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The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither by Isabella L. Bird (Mrs. Bishop)

Part 2 out of 6

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thronged by women of the poorest class, whose earnest faces were very
touching. Idolatry is always pathetic. It is not, however, idol worship
which sits like a nightmare on China, and crushes atheists, agnostics,
and heathens alike, but ancestral worship, and the tyranny of the
astrologers and geomancers.

I like the faces of the lower orders of Chinese women. They are both
strong and kind, and it is pleasant to see women not deformed in any
way, but clothed completely in a dress which allows perfect freedom of
action. The small-footed women are rarely seen out of doors; but the
sewing-woman at Mrs. Smith's has crippled feet, and I have got her
shoes, which are too small for the English baby of four months old! The
butler's little daughter, aged seven, is having her feet "bandaged" for
the first time, and is in torture, but bears it bravely in the hope of
"getting a rich husband." The sole of the shoe of a properly diminished
foot is about two inches and a half long, but the mother of this
suffering infant says, with a quiet air of truth and triumph, that
Chinese women suffer less in the process of being crippled than foreign
women do from wearing corsets! To these Eastern women the notion of
deforming the figure for the sake of appearance only is unintelligible
and repulsive. The crippling of the feet has another motive.

I. L. B.

LETTER IV (Continued)

Outside the Naam-Hoi Prison--The Punishment of the Cangue--Crime and
Misery--A Birthday Banquet--"Prisoners and Captives"--Prison
Mortality--Cruelties and Iniquities--The Porch of the Mandarin--The
Judgment-Seat--The Precincts of the Judgment-Seat--An Aged
Claimant--Instruments of Punishment--The Question by Torture

Yesterday, after visiting the streets devoted to jade-stone workers,
jewelers, saddlers, dealers in musical instruments, and furriers, we
turned aside from the street called Sze-P'aai-Lau, into a small, dirty
square, on one side of which is a brick wall, with a large composite
quadruped upon it in black paint, and on the other the open entrance
gate of the Yamun, or official residence of the mandarin whose
jurisdiction extends over about half Canton, and who is called the
Naam-Hoi magistrate. Both sides of the road passing through this
square, and especially the open space in front of the gate which leads
into the courtyard of the Yamun, were crowded with unshaven, ragged,
forlorn, dirty wretches, heavily fettered round their ankles, and with
long heavy chains padlocked round their necks, attached, some to large
stones with holes in the centre, others to short thick bars of iron.
Two or three, into whose legs the ankle fetters had cut deep raw
grooves, were lying in a heap on a ragged mat in the corner; some were
sitting on stones, but most were standing or shifting their position
uneasily, dragging their weighty fetters about, making a jarring and
dismal clank with every movement.

These unfortunates are daily exposed thus to the scorn and contempt of
the passers-by as a punishment for small thefts. Of those who were
seated on stones or who were kneeling attempting to support themselves
on their hands, most wore square wooden collars of considerable size,
weighing thirty pounds each, round their necks. These cangues are so
constructed that it is impossible for their wearers to raise their
hands to their mouths for the purpose of feeding themselves, and it
seemed to be a choice pastime for small boys to tantalize these
criminals by placing food tied to the end of sticks just within reach
of their mouths, and then suddenly withdrawing them. Apart from the
weight of their fetters, and of the cangue in which they are thus
pilloried, these men suffer much from hunger and thirst. They are thus
punished for petty larcenies. Surely "the way of transgressors is

The bearers set me down at the gate of the Yamun among the festering
wretches dragging the heavy weights, the filthy and noisy beggars, the
gamblers, the fortune-tellers, the messengers of justice, and the
countless hangers-on of the prison and judgment-seat of the Naam-Hoi
magistrate, and passing through a part of the courtyard, and down a
short, narrow passage, enclosed by a door of rough wooden uprights,
above which is a tiger's head, with staring eyes and extended jaws, we
reached the inner entrance, close to which is a much blackened altar of
incense foul with the ashes of innumerable joss-sticks, and above it an
equally blackened and much worn figure of a tiger in granite. To this
beast, which is regarded by the Chinese as possessing virtue, and is
the tutelary guardian of Chinese prisons, the jailers offer incense and
worship night and day, with the object of securing its aid and
vigilance on their behalf.

Close to the altar were the jailers' rooms, dark, dirty, and
inconceivably forlorn. Two of the jailers were lying on their beds
smoking opium. There we met the head jailer, of all Chinamen that I
have seen the most repulsive in appearance, manner, and dress; for his
long costume of frayed and patched brown silk looked as if it had not
been taken off for a year; the lean, brown hands which clutched the
prison keys with an instinctive grip were dirty, and the nails long and
hooked like claws, and the face, worse, I thought, than that of any of
the criminal horde, and scored with lines of grip and greed, was
saturated with opium smoke. This wretch pays for his place, and in a
few years will retire with a fortune, gains arising from bribes wrung
from prisoners and their friends by threats and torture, and by
defrauding them daily of a part of their allowance of rice.

The prison, as far as I can learn, consists mainly of six wards, each
with four large apartments, the walls of these wards abutting upon each
other, and forming a parallelogram, outside of which is a narrow, paved
pathway, on which the gates of the wards open, and which has on its
outer side the high boundary wall of the prison. This jailer, this
fiend--made such by the customs of his country--took us down a passage,
and unlocking a wooden grating turned us into one of the aforesaid
"wards," a roughly paved courtyard about fifty feet long by twenty-four
broad, and remained standing in the doorway jangling his keys.

If crime, vice, despair, suffering, filth and cruelty can make a hell
on earth, this is one. Over its dismal gateway may well be written,
"Whoso enters here leaves hope behind."

This ward is divided into four "apartments," each one having a high
wall at the back. The sides next the court are formed of a double row
of strong wooden bars, black from age and dirt, which reach from the
floor to the roof, and let in light and air through the chinks between
them. The interiors of these cribs or cattle-pens are roughly paved
with slabs of granite, slimy with accumulations of dirt. In the middle
and round the sides are stout platforms of laths, forming a coarse,
black gridiron, on which the prisoners sit and sleep.

In each ward there is a shrine of a deity who is supposed to have the
power of melting the wicked into contrition, and to this accursed
mockery, on his birthday, the prisoners are compelled to give a feast,
which is provided by the jailer out of his peculations from their daily
allowances. No water is allowed for washing, and the tubs containing
the allowance of foul drinking water are placed close to those which
are provided for the accumulation of night soil, etc., the contents of
which are only removed once a fortnight. Two pounds of rice is the
daily allowance of each prisoner, but this is reduced to about one by
the greed of the jailer.

As we entered the yard, fifty or sixty men swarmed out from the dark
doorways which led into their dens, all heavily chained, with long,
coarse, matted hair hanging in wisps, or standing on end round their
death-like faces, in filthy rags, with emaciated forms caked with dirt,
and bearing marks of the torture; and nearly all with sore eyes,
swelled and bleeding lips, skin diseases, and putrefying sores. These
surrounded us closely, and as, not without a shudder, I passed through
them and entered one of their dens, they pressed upon us, blocking out
the light, uttering discordant cries, and clamoring with one voice,
_kum-sha_, i.e., backsheesh, looking more like demons than living men,
as abject and depraved as crime, despair, and cruelty can make them.

Within, the blackness, the filth, the vermin, the stench, overpowering
even in this cool weather, the rubbish of rags and potsherds, cannot be
described. Here in semi-starvation and misery, with nameless cruelties
practised upon them without restraint, festering in one depraved mass,
are the tried and untried, the condemned, the guilty and innocent (?),
the murderer and pirate, the debtor and petty thief, all huddled
together, without hope of exit except to the adjacent judgment-seat,
with its horrors of "the question by torture," or to the "field of
blood" not far away. On earth can there be seen a spectacle more
hideous than these abject wretches, with their heavy fetters eating
into the flesh of their necks and ankles (if on their wasted skeletons,
covered with vermin and running sores, there is any flesh left), their
thick matted, bristly, black hair--contrasting with the shaven heads
of the free--the long, broken claws on their fingers and toes, the
hungry look in their emaciated faces, and their clamorous cry,
_kum-sha! kum-sha!_ They thronged round us clattering their chains,
one man saying that they had so little rice that they had to "drink the
foul water to fill themselves;" another shrieked, "Would I were in your
prison in Hong Kong," and this was chorused by many voices saying, "In
your prison at Hong Kong they have fish and vegetables, and more rice
than they can eat, and baths, and beds to sleep on; good, good is the
prison of your Queen!" but higher swelled the cry of _kum-sha_, and as
we could not give alms among several hundred, we eluded them, though
with difficulty, and, as we squeezed through the narrow door,
execrations followed us, and high above the heavy clank of the fetters
and the general din rose the cry, "Foreign Devils" (Fan-Kwai), as we
passed out into sunshine and liberty, and the key was turned upon them
and their misery.

We went into three other large wards, foul with horror, and seething
with misery, and into a smaller one, nearly as bad, where fifteen women
were incarcerated, some of them with infants devoured by cutaneous
diseases. Several of them said that they are there for kidnapping, but
others are hostages for criminal relations who have not yet been
captured. This imprisonment of hostages is in accordance with a law
which authorizes the seizure and detention of persons or families
belonging to criminals who have fled or are in concealment. Such are
imprisoned till the guilty relative is brought to justice, for months,
years, or even for a lifetime. Two of these women told us that they had
been there for twenty years.

There are likewise some single cells--hovels clustering under a wall,
in which criminals who can afford to pay the jailer for them may enjoy
the luxury of solitude. In each ward there is a single unfettered
man--always a felon--who by reason either of bribery or good conduct,
is appointed to the place of watchman or spy among his fellows in
crime. There is a turnkey for each ward, and these men, with the
unchained felons who act as watchmen, torture new arrivals in order to
force money from them, and under this process some die.

In the outer wall of the prison there is a port-hole, just large enough
to allow of a body being pushed through it, for no malefactor's corpse
must be carried through the prison entrance, lest it should defile the
"Gate of Righteousness." There is also a hovel called a deadhouse, into
which these bodies are conveyed till a grave has been dug in some
"accursed place," by members of an "accursed" class.

In addition to the large mortality arising from poor living and its
concomitant diseases, and the exhaustion produced by repeated torture,
epidemics frequently break out in the hot weather in those dark and
fetid dens, and oftentimes nearly clear out the prison. On such
occasions as many as four hundred have succumbed in a month. The number
of criminals who are executed from this prison, either as sentenced to
death, or as unable to bribe the officials any further, is supposed to
be about five hundred annually, and it is further supposed that half
this number die annually from starvation and torture. Sometimes one
hundred criminals are beheaded in an hour, as it is feared may be the
case on the Governor going out of office, when it is not unusual to
make a jail delivery in this fashion.

In numerous cases, when there is a press of business before the
judgment-seat and a dead-lock occurs, accusers and witnesses are
huddled indiscriminately into the Naam-Hoi prison, sometimes for
months; and as the Governor or magistrate takes no measures to provide
for them during the interval, some of the poorer ones who have no
friends to bribe the jailer on their behalf, perish speedily.

At night, in the dens which I have described, the hands of the
prisoners are chained to their necks, and even in the daytime only one
hand is liberated. I thought that many of the faces looked quite
imbecile. The jailer, as we went out, kept holding out his long-clawed,
lean, brown hand, muttering about his promised kum-sha, very fearful
lest the other turnkeys, who were still lying on their beds smoking
opium, should come in for any share of it.

Mr. Henry,* my host and very able cicerone, is an American missionary,
and as such carries with him the gospel of peace on earth and good will
to men. Surely if the knowledge of Him who came "to preach liberty to
the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,"
were diffused and received here, and were spread with no niggard hand,
the prison of the Naam-Hoi magistrate, with its unspeakable horrors,
would go the way of all our dungeons and bedlams.
[*I cannot forbear adding a note on the extent of Mr. Henry's work in
1881. He preached 190 times in Chinese, and five times in English; held
fifty-two Bible-class meetings, and thirteen communion services;
baptized forty-five adults and eight children; traveled on mission work
by boat 2,540 miles, by chair, eighty miles, and on foot 670 miles;
visited 280 different towns and villages, and distributed 14,000 books,
receiving assistance in the latter work only on one short journey. His
life is a happy combination of American energy and Christian zeal.]

But this is not all. From the prison it is only a short distance to the
judgment-seat, and passing once more through the "Gate of
Righteousness," we crossed a large court infested by gamblers and
fortune-tellers, and presented ourselves at a porch with great figures
painted on both its doors, and gay with the red insignia of
mandarinism, which is the entrance to the stately residence of the
Naam-Hoi magistrate, one of the subordinate dignitaries of Canton. In
the porch, as might have been in that of Pilate or Herod, were a number
of official palanquins, and many officials and servants of the mandarin
with red-crowned hats turned up from their faces, and privates of the
city guard, mean and shabby persons. One of these, for a kum-sha of
course, took us, not through the closed and curtained doors, but along
some passages, from which we passed through a circular brickwork tunnel
to the front of the judgment seat at which all the inmates of the
Naam-Hoi prison may expect sooner or later to be tried. My nerves were
rather shaken with what I had seen, and I trembled as a criminal might
on entering this chamber of horror.

