece chicken.
Evidence for the prosecution and defence having been heard, the half mangled remains of a thrice stewed chickens leg is brought into Court, this is exposed to the searching glare of the flickering hurricane lamp, the defendant is confronted with her crime, she however remains undisturbed, gazing unflinchingly upon this remnant of a feathered biped. The unforeseen arrival of "Sandy" the dog, rather complicates evidence for the prosecution:
Finding of the Court. Undubitably the evidence of the two witnesses points to the culpability of the defendant. Further that a dog having once obtained a hold upon such a toothsome morsel, as a chickens legs, would have speedily transferred it to the safe keeping of its abdomen. For the defendant, however one of the witnesses is such an outfaced scoundrel that it is impossible to accept the veracity of his statement his motive may have been actuated by vindicative intent, owing to the vivila, not having parted up with some of the tabac she purchased. The crux of the matter now rests with what the dog has to say, who of course come with a tail.
One point in defendants favour, no-one apparently saw her actually eating the chicken, a question withal which I omitted to put.
Vivila to sit, not an imposing study but useful for general form. She sat very well considering her age, but would persist in suggesting that I should sleep with her, this coming from an aged and somewhat angular woman with short cropped hair, somewhat grotesque. The portfolio of my beautiful sister receiving more adulations, this is interesting as proving that the Papuan conception of beauty must possess some similarity with Europeans standards, hitherto I was rather under the impression, that their standards differed considerably X.V.
Never was such joy, never such a dancing about, never was there such sticking of feathers in hair; From sunrise to sunset he bursts into song, always lauging, always singing, ever a beaming countenance. I allude to that youth the cook-boys apprentice. He receive the handsome stipend of one stick tabac and a piece of newspaper, exactly what work he does, perchance the cook-boy can enlighten the world for I wot not of it. He carries tins to the village water-hole for water. He once cooked a meal for me but it was dished up with a sauce of such laughter and happiness, that I could not quarrel with his culinary efforts. To Teavi, where two piccaninnies vivilas aged about two years, holding hands, followed me round the village.. "Harry" alluding to the many antiques with which his brother from time to time endeavours to pass off on me, the sight of the wee mites following me round joyed him much, great and loud his laughter. Tabac famine so active natives are smoking dried leaves. Water-colour of vivila. Most unusual for every white man to have run short of tabac simultaneously, Govt and Mission in like conditions.
Water-colour of vivila. To Karatana where a dance, in most respects similar to all the Trobriand dancers, but thirty five performers, the largest number I have seen so far. The gave four items, all much alike. First holding karisobu in both hands, 2nd holding over right shoulder, 3rd movement karisobu held round waist, in front cassowary plumes in both hands. As evening drew in they put more go into the dance, which otherwise very dull. As the dancers went round, members of the audience came forward, and detach one of the cassowary plumes, a custom known as Tiralwai, the taking of a plume being a mark of appreciation of the dancers qualities, which latter however, before he can get return of the plumes must make a gift as acknowledgment of the praise received, by the same token, the dancers received much recognition from the audience. Several vivila participated in the dancing. Though officially it is the men who dance. The dance with the Kaidobu [Kaydebu dance shield] (wooden dancing shield) is
no longer performed, those who knew this dance having died, new dances have been introduced through I opine, civilisation and trade has much to do with this. These dancing shields being most elaborately carved and must take considerable time, which latter has been turned to other channels. My cook-boy informed me that three vivilas particularly wished to sleep with me, when they learnt of the strightened condition of my tabac supplies, their enthusiasm quickly evaporated. Kai kai at Brudos so home by light of that most brilliant lamp a Tropic moon.
Commence water-colour of vivila. Boys burning off their gardens, but few yards from studio, myself much agitated thereby, remaining on roof to beat out sparks, owing to prolonged dry weather, studio once alight would burn out in ten minutes. Fool-cook-boy on roof with an implement to beat out sparks, if he thought he was ornamental, his appearance on the sky line was a failure. The skirt I purchased of cook-boys vivila, in order to have clean raiment, I find she has traded with another vivila for dirty rag of a thing. No tabac next Sat for this young women, who withal was most hoity-toity when I admonished her for the default. Oh dear!, What a pack of children they all are, always up to some infantile trick. Now fond are these people of their piccaninnies, peeped into boy house, there a boy laying down with his five year old piccaninnie in his arms, the two of them singing to each other, the spectacle of such happiness is indeed a tonic. Although these people are of such amorous disposition the art of kissing is quite unknown to these Islanders what a lot they are missing! Studies in Tobiraukiva, rather wonderful sunset the whole sky a terrific blaze of cadmium and crimson. The moon rose a globe of bright yellow against a flaming purple sky, interesting but crude. Shall be relieved when a boat arrives with stores, weary of smoking "trade" tabac. Have become quite accustomed to absence of bread or flower in any form. Average cost of native products, myself, three boys and one vivila, 1 lb 6 sticks tabac = 6/-
Apart from the figure heads of canoes, wood-carving is already becoming a lost art. Sacrificed to that miserable monster Trade. The wood craftsmen devoting all their labours to the production of cheap and crude articles for trading with tourists withal with the usual conceit common to most white people in Papua certain vulgar traders are diverting the work of these one time consummate craftsmen, to the application of wood-carving for European utensils. A laudatory motive, certainly, but in the hands of such crude and vulgar guidance, has been disasterous to Trobriand Art. These Islands have been practically cleaned up of anything worth while, workmanship of pre trade era is practically extinct, with nothing to replace it, but the coarse
and roughly finished "Trade" articles. During these last few months, have come across nothing worth the trouble of trading, although I have spent much time in a and about the village. I have happened upon a few good Kabomas. Meanwhile, hundreds of these latter day works are being taken back to Dim Dim, and sold in Samarai as examples of Trobriand art. Never was the native receiving so much for their work, never were they producing such excrable examples. Tis ten oclock and a moonlight night, I sit in my native built studio, placidly writing, no sound save that of the interminable cadences of the locusts, the squawk of flying foxes and other denizens of the bush, from the village afar off, the sound of drums. Thus sit I, some sixteen thousand miles from that mist enshrouded island, with its girdle of grey green seas England. Comes a soft tapping upon the palm leaf door; I heed not, the sound becomes insistent, the door opens, there basket in hand, points of light from the lamp revealing his shiny figure is a native with the mail! By the magic of the pen, 16,000 miles of space and tumbling waters, is annihilated. I hold converse with those at home, with friends, the business tape reels out. Time and distance which obliterated all too quickly the intimatices of friendship, are overcome by this same magic pen. Return I home after years of absence, finding myself not a stranger in a strange land, but intimate with the happenings of the years of absence. Withal may I discuss my varied adventures through life, and am not talking of this, vague, remote; but of something that is vital and alive. That after all the centuries, that so few, so very few, realise what a wonderful thing is this same pen, is astounding!!
27th Water-colour of vivila. Walk-about Teavi. Arrival of stores! and of course, the cook-boys vivila must squat on the floor, of course the joyous youth must cut capers, whatime whatime they watch the process of opening the cases, and all agape as to what will issue therefrom. Oh! the glistening of eyes, the working of fertile brains, as coloured paper shaving burst through such parts of the case as become exposed under the efforts of the cook-boy with his tomahawk. What a delight, the counting and checking of tins and boxes and bottles, whatime the cook-boys imagination is working at fever pitch, in contemplation of all those little shortages of Dim Dim kai kai, which the Taubada will not wot of. In Teavi the piccaninnies have a game called "Katukwaika". A piece of flat wood carried almost ins a circle with a short handle, is thrown as far as the boy can manage, he then follows it up, with a small spear
which with which he endeavours to hit the speedily rolling disc I opine the origin of this game was to encourage facility in spearing
[Sketch of a Katukwaika]
Day frittered away, re-canning Benzine, the tin of which generally arrives in leaking condition and purchasing Kowla (vegetables). Shopping in Trobriand a most irritating process, one has to replenish stores at the natives convenience, no use fixing a time for them to bring their products, they please themselves in this matter, if possessed of plenty of tabac, they do not come at all. They arrive with their produce at all hours from daylight to dusk, am forever putting down my brushes to "Trade" with them, these hinderamis have become such a nuisance, when I have particularly important work, have to block up studio door, and chance being with kai kai the following day; that is other than taitu, which is the only thing I can obtain in large quantities, this will keep for an indefinite period provided it is under lock & key. Meanwhile the native is up to every trick known to European Tradesman, taitu arrives in baskets, good quality on top, rubbish at bottom, withal, if he thinks you wot not of these matters at all, everything he brings will be of poor quality or quite uneatable, cannot trust cook-boy to make the "Trade" hes the greatest rougue of the bunch. Having called upon chief of Tobiraukiva, to inspect his new hut, he returned the compliment by calling at the studio, the difference in ceremonial being however, that in the former case I give him tabac, in the latter, I also give him tabac. These people most impossible jews, will not so much as left a pebble without payment; one cannot even converse with them, but that they expect tabac, as token of the honour, they have done for you. This night Dobu said his brother would like to make talk with me, enter brother, looking very sheepish, walking round the studio, would not at first speak, finally stuttered out, "last night I sleep long vivila, to-day she send boy get em tabac, small piece of tabac Taubada". Explain to him the fact that he slept with vivila was in nowise my fault, meanwhile cook-boys vivila, came into studio to see the fun.
Commence new canvas, studies Tobiraukiva. The male figure of normal proportion, though short in stature, the female figure narrow in the hips and gluetius maximus very small. The abdomen in most models a tendency to be too full lacking the refined modelling of the European females. There are exceptions to this however. The Dobu giving a suggestion of width to the hips, which in the nude is lacking. Main features of piccaninnies, large heads and extended
abdomens. The face in repose not beautiful, too great a tending to frown, appearing somewhat brutish. It is the happy expression and expressive gestures that is the charm of these people and which is generally lacking in a photo. Meanwhile the "joyous youth" continues to sing and laugh through the day. Never was such a happy care free soul, never were such exuberant spirits diseminated, to the joy of all and sundry. S.E. has died down after two solid months, during which period not a mosquito for which the Lord be praised.
Work in studio, disturbing day of vendors, repairs to the studio roof, that is the stopping of holes with pieces of pandanus leaf. Harry, the cook-boy vivila, and the "joyous youth" in attendance, which trinnity always about when anything toward. Piccaninnies with badly cut leg, much tears, some bandage and washing, a banana, all smiles. To Tobiraukiva, where as usual upon leaving, all piccaninnies troop out calling out at the pitch of their little piping voices "kaione Taubada"! good by, making me feel that if at least I was not the King of England, I ought to be. As I return in the dusk of evening, along the track I pass various natives, vivilas, basket atop head, piccaninnies clinging to their legs, strinding along with small burdens upon their heads, as they pass me, how those little chests stick out, with what air of importance, they gaze at me, an expression of look see what Im carrying, Im grown up now. Boys returning from their gardens, the ubiquitous legugu [legugu is a form of woodenhandled stone-headed gardening hoe] resting on shoulders all give the usual salutation "amberi bukulu?" (whither bound?" of course followed by: "topaiki Taubada" (Tabac). So home, and to dinner. Chicken broth, lapi oysters, boiled fowl, vegetables, bananas marked in milk, tea.
Work on canvas in studio, lagoon subject, weather conditions and difficulty of obtaining a canoe, preclude my making the necessary colour studies, so rather dependant upon a memory, for the scheme of my subject all my 24" x 20" canvas of Papua are executed in thiswise, the one exception being the girl with the parrot. Studies. Piccaninnies Teavi, was compelled to disturb the little model while
at the engaged upon his evening repast, very reluctant was he
[Sketch of a legugu. The sketch has the notes "Legugu with stone axe head bound with Waiuga, handle of Maiku a hard wood, these are no longer in use, but the stone head is much prized and used for trading purpose]
the study not particularly successful but have to be content with Papuan conditions, a most exacting country. The conditions have compelled me to work so rapidly, that I have become most facile with figures, rarely can I get as much as a complete half and hour most figure studies are confined to a brief ten minutes. A wood-carver at work on figure head of a canoe. His tools the most primitive, a tin opener, of the pattern supplied with canned beef, the end flattened out and ground to a chisel edge, a large nail similarly treated, a trade knife, and a legugu; with these crude implements he was dextrously carving a most intricate pattern; with what flourishes he brought the knife to the finish of each line, whether this was "swank" or his customary method of work, I wot [Wot is an archaic form of know] not, be that as it may he handled his tools with ability and expression. No preliminary drawing made, pattern already worked out mentally, he indicating to me with his finger the motive of the design. The hammer a piece of hard maku, about six inches long, 3 inch diameter. Down to the lagoon where ten piccaninnie vivilas holding a sagali each with a wooden plate of fish, the fish resting upon a large leaf, coconut with drinking water. What fry! What merriment, what freedom!!! The repast over, each piccaninnie to the lagoon, where platters and hands are washed, also teeth, this latter by the simple process of filling the mouth with water rubbing the teeth with a finger. The "joyous youth" to me for little piece of tabac, he indicated he go "make walk about". Such merry infectious laughter could not be denied. The tabac deposited in a little reticule slung over his shoulder, he to sing his way along the track to Teavi. What gallantness will he not display to the dusky maidens of that village Oh wonderful joyous, golden youth!! Wish I ever to symbolise the happiness of a world, you as model will be all sufficient.
[Sketch described a "Wooden hammer used by wood-carvers. (Kaigilagela)]
To Boitalu via Teavi, Werveoia, Sisesmia, Gunilibaba, Wabutimu. Boitalu is the centre of the wood-carving industry, herein are produced the masterpieces of Trobriand Art, or rather past tense more applicable, they diverting their attentions to production of articles for sale to tourists, apart from a few kaboma these works execrable. Was fortunate in discovering them at work, by true artistry they work only when the spirit moves them, hence not always probably to discover them so occupied. Discovering my intents, they demonstrated their methods of execution. Like most Trobriand
activities, the work appeared to be carried on in most casual manner. Such works as they were occupied upon very poor, though a model of exceptional merit was that of a flying fox, the craftsman had caught the action of the animal most admirably. When working upon pieces, where considerable weight of hammering is necessary, the piece of wood is rested upon cocoanut husk, which possessing resilience is not likely to injure the wood the method of work is quite simple, in making a kaboma (bowl) the rouging out is done with a legugu (adze) with which implement these craftsmans handle with great facility. The main surface of the bowl is then finished off with a boars tooth (Sala) which on account of is curved shape, is particularly useful for finishing rounded surfaces. The final polishing is done with the skin of a sting-ray. The ginigini (ornamentation) is worked with nails flattened to a chisel edge, formerly a Kalabatiga sharks teeth attached to a piece of wood (Ills page 55) The designs though similar in treatment and character, in detail are of considerable variety. At the present stage their craft is in a decendant condition, but under the guidance of a competant designer, it is quite possible that the abilities of the craftsmen could be diverted to the production of European articles to considerable advantage, as it is they are now influenced by ignorant Traders with disasterous results, never was their work so crude and indifferent in execution, in many examples not attempt whatever has been made to finish off the articles. In this village came upon a few interesting curios, but during the last nine months, have come across nothing worth while. The Trobriands has been completely cleaned up by tourists and others (Im one of the others) and these craftsmen are produce nothing to make good the loss of their works of the pre Trade Era. The only occasions upon which they are exhibiting their skill to advantage is in the figure heads of canoes. I [indecipherable] to say the vivilas of Britala are a bold and naughty crowd of wenches, who made suggestive overtures to me. The chiefs house of this village quite interesting. Upon the three upper projecting poles of the roof, models of birds, in a square cut in the face of the hut was a wooden bird, giving this house the appearance of a giant cuckoo clock minus the dial. Altogether a fatiguing
[Three sketches 1. Potintani pattern work in designs 2. Laimapu a pattern used in design, this word may be Trobriand for curved or flowing lines 3. Iayalumila For bailing canoes]
day. Along the tracks, very hot, so home, heavy shower, studio flooded out. Auerbeck arrived with load of betel nut, result all my house staff "yauyari" (drunk) with the beastly stuff. Cook-boy talking without cessation, cannot stop the blighter.
6.30AM Tu-ulu, the king walks into studio; intimate to this gentleman, that if he would kindly step into the kitchen, where the cook-boy will entertain him until such time as I have shaved, bathed and attired myself. The King duly acceeded to my request. He was out on a Tabac cadging expedition. Himself and courtiers squatted upon the floor, whatime I breakfasted, I handed the monarch a plate of bananas, and tabac . After smoking a short while he took his leave, the bananas also. So to work on lagoon subject, coming rather well, though working without preliminary colour studies, makes difficult going. To Tobiraukiva where all busy cutting out canoes, preparatory to the pearling season. One boy caving Tabuia for canoe.
[Sketches of three stages of carving canoe figurehead 1. 1st stage General form 2. 2nd stage Main proportion of detail 3. 3rd stage Working up the detail]. No preliminary drawing, the detail drawn with the chisel; each detail being carefully finished off with knife, sharpened nail or such tools as detail may
require neccessitate. Cook boy builds himself new hut. Harry very restless, not enough work to keep him employed. Although he receives full pay, he wishes to leave. The rogueries of his brother may also have something to do with this. This latter by the way runs up bills with natives, promising to pay in tabac Sat time, this tabac being already mortgaged up to the hilt, his creditors may whistle for their dues.
Work on sunset canvas. Most disturbing day, boys with produce. Cook-boy row with another over a damaged lime gourd, said damage infinitesimal, strong output case of wrath, another was this boy visiting his cook-boys vivila. Another informs me no tabac in Samurai. I possess exactly 2lb with which to purchase six week food supplies and no credit system, wonder how I shall manage. Whenever cook-boy stands to attention and smartly salutes by this token do I
[Sketches of designs for figurehead of a canoe. Entitled "Patterns used in design"]
know that he about to make a special request. Work on lagoon canvas. To Tobiraukiva, where Tu-ulu had just present Mosilibu (the chief) with a present of native wealth. The vivilas looking delightful in new dobas. Several detached themselves from the crowd, and made the tabac sign to me, bold wenches!!! Mosilibu appeared annoyed about something, he was walking up and down haranguing the crowd. I was wearing shorts numerous of the boys felt my calves and remarked "Sina Boima" (very good). This night purchased for cook-boys vivila three skirts. The deal was done through a relative of hers from Kativa Island. The skirts brought here for her to try on. Since I was paying for them (2 sticks tabac = 6d!!) considered I had a right to the selection thereof. So fitting took place in studio. Savages! Did you say? Never was anything so human as this episode. The vivila had told her relative that she was purchasing the skirts, meanwhile he fool husband, the cook-boy, was giving the show away, he was jabbering away ninety-nine to the dozen. She looking daggers at him, endeavouring to shut him up, making cinema eyes, the kind of expression a hostess makes to her husband when this latter is making a faux pas" at her At Home. Eventually becoming conscious of what was afoot, I postponed the fitting until the relative had got him hence: Meanwhile have since explained to the vivila, that these skirts belong to me, a necessary precaution to prevent her exchanging them with divers other vivilas for their old skirts. I have ordered her to destroy her present wardrobe. I made a great effort to retain a serious countenance, but this, attempting the impossible.
Retouching water-colours. Studies Tobiraukiva. Amongst their interesting customs is the manner of settling certain disputes of a legal nature, the friends of the disputants bring to the village presents of yams and taitu, these are placed in piles side by side the disputant whose friends have made the largest gifts is considered to have won the case.
A "dud". Matter of supplies becoming difficult, since arrival of Auerbeck with betel, Boys are taking all supplies to him, when his stores are replete, had they have sufficient Tabac and betel, they will then bring in nothing either to him or anyone else, until such time as they are once more short of tabac.
[Sketch of a Kagigiu with a description "for drilling holes in sapi sapi. Shaft and cross=piece. Mangrove native twine head of stone now supplanted by steel"]
With these natives the white man, as an individual is of no account, the white man just represents so much tabac and betel, although one may have been giving the native tabac for years, be you out of supplies, you cease to exist in so far as they are concerned.
Studies Tobiraukiva. Work on lagoon, canvas, rather attempting the impossible, cannot obtain necessary studies for which must go to Sinakata, cannot do this owing to shortage of tabac. Effect this evening very bizaar. The sky to the East brilliant dark purple, to West, where sun setting, green, azure, pinks gold. Fergussion and Goodenough Islands very clearly defined against sky line. "The joyous youth" will not sleep in boy-house, he is feared of devil devils. Eyes becoming troublesome.
