326 JAVA: THE GARDEN OP THE EAST
There was always some new or strange thing to pique onea s interest and implore delay, and the promise of the great talipot-palm of the gardens bursting into its magnificent flower, or the great creeper, the liaf-flesia, producing one of its gigantic six-foot flowers,a the biggest blossom known to the world,a was an inducement not put away without a pang. There were birda s-nest caves near by on a mountain-side, and over in the highlands toward Bantam a strange colony of a Badouins,a more than a thousand refugees from religious persecution, who continue there unhindered the practice of a religion part pagan and part Buddhist, which commands the most severely upright lives. The anthropologist and economist have passed these people by, and one can find little concerning them in English print. Every day held its wonder and surprise, and rumor of more and of greater ones.
Although we were living and walking on the line of one of the great fissures of the eartha s crust all that time, and eleven of the forty-five volcanoes of the island are gently active, we did not once feel the tremor of an earthquake. Table da hote talk often turned upon the volcanic phenomena one and another guest had experienced, and the eruption of Krakataua by no means an old story to these colonialsa was a topic for which I had an insatiable appetite. They told one thrilling stories of that summer of Krakataua s prolonged activity; of Batavian folk running frequent excursion-steamers to the Strait of Sunda to witness the spectacle of a volcano in eruption; and of that August Sunday of horror when the very end of the