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CHAPTER VIII THE GARDEN THAT IS JAVA
I entered Java through the back door, as it were. That is to say, instead of landing at Batavia, which is the capital of Netherlands India, and presenting my letters of introduction to the Governor-General, Count van Limburg Stirum, I landed at Pasuruan, at the eastern extremity of the six-hundred-mile-long island. It was as though a foreigner visiting the United States were to land at Sag Harbor, on the far end of Long Island, instead of at New York. I learned afterward, from the American Consul-General at Batavia, that in doing this I committed a breach of etiquette. Though the Dutch make no official objections to foreigners landing where they please in their Eastern possessions, they much prefer to have them ring the front doorbell, hand in their cards, and give the authorities an opportunity to look them over. In these days, with Bolshevik emissaries stealthily at work throughout the archipelago, the Dutch feel that it behooves them to inspect strangers with some care before giving them the run of the islands.

We landed at Pasuruan because it is the port nearest to Bromo, the most famous of the great volcanoes of Eastern Java, but as there is no harbor, only[164] a shallow, unprotected roadstead, it was necessary for the Negros to anchor nearly three miles offshore. So shallow is the water, indeed, that it is a common sight at low tide to see the native fishermen standing knee-deep in the sea a mile from land. Until quite recently debarkation at Pasuruan was an extremely uncomfortable and undignified proceeding, the passengers on the infrequent vessels which touch there being carried ashore astride of a rail borne on the shoulders of two natives. A coat of tar and feathers was all that was needed to make the passenger feel that he was a victim of the Ku Klux Klan. But a narrow channel has now been dredged through the sand-bar so that row-boats and launches of shallow draught can make their way up the squdgy creek to the custom house at high tide.

Until half a century ago Pasuruan was counted as one of the four great cities of Java, but with the extension of the railway system throughout the island and the development of the harbor at Surabaya, forty miles away, its importance steadily diminished, though traces of its one-time prosperity are still visible in its fine streets and beautiful houses, most of which, however, are now occupied by Chinese. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the place today is found in the costumes of the native women, particularly the girls, who wear a kind of shirt and veil combining all the colors of the rainbow.

From Pasuruan to Tosari, which is a celebrated hill-station and the gateway to the volcanoes of eastern Java, is about twenty-five miles, with an excellent[165] motor road all the way. For the first ten miles the road, here a wide avenue shaded by tamarinds and djati trees, runs across a steaming plain, between fields of rice and cane, but after Pasrepan the ascent of the mountains begins. The highway now becomes extremely steep and narrow, with countless hairpin turns, though all danger of collision is eliminated by the regulations which permit no down-traffic in the morning and no up-traffic in the afternoon. During the final fifteen miles, in which is made an ascent of more than six thousand feet, one has the curious experience of passing, in a single hour, from the torrid to the temperate zone. In the earlier stages of the ascent the road zigzags upward through magnificent tropical forests, where troops of huge gray apes chatter in the upper branches and grass-green parrots flash from tree to tree. Palms of all varieties, orchids, tree-ferns, bamboos, bananas, mangoes, gradually give way to slender pines; the heavy odors of the tropics are replaced by a pleasant balsamic fragrance; the hillsides become clothed with familiar flowers—daisies, buttercups, heliotrope, roses, fuchsias, geraniums, cannas, camelias, Easter lilies, azaleas, morning glories, until the mountain-slopes look like a vast old-fashioned garden. In the fields, instead of rice and cane, strawberries, potatoes, cabbages, onions, and corn, are seen. As the road ascends the air becomes cold and very damp; rain-clouds gather on the mountains and there are frequent showers. At one point the mist became so thick that I could scarcely discern the figure[166] of my chauffeur and we were compelled to advance with the utmost caution, for at many points the road, none too wide at best, falls sheer away in dizzy precipices. But as suddenly as it came, just as suddenly did the mist lift, revealing the great plain of Pasuruan, a mile below, stretching away, away, until its green was blended with the turquoise of the Java Sea. It is a veritable Road of a Thousand Wonders, but there are spots where those who do not relish great heights and narrow spaces will explain that they prefer to walk so that they may gather wild-flowers.

