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

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the town for their stately tombs. Every afternoon their carriages roll
out into the country, conveying them to their substantial bungalows to
smoke and gamble. They have fabulous riches in diamonds, pearls,
sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. They love Malacca, and take a pride in
beautifying it. They have fashioned their dwellings upon the model of
those in Canton, but whereas cogent reasons compel the rich Chinaman at
home to conceal the evidences of his wealth, he glories in displaying
it under the security of British rule. The upper class of the Chinese
merchants live in immense houses within walled gardens. The wives of
all are secluded, and inhabit the back regions and have no share in the
remarkably "good time" which the men seem to have. Along with their
industrious habits and their character for fair trading, the Chinese
have brought to Malacca gambling and opium-smoking. One-seventh of the
whole quantity of opium exported from India to China is intercepted and
consumed in the Straits Settlements, and the Malacca Government makes a
large revenue from it. The Chinaman who "farms the opium"--i.e., who
purchases from the Government the exclusive right to sell it--pays for
his monopoly about 50 pounds per day. It must be remembered, however,
that every man who smokes opium is not what we understand by an
"opium-smoker," and that between the man who takes his daily pipe of
opium after his supper, and the unhappy opium-slave who reduces himself
to imbecility in such dens as I saw in Canton, there is just as much
difference as there is in England between the "moderate drinker" and
the "habitual drunkard." Slavery is prohibited in Malacca, and slaves
from the neighboring State fly for freedom to the shelter of the
British flag; but there is reason to suppose that the numerous women in
the households of the Chinese merchants, though called servants, are
persons who have been purchased in China, and are actually held in
bondage. Apart from these exceptions, the Chinese population is a
valuable one, and is, in its upper classes, singularly public-spirited,
law-abiding, and strongly attached to British rule.

I saw no shops except those for the sale of fish, fruit, and coarse
native pottery, but doubtless most things which are suited to the wants
of the mixed population can be had in the bazaars. As we drove out of
the town the houses became fewer and the trees denser, with mosques
here and there among them, and in a few minutes we were in the great
dark forest of cocoa, betel, and sago palms, awfully solemn and
oppressive in the hot stillness of the evening. Every sight was new,
for though I have seen the cocoa-palm before, the palm-fringes of the
coral islands, with their feathery plumes have little kinship with the
dark, crowded cocoa-forests of Malacca, with their endless vistas and
mysterious gloom. These forests are intersected by narrow, muddy
streams, suggestive of alligators, up which you can go in canoes if you
lie down, and are content with the yet darker shade produced by the
nipah, a species of stemless palm, of which the poorer natives make
their houses, and whose magnificent fronds are often from twenty to
twenty-two feet in length. The soft carriage road passes through an
avenue of trees of great girth and a huge spread of foliage, bearing
glorious yellow blossoms of delicious fragrance. Jungles of sugar-cane
often form the foreground of dense masses of palms, then a jungle of
pine-apples surprises one, then a mass of lianas, knotted and tangled,
with stems like great cables, and red blossoms as large as breakfast
cups. The huge trees which border the road have their stems and
branches nearly hidden by orchids and epiphytes--chiefly that lovely
and delicate one whose likeness to a hovering dove won for it the name
of the "Flower of the Holy Ghost," an orchid (Peristeria elata) which
lives but for a day, but in its brief life fills the air with
fragrance. Then the trees change, the long tresses of an
autumn-flowering orchid fall from their branches over the road; dead
trees appear transformed into living beauty by multitudes of ferns,
among which the dark-green shining fronds of the Asplenium nidus,
measuring four feet in length, specially delight the eye; huge
tamarinds and mimosa add the grace of their feathery foliage; the
banana unfolds its gigantic fronds above its golden fruitage; clumps of
the betel or areca palms, with their slender and absolutely straight
shafts, make the cocoa-palms look like clumsy giants; the gutta-percha,
india rubber, and other varieties of ficus, increase the forest gloom
by the brown velvety undersides of their shining dark-green leafage;
then comes the cashew-nut tree, with its immense spread of branches,
and its fruit an apple with a nut below; and the beautiful bread-fruit,
with its green "cantalupe melons," nearly ripe, and the gigantic jak
and durion, and fifty others, children of tropic heat and moisture, in
all the promise of perpetual spring, and the fulfillment of endless
summer, the beauty of blossom and the bounteousness of an unfailing
fruitage crowning them through all the year. At their feet is a tangle
of fungi, mosses, ferns, trailers, lilies, nibongs, reeds, canes,
rattans, a dense and lavish undergrowth, in which reptiles, large and
small, riot most congenially, and in which broods of mosquitoes are
hourly hatched, to the misery of man and beast. Occasionally a small
and comparatively cleared spot appears, with a crowded cluster of
graves, with a pawn-shaped stone at the head of each, and the beautiful
Frangipani,* the "Temple Flower" of Singhalese Buddhism, but the "Grave
Flower" of Malay Mohammedanism, sheds its ethereal fragrance among the
tombs. The dead lie lonely in the forest shade, under the feathery
palm-fronds, but the living are not far to seek.
[*Plumieria sp.]

