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Harbour they are connected by jungle paths which are traversed by the Pen people, and thus intercommunication is continuously maintained. Moreover, there is reason to believe that the permanent huts of this section of the tribe-which are further inland-are less widely separated, and that there is, therefore, less difficulty of intercourse between their occupants than would at first sight appear to be the case.

The earliest mention that we find made of the Shom Penas they are called by the coast people, or Shab Daw'a, as they style themselves-as a separate tribe, is from the pen of the Danish Missionary, Pastor Rosen, who, while resident in the Nicobars between 1831-3 spoke of them from hearsay as in much the same degraded condition as we find them at the present day; he also added that "they wear no clothes, possess no houses, live like animals in the depths of the forests, and shun the sight of men, never leaving their lairs except to search for food, which they sometimes steal from such of the coast huts as are temporarily vacated or occupied only by a few aged or infirm folk whom they are able to surprise and overpower."

The coast people consider themselves quite distinct from, and very superior to, the Pen tribe, and invariably express surprise and incredulity at the possibility of any doubt or confusion arising on this point. Whenever I have pretended to mistake any of their number for a Shom Pen, the apparent blunder has been either regarded as a good joke or treated derisively.

Until recent years a constant feud has apparently been maintained by the Pen tribe and their neighbours on the coast, chiefly due, it would seem, to the looting propensities of the former when visiting the shore in order to procure certain coveted articles, e.g., beads, cloth, implements, tobacco, &c., not obtainable inland; they also appear to be on the like hostile terms with their fellow-tribesmen living a few miles to the south in the same jungle, for which circumstance, however, no satisfactory explanation can at present be given, although unmistakable proof of the fact was afforded by the extreme terror manifested by a youth of this community when taken up the Galatea River in May, 1884, in the hope that he might prove of service as an interpreter.

The first recorded visit to the Shom Pen was paid by Admiral Steen Bille in 1846; thirty years later Mr. de Roepstorff,' the officer then in charge of the Nicobars, succeeded in penetrating to one of their temporary encampments near the coast; four or five years later he again made two expeditions to the same

1 For accounts of these trips vide As. Soc. Bengal, 1876.

village, in one of which (March, 1881) he accompanied Colonel Cadell, V.C. (Chief Commissioner of the Andamans and Nicobars), on which occasion an accident occurred, Captain Elton, commanding the vessel, being drowned in the surf while attempting to land; this unfortunate incident brought to an abrupt termination a visit which it had been hoped would prove fruitful of good results in the cause of science.

In February, 1884, I first had an opportunity of visiting Great Nicobar and accordingly proceeded to a Bay on the northeast of that island, where there is a coast village known as Láfúl (already referred to), the inhabitants of which are nowadays on friendly terms with the nearest community of the Pen tribe. Having explained the object of my visit to the headman, he agreed to go with me on the following morning to the encampment as guide and interpreter. The first halfmile or so of our trip was made in a canoe up a creek, which brought us to a point near the foot of the hill we had to ascend.

After a rough walk of about two hours through light jungle and over the rocky beds of mountain streams, which at that season of the year were nearly dry, we reached the summit, where we came upon a small cleared plateau (1,100 feet above sea level) on which there were two huts, about 8 feet apart, capable of accommodating one or two families (vide Plate XIX): one of these seemed to be used principally for cooking purposes, and was connected with the other by a kind of light bridge; the floorings of these dwellings were about 8 or 9 feet above the ground, and access was obtained by means of ladders. A few pandanus and cocoanut trees were growing near the huts, and there were pigs, poultry, and a couple of snarling pariah dogs attached to the establishment.

Nine members of this community were after some delay induced by my guides to adventure out of the surrounding jungle, whither they had retreated on hearing our approach. A few of them appeared to have belonged to the party seen three years before by Colonel Cadell and Mr. de Roepstorff; after distributing food and presents, and finding them reconciled to our presence, I exposed a few dry plates, which unfortunately afterwards proved to have suffered from the climate."

Confidence in the friendly nature of our expedition being established, I proposed a brief visit to the Government Settle

The good understanding which has lately been established between these two tribes has resulted in their mutual advantage, and a species of trade may now be described as having sprung up, the Shom Pen receiving beads, cloth, dáhs, tobacco, &c., in exchange for split cane, honey, &c.

* I have lately learnt that the accompanying photo (Plate XVIII), as well as portions of others also taken by me, have been reproduced, without reference to me, in the July number of the "Berlin Zeitschrift."

ment at Nancowry, distant about fifty-five miles, and was agreeably surprised to find that I had prevailed on two youths (brothers) to accompany me, on the understanding that I would bring them back at the end of seven days.