Were it not for the wild appearance of its Tenngri mountaineers, Tosari, which is the best health resort in Java, might be readily mistaken for an Alpine village, for it has the same steep and straggling streets, the same weather-beaten chalets clinging precariously to the rocky hillsides, the same quaint shops, their windows filled with souvenirs and postcards, the same glorious view of green valleys and majestic peaks, the same crisp, cool air, as exhilarating as champagne. The Sanatarium Hotel, which is always filled with sallow-faced officials and planters from the plains, consists of a large main building built in the Swiss chalet style and numerous bungalows set amid a gorgeous garden of old-fashioned flowers. Every bedroom has a bath—but such a bath!—a damp, gloomy, cement-lined cell having in one corner a concrete cistern, filled with ice-cold mountain water. The only furniture is a tin dipper. And it takes real courage, let me tell you,[167] to ladle that icy water over your shivering person in the chill of a mountain morning.

The mountain slopes in the vicinity of Tosari are dotted with the wretched wooden huts of the native tribe called Tenggerese, the only race in Java which has remained faithful to Buddhism. There are only about five thousand of them and they keep to themselves in their own community, shut out from the rest of the world. They are shorter and darker than the natives of the plains and, like most savages, are lazy, ignorant and incredibly filthy. Because the air is cool and dry, and water rather scarce, they never bathe, preferring to remain dirty. As a result the aroma of their villages is a thing not soon forgotten. The doors of their huts, which have no windows, all face Mount Bromo, where their guardian deity, Dewa Soelan Iloe, is supposed to dwell. Once each year the Tenggerese hold a great feast at the foot of the volcano, and, until the Dutch authorities suppressed the custom, were accustomed to conclude these ceremonies by tossing a living child into the crater as a sacrifice to their god. Though an ancient tradition forbids the cultivation of rice by the Tenggerese, they earn a meager living by raising vegetables, which they carry on horseback to the markets on the plain, and by acting as guides and coolies. They are incredibly strong and tireless, the two men who carried Hawkinson's heavy motion-picture outfit to the summit of Bromo making the round trip of forty miles in a single day over some of the steepest trails I have ever seen.

[168]Growing on the mountainsides about Tosari are many bushes of thorn apple, called Datara alba, their white, funnel-shaped flowers being sometimes twelve inches long. From the seeds of the thorn apple the Tenggerese make a sort of flour which is strongly narcotic in its effect. Because of this quality, it is occasionally utilized by burglars, who blow it into a room which they propose to rob, through the key-hole, thereby drugging the occupants into insensibility and making it easy for the burglars to gain access to the room and help themselves to its contents. Which reminds me that in some parts of Malaysia native desperadoes are accustomed to pound the fronds of certain varieties of palm to the consistency of powdered glass. They carry a small quantity of this powder with them and when they meet anyone against whom they have a grudge they blow it into his face. The sharp particles, being inhaled, quickly affect the lungs and death usually results. A friend of mine, for many years an American consul in the East, once had the misfortune to be next to the victim of such an attack, and himself inhaled a small quantity of the deadly powder. The lung trouble which shortly developed hastened, if it did not actually cause, his death.

That we might reach the Moengal Pass at daybreak in order to see the superb panorama of Bromo and the adjacent volcanoes as revealed by the rising sun, we started from Tosari at two o'clock in the morning. Our mounts were wiry mountain ponies, hardy as mustangs and sure-footed as goats. And it was[169] well that they were, for the trail was the steepest and narrowest that I have ever seen negotiated by horses. The Bright Angel Trail, which leads from the rim of the Grand Canon down to the Colorado, is a Central Park bridle-path in comparison. In places the grade rose to fifty per cent and in many of the descents I had to lean back until my head literally touched the pony's tail. It recalled the days, long past, when, as a student at the Italian Cavalry School, I was called upon to ride down the celebrated precipice at Tor di Quinto. But there, if your mount slipped, a thick bed of sawdust was awaiting you to break the fall. Here there was nothing save jagged rocks. We started in pitch darkness and for three hours rode through a night so black that I could not see my pony's ears. The trail, which in places was barely a foot wide, ran for miles along a sort of hogback, the ground falling sheer away on either side. It was like riding blindfolded along the ridgepole of a church, and, had my pony slipped, the results would have been the same.

