originally a maritime and water-loving people, who built their houses on posts in the water, and only migrated gradually inland, first up the rivers and streams, and then into the dry interior. Habits which were at once so convenient and so cleanly, and which had been so long practiced as to become a portion of the domestic life of the nation, were of course continued when the first settlers built their houses inland; and without a regular system of drainage, the arrangement
CHIEFa S HOUSE AND RICE-SHED IN A SUMATRAN VILLAGE.
of the villages is such that any other system would be very inconvenient.
In all these Sumatran villages I found considerable difficulty in getting any thing to eat. It was not the season for vegetables, and when, after much trouble, I managed to procure some yams of a curious variety, I found them hard and scarcely eatable. Fowls were very scarce, and fruit was reduced to one of the poorest kinds of banana. The natives (during the wet season at least) live exclusively on rice, as the poorer Irish do on potatoes. A pot of rice cooked very dry and eaten with salt and red peppers, twice a day, forms their entire food during a large part of the year. This is no sign of poverty,a but is simply custom ; for their wives and children are loaded with silver armlets from wrist to elbow, and carry