Cricket in the Trobriands
The Tropic sun bazed down, making points of light upon the shimmering fronds of the palm leaves which gently swayed to the soft breeze. Upon the ground
which where the match will be played natives are seated in picturesque groups, their brown skins, shiny from recent application of coconut, reflecting back the intense light which pervades the scene. This being a gala occassion, both sexes are much bejizened, their facial decorations highly ornate, the scarlet hibiscus which decorate the hair of many, makes splashes of dazzling colour against the deeper bronze of their skin. Pearls shells which are pendant from the sapi necklaces of the vivilas, glisten like silver, tinkling melodiously to their graceful movements. Great the noise of chatterfercation and laughter, much the badinage between the rival teams. Cricket as played in the Trobriands, partakes more of the native of a performance, suggestion of a scene from a musical comedy; rather than the serious play more generally associated with this game. With considerably swishing of dobas and tinkling of the shells, (for this is to be a vivilas match) the players commence to take up positions. That member of the other sex will participate during the course of the game, is a matter of no moment. The number of players in this unique exposition of cricket is an unknown quantity inasmuch as they increase and diminish during the progress of the game. Withal, the complete disregard of the M.C.C. rules greatly enhanced the novelty of this performance. However, despite
These deviations from the orthodox; the players take a keen interest in the game, and great is the rivalry, but despite the absence of umpires, the opponents, but for a few trivial discussions culminating in a lung power contest, the players appeared to get on quite amicably. The scores are denoted by tearing off the frond of a palm leaf for each run, the respective teams keeping their own score. Should one side consider that their own score was not appearing too healthy this is overcome, by the simple means of tearing off a few fronds for luck. Each player possessed her own bat, there being no ruling as to shape or size, this was largely governed by the size of the piece of timber from which the bat was fashioned, plus the individual taste of the player, the result was decidedly bizaar. The ball which was of wood, was equally in keeping, I know of no geometrical defination which adequately describes its strange and weird form. The stumps seemingly, may be any number up to six, bails are considered an unneccessary obstruction, only adding to further delays during the game, the batsmen doing so much damage to the stumps that much time is lost making necessary repairs! If the players and their implements are quaint, the play was even more so, both batsmen and bowlers putting in some quite good fancy work. Though how, with their fantastic bats they managed to hit that equally strange ball, is really quite remarkable, but hit it they did, and to some purpose. Meanwhile the fielders very wisely played for safety, stooping to let the ball pass over them, whenever that fearsome
mizzle missile sped its devious course in their direction. Meanwhile if the ball was not hit far enough it was not always essential to make the full run, by the same token, a run could be made without even hitting the ball, if the bowler had thrown it far enough away from the wicket. Part of the team were two performers each with a piece of stick, who ran alongside the batsmen when a score was made. Matches are arranged between villages. If the game is played upon neutral ground, then the usual ruling applies, as to the winner, whom presumably are they who make the greatest number of scores. If, however it is played on village ground, then it is understood
as an act of courtesy, that the visiting team wins. The rules of Trobriand cricket are as complex as they are indefinate, there is one point of etiquette, which, however, is strictly observed, that is the dusky bowler always calls out "ows thart" which in most cases is the sum total of their knowledge of the English language. There are all manner of matches played. Single men versus married , inter-village teams piccaninnies and vivilas matches, in the latter case the feminine perogative of altering decisions is fully utilised. Apart from matches, they are always playing, this game has thoroughly caught the imagination of the natives and certainly judging by the matches that I have witnessed they have given their inventive faculties full rein
To Olivelevi where the grave of one, Iyaluba, blood relation to Wanoi the late chief of this village. The grave quite elaborate an
circle oval of wooden steaks curved like the ribs of a ship, each steak surmounted with a cocokto feather originally forming the head dress of the dead man, the oval cover with white sand. On top, the grave surmounted with a Moi. So to the beach where a fine sea breaking on the reef. Colour good, a few trippers about making their Sunday walk about, and disporting themselves on the sand in much the same manner as do white people, a little refreshment of coconut milk. So home.
Work on lagoon canvas, slight improvement which is saying nothing. Find each of companionship and similarity of all villages and the island generally, somewhat trying. Owing to rat trouble make a safe from an old kerosene tin, with holes punched in it, this is suspended from verandah celing on weather side of house. Cook-boy much perturbed that I insist upon having it outside "No Taubabada you will be pourri puri, altogether try, they come make puripuri". Amassing supplies difficult, dependent upon mood of natives. Yesterday down to my last egg. To-day abundance fish, a chicken, banana paw paw. Inquire meaning of Senibaba, at first cook-boy, most diffident in explaining tell him I want it for my journal. With some diffidence he and the "Joyous youth" went through some of the movements of the dance can now quite understand their embarrasment.
Study of cook-boy. To Iaruriga via Tobiraukiva and Moligagi. Usual miles of monotonous tortuos track with its outcrops of coral and border of stumpy six year cocoanut palms. The monotonous green of the bush, with nothing to relieve it
[Sketch titled Kulakola conventional waves, from painting on a house in Olivelevi]
but the vivid colours of an occaisonal butterfly flashing across the track. In Iaruriga a great number of Boimas, quite disproportionately to the size of the village and its meagre population. These boimas most elaborately decorated with all manner of devices, canoe prows, pigs, fish waves, and upon one a moon. Also quaint birds carved in wood, very rough, stuck on the end of ridge pole etc, these are placed there to safeguard the boimas from the depredation of evil spirits, which latter should make good their opportunity to-night, these quaint birds being now in my possession. My last pair of boots almost done in, which will considerably limit the extent of my perambulations, but as I have noted any village but seven on Kiriwina and Raileuna Islands. This is not much odds. No sleep again last night, rioting of rats appalling.
Work on lagoon canvas. To Teavi to sit and talk in the village. My only diversion, one vivila with hair cropped but not in mourning, inquire reason thereof, tells me she is sick, the idea of cropping hair, to keep down temperature. The sun has sent its last blaze of glory to the sky, rose to pink, pink to purple, purple to silver grey. The lagoon waters lap softly upon the shingle beach with its litter of pearl shell and coco-husks, canoes are drawn up upon the beach, which is skirted by palms their slender trunks leaning out over the water. Down the gently sloping palm fringed track, which leads from the village, come lithesome dusky maidens chanting their haunting melodies, in their van troop piccaninnies, their hair bedecked with scarlet hibiscus they are come to watch for the fishing fleet, and pay homage to the new moon, which hangs, a thin silver crescent in the Western sky. All the natives face the moon, commence, then, a wild hallooing, the piccaninnies clasp each others necks and jump about, great their excitement, a fire is lit, around which they gather, the maidens recontinue their chanting, withal a re mighty bold, making a few movements of the senibara shocking!!! So it being now full night, I away to kai kai. Cook-boy looking at me sideways and saluting this latter always arouses my suspicions, asks if he may go to Tobiraukiva to make dance, and may he have some Sat tabac, and of course must the "Joyous youth" do likewise minus salute. His hair festooned with flowers, under this arm a cane, many giggles, asked he
[Sketch titled Water Bottle (Boasi) and Platter (Kaboma) with description as follows These bottles are cocoanut shell, with wooden corks, in which the native possesses a considerable number of these, which are stored in racks inside the huts. Platter (kaboma) a large leaf in generally placed upon these wooden plates, before the food is placed thereon. Usually the plates have a plain border, not patterned as in sketch.]
me for some "a pat" ( the outside packing of tabac) since youth cannot be denied or the ardour of such happiness damped, I accede to his request, so my staff of four, away to make merry at Tobiraukiva. Some bread and butter, first for nearly three months, how trivial matters are become important.
[Sketch titled Moon (Ginubwabwasi) with the description Portion of decoration of Boima Iaruriga. Trobriands.]
Work in studio, To Teavi were the parents of the "Joyous youth" a seemingly kindly old couple, who appear might pleased their progeny working for a Dim Dim, sent me a gift of fish. The S.E. has died away, the fresh breeze giving place to the stillness of a Tropic night, tis a clear starlit sky, the still air vibrabrant with the multitudinous cues of the denizens of the bush, the noise of many insect, the squeaks of flying foxes, the shrill chirrup of locusts, the village drums are plainly audiable, from afar, the sound of breakers singing upon the coral reef, these some few of the sounds, which float in through the open door of my palm thatched studio. Insects attracted by the light, flop against the dark brown walls of pandanus leaf or beat against the lamp glass. This might the mysteries of the Tropics pervades the atmosphere, strange fancies fill the mind, of things remote, fantastic.
Complete study reef, studies Teavi. Harry take himself off, think he rather wearied of loafing around, there not enough work for him here.
Pen drawing of studio: never could understand why always a scatter when I went into kitchen, to-day they didnt get away with it, found Dobu initiating the "Joyous youth" into the secrets of culinary science, to whit, the frying of an egg. Give joyous youth first lesson in A.B.C, he was most apt.
Work in Teavi, oils, light too string to get a result. No Tabac in Samarai, which serious, ie can only 5lb of the 30lb I require. The Art of the Trobriand islanders, may be said to bear the same relationship to Papua, as did France & Italy to Europe. That these Trobriand Islanders so primitive in all else should possess such extraordinary skill an exceptional ability in wood carving is a matter of considerable interest. Withal their innate sense of design is amazing. Of the numerous specimens I have examined, not in any one case
[Sketch titled Tutua (a bird) with the description one of many quaint devices decorating a Boima]
has the design been poor, even in examples where the workmanship was of rough quality, the design was always well balanced and expressive.
[Sketch titled Minima with the description One of many wooden birds hung outside Boima, Iaruriga village. Trob.]
Naturally the mind wanders to the querie, where did Trobriand Art find its scource, there is no answer, its inception is lost in the mists of time. The present exponents are ignorant as to its history. Whatever conjecture one may make upon the subject, can be only of a very tentative nature. Personally I am strongly of the opinion that it found its origin in Asia, there is a strong suggestion of Asiatic arrangement in their design. Particularly is this evident in some of the handles of their lime spatulas, which bear a strong leaning to Burmese and Javanese treatement. Moreover the exceptionally clever manner in which they conventionalise birds, fish etc is that in all their work there is no preliminary drawing out, with true artistic instinct they mentally visualise the completed work before they commence, working out their proportions with skillful accuracy as the work progresses, particularly is this evident upon the the patterned borders of Kabomas where a running pattern of even spacing is frequently used. Commencing upon some point on the circumference they will work the pattern round meeting this point with remarkably true spacing, rarely is their a
sense feeling of overlapping. Where in obtaining a true circle, we people use mechanical instruments, these skillful craftsmen will cut a true circle without the assistance of any mechanical devices. There is a rythm and movement in the flowing lines of their ornaments, which relives any tendency to haviness [probably heaviness] that might easily accrue, particularly in the Tukwalu, in which latter case with the true craftsmans instinct of the limitations of their medium, they treat in a most conventional manner. The larger specimens of their Tukwalu are not without dignity. To-day their Art may be classified into two periods, Pre Trade Era, and Trade Era. In all the earlier examples of
[Sketch titled Prow of Canoe with the description Portion of decoration to a Boima]
their art they keep strictly within the confines of conventionalism, seemingly making no attempt to deviate from this. In their later or Trade period, they are making many attempts at naturalism, the results with but few exceptions, is not happy, particularly is this so with naturalistic figures, which are ill proportioned and grotesque, completely lacking the dignity of their earlier examples. I came across one of their modern figures which however shoed a decidedly interesting development. Although the figure, a female, was extremely bad, the modelling of the busts was exceptionally good, well modelled with that simple suggestion of form which is so much a feature in Egyptian Art. I have one figurine, which is singularly suggestive of the Egyptian, and is the only example I have seen where a definate attempt at the waist line has been made. Although in the majority of their modern work shows a marked decadence, these flashes of inspiration such as the busts in the figurine already alluded to, the well thought out modelling in carving of a sting-ray, suggests possibilities of development on naturalistic lines. Unfortunately apart from the figure heads of their canoes, which are as good as ever, these remarkable craftsmen are diverting their attention to the production of Trade articles, which are crude and rough in workmanship, but satisfy to the not too exacting requirements of tourists and others. Strangely enough never were these natives receiving so much for their work, never was the execution thereof so execrable. Unfortunately to-day these craftsmen are largely under the influence of Traders, whose sense of the aesthetics is a minus quantity, nevertheless under the close supervision of a skilful designer and competent craftsman, withal a man of considerable discrimination, unquestionably the development of Trobriand Art to modern requirements, would achieve considerably results. Praiseworthy as are the efforts of Traders to divert the industry of these artists to the production of useful articles, the result at present is execrable.
There are no secrets as to their method of work, which is quite simple. The necessary timber duly obtained, mangrove, maku, and ebony, this latter is traded from other parts of Papua. The main proportions are just hacked out with a legugu, a form of adze. (ills Page 79 see also page 82) with this tool, the wood is whittled away, until the required shape and size is reached. Then with the skin of a sting-ray which is better and more durable than glass paper, the surface is rubbed down. The design already mentally visualised, the main proportions of the ornament are then cut, with the legugu. The detail ornament (ginigini) is then carved, either with knife, nails
with and other pieces of metal flattened to a chisel edge. Every measurement is made with the eye, except in cases where pieces have to fit into a given space such as the Tabuia of canoes etc, when rough measurements are taken with the hand. Most measurements are taken in thiswise, such as width of hand, leng so many lengths of an arm, never at any time have I seen them, cut a small piece strip of wood to give them the necessary measurement!!! So precise is their visual measurement, that although the ornament is most elaborate in detail, there is no suggestion of faltering in the flowing movement of their designs. Except when modelling in the round, there is no undercut in their work, even in the former case this applies. To give richness to the effect, deeper cuts are made in portions of the design. They do not understand joinery, consequently the whole model is cut from the one block of wood. Always acknowledging the limitations of their meidum and tools, they attempt no useless "tour-de-force" keeping always to the strongest constructional lines. Though in the handling of their lime spatulas, the work is most delicate and much fret cut is used. In Pre Trade days, the tools they used were most primitive and clumsy. For large work
[Sketch of a carved wooden figure titled - " Tukwalu. The only specimen I have discovered of a female figure where the waist is defined"]
the legugu (ills, Page 79) with stone head was used, for smaller
work pieces, a similar tool of lesser dimensions, for the fine detail, a sharks tooth attached to wooden handle (Kalabatiga), ills page 55) For curved surfaces such as Kabomas (bowls) a boars tusk was, and still is used, on account o its curved nature, its semicircular shape proving a most adequate tool for smoothing off rounded surfaces. Final rubbing down is done with the sting-ray skin already mentioned, polishing off with cocoanut oil. With their efforts to fall into line with modern requirements, constructional stability is presenting increasing difficulties and to which is due much of the broad bad proportions of their modern work is a matter that can only be adequately overcome, with a knowledge of joinery. The Trobriand Islanders express their strong sense of the aesthetic in many ways apart from their wood-carving, such as the manner in which they arrange garlands of flowers in their hair particularly when they make tiaras with the petals of frangapani, which in their skilful hands, are most effective. What is even more interesting, are their facial decorations, which are most elaborate. At first sight one is disposed to regard this ornamentation as somewhat grotesque, actually it is not so. Instinctively they appear to feel the want of a touch of colour to relieve the monotonous tone of their dark skin, their facial decorations amply supplies this deficiency. I made several efforts and decorations their faces, "(en passant, their skin is a delightful medium to paint on) but I never could get the decoration to look right, not any one of my attempts were successful, withal my victims were equally dissatisfied with the result, I also gave them a colour test, giving them the complete palette to select from, their choice of colours was in the following order: vermilion, light chrome, crimson, orange chrome, cobalt blue, black and flake white. The greens made no appeal whatever, which latter is another
proof of their sub-conscious sense of the aesthetic, their being so much green in their habitat, the desire for relief from either green or brown predominates. Lastly in the matter of raiment. Their dobas are the most elaborate in the Territory, many are the designs and arrangements which are made with the few materials and dryes which are used. To be of accord with Mrs Grundy and the necessity for cleanliness, those natives (females) who come into immediate contact with white people are compelled to wear hideous smocks, crude and ugly raiment, at best. But give a Trobriand woman her own calicoes to make up, see what she will do with it. I have been fortunate enough to witness a few of the rare examples of what a Trobriand woman can do with a few pieces of calico. Although the desires of Mrs Grundy were strictly
adhered to observed, under their innate sense of what was correct, the effect was charming, and they knew it. With their exceptionally limited palette, they do remarkably well. Below is a brief tabulation of their pigments.
Reds betel nut juice, mangrove dye, Noku dye, Red clay soil (Komsuna) used chiefly for decoration of canoes and Bomas.
Black Charcoal. For facial decoration this is mixed with Taro and water (also Soba, charcoal & coc oil
Purple made from crushed berries (Giligili)
So much for Trobriand Art as it stands to-day. Under present conditions I am pessimistic as to its future, it is drying out, not for lack of encouragement, it is receiving, but it is of the wrong quality. Withal the natural temprement of the Papuan is not generous, rather the reverse,
and where one consequently in a nature that is not prepared to give and that freely, Art cannot must cease exsist. The individual interest is absent, they now carving only for purposes of trade.
Hell of a day, cannot get cook-boy to understand that I must not be disturbed while at work, all day natives calling with produce, upon each occasion fool cook-boy comes bounding into studio with a series of whoops! This matter of supplies becoming difficult, interfering with my work, so much so quite impossible to concentrate, cannot trust my rouge of a cook to make the purchases, he such a fool all the food would be bad! Sunset rather fine. X.V.
Another disturbing day: dont know how to overcome this difficult problem, completely ruining my work, too late to isolate studio from living quarters, the only practicable solution, I high wall is the only thing that would keep these natives away. A bot "Tom" from Omarakana, to give me information concerning the names and origan of the motives in Trobriand Art. As I opined, the moon carved on Boima at Iaruriga is to keep evil spirits away as borgan (ghosts) do not appear on moonlight nights. A vivila to sit, try her best, but easily fatigued, so not much good. Walk about Teavi.
Some of the conventional motives used in their ornament are so
obtuse abstruse that they are quite impossible to decipher which almost suggests a system of hyeroglyphics similar to the Egyptians. The boy (Tom) of Omarakana, ,y informant, appeared intelligent above the average. Withal, his corroboration of my own surmises as to the origan of some of the motives, combined with his immediate reply to queries, precludes any suggestion as to inexactitudes, or that he was endeavouring to say that which he thought would please me, a common practice with these people. Further evidence of this is that such detials as were minus meaning, he frankly and fearlessly stated as being purely ornamental, and further defined the actual objects, fish, birds, leaves etc from which the ornaments derive their origan, furthermore in the question of the Gome and Taiola, two of the most obtuse details, he immediately gave me the poses of the human figure, these hyeroglyphics were derived.
To Lousia, where happened upon Kadakavina, one of my models. I failed to recognise her. She is working for a living these days, is much altered, become very thin, withal looking rather shabby. The bumptious hoity-toity madien of a year ago
[Sketch of an ornamental leaf titled "Rauu conventional leaf"]
seemingly has had all the bump taken out of her. Despite these differences, my inability to recognise a face which I had spent the best part of three weeks endeavouring to portray, is, to say the least astounding. This deficiency in my make up, always has been a great trial to me, and always will be. For an artist to be unable to recognise faces is certainly an enigma. Work on piccaninnie subject. To Tobiraukiva where another vignette of Trobriand life. Palms, moonlight, fires and drums.