In brief, the judgment-seat is a square hall, open at one end, with a
roof supported on three columns. In the plan which I send, No. 1 is the
three pillars; No. 2, the instruments of torture ranged against the
wall; No. 3, four accused men wearing heavy chains, and kneeling with
their foreheads one inch from the ground, but not allowed to touch it.
These men are undergoing the mildest form of torture--protracted
kneeling without support in one position, with coarse sand under the
bare knees. No. 4 is a very old and feeble man, also kneeling, a
claimant in an ancient civil suit. No. 6 indicates a motley group of
notaries, servants, attendants, lictors, alas! The table (No. 5) is of
dark wood, covered with a shabby red cloth. On it are keys, petitions,
note-books, pens and ink, an official seal, and some small cups
containing tallies, which are thrown down to indicate the number of
blows which a culprit is to receive. This was all.

In a high-backed ebony arm-chair, such as might be seen in any English
hall, sat the man who has the awful power of life and death in his
hands. It is almost needless to say that the judge, who was on the left
of the table, and who never once turned to the accused, or indeed to
anyone, was the only seated person. He was a young man, with fine
features, a good complexion, and a high intellectual brow, and had I
seen him under other circumstances, I should have thought him decidedly
prepossessing looking. He wore a black satin hat, a rich, blue brocade
robe, almost concealing his blue brocade trousers, and over this a
sleeved cloak of dark blue satin, lined with ermine fur. A look of
singular coldness and hauteur sat permanently on his face, over which a
flush of indescribable impatience sometimes passed. He is not of the
people, this lordly magistrate. He is one of the privileged literati.
His literary degrees are high and numerous. He has both place and
power. Little risk does he run of a review of his decisions or of an
appeal to the Emperor at Pekin. He spoke loud and with much rapidity
and emphasis, and often beat impatiently on the floor with his foot. He
used the mandarin tongue, and whether cognizant of the dialect of the
prisoners or not, he put all his questions through an interpreter, who
stood at his left, a handsomely dressed old man, who wore a gold chain
with a dependent ivory comb, with which while he spoke he frequently
combed a small and scanty gray mustache.

Notaries, attendants with scarlet-crowned hats, and a rabble of men and
boys, in front of whom we placed ourselves, stood down each side. The
open hall, though lofty, is shabby and extremely dirty, with an unswept
broken pavement, littered at one side with potsherds, and disfigured by
a number of more or less broken black pots as well as other rubbish,
making it look rather like a shed in an untidy nursery garden than an
imperial judgment-hall. On the pillars there are certain classical
inscriptions, one of which is said to be an exhortation to mercy.
Pieces of bamboo of different sizes are ranged against the south wall.
These are used for the bastinado, and there were various instruments
ranged against the same wall, at which I could only look fitfully and
with a shudder, for they are used in "The Question by Torture," which
rapid method of gaining a desired end appears to be practised on
witnesses as well as criminals.

The yard, or uncovered part of this place, has a pavement in the
middle, and on one side of this the most loathsome trench I ever
beheld, such a one as I think could not be found in the foulest slum of
the dirtiest city in Europe, not only loathsome to the eye, but
emitting a stench which even on that cool day might produce vertigo,
and this under the very eye of the magistrate, and not more than thirty
feet from the judgment-seat.

On the other side by which we entered, and which also has an entrance
direct from the prison, is a slimy, green ditch, at the back of which
some guards were lounging, with a heap of felons in chains attached to
heavy stones at their feet. Above, the sky was very blue, and the sun
of our Father which is in heaven shone upon "the just and the unjust."

The civil case took a long time, and was adjourned, and the aged
claimant was so exhausted with kneeling before the judge, that he was
obliged to be assisted away by two men. Then another man knelt and
presented a petition, which was taken to "avizandum." Then a guard led
in by a chain a prisoner, heavily manacled, and with a heavy stone
attached to his neck, who knelt with his forehead touching the ground.
After some speaking, a boy who was standing dangling a number of keys
came forward, and, after much ado, unlocked the rusty padlock which
fastened the chain round the man's neck, and he was led away, dragging
the stone after him with his hands. He had presented a formal petition
for this favor, and I welcomed the granting of it as a solitary gleam
of mercy, but I was informed that the mitigation of the sentence came
about through bribery on the part of the man's relatives, who had to
buy the good-will of four officials before the petition could reach
the magistrate's hands.

More than an hour and a half had passed since we entered, and for two
hours before that the four chained prisoners had been undergoing the
torture of kneeling on a coarsely sanded stone in an immovable and
unsupported position. I was standing so close to them that the dress of
one touched my feet. I could hear their breathing, which had been heavy
at first, become a series of gasps, and cool as the afternoon was, the
sweat of pain fell from their brows upon the dusty floor, and they were
so emaciated that, even through their clothing, I could see the
outlines of their bones. There were no counsel, and no witnesses, and
the judge asked but one question as he beat his foot impatiently on the
floor, "Are you guilty?" They were accused of an aggravated robbery,
and were told to confess, but they said that only two of them were
guilty. They were then sent back to the tender mercies of the
opium-smoking jailer, probably to come back again and again to undergo
the severer forms of torture, till no more money can be squeezed out of
their friends, when they will probably be beheaded, death being the
legal penalty for robbery with aggravations.

There is no regular legal process, no jury, no one admitted to plead
for the accused, and owing to the way in which accusations are made and
the intimate association of trial with bribery, it is as certain that
many innocent persons suffer as it is that many guilty escape. From
such a system one is compelled to fall back upon the righteousness of
the Judge of all the earth; and as I stood in that hideous
judgment-hall beside the tortured wretches, I could not shut out of my
heart a trembling hope that for these and the legion of these, a
worthier than an earthly intercessor pleads before a mightier than an
earthly judge.

It is not clear whether torture is actually recognized by Chinese law,
but it is practised in almost every known form by all Chinese
magistrates, possibly as the most expeditious mode of legal procedure
which is known. It is also undoubtedly the most potent agent in
securing bribes. The legal instruments of summary punishment which
hang on the wall of the Naam-Hoi judgment-hall consist of three boards
with proper grooves for squeezing the fingers, and the bastinado, which
is inflicted with bamboos of different weights. The illegal modes of
"putting the question," i.e., of extorting a confession of guilt, as
commonly practised are, prolonged kneeling on coarse sand, with the
brow within an inch of the ground; twisting the ears with "roughened
fingers," and keeping them twisted while the prisoner kneels on chains;
beating the lips to a jelly with a thick stick, the result of which was
to be seen in several cases in the prison; suspending the body by the
thumbs; tying the hands to a bar under the knees, so as to bend the
body double during many hours; the thumb-screw; dislocating the arm or
shoulder; kneeling upon pounded glass, salt and sand mixed together,
till the knees are excoriated, and several others, the product of
fiendish ingenuity. Severe flogging with the bamboo, rattan, cudgel,
and knotted whip successively is one of the most usual means of
extorting confession; and when death results from the process, the
magistrate reports that the criminal has died of sickness, and in the
few cases in which there may be reason to dread investigation, the
administration of a bribe to the deceased man's friends insures

The cangue, if its wearers were properly fed and screened from the sun,
is rather a disgrace than a cruel mode of punishment. Death is said to
be inflicted for aggravated robbery, robbery with murder, highway
robbery, arson, and piracy, even without the form of a trial when the
culprits are caught in flagrante delicto; but though it is a frequent
punishment, it is by no means absolutely certain for what crimes it is
the legal penalty.

We left the judgment-seat as a fresh relay of criminals entered, two of
them with faces atrocious enough for any crime, and passed out of the
courtyard of the Yamun through the "Gate of Righteousness," where the
prisoners, attached to heavy stones, were dragging and clanking their
chains, or lying in the shade full of sores, and though the red sunset
light was transfiguring all things, the glory had faded from Canton and
the air seemed heavy with a curse.

LETTER IV (Continued)

The "Covent Garden" of Canton--Preliminaries of Execution--A Death
Procession--The "Field of Blood"--"The Death of the Cross"--A Fair

Although I went to the execution ground two days before my visit to the
prison, the account of it belongs to this place. Passing through the
fruit-market, the "Covent Garden" of Canton, where now and in their
stated seasons are exposed for sale, singly and in fragrant heaps,
among countless other varieties of fruits, the orange, pommeloe, apple,
citron, banana, rose-apple, pine-apple, custard-apple, pear, quince,
guava, carambola, persimmon, loquat, pomegranate, grape, water-melon,
musk-melon, peach, apricot, plum, mango, mulberry, date, cocoa-nut,
olive, walnut, chestnut, lichi, and papaya, through the unsavory
precincts of the "salt-fish market," and along a street the specialty
of which is the manufacture from palm leaves of very serviceable rain
cloaks, we arrived at the Ma T'au, a cul de sac resembling in shape, as
its name imports, a horse's head, with the broad end opening on the
street. This "field of blood," which counts its slain by tens of
thousands, is also a "potter's field," and is occupied throughout its
whole length by the large earthen pots which the Chinese use instead of
tubs, either in process of manufacture or drying in the sun. This Ma
T'au, the place of execution, on which more than one hundred heads at
times fall in a morning, is simply a pottery yard, and at the hours
when space is required for the executioner's purposes more or fewer
pots are cleared out of the way, according to the number of the
condemned. The spectacle is open to the street and to all passers-by.
Against the south wall are five crosses, which are used for the
crucifixion of malefactors. At the base of the east wall are four large
earthenware vessels full of quicklime, into which heads which are
afterward to be exposed on poles are cast, until the flesh has been
destroyed. From this bald sketch it may be surmised that few
accessories of solemnity or even propriety consecrate the last tragedy
of justice.

In some cases criminals are brought directly from the judgment-seat to
the execution ground on receiving sentence, but as a rule the condemned
persons remain in prison ignorant of the date of their doom, till an
official, carrying a square board with the names of those who are to
die that day pasted upon it, enters and reads the names of the doomed.
Each man on answering is made to sit in something like a dust-basket,
in which he is borne through the gate of the inner prison, at which he
is interrogated and his identity ascertained by an official, who
represents the Viceroy or Governor, into the courtyard of the Yamun,
where he is pinioned. At this stage it is usual for the friends of the
criminal, or the turnkeys in their absence, to give him "auspicious"
food, chiefly fat pork and Saam-su, an intoxicating wine. Pieces of
betel-nut, the stimulating qualities of which are well known, are
invariably given. These delays being over, the criminal is carried into
the presence of the judge, who sits not in the judgment-hall but in the
porch of the inner gateway of his Yamun. On the prisoner giving his
name, a superscription bearing it, and proclaiming his crime and the
manner of his death, is tied to a slip of bamboo and bound to his head.
A small wooden ticket, also bearing his name and that of the prison
from which he is taken to execution, is tied to the back of his neck.

Then the procession starts, the criminals, of whom there are usually
several, being carried in open baskets in the following order:--Some
spearmen, the malefactors, a few soldiers, a chair of state, bearing
the ruler of the Naam-Hoi county, attended by equerries; and another
chair of state, in which is seated the official who, after all is over,
pays worship to the five protecting genii of Canton, a small temple to
whom stands close to the potter's field, and who have power to restrain
those feelings of revenge and violence which the spirits of the
decapitated persons may be supposed hereafter to cherish against all
who were instrumental in their decapitation. Last of all follows a
herald on horseback, carrying a yellow banner inscribed "By Imperial
Decree," an indispensable adjunct on such occasions, as without it the
county ruler would not be justified in commanding the executioner to
give the death stroke. This ruler or his deputy sits at a table covered
with a red cloth, and on being told that all the preliminaries have
been complied with, gives the word for execution. The criminals, who
have been unceremoniously pitched out of the dust baskets into the mud
or gore or dust of the execution ground, kneel down in a row or rows,
and the executioner with a scimitar strikes off head after head, each
with a single stroke, an assistant attending to hand him a fresh sword
as soon as the first becomes blunt. It is said that Chinese criminals
usually meet their doom with extreme apathy, but occasionally they
yield to extreme terror, and howl at the top of their voices, "Save
life! Save life!" As soon as the heads have fallen, some coolies of a
pariah class take up the trunks and put them into wooden shells, in
which they are eventually buried in a cemetery outside one of the city
gates, called "The trench for the bones of ten thousand men." It is not
an uncommon thing, under ordinary circumstances, for fifteen, twenty,
or thirty-five wretches to suffer the penalty of death in this spot;
and this number swells to very large dimensions at a jail delivery, or
during a rebellion, or when the crews of pirates are captured in the
act of piracy. My friend Mr. Bulkeley Johnson, of Shanghai, saw one
hundred heads fall in one morning.

