Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans,
Text on page 13
THE INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO.
by numerous port holes in the roof, which was pointed. We ascended to the room above by means of a rough ladder, and when we entered we were rather taken aback at finding that we were in the Head House, as it is termed, and that the beams were lined with human heads, all hanging by a small line passed through the top of the skull. They were painted in the most fantastic and hideous manner; pieces of wood, painted to imitate the eyes, were inserted into the sockets, and added not a little to their ghastly grinning appearance. The strangest part of the story, and which added very much to the effect of the scene, was, that these skulls were perpetually moving to and fro, and knocking against, each other. This, I presume, was occasioned by the different currents of air blowing in at the port-holes cut in the roof; but what with their continual motion, their nodding their chins when they hit each other, and their grinning teeth, they really appeared to be endowed with new life, and were a very merry set of fellows. However, whatever might be the first impression occasioned by this very unusual sight, it very soon wore off, and we amused ourselves with those motions which were a not life,a as Byron says; and, in the course of the day, succeeded in making a very excellent dinner in company with these gentlemen, although we were none of us sufficiently Don Giovannis to invite our friends above to supper.
We visited three villages on the Sarambo mountain. Each of these villages was governed by a chief of its own, but they were subordinate to the great chief, residing in the first village.
In the evening the major portion of the population came to the Head House, to exhibit to us their national dances. The music was composed of two gongs and two large bamboo drums. The men stood up first, in war costume, brandishing their spears and shields, and throw-