This being the third and last moon of the dancing season, the Trobriand Islands holds its annual Covent Garden Ball, held in the village of Obowada. My cook boy and his vivila all agog to get them to it. Being bust I cannot consider the matter. 11.30AM I inform them we will attend. Then such a polishing up with coconut oil, such a coming and frizzing out of hair, such a furbishing of gee gaws, sapi sapi, bagidigas, shell and all the rest of the frenzy. The cook-boy almost pushing my lunch down my throat, popping his frizzy head into the studio every few minutes "Close up dance e finish Taubada." And all packed up waiting to be away, whatime I move on the wings of lead, and then Oh cruel procrastinator that I am, I lay down for a few minutes rest. Cook-boy tearing round studio pretending to lock-up whatime casting frequent looks in the direction of my reclining form. At last away. The Trio. Dobu, his vivila basket atop head, the joyous youth carrying my sketching materials. Obwada, as one of the villages situate upon a plateau, the only part of these islands not covered with heavy bush. All the many tracks
lead stretching between the villages are visible. Along the many tracks which debauch into Obwada, hundreds of natives en route for the festive function. The tippets of the vivilas skirts flashing in the sun as they swing to the graceful
[Sketch of a saw fish as shown on some carvings. Titled "Conventional treatment of saw fish, for portion of lime spatula"]
of their lithesome figures. Some of the dancers wearing portions of their costume, cocokatoo plumes in hair, others carrying cassawary feathers. Piccaninnie vivilas, their quaint little skirts sticking out at droll angles as they trip gaily along. Some few natives in brilliant calicoes, making bright splashes of colour against the monotonous green and brown of the surrounding landscape. Sometime before reaching the village the babels of voices was audiable, such a chatterfercation as never was. The scene in the village was remarkable. There must have been some two thousand natives present (a large gathering for these islands. Everybody who was anybody was their, Chiefs and their wives, native missionary policemen and their wives, rich men and those who even though they be not Society, like to feel they are in it. Each every one of these two thousand bronze statues, have utilised the utmost power of their imagination, to make their appearance as effective as possible. All that could be done with paint, feather and flowers, leaves and shells was used with amazing results. Their was green hair, red hair, yellow hair, white, pink, black, red and multi-coloured faces. The facial decorations were of most elaborate and intricate fancyings, very effective were some of them. Truly had they donned the motley, feathers and beads and shells galore, and oh the vivilas!! Emboldened by the support of the throng, their flirtitious advances were truly shocking, they ran about in pairs, in twos and dozen, their brilliant skirts swishing in a most entrancing manner. Oh the merry rippling laughter, the bright twinkling naughty eyes. From the tiniest tot scarcely able to walk, to the old and decrepid all were painted and bedizened. Dozens of men with eighteen foot wooden spears,
[Two sketches. One titled "Bulabula. A red leaf conventionalised, used extensively on handle of lime spatula". The other titled "Labai. Ornamental detail"]
paced about, good humouredly endeavouring to keep a certain amount of order in the chaos. The costume (for such I call it) of one of the dancers, was very fine. His hair a mass of white plumes surmounted by a longer scarlet and white flower, pink face, brilliant scarlet lips. From shoulder to toe, one side of him jet black with border of white spots, round his loins, a ten row belt of spirits. Sapi sapi, his legs encircled with white shells. Across his heart and tied round the waist garlands of yellow flowers. At the chiefs hut found I Bruno (a trader) the chief was doing the honours with gifts of cocanut and taitu. I feel that my poor pen is quite inadequate to give a sufficiently vivid description of the dance its preliminaries and performance. In the rear, near a track are the Kasaivaga (a trio of dancers) these are the "premiere danseurs". In front of them about forty drummers and spear bearers. Some fifty yards ahead of this group are the ballet, arranged in lines. Crouched on haunches, behind each dancer, is a native holding cassowary plumes, these are to prevent borgan (evil spirits) from interfering with the dancers. A man inspects each dancer arranging a flower here, pulls a belt into place there, until all in order. Then shortly before dance commences, three men crouched on haunches, break through ranks of the dancers with long sticks sweeping the tracks to the central place of the village, in order to clear out all evil spirits. Meanwhile the drums are reaching to crescendo. The ballet is held in line by men holding banana leaves. Spearmen move forward to clear the Wabakubaku (village square). Grain houses huts, palms trees, and every place of vantage are thronged with the audience. The noise is now pandemonium, save for the performers, the whole multitude
[Two sketches. One entitled "Kalaka ornamental detail from a lime spatula" and the other entitled " Talagesi an ornamental detail"]
have become worked up into a state of intense excitement all are yelling at the tops of their voices, drums crashing spearmen calling out, forcing back the dense crowds. The vivilas, piccaninnies all move in direction of village square, through a space between huts which forms the entrance for the performers. First come spearmen, then the ballet, who take up position in an L shape, upon one side of the square, then come the drummers and singers, who move up the centre to the end of the elongated oval that is formed by the crowd. Leaves are dropped upon the ground to still further conjure any evil spirits that may yet be lurking in the vicinity of the performers. The crowd surges forward, but is quickly pushed back by the spearmen. Then from behind a row of some dozen men. The Kasawaga (trio)
commence make their entrance. It is quite impossible to describe the intricacies of this dance. It was grotesque, barbaric, clever. There was no faltering, these three dancers were artists of the highest order no watching each others steps, they kept perfect time and rhythm. There was one man who acted as prompter and stage manager. No easy task his. The Kasawaga give a series of dances. The one I saw performed was is called the "Pwadau". The solo dance finished the stage manager runs back and brings on the ballet. The damn dog "Sandy" who would persist in following me. All the time making furtive dashes on to the stage. Could not use my stick on the fool, it being inadvisable in front of natives. The crowd so dense my raiment sadly discoloured with cocoanut oil and other marks of "makeup".
[Sketch titles "Sobasoba. A scarlet fish. Detail ornament on a canoe"]
Sketch titled "Ladume, ornamental details from a canoe"]
[Sketch titled "Dome. Ornamental detail from a canoe.]
Brudo and self betake us, for a little refreshment i.e. cocoanut milk and taitu, baked native fashion. Having partaken thereof, thanked the chief for his hospitality, new Guinea fashion, by a gift of "tabac" so home. This then, in brief, is a Trobriand Ball. The behaviour of the natives was in nowise different to that of white people at a similar function. There was no rowdyism. The flirted and coquetted, they laughed and they talked to the utmost of their merry light hearted natures. No disonant note was visible. Upon the face of every one of that vast crowd was writ, good humour. A spirit of camaradaries was the predominating feature, it permeated the atmosphere, long after
the when the years have rolled by and I am far from hence, shall I hear the merry laughter the tinkling of pearls shells and lagidoga. Like the chimes pealing across some placid, river from a distant church, so with these sounds of this happy, joyous dance, peal across the oceans which will separate me from this South Pacific coral islands.
Work in studio. Studies Teavi. Dobu has a difference with his Mrs. Many words, she all hoity-toity will have none of him, so she to sleep with relatives in Teavi. Meanwhile Dobu divests her of the skirts I purchased. The row over her not cooking his kai kai, but talking to boys. He to ask me, shall he throw her away"? (divorce her) tells me what he paid for her 130lb case tabac (Trade). 1 half case Derby Tabac. Two armshells, two stone axe heads, 2 knives. 3 calicoes 1 eight row belt of sapi sapi 1 legugu. She comes prancing into studio, accuses him of being puripuried, so does
[Sketch titled "Kailages ornamental detail from e of a canoe"]
not know what he is talking about. He accuses her of gadding about with other boys, altogether much schmozzle, smaking of faces, much talk, exit.
Work in studio. Studies Teavi. Cook-boy and his vivila have decided to agreed, storm passed now all laughter. Moonlight studies Tobiraukiva where boys drumming so with board and stick gave their interpretation of a Trobriand dance. Which procedure, lacked both dignity and discretion.
Work in studio, moonlight studies Teavi. Divers bold hussies gathered round me. No tabac forthcoming they soon evaporated
Commence moonlight canvas. Studies Teavi & Tobiraukiva. No rain for some four months, this dry season is considered abnormal for Trobriands. In Tobiraukiva, spend some time sitting within the deep shadows of a hut endeavouring to analyse the colouring, a feat I was quite unable to accomplish. The strong light of the moon giving a peculiar quailty of colour, which is not daylight, neither is it the subtle quality of moonlight in these climes. Sitting in this village was rather like living in a picture. The intense light of the tropic moon, the swaying palms, natives sitting round little fires, which glowed like enormous rubies in the depths of the black velvet shadows. In the corner part of the village the resonant sound of the drums. Divers of the village maidens walking round hand-in-hand, the elder people occupied with domestic and other duties. Moonlight nights are a long working day for these people, the men building canoes, the women at work on dobas, thewhile they smoke, discuss scandle or the latest song or dance.
Work on moonlight canvas, a howling beastly damn mess, by the same token is my mental
[Sketch titled "Takuliga. Clam shell conventional treatment for portion of a lime spatula"]
state in a similar condition. To make a break indulge in the doubtful diversion of reading the revolting works of the diseased mind of Edgar Allan Poe. What a detestable creature to perpetuate such horrors. To Tobiraukiva.
Work on moonlight canvas, slightly better, but not much go. Want a rest. My tabac (which passes for currency in these Islands, running very low. Burning question of the moment when will mail arrive? Studies Teavi
No work. Fool around improving grounds outside studio, cannot take any form of physical exercise other than walking, my skin so soft always damage my hands. To Teavi where all at the evening meal whilst eating lapi, pearls are frequently found though generally burnt, the lapi being cooked on the embers of a fire. That sponge
Tululu Tu-ulu sends to me for more tabac nothing doing this trip old boy. He on a Kula expedition of Sinabata. The poloticians who endeavour to catch votes by kissing infants would have a poor show in these islands if one fusses over piccaninnies, the natives seemingly consider they are extending a priviledge, and ask for tabac. The King dissatisfied with my message aneant no tabac, comes personally to investigate. Plumped himself upon studio floor, made requests for tabac, biscuits a lamp and leather belt. All of which nathless was not forthcoming. The joyous youth, much afraid of his majesty, crawling upon all fours when passing the monarch. I heckled Tu-ulu about the (kanan) lime spatula he promised me a year ago, needless to remark his replies evaisive and somewhat ambiguous, gave the old bird a few bananas. Whatime his gentleman in waiting crushed him some betel nut, after which he away. Some boys from Teavi to see drawings. Teavi is a fishing village, then request was to see drawings of canoes and other subjects relative to their calling as fishermen, they were immensely intrigued with
[Sketch titled " Doyn. This held in mouth of Kasawaga, the green portion is cut off during the dance."]
with the work. However I wanted to get on with my work, whereupon, the father of the joyous youth displayed astounding tact. I was commencing to get out some more drawings whereupon this finished gentleman remarked, "No, Tabauda they remain, we go, you wish to continue with your work" and these people are savages!!!!. He spoke in the Trobriand language, not knowing English certainly these are a most surprising people. Everything about this beforementioned gentleman suggest a refinement above the average. It was an interesting tableau, these swarthy natives standing round the table, a piccaninnie the quaint mite, such a handsome little thing, the cook-boys vivila her doba and general attire, all flounces and gee gaws. Not only did they pick up and handle the drawings with care, but held them off at the correct distance!!!
Work on moonlight canvas. Studies Teavi. Eyes very troublesome. S.E. practically died away to-day very stuffy and hot.
Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva, the village a lively spectacle this day, the gardens having been planted, a sagali is held, consisting of mona and pork, fear in the latter case, more roasting of a live pig, heard much noise, but as pigs always very noisy, did not pay much attention, which in a sense is fortunate had I discovered what afoot, I should have burnt down some of the village. This mona is cooked in giant earthen cauldrons, in one sport there was fourteen of these, which a very minute piccaninnie was inspection, the contrast of this wee mite and the enormous cauldrons suggested much a picture from Arabian Night. Greatest of great events some tabac arrived!!! This at least will help keep me off the rocks, until my case arrives, whenever that may be. Another
view of my ginigini by natives, the vivilas mainly interested in the raiment, baji. Dobas etc. Amongst the crowd two of the princesses. Tu-ulu again not successful on his Kula expedition, did not obtain the bajidoga as anticipated. Weather fine S.E. again up. Much excitement on Tobiraukiva upon discovery of a pearl. All the villages halloing. The pearl not very good. Very large but uneven in shape. Tobiraukivas fleet of new canoes quite large, I should think about 30 or more, they must have been particularly industrious, the construction of there canoe is a slow process. X.V.
Practically no work to-day, bad, very bad, but one cannot force inspiration. The great drawback to Trobriands, of working in country for any period is the lack of vanity, one village much like another, coca palms equally so, withal the flatness of the Island, lacks variety of more undulating countries. Consequently nothing to refresh the brain, when fatigued with monotony of subject. This day completes six months as to result of works during this period, to a certain extent a feeling of disappointment. The more important figures studies I require unable to obtain on account of difficulty of obtaining models to sit for any length of time. Sunset fine, the afterglow on the natives, purple reflection from sky, made them appear as if done in beaten copper. A fine subject, but the careful limning of the figures where it is impossible to get a model to sit more than
[Sketch titled" Hut, village of Goma. Fergussion Island. The herring bone pattern similar to that used on old English houses"]
for any length of time, would require endless days to obtain the requisite number of studies. Brudo and nephew call are much intrigued with studio. Mail in.
A "dud" rather tired of the difficulties both as to effect of climate on materials, and being unable to paint direct.
Work in studio. Dobus vivila to "sit" she most impatient, would not sit any length of time. To Teavi, where the fishing fleet coming in, at a distance looked like strange insects, they using all manner of devices for sails, coconut leaves, fish nets, moi, and anything else that would hold the wind. These canoes can attain a speed of twelve to fourteen knots. Purchase Dobu a new calico, had to threaten him with all manner of dire punishments if he "trades" it. Teavi villagers have some joke on aneant my being a guian (chief). asked Dobu the meaning thereof, but he feigned ignorance.
Very depressed aneant work. The model difficult makes impossible to do good figure work, being compelled to used six different models for one
subject figure, on account of none of them sitting for more than quarter of an hour. Since return of Auerbeck not a native near the studio, which is peaceful for work, but shall soon be without food. Living with the A.R.M. was certainly no index as to the difficulties of life in Papua. The A.R.M. giving me so much assistance, that my troubles then were mainly climatic. The information given me by the boy from Omarakava, as to the origin of the motives used in their Art. I have been able to corroborate from a different scource, i.e. a Boutake Boy. This is important, as when making inquiries from a Papuan, he will generally give such answer as he thinks will best please me. This season has been the coldest and dryest experienced for many years, this weather however suits my purpose admirably, though a bad outlook for the native gardens. Another snake glides past my feet, while at work in studio, though not so large as my former visitor.
Work in studio. Rain at last, though makes life in studio uncomfortable, the heavy wind blowing it though the thin calico, which is stretched over the light. Even with this addition the light in studio very strong. The king sends another envoy to cadge tabac, meanwhile the lime spatula, promised me a year ago, not yet to hand. Send me message, he is having a waking stick carved for me, all of which is very nice but will send him thanks when I see it. After making a tour of all the white men stating the visit to be his last, he being too sick to travel. This expedition produced such excellent results in the form of gifts of tabac that his visits are now becoming as frequent as the farewell performances of a retired actress.
Work in studio, rain blowing in makes things difficult. A bleak boisterous day, when the wood fire in the stone fireplace of the kitchen is an allurement. B means of a piece of cotton wool, demonstrate to my gaping staff, a snow storm. Cook-boys vivila, a greedy wench, always eating. Boy house leaking. So to Teavi to procure mois. This village intrigues me greatly. Gossiping with the villagers and playing with the piccaninnies, though their insistent howl "Tapiaiki Taubada", rather an annoyance. Mona is an important item upon the menu of nearly all important sagali. This dish takes two days in the preperation special tools being used for this purpose. The vegetables are prepared by the women, but the actual cooking is done by the men. Large earthen cauldrons are filled with water, brought to boiling point, a number of men sprinkle in the vegetables, which are brought on platters, one man from time to time, dropping in shreds of coconut, another with a long wooden spatula (Penama) stirring. This latter, walks from pot to pot giving an occasional stir
all until all the cooking is completed, the cauldrons are then placed on top to retain the heat. When all is ready, the festive crowd gathers round, with wooden platters (Kaboma) coconut shell etc, and the mona is then distributed. It is quite a palatable dish.
Papuan canoes vary in size and build throughout the territory. The largest are the Lakatoi which trade in the Port Moresby district. The Dobuan and Kativa canoes are a large type, ore however the most ornate, The prows (and in some cases the sides) being most elaborately carved. Part of the decorative scheme, is a conventional treatment of the sun and moon, the motive being that they shall always have light when upon their voyages. That a female figure invariably forms part of the decoration which figure (Tukivalu) is always a prominent feature of the design, rather suggests that in common with most shipping the world over, that the canoe is regarded in the feminine gender. Numbers of white shells and streamers of pandanus leaf, also form part of the decorative scheme, but these latter, mainly appear, only on Guiau (chiefs canoes) when upon any special expedition, an elaborately carved piece of wood (Isecdu) is placed between the outrigger and the hull. This form of decoration is however rarely used. The sails are the leaves sown together, these are no largely superseded by calico. The Tamila (outrigger float) is
charged charred, this renders it impervious to the action of the water, without which treatment, the outrigger float would speedily become water-logged, thus rendering the canoe useless unseaworthy. When upon fishing expeditions, should the wind prove propitious, these Trobriand sailsmen will utilise all manner of articles to act as sail. Coconut leaf, moi, calico fish nets, or anything at all which will hold wind. Canoe racing is a sport which finds much attraction for the coastwise Papuan, particularly is this so in the Trobriands. Most of the races occur when a new canoe makes her trial run. When it is understood, as a point of etiquette, that the new canoe is to win. These frail craft, upon occasions the outrigger is completely out of the water. As most of them carry more sail than is consistent with safety capsizes are frequent. Canoes cannot beat
but sail only with a fair wind. Annually there is a
race canoe race at Port Moresby where the canoes are skippered by white men but as European gear and calico sails are used, this can scarcely be said to be racing under Papuan conditions. Much ceremony is attached to the building of Trobriand canoes. Commencing with a minor ceremony prior to the felling of the tree which is selected for the hull (Waga). For swimming lapi (pearl oyster) small craft are constructed. Tobiraukiva has this season constructed a fleet of some thirty canoes of this type. )Sail placed to windward of mast).
6th No sleep last night; riot of rats and some other animal, (probably a iguana) which latter made a tug at my toes. A bleak, cold wretched day. To Oliveleli, a matter of three miles, over rough track. Teeming with rain, good portion of the track under from two to six inches of water. Arrive at village, call in at a hut to order kai kai thence to the coast to study the breakers on the reef, return to hut but reckoned not with my hosts. In front of hut a small rectangular space about ten x five feet, under the flooring mine host had lit a fire, so went though the process of being smoked, which fortunately did not last long. A door connected this part of the hut with the main living quarters, in which latter the the family partook of their kai kai whatime mine host did the honours in what I will presume to call the guests chambers, which actually was the old gentlemans sleeping apartment, an unusual arrangement, most huts having but the one main living room, with sleeping accommodation placed at the ends or sides of the hut. Taitu was handed to me upon
[Sketch of a sailing canoe titled "Canoe (waga) with native sail now largely superseded by calico"]
a wooden platter, leaves being first placed thereon, I was given a mussel shell with which to partake of the delectable vegetable which was cooked just right, which my cook boy could cook this vegetable, equally as well
A smoke, feet very comfortable and loathe to precipitate myself into the bleak weather withal.
Fairly good day in studio. This evening a party of some thirty boys and maidens making their Sunday walk about, a mighty pretty spectacle, each individual a subject for canvas, but how far I am from attaining the subtle limming of such scenes. There are moments when Im heartily tired of Papua, or rather the Trobriands the monotony of the landscape, impossible climatic conditions, and the dull vulgar white people who constitute the European element, a people who discredit any observation, book or article relative to Papuan life and History, in common with quite a number of the white population of Papua, they make no effort to study the country its people or customs but labour under the delusion that residing in a country must neccessarily constitute a knowledge of the country. N.W. season commencing, wind died down, distant muttering of thunder.
Repairing studio roof. Studies Teavi, some vivilas called in to see the ginigini (drawings). Catching sight of photos of my sister, they were much impressing , expressing much admiration of her beauty. The preferred the photo in which my sister is hatted. These vivilas presumably gave the entrée to divers others, who brought their vivilas, however they most good behaved quite well. Last night first mosquito for over four months. To-day beastly muggy, insects commence their invasion.
Work in studio, exceptionally quiet day, no wind and no native vendors calling, for which the Lord be praised, though should be mighty glad for
9th that I do not get any, or very little, Mrs L largely responsible, she penalising boys who come first to me with their produce, my requirements small they do not bother much with me, my only chance to be well served is to raise the cost of living, this I cannot do, being without sufficient tabac for some weeks. This tabac shortage due to a "ring" in Sydney who have held up supplies. To Teavi, where on lagoon in canoe, but a short distance from the shore, the owner for some peculiar reason natural to the perverse nature of the Papuan, called me back and hauled up his canoe, later asking me to partake of the lapi oyster, and mighty good it was. I was given a new pearl shell with which to cut the taitu. Meanwhile the father & mother with their six piccaninnies (a large family for these islands) sat round in a semi-circle. Having my masticatory exercises watched most embarrassing. Having eaten, water is brought to me in a cocoanut shell, whether to quench my thirst I wot not, I used it to rinse my fingers. This day fine, wonderful blue sky a light N wind, an unusual experience for the Trobriands.
Work in studio, fairly quiet day, by which I mean uninterrupted. At end of studio is a door which leads into the kitchen, on left in kitchen is another door, which may be termed the tradesmen entrance, but the same token does this door flood the kitchen with intense light all of which is nothing at all but should I omit to tie up door to studio, then is there trouble, for your Trobriand wots not of door-knockers or bells, he just walks in. I am working quietly in the studio. The door is flung open and voila!! a picture, not such as would fit a canvas nevertheless a picture vibrant with life and a blaze of light.
[Sketch titled "A Trobriand Cemetary, the graves not arranged in any order, some are mere cairns stones, other usual tomb form with notions at head and foot. Cemeteries are mostly situate on the edge of track."]