But the trials of the ascent were forgotten in the overwhelming grandeur of the scene which burst upon us as, just at sunrise, we drew rein at the summit of the Moengal Pass. Never, not in the Rockies, nor the Himalayas, nor the Alps, have I seen anything more sublime. At our feet yawned a vast valley, or rather a depression, like an excavation for some titanic building, hemmed in by perpendicular cliffs a thousand feet in height. Wafted by the morning breeze a mighty river of clouds poured slowly down the valley, filling[170] it with gray-white fleece from brim to brim. Slowly the clouds dissolved before the mounting sun until there lay revealed below us the floor of the depression, known as the Sand Sea, its yellow surface, smooth as the beach at Ormond, slashed across by the beds of dried-up streams and dotted with clumps of stunted vegetation. Like the Sahara it is boundless—a symbol of solitude and desolation. When, in the early morning or toward nightfall, the conical volcanoes cast their lengthening shadows upon this expanse of sand, it reminds one of the surface of the moon as seen through a telescope. But at midday, beneath the pitiless rays of the equatorial sun, it resembles an enormous pool of molten brass, the illusion being heightened by the heat-waves which flicker and dance above it. From the center of the Sand Sea rises the extinct crater of Batok, a sugar-loaf cone whose symmetrical slopes are so corrugated by hardened rivulets of lava that they look for all the world like folds of gray-brown cloth. Beyond Batok we could catch a glimpse of Bromo itself, belching skyward great clouds of billowing smoke and steam, while from its crater came a rumble as of distant thunder. And far in the distance, its purple bulk faintly discernible against the turquoise sky, rose Smeroe, the greatest volcano of them all.

The descent from the Moengal Pass to the Sand Sea is so steep that it is necessary to make it on foot, even the nimble-footed ponies having all they can do to scramble down the precipitous and slippery trail. It is [171]well to cross the Sand Sea as soon after daybreak as possible, for by mid-morning the heat is like a blast from an open furnace-door. It is a four mile ride across the Sand Sea to the lower slopes of Bromo, but the sand is firm and hard and we let the ponies break into a gallop—an exhilarating change from the tedious crawl necessary in the mountains. Then came a stiff climb of a mile or more over fantastically shaped hills of lava, the final ascent to the brink of the crater being accomplished by a flight of two hundred and fifty stone steps. The crater of Bromo is shaped like a huge funnel, seven hundred feet deep and nearly half a mile across. From it belch unceasingly dark gray clouds of smoke and sulphurous fumes, while now and then large rocks are spewed high in the air only to fall back again, rolling down the inside slope of the crater with a thunderous rumble, as though the god whom the Tenggerese believe dwells on the mountain was playing at ten-pins. Deep down at the bottom of the crater jets of greenish-yellow sulphur flicker in a cauldron of molten lava, from which a red flame now and then leaps upward, like an out-thrust serpent's tongue. No wonder that the ignorant mountaineers look on Bromo with fear and veneration, for it huddles there, in the midst of that awful solitude, like some monster in its death agony, gasping and groaning.

The transition from the lofty solitudes of the Tengger Mountains to the steaming, teeming thoroughfares of Surabaya, the metropolis of eastern Java, is not a pleasant one. For Surabaya—there are no less than[172] half-a-dozen ways of spelling its name—though the greatest trading port in Java, from the point of view of the visitor is not an attractive city. Neither is it a healthy place, for it has a hot, humid, sticky climate, it lacks good drinking water and enjoys no refreshing breeze; mosquitoes feed on one's body and red ants on one's belongings; malaria and typhoid are prevalent and even bubonic plague is not unknown, the combined effect of all these showing in the sallow and enervated faces of its inhabitants. Yet it is a bustling, up-and-doing city, as different from phlegmatic, conservative old Batavia as Los Angeles is from Boston.

