"News has just reached us that Muda Saffir is alive," replied one of the men in the boat, "and that he sleeps this night in your long-house. Is it true?" "Yes," answered the man on shore. "What do you wish of the Rajah Muda Saffir?" "We are men of his company and we have news for him," returned the speaker in the sampan. "Tell him that we must speak to him at once."
But he could reduce unoccupied land to possession by cultivation, and so long as he thus used it he had a possessory right to its enjoyment which would be recognized and respected by his tribe. Gardens planting-lots, apartments in a long-house, and, at a later day, orchards of fruit were thus held by persons and by families.
Once out of sight of the white man the two turned back and met a short distance in the rear of the party they had deserted in another moment they were headed for the long-house from which they had started.
They had walked but a short distance before they came to a steep precipice about twenty feet high, at which a notched log had been placed by some former visitors, as they supposed; but as soon as they had mounted it, they came upon a Dyak long-house, which might have been better called a short-house, for it contained but six doors, and therefore the tax upon the village need not have caused any grumbling.
Failing in his attempt to undermine the loyalty of the two Dyaks von Horn had chosen the only other way to keep the knowledge of the whereabouts of the chest from Barunda's uncle and Muda Saffir, and now his principal interest in life was to escape the vengeance of the head hunters and return to the long-house before his absence should be detected.
One was dead, but the other was still conscious and had just sufficient vitality left after the coming of his fellows to whisper that they had been treacherously shot by the younger white man who had been at the long-house where they had found Muda Saffir then the fellow expired without having an opportunity to divulge the secret hiding place of the treasure, over the top of which his body lay.
Now the power of the crafty old Malay extended from one end of this great river on which the long-house lay to the other, and though not all the tribes admitted allegiance to him, yet there were few who would not furnish him with men and boats when he required them; for his piratical cruises carried him often up and down the stream, and with his savage horde it was possible for him to wreak summary and terrible vengeance upon those who opposed him.
A complete understanding of the mode of life in these long-houses will not, probably, ever be recovered. In 1743 Mr. John Bartram attended a council at Onondaga, and kept a journal, afterwards published, in which he inserted a ground plan of the long-house in which they were quartered.
In futile rage Muda Saffir called down the most terrible curses of Allah and his Prophet upon the head of Ninaka and his progeny to the fifth generation, and upon the shades of his forefathers, and upon the grim skulls which hung from the rafters of his long-house. Then he turned and swam rapidly toward the shore.
"I spoke to you about a Dyak long-house; and you will have an opportunity to examine one, and to sleep in it if you are disposed to do so. You will be received very kindly, and have a chance to see the people as well as the houses." "Thank you, Mr. Eng Quee; we will certainly go with you," replied Captain Scott, prompted by Louis. "We will heave you a line, and tow you up."