It is strange that I should have written thus far and have said nothing
at all about the people from whom this Peninsula derives its name, who
have cost us not a little blood and some treasure, with whom our
relations are by no means well defined or satisfactory, and who, though
not the actual aborigines of the country, have at least that claim to
be considered its rightful owners which comes from long centuries of
possession. In truth, between English rule, the solid tokens of Dutch
possession, the quiet and indolent Portuguese, the splendid memories of
Francis Xavier, and the numerical preponderance, success, and wealth of
the Chinese, I had absolutely forgotten the Malays, even though a dark-
skinned military policeman, with a gliding, snake-like step, whom I
know to be a Malay, brings my afternoon tea to the Stadthaus! Of them I
may write more hereafter. They are symbolized to people's minds in
general by the dagger called a kris, and by the peculiar form of frenzy
which has given rise to the phrase "running amuck."

The great cocoa groves are by no means solitary, for they contain the
kampongs, or small raised villages of the Malays. Though the Malay
builds his dismal little mosques on the outskirts of Malacca, he shuns
the town, and prefers a life of freedom in his native jungles, or on
the mysterious rivers which lose themselves among the mangrove swamps.
So in the neighborhood of Malacca these kampongs are scattered through
the perpetual twilight of the forest. They do not build the houses
very close together, and whether of rich or poor, the architecture is
the same. Each dwelling is of planed wood or plaited palm leaves, the
roof is high and steep, the eaves are deep, and the whole rests on a
gridiron platform, supported on posts from five to ten feet high, and
approached by a ladder in the poorer houses, and a flight of steps in
the richer. In the ordinary houses mats are laid here and there over
the gridiron, besides the sleeping mats; and this plan of an open
floor, though trying to unaccustomed Europeans, has various advantages.
As, for instance, it insures ventilation, and all debris can be thrown
through it, to be consumed by the fire which is lighted every evening
beneath the house to smoke away the mosquitoes. A baboon, trained to
climb the cocoa palms and throw down the nuts, is an inmate of most of
the houses.

The people lead strange and uneventful lives. The men are not inclined
to much effort except in fishing or hunting, and, where they possess
rice land, in ploughing for rice. They are said to be quiet,
temperate, jealous, suspicious, some say treacherous, and most bigoted
Mussulmen. The women are very small, keep their dwellings very tidy,
and weave mats and baskets from reeds and palm leaves. They are clothed
in cotton or silk from the ankles to the throat, and the men, even in
the undress of their own homes, usually wear the sarong, a picturesque
tightish petticoat, consisting of a wide piece of stuff kept on by a
very ingenious knot. They are not savages in the ordinary sense, for
they have a complete civilization of their own, and their legal system
is derived from the Koran.

They are dark brown, with rather low foreheads, dark and somewhat
expressionless eyes, high cheek bones, flattish noses with broad
nostrils, and wide mouths with thick lips. Their hair is black,
straight and shining, and the women dress it in a plain knot at the
back of the head. To my thinking, both sexes are decidedly ugly, and
there is a coldness and aloofness of manner about them which chills one
even where they are on friendly terms with Europeans, as the people
whom we visited were with Mrs. Biggs.

The women were lounging about the houses, some cleaning fish, others
pounding rice; but they do not care for work, and the little money
which they need for buying clothes they can make by selling mats, or
jungle fruits. Their lower garment, or sarong, reaching from the waist
to the ankles, is usually of red cotton of a small check, with stripes
in the front, above which is worn a loose sleeved garment, called a
kabaya, reaching to the knees, and clasped in front with silver or
gold, and frequently with diamond ornaments. They also wear gold or
silver pins in their hair, and the sarong is girt or held up by a clasp
of enormous size, and often of exquisite workmanship, in the poorer
class of silver, and in the richer of gold jeweled with diamonds and
rubies. The sarong of the men does not reach much below the knee and
displays loose trousers. They wear above it a short-sleeved jacket, the
baju, beautifully made, and often very tastefully decorated in fine
needlework, and with small buttons on each side, not for use, however.
I have seen one Malay who wore about twenty buttons, each one a diamond
solitaire! The costume is completed by turbans or red handkerchiefs
tied round their heads.

In these forest kampongs the children, who are very pretty, are not
encumbered by much clothing, specially the boys. All the dwellings are
picturesque, and those of the richer Malays are beautiful. They rigidly
exclude all ornaments which have "the likeness of anything in heaven or
earth," but their arabesques are delicately carved, and the verses from
the Koran, which occasionally run under the eaves, being in the Arabic
character, are decidedly decorative. Their kampongs are small, and
they have little of the gregarious instinct; they are said to live
happily, and to have a considerable amount of domestic affection.
Captain Shaw likes the Malays, and the verdict on them here is that
they are chaste, gentle, honest and hospitable, but that they tell
lies, and that their "honor" is so sensitive that blood alone can wipe
out some insults to it. They seclude their women to a great extent, and
under ordinary circumstances the slightest courtesy shown by a European
man to a Malay woman would be a deadly insult; and at the sight of a
man in the distance the women hastily cover their faces.