Unlike the houses of Batavia, which stand far back from the street in lovely gardens, the houses of Surabaya are built directly on the street, with their gardens at the back. Most of the houses of the better class are in the Dutch colonial style—low and white with green blinds and across the front a stately row of columns. Every house is marked with a huge signboard bearing the number and the owner's name, thus making it easy for the stranger to find the one for which he is looking. There are no sidewalks and, as a consequence, walking is anything but pleasant, the streets being deep in dust during the dry season and equally deep in mud during the rains. I do not recall ever having seen a city of its size with so much wheeled traffic. Indeed, the scene on the Simpang Road about three in the afternoon, when the merchants are returning to their offices after the midday siesta, resembles that on Fifth Avenue at the rush hour, the[173] broad thoroughfare being literally packed from curb to curb with vehicles of every description: the ramshackle little victorias known as mylords, the high, two-wheeled dog-carts, with their seats back to back, called sados, the two-pony cabs termed kosongs, creaking bullock carts with wheels higher than a man, hand-cars and rickshaws hauled by dripping coolies, and other coolies staggering along beneath the weight of burdens swinging from the carrying-poles called pikolans, and every make and model of motor-cars from ostentatious, self-important Rolls-Royces to busybody Fords. Standing in the middle of the roadway, controlling and directing this roaring river of traffic with surprising efficiency are diminutive Javanese policemen wearing blue helmets many sizes too large for them and armed with revolvers, swords and clubs.

The port of Surabaya, which is the busiest in the entire Insulinde, is four miles from the business section of the city, with which it is connected by a splendid asphalt highway lined by huge warehouses, factories, godowns and oil-tanks, many of them bearing familiar American names. In fact, one of the first things to attract my attention in Java was the great variety of American articles on sale and in use—motor cars, tires, typewriters, office supplies, cameras, phonographs, agricultural machinery of all descriptions.

More than a tenth of Surabaya's population is Chinese and their commercial influence dominates the whole city. They have the finest residences, the most[174] luxurious clubs, the largest shops, the handsomest motor cars. I was shown a row of warehouses extending along the canal for one long block which are the property of a single Chinese. Wherever I traveled in the Indies I was impressed by the business acumen and success of these impassive, industrious sons of the Flowery Kingdom. They are the Greeks of the Far East but without the Greek's unscrupulousness and lack of dependability. A Chinese will not hesitate to take advantage of you in a business deal, but if he once gives you his word he will always keep it, no matter at what cost to himself, and if you should leave your pocketbook in his shop he will come hurrying after you to restore it. The Chinese living in the Indies are uniformly prosperous—many of them are millionaires—they have their own clubs and chambers of commerce and charitable organizations; they not infrequently control the finances of the districts in which they live and, generally speaking, they make excellent citizens.

Java has almost exactly the same area—50,000 square miles—and the same population—34,000,000—as England. Agriculturally, it is the richest country of its size in the world. Because I wished to visit the great tea and coffee and indigo plantations of its interior and to see its palaces and temples and monuments, I decided to traverse the island from end to end by train and motor car. Accordingly we left the Negros at Surabaya, directing Captain Galvez to[175] pick us up a fortnight later at Batavia, at the other end of the island.

There are at present more than three thousand miles of railways in operation in Java, about two-thirds of which are the property of the government. With a few exceptions, the lines are narrow gauge. The railway carriages are a curious combination of English, Swiss and American construction, being divided into compartments, which are separated by swinging half-doors, like those which used to be associated with saloons. The seats in the second-class compartments, which are covered with cane, are decidedly more comfortable than those of the first class, which are upholstered in leather. Owing to the excessive heat and humidity, the leather has the annoying habit of adhering to one's clothing, so that you frequently leave the train after a long journey with a section of the seat-covering sticking to your trousers or with a section of your trousers sticking to the seat. To avoid the discomfort of the midday heat, the long-distance express trains usually start at daybreak and reach their destinations at noon, which, though doubtless a sensible custom, necessitates the traveler arising when it is still dark. The express trains have dining cars, in which a meal of sorts can be had for two guilders (about eighty cents) and the first and second-class carriages are equipped with electric fans and screens. In spite of these conveniences, however, travel in Java is hot and dusty and generally disagreeable. After a railway journey one needs a bath, a shave, a haircut, a shampoo, a massage, and a complete[176] outfit of fresh clothes before feeling respectable again.

