The western coast of this wonderful island, famed among the Dutch as Het Boven Land van Sumatra, is as near a tropical Swit-zerland (if such an appellation does not convey a confused notion) as is to be found anywhere on the globe. New Zealand can boast of glaciers of surpassing beauty, justly entitling it to the place it holds as the Switzerland of the southern hemisphere, but I am confident that after the sources of the Amazon have been thrown open to the tourist and Orizaba has been surrounded by winter hotels, the most luxuriant vegetation and most wildly fascinating scenery in the world will be sought for among the chain of volcanoes that forms the backbone of Sumatra. There are several ways of visiting Sumatra, none being very direct, but the pleasantest is to take one of the comfortable steamers of the Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maaischappij, either from the island of Penang, where tourists call going either way around the world, and steam west to the north point of the island and southward along its western coast to Padang, the principal port, or do as my friend Mr Barbour Lathrop and I did, leaving Batavia on the north coast of Java and steaming west through the straits of Sunda past the famous volcano of Krakatua and northward along the coast, stopping at Padang over one steamer and catching the next, which landed us finally at Penang. The city of Padang seemed on the first night of arrival one of the hottest and wettest places it were possible for water and sunshine to concoct; but where the sunlight pours down its rays perpendicularly and the clouds every afternoon empty an almost unlimited quantity of water, palms are able to live a life really becoming such royal representatives of the vegetable kingdom. You feel oppressed with the inconceivable power of the living matter, the protoplasm, which surrounds you. In temperate regions you have become accustomed to the supremacy of man. He cuts down and destroys and clears big patches of ground free almost of every living thing. Here you fee] as if the plants merely tolerated your presence. The hotels serve to distract your attention from nobler thoughts by their insufficiencies and limited capacity. I have often wondered what a party of Cook’s tourists would do if they landed and found only four or five beds at the disposition of new arrivals and not sufficient bananas to go around. To be met at your first meal in the tropics when you look forward to reveling in the delicious new sorts of bananas with the incomprehensible statement of “tidy ada lagi,” which, being interpreted by your Dutch acquaintance, means “There are no more,” is a hard and unforgetable experience, the more inexplicable since the level plains about the town are filled with immense banana plantations. One small banana is not enough for an appetite whetted by a long ocean voyage. This is, however, an introduction to one of the many peculiarities of the tropics which irritate you until you find the absurdity of being irritated by the unavoidable.