There is a large mosque with a minaret just on the outskirts of
Malacca, and we passed several smaller ones in the space of three
miles. Scarcely any kampong is so small as not to have a mosque. The
Malays are bigoted, and for the most part ignorant and fanatical
Mohammedans, and I firmly believe that the Englishman whom they respect
most is only a little removed from being "a dog of an infidel." They
are really ruled by the law of the Koran, and except when the Imaum,
who interprets the law, decides (which is very rarely the case)
contrary to equity, the British magistrate confirms his decision. In
fact, Mohammedan law and custom rule in civil cases, and the Imaum of
the mosque assists the judge with his advice. The Malays highly
appreciate the manner in which law is administered under English rule,
and the security they enjoy in their persons and property, so that they
can acquire property without risk, and accumulate and wear the
costliest jewels even in the streets of Malacca without fear of robbery
or spoliation. This is by no means to write that the Malays love us,
for I doubt whether the entente cordiale between any of the
dark-skinned Oriental races and ourselves is more than skin deep. It is
possible that they prefer being equitably taxed by us, with the
security which our rule brings, to being plundered by native princes,
but we do not understand them, or they us, and where they happen to be
Mohammedans, there is a gulf of contempt and dislike on their part
which is rarely bridged by amenities on ours. The pilgrimage to Mecca
is the great object of ambition. Many Malays, in spite of its expense
and difficulties, make it twice, and even three times. We passed three
women clothed in white from head to foot, their drapery veiling them
closely, leaving holes for their eyes. These had just returned from
Mecca. The picturesqueness of the drive home was much heightened by the
darkness, and the brilliancy of the fires underneath the Malay houses.
The great gray buffalo which they use for various purposes--and which,
though I have written gray, is as often pink--has a very thin and
sensitive skin, and is almost maddened by mosquitoes; and we frequently
passed fires lighted in the jungle, with these singular beasts standing
or lying close to them in the smoke on the leeward side, while Malays
in red sarongs and handkerchiefs, and pretty brown children scarcely
clothed at all, lounged in the firelight. Then Chinese lamps and
lanterns, and the sound of what passes for music; then the refinement
and brightness of the Government bungalow, and at ten o'clock my chair
with three bearers, and the solitude of the lonely Stadthaus.

I. L. B.


Malacca Mediaevalism--Tiger Stories--The Chinese Carnival--Gold and
Gems--A Weight of Splendor--New-Year Rejoicings--Syed Abdulrahman--A
Mohammedan Princess--A Haunted City--Francis Xavier--The Reward of
"Pluck"--Projects of Travel


Malacca fascinates me more and more daily. There is, among other
things, a mediaevalism about it. The noise of the modern world reaches
it only in the faintest echoes; its sleep is almost dreamless, its
sensations seem to come out of books read in childhood. Thus, the
splendid corpse of a royal tiger has been brought in in a bullock-cart,
the driver claiming the reward of fifteen dollars, and its claws were
given to me. It was trapped only six miles off, and its beautiful
feline body had not had time to stiffen. Even when dead, with its
fierce head and cruel paws hanging over the end of the cart, it was not
an object to be disrespected. The same reward is offered for a
rhinoceros, five dollars for a crocodile (alligator?) and five dollars
for a boa-constrictor or python. Lately, at five in the morning, a
black tiger (panther?) came down the principal street of Malacca, tore
a Chinamen in pieces, and then, scared by a posse of police in pursuit,
jumped through a window into a house. Every door in the city was
barred, as the rumor spread like wildfire. The policemen very boldly
entered the house, but the animal pinned the Malay corporal to the
wall. The second policeman, a white man, alas! ran away. The third, a
Malay, at the risk of his life, went close up to the tiger, shot him,
and beat him over the head with the butt of his rifle, which made the
beast let go the corporal and turn on him, but fortunately he had
scarcely got hold of him when he fell dead. The corporal is just coming
out of hospital, almost completely paralyzed, to be taken care of for
the rest of his life, and the man who rescued him has got promotion and
a pension. A short time ago a fine young tiger was brought alive to
Captain Shaw, and he ordered a proper cage to be made, in which to send
him to England, telling Babu, the "double Hadji," to put it into the
"godown" in its bamboo cage; but the man put it into the kitchen, and
in the morning the cage was found broken into pieces, the kitchen
shutters torn down, and the tiger gone! There was a complete panic in
Malacca; people kept their houses shut, and did not dare to go out even
on business, and not only was the whole police force turned out in
pursuit, but the English garrison. It was some days before the scare
subsided and the people believed that the beast had escaped to its
natural home in the jungle.

A tropical thunderstorm of the most violent kind occurred yesterday,
when I was quite alone in the Stadthaus. The rain fell in sheets,
deluges, streams, and the lightning flashed perfectly blue through a
"darkness which could be felt." There is a sort of grandeur about this
old Dutch Stadthaus, with its tale of two centuries. Its smooth lawns,
sloping steeply to the sea, are now brilliant with the gaudy
parrot-like blossoms of the "flame of the forest," the gorgeous
Poinciana regia, with which they are studded. Malacca is such a rest
after the crowds of Japan and the noisy hurry of China! Its endless
afternoon remains unbroken except by the dreamy, colored, slow-moving
Malay life which passes below the hill. There is never any hurry or

