THE SEA DYAKS.
Le Tiac was the fiddler of the crowd, but, while his instrument was by long odds the most elaborate and pretentious, the sounds it produced were by no means so pleasing as the clarionet-like notes of the numerous reeds, made like a shepherda s pipe, which the men, women, and children were so fond of playing upon in concert. The women had still another instrument, made of a piece of bamboo like a large organ-reed, the tongue of which was made to vibrate sharply by jerking a string attached to one end. The instrument was held all the while firmly against the teeth and the operator breathed forcibly upon the vibrating tongue of the instrument, thereby producing a few harp-like notes. It was a difficult instrument to play upon, but one evening, during the course of a very merry concert given by several of the women in my apartment, I wrestled with ye Dyak harp until I threw it, and succeeded in playing upon it as well as the others, to their great satisfaction and amusement. After that the greatest difficulty was to keep from laughing while we all played together.
Upon great occasions, such as the gathering of the harvest, the marriage of a person of note in the tribe, or the visit of some European of distinction, the Rajah for instance, the Dyaks gather for a grand feast. Pigs are killed and cooked, rice, fruits, and vegetables are provided and also a liberal supply of tuak, or palm toddy, upon which all the men are expected to get drunk. The company feeds to the fullest possible extent and then the dancing and drinking begin. It is upon these occasions only that the Dyaks drink liquor and get drunk, and after the women take from the men all their weapons to prevent accidents they go to work deliberately to make their husbands, lovers, and friends of the male sex roaring drunk. A Dyak girl considers it the grandest fun in the world to coax a redoubtable warrior into drinking until he is unable to stand.
I never saw a Dyak feast, nor an intoxicated Dyak, nor even a drop of the tuak which lays the warriors low at their feasts. In this connection, I feel in duty bound to quote Mr. Frederick Boylea s observations and reflections upon a feast in which he participated among the Seribas Dyaks.