A quaint piccaninnie face appears, holding in an equally quaint brown hand, perchance a string o fish gleaming silver in the strong light, maybe a yam, which is less colourful. Not without imitation I call out "Icau" (bye & bye) the door shuts, the corner is once more in shadow, a movie screen ready for the new filem to be thrown on. Again the door swings open, this time disclosing a winsome maiden with dark flashing eyes, her nude bronze torso swathed in string of sapi sapi, beads & shells brilliant scarlet hibiscus blaze out from the dark mass of her hair, a cascade of leaves flutter from her amulets, her hips encompassed with in most a most chic skirt (doba), in her hands she holds a basket of taitu, perchance these are not the only wares she has come to sell. Once more is the door shut, but to open in a few moments discovering a vivila with her piccaninnie in her arms. The picture fades out to be replaced by that of an old man; an artist craftsman in his hand a pile of carved bowls or some quaint article of virtu, a bronze figure this against a brown ground, but can scarcely be attributed to Rembrandt, the lighting is too intense. So throughout the day these tableaux vivants continue, so also does my vexation increase, subconsciously I mentally register each picture much to the detriment of the work in hand. Should I have the forethought to tie up the door of this interesting gallery. These indefatigable vendors will proceed to walk round outside the studio calling through the walls there several wares. Fortunately the return of Auerbeck has provided a counter attraction and more remunerative market, so a little more quietude, but for the occassional war whoops of my cook-boy. Studies Tobiraukiva. Not a movement on the lagoon, the village is mirrored in its placid surface unruffled but for an occassional fish jumping up which makes an ever widening circle of ripples. Smoke from the fires hangs in a purple haze over K village, the palms hanging listless in
the still heavy atmosphere of this tropic twilight. Across the silent lagoon floats the sound of native chanting, as they move to the rythm of their paddles. So home by canoe, leaving Sandy", the dog to return by track that fool dog followed me, swimming the best part of a mile, with a good chance of being snapped by a crocodile. I was naturally unaware of its action until the bedraggled and bemuddied idiot, met me at the studio and endeavoured to reduce my raiment to a similar condition. Iasi-iasi is a lone token made from a leaf of this name, this is stuck in the amulet of a vivila who wishes
get get to get married, the peculiar smell of this leaf is supposed to possess the properties of pouripuri (a love potion) the boy who sleeps with the vivila wearing the Iasi-iasi, is presumed to be filled with a desire to marry her vivila, should he not marry her so do, the vivila will continue to wear them, should he marry her, the love token having served its purpose it will be duly discarded. As the majority of unmarried vivilas do not appear to wear these tokens, one may presume they are not looking for husbands. The only two vivilas I have actually noticed wearing these love tokens was one, old and ugly, the other was my model Kadakavina, who was already married, she being a somewhat flighty young lady, one may presume she was desiring a change, as she was not then living with her husband. Iasi-Iasi originated in Drun
Work in studio, a beastly sticky day. Air full of thunder. Colour clogging on the canvas, getting rather weary of fiddling with palm trees. The moonlight subject a "dud". To Teavi in which village chief much annoyed I bring not gifts of tabac, this I cannot do until I get some, fed up with this poverty stricken condition of being tobaccoless. It being a heavy
[Sketch titled "Facial decoration Trob Isl"]
The cook-boy has requested the loan of a lamp to escort a vivila to her village.
Work in studio. Some boys in to see black & white of the "Burial of Wanoi. This work has created quite a stir in Trobriand Society, Wanoi being a great chief. Sticky muggy day, some thunder.
[Sketch titled "Kialata (not used for fishing these used in pairs one in each hand. See P.144"
Kula i.e. exchange of native wealth is an interesting and important customs, surviving the noise of boot, gun, and preaching, it still remains a going concern despite the bedazzlements of futuristic hued calicoes, the allurements of jews harps, cheap mirrors and such other articles of trade as are utilised to lure the savage into becoming a travesty of the white man. These articles of wealth; arm shells, sapi belts, necklaces etc, are not imposing, scarcely are they ornate, except when seen "in situ", when perhaps, in the case of the necklaces, it is possibly the flashing naughty eyes and chic set of the skirt which is the attraction, be that as it may, these seemingly paltry bits of stone and shell are highly prized by their owners, and it is the possession of the greatest number of these trumpery articles that gives the status to a village. The Kula embraces a wide area which includes numerous islands of which Woodlark is one, by the same token does this neccessitate long voyages in canoes. An armshell or necklace, as the case may be may take as much as two years making the circuit of the villages interested in the matter. One could not imagine the portly princes of commerce gaily bedecked with ribbons dancing their way through the populous streets of a metropolis to transact business at the Exchange, but this is in effect what occurs when an expedition sets out on Kula business. Canoes are painted by the same token are the natives equally
adorned, streamers of pandanus leaves flowers and divers other forms of decoration are utilised to give a festive tone to this business excursion, which possesses withal, something of the nature of a joy ride, particularly if the tour is of an extended nature, when ports of call en route, will entertain free of all cost, an important matter to the Papuan (who are not endowed with a givish disposition) this fact may because of much of the jubilation, it is not frequently that a Papuan gets something for nothing, although at some later date, these tourists will have to return the hospitality received, sufficient is the evil unto the day thereof. A Kula expedition presents many possibilities, it is a break from the monotonous routine of village life, an excuse to break away from the domestic circle. There is the possibility of fighting, intrigue and not a few divorces whilst hubby is gazing in the dark eyes of some other maid, wifey having washed and stowed away the piccaninnies, has sought solace in other arms. The Papuan are great scandl-mongers, and these tours lend themselves to all manner of piccadilloes. I was fortunate enough to be present when one of these expeditions set out, a fleet of some thirty or forty canoes, very effective was the scene. Great the excitement, greater still the noise. Blowing of conch shells, wild shouts and such other noisifications as would signal the event in true Papuan fashion. The news well oiled (not European style) streamers and calicoes flying to the breeze the fleet set out whatime the women and less fortunate men "all dressed up and nowhere to go" lined the shore, adding their voiceferations to the tumult.
Work in studio. Studies of vivilas, my was a great trial, would not remain still five minutes. To Tobiraukiva, where much activity, the pearl fleet having just returned, the idea is prevalent that this will be a good season. To-day. Tok 10 pearls Teavi 6 pearls
Tobiraukiva is considered E Auerbecks village. Teavi C Lumley's village. There is much rivalry and not a little intrigue. From now on the joyous youth, will grace my abode but little, he joining in pearl swimming. I could prevent him did I so feel disposed, but would not be a fair deal to him. Though the Papuan is naturally selfish, as does not appear to consider anyone but himself, nevertheless they are not white people and cannot be judged by our standard, there are occassions when this abstruse nature is very irritating, for me they are almost unmanageable with regard to my menage, though not much trouble with my rogue of a cook-boy, now that he knows me.. That I can see through his tricks and subterfuges, I have only to let him see that I'm annoyed and my behest is duly executed. The swearing up of the people is quite unneccessary, a condition of anger is comparative, inasmuch that they do not consider a Trader is angry unless he curses them, mainly because they have understood it is a Traders habit so to do, being vulgarians it is their manner. There are occassions (certainly) when it is neccessary to swear at the native, but these are the exceptions not the rule. For all ordinary purposes, to give orders in a loud voice and appear ferocious is an all sufficient chastisement for trivial delinquencies. To loose one's temper is fatal, they merely laugh, regarding it a huge joke, I have met quite a number of white people, who manage their boys quite adequately with cannonades of verbiage. X
Smear some paint on canvas. Dinner Auerbeck where some bread. Meanwhile Tabac shortage becoming very serious, shall shortly be without food of any kind, whether or no the Govt will permit commandeering of a small quantity I wot not, certainly these "birds" will leave nothing on credit, or to take the food, the only alternative to starvation.
Work on moonlight canvas. Colour working like putty, cannot get on with figure work. No tabac to pay models when I can get them, so far the 3 24x20 canvases duds. The moonlight because I cant manage it, two sea subjects because cannot get canoe to take me to Kanbi and Sinabata to get my studies, also am weary of the extreme difficulty of the subjects, always that question of contrast such a problem, in actual life the subject matter middling confused mass of points of light and shade. In these parts nature fiddles too much with her effects, nothing one can get at with broad sweeps of the brush, the figure subjects interesting enough but one has to work with the speed of a camera, for finished works quarter of hour is not much time in which to get at the subtle modelling, and for one who is not a figure painter the difficulties well nigh unsurmountable. In Teavi a boy requested loan of a knife with which to cut a swelling on his arm, suggest he go to Lousia where he could obtain proper medical attention, but he would have none of it.
Work in studio. To Teavi. Question of provisions becoming considerably complicated but a few vegetables remain, and but little tabac. Boys will not bring taitu, say I do not pay enough, so cost of living gone up, and bank account at zero. Meanwhile I have to await the convenience of the natives for further food supplies, which open up a complex question. Ought the natives to be compelled to acquiesce to the dictates of the white man. We are in their country uninvited, by the same token do with bring them divers things which otherwise they would not obtain. Particularly is this so with tabac, they having become confirmed smokers, and would be quite lost
[Sketch titled "Bagidorna necklace. These bagidorna form part of native wealth and much valued. This is a simple pattern sapi, the black are Banana seeds. Occassionally a lock of hair is placed in the shell of the doba" ]
without this narctoic. Bought calicoes and other articles of trade [indecipherable] their allurements. The Govt has eradicated inter-village strife, has put down all feuds, so no native free to move from the confines of the village boundary without an armed escort, which hitherto was impossible. There is an open market for their produce and the native is free to sell at the prevailing or highest market price, which is fixed by such trader as will pay the highest. Should their supplies of tobacco be sufficient for their needs, they will not trade any produce, and although a white man might be starving on this account, there is no law to compel the native to supply the white mans immediate needs. So in practically all respects they are a free peoples, with the exception, that they are compelled to keep their village and trades clean, and undergo an annual medical inspection. Also a head tax of £ 1 for all boys between the ages of 16 years and 36 years of age, and a reduction of 1/- for each child up the number of four should the family exceed this number, I believe that the father is then free of taxation. Thus far the question of the white mans presence in their country is "quid pro quo" now arises the colour question, in all respects these people are a sane human race, being ignorant, exceedingly primative, possessed of no commercial morality, and mentally incapable of understanding a fair deal, withal devoid of all sense of proportion. They expect to be paid for even the smallest service rendered, and also for no service at all, seemingly they expect you to give them tobacco for the sheer pleasure of looking at them. Furthermore that all to valuable factor in life Time, is to these people a matter of no value whatsoever, with perhaps rare exceptions, such as when working in their gardens or on fishing expeditions and drives other business and domestic pursuits, even in these matters, the question of the loss of a few hours, or even a day, is it right and proper, that the white man should be compelled to
await the convenience of the native, when time is an all important factor in a white mans career? The matter of the use of force or intimidation is naturally objectionable to any fair thinking man, but there are occassions when ignorance should be compelled to pay homage to knowledge and in the question of a peoples such as these who will drive a hard bargain to its utmost limits, who will give or do no single thing, however small but that a return in kind be made, the perogative of compulsion should belong to the white man, provided always that he be a man of discretion by the same token should all white people residing in these Islands be compelled to uphold
maintain the prestige of the white man, unfortunately in so far as the Trobriands are concerned the reverse is the case, where there are white men who have "gone native" who kowtow and fawn to the native in order to obtain pearls, even (in one case) going so far as to permit his native mistress to beat him with sticks, an indignity, that even the Papuan himself considers degrading. It is more than questionable as to whether the presence of the white people has been to the benefit of the Trobriand Islanders. Upon the one hand ignorant missionaries instilling into the native mind, knowledge which is of no account to the native. Upon the other hand equally ignorant and moreover low Traders pandering to the worst side of the native character, both of which outweigh what should be the balancing influence of the Govt. Meanwhile all are completely callously indifferent to the native ignorant cruelty to the dumb creatures. Copy of letter to the missionaries re this subject.
Dear Mr Scriven,
Since Gunnilibaba is a mission village I should be glad to know what action, if any, is being made to put a stop to the revolting and brutal practice of roasting live pigs? I have frequently been informed of the wonderful influence the mission has upon the native, which latter appear fairly amenable to persuasion
[Sketch titled "Iomolua (vanity bag)]
Cannot the same methods which are applied to induce the native to attend Divine Service and schools be also utilised upon the more important matter of eliminating the barbarous cruelties already alluded to. For the Dumb creatures are just as much part of the Almightys scheme as are we very self satisfied humans. Admittedly education will eventually eliminate such brutal practices, meanwhile we have to deal with an immediate present, not some vague future state. I have heard so much of how missioners have converted the savage into becoming a decent member of the human race, yet I go into Gunnilibaba wherein is situated a mission school, and witness the most ghastly and revolting exhibition of cruelty it has ever been my misfortune to look upon, not excepting the battlefield, whatime some of your native looked on, regarding the roasting of live pigs as an amusing diversion. It may be mooted that native custom must not be tampered with, this being so, seemingly when it was a question of eliminating, what were considered to be lewed dances, the question of native custom was duly overcome, yet apparently the matter of inculcating into the native mind a spirit of the humane treatment o gods dumb creatures has been neglected; that is if I may judge by what I have seen why? I regret putting the matter so forciably, but after witnessing such a revolting and horrifying spectacle it is quite impossible to remain unmoved or unmoving, moreover my one and only motive for using my already too limited time, in writing this, is that some move may be made, in, at least,
[Sketch of an outrigger canoe with the title "small canoe mainly used for swimming pearls"]
your immediate sphere of action, to put an end to these atrocities.. We are not now dealing with savages but a people who have been under the immediate influence of the Missionaries for twenty six years. Consequently it is quite natural that I should appeal to that section of the white people who are purported to possess the most influence upon the native, so much of the mission teaching. Signed E.S.
No answer was received to this letter.
Copy of letter rec from the A.R.M.
Sir, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 25 inst. The practice of which you refer to was in vogue in this district many years ago, but it is generally understood throughout the lenght and breadth of Kiriwina that pigs must first of all be killed, not roasted alive as you complain of. I very much regret that you the horror of witnessing such a horrifying spectacle and will cause the people responsiable for this cruelty to come to Lousia. I might premise, for your information, however, that you have no authority to take the law in to your own hands any case of complaint received at this office must of necessity be investigated. Relative to firearms, you have no authority to interfere with any act of killing, unless especially requested by the responsiable person, and I would suggest that you should not interfere in any way, other than offering advice to those concerned, which I have no doubt will be favouriable considered by those to whom you offer such humane advice. I regret that I cannot lend you my rifle for this purpose. Signed E Whitehouse A.R.M
So much for the represtative of the Govt, needless to remark such a letter I treated with the contumely it deserved. Meanwhile the Traders will make no effort to stop these brutalities, partly for callousness
but mainly in order not to offend the native and thus loose a few pearls. Meanwhile if the white people desired to prevent further similar cruelties, they have but to cut off the native supplies of Tabac for one week and the result would have the desired effect.
A "dud". Studies Teavi, in which village a bargain sale of dress materials. Bush vivilas panicking for tabac, bring in bundles of banana leaf, prepared and dyed ready to be made up into skirts (doba). All the vivilas of the village attended the sale, which latter also included a few complete skirts. He vivilas of Trobriands,
pluck out shave off their eyebrows, they consider it enhances their beauty and gives them a better chance of "getting off". The tattooing is done with the pricking of skin with the thorn of the cypora, the process is excessively painful, but like their white sisters they are prepared to sacrifice upon the alter of fashion. The vivilas do not practice the extensive tattooing as in other parts of the Territory, in which latter sometimes the whole of the figure is extens elaborately decorated in thiswise, but only part small portions of the body are treated at one time. A trip in dingy to the ship "IGAU", although well soaked in transit, feel the better for this change of environment brief as it was. Weather boisterous and somewhat chilly.
Another unsatisfactory day. Studies Tobiraukiva. Owing to straitened condition of tobacco supplies I cannot now obtain sufficient food. The Traders here do not remember a similar state of affairs with regards tobacco supplies, though they find themselves in better place, having ample supplies to carry them over. Meanwhile a false pride precludes my requesting further assistance from Lumley, and do not feel disposed to placing myself in a contumlous position of risking a refusal from the other. The most serious matter however is the
practical annihilation of my ideal, now that Im up against it, the character of the native does not show to advantage. To-day stuffed the few remaining stick of tabac in my pocket, arranged so the ends stuck conspicuously out of my pocket, and parade through two of the village, needless to remark, their was an immediate howl for tabac, like all ignorant people the world over, a blantant display of wealth commands their respect.
Studies Teavi, work in studio, three vivilas "blew in" and asked for Bisikit (biscuits) thinking to profit by their intrusion get one to "sit", but not much go, needs must they all ask for pencil and paper, to make some ginigini. So there they sat on a packing case, three bold wenches all in a row heads bent, pencils held right down at the point, they made some weird hieroglyphics which I afterwards discovered to be a conventional treatment of the numerals 6 and 3. Am much worried over the food problem, not only did the stores send me no tabac, but a trader managed to procure cases, with which he increase the cost of native products, thus still further aggravating my difficulties. Moreover a Trader is now purchasing a shipment of vegetables, since he is trading with betel as well as tabac, this still further minimises my chances of procuring food. Weather boisterous cold. XV
Work in studio. Cook-boys vivila to "sit" this invariably annoys her, she being a lazy wench, most of her day occupied in eating & sleeping. Natives much annoyed that I keep my studio doors closed they refer to it as being Guiau (chief) and are under the impression that I consider myself mighty fine. With the exception of the A.R.M. who is "Govt" and consequently "Big Man" in the natives estimation, the work of the other whites i.e. Traders, is in nowise impeded by the natives rolling all over them, in fact the traders rather like it, consequently they cannot understand, why, I not only keep closed doors, but will not permit too much talking outside.
[Sketch titled "Conch Shell (Tauuia)"]
Work in studio. Studies Teavi, Tobiraukiva that familiarity breeds contempt by the same token do I find it difficult to realise that I live in a land of Romance: moreover so besset am I with the difficulties of my work, that it overshadows all else. Yet herein is the country of palm trees and lagoons, dusky maidens and hard bitten beachcombers, known to the world outside, as nothing more than fictitious characters with which to adorn the pages of magazines. Yet here we have them all in the life. Mystery men, who have long since forgotten their baptismal names, who drift around picking up a crust as best they may distressful to the Postal authorities not at all. Harding living men, cursing the natives, swearing, cheating, even at war with each other and the world in general. Some few perchance making a few thousands, drifting to Samarai to indulge in wild orgies, or South to Sydney, further they rarely get. Slow horsers, fast women and boon companions picked up hap hazard in the first pub see to it that no mail ship has the spending of this money. Likewise when they have blewed in their gain do these same boon companions see to it that they return to the wilds to garner further coin for future debaucheries. Picturesque characters enough, but whose company is disgusting. In so far as the Trobriands is concerned gentlemen they are not or even were, the only exceptions being B. a french jew. The others disported their warefare, when short of stores lend to each other. Not so B, neither borrower or lender he. Life here is elemental; primitive in every respect. Let us review these characters.
X the A.R.M. (English) son of artisans who has pulled himself out of the rut, has endevoured to possess himself of a smattering of knowledge of all the Govt and other subjects in nine of which is gets very far. Possesses a natural gift for medical work, but lack the mental capacity to make a brilliant career. Is as great an altruist is is he egoist
Mrs A.R.M. ex missionary, an ignorant stubborn, muleish woman.
Mr S. Missionary (one time basket chair maker) Foxy sauve, obliging, narrow mental vision.
Two Mission sisters, mentally narrow, semi-educated
Mrs L an ex barmaid of a mining camp. Coarse in build equally so mentally. Good hearted but of a belligerent disposition, her most famous pose, her great beefy arms akimbo, or hanging down with fingers clenched as though ever ready for a pugilistic encounter (Australian)
E.A (Aus a man of about fifty) drank until his liver could no longer stand the strain, is fairly well read, though his English execrable, is much given to swearing, and exaggerated impression of his transactions
Mrs A (something in the movie line, puts in an appearance six months of the year, her only possibly reason for an alliance with such a man being the pearls she could garner therefrom.
G A. (German Australian) Coarse bloated figure, lives like a pig, permits his coloured wife to beat him an indignity that even a Papuan would resent. These two brothers possess a plantation, two schooners, one launch and trade in Pearls, and with the lot are scarcely decent companionship for swine.
V.P a non-descript, spineless individual of some fifty years (Australian) ignorant, illiterate his one topic of conversation, women.
D.B. a French Jew, man of the world, largely travelled will read, who values life in dollars.
N.C. calls himself Scotch, but looks like a Dane, lives native in a state of filth. His tradgy, absent at sea returns upon his wedding day to meet the coffin of his fiancée being conveyed for burial.