So had I written without prescience! The night of the awful silence
which succeeded the thunderstorm was also the eve of the Chinese New
Year, and Captain Shaw gave permission for "fireworks" from 7 P.M. till
midnight. The term "fireworks" received a most liberal construction.
The noise was something awful, and as it came into the lonely
Stadthaus, and red, blue, crimson, and greenish-yellow glares at short
intervals lighted up the picturesque Malacca steam and its blue and
yellow houses, with their steep red-tiled roofs and balconies and
quaint projections, and the streets were traced in fire and smoke,
while crackers, squibs, and rockets went off in hundreds, and cannon,
petards, and gingalls were fired incessantly, and gongs, drums, and
tom-toms were beaten, the sights, and the ceaseless, tremendous,
universal din made a rehearsal of the final assault on a city in old
days. At 1 A.M., every house being decorated and illuminated, the
Chinese men began to make their New Year's calls, and at six the din
began again. After breakfast the Governor drove out in state to visit
the leading Chinese merchants, with whom he is on terms of the most
cordial amity, and at each house was offered two dishes of cakes,
twelve dishes of candied and preserved fruits, mandarin tea (the price
of this luxury is from 25s. to 45s. a pound), and champagne from the
finest Rhenish vineyards! At eleven all the Chinese children came forth
in carriages shaped like boats, turned up at both ends, painted red and
yellow, and with white-fringed canopies over them. These were drawn by
servants, and in the case of the wealthy, a train of servants
accompanied each carriage. It was a sight worthy of a fabled age. The
wealth of the East in all its gorgeousness was poured out upon these
dignified and solemn infants, who wore coronals of gold and diamonds,
stuffs of cloth of gold brocade, and satin sewn with pearls, and whose
cloth-of-gold shoes flashed with diamonds!

During the morning four children of a rich Chinese merchant, attended
by a train of Chinese and Malay servants, came to see Mrs. Shaw. There
were a boy and girl of five and six years old, and two younger
children. A literal description of their appearance reads like fiction.
The girl wore a yellow petticoat of treble satin (mandarin yellow) with
broad box plaits in front and behind, exquisitely embroidered with
flowers in shades of blue silk, with narrow box plaits between, with a
trail of blue silk flowers on each. Over this there was a short robe of
crimson brocaded silk, with a broad border of cream-white satin, with
the same exquisite floral embroidery in shades of blue silk. Above this
was a tippet of three rows of embroidered lozenge-shaped "tabs" of
satin. The child wore a crown on her head, the basis of which was black
velvet. At the top was an aigrette of diamonds of the purest water,
the centre one as large as a sixpenny-piece. Solitaires flashing blue
flames blazed all over the cap, and the front was ornamented with a
dragon in fine filigree work in red Malay gold set with diamonds. I
fear to be thought guilty of exaggeration when I write that this child
wore seven necklaces, all of gorgeous beauty. The stones were all cut
in facets at the back; and highly polished, and their beauty was
enhanced by the good taste and skilful workmanship of the setting. The
first necklace was of diamonds set as roses and crescents, some of them
very large, and all of great brilliancy; the second of emeralds, a few
of which were as large as acorns, but spoilt by being pierced; the
third of pearls set whole; the fourth of hollow filigree beads in red,
burned gold; the fifth of sapphires and diamonds; the sixth a number of
finely worked chains of gold with a pendant of a gold filigree fish set
with diamonds; the seventh, what they all wear, a massive gold chain,
which looked heavy enough even by itself to weigh down the fragile
little wearer, from which depended a gold shield, on which the Chinese
characters forming the child's name were raised in rubies, with fishes
and flowers in diamonds round it, and at the back a god in rubies
similarly surrounded. Magnificent diamond earrings and heavy gold
bracelets completed the display.

And all this weight of splendor, valued at the very least at $40,000,
was carried by a frail human mite barely four feet high, with a
powdered face, gentle, pensive expression, and quiet grace of manner,
who came forward and most winsomely shook hands with us, as did all the
other grave gentle mites. They were also loaded with gold and diamonds.
Some sugar-plums fell on the floor, and as the eldest girl stooped to
pick them up, diamond solitaires fell out of her hair, which were
gathered up by her attendants as if they were used to such occurrences.
Whenever she moved her diamonds flashed, scintillated, and gave forth
their blue light. Then came the children of the richest Chinaman in
Malacca, but the little gentle creatures were motherless, and mourning
for a mother lasts three years, so they were dressed in plain blue and
white, and as ornaments wore only very beautiful sapphires and diamonds
set in silver.

Do not suppose that the Chinese New Year is a fixed, annual holiday
lasting a day, as in Scotland, and to a minor extent in England. In
Canton a month ago active preparations were being made for it, and in
Japan nine weeks ago. It is a "movable feast," and is regulated by the
date on which the new moon falls nearest to the day "when the sun
reaches the 15 degrees of Aquarius," and occurs this year on January
21st. Everything becomes cheap before it, for shopkeepers are anxious
to realize ready money at any loss, for it is imperative that all
accounts be closed by the last day of the old year, on pain of a man
being disgraced, losing all hope of getting credit, and of having his
name written up on his door as a defaulter. It appears also that debts
which are not settled by the New Year's Eve cannot thereafter be
recovered, though it is lawful for a creditor who has vainly hunted a
debtor throughout that last night to pursue him for the first hours
after daybreak, provided he still carries a lantern!

The festival lasts a fortnight, and is a succession of feasts and
theatrical entertainments, everybody's object being to cast care and
work to the winds. Even the official seals of the mandarins are
formally and with much rejoicing sealed up and laid aside for one
month. On the 20th day of the 12th month houses and temples are
thoroughly washed and cleaned, rich and poor decorate with
cloth-of-gold, silk embroideries, artificial and real flowers, banners,
scrolls, lucky characters, illuminated strips of paper, and bunches of
gilt-paper flowers, and even the poorest coolie contrives to greet the
festival with some natural blossom. There is no rest either by night
or day, joss-sticks burn incessantly, and lamps before the ancestral
tablets, gongs are beaten, gingalls fire incessantly, and great
crackers like cartridges fastened together in rows are let off at
intervals before every door to frighten away evil spirits; there are
family banquets of wearisome length, feasts to the household gods,
offerings in the temples, processions in the street by torch and
lantern light, presents are given to the living, and offerings to the
dead, the poor are feasted, and the general din is heightened by
messengers perambulating the streets with gongs, calling them to the
different banquets. When the fortnight of rejoicing is over its signs
are removed, and after the outbreak of extravagant expenditure the
Chinese return to their quiet, industrious habits and frugal ways.