These boys rejoiced in the names of Atéo and Atong, and were aged about eighteen and fourteen years respectively; their father's name was Aléo, and their eldest brother (seen on a subsequent occasion) was called Ayaw.

In returning to the coast village with the two lads I could not fail to notice the ease and rapidity with which they picked their way down the rugged and, in many parts, steep hill-side. To keep up with them was a matter of some difficulty, and led to a few unpleasant falls which occasioned no little merriment among the party, who remarked that they were the natural consequence of my being a "kaling-ta-shapâta" (ie., booted foreigner).

The lads I brought away with me were fair specimens of their race their chests and limbs were well developed, they were timid, but tractable, and submitted with a good grace to ablutions which were found very necessary. The younger of the two (Atong) having a severe cut on one of his feet, apparently inflicted a day or two before my visit, it was found necessary to place him under medical treatment, his brother remaining with him for companionship. During the five days of their visit they had, therefore, less opportunity of seeing as much of us, or we of them, as would otherwise have been the case.

Although this is the first' recorded instance of Pen natives having ventured from their island home, these lads exhibited the Oriental characteristic absence of surprise at all the novel surroundings and tokens of civilisation which met their unaccustomed gaze in the Government Settlement.

Before parting with the youths their relations carefully noted on a strip of cane or bamboo the number of days that would elapse before their return; this they did by bending back the strip so as to form a corresponding number of cracks on its surface. I was of course, therefore, all the more anxious to fulfil my promise to the letter, and when on the appointed day the steamer arrived with them at the coast village, it was found that their friends were already awaiting them. The lads did not return empty-handed, but were provided with a variety of pre

1 The late Mr. de Röepstorff mentioned having seen at Nancowry in 1873 a youth, said to belong to the Pen tribe, who had visited the central group in company with certain natives of a coast village in Great Nicobar; but as this young man had been adopted or captured in his infancy, and had apparently not since been in communication with his fellow-tribesmen, his visit can scarcely be taken into account in this connection.

sents, such as are most prized by all savage races, viz., beads, cloth, knives, matches, tobacco, &c., and doubtless entertained their friends with many stories of their strange experiences while with us.

The custom above-mentioned of bending cane in this manner, and for similar purposes, is shared by the coast people, from whom indeed it is not improbably borrowed. I further found while preparing a list of Pen words that certain of their numerals differ but slightly from their equivalents in the coast dialects, and though, in their low state of civilisation, it is difficult to imagine any occasion arising which could require the use of high numerals, the Pen tribes are found by no means deficient in this respect.

From the subjoined comparative list of numerals in the dialects of the Shom Pen and the coast people of Great Nicobar, it will be seen that the former, while employing in many instances totally distinct terms have yet adopted the somewhat complicated system of notation current among the latter.1

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1 Among the Appendices to my Nicobar Vocabulary (for the publication of which arrangements have already been made) is one which describes this system.


That an elaborate system of numeration should be found among the coast tribes is scarcely surprising, seeing that they have to treat, in their trading operations, with quantities of cocoanuts frequently amounting to hundreds of thousands, but in the primitive condition of the inland tribes no such explanation can be given to account for the fact of a like system obtaining amongst them, for they have no dealings with cocoanuts or similar produce, and their transactions are almost entirely confined to bundles of cane which they bring to the coast people for local purposes, and in exchange for which they receive articles not otherwise procurable by them.

Of words in ordinary use there are very few in the Shom Pen dialect which bear any resemblance to the equivalents in the language of the coast people; where similarity of sound occurs it is found to be in connection with matters of which until recently they were in ignorance, and to express which they have therefore borrowed the terms current among their neighbours; e.g.

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With this brief allusion to their dialects I must content myself at this time, and pass on to describe the next visit to the Pen tribe, which I paid in company with Colonel T. Cadell in May, 1884.

We landed at Láfúl, and, assisted by our former guides, ascended to the same Pen encampment, where we met fourteen members of the tribe, including Atéo, Atong, Ayaw, and Koanl, the last named being the individual already alluded to as the only member of this tribe hitherto seen with other than straight hair. Presents and food were distributed, and photographs of the group, as well as of their dwellings, were taken, after which an impromptu entertainment was given for our delectation. A young woman credited with supernatural

1 The annual produce is estimated as between 15 and 20 million nuts, of which some 6 millions are exported unhusked, or in the form of "kopra," in exchange for which the Nicobarese accept a variety of articles, principally dáhs, knives, silver, electro ware, &c.; they appear to regard gold as little more valuable than


As will be seen in the Supplement, it has within the last few months been found that the Shom make rafts and canoes, the latter for barter as well for their own use.

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