ON THE T OP OF THE ROCK 239
chief owners of the oaves. Our pleasure wai greatA therefore, when the Hadji and some of his followers paid us a visit that night and told us that work should start in the largest cave the next morning for our benefit. That was good news, indeed, as Richardson could not wait more than another day. It was another good move for the Hadji and his Pangtima-ship, and I told Richardson he ought to give it him forthwith.
The next morning we climbed to the top of the rock. It was hard work climbing Over the brittle rocks and up perpendicular and shaky ladders. On reaching the summit we got a splendid view of the surrounding country, and could plainly see the distant sea ; but all else was thick, billowy forest, dotted at long intervals with limestone ridges, also covered with forest Here we found the holA(c) on the top of the large cave, and stretching across it were two long, thick " bflian " logs, to which the natives were now fastening their long rattan ladders before descending them to collect the nests. We crept along the log* and listened to the everlasting twittering far below; but, although we could see nothing but pitchy A**f the thought of what was below made me soon crawl back with a very shaky feeling in my legs.
We then descended again till we came to the mouth of a curious cave, which was practically a dark chasm at our feet. We climbed down into