Just as this brilliant display left the room, a figure in richer
coloring of skin appeared--Babu, the head servant, in his beautiful
Hadji dress. He wore white full trousers, drawn in tightly at the
ankles over black shoes, but very little of these trousers showed below
a long, fine, linen tunic of spotless white, with a girdle of orange
silk. Over this was a short jacket of rich green silk, embroidered in
front with green of the same color, and over all a pure white robe
falling from the shoulders. The turban was a Mecca turban made of many
yards of soft white silk, embroidered in white silk. It was difficult
to believe that this gorgeous Mussulman, in the odor of double
sanctity, with his scornful face and superb air, could so far demean
himself as to wait on "dogs of infidels" at dinner, or appear in my
room at the Stadthaus, with matutinal tea and bananas!

This magnificence heralded the Datu Klana, Syed Abdulrahman, the
reigning prince of the native State of Sungei Ujong, his principal
wife, and his favorite daughter, a girl of twelve. It has been decided
that I am to go to Sungei Ujong, and that I am to be escorted by Mr.
Hayward, the superintendent of police, but, unfortunately, I am to go
up in the Datu Klana's absence, and one object of his visit was to
express his regret. This prince has been faithful to British interests,
and is on most friendly terms with the resident, Captain Murray, and
the Governor of Malacca. During his visit Babu interpreted, but Miss
Shaw, who understands Malay, said that, instead of interpreting
faithfully, he was making enormous demands on my behalf! At all events,
Syed Abdulrahman, with truly exaggerated Oriental politeness, presented
me with the key of his house in the interior.

This prince is regarded by British officials as an enlightened ruler,
though he is a rigid Mussulman. His dress looked remarkably plain
beside that of the splendid Babu. He wore a Malay bandana handkerchief
round his head, knotted into a peak, a rich brocade baju or short
jacket, a dark Manilla sarong, trousers of Mandarin satin striped with
red, a girdle clasp set with large diamonds, and sandals with jeweled
cloth-of-gold straps. His wife, though elderly and decidedly plain
looking, has a very pleasing expression. She wore a black veil over her
head, and her kabaya, or upper garment, was fastened with three diamond
clasps. The bright little daughter wore a green veil with gold stars
upon it over her head, and ornaments of rich, red gold elaborately
worked. The Datu Klana apologized for the extreme plainness of their
dress by saying that they had only just arrived, and that they had
called before changing their traveling clothes. When they departed the
two ladies threw soft silk shawls over their heads, and held them so as
to cover their faces except their eyes.

There are now sixty-seven thousand Malays in the British territory of
Malacca, and the number is continually increased by fugitives from the
system of debt-slavery which prevails in some of the adjacent States,
and by immigration from the same States of Malays who prefer the
security which British rule affords.

[The police force is Malay, and it seems as if the Malays had a special
aptitude for this semi-military service, for they not only form the
well-drilled protective forces of Malacca, Sungei Ujong, and Selangor,
but that fine body of police in Ceylon of which Mr. George Campbell has
so much reason to be proud. Otherwise very few of them enter British
employment, greatly preferring the easy, independent life of their
forest kampongs.]

The commercial decay of Malacca is a very interesting fact.* Formerly
fifty merchantmen were frequently lying in its roads at one time. Here
the Portuguese fleet lay which escorted Xavier from Goa, and who can
say how many galleons freighted with the red gold of Ophir floated on
these quiet waters! Now, Chinese junks, Malay prahus, a few Chinese
steamers, steam-launches from the native States, and two steamers which
call in passing, make up its trade. There is neither newspaper, banker,
hotel, nor resident English merchant, The half-caste descendants of the
Portuguese are, generally speaking, indolent, degraded with the
degradation that is born of indolence, and proud. The Malays dream away
their lives in the jungle, and the Chinese, who number twenty thousand,
are really the ruling population.
[*Linscholt, two hundred and seventy years ago, writes:--"This place is
the market of all India, of China, and the Moluccas, and of other
islands round about, from all which places, as well as from Banda, Java,
Sumatra, Siam, Pegu, Bengal, Coromandil, and India, arrive ships which
come and go incessantly charged with an infinity of merchandises."]

The former greatness of Malacca haunts one at all times. The romantic
exploits of Albuquerque, who conquered it in 1511, apostrophized in the

"Not eastward far though fair Malacca lie,
Her groves embosomed in the morning sky,
Though with her amorous sons the valiant line
Of Java's isle in battle rank combine,
Though poisoned shafts their ponderous quivers store,
Malacca's spicy groves and golden ore,
Great Albuquerque, thy dauntless toils shall crown,"

live again, though my sober judgment is that Albuquerque and most of
his Portuguese successors were little better than buccaneers.