In many respects, motoring is more comfortable than railway travel. The roads throughout the island are excellent and have been carefully marked by the Java Motor Club, though fast driving is made dangerous by the bullock carts, pack trains and carabaos, which pay no attention to the rules of the road. Nor is motoring particularly expensive, for an excellent seven-passenger car of a well-known American make can be hired for forty dollars a day. Visitors to Java should bear in mind, however, that all their motoring and sight-seeing must be done in the morning, as, during the wet season, it invariably rains in torrents during the greater part of every afternoon.

The hotels of Java, taking them by and large, are moderately good, while certain of them, such as the Oranje at Surabaya, the Grand at Djokjakarta, and the Indies at Batavia, are quite excellent in spots, with orchestras, iced drinks, electric fans, and well-cooked food. Though every room has a bath—a necessity in such a climate—tubs are quite unknown, their place being taken by showers, or, in the simpler hostleries, by barrels of water and dippers. The mattresses and pillows appeared to be filled with asphalt, though it should be remembered that a soft bed is unendurable in the tropics. Every bed is provided with a cylindrical bolster, six feet long and about fifteen inches in diameter, which serves to keep the sheet from touching the body. They are known as "Dutch widows."

If you are fond of good coffee, I should strongly[177] advise you to take your own with you when you go to Java. From my boyhood "Old Government Java" had been a synonym in our household for the finest coffee grown, so my astonishment and disappointment can be imagined when, at my first breakfast in Java, there was set before me a cup containing a dubious looking syrup, like those used at American soda-water fountains, the cup then being filled up with hot milk. The Germans never would have complained about their war-time coffee, made from chicory and acorns, had they once tasted the Java product. Yet I was assured that this was the choicest coffee grown in Java. I might add that, as a result of a blight which all but ruined the industry in the '70s, fifty-two per cent of the total acreage of coffee plantations in the island is now planted with the African species, called Coffea robusta, and thirteen per cent with another African species, Coffea liberia, and the rest with Japanese and other varieties. Though the term "Mocha and Java" is still used by the trade in the United States, few Americans of the present generation have ever tasted either, for virtually no Mocha coffee and very little Java have been imported into this country for many years.

The lazy, leisurely, luxurious existence led by the great Dutch planters in Java is in many respects a counterpart of that led by the wealthy planters of our own South before the Civil War. Dwelling in stately mansions set in the midst of vast estates, waited upon by retinues of native servants, they exercise much the same arbitrary authority over the thousands of brown[178] men who work their coffee, sugar and indigo plantations that the cotton-growers of the old South exercised over their slaves. Indeed, it was not until 1914 that a form of peonage which had long been authorized in Java was abolished by law, for up to that year private landowners had the right to enforce from all the laborers on their estates one day's gratuitous work out of seven.

There are no shrewder or more capable business men to be found anywhere than the Dutch traders and merchants in Java. Many of the great trading houses of the Dutch Indies have remained the property of the same family for generations, their staffs being as carefully trained for the business as the Dutch officials are trained for the colonial service. The young men come out from Holland as cadets with the intention of spending the remainder of their lives in the Insulinde, studying the native languages and acquainting themselves with native prejudices, predilections and customs. They are usually blessed with a phlegmatic temperament, well suited to life in the tropics, take life easily, live in considerable luxury, play a little tennis, grow fat, spend their afternoons in pajamas and slippers, stroll down to the local Concordia Club in the evenings to sit at small tables on the terrace and drink enormous quantities of beer and listen to the band, not infrequently marry native women, and often amass great fortunes.

