My House at Bessir.
mat on the ground with my wicker-chair upon it, hung up another mat on the windward side, and then found that, by bending double and carefully creeping in, I could sit on my chair with my head just clear of the ceiling. Here I lived pretty comfortably for six weeks, taking all my meals and doing all my work at my little table, to and from which I had to creep in a semi-horizontal position a dozen times a day; and, after a few severe knocks on the head by suddenly rising from my chair, learned to accommodate myself to circumstances. We put up a little sloping cooking-hut outside, and a bench
MY HOUSE AT BESSIR, IN WAIGIOU.
on which my lads could skin their birds. At night I went up to my little loft, they spread their mats on the floor below, and we none of us grumbled at our lodgings.
My first business was to send for the men who were accustomed to catch the birds of paradise. Several came, and I showed them my hatchets, beads, knives, and handkerchiefs ; and explained to them, as well as I could by signs, the price I would give for fresh-killed specimens. It is the universal custom to pay for every thing in advance; but only one man ventured on this occasion to take goods to the value of two birds. The rest were suspicious, and wanted to see the result