Mr. Henry says that the reason that most of the criminals meet death
with such stoicism or indifference is, that they have been worn down
previously by starvation and torture. Some are stupefied with Saam-su.
It is possible in some cases for a criminal who is fortunate enough to
have rich relations to procure a substitute; a coolie sells himself to
death in such a man's stead for a hundred dollars, and for a week
before his surrender indulges in every kind of expensive debauchery,
and when the day of doom arrives is so completely stupefied by wine and
opium, as to know nothing of the terror of death.

We had not gone far into this aceldema when we came to a space cleared
from pots, and to a great pool of blood and dust mingled, blackening in
the sun, then another and another, till there were five of them almost
close together, with splashes of blood upon the adjacent pots, and
blood trodden into the thirsty ground. Against the wall opposite, a
rudely constructed cross was resting, dark here and there with patches
of blood. Among the rubbish at the base of the wall there were some
human fragments partly covered with matting; a little farther some
jaw-bones with the teeth in them, then four more crosses, and some
human heads lying at the foot of the wall, from which it was evident
that dogs had partially gnawed off the matting in which they had been
tied up. The dead stare of one human eye amidst the heap haunts me
still. A blood-splashed wooden ticket, with a human name on one side
and that of the Naam-Hoi prison on the other, was lying near one of the
pools of blood, and I picked it up as a memento, as the stroke which
had severed its string had also severed at the same time the culprit's
neck. The place was ghastly and smelt of blood.

The strangest and most thrilling sight of all was the cross in this
unholy spot, not a symbol of victory and hope, but of the lowest infamy
and degradation, of the vilest death which the vilest men can die. Nor
was it the solid, lofty structure, fifteen or twenty feet high, which
art has been glorifying for a thousand years, but a rude gibbet of
unplaned wood, roughly nailed together, barely eight feet high, and not
too heavy for a strong man to carry on his shoulders. Most likely it
was such a cross, elevated but little above the heads of the howling
mob of Jerusalem, which Paul had in view when he wrote of Him who hung
upon it, "But made Himself obedient unto death, _even the death of the
cross_." To these gibbets infamous criminals, whose crimes are regarded
as deserving of a lingering death, are tightly bound with cords, and
are then slowly hacked to pieces with sharp knives, unless the friends
of the culprit are rich enough to bribe the executioner to terminate
the death agony early by stabbing a vital part.

These facts do not require to be dressed out with words. They are most
effective when most baldly stated. I left the execution ground as I
left the prison--with the prayer, which has gained a new significance,
"For all prisoners and captives we beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord;"
but though our hands are nationally clean now as regards the
administration of justice and the treatment of criminals, we need not
hold them up in holy horror as if the Chinese were guilty above all
other men, for the framers of the Litany were familiar with dungeons
perhaps worse than the prison of the Naam-Hoi magistrate, and with
forms of torture which spared not even women, and the judges' and
jailers' palms were intimate with the gold of accused persons. It is
simply that heathenism in Canton is practising at this day what
Christianity in Europe looked upon with indifference for centuries.

I. L. B.


Portuguese Missionaries--A Chinese Hospital--Chinese
Anaesthetics--Surgery and Medicine--Ventilation and Cleanliness--A
Chinese "Afternoon Tea"--A New Inspiration

HONG KONG, January 10.

The year seems already getting old and frowzy. Under these blue skies,
and with all the doors and windows open, I should think it midsummer if
I did not look at the calendar. Oh, how I like blue, sunny skies,
instead of gray and grim ones, and blazing colors instead of the dismal
grays and browns of our nondescript winters!

I left Canton by the Kin-Kiang on Monday, with two thousand Chinese
passengers and two Portuguese missionary priests, the latter wearing
Chinese costume, and so completely got up as Chinamen that had they not
spoken Portuguese their features would not have been sufficient to
undeceive me. They were noble-looking men, and bore upon their faces
the stamp of consecration to a noble work. On the other steamer, the
Tchang, instead of a man with revolvers and a cutlass keeping guard
over the steerage grating, a large hose pipe is laid on to each
hatch-way, through which, in case of need, boiling water can be sent
under strong pressure. Just as we landed here, about five hundred large
fishes were passed through a circular net from a well in the steamer
into a well in a fishing boat, to which all the fishmongers in Hong
Kong immediately resorted.

(I pass over the hospitalities and festivities of Hong Kong, and an
afternoon with the Governor in the Victoria Prison, to an interesting
visit paid with Mr., now Sir J. Pope Hennessey to the Chinese

We started from Government House, with the Governor, in a chair with
six scarlet bearers, attended by some Sikh orderlies in scarlet
turbans, for a "State Visit" to the Tung-Wah Hospital, a purely Chinese
institution, built some years ago by Chinese merchants, and supported
by them at an annual cost of $16,000. In it nothing European, either in
the way of drugs or treatment, is tried. There is a dispensary
connected with it, where advice is daily given to about a hundred and
twenty people; and, though lunacy is rare in China, they are building a
lunatic asylum at the back of the hospital.

The Tung-Wah hospital consists of several two-storied buildings of
granite, with large windows on each side, and a lofty central building
which contains the directors' hall, the accommodation for six resident
physicians, and the business offices. The whole is surrounded by a
well-kept garden, bounded by a very high wall. We entered by the grand
entrance, which has a flagged pavement, each flag consisting of a slab
of granite twelve feet long by three broad, and were received at the
foot of the grand staircase by the directors and their chairman, the
six resident doctors, and Mr. Ng Choy, a rising, Chinese barrister,
educated at Lincoln's Inn, who interpreted for us in admirable English.
He is the man who goes between the Governor and the Chinese community,
and is believed to have more influence with the Governor on all
questions which concern Chinamen than anybody else. These gentlemen all
wore rich and beautiful dresses of thick ribbed silk and figured
brocade, and, unless they were much padded and wadded, they had all
attained to a remarkable embonpoint.

The hall in which the directors meet is lofty and very handsome, the
roof being supported on massive pillars. One side is open to the
garden. It has a superb ebony table in the middle, with a chair massive
enough for a throne for the chairman, and six grand, carved ebony
chairs on either side.

Our procession consisted of the chairman and the twelve directors, the
six stout middle-aged doctors, Mr. Ng Choy, the Governor, the Bishop of
Victoria, and myself; but the patients regarded the unwonted spectacle
with extreme apathy.

The wards hold twenty each, and are divided into wooden stalls, each
stall containing two beds. Partitions seven feet high run down the
centre. The beds are matted wooden platforms, and the bedding white
futons or wadded quilts, which are washed once a week. The pillows are
of wood or bamboo. Each bed has a shelf above it, with a teapot upon it
in a thickly wadded basket, which keeps the contents hot all day, the
infusion being, of course, poured off the leaves. A ticket, with the
patient's name upon it, and the hours at which he is to take his
medicine, hangs above each person.

No amputations are performed, but there are a good many other
operations, such as the removal of cancers, tumors, etc. The doctors
were quite willing to answer questions, within certain limits; but when
I asked them about the composition and properties of their drugs they
became reticent at once and said that they were secrets. They do not
use chloroform in operations, but they all asserted, and their
assertions were corroborated by Mr. Ng Choy, that they possess drugs
which throw their patients into a profound sleep, during which the most
severe operations can be painlessly performed. They asserted further
that such patients awake an hour or two afterward quite cheerful, and
with neither headache nor vomiting! One of them showed me a bottle
containing a dark brown powder which, he said, produced this result,
but he would not divulge the name of one of its constituents, saying
that it is a secret taught him by his tutor, and that there are several
formulas. It has a pungent and slightly aromatic taste.

The surgery and medicine are totally uninfluenced by European science,
and are of the most antiquated and barbaric description. There was a
woman who had had a cancer removed, and the awful wound, which was
uncovered for my inspection, was dressed with musk, lard, and
ambergris, with a piece of oiled paper over all. There was also
exhibited to us a foot which had been pierced by a bamboo splinter.
Violent inflammation had extended up to the knee, and the wound, and
the swollen, blackened limb were being treated with musk and tiger's
fat. A man with gangrened feet, nearly dropping off, had them rolled up
in dark-colored paste, of which musk and oil were two ingredients. All
the wounds were deplorably dirty, and no process of cleaning them
exists in this system of surgery.

The Governor and Bishop were not allowed to go into the women's ward.
It looked very clean and comfortable, but a woman in the last
death-agony was unattended. They never bleed, or leech, or blister, or
apply any counter-irritants in cases of inflammation. They give
powdered rhinoceros' horns, sun-dried tiger's blood, powdered tiger's
liver, spiders' eyes, and many other queer things, and for a tonic and
febrifuge, where we should use quinine, they rely mainly on the ginseng
(Panax quinquefolia?) of which I saw so much in Japan. They judge much
by the pulse and tongue. The mortality in this hospital is very large,
not only from the nature of the treatment, but because Chinamen who
have no friends in Victoria go there when they are dying, in order to
secure that their bodies shall be sent to their relations at a
distance. There were fifteen sick and shipwrecked junkmen there,
covered with sores, who looked very far down in the scale of humanity.

After going through the wards I went into the laboratory, where six men
were engaged in preparing drugs, then to the "chemical kitchen," where
a hundred and fifty earthen pipkins on a hundred and fifty earthen
furnaces were being used in cooking medicines under the superintendence
of eight cooks in spotless white clothing; then to the kitchen, which
is large and clean; then alone into the dead-house, which no Chinese
will enter except an unclean class of pariahs, who perform the last
offices for the departed and dress the corpses for burial. This gloomy
receptacle is also clean.

Great attention is paid to cleanliness and ventilation. Dry earth is
used as a deodorizer, but if there be a bad odor they burn sandalwood.
They don't adopt any disinfectants; indeed, they don't appear to know
their use. The patients all lie with their backs to the light, and
there is a space five feet wide between the beds and the windows. All
the windows were open both at the top and bottom, so as to create a
complete current of air, and the airiness and freedom from smells and
closeness were quite remarkable, considering the state in which the
wounds are, which is worse than I dare attempt to describe. The
hospital is conducted on strictly "temperance principles," i.e., no
alcoholic stimulants are given, which is not remarkable, considering
how little comparatively they are used in China, and with what
moderation on the whole by those who use them. There were seventy-five
patients in the wards yesterday, and the cases were mostly either
serious originally, or have been made so by the treatment. There are
one hundred and twenty beds. There is much to admire in this hospital,
the humane arrangements, the obvious comfort of the patients, and the
admirable ventilation and perfect cleanliness of the beds and wards,
but the system adopted is one of the most antiquated quackery, and when
I think of the unspeakably horrible state of the wounds, the mortifying
limbs, and the gangrened feet ready to drop off, I almost question
Governor Hennessey's wisdom in stamping the hospital with his approval
on his "State Visit."

The Governor and I were received in the boardroom after our two hours'
inspection, where we were joined by Mrs. Hennessey, and entertained by
the directors at what might be called "afternoon tea." But when is the
Chinaman not drinking tea? A monstrous plateau of the preserved and
candied fruits, in the making of which the Chinese ladies excel, had
been placed upon the ebony table, and when we were seated in the
stately ebony chairs on the chairman's right, with the yellow,
shining-faced, wadded or corpulent directors opposite to us, excellent
tea with an unusual flavor was brought in, and served in cups of
antique green dragon china. The Governor made kindly remarks on the
hospital, which fluent Mr. Ng Choy doubtless rendered into the most
fulsome flattery; the chairman complimented the Governor, and unlimited
"soft sawder," in Oriental fashion, passed all round.

It is proper in China on such an occasion to raise the tea-cup with
both the hands to a good height and bow to each person, naming at the
same time the character so continually seen on tea-cups and sake
bottles--Happiness,--which is understood to be a wish for happiness in
this formula, "May your happiness be as the Eastern Sea;" but the wish
may also mean "May you have many sons." It is strange that these
Chinamen, who showed all fitting courtesy to Mrs. Hennessey and me,
would only have spoken of their wives apologetically as "the mean ones
within the gates!" It was a charming Oriental sight, the grand, open-
fronted room with its stone floor and many pillars, the superbly
dressed directors and their blue-robed attendants, and the immense
costumed crowd outside the gate in the sunshine, kept back by
crimson-turbaned Sikh orderlies.