Though the Javanese peasant is, from necessity, industrious, the upper classes, particularly the nobles, are effeminate, indolent, decadent, and servile. Their[179] amusements are cock-fighting, dancing, shadow plays, and gambling, and they lead an utterly worthless existence which the Dutch do nothing to discourage. Their Mohammedanism is decadent and has none of the virility which distinguishes those followers of Islam who dwell in western lands. Though there is no denying that the natives are immeasurably more prosperous, on the whole, than before the white man came, the Dutch have done little if anything to improve their living conditions. True, their rule is a just and a not unkind one; they have built roads and railways, but this was done in order to open up the island; and they have established a number of industrial and technical schools, but there is no system of compulsory education, and no systematic attempt has been made to ameliorate the condition of the great brown mass of the people. I do not think that I am doing them an injustice when I assert that the Dutch are administrators rather than altruists, that they are more concerned in maintaining a just and stable government in their insular possessions, and in increasing their productivity, than they are in improving the moral, mental, and material condition of the natives.

Lying squarely in the middle of Java are the Vorstenlanden, "the Lands of the Princes"—Soerakarta and Djokjakarta—the most curious, as they are the most picturesque, states in the entire Insulinde. But, because in their form of government and the lives and customs of their inhabitants they are so vastly different[180] from the other portions of the island, I feel that they are deserving of a chapter to themselves and hence shall omit any account of them here.

Bandoeng, the prosperous and extremely up-to-date capital of the Preanger Regencies, is the fifth largest city in Java, being exceeded in population only by Batavia, Surabaya, Surakarta and Samarang. The city, which is the healthiest and most modern in Java, stands in the middle of a great plain, 2300 feet above the sea, having, therefore, a delightful all-the-year-round climate. It has excellent electric lighting, water and sanitary systems, miles of well-paved and shaded streets, and many beautiful residences—the finest I saw in Malaysia—set in the midst of charming gardens. It is planned to remove the seat of government from Batavia to Bandoeng in the not far distant future and the handsome buildings which will eventually house the various departments are rapidly nearing completion. When they are completed Bandoeng will be one of the finest, if not the finest colonial capital in the world. But, attractive though the city is, it holds nothing of particular interest to the casual visitor unless it be the quinine factory. This company seems likely to succeed in cornering the supply of Javanese cinchona bark and is fast building up a world market for its product. The cinchona tree, from which the bark is obtained, was first introduced from South America in the middle of the last century and is now widely grown throughout the Preanger Regencies, both by the [181]government and by private planters. After six or seven years the tree is sufficiently matured for the removal of its bark, which, after being carefully dried, sorted, and baled, is shipped to the factory in Bandoeng, where it is manufactured into the quinine of commerce. The process of manufacture is a secret one, which explains, though it does not excuse, the extreme discourtesy shown by the management toward foreigners desiring to visit the plant.

It takes three and a half hours by express train from Bandoeng to Buitenzorg, the summer capital of the Indies, and the journey is one of the pleasantest in Java, the railway being bordered for miles by marvellously constructed rice terraces which climb the slopes of the Gedei, tier on tier, transforming the mountainsides into a series of hanging gardens. When the shallow, water-filled terraces are illuminated by the tropic sun, they look for all the world like a titanic stairway of silver ascending to the heavens. Take my word for it, the rice terraces of the Preangers are in themselves worth traveling the length of Java to see.

Though Batavia is the official capital of Netherlands India, the hill-station of Buitenzorg, some twenty miles inland, is the actual seat of government and the residence of the Governor-General. Buitenzorg—the name means "free from care"—is to Java what Simla is to India, what Baguio is, in a lesser degree, to the Philippines. It has often been compared to Versailles, and, in its pleasant existence, in the enchanting effects which have been produced by its landscape gardeners,[182] in its great white palace even, one can trace some slight resemblance to the famous home of le Roi Soleil. Buitenzorg is conspicuously different from other Javanese cities, partly because, being the seat of government, its European quarter is exceptionally extensive, but primarily because it boasts the famous Botanical Gardens, in many respects the finest in the world. Its avenues, shaded by splendid trees, are lined with charming, white-walled villas, the residences of the government officials and of retired officers and merchants, set far back in lovely, fragrant gardens. The palace of the Governor-General, a huge, white building of classic lines, faintly reminiscent of the White House in Washington, is superbly situated in the Botanic Gardens, the rear overlooking a charming lotos pond, its surface covered with the huge leaves of the water-plant known as Victoria Regia, amid which numbers of white swans drift gracefully; while the colonnaded front commands a magnificent view of a vast deer park which reminds one of the stately manor parks of England.