M.L. (Australia) a thundering good natured, generous fellow, an immense fund of humour, is occassionally addicted to overdoses of alcohol, well here we have our characters, such as they are, culled from the pages of that most important of all books. Life, for setting I give you palms and lagoons, which latter if these characters are dull, at least lends them an
[Sketch titled "Gubwana ornament detail, either half or complete"]
air of Romance. If you wish for a story I leave you weave your own. A moonlight night so to Tobiraukiva, it being "sabbaty" vivilas singing hymns in a church whose groined roof are the palm leaves there is always a certain amount of echo in a village, not dissimilar to that sound peculiar to great cathedrals. The rich voices, singing in parts, was most entrancing. Mighty good their singing, simple hymns certainly, but rendered with acumen: In a nearby hut a widow wailing her mourning chant, which blended remarkable well with the choir, which is lugubrious and harsh.
Hell of a morning in studio. Continual interrupting, purchasing food, which now am compelled to do or starve. It has been difficult to get the natives to bring even these small quantities. My endeavours not to purchase until end of day, frightened them all off, so eventually the came not at all. To Oliveleli, taking with me the joyous youth to carry my kit. Studies of lagoon, but tide not not serve for the studies which I went for. The shades of night were rapidly enveloping the landscape in a dim twilight. A number of sad little mounds by the wayside, was a native burial ground. From there came the sounds of wailing. Upon one of these mounds of freshly turned earth were seated five piccaninnies around a small fire which sent up a thin spiral of blue smoke. Alongside the grave lay the mother, her head between outstretched arms, her whole frame shaking with sobs, bemoaning the loss of her infant. Fair would I have tarried awhile, but passed I on, making no more than mental notes of this pathetic scene. Though grief for an adult does not appear to go very deep, these people are passionately fond of their piccaninnies. Nathless they must feel poignantly the loss of such
Work in studio. Most depressed with the work executed this expedition, particularly the oils, which do not come anywhere within range of the subjects I am terribly out, even
in quite simple parts of the canvas, this mainly due to I think lack of inspiration. This last month or two have had to mentally flog myself to work at all, feel like quitting but must hang on for the remaining two months, to get all I can before I leave this country hull down for ever. To Teavi where a married vivila in the long doba customary to the wedded state.
As to work [a string of characters to represent expletives] Meanwhile the heavens put up an intensive barrage, which shook the house and made the do jump. To Teavi where two new canoes from Ilalima, the news mighty fine in feathers and paint. Much blowing of conch shells, tied to the outrigger a pig given them by Mrs L, this animal in due course will be roasted alive. It is quite a common practice amongst the traders to purchase the good-will of the native with presents of pigs despite the fact that they are fully aware as to the fate of the unfortunate animals. My last pair of boots "gone west". My pants nothing better than disreputable rags, my mental condition in worse state than either, and food supplies increasingly difficult, though a little came in this week.
Work in studio oils (colour working like putty. Studies Tobiraukiva. Guess Im tired of trying to be clever. To Teavi where, a boy "Teapot" asked me numerous questions concerning "Dim Dim" amongst which "Did the great white king have a new Guinea cook-boy?"
Work on moonlight canvas, not much go after first hour pigment became too sticky to work with comfort; weather last two days very stuffy. In pre govt days, a husband wishing to rid himself of an unfaithful wife, would obtain from a witch-Doctor, the fruit of a certain leaf with which he would smear upon his sleeping spouse. Next time she went to the lagoon to bather, the perfume of the leaf would attract crocadiles, which more often than probably carried off the victim
No work to-day. Fool around somehow to kill time, to attempt work sheer waste of the material, my eyes all to pieces. Two piccaninnie vivilas called in to see Black & White of Nanois funeral, also asked to see a picture of a vivila. Showed them all manner of sketches of vivila, none of which appeared to be the particular work they had set their minds upon. Whilst going through the sketches happened upon a photo of a Port Moresby woman in full embellishments, the piccaninnies pounced upon it, it being the picture they wished to see, to get an idea of the fashions in that part of Papua, "walk about" Teavi. The joyous youth giving quite a lot of his time for 3d a week! Must make it good somehow, he is most willing and appears quite attached to me, most unusual of a Papuan, whose general idea of attachment is mainly for what they can get. A fine night so to talk with my cook-boy and his friends, he relating some of his exploits when fighting cannibals during the time he was with the police. Sinister episode. Cruelty appears to be the predominant feature of man in his primitive state, a trait which is the last to become subservient to the laws of civilisation.
Work in studio, on marine subject, change from the everlasting fiddly palm trees; eyes very bad, and headaches, glare of light makes me afraid to go out, if weather does not break, shall pack up ready for the next "Trader" to Samarai which may be two weeks or as many months.
Work in studio. Sight better. Pigment sticky. Cook-boy wants to know why I cant remain in Papua. Explain that Father, Mother and sister belong me live in Dim Dim; this seemingly was an all sufficient and satisfactory reason for my leaving Papua.\
Work in studio. I aint no genius. In native gardens just outside studio, a ceremony was in progress, one of many with which all agricultural activities are preceeded. Extra large poles are placed vertically at various intervals, upon each side of which two smaller branches are placed obliquely, the upper ends resting in a fork of the larger pole. Six
men 8 are participants in the ceremony, they walk from pole to pole in more or less the following order. One man with thin wooden wand, one man with fire stick (Kova) two small boys carrying respectively, a basket of leaves (Dodoleta) and a basket of roots (Ulaula) one man with crow-bar and lastly, the with doctor. Arrived at one of the poles, earth is dug away from the base, the witch-doctor kneeling down, places in some of the roots, upon top of which, are placed leaves, the while the boy carrying the basket of roots, buries one at the base of each of the two oblique sticks. The witch-doctor, bending so that his mouth is right over the hole, chants an incantation, after which he fills in the hole, the remainder of the party move on to the next pole. The witch-doctor, then stands up and with his left hand resting upon the pole, chants another incantation, at the termination of which, he taps the pole twice with his hatchet, and proceeds on to the next patch. He must be fairly tired after the days work, there being quite a number of these poles requiring his attention. This ceremony is essential in order that the taitu and yams shall be large, omission to perform these rites results in a poor crop. Seemingly my presence appeared to have no ill effects upon the puri puri, the scorcerer welcoming me with a genial smile. To Teavi Mrs L paid a scorcerer to puri puri her new canoe in order that, whoever swims pearls
in it will reap a rich harvest, belts of sapi sapi, and other articles of [indecipherable] are placed on the canoe for this purpose. It would be interesting to hear what the Missioners would say on the subject. A white woman employing a scorcerer.
Days drag on still no tabac. Traders out from Samarai bringing neither Tabac or mail, it is an unwritten law that the first boat out from Samarai should bring the mail. Altogether present conditions most depressing, cannot get about to get studies, no models and short of food. Work in studio, the continual disturbance makes it impossible to good work, particularly since inspiration cometh not. Although some of the villages are but a few miles apart, the dialects differ considerably. All the pearl buyers of the Trobriands run a private mint wherein is manufactured the magic red-shell money known to the natives as the much coveted Sapi-Sapi. This shell money is valuable as trade throughout the territory of Papua and for it the natives have traded fabulously rich articles. Sapi-sapi is the inner layer of a bivalve chiefly found along the rugged shores of Rossel Island in the Louisiade Archipelago a bag of the raw material will fetch £ 30, but when made into "money" its value increase considerably. The mint is any convenient space upon a traders verandah, which presents an animated scene where the work is in full swing. The Boss is generally an old relic of the sea known as the "breaker" keen eyed hard jawed, big-necked and coarse. It is the breakers job to see that the shells are broken correctly into prescribed sizes an operation that requires thorough knowledge, expert fingers and much experience, in order that none of the inner layer of the bi-valve becomes wasted.
Most Some of the Traders however do this work themselves the wile superintending the natives they employ. The grinding boring and polishing is
mainly performed by dusky maidens, who chatter and smoke and chew betel should you chance their way bewitching eyes will gaze up at you from under heavy lashes, much tittering and nudging will ensue. The shell having been broken into the prescribed sizes, it is then rubbed down upon a stone after which it is bored with a drill (Kagigiu) these pieces are then threaded upon a piece of
wire bush vine and the edges are rubbed upon stone until they are circular, with the exception of polishing the sapi sapi is now ready to be made up into belts, necklaces (Bagidorna) earrings, the layers being used for the belts. All the lesser civilised Papuans earrings go into the Bagi which each possesses. This is the Island name for cash-box. There are myriad legends of immense "bagi" but the most frequent and famous is that of the Kasabai-a tata-loi. The mammoth Kasabai was allegedly as long as the highest peak on Normandy Island and down this gigantic "bagi" the great ancestors of the Huau people descended to the earth many moons ago. Her fingers working rapidly, bosoms gently moving with the excitement of the myth, eyes veiled, the Island maiden quickly half chanted the legend. And although Taubada the glorious Kasabi was enormous, of weight beyond imagination, yet could the owner of this bagi carry it about with him in a cocoanut shell. Ay yes truly wonderful magic. But one day, when the sun was dying in a fury of crimson on the distant horizon, quite suddenly owing to the evil machinations of Mata, the dreaded evil snake with heads and eyes without number whose abode is in the depths of the deepest pacific, the owner dropped the Great Kasabai into the sea it was lost to the Huau people for all time.
Work in studio. Borrow little tabac enough to keep me off the rock for few more days, a present of some cake and eggs which at moment most useful. Purchase a chicken, whilst bird awaiting despatch, it laid an egg, so have given it a reprieve, since which it has assiduously laid every other day, all of which is utter nonsense, but how has my mentality dwindled. Two vivilas looking through my drawings caught sight of a decorative border on a newspaper advert became immensely interested asked if they might have it to copy for facial decorations (misisi) xv
Work in studio. Another garden rite (Bagula). At sundown a number of vivilas, piccaninnies and boys cut branches from the bush, one of which is stuck in the ground of each garden to the accompaniment of few words and considerable hallooing. The ceremony was performed by the witch-doctors Locum tenens, the former at present in gaol on a murder charge of puripuring a bush boy. Imagination might picturesque a witch-doctor attired in all manner of fantastic garb, actually he wears no outward symbol of his calling. Boys swimming pearls, before entering the water rub their bodies with scorcerised leaves this is presumed to bring them luck. The cook-boy having been in the police force, for the edification of himself and Mrs gave them a little rifle drill, the performance over, they asked for tabac i.e. pay them for looking at me. Glad to hear that questions have been asked in the H.R. regarding the pig roasting incident at Gunilibaba. Some native has evolved a new song, which is at present all the rage throughout the Trobriands boys sing it whilst at work in the gardens, vivilas hum it whist occupied with their domestic duties in the
kitchen village, snatch
of it drift into the studio from the kitchen
Manage to get little bit of kowla to-day but had to send into bush for it, boys would not bring it in, withal now charging their own price. Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva where piccaninnies with a most quaint toy made with cocoanut leaf, a boat which sails both on land and water: Work to-day a little better
Work in studio. By canoe (the joyous youth and self) to Ilalima, Kapulapola, Orikata, Kudiwaiwa, wretched little villages. First occasion upon which I have seen a shelter built for the construction of canoes. Epidemic of colds. Although these people live as near to native as is possible they appear to suffer just as acutely from minor ailments as do the civilised peoples. They being particularly susceptable to colds, and changes in temperature. The Obivada dance seemingly in important social function, natives whom I have subsequently come across, refer it in a "we met at the Obivada ball" air.
Hell of a day bad attack of flu, lie down for little rest, suddenly a chatterfercation of feminine tounges, call out "Dis!!!" (Stop) but noise increases in volume. Get up to investigate, my astounded gaze rested upon a number of infuriated vivilas flourishing knives and sticks, endeavouring to force an entry into the boy-house wherein a bush vivila had taken something. I caught hold of the wrist of the ring leader and after some trouble forced her back. Explain, they must settle their differences in the village and not riot outside a Dim Dim house: They refused to budge, there they sat gripping their knives, awaiting the exit of the refugee. Whatime the posted pickets at divers points, to cut off all chance of escape.
They made another desperate rush for the hut, considered it time to take a hand, threatened them off with a stick, whatime sent to A.R.M. for a police boy to escort the distressed maiden out of the danger zone. Which action in due course materialised. The leader explained that if they returned to the village, their quarry would escape them. The cause of the trouble was that the bush vivila had slept with the other ones boy. A most diverting incident, not devoid of excitement.
Almost rid of flu. Studied Teavi, wherein the hull of a large canoe 36 feet long. This hull the Teavi boys purchased from another village, in very rough state, and will require much working upon. This afternoon some leaves placed in the hull, and three slashes given with the hatchet, cutting leaves and hull simultaneously. This puripuri to ensure a rich haul of pearls performed in a most casual manner by two boys, no audience other than myself. The leaves will be removed in the morning by which time it is considered the magic spell has been cast. I was asked to make some puri puri with tabac, placed a small piece in the hull and chanted, Bima, bima bima, bidu badu, waitune" i.e. bring plenty of pearls. No mail or Tabac yet to hand.
7th Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva
made where some piccaninnies with a quaint toy (Vadidi) made from coco leaf. When swung in air makes a buzzing like flies. Think cook-boy more fool than rouge, to-day bought himself some Kwasi (leg band) paid for them without first ascertaining if they fitted, now finds them too large, is much perturbed thereby. Govt5, seemingly making inquiries re Gunilibaba
incident (July 25) but judging by tone of their letter to me, mainly with a view to bolstering up their culpability, by making falsification of facts. Mail in.
Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva. A wonderful soft evening, mother o pearl sky reflected in the placid lagoon, just sufficient movement in the water, to twist the reflection of the feathering palms, into weird shapes so home by canoe. Tabac arrived!!!! Cook-boy wildly excited, brings in his vivila and the joyous youth to witness the wonderful spectacle, a great relief, hope have now done with perpetual borrowing, with the exception of C Lumley, the other have treated me shabbily, though one cannot expect otherwise from such a rabble. My difficulty now is having told the natives for three months am without tabac, it will take sometime before they will call again with produce, withal the Blanky, ape E Auerbeck is paying all manner of fool prices, in order to pose as the "big man", am now always faced with the problem of insufficient food. My one and only chook, however has come up to the scratched, worked hard to-day and produced three eggs in five hours. Housekeeping is a difficult matter here, as one has to buy in competition with rabble traders.
All the day spent over the Gunilibaba incident of July 25. This afternoon to the Mission Station, where satisfactory interview with the missioner a Mr Fletcher. Sydney papers have given the matter publicity. Question asked in the House of Assembly. There is now much buzzing in official quarters both Govt and mission, so all our work (C & Self) not in vain. Some R.S.P.C.A. work this!
Fletcher tells me that when he visited these Islands thirty years ago he found these people very excitable and bloodthirsty undoubtfully, warfare and vendettas was rife throughout the Islands. He tells me that we did a very risky action over the Gunilibaba affair, be that as it may, we could not have acted otherwise under the circumstances.
Work in studio, fresh breezy afternoon so sail in canoe. The sail used was part of the equipment of the notorious buccaneer, Nicholas the Greek. Process of Sapi. Breaking, rubbing the stone, drilling, rounding up upon weeders (sticks). Making up into belts etc.
Work in studio. Dobus vivila to "sit" but she nearly asleep so no good.
To Tobiraukiva, but all away in gardens so to Teavi where better luck. A.R.M. holds court in studio re Gunilibaba incident. The arch villain, Metakata, was called to give evidence, mainly a pack of lies, warmly defended the cruelties dear to the heart of the primative minds. His gestures most theatrical. Meanwhile I fear the Govt will be more disposed to take his evidence, than mine.
Work in studio, commencing to feel strain of the climate, a general lassitude, due partly to insufficient nourishment. Bush boys busy in gardens, no produce being brought in, salt water boys swimming lapi, so they catching no fish. Altogether food prospects gloomy. To Teavi a fine sunset, purple, gold, crimson, long after the lagoon was lit we the brilliant afterglow, the veil of night had crept over the village, when all seated round their fires, glowing, a hundred rubies in the Tropic night, Denizens of the bush rioted in the black shadows of the mangrove trees,
their cadences repeated by the myriads in the bush beyond, heavy dense masses broken by splashes of deep purple where the sky showed through the intestices of branches. The smoke hung in dense patches in the still atmosphere. Dobu away all day upon a two hour journey. Comes to Teavi, scarlet calico round his head, stick in hand, in front of the villagers, stands to attention and salutes me, thinking himself mighty fine.
Work in studio, a vivila to "sit" she was very good, sat for quite a while. Good figure but ugly face. To Teavi, another fine sunset, home at dusk by the wayside pass a number of vivilas chanting a song, the effect mighty pretty. My last crop of New Guinea sores improving. These people possess a healthful though reprehensible habit of shaving the head from time to time. To Teavi to look for one of my piccaninnie models found she had shaved both head and eyebrows. Boniyania the prize piccaninnie of Teavi, well formed figure, does not possess the distended paunch common to most piccaninnies
Work in studio, a wonderful sunset the palms which fringed the shore, lit with pure crimson which so strong as to eliminate all other colour, three vivilas their hair wreathed with flowers, serenaded me. Saw a water-spout, which must have been of enormous dimensions, it being a great distance away, and mighty large. It lasted for about ten to fifteen minutes, its first appearance being that of a huge perpendicular rock lifted out of the horizon. Main cause of present food shortage, boys have made larger gardens, consequently have put most of this years yeild back into ground again (xv)
Work in studio. To Okupukopu by canoe more trouble with Tobiraukiva over a canoe for Sinabata. I always have this difficulty when I require a canoe.
A beautiful morning to Lousia per canoe re vexatious question of transport, insubordination of policemen, and general impertinence of natives.
At dawn, scorcerer now out of gaol, making more garden puripuri, this one a simple rite, just walking through the gardens chanting a few words which are repeated in each garden.
Having obtained a canoe from Tobiraukiva and two prisoners to man it, with the "joyous youth" set off for Sinibata. En route stop at Kaubi, so over the ridge to Wawela, where the shock of my life. This lagoon one of the most beautiful on the coast. Upon my previous expeditions spent three weeks at this spot, seeing it as I then thought under every possible atmospheric condition, wet or fine, always was the colour wonderful. This day, when I breasted the coral ridge, expectant for the riot of sapphire and emerald so characteristic of this spot, not a vestiage of colour visible, the lagoon a dirty grey!!!! The palms which fringed the shore stricken with some blight, altogether most depressing particularly as this is possible the last impression I shall get of this one time glorious spot. Arrived at Sinibata, the youth, who was to remain with me wished to return, he being under age I could not detain him. To my surprise saw him pulling the two prisoners in the canoe who presumably had paid the youth so to do!!!. One of the curious atmospheric conditions, distant shore receiving an exact reflection in the lagoon, giving the land an appearance of hanging in the sky, but middle distance, shore no reflection foreground but little reflection. This is particularly characteristic of the Trobriands
Work in Sinibata. Out in canoe to "Aero" felt most discomfitable, the waters infested with sharks, the canoe but a small one. A curious custom prevails with regards yams, there being keen competition as to which village can produce the largest yam, should a challenge be made, the challengers take their yam to the opposition village, if theirs is the smaller, then the winners priviledge is to kick the losing yam to pieces, or vice versa. Although this custom is understood a fight usually ensues. Should half a dozen or more villages compete, then winning village make destroys all the other yams in the manner mention.
But little work to-day, glare of the sun too much. Two rival traders whose stations are half a mile apart, jealously watch each others movements with field glasses, watching what boys take pearls, how much is given for them. The intrigues, jealousies, and underhand work in obtaining pearls is despicable in the extreme, has lowered the dignity of the white man to such an extent that the prestige of the white man does not exist in the Trobriands. These Islands as seen from the Govt station, and as viewed since being on my own appear like two different countries for which Im mighty sorry, the trials and difficulties of my latter expedition having a tendency to kill the idealistic impression I had of the Island. Meanwhile this night exsquisite, almost full moon, the graceful palms hanging over the edge of the lagoon a mass of deep shadows, and delicate tracery limned against a purple sky. Have ordered V.C. to get me canoe for tomorrow, it remains to be seen whether it will arrive.
A beautiful morning, so away in canoe to Gusavita, a fresh breeze enough to keep sail full, sunlight dancing on the green translucent water, made a splendid run, making a five hour journey
under two hours. Work in studio. My house staff away in bush, so village boy to cook me some lapi, New Guinea fashion, my rogue of a cook-boy, becoming quite dependable. The cook-boys vivila when making "walk abouts" borrows finery from the village girls.
Work in studio. Send cook-boy to scour the bush for food, more successful, enough to last a few more days. This hand to mouth exsistence particularly trying. All this difficulty caused by the Tabac shortage of last few months, instead of produce being brought to door, now have to send for it. Commencing to feel the effects of the Tropic summer, although a light S.E. blowing, weather fine, atmosphere oppressive, work difficult, and the continual blaze of light, very bad for my sight. Whenever I send cook-boy in search of food, he XV always
back a vivila for me in the list of neccessities.