I like better to think of Francis Xavier passing through the
thoroughfares of what was then the greatest commercial city of the
East, ringing his bell, with the solemn cry, "Pray for those who are in
a state of mortal sin." For among the "Jews, Turks, infidels, and
heretics" who then thronged its busy streets, there were no worse
livers than the roistering soldiers who had followed Albuquerque.
Tradition among the present Portuguese residents says that coarse words
and deeds disappeared from the thoroughfares under his holy influence,
and that little altars were set up in public places, round which the
children sang hymns to Jesus Christ, while the passers-by crossed
themselves and bowed their heads reverently. Now, the cathedral which
crowns the hill, roofless and ruinous, is only imposing from a
distance, and a part of it is used for the storage of marine or
lighthouse stores under our prosaic and irreverent rule. Xavier
preached frequently in it and loved it well, yet the walls are
overgrown with parasites, and the floor, under which many prelates and
priests lie, is hideous with matted weeds, which are the haunt of
snakes and lizards. Thus, in the city which was so dear to Xavier that
he desired to return to it to die (and actually did die on his way
thither), the only memento of him is the dishonored ruin of the
splendid church in which his body was buried, with all the population
of Malacca following it from the yellow strand up the grass-crowned
hill, bearing tapers. This wretched ruin is a contrast to the splendid
mausoleum at Goa, where his bones now lie, worthily guarded, in coffins
of silver and gold.

If the Portuguese were little better than buccaneers, the Dutch, who
drove them out, were little better than hucksters--mean, mercenary
traders, without redeeming qualities; content to suck the blood of
their provinces and give nothing in return. I should think that the
colony is glad to be finally rid of them. The English took possession
of it in 1795, but restored it to the Dutch in 1818, regaining it again
by treaty in 1824, giving Bencoolen, in Sumatra, in exchange for it,
stipulating at the same time that the Dutch were not to meddle with
Malayan affairs, or have any settlement on the Malay Peninsula. The
ruined cathedral of Notre Dame del Monte is a far more interesting
object than the dull, bald, commonplace, flat-faced, prosaic, Dutch
meeting-house, albeit the latter is in excellent repair. Even this
Stadthaus, with its stately solitudes, smells of trade, and suggests
corpulent burgomasters and prim burgomasters' wives in wooden hoops and
stiff brocades. The influence of Holland has altogether vanished, as is
fitting, for she cared only for nutmegs, sago, tapioca, tin and pepper.

The variety of races here produces a ludicrous effect sometimes. In the
Stadthaus one never knows who is to appear--whether Malay, Portuguese,
Chinaman, or Madrassee. Yesterday morning, at six, the Chinaman who
usually "does" my room, glided in, murmuring something unintelligible,
and on my not understanding him, brought in a Portuguese interpreter.
At seven, came in the Madrassee, Babu, with a cluster of bananas, and
after him, two Malays, in red sarongs, who brushed and dusted all my
clothes as slowly as they could--men of four races in attendance before
I was up in the morning! This Chinese attendant, besides being a common
coolie in a brown cotton shirt over a brown cotton pair of trousers, is
not a good specimen of his class, and is a great nuisance to me. My
doors do not bolt properly, and he appears in the morning while I am in
my holoku, writing, and slowly makes the bed and kills mosquitoes; then
takes one gown after another from the rail, and stares at me till I
point to the one I am going to wear, which he holds out in his hands;
and though I point to the door, and say "Go!" with much emphasis, I
never get rid of him, and have to glide from my holoku into my gown
with a most unwilling dexterity.

Two days ago Captain Shaw declared that "pluck should have its reward,"
and that I should have facilities for going to Sungei Ujong. Yesterday,
he asked me to take charge of his two treasured daughters. Then Babu
said, "If young ladies go, me go," and we are to travel under the
efficient protection of Mr. Hayward, the superintendent of police.
This expedition excites great interest in the little Malacca world.
This native State is regarded as "parts unknown;" the Governor has
never visited it, and there are not wanting those who shake their heads
and wonder that he should trust his girls in a region of tigers,
crocodiles, rogue elephants and savages! The little steam-launch
Moosmee (in reality by far the greatest risk of all) has been brought
into the stream below the Stadthaus, ready for an early start
to-morrow, and a runner has been sent to the Resident to prepare him
for such an unusual incursion into his solitudes.

I. L. B.


The Puzzles of the Peninsula--Sungei Ujong--A Malay Confederation--Syed
Abdulrahman--The Revenue of Sungei Ujong--Scenery and Productions--The
New Datu Klana--A "Dual Control"

I had never heard of this little State until I reached Singapore, and
probably many people are as ignorant as I was. The whole peninsula,
from Johore in the south to Kedah in the north, is a puzzle, what with
British colonies, Singapore, Malacca, and Province Wellesley, and
"Protected States," Sungei Ujong, Selangor, and Perak, north, south,
and east of which lie a region of unprotected Malay States, with their
independent rulers, such as Kedah, Patani, Tringganu, Kelantan, Pahang,
Johore, etc.* In several of these States, more or less anarchy
prevails, owing to the ambitions and jealousies of the Rajahs and their
followers, and a similar state of things in the three protected States
formerly gave great annoyance to the Straits-Settlements Government,
and was regarded as a hindrance to the dominant interests of British
trade in the Straits.
[*A number of small States are united into a sort of confederation known
as the Negri Sembilan, or Nine States. Their relative positions and
internal management, as well as their boundaries, remain unknown, as
from dread of British annexation they have refused to allow Europeans to
pass through their territory.]

In 1874, Sir A. Clark, the then Governor, acting in British interests,
placed British residents in Perak, Selangor, and the small State of
Sungei Ujong. These residents were to advise the rulers in matters of
revenue and general administration, but, it may be believed, that as
time has passed, they have become more or less the actual rulers of the
States which they profess to advise merely. They are the accredited
agents of England, reporting annually to the Straits Government, which,
in its turn, reports to the Colonial Office, and the amount of pressure
which they can bring to bear is overwhelming.