When you arrive at the Hotel Bellevue in Buitenzorg, be sure and ask for one of the "mountain rooms." The view which is commanded by their balconies has few equals in all the world. Far in the distance rises the majestic, cloud-wreathed cone of Salak, its wooded slopes wrapped in a cloak of purple-gray. From its foot, cutting a way toward Buitenzorg through a sea of foliage, is a ribbon of brown—the Tjidani River. Its banks, lined by miles of waving palms, are crowded[183] with the quaint, thatched dwellings of the natives, hundreds of whom—men, women and children—are bathing in its water. One of the most curious and amusing sights in Java is that of the native women bathing in the streams. They enter the river wearing their sarongs, gradually raise them as they go deeper into the stream, slip them over their heads when the water has reached their armpits, and, when they have completed their ablutions, reverse the process, thus achieving the feat of bathing in full view of hundreds of spectators without the slightest improper revelation. Hawkinson set up his camera on the bank of the Tjidani and spent several hundred feet of film in recording one of these performances. Even the Pennsylvania State Board of Censors will be unable to find any objection to that bathing scene.

Though the gardens of Buitenzorg are a veritable treasure-house for the botanist and the horticulturist—for the Dutch are the best gardeners in the world—from the standpoint of the casual visitor they cannot compare, to my way of thinking, with the Peradenya Gardens of Ceylon. It is beyond all doubt, however, the finest collection of tropical trees and plants in existence. Here, besides full-grown specimens of every known tree of the torrid zone, are culture gardens for sugar cane, coffee, tea, rubber, ilang-ilang; for all the spice, gum, and fruit trees; for bamboo, rattan, and the hard woods, such as mahogany and teak—in short, for every variety of tree or plant of commercial, ornamental, or utilitarian value. There are also gardens for all[184] the gorgeous flowers of Java: the frangipani, the wax-white, gold-centered flower of the dead, the red and yellow lantanas, the scarlet poinsetta, the crimson bougainvillea, and others in bewildering variety. There are greenhouses to shelter the rarer and more sensitive plants—to shelter them not, as in our hothouses, from the cold, but, on the contrary, from the heat and the withering rays of the sun. Here too is one of the finest collections of orchids in existence, tended by an ancient Javanese gardener who is as proud of his curious blooms as a trainer is of his race horses or a collector of his porcelains. As for the palms, I had no idea that so many varieties existed until I visited Buitenzorg—emperor palms, Areca palms, Banka palms, cocoanut palms, fan palms, cabbage palms, sago palms, date palms, feather palms, travelers' palms, oil palms, Chuson palms, climbing palms over a hundred feet long—palms without end, Amen. Small wonder that the palm is regarded with affection wherever it can be grown, for what other tree can furnish food, shelter, clothing, timber, fuel, building materials, fiber, paper, starch, sugar, oil, wax, dyes and wine?

But, when all is said and done, nothing in those splendid gardens, not the stately avenue of kanari trees whose interlacing branches form a nave as awe-inspiring as that of some great cathedral, not the rare and curious orchids which would arouse the envy of a millionaire, appealed to me so powerfully as a little Grecian temple of white marble, all but hidden by the encircling shrubbery, which marks the sleeping-place of[185] Lady Raffles, wife of that Sir Stamford Raffles who once was the British lieutenant-governor of Java. It pleases me to think that it is toward this little, moss-grown temple that the bronze statue of the great empire-builder, which stands on the Esplanade in Singapore, is peering with wistful eyes, for on its base he carved these lines:
"Oh thou whom ne'er my constant heart One moment hath forgot, Tho' fate severe hath bid us part Yet still—forget me not."