Work in studio. "Walk about" Teavi, boy wishing to sell me shells invited me to his hut, where his wife searched her work-basket, it being full of materials for new dobas, so difficulty in discovering the shells. To Tobiraukiva though early and a full moon, all to bed, they working hard in garden all day, and mighty tired.
Work in studio. "Dud", piccaninie vivila to sit, rather good, do not think I shall attempt New Guinea figures once I leave the country, find it an all too difficult task as it is, without models, impossible, always feel that I cannot come within
rage range of the subjects I attempt, present conditions too difficult in studio continual disturbance, outside a blaze of light, and food question disconcerting. Cook-boy called as a witness, he mighty frightened that he will go to gaol.
Work in studio "dud" To Tobiraukiva. Mail in.
Work in studio such as it is, have completely lost interest in my subjects. Cook-boy to Lousia re canoe trouble. In most disputes with natives versus white the Govt generally places the white in the wrong,
a dangerous practice which in future will lead to trouble. At present the attitude of the native appears to be that of passive resistance, from this to active resistance is not such a big jump as we whites are disposed to imagine. Consequently it is imperative that the prestige the white man should be maintained a consummation that will never be achieved by the present policy of the Govt, which is that of pampering the native. A policy possibly actuated by the class of white man which came to Papua in the early days. Buccaneers, prospectors, miners, illiterate men, whose conception of handling colour, was that of gun and boot. Fascinating as is the Trobriand Islanders, he is after all but primative, with the unbalanced mentality common to most coloured races, consequently he should be taught to respect the white man, but the Govt appears unable to use any discretion, Buccaneer or educated men following their lawful occasion are placed in the one classification when there is a dispute between native and white man. Give the natives a fair deal by all means, but in so doing it were well to look to it, that it is not to the disparagements of the white. Meanwhile the exploitation of the Trobriand Islanders, they please themselves to whom they take their produce; and to whom they sell their labour, meanwhile in common with the white races they have already acquired an exaggerated conception of the value of their labour. The fare to Sinabata per canoe a matter of twelve miles is now 10/- return and this is contingent upon whether the native will deign to transport you. If his supply of tobacco is short, he will, if plentiful he will not. For this condition the pearl traders are mainly responsible, which letter in the main employ the methods of the card sharper in all their dealings, men who will sink to the lowest depths in order to obtain pearls. With such an example
It is scarly to be wondered that the Trobriand Islanders impression of the white race are not high. Nevertheless it is up to the A.R.M. to enforce the prestige of the white man where it is possible. Present conditions here preclude my carrying any work far enough. The blaze of light too much for my sight. No work in studio, cannot obtain models, to Teavi endeavour to persuade vivilas to sit but they would not of it.
Work in studio. Cook-boy to bush in search of food, no luck, all busy in their gardens. Fletcher, a missioner visits me. A nice fellow, disposed to be profound, broad mental vision, a man considerably above the average standard of missioner. "Walk about on track, generally something interesting to be seen. The last fierce rays of the sun have dropped behind the horizon in a blaze of lurid crimson, the track is filled with the purple shadows of the brief twilight. The still air of the hot Tropic evening is resonant with the riot of locusts. Overhead a belated parrot screeches shrilly, as it wings homeward. The soft padding of naked feet on the track, natives are returning from their toil in the gardens, boys with legugu resting on shoulder, the ever graceful vivilas, burden perched on head, swing past, the tippets of their dobas making a break against the surrounding monotone, piccaninnies draggling in the rear, peer up at me as the pass. Cheery merry laughter, always that. "Ambesi bukulo Taubada" (Where do you go Master). Much raillery aneant tabac, and they pass on. Two saucy wenches, holding hands, making a "walk about", nathless, in search of a possible lover, much laughter as they flit pass, to melt into the shadows beyond. This scene is but a daily occurrence, but to me, it is ever new, ever fascinating. One method of fishing is with small bow and arrow.
Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva.
Work in studio. Studies Tobiraukiva. Some bush girls visiting this village and looking mighty fine, and how they were quizzed by their hostesses. Rats chewed the cook-boys feet whilst he was asleep, and woke him not.
Work in studio. All my paper mildewed. Problem of feeding myself and staff increasingly difficult. Teavi boy procured quantity of fish, although for the last nine months they have been obtaining smokes from me, devil a bit of fish they brought, taking it all to two pearl traders. These people consider themselves beholden to nobody for anything, they pleasing themselves in all things, in future no more tabac bonus for Teavi.
A beautiful day, so with my staff to Kalima by canoe, through the tortuous windings of the mangrove swamps, the water motionless giving the trees an appearance of resting their grotesque and distorted roots upon a mirror, these places always give one a feeling of grim forboding, the water so still and peaceful, but hiding much devilment within its depts, for crocadiles abound therein. We are in but a frail craft, scarcly an inch of freeboard, possessing no weapons of any kind, feel utterly helpless in event of a crocadile putting in an appearance. My boy all talk of crocadiles, pointed out a spot where two natives were eaten by these reptiles, this did fright me so that it caused the flimsy canoe to roll like a ship in a heavy sea. Mighty glad when we reached shallower waters. So at head of creek landed, and away to the villages of Kapolapola, Orikata, Kudirsarviwa, Katuri, Bulawai and Bivabolu, this latter
[Sketch titled "Making Doba (skirts) Trobriand Islands"]
rather a pretty village. The tracks in this section of Kiriwina slightly different in character to the usual tracks, decidedly more picturesque, there being a greater variety in the vegetation and the palms taller. The expedition was ostensibly in search of kai kai, but the village bare of all produce. Obtained some paw paws, and one basket of taitu at panic prices. So home, at Tobiraukiva obtained some lapi. All the staff tired and mighty cross withal.
Some notes on fishing
A wonderful morning, the palms which hung over the edge of the lagoon were mirrored in its placid waters; the opalescent tints of the sky reflected therein transforming the lagoon into a sheet of water, had I been a true deciple of romance I should have imployed a similie, such as the water had the appearance of shot silk, or some equally non liquid substitute. However, having decided by the customary process of deduction common to all defective yarns, that the fluid in the lagoon actually had the appearance of water, I will proceed with the matter in hand. I perceived afar off that which appeared to be giant moths, gliding across the still waters, which mirrored the palms, reflected the opalescent tints of the sky, and served quite a variety of other purposes. However not being "sick belong bottle" which is Papuan for intoxicated, I had another look at the strange insects. A closer inspection of this insectile phenomona disclosed a fleet of canoes journey upon a fishing expedition; that which gave them affinity to moths being large V shaped nets, stuck vertically in the canoes. The mesh stretched between V formed branches, at the base of the V is a pouch into which it is expected that the fish when caught will duly interne itself to the comfort of all concerned excepting the principal actor. The shore sighted the fleet dashs full speed ahead; the crews vigorously digging the water with their paddles,
the shoal on the beam, the canoe leading continues forward, the remainder of the fleet forming a circle round the fish, whatime the crews work up a perspiration, knocking upon the sides of the canoes, the while they break the welkin, with mighty howls, the fish poke their noses out of the water to investigate, then happens that, which to the uninitiated might appear to be a suicide club out for a test match, or an acquatic exposition of larcrosse. The fish protesting at this unseemly disturbance, precipitate themselves into the air, spots of flashing silver in the sunlight. With one final fierce yell each boy grabs a net, and simultaneously they plunge into the depths, about half a fathom six and five eight inches by the lead. The leaping and befuddled fish flying even higher, the
natives wildly yelling natives get to work swotting them with their nets. The zone of operations was limited, the boys many. The next few minutes was a scene of frenzied confusion, a medley of boys, nets, panic stricken fish and foaming waters, the now empty canoes setting their own course. The shoal cleared up all to the canoes and away for a fresh patch, when the evolution is repeated until such time as the required amount of fish is bagged. This class of piscatorial practice would, nathless, upset the equanimity of the Isaac Newton school, and suggests considerable lack of finesse, but then the Papuan is not fastidious about little breaches of etiquette, his actuating motive is to fill his larder. Their methods of fishing are many: the patterns of their nets equally varied, supplement by spears and bow and arrows; this latter used mainly by piccaninnies. At an early age the male piccaninnies are initiated into the art of fishing, they are taught to make and put to practical purposes, miniature nets, identical in pattern to those used by their elders. Withal mesch, floats and other details must be to scale by the same token must the catch conform to this ruling. The useful
[Sketch titled "Mwari (arm shell) decorated pendant. Pandanus leaf, beads, pearl shells"]
fishermen, encountering little difficulty in this respect, the majority of fish are generally to scale. There is also "New Guinea Dynamite". A species of root which is ground into a paste, then rolled into balls, the natives then dive down, placing these balls into holes in the coral where the fish congregate. This paste stupifies the fish, which become an easy capture for the native. They also "swim fish" in this manner without resource to the "dynamite" poking sticks into the holes, the natives catching the fish with their hands, in this they are exceptionally dexterous. Line fishing is also employed, though not extensively, for bait, lapi oyster, or portions of strike>fish small fish. In the use of the small hand net Kialata (ill P.112) a net is held in each hand. About a dozen boys walk in a row in shallow water, a stone is thrown to disturb the fish, causing them to jump out of the water, the boy bringing the two nets together as it rises. See illustration Pages 112, 157, 163/7.
Work in studio and commence packing ready for the four months trek to London. Must have all prepared for the next Trader leaving for Samarai, whenever that may be. Sick of this vexing food question. What the hell do we must have stomachs! My cook-boy much worried at the prospect of meagre days ahead, can only hope a Trader arrives soon, so I can get out of this. Studies Tobiraukiva.
Study for the "Beachcomber". Manage to cadge some rice bread and bully beef from A. This will ease my difficulties for a few days. The tabac shortage has been a good thing for the natives, who were becoming too dependant upon the whites to the neglect of their gardens. Unable to sell their taitu they have put it all back into the ground and made large gardens, but in so doing have also left themselves short they subsisting on nuts, fish, bananas and any form of wild vegetation or fruit that is edible, all of which is not however sufficient to give them that comfortable full feeling in the region of their "tum tums". Moreover their taro and sweet potatoes (sim sim mi) crops have failed
owing to this phenomenal dry season. The very young infants are fed on oysters not lapi oyster. Last night so hungry, could not sleep.
Work in studio, study piccaninnies. Hours wasted on my damn lamp, lamp troubles are quite a feature of life here, remainder of mail in.
Work in studio, blaze of light too intense for work in open. Studies Tobiraukiva. Cook-boy showering flatteries upon me, "Altogether boy say you good fellow Taubada". Shall know later what it is he wants.
Studies Teavi. Wasi. The exchange of garden produce for fish. The sun blazed down through the interstices of the palms which fringed the shore, making patches of intense light and dark shadows. The dancing wavelets, reflected points of light from the noonday Sun; light too intense for the naked eye. At the base of the palms were grouped numerous natives. Patches of dark brown against the dazzling light on the lagoon. Many squatted and chattered others lay at full length on the outriggers of canoes, others leaning against the hulls of canoes out of commission or any other vantage as would prove restful for their swarthy limbs. These were bushmen whom, since dawn had been coming in from the back districts the weighty burden of their produce resting in shoulders. Many slept taking a much needed rest, whatime they await the arrival of the fishing fleet. There produced littered the ground. Taitu piled high in baskets, taro tied in bunches, their rich green leaves forming
[Sketch titled "A Kasawaga dancer see page 95"]
boquets, ponderous water melons, long yams tied between sticks, and suspended between the forks of branches stuck vertically in the ground, coconuts, bananas, baskets of bread fruit. Green and brown purple and yellow the prevailing colours, relieved here and their by the dull pink of sapi belts, the brighter scarlet of hibiscus, with which a few had adorned their hair, and the more brilliant splashes of colour made by the calicoes of [indecipherable] on boys, who mingled with the crowd. The tall slender trunks of palm and betel trees, relieved the somewhat horizontal composition of the scene. The fleet is sighted; the masses of somnlent browns and purples breaks into life; gathering up their produce, they line the shore whatime the fleet draws in, the rectangular calico sails billowing in the fresh breeze which drives them shoreward. Ere the fleet is well up to the beach, the bushmen have waded in and surrounded the canoes. Some of the men with their eighteen foot spears, mingled with the crowd, a custom relict of the days when warfare was always imminent and disputes ended in bloodshed. The bartering for the fish is done on the canoes wherein the produce is placed, what later will be conveyed to the village by the graceful vivilas who reside therein. All is now excitement and chatterfercation. All press forward to be first. One native hands out strings of gleaming silver fish, but there appears to be none of the haggling common to trading with white men, the produce is placed in the canoe, the equitable quantity of fish handed out. Amongst the catch was a five foot shark. Although generally, it is considered very bad form to eat shark, crocadile or sting-ray,
some few villages will degrade themselves with this form of diet. The exchange most quietly completed, and the bushmen away to their villages, the fish hanging in festoon of silver from poles slung across their shoulders, the less fortunate returning with their produce. I had hoped to happen upon some good lime spatulas, but in all this large crowd of natives who had come from all parts of the Island, not a spatula worth having. In one of the bush villages, a vivila caught thieving from a garden, she was tied to a tree in the village and there left all day, for all to see, a custom not dissimilar to the stocks which used to be a practice in old time England. In pre Govt days, a vivila caught stealing, was beaten with sticks, for a man the penalty generally meant death, to steal particularly from a garden being considered a most hineous offence. In these days the natives content them with sending the thief to gaol, and in some instances lopping off a portion of an ear. To-day a piccaninnie boy to sit a most unique type, hair long, in parts almost golden, finely chiselled lips, and but for the usual distended paunch, and dark colour of skin, almost a European type. I understand he is not a half cast, but pure bred Trobriand Islander.
Work in studio. Manage to obtain little more "kai kai". Boat to Samarai but too full, so must remain on the rocks a little longer.
Work in studio although weather fine very enervation, have to flog myself to work.
[Sketch titled "Headress of Frajapani Trob Isl"]
Piccaninnie vivila to "sit", fairly good but myself in no mood for work. Weather too hot and clammy. Kitava police boy most anxious I make Sketch of him. Withal stipulated I should append his name, so people in "Dim Dim" should know who it was!! Constant inquiries from Dobu as to whether he will get his extra two months pay, the deputation generally consists of himself, his Mrs (an impudent baggage) and the "joyous youth". My second crop of New Guinea sores at last fading, after two months. These beastly things develop very quickly, a slight scratch or pin prick and they break out into festering the immediate application of permanganate will minimise the trouble, with the subsequent application of a mixture boracic acid, vasoline, and kerosene.
Work in studio. Remonstrate with cook-boy for cooking too much for my meals, owing to shortages must be careful "This one fashion no good Taubada, more better you have plenty to eat". Natives have been working hard for the last few months in their gardens, this abnormal dry season will put their work to naught, all will be to do again, and no pay for overtime. There are two cases on record of white men going native and participating in cannibalistic orgies. One in German New Guinea one in Dutch New Guinea in the former case the man was deported, in the latter he was sent to gaol.
Work in studio, studies Teavi. In Obrilaka a coconut fell upon the neck of a boy, have not heard as to extent of his injury. This the first accident with a coconut I have heard off. It was a vivila
she asleep under the palm the fall of the nut broke her neck. Puripuri is apparently rife here, there being several sudden deaths. Poisoning is the one fear of the Traders should these people tire of the white occupation, tis doubtful if there would be any open warfare, as thy would probably resort to puripuri as being sufficiently effective to exterminate the few whites, which latter are so scattered, that in any case it could be no question of a fight. Travelling is so difficult they would be wiped out before they could get in touch with each other. My main anxiety is when can I get a boat to Samarai, this being the pearl season it is doubtful of any Traders running in, meanwhile Im short of rations, my raiment is in tatters, and materials for my work nearly exhausted.
Work in studio, studies Tobiraukiva. Thunder and little rain, perchance this will save the gardens
Around me is the desolation and confusion of packing. After this night this quaint building will no longer give me shelter, it may be many moon I shall again be in a place of my own. No more shall I be talking round the fires when night has spread her star spangled mantle over the land. Bogoliwak to the Trobriands, but I must from hence whilst there is the chance of a boat the mission has kindly placed the "Hi which is mighty kind of them saving me much tribulation. Dobus vivila asked that she might have the so much admired photo
[Sketch titled " A mission child"]
of my sister. I have parted with it, it will adorn the walls of their hut in Kitava Island.
After many delays indigenous to getting a move on in Papua, at last all reads 7pm yesterday received notice to boat leaving for Samarai by 7pm next morning everything packed. If I then know what I was to expensive, should not have been so anxious to take passage in this ship, which is sail only. Leave Oiabia noon, weather fine light S.E. wind, reaching Muiro about 5pm then commencing the trouble, heavy currents blocked our progress, whe had to beat up, making about one mile in three hours, so throughout the night. My anxiety that the steerman did not fall asleep a contingency that has frequently occurred, not pleasant in these reef strewn waters. Mal de-mer
Reach Vakuta about dawn, a matter of some twenty to thirty miles! Winds light about 3.30pm pick up the Ampthul group, the Trobriands hull down. Distance is deceptive here after travelling all day we seemed to get no nearer, about 9pm abreast of Dum Dum. From here to Buli Buli, Fergusion Islands, our first anchorage is not a great distance, dawn found us but little further the wind died away completely we could make no headway against the heavy tide.
Miles of desolate ocean the frowning heights of Fergussions huge mountains So thus, we might drift right out of the shipping routes. I discovered we had no water. Oh hell! if ever I was scared as was at tat moment, nay I was panic stricken, the boat lurching to the smooth oily swell not a breath of wind, the sun blazing down with fierce intensity
And we drifting, drifting, utterly at the mercy of the tides, to carry us whither it may. The decks to hot to stand upon, and no shelter of any kind. Then how I suffered, my face swole up almost obstructing the sight of the right eye, my legs and arms burnt to blisters. I foolishly enough wearing shorts and a singlet, though my face I could not protect it was the reflection from the water that caused the injury, quite impossible to remain in the cabin, the heat was stifling. The principal boat boy had been at the tiller from 4pm to dawn of the following day and was thoroughly exhausted. I was at my wits ends to know what action to take, depth of the water precluded anchoring, then I caught sight of the sweeps, whether it would be possible to make the land against a heavy tide with these was a moot point. The boys did not realise the danger of there being no water on board. I suggesting using the sweeps to which they were utterly indifferent, so at last in sheer desperation I took a sweep and commenced myself to pull, my blistered limbs were agony, intensified by the flapping boom bumping against me. The boys continued to whistle for the wind but I at last prevailed upon one to take a sweep. There were only the five of us and two of them thoroughly exhausted with the nights arduous trials. So commenced a seven hour trial under the blazing tropic sun.
[Sketch titled "A maiden of Yule Island"]
It was literally fighting for inches, the least stoppage when commenced to drift against, my anxiety was intense, at last we commenced to move forward, so slightly as to be almost imperceptiable. I did not dare take a rest with my sweep, did I so the boys would immediately cease. At last we reached the shetered cove of Buli Buli, oh the relief! Fergusson Island boys came along with bananas, paw-paws, sugar cane and divers other luscious produce. The colour of the water was magnificent in the shadows under the canoe, a deep intense sapphire. Some of the canoes were nothing better than four pieces of wood bound together with vine, these flimsy craft aw awash, how the occupants avoid being snapped up in these shark infested waters is remarkable. Too done up to write more. Though mighty thankful to be free of the ghastly experience, that my all too vivid imagination pictured. Pleasant contrast to that pitiless blazing heat, is the quiet cove bordered with heavy Tropic vegetation in a nearby stream the boat boy washing their calicoes, a little apart a coil of purple smoke indicates that the evening meal is in course of preparation. Meanwhile here we remain until a fair wind springs up. I shall probably miss the boat from Samarai, but no matter, I dont want a repetition of todays experience. Fergussion Islanders are cannibals, though quite ordinary enough to converse with.
About 11am up anchor, weather to me does not appear promising, though boy thinks there will be sufficient wind, get a couple of miles out, wind fails, once more we lay
drifting with the tide, my heart in my boots again, but this time we have water, but not over much, there being no tank just four kerosene tins one of which leaks. Plenty of kai kai, bananas, Paw Paws etc. Thank god light breeze; being tentative certainly, but something to at least keep us moving, enough it is to be hope to bring us to Dobu, our next anchorage. Once there, things not so bad, their being a greater number of boats travelling that route, shall endeavour to get passage in an auxiliary schooner if Im lucky. About 4pm abreast of Sana Reno, which very comforting it being some way on our journey; my left cheek so swollen with sunburn, so a towel round my face with just sufficient spaces for the eyes, at the moment the weather beautiful, though could do with a slightly stronger breeze. The crew of this boat numbering four handle the craft in a most efficient manner. My bete now when at sea, I worry my fool head with what might happen. Near Dobu passage the shores of Fergusson dotted with village, sago huts nestling under clusters of coco palms, one of the crew has made himself an Iasi-Iasi to catch a vivila with when he goes ashore at Dobu tonight by the same token, is he getting himself up "to kill". Drop anchor Dobu about 6pm Last few months never know whether it is yesterday or tomorrow my watch being out of action.
