This is the capital. It is often called Borneo, and it is written down in the maps by this name. It is one of the most curious cities in the world; for most of the houses are built in the river, and most of the streets are only water. Every morning a great market is held on the water. The people come in boats from all the country round, bringing fruit and vegetables to sell, and they paddle up and down the city till they have sold their goods.
The Sultan’s palace is built upon the bank, close to the water; and the front of his palace is open; so that it is easy to come in a boat, and to gaze upon him, as he sits cross-legged on his throne, arrayed in purple satin, glittering with gold.
There is a mosque in Bruni; but it is built only of brick, and has nothing in it but a wooden pulpit; and hardly anybody goes there, though a man stands outside making a loud noise on a great drum, to invite people to come in.
These are a savage people who inhabit Borneo. They lived there before the Malays came, and they have been obliged to submit to them. They are savages indeed. They are darker than the Malays; yet they are not black; their skin is only the color of copper. Their hair is cut short in front, but streams down their backs; their large mouths show a quantity of black teeth, made black by chewing the betel-nut. They wear very little clothing, but they adorn their ears, and arms, and legs, with numbers of brass rings. Their looks are wild and fierce, but not cunning like the looks of the Malays. They are not Mahomedans; they have hardly any religion at all. They believe there are some gods, but they know hardly anything about them, and they do not want to know. They neither make images to the gods, nor say prayers to them. They live like the beasts, thinking only of this life; yet they are more unhappy than beasts, for they imagine there are evil spirits among the woods and hills, watching to do them harm. It is often hard to persuade them to go to the top of a mountain, where they say evil spirits dwell. Such a people would be more ready to listen to a missionary than those who have idols, and temples, and priests, and sacred books.
Their wickedness is very great. It is their chief delight to get the heads of their enemies. There are a great many different tribes of Dyaks, and each tribe tries to cut off the heads of other tribes. The Dyaks who live by the sea are the most cruel; they go out in the boats to rob, and to bring home, not slaves, but HEADS! And how do they treat a head when they get it? They take out the brains, and then they dry it in the smoke, with the flesh and hair still on; then they put a string through it, and fasten it to their waists. The evening that they have got some new heads, the warriors dance with delight,—their heads dangling