Batavia, the capital of the Indies, is built on both banks of the Jacatra River, in a swampy and unhealthy plain at the head of a capacious bay. Just as New York is divided into the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, so the metropolis of Netherlands India is divided into the districts of Batavia and Weltevreden, the suburb of Meester Cornelis corresponding to Brooklyn. Batavia is the business quarter of the city; Weltevreden the residential. The former, which is built on the edge of the harbor, is very thickly populated and, because of its lowness, very unhealthy. Only natives, Malays, Chinese and Arabs live here and the great European houses which were once the homes of the Dutch officials and merchants have either fallen into decay or have been converted into warehouses and shops. The Europeans now live in Weltevreden, or Meester Cornelis, though they have their offices in the lower town. Both the upper and lower towns are[186] traversed by the Jacatra—sometimes called the Tjiliwoeng—from which branch canals that spread through the city in all directions, thereby emphasizing its distinctly Dutch atmosphere. The streets are for the most part straight and regular, being paved, as in the mother-country, with cobblestones. Old Batavia contains very few relics of the early days, but it is quaint and delightfully picturesque and its canals, though anything but desirable from the standpoint of health, add much to its individuality and charm. The most characteristic feature of Batavia, that distinguishes it from all other colonial cities of the East, is that in all its construction, both public and private, permanency seems to be the dominant note. The Dutch do not come to Java, as the English go to India and the Americans to the Philippines, in order to amass fortunes in a few years and then go home; they come with the intention of remaining. When their children grow up they are sent back to Holland to be educated, but, once their schooling is completed, they almost invariably return to the East and devote their lives to the development of the land in which they were born.

Batavia, which means literally 'Fair meadows,' was originally called Jacatra. The Dutch established a trading post here in 1610, the land being obtained from the natives by a trick similar to that associated by tradition with the acquisition of the lower end of Manhattan Island by the founders of Nieuw Amsterdam. The Javanese, it seems, were reluctant to sell to the Dutch a parcel of land sufficiently large for the [187]erection of a fort and trading station, but after much discussion they finally consented to part with as much land as could be included within a single bullock's hide, which was their way of saying that their land was not for sale. This crafty stipulation did not worry the equally crafty Dutch, however, for they promptly obtained the largest hide available, cut it into narrow strips, and, placing these end to end, insisted on their right to the very considerable parcel of ground thus enclosed under the terms of the bargain.

A relic illustrative of the barbarous punishments which were in vogue during the colony's earlier days is to be seen by driving a short distance up Jacatra Road, in the lower town. Close by the ancient Portuguese church you will find a short section of old wall. Atop the wall, transfixed by a spear-point, is an object which, despite its many coats of whitewash, is still recognizable as a human skull. Set in the wall is a tablet bearing this inscription:

"In detested memory of the traitor, Peter Erberveld, who was executed. No one will be permitted to build, lay bricks or plant on this spot, either now or in the future.

Batavia, April 14, 1772."

Erberveld was a half-caste agitator who had conspired with certain disaffected natives to launch a revolt, massacre all the Dutch in Batavia, and have himself proclaimed king. Fortunately for the Dutch, the plot was betrayed through the faithlessness of a native girl with whom Erberveld was infatuated. Because of the imperative need of safeguarding the little handful of white colonists against massacre by the natives, it[188] was decided that the half-caste should be punished in a manner which would strike fear to the hearts of the Javanese, who have no particular dread of death in its ordinary forms. The judges did their best to achieve this object, for Erberveld was sentenced to be impaled alive, broken on the wheel, his hands and head cut off, and his body quartered. Why they omitted hanging and burning from the list I can not imagine. The sentence was carried out—the contemporary accounts record that he endured his fate with silent fortitude—and his head is on the wall to-day. But I think that, were I the Governor-General of the Indies, I should have that grisly reminder of the bad old days taken down. Many nations have family skeletons but they usually prefer to keep them out of sight.



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