It is not easy to give the extent and boundaries of Sungei Ujong, the
"boundary question" being scarcely settled, and the territory to the
eastward being only partially explored. It is mainly an inland State,
access to its very limited seaboard being by the Linggi river. The
"protected" State of Selangor bounds it on the north, and joining on to
it and to each other on the east, are the small "independent" States of
Rumbow, Johol, Moar, Sri Menanti, Jelabu, Jompol, and Jelai. The Linggi
river, which in its lower part forms the boundary between Selangor and
Malacca, forks in its upper part, the right branch becoming for some
distance the boundary between Sungei Ujong and Rumbow. It is doubtful
whether the area of the State exceeds seven hundred square miles.

The Malays of Sungei Ujong and several of the adjacent States are
supposed to be tolerably directly descended from those of the parent
empire Menangkabau in Sumatra, who conquered and have to a great extent
displaced the tribes known as Jakuns, Orang Bukit, Rayet Utan, Samangs,
Besisik, Rayet Laut, etc., the remnants of which live mainly in the
jungles of the interior, are everywhere apart from the Malays, and are
of a much lower grade in the scale of civilization. The story current
among the best informed Malays of this region is that a Sumatran chief
with a large retinue crossed to Malacca in the twelfth century, and
went into the interior, which he found inhabited only by the Jakuns, or
"tree people." There his followers married Jakun women, and their
descendants spread over Sungei Ujong, Rumbow, and other parts, the
Rayet Laut, or "sea-people," the supposed Ichthyophagi of the ancients,
and the Rayet Utan, or "forest-people," betaking themselves to the
woods and the sea-board hills.

This mixed race rapidly increasing, divided into nine petty States,
under chiefs who rendered feudal service to the Sultans of Malacca
before its conquest by the Portuguese, and afterward to the Sultan of
Johore, at whose court they presented themselves once a year. This
confederation, called the Negri Sembilan, in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries made various commercial treaties with the Dutch,
but its domestic affairs were in a state of chronic feud, and four of
the States, late in the eighteenth century, becoming disgusted with the
arbitrary proceedings of a ruler who, aided by Dutch influence, had
gained the ascendency over the whole nine, sent to Sumatra, the
original source of government, for a prince of the blood-royal of
Menangkabau, and after a prolonged conflict this prince became
sovereign of the little States of Sungei Ujong, Rumbow, Johol, and Sri
Menanti, the chiefs of these States constituting his Council of State.
This dynasty came to an end in 1832, and intrigues and discord
prevailed for many years, till the Datu Klana of Sungei Ujong, troubled
by a hostile neighbor in Rumbow and a hostile subject or rival at home,
conceived the bright idea of supporting his somewhat shaky throne by
British protection.

After some curious negotiations, he succeeded in obtaining both a
Resident and the English flag to protect his little fortunes; but it is
obvious that his calling in foreign intervention was not likely to make
him popular with his independent neighbors or disaffected subjects, and
the troubles culminated in a "little war," in which the attacking force
was composed of a few English soldiers, Malay military police, and a
body of about eighty so-called Arabs, enlisted in Singapore and taken
to the scene of action by Mr. Fontaine. The "enemy" was seldom obvious,
but during the war it inflicted a loss upon us of eight killed and
twenty-three wounded. We took various stockades, shot from sixty to
eighty Malays, burned a good deal of what was combustible, and gave
stability to the shaky rule of the Datu Klana, Syed Abdulrahman. Of
this prince, who owed his firm seat on the throne to British
intervention, the Resident wrote in 1880:--"Loyal to his engagements,
he had gained the good will of the British Government.
Straightforward, honest, and truly charitable, he had gained the love
and respect of almost everyone in Sungei Ujong, Chinese as well as
Malay, and if he had a fault he erred on the side of a weak belief in
the goodness of human nature, and often suffered in consequence." This
was Captain Murray's verdict after nearly five years' experience.

The population of this tiny State, which in 1832 consisted of three
thousand two hundred Malays and four hundred Chinese, at the time of my
visit had risen to twelve thousand, composed of three Europeans, a few
Klings, two thousand Malays, and ten thousand Chinese. It exports tin
in large quantities, gutta-percha collected in the interior by the
aborigines, coffee, which promises to become an important production,
buffalo hides, gum dammar, and gharroo. In 1879 the exports amounted to
81,976 pounds; 81,451 pounds being the value of tin. Its imports are
little more than half this amount. Rice heads the list with an import
of 18,150 pounds worth, and opium comes next, valued at 14,448 pounds.
The third import in value is oil; the next Chinese tobacco, the next
sugar, the next salt fish, and the next pigs! The Chinese, of course,
consume most of what is imported, being in a majority of five to one,
and here as elsewhere they carry with them their rigid conservatism in
dress, mode of living, food, and amusements, and have a well-organized
and independent system of communication with China. It is the Chinese
merchant, not the British, who benefits by the rapidly augmenting
Chinese population. Thus in the import list the Chinese tobacco, pigs,
lard, onions, beans, vermicelli, salted vegetables, tea, crackers,
joss-sticks, matches, Chinese candles, Chinese clothing, Chinese
umbrellas, and several other small items, are all imported from China.