[Sketch titled "Piccanin canoe, made from coco husk and leaf"]
The entrance to the passage is dotted with ilset upon which are cluster peaceful coco palms, set like flowers in an epern, the hills and crags of Normaby Island vanish into the purple distance, the higher peaks of Fergussion, the near hills verdant clad razor backed edges shelving into the sea, breakers boom upon the reefs outside, adding to the feeling of security in this beautiful Tropic anchorage. The scene is lit by the silver magic of the moon, running free, we silently glide through the passage, the water gurgling and splashing along the side. After, the crew of four are grouped partaking of the evening report. Splases of orange upon the shores indicate the prescene of village. A placid enough scene worthy of the Tropics. We do not anchor at Dobu, there being a fair wind shall continue through the passage, so much the better a little more of the journey completed thank God, though nothing to grumble about this wonderful night. Will to-morrow hold more excursion and alarms! I wonder, for Papua is a land of strong contrasts, subtle shades are few. Drop anchor south end of Dobu passage at Gigipwala, a beautiful spot, half cresent of beach bordered with the ever beautiful coco palms here and there a village nestled amongst the heavy vegetation, two schooners ride at anchor in the perllucid water, the boat boys serenade the vivilas with their quaint songs. Feminine laughter ripples across the placid waters, echoed by the hills which
make a background to the scene of halcyon quietitude. Me to sleep, but not much hope, the crew holding a card party, with some of their friends from the villages.
Heavy clouds banking up and the ominous silence that precedes heavy weather, up anchor and slip round the southern side of Normanby Island. The high peaks break up the weather, so once more becalmed, blocks creaking, running gear sagging and sails helpelessly flapping. We drift over coral beds, a wonderful sight rather more fantastic than beautiful, the bigger formation of the coral rendered doubly so by the movement of the water strange domelike formations ending abruptly at the base into the bottomless pit of the deep blue. These treacherous reefs require careful navagation in parts fathoms deep other places but a few feet, strange fish inhabit this wonderland, one or two saw fish dash by, a streak of lighter blue against the heavier colour of the depths, each Obuia Mission Station about about 2am. This place an ideal anchorage, we continue on. Storm clouds after making a circuit of some sixty or more miles return to break again on the peaks, bringing a little wind, we keep along the shelter of the coast. Weather too uncertain to make direct for East Cape our next port. From time to time natives paddles furiously out to sell us fish, these islanders more suggestive of the savage, and are a distinct type from those peoples with whom Ive spent so many difficult but fascinating months in the Trobriands. Anchor bay of Bwakela, at village of Budabudoi, the days run about eight miles!!!
[Sketch titled "Kaioioa, a toy made by piccanins, presumably a Trobriand sea plane, it flies both on land and sea, is propelled by wind in the leaf."]
Mission craft alongside, exchange of Xmas salutation in the form of fish, pig coconuts and sago, and wreath of flowers from the sister of our skipper, a native of Normanby. Ashore to village of Bakela, a wretched settlement of ten huts hemmed in upon three sides by the heavy vegetation. At the base of the mountains a few wretched coco palms. The inhabitants uncouth, apathetic peoples. Bush pigs make furtive efforts at my legs whatime I sketched. Some boys came in armed with spears, which they always carry. In Normanby we have the grim real savagery petty warfares, raids, cannibalistic orgies. The whole aspect of this little bit sinister, felt slightly discomfortable. A place of grim shadows suggestive of all that is wildest in nature, a strong contrast to the Trobriand villages and their vivacious denizens. They appear to be a peoples who bestir themselves no more than nature compels. Their canoes are of the crudest withal even this becoming a lost craft, the old men tell the younger generation they wot not how to build canoes, which latter discoraged make no attempt to construct these craft; neither do the older men. So they without fish. The cannot rear poultry, they will not trouble to feed them. The whole of this coast is dotted with these
smallest minute villages with their cluster of coco palms fringing the beaches. This side less desolate, there being much traffic of Dim Dim craft. Fitzgerald along for a chat, the boat settled down snugly for the night, the wind suddenly comes up, drags anchor, so no sleep this night, accepting the hint, up anchor and away to make the most of the wind, light squalls moon
Wind holding, make East Cape at dawn now running down the bay
for which I mighty thankful my journey nearly ended. Oh Happy Papuans, always singing always laughing, care free sufficient is the evil unto the hour thereof what may follow of no consequence to them. Reach Samarai in a heavy squall, but make good weather of it. Find cannot obtain passage to Sydney for another month. Once more work on the delightful verandah of Cosmopolitan Hotel. Learn that as a result of action in Gunnilibaba pig roasting incident, the Govt have passed an ordinance to prevent further abominations. After the "cat licks" on the voyage was looking forward to water all over me. Owing to six months drought all fresh water brought from mainland, which is rationed out to half jug per day, cannot go to salt water baths owing to my sunburn. A great pleasure to tread once more floors which are not undulating, to stand things upon tables, without having to seek a level spot or keep bottles etc perpendicular by means of props.
Day spent endevouring to get through business, always difficult in Samari, the most simple transaction a long and tedious undertaking. Blaze of light to-day intense, too much so to attempt work. To Dr Giblins, his house charmingly situated upon the hill overlooking the water. Setting of palms and the magic of moonlight. Am told Papuans in other Division of Territory not so despicably mean as the Trobriand Islanders, which latter thoroughly spoilt by the low pearl traders. Three R.M. at my table, tales of difficult and dangerous patrols, of shootings and killings. In such a difficult country, that a handful of white men should
[Sketch titled "Minikuiu (wooden) Fish spear this head is bound to a stick the required length"}
Have subdued the natives in so short a period, is a wonderful achievement, to my great relief hear that definate action is taken to eliminate the pig roasting abominations.
Re packing cases. Most of day in cluches of one who had paid homage to Bacchus. The Govt sending out an R.M to Trobriands to investigate the Gunnilibaba incident. The action of Connolly and self has created quite a stir in official circles. Weather intensely hot, blaze of light too intense from my eyes, so no work to day weary of the company of semi intoxicated men. Looks like rain, so perchance the possibilities of a bath in the near future
Studies of Samarai. Somewhat despondent something of the magic wonderland I found Papua upon my first expedition. Hardship, privation and contact with more primative aspect of the Papuans natives, is responsiable. To what extent this will affect my work it is difficult to say, as against this there is the more thorough knowledge of my subject. Whatever works I may accomplish of Papuan subjects, will have a more solid foundation. Keeping so close my subject for so long a period, am somewhat exhausted. Pretty little Samari for a few days is well enough to remain a month quite another proposition. Its inhabitants mainly stodgy stupid people. The usual petty jealousies, scandles and cliques common to all small communities. It is an astounding contrast that of natives living in their primative fastness, participants in orgies, killings and all the rest of it, these same men a few days hence, waiting at table, studying the domestic life of the Europeans. Placidly wheeling out the infants of white people, but more interesting still
is that we civilised peoples are so much akin to the primative. After centuries of
civilisation evolution, we have progressed but little, as witness the vast masses of ignorant whites whose mentality is no higher further developed than the lower animals, whos only claim to civilisation is no more than the filthy rags with which they cover their nakedness, withal possessed not of the semblance of morality inherent in the savage. For whatever may be the moral code of the latter, there is a measure of order in this method life which the low caste white is quite devoid. Many strange tales filter through from the mining districts, some redolent with humour. A miner was being buried, the grave dug close to a "washout", the burial service was being read came their rain down the mountain side, sweeping the body away before the service complete. Much incensed, the main mines officialty, threw the bible after the fast receding corpse, with the remark "if yer cant B-ay well wait until the service is finished, read it yerself you B D!!!". The son of the deceased was at graveside. A man and his wife were moving to new quarters, placed all their kit on the schooner and set sail. The man betook himself to the hold for a rest. It being time for the meal, wife sent boy to rouse husband, after a little time, boy returned "cannot wake im Sinabada, e sleep altogether too much". Um tink im dead" which investigating proved to be the case. They landed in a small cove, and buried the corpse, but no bible could be found, so a gramophone was placed at the head of the grave with the record "Nearer my God to thee" A boat builder was away for a few days during his absence, one of his boys, a devout follower of the Mission died, the other boys instead of buring native fashion, stole some planks and made a coffin. Later the owner returned, discovered the loss
[Sketch titled "Buna, a white shell extensively used for the decoration of canoes & Bomas"]
of his timber, much incensed, he demanded payment from the boys, these latter refused the boat builder, collected a squad of boys & armed them with picks and shovels and set off for the burial ground. Friends of the deceased asked reason thereof, were told owner was going to reclaim his stolen timber, the defaulters came to light with the money, over and above the value of the stolen timber.
"Sabbaty" and obviously, hot stifling day, everywhere a blaze of light. The streets deserted, but for a few house boys, the only sign of life. Display of my works on verandah of hotel, no frames, intense reflected light making the pictures look not worth twopence the lot, if I make a sale Im lucky. A sense of mental and physical stagnation prevails, meanwhile, I seek the magic of the wonderland that was Papua upon my first expedition. Absence from the country, may restore me the treasure, that for the hence has been stolen from me. These days of waiting in Samari is the lull before the storm that will be my life when I return to the frenzied scramble, which passes in civilisation as life.
29th Xmas Eve
The only outward sign of this festival being the decoration of the hotel with palm leaves. Most of the population of Samari away, the township practically deserted but for a few noisy voices round the bar, the occasional click of billiard balls. Some like myself with a month to wait for the steamer south. Others drift out in antediluvian craft to various of the many islands which litter this part of the Pacific. Pretty palm girt spots, set in a sea of molten emerald
sapphire. Topaz and purple. Invite for trip to the conflicts some sixty miles distant, although had foresworn any more buccaneering stunts, the lure is too strong. Heat intense, to-day a bath!!! Today one Haines line in, linking wild Papuan with a peaceful village of St Ives nestled in a cove on the north coast of Cornwall
But for closing of stores and hotels much as other days in Samari. A Xmas tree for the youngsters, one of the community attired as Santa Claus, to distribute the gifts. Dine with the Giblins at their charming home on the hill. After valiantly battling through dinner, sit on the lawn, full moon rising behind the palms, the white roof of the bungalow bathed in its light the interior of verandah suffused with the soft pink light from lampshades. With such an environment the suggestion of Xmas festivities too remote to be felt.
Studies, a swim, exhibition of works at Giblins. Owing to continued drought, natives cannot plant their gardens, a man went to recruit boys from one district, the elders of the villages will not let the boys go, until the weather breaks, when they must plant their gardens before signing on to work for white men.
Light too intense for work, bad lines and other fooleries. Packed up ready to move off to conflicts, but fashion belong New Guinea . Now 9PM no further forward on the journey. Tales of water spouts and all manner of climate disturbances to fill me with trembling for the safety of my skin. In practical solititude I sit, ensconced in a lounge chair upon the broad verandah of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. A faint breeze stirs the palms making a sound as of the swishing of silken
[Sketch titled "Drinking cup made from coconut shell (Borlu)"]
attire. My solititude from time to time broken by the arrival of almost nude natives, some few with calicoes, they arrive via the back stairs laden with the impediments of some belated traveller. The kit a collection of battered tin boxes, empty cases, shoes, lamps divers odd articles of raiment, travelling in Papua, there is no packing of portmanteaus the requirement of a complete household are necessary, they may be but sixty odd miles, this may take some few days to accomplish. Food, water, change of raiment, bed, all must be taken, to travel minus these commodities is suicide. One stuffs their kit in any old box available, though many are sensible enough to provide themselves with wooden trunks which are impervious the attacks of cockroachs and other destructive insects. Finding this enforced inactivity a sore trial, for the last week it has been a succession of indolent days: this feeling of ineptitude exasperating 11PM By dim light of a late moon, slip anchor and away under sweeps in the ketch "Fairy" with a cargo of thirty signed on boys, for a plantation.
8 am but five miles from Samari, held by strong tide. All day wind freshening and dying away by inches we creep along the coast of groups of islands, which straggle out to the East of Samari for a distance of some forty miles. Basilaki, the Engineers Group, each in turn one left astern, sundown pick up the low island of Naru. To the south end gathering clouds and an angry sunset, hold that hidden menace so typical of the South Pacific. Perchance a hurricane, mayhap, no wind at all. Decks are clustered with the plantation boys, and one woman, and short of water!!! Should no wind come, we may be drifting around in heavy tides for
days, or possibly with too heavy a blow, thrown off our course, withal the result the same. But tru to the Safety last policy of Papuan mariners there are insufficient supplies or water. But little sleep, such as it was disturbed by the impertinences of one bold cockroaches, whatime I mentally visualised all the maritime cataclysms that could happen, skipper watching the glass every few minutes his perturbation but intensifying my feeling of panic. My host M Bernier equally worried. During the night find ourselves over the Emerald reef, none too much water, three to four fathoms. So a night of excursions and alarms, needlessly so perchance, but in these waters, anything is possible.
The Eastern horizon is streaked with patches of grey and all well, mighty glad, the Conflicts open up, heavy wind and tide hold up, the land so close but unattainable eventually beat in, taken 36 hours to accomplish a ten hour journey. The Conflicts is a group of 27 islands situated upon the lip of a reef, roughly elipse in form some fourteen miles by ten. Irai and Pamaisaisa being the two largest. A lake of molten emerald, blue and purple set in a sea of wonderous sapphire. The managers house is situate but a few yards from this riot of intense colour. The house a delightful place, spacious verandahs, simple appointments, kept with the cleanliness of a barracks. A contrast to the dilapidated and filthy places which are the average homes of the Traders in the Trobriands. Avenues of Palms laden with nuts raidiate from the house. Everywhere a sense of order, the ground clear of all scrub.
[Sketch titled "Piccanin fishing with bow & arrow Trob Is"]
Upon all side, glimpses of the intense blue sea are visiable through the interstices of the palms. It is possible to stroll through the grounds without fear of snakes and other discomfortable denizens of the bush. These islands are but narrow strips of san. The event of the visit, two baths a day, impossible in Samarai owing to the drought. Light too intense to work. Coming all very restful gave me an opportunity to get my mind in order though feeling far from well, greatest difficulty to overcome intense desire to sleep all days, the sensation as if I have been drugged: Distribution of calicoes, tabac and blankets to new plantation hands. Process of producing copra, fairly simple. The nuts are collected off the ground, husks cut off and kernel split, these latter placed on trays to dry, which is then bagged, weighed and shipped. All of which processes are executed by hand. The greatest difficulty or rather a complex problem, is the boys being isolated for a matter of one or two years from all association with the opposite sex, but very few of them being married. Mainly loafing, night is stealing up from the East, the last rays of the after glow transforming the rich blue sea into a wonderful purple. Nature has painted a glorious picture, but how desolate! The beach is littered with flotsam and jetsam thrown up by countless storms, dead palms leaves, the butt end of an oar the decaying limbs of giants of the forests of some far distant shore. Miles, endless miles of heaving ocean dotted with Islands. No sign of life other than this. In pre war period, generally some sail visible, visitors would drop in at the plantation, a rare incident these days. Am weary of the tales of dead sea fruit
of the things that were. Stories of how beautiful is the other place. I am fully satisfied that I could have found no better spot than the Trobriands, of all Papua, it is the most fascinating though perchance less beautiful, lacking the grandeur of the more mountainous districts. But the inhabitants are easily the most vivacious, their villages the largest, teeming with interest.
Studies, always watching the sky, seeking portents of heavy weather, all one mighty fright cursing myself for a very fool to venture the seas in the delapitated craft and the casual seamanship of the Papuan, with their astounding indifference to possible danger. With the Papuan sufficient is the evil unto the minute thereof, They put to sea in their flimsy craft with but little food and less water, chancing to their gods to see them safely to the journey end. Perchance they might be adrift for days: ask a boy how they manage
under such should such circumstance overtake them. "Oh Taubada! Close up we died, so we sleep, suppose we sleep we no savvy anything, we are as dead", which literally is quite true, so heavily do they sleep.
1924 Jan 1
Insomnia, worried about voyage to Samarai, do not care trust myself to boat boys, knowing nothing of these treacherous waters and less of seamanship. Marina arrives. A boat twice wrecked, its skippers a fine old boy, all running gear but temporary, would blow to pieces with the first big wind and as usual no water but such little as could be stored in a few kerosene tins. Fortunately able to borrow a tank.
Wind increases, threatening sky suggestive of all manner of bad things. Up betimes
[Sketch titled "(Guba) Net used when swimming lapi oyster Trob Isl"]
prospect not alluring, dawdle over toilet to give weather a chance to disclose its possibilities. To Irai, load copra, the nauseating odours filling the ship, likewise myself. Away on a stiff breeze; the voyage punctuated with villanerous tide rips and heavy squalls. Anchor at Nawluluwari. Empire Group. Villages very small though fairly clean, interior construction of huts mainly of bamboo. In one hut a number of women and piccaninnies have forgathered preparatory to a feast, the menfolk away in the bush to bring in food. Upon their return, an enormous pig, too fat to move will be roasted alive, warn natives if so they do, I will have them all sent to gaol. One of the woman is a widow, immediately upon the death of he husband, the usual process of smearing the body with charcoal is practiced, after the elapse of sometime the window will wear long necklaces of large white shells and sapi sapi. By means of rough track through bush and along shore to a Traders station, a clearing in the heavy bush. Numerous dingys and whalers drawn up, all more or less in a state of disrepair. Two native built houses in a similar condition, which is quite as it should be. Mighty glad to be on shore. The Trader aboard for a chat, am enabled to offer a meal the most important item on the menu roast chicken. The smell of copra permeates everything. Shall never be able to rough it unless I can obtain a new stomach, all tinned foods nauseating to me and the rough conditions of rusty knives, equally tarnished fork and spoons wiped upon dirty rags, battered enamel pannikins, such a condition makes
me quite ill
Up little before daybreak, a necessary evil in the Tropics the days are short, the distances to be travelled long and dangerous contrary tides and no wind. Once more drifting at the mercy of the elements, all the gear creaking and groaning as the ship lurches in the heavy ground swell, which rolls up uninterrupted from the South Pole. We may drift upon a reef, and there be caught in one of those heavy blows which come up so suddenly. The heat intense, true to the Papuan safety last policy, no sweep with which to hold ship against tide. Floating around for some hours, with possibility of it developing into as many days. Get enough wind to carry us to Mudge Bay. Basilatei, a fine anchorage protected from every wind. The houses vary in build, some built over the water, one in the forks of a tree. Others upon the shore. This bay a favoured haunt of crocadiles. One of the many methods practised by the natives to capture these reptiles, is for a number of boys to step quietly into the water, carefully approach the sleeping saurain, one boy jumps upon its back folding his arms round the reptiles jaws, the remaining boys gripping its legs and tail and flinging it on its back this manoeveur is executed very quickly. Mosquitoes bad, compelled to hang up net, although anchored some distance from shore.
[Sketch titled "Kailuua a fish net. Note pouch into which the fish slide. See page 142."]
Daybreak up anchor and away heavy squalls, tide races all manner of discomfortable weather conditions; not to mention difficulties of reefs. The skipper mighty nervous, being but a recent arrival in Papua, is not au fait with the weather conditions, the navagation of the intricate reefs withal has only made one trip in this ketch the "Mariana" and is dubious as to her being a well found ship by the same token, we all afeared. One of our passengers, a native woman of enormous dimension mainly of rolls of fat. Breeze freshens, navigate through a maze of islands and reefs, drop anchor at Samarai, a day sooner than the weather portended.
Busy day; all of which has nought to do with life in the Tropic. Hear that the wee maid who so attracted my attention at Kwato Mission station, has just died. Already once snatched from the eager grap of death, she has fled to the beyond, under happier condition than would have been her former terriable fate of being buried alive: aneant this subjet in some division of the territory, when a new hut is erected, an infant is buried alive. The first post hole being dug, the child is placed in, and the stake of the first wall post driven into the poor wee mite. This practice has its similie in fourteenth century London, when any important edifice was built, a live child was walled up in the foundation.
I one Division, Rossel Island? they have a system of clearing debts, once every year all the people foregather in the principal village and the matter of settling accounts proceeded with. Should the debt be a pig, the purchaser takes the dimensions of the animal with a piece of twine. Should he not possess a pig of the exact dimensions of the animal traded, the debt is carried over until such time as one of his animals shall attain the exact size of his debtors pig. The same system follows with all manner of debts, the debtor must return in kind the exact amount of his debt. Nowhere beyond the Trobriands are to be found the elaborate facial decorations that give such a sense of gaiety as with these frivolous peoples. On the other hand the tattooing of the natives beyond this group of Islands, is much more elaborate, face torso and legs being most ornate, giving much the appearance of black lace, though the ensemble is altogether more sombre, as are the people, the touch of colour which gives such relief to the otherwise monotonous tone of the flesh is missing. Even so is it with the skirts, which are worn longer the range of dyes limited withal they lack the chic gay appearance which adds so much to the fascination of the naughty vivilas of the Trobriands, over bold hussies perhaps, and mighty cheeky, withal, but their
[Sketch titled "Orla (paddle) Ewa Island"]
seeming impertinences are amply compensated for by their alluring vivacious manner.
