Village after village I then visited, drawing from each well or pool 밤알바 a bucketful of water, which I coloured red with Permanganate and exhibited to the natives: after which, I made some hocus pocus passes with my hands over the pool or well, whilst I poured in the mixture, dismally chanting all the time, “Boney was a warrior, Boney was a thief, Boney came to my house and stole a leg of beef.” My voice, I may remark, is not a melodious one. At very big pools I constructed a little boat of leaves—like the paper126 boats made by children—and placing a little gunpowder in it, I focussed the rays of the sun through one of the lenses removed from my field-glasses, until it exploded in a puff of fire and smoke. Then, gazing severely at the village constable and assembled villagers, I would groan loudly, and explain that the poison devils I had placed in that particular pool were of the most malignant description, and I hoped that they would not be fools enough to allow them to enter their systems through the medium of the water. “Not much!” was the equivalent of their reply; “we are not going to risk magic of this sort. No! Not even if we have to walk miles for our water.”

I sent a report to Blayney describing the symptoms of the sick, and asking for advice. Blayney was a doctor, as well as R.M., the only one besides Sir William in New Guinea. He replied, “I can’t come to help you, I am tied up by this infernal Treasury work; there is no doubt, I think, that the illness is enteric fever. Look to your water supply and drive the people out of the infected houses.” I had already done all this, so I merely continued patrols to make sure that the natives were carrying out my orders; the immediate effect being, that the sickness slackened and the deaths dwindled down to almost nothing. “Thank Heaven,” I thought, “I have got it under.” Suddenly a fresh outburst occurred, sweeping like a wave with awful virulence through the people, who were now mostly camped away from the villages.

At my wits’ end, I again assembled the chiefs and village constables. “What foolery are you up to now?” I asked. “Are you drinking the water from the poisoned wells, or burying the dead in the villages or houses?” “Oh no,” they said, “we have obeyed you most strictly; also we have carried out a precaution suggested by the sorcerers.” “What was that?” I demanded. “They have told us that when a death takes place, the body of the dead person is to be licked by all the relations.” Frantic with rage, I jumped to my feet and howled for the Station guard. “Strip the uniform and Government clothes off these men, and throw them into gaol, until I can devise some means of bringing them to their senses,” I yelled, as the police came running up. Pallid with funk, and loudly protesting that they were good and loyal servants of the Government, my village constables and chiefs were hauled away. Soon, from the villages, came streaming in the wives, friends, and relations of the imprisoned men, weeping bitterly and praying me to release their husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. Then I took counsel with Basilio. “The men are not to blame,” he said, “it is the sorcerers; you will do no good by punishing the v.c.’s and chiefs, who are trying to help you, merely because they are fools.” “Very true; but how can I catch the elusive sorcerer?” I127 remarked. “The v.c.’s are badly frightened now,” said Basilio; “scare them a little more, and they will drop a hint as to the whereabouts of some of them.” I had my v.c.’s brought back, and threatened and abused them alternately; they all—with one exception—squirmed, lied, and tried to excuse themselves, and all denied knowledge as to the whereabouts of the sorcerers. “How then did you receive the message from them, as to the licking of the bodies of the dead?” I demanded. Dead silence and more squirms.

Then I turned to the one man who had not lied and excused himself. “What have you to say for yourself?” “Nothing: if you choose to put me in gaol, put me there; but since you came, I have most strictly carried out the orders of the Government, and I have had no communication with sorcerers; neither have I had any deaths in my village since you closed the wells; also the people of my village have not licked the bodies of the dead.” Three minutes’ inquiry confirmed the truth of this village constable’s statement: whereupon, I returned his uniform, gave him a brass bird of paradise badge (the badge worn on the caps of the constabulary), and told him, that for the future he was senior village constable for the district with double pay, and when he visited the Station he should have the right to sleep in the constabulary barracks, instead of in the visitors’ house. The name of this man was Aia Kapimana, and on his leaving to return to his village, he called up a youth of about fourteen: “My son,” he proudly said; “I give him to you as a servant.” I didn’t want a servant, but not wishing to offend the man, whose feelings I had already most unjustly hurt, I said I would keep him for a while. The boy had the same name as his father, “Aia,” and was a nice smart-looking lad; I sent him to join Poruta.