Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/120

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

down. The house is reached by stairs which are connected in some cases with the gable-front, in others with a trap-door in the middle of the floor. The buildings are of two distinct types. The dwelling houses proper consist of a tightly inclosed story, having a few small windows, and covered with an overhanging roof, the high gables of which permit the garret-space to be left open for the free circulation of the outer air. Another class of houses, which are evidently pavilions of luxury and indicate wealth, are built on larger posts than the others, and have no inclosure whatever. They have a fire-place in the middle of the floor, seats and lounges, and perhaps a balustrade around the edge. The roof-space is separated from the rest by a flooring and used as a granary. The lower open story of these sopos serves for a variety of uses. Strangers and guests coming to the town are received in them; the men sit in them mornings and evenings, chatting and smoking; justice is administered and public business transacted in them; they are occupied during the day by women weaving; and at night strangers, widowers, and unmarried young men sleep in them.

The Batta does not make his morning toilet in the house, but at the special bathing-places, or pantjurs, with which every village is provided. These places are arranged at a running stream or a canal made for the purpose, by fixing a water-pipe of bamboo in such a manner that a man standing or sitting under it can have the water run all over his body. Such baths are taken morning and evening. Separate pantjurs are provided for the women. It is one of the morning duties of the women and girls, even down to children of four and five years old, to bring drinking-water in the gargitis, a water-vessel made of a thick stalk of bamboo. The size and strength of growing girls are generally measured by the number of gargitis they can carry.

Let us follow a woman into one of the inclosed dwelling-houses. The floor is made of round bamboo beams about as large as one's arm, across which are laid split bamboos far enough apart to let the water and dirt through, and make sweeping unnecessary. Broad, raised seats and lounges, covered with mats of various patterns and styles, are arranged on either side. In the corners are fire-places of a primeval simplicity, flat, square boxes filled with earth, and upon these some thick stones, between which the fire burns quite briskly, while the rice is cooked in home-made earthen vessels set upon them. The number of families living in the house can generally be calculated from the number of fire-places to be seen., No division is made in the day-time between the parts of the house occupied by the different families, but a separation is made between the sleeping-places at night by hanging up mats. Ordinarily, only blood relations live together in the same house. The children of both sexes, after they have grown up, sleep outside of the house and not with their parents, the young men in the sopos, the girls in parties of several with some old widow; but the