If civilization were to my taste, I should linger in Victoria for the
sake of its beauty, its stirring life, its costume and color, its
perfect winter climate, its hospitalities, its many charming residents,
and for various other reasons, and know nothing of its feuds in state,
church, and society. But I am a savage at heart, and weary for the
wilds first, and then for the beloved little home on the wooded edge of
the moorland above the Northern Sea, which gleams like a guiding star,
even through the maze of sunshine and color of this fascinating Eastern
world. to-day I lunched at (acting) Chief Justice Snowden's, and he
urges me to go to Malacca on my way home. I had never dreamed of the
"Golden Chersonese;" but I am much inspired by his descriptions of the
neighborhood of the Equator, and as he has lent me Newbold's Malacca
for the voyage, and has given me letters to the Governor and Colonial
Secretary of the Straits Settlements, you will next hear from me from

I. L. B.


A Cochin China River--The Ambition of Saigon--A French Colonial
Metropolis--European Life in Saigon-A Cochin-Chinese
Village--"Afternoon Tea" in Choquan--Anamese Children--Anamite
Costume--Anamite River-Dwellings--An Amphibious Population--An
Unsuccessful Colony--"With the Big Toe"--Three Persecuting

S.S. "SINDH," CHINA SEA, January.

This steamer, one of the finest of the Messageries Maritimes line, is
perfect in all respects, and has a deck like that of an old-fashioned
frigate. The weather has been perfect also, and the sea smooth enough
for a skiff. The heat increases hourly though, or rather has increased
hourly, for hotter it cannot be! Punkahs are going continually at meal
times, and if one sits down to write in the saloon, the "punkah-wallah"
spies one out and begins his refreshing labors at once. But we took on
board a host of mosquitoes at Saigon, and the nights are consequently
so intolerable that I weary for the day.

The twenty-four hours spent at Saigon broke the monotonous pleasantness
of our voyage very agreeably to me, but most of the passengers complain
of the wearisome detention in the heat. In truth, the mercury stood at
92 degrees!

At daybreak yesterday we were steaming up a branch of the great Me-kong
river in Cochin China, a muddy stream, densely fringed by the nipah
palm, whose dark green fronds, ten and twelve feet long, look as if
they grew out of the ground, so dumpy is its stem. The country, as
overlooked from our lofty deck, appeared a dead level of rice and
scrubby jungle intermixed, a vast alluvial plain, from which the heavy,
fever-breeding mists were rising in rosy folds. Every now and then we
passed a Cochin Chinese village--a collection of very draughty-looking
wooden huts, roofed with palm leaves, built over the river on gridiron
platforms supported on piles. Each dwelling of the cluster had its boat
tethered below it. It looked a queer amphibious life. Men were lying on
the gridirons smoking, women were preparing what might be the
breakfast, and babies were crawling over the open floors, born with the
instinct not to tumble over the edge into the river below. These
natives were small and dark, although of the Mongolian type, with wide
mouths and high cheek bones--an ugly race; and their attitudes, their
tumble-to-pieces houses, and their general forlornness, gave me the
impression that they are an indolent race as well, to be ousted in time
possibly by the vigorous and industrious Chinaman.

After proceeding for about forty miles up this mighty Me-kong or
Cambodia river, wearying somewhat of its nipah-fringed alluvial flats,
and of the monotonous domestic economy of which we had so good a view,
we reached Saigon, which has the wild ambition to propose to itself to
be a second Singapore! All my attempts to learn anything about Saigon
on board have utterly failed. People think that they told me something
altogether new and sufficient when they said that it is a port of call
for the French mail steamers, and one of the hottest places in the
world! This much I knew before I asked them! If they know anything more
now, no dexterity of mine can elicit it. There was a general stampede
ashore as soon as we moored, and gharries--covered spring carts--drawn
by active little Sumatra ponies, and driven by natives of Southern
India, known as Klings, were immediately requisitioned, but nothing
came of it apparently, and when I came back at sunset I found that,
after an hour or two of apparently purposeless wanderings, all my
fellow-passengers had returned to the ship, pale and depressed. True,
the mercury was above 90 degrees!

Arriving in this condition of most unblissful ignorance, I was
astonished when a turn in the river brought us close upon a
considerable town, straggling over a great extent of ground,
interspersed with abundant tropical greenery, its river front
consisting of a long, low line of much-shaded cafes, mercantile
offices, some of them flying consular flags and Government offices,
behind which lies the city with its streets, shops, and great covered
markets or bazaars, and its barracks, churches, and convents.

The Me-kong, though tortuous and ofttimes narrow, is navigable as the
Donnai or Saigon branch up to and above Saigon for vessels of the
largest tonnage, and the great Sindh steamed up to a wharf and moored
alongside it, almost under the shade of great trees. A French
three-decker of the old type, moored higher up, serves as an hospital.
There were two French ironclads, a few steamers, and some big sailing
ships at anchor, but nothing looked busy, and the people on the wharf
were all loafers.

After all my fellow-passengers had driven off I stepped ashore and
tried to realize that I was in Cochin China or Cambodia, but it would
not do. The irrepressible Chinaman in his loose cotton trousers was as
much at home as in Canton, and was doing all the work that was done;
the shady lounges in front of the cafes were full of Frenchmen,
Spaniards, and Germans, smoking and dozing with their feet upon tables
or on aught else which raised them to the level of their heads; while
men in linen suits and pith helmets dashed about in buggies and
gharries, and French officers and soldiers lounged weariedly along all
the roads. There was not a native to be seen! A little later there was
not a European to be seen! There was a universal siesta behind closed
jalousies, and Saigon was abandoned to Chinamen and leggy dogs. Then
came the cool of the afternoon, i.e., the mercury, with evident
reluctance, dawdled down to 84 degrees; military bands performed, the
Europeans emerged, smoking as in the morning, to play billiards or
ecarte, or sip absinthe at their cafes; then came the mosquitoes and
dinner, after which I was told that card-parties were made up, and that
the residents played till near midnight. Thus from observation and
hearsay, I gathered that the life of a European Saigonese was made up
of business in baju and pyjamas with cheroot in mouth from 6 to 9:30
A.M., then the bath, the toilette, and the breakfast of claret and
curry; next the sleeping, smoking, and lounging till tiffin; after
tiffin a little more work, then the band, billiards, ecarte, absinthe,
smoking, dinner, and card-parties, varied by official entertainments.

Rejecting a guide, I walked about Saigon, saw its streets, cafes, fruit
markets, bazaars, barracks, a botanic or acclimatization garden, of
which tigers were the chief feature, got out upon the wide, level
roads, bordered with large trees, which run out into the country for
miles in perfectly straight lines, saw the handsome bungalows of the
residents, who surround themselves with many of the luxuries of Paris,
went over a beautiful convent, where the sisters who educate native
girl children received me with kindly courtesy; and eventually driving
in a gharrie far beyond the town, and then dismissing it, I got into a
labyrinth of lanes, each with a high hedge of cactus, and without
knowing it found that I was in a native village, Choquan, a village in
which every house seems to be surrounded and hidden by high walls of a
most malevolent and obnoxious cactus, so as to insure absolute privacy
to its proprietor. Each dwelling is under the shade of pommeloe,
orange, and bamboo. By dint of much peeping, and many pricks which have
since inflamed, I saw that the poorer houses were built of unplaned
planks or split bamboo, thatched with palm leaves, with deep verandas,
furnished with broad matted benches with curious, round bamboo pillows.
On these men, scarcely to be called clothed, were lying, smoking or
chewing the betel-nut, and all had teapots in covered baskets within
convenient reach. The better houses are built of an ornamental
framework of carved wood, the floor of which is raised about three feet
from the ground on brick pillars. The roofs of these are rather steep,
and are mostly tiled, and have deep eaves, but do not as elsewhere form
the cover of the veranda. While I was looking through the cactus
screen of one of these houses, a man came out with a number of low
caste, leggy, flop-eared, mangy dogs, who attacked me in a cowardly
bullying fashion, yelping, barking, and making surreptitious snaps at
my feet. Their owner called them off, however, and pelted them so
successfully that some ran away whimpering, and two pretended (as dogs
will) to have broken legs. This man carried a cocoa-nut, and on my
indicating that I was thirsty, he hesitated, and then turning back,
signed to me to follow him into his house. This was rare luck!

Within the cactus screen, which is fully ten feet high, there is a
graveled area, on which the neat-looking house stands, and growing out
of the very thirsty ground are cocoa palms, bananas, bread fruit, and
papayas. There are verandas on each side of the doorway with stone
benches; the doorway and window frames are hung with "portieres" of
split reeds, and a ladder does duty for door steps. The interior is
very dark, and divided into several apartments. As soon as I entered
there was a rush as if of bats into the darkness, but on being
reassured, about twenty women and boy and girl children appeared, and
contemplated me with an apathetic stare of extreme solemnity. Remember
the mercury was 92 degrees, so the women may be excused for having
nothing more than petticoats or loose trousers on in the privacy of
their home, the children for being in a state of nudity, and the man
for being clothed in a loin cloth! As I grew used to the darkness I saw
a toothless old woman smoking in a corner, fanned by two girls, who, I
believe, are domestic slaves. Near one of the window openings a young
woman was lounging, and two others were attentively removing vermin
from her luxuriant but ill-kept hair. Mats and bamboo pillows covered
the floors, and most of the inmates had been rudely disturbed in a

I was evidently in the principal apartment, for the walls were
decorated with Chinese marine pictures, among which were two glaring
daubs of a Madonna and an Ecce Homo. There was also a rude crucifix,
from which I gather that this is a Roman Catholic family. There were
two teapots of tea on a chair, a big tub of pommeloes on the floor, and
a glazed red earthenware bowl full of ripe bananas on another chair. A
sort of sickle, a gun, and some bullock gear hung against the wall. In
the middle of the room there was a sort of trap in the floor, and there
was the same in two other apartments. Through this all rubbish is
conveniently dropped. A woman brought in a cocoa-nut, and poured the
milk into a gourd calabash, and the man handed me the dish of bananas,
so I had an epicurean repast, and realized that I was in Cochin China!
They were courteous people, and not only refused the quarter dollar
which I pressed upon them, but gave me a handkerchief full of bananas
when I left them, being pleased, however, to accept a puggree.

The neat gravel area, the covered walls, and neatly tiled roof, the
lattice work, the boards suspended from the door-posts, with (as I
have since learned) texts from the Chinese Classics in gold upon them,
and the large establishment, show that the family belongs to the upper
class of Anamites, and leave one quite unprepared for the reeking,
festering heap of garbage below the house, the foul, fetid air, and
swarming vermin of the interior, and the unwashedness of the inmates. I
bowed myself out, the gate was barred behind me, and in two minutes I
had lost what I supposed to be my way, and having left the maze of
cactus-walled paths behind, was entangled in a maze of narrow village
paths through palms and bananas, flowering trees covered with creepers
and orchids, and a wonderful profusion of small and great ferns.
Getting back into the cactus hidden village I found groups of pretty,
dark-skinned children, quite naked, playing in the deep dust, while
some no bigger were lounging in the shade smoking cigars, lazily
watching the clouds of smoke which they puffed out from their chubby

Finding my own footsteps in the deep dust, I got back to a pathway with
a monstrous bamboo hedge on one side, and a rice-field on the other, in
which was a slimy looking pond with a margin of pink water-lilies, in
which a number of pink buffaloes of large size were wallowing with much
noise and rough play, plastering their sensitive hides with mud as a
protection against mosquitoes.

With some difficulty, by some very queer paths and with much
zigzagging, I at last reached Cholen,* a native town, said to be three
or eight miles from Saigon, and was so exhausted by the fatigue of the
long walk in such a ferocious temperature that I sat by the roadside on
a stump under a huge tropical tree, considering the ways of ants and
Anamites. Children with brown chubby faces which had never been washed
since birth, and, according to all accounts, will never be washed till
death, stood in a row, staring the stare of apathy, with a quiet
confidence. They had no clothes on, and I admired their well-made forms
and freedom from skin disease. The Mongolian face is pleasant in
childhood. A horde of pariah dogs in the mad excitement of a free
fight, passed, covering me with dust. (By the way, I am told that
hydrophobia is unknown in Cochin China.) Then some French artillerymen,
who politely raised their caps; then a quantity of market girls,
dressed like the same class in China, but instead of being bare-headed,
they wore basket hats, made of dried leaves, fully twenty-four inches
in diameter, by six in depth. These girls walked well, and looked
happy. Then a train of Anamese carts passed, empty, the solid wooden
wheels creaking frightfully round the ungreased axles, each cart being
drawn by two buffaloes, each pair being attached to the cart in front
by a rope through the nostrils, so that one driver sufficed for eleven
carts. The native men could not be said to be clothed, but, as I
remarked before, the mercury was above 90 degrees. They were, however,
protected both against sun and rain by hats over three feet in
diameter, very conical, peaked at the top, coming down umbrella fashion
over the shoulders, and well tilted back.
[*Cholen, i.e., the big market, has a population which is variously
estimated at from 30,000 to 80,000. I am inclined to think that the
lowest estimate is nearest the mark.--I. L. B.]