The Lakatoi of the Delta Division are now occupied upon their annual trading expeditions, to trade earthen pots for sago. The Inspector of Plantations met some boys from Kapa Kapa, a village thirty miles west of Moresby. These boys being far from home were delighted to see the Inspector whom they knew. As the Inspector would reach their village before them; they asked him to convey messages to their relatives messages telling them that they )the boys) had had a most successful business trip, having disposed of all their wares, and were returning with a large cargo of sago and some canoes. They discussed their trip with the Inspector, and were highly elated at the successful result of their enterprise. Although, sad to relate, they had lost one of their number, a crocadile having carried him off. Upon reaching Kapa Kapa, the inspector duly delivered the messages, omitting however, any mention of the tragic fate which took one of them. Trade conditions with them are governed by much the same causes as prevail the world over. Should their clients be adequately supplied with earthen pots, they have the greatest difficulty in disposing of their ware; by the same token, should their be a scarcity of pots, then their merchandise sells like "hot cakes" When the expedition sets out on their 200 mile journey four lakatoi are lashed together. Their
venture successful, they will purchase trees, these they cut down and hollow out into canoes, this addition is lashed to the original four and loaded with sago. Upon the home journey, there may be as many as eleven canoes tied together in thiswise. See also page 23: Boera & Wanea.
Cook-boys in Port Moresby receive £ 48 per an and keep. There is one native who runs the electric plant at Ryans who receives £ 240 P.A. and keep!! He does not know what to do with this wealth, fabulous for a native. Naturally such abnormal wages for a primative savage, has had a most demoralising effect upon the natives of Port Moresby, who are very impertinent. Strangely enough to pay a boy there enhanced wages it does not follow he will remain; an equally important factor in the native mind, is his Taubada; Frequently they would rather
take accept less pay and work with a Taubada or Sinabad they like, rather than take double the sum to work for a Taubada that does not appeal to their fanciful mentality. If you happen to appeal to their imagination as being possibly a good Taubada, they will hang around for days, in the hope that you will sign them on. On the other hand, it is fatal, to ask a cook-boy if
he will sign on to you. In this latter case he will prove quite unmanageable. The Papuan is a most complex individual his nature is unfathomable. You think you have got his character nicely pigeon holed, the next moment he will upset all your theories. To make any definate stastement as to his temprement is impossible as well try to fathom the bottomless depths. Goaribari villages, Delta Div they make quite excellent canoes, the inside of the hull is most ornately decorated with red, black and white paint, these decorations generally taking the form of eyes, presumably the origin of this motive is that. The eyes shall watch out for reefs, bad weather, evil spirits, etc the prows are long and narrow generally such little carving as there is representing the jaws of a crocadile. There is now protection at the ends, in a heavy sea, a small boy is seated their and plastered with mud to the sides of the canoe to keep out the sea. Applicants to fill this position are not numerous. In the village of Kaimari, Delta Div, there are thirteen club houses, wherein all the men of the village foregather to discuss politics, trade and all matters appertaining to the community. Women are prohibited from entering these masonic lodges. Husbands whose domestic politics are not all that is desirable possibly betake themselves to the lodges until the storm rolls by.
Studies of Samarai
Affairs. Sultry day. Work a failure. They had been drifting for three days not a breath of wind, gruelling heat, that blistered decks, and opened up seams, the crew put in the time eating, sleeping, singing as is the want of the Papuan. Carefree, the morrow a matter of no moment. The third day was drawing to close when to the astonishment of the two white men on board, one of the crew remarked "More better up sail Taubada". "What rot!" replied the latter, "What for put up sail no wind e stop". "All same" replied the native, with insistence, "more better put up sail" somewhat puzzled upon such an exceptional request coming from a Papuan, the white men inquired the reason thereof "Oh Taubada" rice e finish close up we die". Which incident is typical of the mental aspect of the Papuan, come wind, come rain, be it hot, be it cold, so long there be plenty of kai kai, for immediate requirements, that is all that is of moment. A soft langorous night the light breeze, but gentle zephers from the S.E. singing through the palms, which flaunt their plumed heads against the soft star splashed vault of the Heavens. Their slender trunks strike>lost merged into the deeper shadows of the hillside dimly silouhetted, the deeper
[Sketch titled "Ginigini"]
warm shadows stabbed with splashes of orange light from the houses which nestling upon the hill. The flat patch of sandy road which runs between the little church and B Ps stores, is patterned with ribs of yellow and black; lights from the two hotels. Upon the verandah of which lounge one or two men in ducks, the only sign of life in the quiet deserted streets. The night watchman pads softly past and is swallowed up in the deep velvet shadows. For tis long past nine of the clock, the beat of the drum which warns natives to the compound, has long since died away. A supreme quiet prevails, a night for wonderous romance and passionate armours. Such time to dream away the hours, and reck not the cost thereof. For night has draped this tiny world with a mantle of softest gossamer. Dances in the central Division are most important functions, not more so that other districts perhaps, the decorative schemers are more elaborate. A platform is erected, the supports being most elaborately carved and painted. The platforms are festooned with flowers and feathers. In rear of platform is a
[Sketch titled "Native of S.E. Division wearing Iasi-Iasi. Page 111."]
Series of ascending ledges upon which stand numerous women. These latter also dance upon the platform. Owing to action of L.M.S. for sometime these dances were discontinued, but
but have once again found favour, which is just as well, the elimination of native customs, for which no substitution can be found, is to destroy the interest of the community, which is detrimental rather than otherwise. Many customs there are certainly, that affect the nature, and that are just as well relegated to the limbo of the forgotten things. Unfortunately these children of nature, are more or less in the hands of half educated white men, whose experiments are not all advantageous to the welfare of the Papuan race. Nevertheless the influence of the white man, is not wholly bad. In many ways the Papuan has benefited thereby. Meanwhile the Mission, Govt and other still perpetuate the colossal blunders that have been made for centuries. More particularly is this so, with the Educational system. Why do we white people , place so much insistence upon the application of the three Rs
[Sketch titled "A dish of Mona. See P71."]
rather than the all important fundamental issues, which are Life itself. One of these days more attention will be given to Domestic Science. In Papua they had a clean slate, which remained so for but a short period.. The usual bungling, not Administrative, but in the smaller though equally important issues at stake. For so short a period of occupation, the Govt, have made remarkable strides, and all honour to those R.M. whom alone with but a handful of native police, penetrate into the grim fashion of savage haunts. Only those who have lived in the country can realise the difficulties and dangers that beset the R.M. in his hazardous treks into the interior, journey along the encumbered and rugged cost in mere cockle shells of boats, the greatest difficulties the most danger is not the native, but Nature herself. The formation of the country in many parts nothing more than steep razor backed riged, ascending into the clouds. Although it may be scarce a few hundred yards between to ridges, not infrequently its a days journey to attain the crest of that ridge, which is but a few hundred yards (scarcely that) distant. The dry bed of a gully may, in but a few
[Sketch titled "Native girl S.E. Division"]
moments become a raging torrent. There may be no other camping ground other than the precipitous side of a ridge, or the even more terrible swamp. Heavy tropic rains may ruin ones supplies, when perchance it may be two months to the nearest base. The torments of myriads of insects, making day a curse and night a veritable Hell, from which there is no respite. After a heavy days trek often it may be necessary to cut down the heavy tropic vegetation before it is possible to set camp. Each and all of these things beset the R.M. in his work of administration. Least of the difficulties seemingly is the hostility of natives, many of whom may never have seen a white main. The only redeeming feature is the practical absence of wild animal life. Pythons, crocadiles and wild pigs, are about the only menace, and even this is remote.
The day visiting, packing, paying accounts and divers other attractions. Ships do not run to schedule, approx dates only, and these unreliable to the extent of a couple of weeks more or less, mine probably the latter. Time is of little consequence in Papua weeks, months, years, slip by
[Sketch titled "A unique typ. Youth. Teavi. Trob Island"]
Tis all one, a matter of no consequence. Woe betime him who fain would hurry, which in a world of hustle and insane speed, is perhaps, just as well. Natives are passionately fond of white children they nurse. At the hospital there is an infant but three weeks old, immediately it howls, the native orderlies drop their work and rush to the child. Eventually the infant cried or frequently it interrupted the work of the hospital, the matron was compelled to use her authority, to prevent all the orderlies paying too much attention to the infant. Papua the alluring, Papua the capricious, has hidden her blandishments beneath a mantle of grey. Tis a sad story which closes down upon this my last day in Papua, the ship is alongside,
but fain would I tarry awhile. Crowded ship, no caban smoke room, dining room any available space used for sleeping accommodation damn!!! Already the seething crowds of millions commencing Hell!!!!!! Night ashore, thank God! Oh the whole journey not so discomfortable as anticipated. Well ventilated ship and fair passage. Boy on wharf at Samarai caught sight of preliminary revolution of ships propeller, rushed along and called
up. " Hi! Mr Mate urry up boat e want to go. Hate to think shall never return to Papua, distance and climate conditions making this impossible. The intense light too injurious to my sight. After my two years work against tremendous difficulties. B the artist comes out for a few weeks, at expense of Aus Govt, he being an artist of repute, the kudos of working in Papua, will I suppose to think, which will depend whether I can get my show before him; not that it is much odds, after all it is the work which counts.
Thus terminates this, my second and last expedition to the fairyland of wonderous coral isles, waving palms, alluring dusky maidens and quaint piccanins. In these scarcely legiable pages have I essayed to describe something of the trials and tribulations, both imagined and real, of the difficulties that beset the path of one venturing to convey to canvas, something of
[Sketch titled "Wasi, exchange of garden produce for fish. Page 145/47"]
the hidden beauties, the flaunting blandishments of cruel inscrutable Papua. How much I have gained by a more intimate insight, a deeper knowledge of this strange land is matter for conjecture. The anthropologists eliminating superfluities seeking mainly the abnormal, the bigger, the grotesque, makes his deduction therefrom, reducing the vital to
inanimation inanimation. He collects and labels his specimens, where encased in glass, they are relegated to the fastness of some museum there to remain, dead things, conveying to the lay mind nothing of the glorious colour the fascination of the country. Just so many pieces of stone, and wood, and bits of dried grass, finding fitting similie in the dead flowers upon a grave. Crudely, mayhap, as have I expressed my impressions, perchance something of the fascination, the drollery of these complex people, the beauty of this wonderful country is reflected within these pages. Came I to Papua, anticipating, "Je ne
[Sketch titled "Misima canoe"]
Sais quoi" Find I a human peoples whose interpretation of Life, its fundamental rule of existence, extrodinarily similar to we so called civilised races. The Papuan may express himself somewhat differently, nevetheless at the core of things, he is the same. Loves he not so intensely, perchance his sorrow is but transitory, the underlaying motives which actuate his life and identical to we, who are of fairer hue. So raises the curtain upon the last act of this Tropic Idyll. In truth the scene is well set. A backcloth of intense blue. A dim smear in the purple distance indicates all that can be see of Papua. The deck of the ship "Matarain" is a realistic piece of stagecraft. A chorous of men in white duck, women in flimsy pale tinted muslins; grouped about the stage, smoking, chatting, fanning, some recline in deck chairs others in long lounges, or leaning against the rail the dazzling white a splendid foil against the intense sapphire of the sea. There is a leavening of officers in white drill with epaulettes of dark blue
[Sketch titled "Woman, Normanby Island"]
bordered with gold. The Tropic atmosphere emphasised by several native nurses and cook-boys in brilliant hued calicoes. Somewhere off stage. A paino tinkles the lilt of a valse. Soon, all too soon Papua will be but a wonderful memory. The sibilant rippling laughter of over bold vivilas, the merry "hallo Taubada", of quaint piccanins, but an echo down the passage of time. The experience of the last two years become a dream but that I possess that which shall revivify the enchanting scenes, the droll adventures in which I played a part.
[Sketch titled "Houses, Mudge Bay. Basilaki. P. 167."]
Kaione, beautiful, capricious Papua! Upon occassions you have healed me but ill, nay scurvily. A cruel mistress withal whose allurements are such , heeds must I bow to thy potent magic pay homage to thy glorious beauty living the hope that some day perhaps -------?
[Sketch titled "Huts, village of Bakela. Normanby Island Papua P. 156"]
[Sketch titled "Warriors headress port Moresby district"]
[Sketch titled "Kaione Taubada"]
Numbers in red refer to page upon which an illustration
Minikutu Fish spear 157
Buna white shell used for decorating canoes boimas etc 158
Kaisusua stick for cooking vegetables
Kaioioa A childs toy which flies on alnd, constructed with spine of palm frond with leaf for sail 155
Kaigilagela Wooden mallet used by wood-carvers 80
Leleuumwu Necklace of scented petals
Borlu Drinking cup made from half cocoanut shell 161
Guba Net for lapi oyster 165
Orla Paddle 169
Wasi The exchange of garden produce for fish 45/7 179
Paiya Earrings made from tortoise shell
Deru canoe Fergusson Island constructed of four logs bound together with native vine
Kalake an ornamental detail 97
Tailagesi an ornamental detail 97
Boitula egret, conventional treatment used on boimas\Boi Pigeon, conventionalised on handle of drums
Kapeta Betel nut mortar. Also, conventional on Lagrin of canoe, not however commonly used
Kokamatuaa an insect, also used in ornament
Taiola Conventional treatement of man with arms akimbo, most obtuse.
Sobasoba a fish scarlet in colour. Used in ornament 98
Dome an ornamental detail 99
Labai an ornamental detail 97
Ladume an ornamental detail 98
Sodi Suth. also conventionalised alligators teeth prow canoes, this features on all canoes
Bulibwali A bird. Used in ornament
Kailages an ornamental detail 99
Isecdu A carved piece fixed between Lamina and Waga of canoe. Use when on Kula business. But rarely
Lagima a curved board slotted into Pusa of canoe to pevent heavy seas swamping the canoe. This is ornately decorated, in one of the [indecipherable] is a conventional treatement of moon, in order there shall be light when travelling at night
Kasawaga A trio of dancers see page 95.
Pwadau a dance see page 95
Daga a curious device held in the mouths of the Kasawaga 101
Gavi a dark wood similar in colour to ebony. Lime spatula mostly carved in this wood
Iborbusi Trimming of doba with knife
Soba Charcoal mixed with coconut oil used for facial decorations
Penama a long wooden spatula used in preparation of mona
Kialata a small fish net used in pairs, one in each hand 112
Iasi-Iasi a love token, see page 111 Dobuian origin
Boasi Cocoanut shell, the meat being scraped out with a shell attached to a stick, these are extensively used for conveying and storing water 87
Kula the exchange of native wealth. See pages 112-3
Waiugua native wealth. Amulets, stone axe heads, bagidoma, sapi belts etc
Leleuumwija a necklace made from a scented flower similar to musk in odour
Tauuia Conch shell. Used on the canoes to announce arrival upon important occassion
Cubwana an ornamental detail 123
Warigoa - native wealth
Uladla a root used in garden puripuri
Dodoleta leaves used in garden puripuri
Bagula a garden ceremony (130)
Padidi a childs toy made from coco leaf swing round makes a sound like a fly
Banach a poor class of pearl
Rogaiwa a dance (Page 25)
Tiralwai a bunch of plumes is taken from dancer as mark of appreciation, which is acknowledged by the dancer, by a gift which he must make before he can obtain return of the plumes
Noku a root, which is scraped and with the addition of limes, makes a rich scarlet dye, used for dying parts of doba, before addition of lime this root is a rich cadmium yellow.
Oumarata A feather obtained from a specie of hawk on Fergussion Island, this is stuck in the hair, on account of its rarity. It value in Trobriands 5/-
Sesyai a shell on end of small piece of wood, used for scraping out meat in cocoanuts used for water
Katukwaika a flat disc with handle used in a game of this name (Page 77)
Pim Pim a native bean, edible, similar in flavour to french beans.
Sala Boars tooth used for finishing in wood-carving
Kagigiu Drill for boreing Sapi Sapi 83
Potintani A pattern used in designs mainly straight and triangles (81)
Laimapu Curved pattern used in designs (81)
Tataba Rectangular piece of wood ornately carved, used in decoration of Guiau huts, possibly at som remote period was symbolical.
Kaimili Pestal for crushing betel nut
Kaipita Mortar for crushing betel nut
Utukaima an insect some six inches long, six legs, scaly back brown. Native article of diet.
Malakawa patterns used in designs 82
Matala - ditto
Kiola - ditto
Boi - ditto
Papa a line of ornamentation running full lenght of canoe
Nipaoa Carved head of canoe minus that portion which is carved from the hull.
Molilui Leaf used for making sail of canoe.
Kulakola a conventional wave pattern
Senibara A lewed dance which both sexes perform together
Kawarapu two curved pieces of wood fronting top section of Boima
Giligili a dye crushed from berries similar in colour and texture to purple ink, used for decoration the skin. This dye an excellent substitute for ink.
Tukwalu figures a boy fearing attack would keep one of the figures by his bed near his head, when the assassin came, this tukwalu was presumed to hit the assassin on the head and kill him A vivila Tukwalu appears in the carving on the Lagime of canoes presumably in common with all shipping are considered in the feminine gender 91
Tarbuia carved piece running fore and aft on head of canoe meant to represent the Sun so canoe shall always possess light, by the same token does a moon appear in the carving on the Lagime.
Rauu conventional leaf (carving) 94
Gome conventional figure of a vivila very obtuse in treatment
Odawada a small fish, conventional treatment of this used on Boimas
Bisekalu sting-ray (also conventionalised)
Tapela Tabukola Moon (also conventionalised)
Bula Bula a red leaf, conventionalised on head of lime spatula 96
Takuliga clam shell. Conventionalised on lime spoon 100
Moata (snake) - clam shell. Conventionalised on lime spoon
Kuduhowe dogs teeth, conventionalised treatment used extensively in wood-carving 95
Fight im strong fellow too much To drive in a nail with vigour, etc
Fashion belong me
Ambeisi-bu-kulo Where are you going (how do you do)
Bida bada plenty
Mukwala like that
Mokwinka true is it so
Magime do you like?
Kuma come here
Kulo Kulosi go
Iokume you (plural)
Avak kuvagi what are you doing
Kusakaigu give me
Nani! hurry up!
Baisa That place, there
Se su To remain
Besusu I stop, leave off
Magigu I want
Bogiu Day after tomorrow
Bogitorlu Two days after to-m
Su Su milk
Liula spool for making nets (wood)
Kalabatiga sharks teeth fitted in two end of wood for carving the finer ornamentation
Lilolilo Pan pipes, made of reeds
Taioio Harvest (commencement)?
Milamila Harvest (finish)?
Pamama Spatula for cooking sago (Fergussion Island)
Biakuku Paint brush, handle of palm fibre
Komsuna a red clay soil used in paint for decoration of canoes
Kuwa Kuwa Sapi necklace small
Saulaoa Sapi necklace long
Bagidoga Sapi necklace very small
Mwari Armshell 143
Bunadoga White shell
pendant to neck belt
Bagidoga / Bagi Dorna? Sapi necklace with pearl shells and strips of pandanu attached these hang at the back 115
Bogivia Married woman
Guadi infant (Piccanin)
Tobakana The bald heded one
Katoua - pandanus leaf
Kum Kwum to eat
Borgau Ghos. Spirit.
Wabakubaku Centre place village
Kanan Lime spatula
Kubwara hut , house
Gugugua Belong to
Iyomolua vanity bag 117
Crab shell (doba)
Kale Crab shell (doba)
Kwasi Arm band (woven)
Atabulu-guitaa-nala a piece of wood similar in shape to lime spatulas sued for disintegrating the stands of pandanu root, preparation for nets
Kaitutu a wooden mallet for beating vegetables into pulp used in [indecipherable] 71
Katamura a piece of trunk used in conjunction with the Kaitutu 71
Tuha New Guinea Dynamite
Iayalumila Bail for canoe 81
Lutua Sonte axe head 57
Dorna. a semi circular piece of shell pendant on the bagiforna
Birds, animals, etc
Purple breasted fruit pigeon
Yellow breasted fruit pigeon
Lilac breasted fruit pigeon
White breasted fruit pigeon
Torres Strait pigeon
Bird of Paradise
Parrots Brown and Blue
Parrots Scarlet and Green
Modoba species of bean
Utukwki species of bean
Sasali species of bean
Utaon, a berry
[Transcribed by Colin Smith for the State Library of New South Wales]