After laboriously reaching Cholen, I found far the greater part of the
town to be Chinese, rather than Anamese, with Chinese streets, temples,
gaming houses, club houses, and that general air of business and
industry which seems characteristic of the Chinese everywhere; but
still groping my way about, I came upon what I most wished to see--the
real Anamese town. There is a river, the Me-kong, or one of its
branches, and the town--the real native Cholen--consists of a very
large collection of river-dwellings, little, if at all, superior to
those which we passed in coming up. I spent an hour among them, and I
never saw any house whose area could be more than twelve feet square,
while many were certainly not more than seven feet by six. Such
primitive, ramshackle, shaky-looking dwellings I never before have
seen. As compared with them, an Aino hut, even of the poorest kind, is
a model of solidity and architectural beauty. They looked as if a
single gust would topple them and their human contents into the water.
Yet, if it were better carried out, it is not a bad idea to avoid
paying any Anamese form of rent, to secure perfect drainage, a
never-failing water supply, good fishing, immunity from reptiles, and
the easiest of all highways at the very door.

These small rooms with thatched roofs and gridiron floors, raised on
posts six or eight feet above the stream, are reached from the shore by
a path a foot wide, consisting of planks tied on to posts. The
river-dwellings, I must add, are tied together with palm fibre rope.
One of average size can be put together for eleven shillings. In front
of each house a log canoe is moored, into which it is easy to drop from
above when the owner desires any change of attitude or scene.

I ventured into two of these strange abodes, but it was dizzy work to
walk the plank, and as difficult to walk the gridiron floor in shoes.
Both were wretched habitations, but doubtless they suit their inmates,
who need nothing more than a shelter from the sun and rain. The men
wore only loin cloths. The women were clothed to the throat in loose
cotton garments; the children wore nothing. In both the men were
fishing for their supper over the edge of their platforms. In one a
woman was cooking rice; and in both there was a good store of rice,
bananas, and sweet potatoes. There was no furniture in either, except
matted platforms for sleeping upon, a few coarse pipkins, a red
earthen-ware pitcher or two, and some calabashes. On the wall of one
was a crucifix, and on a rafter in the other a wooden carving of a
jolly-looking man, mallet in hand, seated on rice bags, intended for
Daikoku, the Japanese God of Wealth. The people were quite unwashed,
but the draught of the river carried off the bad smells which ought to
have been there, and, fortunately, a gridiron floor is unfavorable to
accumulations of dirt and refuse. These natives look apathetic, and
are, according to our notions, lazy; but I am weary of seeing the
fevered pursuit of wealth, and am inclined to be lenient to these
narcotized existences, provided, as is the case, that they keep clear
of debt, theft, and charity.

Below this amphibious town there is a larger and apparently permanent
floating village, consisting of hundreds of boats moored to the shore
and to each other, poor and forlorn as compared with the Canton house
boats, but yet more crowded, a single thatched roof sheltering one or
more families, without any attempt at furniture or arrangement. The
children swarmed, and looked healthy, and remarkably free from eye and
skin diseases. There were Romish pictures in some of these boats, and
two or three of them exhibited the cross in a not inconspicuous place.
In my solitary explorations I was not mobbed or rudely treated in any
way. The people were as gentle and inoffensive in their manners as the
Japanese, without their elaborate courtesy and civilized curiosity.

Having seen all I could see, I turned shipwards, weary, footsore, and
exhausted; my feet so sore and blistered, indeed, that long before I
reached a gharrie I was obliged to take off my boots and wrap them in
handkerchiefs. The dust was deep and made heavy walking, and the level
straightness of a great part of the road is wearisome. Overtaking even
at my slow rate of progress a string of creaking buffalo carts, I got
upon the hindmost, but after a little rest found the noise, dust, and
slow progress intolerable, and plodded on as before, taking two and a
half hours to walk three miles. About a mile from Cholen there is an
extraordinary burial-ground, said to cover an area of twenty square
miles. (?) It is thickly peopled with the dead, and profuse vegetation
and funereal lichens give it a profoundly melancholy look. It was
chosen by the Cambodian kings several centuries ago for a cemetery, on
the advice of the astrologers of the court. The telegraph wire runs
near it, and so the old and the new age meet.

On my weary way I was overtaken by a young French artillery officer,
who walked with me until we came upon an empty gharrie, and was
eloquent upon the miseries of Saigon. It is a very important military
station, and a sort of depot for the convicts who are sent to the
(comparatively) adjacent settlement of New Caledonia. A large force of
infantry and artillery is always in barracks here, but it is a most
sickly station. At times 40 per cent. of this force is in hospital from
climatic diseases, and the number of men invalided home by every mail
steamer, and the frequent changes necessary, make Saigon a very costly
post. The French don't appear to be successful colonists. This Cochin
Chinese colony of theirs, which consists of the six ancient southern
provinces of the empire of Anam, was ceded to France in 1874, but its
European population is still under twelve thousand, exclusive of the
garrison and the Government officials. The Government consists of a
governor, aided by a privy council. The population of the colony is
under a million and a half, including eighty-two thousand Cambodians
and forty thousand Chinese. According to my various informants--this
young French officer, a French nun, and a trader of dubious
nationality, in whose shop I rested--France is doing its best to
promote the prosperity and secure the good-will of the natives. The
land-tax, which was very oppressive under the native princes, has been
lowered, municipal government has been secured to the native towns, and
corporate and personal rights have been respected. These persons
believe that the colony, far from being a source of profit to France,
is kept up at a heavy annual loss, and they regard the Chinese as the
only element in the population worth having. They think the Anamese
very superior to the Cambodians, from whom indeed they conquered these
six provinces, but the Cambodians are a bigger and finer race

I do not think I have said how hideous I think the adult Anamese.
Somewhere I have read that two thousand years before our era the
Chinese called them Giao-chi, which signifies "with the big toe." This
led me to look particularly at their bare feet, and I noticed even in
children such a wide separation of the big toe from the rest as to
convey the perhaps erroneous impression that it is of unusual size. The
men are singularly wide at the hips, and walk with a laughably
swaggering gait, which is certainly not affectation, but is produced by
a sufficient anatomical cause. I never saw such ugly, thick-set, rigid
bodies, such uniformly short necks, such sloping shoulders, such flat
faces and flatter noses, such wide, heavy, thick-lipped mouths, such
projecting cheek bones, such low foreheads, such flat-topped heads, and
such tight, thick skin, which suggests the word hide-bound. The dark,
tawny complexion has no richness of tint. Both men and women are short,
and the teeth of both sexes are blackened by the constant chewing of
the betel-nut, which reddens the saliva, which is constantly flowing
like blood from the corners of their mouths. Though not a vigorous,
they appear to be a healthy people, and have very large families. They
suffer chiefly from "forest fever" in the forest lands, but the rice
swamps, deadly to Europeans, do not harm them.

I rested for some time at a very beautiful convent, and was most kindly
entertained by some very calm, sweet-looking sisters, who labor piously
among the female Anamese, and have schools for girls. The troops are
stationed at Saigon for only two years, owing to the unhealthiness of
the climate, but these pious women have no sanitarium, and live and die
at their posts. Various things in the convent chapel remind one of the
faithfulness unto death both of missionaries and converts. In this
century alone three successive kings rivaled each other in persecuting
the Christians, both Europeans and native, over and over again
murdering all the missionaries. In 1841 the king ordered that all
missionaries should be drowned, and in 1851 his successor ordered that
whoever concealed a missionary should be cut in two. The terrible and
sanguinary persecution which followed this edict never ceased, till
years afterward the French frightened the king into toleration, and put
an end, one hopes forever, to the persecution of Christians. The
sisters compute the native Christians at seven thousand, and have
sanguine hopes for the future of Christianity in French Cochin China,
as well as in Cambodia, which appears to be under a French

I do not envy the French their colony. According to my three
informants, Europeans cannot be acclimatized, and most of the children
born of white parents die shortly after birth. The shores of the sea
and of the rivers are scourged by severe intermittent fevers, and the
whole of the colony by dysentery, which among Europeans is particularly
fatal. The mean temperature is 83 degrees F., the dampness is unusual,
and the nights are too hot to refresh people after the heat of the
[*The chief production of the country is rice, which forms half the sum
total of the exports. The other exports are chiefly salt-fish, salt,
undyed cotton, skins of beasts, and pepper. About seven hundred vessels
enter and leave Saigon in a year.]

After leaving the convent I resumed my gharrie, and the driver took me,
what I suppose is the usual "course" for tourists, through a quaint
Asiatic town inhabited by a mixed, foreign population of Hindus,
Malays, Tagals, and Chinese merchants, scattered among a large
indigenous population of Anamese fishermen, servants, and husbandmen,
through the colonial district, which looked asleep or dead, to the
markets, where the Chinamen and natives of India were in the full swing
and din of buying and selling all sorts of tropical fruits and rubbishy
French goods, and through what may be called the Government town or
official quarter. It was getting dark when I reached the wharf, and the
darkness enabled me to hobble unperceived on board on my bandaged feet.
The heat of the murky, lurid evening was awful, and as thousands of
mosquitoes took possession of the ship, all comfort was banished, and I
was glad when we steamed down the palm-fringed Saigon or Donnai waters,
and through the mangrove swamps at the mouths of the Me-kong river, and
past the lofty Cape St. Jacques, with its fort, into the open China

I. L. B.


Beauties of the Tropics--Singapore Hospitality--An Equatorial
Metropolis--An Aimless Existence--The Growth of Singapore--"Farms" and
"Farmers"--The Staple of Conversation--The Glitter of "Barbaric
Gold"--A Polyglot Population--A Mediocre People--Female Grace and
Beauty--The "Asian Mystery"--Oriental Picturesqueness--The
Metamorphosis of Singapore

SINGAPORE, January 19, 1879.

It is hot--so hot!--but not stifling, and all the rich-flavored,
colored fruits of the tropics are here--fruits whose generous juices
are drawn from the moist and heated earth, and whose flavors are the
imprisoned rays of the fierce sun of the tropics. Such cartloads and
piles of bananas and pine-apples, such heaps of custard-apples and
"bullocks' hearts," such a wealth of gold and green giving off
fragrance! Here, too, are treasures of the heated, crystal seas--things
that one has dreamed of after reading Jules Verne's romances. Big
canoes, manned by dark-skinned men in white turbans and loin-cloths,
floated round our ship, or lay poised on the clear depths of aquamarine
water, with fairy freights--forests of coral white as snow, or red,
pink, violet, in massive branches or fern-like sprays, fresh from their
warm homes beneath the clear warm waves, where fish as bright-tinted as
themselves flash through them like "living light." There were displays
of wonderful shells, too, of pale rose-pink, and others with rainbow
tints which, like rainbows, came and went--nothing scanty, feeble, or

It is a drive of two miles from the pier to Singapore, and to eyes
which have only seen the yellow skins and non-vividness of the Far
East, a world of wonders opens at every step. It is intensely tropical;
there are mangrove swamps, and fringes of cocoa-palms, and
banana-groves, date, sago, and travelers' palms, tree-ferns,
india-rubber, mango, custard-apple, jack-fruit, durion, lime,
pomegranate, pine-apples, and orchids, and all kinds of strangling and
parrot-blossomed trailers. Vegetation rich, profuse, endless, rapid,
smothering, in all shades of vivid green, from the pea-green of spring
and the dark velvety green of endless summer to the yellow-green of the
plumage of the palm, riots in a heavy shower every night and the heat
of a perennial sun-blaze every day, while monkeys of various kinds and
bright-winged birds skip and flit through the jungle shades. There is a
perpetual battle between man and the jungle, and the latter, in fact,
is only brought to bay within a short distance of Singapore.

I had scarcely finished breakfast at the hotel, a shady, straggling
building, much infested by ants, when Mr. Cecil Smith, the Colonial
Secretary, and his wife called, full of kind thoughts and plans of
furtherance; and a little later a resident, to whom I had not even a
letter of introduction, took me and my luggage to his bungalow. All the
European houses seem to have very deep verandas, large, lofty rooms,
punkahs everywhere, windows without glass, brick floors, and jalousies
and "tatties" (blinds made of grass or finely-split bamboo) to keep out
the light and the flies. This equatorial heat is neither as exhausting
or depressing as the damp summer heat of Japan, though one does long
"to take off one's flesh and sit in one's bones."

I wonder how this unexpected and hastily planned expedition into the
Malay States will turn out? It is so unlikely that the different
arrangements will fit in. It seemed an event in the dim future; but
yesterday my host sent up a "chit" from his office to say that a
Chinese steamer is to sail for Malacca in a day or two, and would I
like to go? I was only allowed five minutes for decision, but I have no
difficulty in making up my mind when an escape from civilization is
possible. So I wrote back that if I could get my money and letters of
introduction in time I would go, and returned to dine at Mr. Cecil
Smith's, where a delightfully cultured and intellectual atmosphere made
civilization more than tolerable. The needed letters were written,
various hints for my guidance were thrown out, and I drove back at
half-past ten under heavens which were one blaze of stars amidst a dust
of nebulae, like the inlaid gold spots amidst a dust of gold on old
Japanese lacquer, and through a moist, warm atmosphere laden with the
heavy fragrance of innumerable night-blossoming flowers.

Singapore, as the capital of the Straits Settlements and the residence
of the Governor, has a garrison, defensive works, ships of war hanging
about, and a great deal of military as well as commercial importance,
and "the roll of the British drum" is a reassuring sound in the midst
of the unquiet Chinese population. The Governor is assisted by
lieutenant-governors at Malacca and Pinang, and his actual rule extends
to the three "protected" States of the Malay Peninsula--Sungei Ujong,
Selangor, and Perak--the affairs of which are administered by British
Residents, who are more or less responsible to him.

If I fail in making you realize Singapore it is partly because I do not
care to go into much detail about so well known a city, and partly
because my own notions of it are mainly of overpowering greenery, a
kaleidoscopic arrangement of colors, Chinese predominance, and
abounding hospitality. I almost fail to realize that it is an island;
one of many; all, like itself, covered with vegetation down to the
water's edge; about twenty-seven miles long by fourteen broad, with the
city at its southern end. It is only seventy miles from the equator,
but it is neither unhealthy nor overpoweringly hot! It is low and
undulating, its highest point, Bukit Timor, or the Hill of Tin, being
only five hundred and twenty feet high. The greatest curse here used to
be tigers, which carried off about three hundred people yearly. They
were supposed to have been extirpated, but they have reappeared,
swimming across from the mainland State of Johore it is conjectured;
and as various lonely Chinese laborers have been victimized, there is
something of a "scare," in the papers at least. Turtles are so abundant
that turtle-soup is anything but a luxury, and turtle flesh is
ordinarily sold in the meat shops.

Rain is officially said to fall on two hundred days of the year, but
popularly every day! The rainfall is only eighty-seven inches,
however, and the glorious vegetation owes its redundancy to the
dampness of the climate. Of course Singapore has no seasons. The
variety is only in the intensity of the heat, the mercury being
tolerably steady between 80 degrees and 84 degrees, the extreme range
of temperature being from 71 degrees to 92 degrees. People sleep on
Malay mats spread over their mattresses for coolness, some dispense
with upper sheets, and others are fanned all night by punkahs. The soft
and tepid land and sea breezes mitigate the heat to a slight extent,
but I should soon long for a blustering north-easter to break in upon
the oppressive and vapor-bath stillness.

As Singapore is a military station, and ships of war hang about
constantly, there is a great deal of fluctuating society, and the
officials of the Straits Settlements Government are numerous enough to
form a large society of their own. Then there is the merchant class,
English, German, French, and American; and there is the usual round of
gayety, and of the amusements which make life intolerable. I think that
in most of these tropical colonies the ladies exist only on the hope of
going "home!" It is a dreary, aimless life for them--scarcely life,
only existence. The greatest sign of vitality in Singapore Europeans
that I can see is the furious hurry in writing for the mail. To all
sorts of claims and invitations, the reply is, "But it's mail day, you
know," or, "I'm writing for the mail," or, "I'm awfully behind hand
with my letters," or, "I can't stir till the mail's gone!" The hurry is
desperate, and even the feeble Englishwomen exert themselves for
"friends at home." To judge from the flurry and excitement, and the
driving down to the post-office at the last moment, and the commotion
in the parboiled community, one would suppose the mail to be an
uncertain event occurring once in a year or two, rather than the most
regular of weekly fixtures! The incoming mail is also a great event,
though its public and commercial news is anticipated by four weeks by
the telegraph.

The Americans boast of the rapid progress of San Francisco, with which
the Victorians boast that Melbourne is running a neck and neck race;
but, if boasting is allowable, Singapore may boast, for in 1818 the
island was covered with dense primeval forest, and only a few miserable
fishermen and pirates inhabited its creeks and rivers. The prescience
of Sir Stamford Raffles marked it out in 1819 as the site of the first
free port in the Malayan Seas, but it was not till 1824 that it was
formally ceded to the East India Company by the Sultan of Johore, and
it only became a Crown colony in 1867, when it was erected into the
capital of the Straits Settlements, which include Malacca and Pinang.

Like Victoria, Singapore is a free port, and the vexatiousness of a
custom-house is unknown. The only tax which shipping pays is 1-1/2 per
cent. for the support of sundry lighthouses. The list of its exports
suggests heat. They are chiefly sugar, pepper, tin, nutmegs, mace,
sago, tapioca, rice, buffalo hides and horns, rattans, gutta, india
rubber, gambier, gums, coffee, dye-stuffs, and tobacco, but the island
itself, though its soil looks rich from its redness, only produces
pepper and gambier. It is a great entrepot, a gigantic distributing
[*The exports and imports of Singapore amounted in 1823 to 2,120,000
pounds, in 1859-60 to 10,371,000 pounds, and in 1880, to 23,050,000
pounds! In the latter year, tonnage to the amount of three millions of
tons arrived in its harbor. It must be observed that the imports, to a
very large extent, are exported to other places.]

The problem of raising a revenue without customs duties is solved by a
stamp-tax, land-revenue, and (by far the most important), the sale of
the monopolies of the preparation and retailing of opium for smoking,
and of spirits and other excisable commodities, these monopolies being
"farmed" to private individuals, mostly Chinamen. It is rather puzzling
to hear "farmers" spoken of so near the equator. A revenue of nearly
half a million annually and a public debt of one hundred thousand
pounds is not bad for so young a colony. The prosperity of the Straits
Settlements ports is a great triumph for free traders, and a traveler,
even if, like myself, he has nothing but a canvas roll and a "Gladstone
bag," congratulates himself on being saved from the bother of
unstrapping and restrapping stiffened and refractory straps, and from
the tiresome delays of even the most courteous custom-house officers.

The official circle is large, as I before remarked. A Crown colony
where the Government has it all its own way must be the paradise of
officials, and the high sense of honor and the righteous esprit de
corps which characterize our civil servants in the Far East, and a
conscientious sense of responsibilities for the good government and
well-being of the heterogeneous populations over which they rule, seem
as good a check as the general run of colonial parliaments.

The Governor, Sir William Robinson (now Sir F. A. Weld), is assisted by
an Executive Council of eight members, and a Legislative Council
consisting of nine official and six non-official members, including Mr.
Whampoa, C.M.G., a Chinaman of great wealth and enlightened public
spirit, who is one of the foremost men in the colony. Then on the Civil
Establishment there are a legion of departments, the Colonial
Secretary's office with a branch office and Chinese Protectorate, a
Land Office, Printing Office, Treasury, Audit Office, Post Office,
Public Works and Survey Department, Marine Department, Judicial
Department, Attorney-General's Department, Sheriff's Department, Police
Court and Police Department, and Ecclesiastical, Educational, Medical,
and Prison Staffs.

It is natural that when the mail has been worn threadbare and no
stirring incidents present themselves, such as the arrival of a new
ship of war or a touring foreign prince, and the receptions of Mr.
Whampoa and the Maharajah of Johore have grown insipid, that much of
local conversation should consist of speculations as to when or whether
Mr. ---- will get promotion, when Mr. ---- will go home, or how much he
has saved out of his salary; what influence has procured the
appointment of Mr. ---- to Selangor or Perak, instead of Mr. ----,
whose qualifications are higher; whether Mr. ----'s acting appointment
will be confirmed; whether Mr. ---- will get one or two years' leave;
whether some vacant appointment is to be filled up or abolished, and so
on ad infinitum. Such talk girdles the colonial world as completely as
the telegraph, which has revolutionized European business here as

The island is far less interesting than the city. Its dense, dark
jungle is broken up mainly by pepper and gambier plantations, the
latter specially in new clearings. The laborers on these are Chinese,
and so are the wood-cutters and sawyers, who frequent the round-topped
wooded undulations. The climate is hotter and damper, to one's
sensations at least, than the hottest and dampest of the tropical
houses at Kew, and heat-loving insects riot. The ants are a pest of the
second magnitude, mosquitoes being of the first, the palm-trees and the
piles of decaying leaves and bark being excellent nurseries for larvae.
The vegetation is luxuriant, and in the dim, green twilight which is
created by enormous forest trees there are endless varieties of ferns,
calladiums, and parasitic plants; but except where a road has been cut
and is kept open by continual labor, the climbing rattan palms make it
impossible to explore.

My short visit has been mainly occupied with the day at the Colonial
Secretary's Lodge, and in walking and driving through the streets. The
city is ablaze with color and motley with costume. The ruling race does
not show to advantage. A pale-skinned man or woman, costumed in our
ugly, graceless clothes, reminds one not pleasingly, artistically at
least, of our dim, pale islands. Every Oriental costume from the Levant
to China floats through the streets--robes of silk, satin, brocade, and
white muslin, emphasized by the glitter of "barbaric gold;" and Parsees
in spotless white, Jews and Arabs in dark rich silks; Klings in Turkey
red and white; Bombay merchants in great white turbans, full trousers,
and draperies, all white, with crimson silk girdles; Malays in red
sarongs, Sikhs in pure white Madras muslin, their great height rendered
nearly colossal by the classic arrangement of their draperies; and
Chinamen of all classes, from the coolie in his blue or brown cotton,
to the wealthy merchant in his frothy silk crepe and rich brocade, make
up an irresistibly fascinating medley.

The English, though powerful as the ruling race, are numerically
nowhere, and certainly make no impression on the eye. The Chinese, who
number eighty-six thousand out of a population of one hundred and
thirty-nine thousand, are not only numerous enough, but rich and
important enough to give Singapore the air of a Chinese town with a
foreign settlement. Then there are the native Malays, who have crowded
into the island since we acquired it, till they number twenty-two
thousand, and who, besides being tolerably industrious as boatmen and
fishermen, form the main body of the police. The Parsee merchants, who
like our rule, form a respectable class of merchants here, as in all
the great trading cities of the East. The Javanese are numerous, and
make good servants and sailors. Some of the small merchants and many of
the clerks are Portuguese immigrants from Malacca; and traders from
Borneo, Sumatra, Celebes, Bali, and other islands of the Malay
Archipelago are scattered among the throng. The washermen and grooms
are nearly all Bengalees. Jews and Arabs make money and keep it, and
are, as everywhere, shrewd and keen, and only meet their equals among
the Chinese. Among the twelve thousand natives of India who have been
attracted to Singapore, and among all the mingled foreign
nationalities, the Klings from the Coromandel coast, besides being the
most numerous of all next to the Chinese, are the most attractive in
appearance, and as there is no check on the immigration of their women,
one sees the unveiled Kling beauties in great numbers.*
[*The Singapore census returns for 1881 are by no means "dry reading,"
and they give a very imposing idea of the importance of the island. It
is interesting to note that of the 434 enumerators employed only seven
were Europeans!

The number of houses on the island is 20,462; the total population is
139,208 souls, viz., 105,423 males and 33,785 females. The total
increase in ten years is divided as follows:--

Europeans and Americans 823
Eurasians 930
_Chinese_ 32,194
Malays and other natives of the Archipelago 6,954
Tamils and other natives of India 637
Other nationalities 559

Among these "other nationalities" the great increase has been among the
Arabs, who have nearly doubled their numbers. Among the "Malays and
other natives of the Archipelago" are included, Achinese, Boyanese,
Bugis, Dyaks, Jawi-Pekans, and Manilamen.

The European resident population, exclusive of the soldiers, is only
1,283. _The Chinese population is_ 86,766; the Malay, 22,114; the
Tamil, 10,475; the Javanese, 5,881; and the Eurasian, 3,091. In the
very small European population 19 nationalities are included, the
Germans numerically following the British. Of 15,368 domestic servants,
only 844 are women.]

These Klings are active and industrious, but they lack fibre
apparently, and that quick-sightedness for opportunities which makes
the Chinese the most successful of all emigrants. Not a Malay or a
Kling has raised himself either as a merchant or in any other capacity
to wealth or distinction in the colony. The Klings make splendid
boatmen, they drive gharries, run as syces, lend small sums of money at
usurious interest, sell fruit, keep small shops, carry "chit books,"
and make themselves as generally useful as their mediocre abilities
allow. They are said to be a harmless people so far as deeds go. They
neither fight, organize, nor get into police rows, but they quarrel
loudly and vociferously, and their vocabulary of abuse is said to be
inexhaustible. The Kling men are very fine-looking, lithe and active,
and, as they clothe but little, their forms are seen to great
advantage. The women are, I think, beautiful--not so much in face as in
form and carriage. I am never weary of watching and admiring their
inimitable grace of movement. Their faces are oval, their foreheads
low, their eyes dark and liquid, their noses shapely, but disfigured by
the universal adoption of jewelled nose-rings; their lips full, but not
thick or coarse; their heads small, and exquisitely set on long,
slender throats; their ears small, but much dragged out of shape by the
wearing of two or three hoop-earrings in each; and their glossy, wavy,
black hair, which grows classically low on the forehead, is gathered
into a Grecian knot at the back. Their clothing, or rather drapery, is
a mystery, for it covers and drapes perfectly, yet has no _make_, far
less fit, and leaves every graceful movement unimpeded. It seems to
consist of ten wide yards of soft white muslin or soft red material, so
ingeniously disposed as to drape the bust and lower limbs, and form a
girdle at the same time. One shoulder and arm are usually left bare.
The part which may be called a petticoat--though the word is a slur
upon the graceful drapery--is short, and shows the finely turned
ankles, high insteps, and small feet. These women are tall, and
straight as arrows; their limbs are long and rounded; their appearance
is timid, one might almost say modest, and their walk is the poetry of
movement. A tall, graceful Kling woman, draped as I have described,
gliding along the pavement, her statuesque figure the perfection of
graceful ease, a dark pitcher on her head, just touched by the
beautiful hand, showing the finely moulded arm, is a beautiful object,
classical in form, exquisite in movement, and artistic in coloring, a
creation of the tropic sun. What thinks she, I wonder, if she thinks
at all, of the pale European, paler for want of exercise and engrossing
occupation, who steps out of her carriage in front of her, an
ungraceful heap of poufs and frills, tottering painfully on high heels,
in tight boots, her figure distorted into the shape of a Japanese sake
bottle, every movement a struggle or a jerk, the clothing utterly
unsuited to this or any climate, impeding motion, and affecting health,
comfort, and beauty alike?

It is all fascinating. Here is none of the indolence and apathy which
one associates with Oriental life, and which I have seen in Polynesia.
These yellow, brown, tawny, swarthy, olive-tinted men are all intent on
gain; busy, industrious, frugal, striving, and, no matter what their
creed is, all paying homage to Daikoku. In spite of the activity,
rapidity, and earnestness, the movements of all but the Chinese are
graceful, gliding, stealthy, the swarthy faces have no expression that
I can read, and the dark, liquid eyes are no more intelligible to me
than the eyes of oxen. It is the "Asian mystery" all over.

It is only the European part of Singapore which is dull and sleepy
looking. No life and movement congregate round the shops. The
merchants, hidden away behind jalousies in their offices, or dashing
down the streets in covered buggies, make but a poor show. Their houses
are mostly pale, roomy, detached bungalows, almost altogether hidden by
the bountiful vegetation of the climate. In these their wives, growing
paler every week, lead half-expiring lives, kept alive by the efforts
of ubiquitous "punkah-wallahs;" writing for the mail, the one active
occupation. At a given hour they emerge, and drive in given directions,
specially round the esplanade, where for two hours at a time a double
row of handsome and showy equipages moves continuously in opposite
directions. The number of carriages and the style of dress of their
occupants are surprising, and yet people say that large fortunes are
not made now-a-days in Singapore! Besides the daily drive, the ladies,
the officers, and any men who may be described as of "no occupation,"
divert themselves with kettle-drums, dances, lawn tennis, and various
other devices for killing time, and this with the mercury at 80
degrees! Just now the Maharajah of Johore, sovereign of a small state
on the nearest part of the mainland, a man much petted and decorated by
the British Government for unswerving fidelity to British interests,
has a house here, and his receptions and dinner parties vary the
monotonous round of gayeties.

The native streets monopolize the picturesqueness of Singapore with
their bizarre crowds, but more interesting still are the bazaars or
continuous rows of open shops which create for themselves a perpetual
twilight by hanging tatties or other screens outside the sidewalks,
forming long shady alleys, in which crowds of buyers and sellers
chaffer over their goods, the Chinese shopkeepers asking a little more
than they mean to take, and the Klings always asking double. The bustle
and noise of this quarter are considerable, and the vociferation
mingles with the ringing of bells and the rapid beating of drums and
tom-toms--an intensely heathenish sound. And heathenish this great city
is. Chinese joss-houses, Hindu temples, and Mohammedan mosques almost
jostle each other, and the indescribable clamor of the temples and the
din of the joss-houses are faintly pierced by the shrill cry from the
minarets calling the faithful to prayer, and proclaiming the divine
unity and the mission of Mahomet in one breath.

How I wish I could convey an idea, however faint, of this huge,
mingled, colored, busy, Oriental population; of the old Kling and
Chinese bazaars; of the itinerant sellers of seaweed jelly, water,
vegetables, soup, fruit, and cooked fish, whose unintelligible street
cries are heard above the din of the crowds of coolies, boatmen, and
gharriemen waiting for hire; of the far-stretching suburbs of Malay and
Chinese cottages; of the sheet of water, by no means clean, round which
hundreds of Bengalis are to be seen at all hours of daylight
unmercifully beating on great stones the delicate laces, gauzy silks,
and elaborate flouncings of the European ladies; of the ceaseless rush
and hum of industry, and of the resistless, overpowering, astonishing
Chinese element, which is gradually turning Singapore into a Chinese
city! I must conclude abruptly, or lose the mail.

I. L. B.


St. Andrew's Cathedral--Singapore Harbor Scenes--Chinese
Preponderance--First Impressions of Malacca--A Town "Out of the


Yesterday I attended morning service in St. Andrew's, a fine colonial
cathedral, prettily situated on a broad grass lawn among clumps of
trees near the sea. There is some stained glass in the apse, but in the
other windows, including those in the clerestory, Venetian shutters
take the place of glass, as in all the European houses. There are
thirty-two punkahs, and the Indians who worked them, anyone of whom
might have been the model of the Mercury of the Naples Museum, sat or
squatted outside the church. The service was simple and the music very
good, but in the Te Deum, just as the verse "Thou art the King of
Glory, O Christ," I caught sight of the bronze faces of these "punkah-
wallahs," mostly bigoted Mussulmen, and was overwhelmed by the
realization of the small progress which Christianity has made upon the
earth in nineteen centuries. A Singhalese D.D. preached an able sermon.
Just before the communion we were called out, as the Rainbow was about
to sail, and a harbor boat, manned by six splendid Klings, put us on

The Rainbow is a very small vessel, her captain half Portuguese and
half Malay, her crew Chinese, and her cabin passengers were all Chinese
merchants. Her engineer is a Welshman, a kindly soul, who assured Mr.
----, when he commended me to his care, that "he was a family man, and
that nothing gave him greater pleasure than seeing that ladies were
comfortable," and I owe to his good offices the very small modicum of
comfort that I had. Waiting on the little bridge was far from being
wearisome, there was such a fascination in watching the costumed and
manifold life of the harbor, the black-hulled, sullen-looking steamers
from Europe discharging cargo into lighters, Malay prahus of all sizes
but one form, sharp at both ends, and with eyes on their bows, like the
Cantonese and Cochin China boats, reeling as though they would upset
under large mat sails, and rowing-boats rowed by handsome, statuesque
Klings. A steamer from Jeddah was discharging six hundred pilgrims in
most picturesque costumes; and there were boats with men in crimson
turbans and graceful robes of pure white muslin, and others a mass of
blue umbrellas, while some contained Brahmins with the mark of caste
set conspicuously on their foreheads, all moving in a veil of gold in
the setting of a heavy fringe of cocoa-palms.

We sailed at four, with a strong favorable breeze, and the sea was
really delightful as we passed among green islets clothed down to the
water's edge with dense tropical vegetation, right out into the open
water of the Straits of Malacca, a burning, waveless sea, into which
the sun was descending in mingled flame and blood. Then, dinner for
three, consisting of an excellent curry, was spread on the top of the
cabin, and eaten by the captain, engineer, and myself, after which the
engineer took me below to arrange for my comfort, and as it was
obviously impossible for me to sleep in a very dirty and very small
hole, tenanted by cockroaches disproportionately large, and with a
temperature of eighty-eight degrees, he took a mattress and pillows
upon the bridge, told me his history, and that of his colored wife and
sixteen children under seventeen, of his pay of 35 pounds a month, lent
me a box of matches, and vanished into the lower regions with the
consoling words, "If you want anything in the night, just call
'Engineer' down the engine skylight." It does one's heart good to meet
with such a countryman.

The Rainbow is one of the many tokens of preponderating Chinese
influence in the Straits of Malacca. The tickets are Chinese, as well
as the ownership and crew. The supercargo who took my ticket is a sleek
young Chinaman in a pigtail, girdle, and white cotton trousers. The
cabin passengers are all Chinamen. The deck was packed with Chinese
coolies on their way to seek wealth in the diggings at Perak. They were
lean, yellow, and ugly, smoked a pipe of opium each at sundown, wore
their pigtails coiled round their heads, and loose blue cotton
trousers. We had slipped our cable at Singapore, because these coolies
were clambering up over every part of the vessel, and defying all
attempts to keep them out, so that "to cut and run" was our only
chance. The owners do not allow any intoxicant to be brought on board,
lest it should be given to the captain and crew, and they should take
too much and lose the vessel. I am the only European passenger and the
only woman on board. I had a very comfortable night lying on deck in
the brisk breeze on the waveless sea, and though I watched the stars,
hoping to see the Southern Cross set, I fell asleep, till I was awoke
at the very earliest dawn by a most formidable Oriental shouting to me
very fiercely I thought, with a fierce face; but it occurred to me that
he was trying to make me understand that they wanted to wash decks, so
I lifted my mattress on a bench and fell asleep again, waking to find
the anchor being let go in the Malacca roads six hours before we should
have arrived.

I am greatly interested with the first view of Malacca, one of the
oldest European towns in the East, originally Portuguese, then Dutch,
and now, though under English rule, mainly Chinese. There is a long bay
with dense forests of cocoa-palms, backed by forests of I know not
what, then rolling hills, and to the right beyond these a mountain
known as Mount Ophir, rich in gold. Is this possibly, as many think,
the Ophir of the Bible, and this land of gems and gold truly the
"Golden Chersonese?" There are islets of emerald green lying to the
south, and in front of us a town of antiquated appearance, low houses,
much colored, with flattish, red-tiled roofs, many of them built on
piles, straggling for a long distance, and fringed by massive-looking
bungalows, half buried in trees. A hill rises near the middle, crowned
by a ruined cathedral, probably the oldest Christian church in the Far
East, with slopes of bright green grass below, timbered near their base
with palms and trees of a nearly lemon-colored vividness of
spring-green, and there are glimpses of low, red roofs behind the hill.
On either side of the old-world-looking town and its fringe of
bungalows are glimpses of steep, reed roofs among the cocoa-palms. A
long, deserted-looking jetty runs far out into the shallow sea, a few
Chinese junks lie at anchor, in the distance a few Malay fishermen are
watching their nets, but not a breath stirs, the sea is without a
ripple, the gray clouds move not, the yellow plumes of the palms are
motionless; the sea, the sky, the town, look all alike asleep in a
still, moist, balmy heat.

Stadthaus, Malacca, 4 P.M.--Presently we were surrounded by a crowd of
Malay boats with rude sails made of mats, but their crews might have
been phantoms for any noise they made. By one of these I sent my card
and note of introduction to the Lieutenant-Governor. An hour afterward
the captain told me that the Governor usually went into the country
early on Monday morning for two days, which seemed unfortunate. Soon
after, the captain and engineer went ashore, and I was left among a
crowd of Chinamen and Malays without any possibility of being
understood by any of them, to endure stifling heat and provoking
uncertainty, much aggravated by the want of food, for another three
hours. At last, when very nearly famished, and when my doubts as to the
wisdom of this novel and impromptu expedition had become very serious
indeed, a European boat appeared, moving with the long steady stroke of
a man-of-war's boat, rowed by six native policemen, with a
frank-looking bearded countryman steering, and two peons in white, with
scarlet-and-gold hats and sashes, in the bow, and as it swept up to
the Rainbow's side the man in white stepped on board, and introduced
himself to me as Mr. Biggs, the colonial chaplain, deputed to receive
me on behalf of the Governor, who was just leaving when my card
arrived. He relieved all anxiety as to my destination by saying that
quarters were ready for me in the Stadthaus.

We were soon on a lovely shore under the cathedral-crowned hill, where
the velvety turf slopes down to the sea under palms and trees whose
trunks are one mass of ferns, brightened by that wonderful flowering
tree variously known as the "flamboyant" and the "flame of the forest"
(Poinciana regia). Very still, hot, tropical, sleepy, and dreamy,
Malacca looks, a town "out of the running," utterly antiquated, mainly
un-English, a veritable Sleepy Hollow.

I. L. B.


The Lieutenant-Governor of Malacca--A Charming Household--The Old
Stadthaus--A Stately Habitation--An Endless Siesta--A Tropic
Dream--Chinese Houses--Chinese Wealth and Ascendency--"Opium
Farming"--The Malacca Jungle--Mohammedan Burial-Places--Malay
Villages--Malay Characteristics--Costume and Ornament--Bigotry and
Pilgrimage--The Malay Buffalo

STADTHAUS, MALACCA, January 21-23.

This must surely fade like a dream, this grand old Stadthaus, this
old-world quiet, this quaint life; but when it fades I think I shall
have a memory of having been "once in Elysium." Still, Elysium should
have no mosquitoes, and they are nearly insupportable here; big spotted
fellows, with a greed for blood, and a specially poisonous bite, taking
the place at daylight of the retiring nocturnal host. The Chinese
attendant is not careful, and lets mosquitoes into my net, and even one
means a sleepless night. They are maddening.

I was introduced to my rooms, with their floors of red Dutch tiles,
their blue walls, their white-washed rafters, their doors and windows
consisting of German shutters only, their ancient beds of portentous
height, and their generally silent and haunted look, and then went to
tiffin with Mr. and Mrs. Biggs. Mr. Biggs is a student of hymnology,
and we were soon in full swing on this mutually congenial subject. Mrs.
Biggs devotes her time and strength to the training and education of
young Portuguese girls. I pass their open bungalow as I go to and from
the Governor's cottage, and it usually proves a trap.

Captain Shaw, who has been for many years Lieutenant-Governor of
Malacca, is a fine, hearty, frank, merry, manly, Irish naval officer,
well read and well informed, devoted to Malacca and its interests, and
withal a man of an especially unselfish, loving, and tender nature,
considerate to an unusual degree of the happiness and comfort of those
about him. Before I had been here many hours I saw that he was the
light of a loving home.* He can be firm and prompt when occasion
requires firmness, but his ordinary rule is of the gentlest and most
paternal description, so that from the Chinese he has won the name of
"Father," and among the Malays, the native population, English rule, as
administered by him, has come to be known as "the rule of the just."
The family, consisting of the Governor, his, wife, and two daughters
just grown up, is a very charming one, and their quiet, peaceful life
gives me the opportunity which so rarely falls to the lot of a traveler
of becoming really intimate with them.
[*I should not have reproduced this paragraph of my letter were Captain
Shaw still alive, but in five weeks after my happy visit he died almost
suddenly, to the indescribable grief of his family and of the people of
Malacca, by whom he was greatly beloved.]

The Government bungalow, in which I spend most of my time, is a
comfortable little cottage, with verandas larger than itself. In the
front veranda, festooned with trailers and orchids, two Malay military
policemen are always on guard, and two scornful-looking Bengalis in
white trousers, white short robes, with sashes of crimson silk striped
with gold, and crimson-and-gold flat hats above their handsome but
repellent faces, make up the visible part of the establishment. One of
these Bengalis has been twice to Mecca, at an expense of 40 pounds on
each visit, and on Friday appears in a rich Hadji suit, in which he
goes through the town, and those Mussulmen who are not Hadji bow down
to him. I saw from the very first that my project of visiting the
native States was not smiled upon at Government House.

The Government bungalow being scarcely large enough for the Governor's
family, I am lodged in the old Dutch Stadthaus, formerly the residence
of the Dutch Governor, and which has enough of solitude and faded
stateliness to be fearsome, or at the least eerie, to a solitary guest
like myself, to whose imagination, in the long, dark nights, creeping
Malays or pilfering Chinamen are far more likely to present themselves
than the stiff beauties and formal splendors of the heyday of Dutch
ascendancy. The Stadthaus, which stands on the slope of the hill, and
is the most prominent building in Malacca, is now used as the Treasury,
Post Office, and Government offices generally. There are large state
reception-rooms, including a ball-room, and suites of apartments for
the use of the Governor of the Straits Settlements, the Chief-Justice,
and other high officials, on their visits to Malacca. The Stadthaus, at
its upper end on the hill, is only one story high, but where it abuts
on the town it is three and even four. The upper part is built round
three sides of a Dutch garden, and a gallery under the tiled veranda
runs all round. A set of handsome staircases on the sea side leads to
the lawn-like hill with the old cathedral, and the bungalows of the
Governor and colonial chaplain. Stephanotis, passiflora, tuberose,
alamanda, Bougainvillea, and other trailers of gorgeous colors, climb
over everything, and make the night heavy with their odors. There must
be more than forty rooms in this old place, besides great arched
corridors, and all manner of queer staircases and corners. Dutch tiling
and angularities and conceits of all kinds abound.

My room opens on one side upon a handsome set of staircases under the
veranda, and on the other upon a passage and staircase with several
rooms with doors of communication, and has various windows opening on
the external galleries. Like most European houses in the Peninsula, it
has a staircase which leads from the bedroom to a somewhat grim,
brick-floored room below, containing a large high tub, or bath, of
Shanghai pottery, in which you must by no means bathe, as it is found
by experience that to take the capacious dipper and pour water upon
yourself from a height, gives a far more refreshing shock than
immersion when the water is at 80 degrees and the air at 83 degrees.

The worst of my stately habitation is, that after four in the afternoon
there is no one in it but myself, unless a Chinese coolie, who has a
lair somewhere, and appears in my room at all sorts of unusual hours
after I think I have bolted and barred every means of ingress. However,
two Malay military policemen patrol the verandas outside at intervals
all night, and I have the comfort of imagining that I hear far below
the clank of the British sentries who guard the Treasury. In the early
morning my eyes always open on the Governor's handsome Mohammedan
servant in spotless white muslin and red head-dress and girdle,
bringing a tray with tea and bananas. The Chinese coolie who appears
mysteriously attends on me, and acts as housemaid, our communications
being entirely by signs. The mosquitoes are awful. The view of the
green lawns, the sleeping sea, the motionless forest of cocoa-palms
along the shore, the narrow stream and bridge, and the quaint red-tiled
roofs of the town, is very charming and harmonious; yet I often think,
if these dreamy days went on into months, that I should welcome an
earthquake shock, or tornado, or jarring discord of some rousing kind,
to break the dream produced by the heated, steamy, fragrant air, and
the monotonous silence.

I have very little time for writing here, and even that is abridged by
the night mosquitoes, which muster their forces for a desperate attack
as soon as I retire to the Stadthaus for two hours of quiet before
dinner, so I must give the features of Malacca mainly in outline.
Having written this sentence, I am compelled to say that the feature of
Malacca is that it is featureless! It is a land where it is "always
afternoon"--hot, still, dreamy. Existence stagnates. Trade pursues its
operations invisibly. Commerce hovers far off on the shallow sea. The
British and French mail steamers give the port a wide offing. It has no
politics, little crime, rarely gets even two lines in an English
newspaper, and does nothing toward making contemporary history. The
Lieutenant-Governor has occupied the same post for eleven years. A
company of soldiers vegetates in quarters in a yet sleepier region than
the town itself. Two Chinese steamers make it a port of call, but,
except that they bring mails, their comings and goings are of no
interest to the very small English part of the population. Lying
basking in the sun, or crawling at the heads of crawling oxen very like
hairless buffaloes, or leaning over the bridge looking at nothing, the
Malays spend their time when they come into the town, their very
movements making the lack of movement more perceptible.

The half-breed descendants of the Portuguese, who kept up a splendid
pomp of rule in the days of Francis Xavier, seem to take an endless
siesta behind their closely covered windows. I have never seen an
Englishman out of doors except Mr. Hayward, the active superintendent
of military police, or Mr. Biggs, who preserves his health and energies
by systematic constitutionals. Portuguese and Dutch rule have passed
away, leaving, as their chief monuments--the first, a ruined cathedral,
and a race of half-breeds; and the last, the Stadthaus and a flat-faced
meeting-house. A heavy shower, like a "thunder-plump," takes up a part
of the afternoon, after which the Governor's carriage, with servants in
scarlet liveries, rolls slowly out of Malacca, and through the
sago-palms and back again. If aught else which is European breaks the
monotony of the day I am not aware of it. The streets have no
particular features, though one cannot but be aware that a narrow
stream full of boats, and spanned by a handsome bridge, divides the
town into two portions, and that a handsome clock-tower (both tower and
bridge erected by some wealthy Chinese merchants) is a salient object
below the Stadthaus. Trees, trailers, fruits, smother the houses, and
blossom and fruit all the year round; old leaves, young leaves, buds,
blossom, and fruit, all appearing at once. The mercury rarely falls
below 79 degrees or rises above 84 degrees. The softest and least
perceptible of land and sea breezes blow alternately at stated hours.
The nights are very still. The days are a tepid dream. Since I arrived
not a leaf has stirred, not a bird has sung, the tides ebb and flow in
listless and soundless ripples. Far off, on the shallow sea, phantom
ships hover and are gone, and on an indefinite horizon a blurred ocean
blends with a blurred sky. On Mount Ophir heavy cloud-masses lie always
motionless. The still, heavy, fragrant nights pass with no other sounds
than the aggressive hum of mosquitoes and the challenge of the
sentries. But through the stormy days and the heavy nights Nature is
always busy in producing a rapidity and profusion of growth which would
turn Malacca into a jungle were it not for axe and billhook, but her
work does not jar upon the general silence. Yet with all this
indefiniteness, dreaminess, featurelessness, indolence, and silence, of
which I have attempted to convey an idea, Malacca is very fascinating,
and no city in the world, except Canton, will leave so vivid an
impression upon me, though it may be but of a fragrant tropic dream and
nothing more.

Yesterday Mrs. Biggs took me a drive through Malacca and its forest
environs. It was delightful; every hour adds to the fascination which
this place has for me. I thought my tropic dreams were over, when seven
years ago I saw the summit peaks of Oahu sink sunset flushed into a
golden sea, but I am dreaming it again. The road crosses the bridge
over the narrow stream, which is, in fact, the roadway of a colored and
highly picturesque street, and at once enters the main street of
Malacca, which is parallel to the sea. On the sea side each house
consists of three or four divisions, one behind the other, each roof
being covered with red tiles. The rearmost division is usually built
over the sea, on piles. In the middle of each of the three front
divisions there is a courtyard. The room through which you enter from
the street always has an open door, through which you see houses
showing a high degree of material civilization, lofty rooms, handsome
altars opposite the doors, massive, carved ebony tables, and carved
ebony chairs with marble seats and backs standing against the walls,
hanging pictures of the kind called in Japan kakemono, and rich bronzes
and fine pieces of porcelain on ebony brackets. At night, when these
rooms are lighted up with eight or ten massive lamps, the appearance is
splendid. These are the houses of Chinese merchants of the middle

And now I must divulge the singular fact that Malacca is to most
intents and purposes a Chinese city. The Dutch, as I wrote, have
scarcely left a trace. The Portuguese, indolent, for thc most part
poor, and lowered by native marriages, are without influence, a most
truly stagnant population, hardly to be taken into account. Their poor-
looking houses resemble those of Lisbon. The English, except in so far
as relates to the administration of government, are nowhere, though it
is under our equitable rule that the queerly mixed population of
Chinese, Portuguese, half-breeds, Malays, Confucianists, Buddhists,
Tauists, Romanists, and Mohammedans "enjoy great quietness."*
[*By the census of 1881 the resident European population of the
Settlement of Malacca consists of 23 males and 9 females, a "grand"
total of 32! The Eurasian population, mainly of Portuguese mixed blood,
is 2,213. The Chinese numbers 19,741, 4,020 being females. The Malay
population is 67,488, the females being 2,000 in excess of the males,
the Tamils or Klings are 1,781, the Arabs 227, the Aborigines of the
Peninsula 308, the Javanese 399, the Boyanese 212, and the Jawi-Pekans
867. Besides these there are stray Achinese, Africans, Anamese,
Bengalis, Bugis, Dyaks, Manilamen, Siamese, and Singhalese, numbering
174. The total population of the territory is 93,579, viz., 52,059 males
and 41,520 females, an increase in ten years of 15,823. The decrease in
the number of resident Europeans is 31.9 per cent. In "natives of India"
42 per cent., and in "other nationalities" 48.9 per cent. On the other
hand the Chinese population has increased by 6,259 or 46.4 per cent.,
and the Malays by 11,264, or 19.3 per cent. The town of Malacca contains
5,538 houses, and the country districts 11,177. The area of the
settlement is 640 square miles, and the density of the population 146 to
the square mile; only twelve of the population are lunatics.]

Of the population of the town the majority are said to be Chinese, and
still their crowded junks are rolling down on the north-east monsoon.
As I remarked before, the coasting trade of the Straits of Malacca is
in their hands, and to such an extent have they absorbed the trade of
this colony, that I am told there is not a resident British merchant in
Malacca. And it is not, as elsewhere, that they come, make money, and
then return to settle in China, but they come here with their wives and
families, buy or build these handsome houses, as well as large
bungalows in the neighboring cocoa-groves, own most of the plantations
up the country, and have obtained the finest site on the hill behind

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