Having been debited with a debt of 10,000 pounds for war expenses, to
be paid off by installments, the finances were much hampered, and the
execution of road-making and other useful work has been delayed. This
war debt, heavy as it was, was exclusive of 6,000 pounds previously
paid off, and of heavy disbursements made to supply food and forage for
the British soldiers who were quartered in Sungei Ujong for a
considerable time. Apart from this harassing debt, the expenses are
pre-eminently for "establishments," the construction of roads and
bridges, and pensions to Rajahs whose former sources of revenue have
been interfered with or abolished. The sources of revenue are to some
extent remarkable, and it is possible that some of them might be
altogether abolished if public attention became focussed upon them.
Export duties are levied only on tin, the great product of Sungei
Ujong, and gutta-percha. The chief import duty is on opium, and in 1879
this produced 4,182 pounds, or about one-fourth of the whole revenue.
Besides this fruitful and growing source of income, 3,074 pounds was
raised in 1879 under the head "Farms;" a most innocuous designation of
a system which has nothing to do with the "kindly fruits of the earth"
at all, but with spirits, gambling, oil, salt, opium, and a lottery! In
other words, the "farms" are so many monopolies, sold at intervals to
the highest bidder, the "gambling farm" being the most lucrative of the
lot to the Government, and of course to the "farmer"!

The prison expenses are happily small, and the hospital expenses also,
owing mainly in the former case to the efforts of the "Capitans China,"
who are responsible for their countrymen, and in the latter to the
extreme healthiness of the climate. The military police force now
consists of a European superintendent, ninety-four constables, paid
45s. per month, and twelve officers, all Malays; but as it is Malay
nature to desire a change, and it is found impossible to retain the men
for any lengthened periods, it is proposed to employ Sikhs, as in

Sungei Ujong, like the other States of the Peninsula, is almost
entirely covered with forests, now being cleared to some extent by
tapioca, gambier, and coffee-planters. Its jungles are magnificent, its
hill scenery very beautiful, and its climate singularly healthy.
Pepper, coffee, tapioca, cinchona, and ipecacuanha, are being tried
successfully; burnt earth, of which the natives have a great opinion,
and leaf mould being used in the absence of other manure.

The rainfall is supposed to average 100 inches a year, and since
thermometrical observations have been taken the mercury has varied from
68 degrees to 92 degrees. From the mangrove swamps at the mouths of
turbid, sluggish rivers, where numberless alligators dwell in congenial
slime, the State gradually rises inland, passing through all the
imaginable wealth of tropical vegetation and produce till it becomes
hilly, if not mountainous. Sparkling streams dash through limestone
fissures, the air is clear, and the nights are fresh and cool. Its
mineral wealth lies in its tin mines, which have been worked mainly by
Chinamen for a great number of years.

The British Resident, who was called in to act as adviser, is
practically the ruler of this little State, and the arrangement seems
to give tolerable satisfaction. At all events it has secured to Sungei
Ujong since the war an amount of internal tranquillity which is not
possessed by the adjacent States which are still under native rule,
though probably the dread of British intervention and of being reduced
to mere nominal sovereignty, being "pensioned off" in fact, keeps the
Rajahs from indulging in the feuds and exactions of former years. Since
my visit the Datu Klana died of dysentery near Jeddah in Arabia in
returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, and three out of six of his
followers perished of the same disease. The succession was quietly
arranged, but the hope that the State to which its late ruler was
intensely, even patriotically attached might remain prosperous under
the new Rajah, has not been altogether fulfilled. Affairs are certainly
not as satisfactory as they were, judging from recent official
statements. The import of opium has largely increased. Rice planting
had failed owing to the mortality and sickness among the buffaloes used
in ploughing, the scanty crop was nearly destroyed by rats, and the
Malays had shown a "determined opposition" to taking out titles to
their lands.

The new Datu Klana is very unpopular, and so remarkably weak in
character as not to be able to bring any influence to bear upon the
settlement of any difficult question. The Datu Bandar (alluded to in my
letter) is entirely opposed to progress of every kind, and, having a
great deal of influence, obstructs the present Resident in every
attempt to come to an understanding on the land grant question. A
virulent cattle disease had put an end for the time being to cart
traffic; and the Linggi, the great high-road to the tin mines, had
become so shallow that the means of water transport were very limited.
Large numbers of jungle workers had returned to Malacca. The Resident's
report shows very significantly the formidable difficulties which
attend on the system of a "Dual Control," and on making any
interference with "Malay custom" regarding land, etc. It is scarcely
likely, however, that Sungei Ujong and the other feeble protected
States which have felt the might of British arms, and are paying dearly
through long years for their feeble efforts at independence, will ever
seek to shake off the present system, which, on the whole, gives them
security and justice.


A Mangrove Swamp--Jungle Dwellers--The Sempang Police Station--Shooting
Alligators--The River Linggi--A Somber-Faced Throng--Stuck Fast at
Permatang Pasir--Fair Impediments

SEMPANG POLICE STATION (At the junction of the Loboh-Chena, and Linggi
rivers), Territory of the Datu Klana of Sungei Ujong, Malay Peninsula.
January 24, 1 P.M. Mercury, 87 degrees.

We left Malacca at seven this morning in the small, unseaworthy,
untrustworthy, unrigged steam-launch Moosmee, and after crawling for
some hours at a speed of about five miles an hour along brown and
yellow shores with a broad, dark belt of palms above them, we left the
waveless, burning sea behind, and after a few miles of tortuous
steaming through the mangrove swamps of the Linggi river, landed here
to wait for sufficient water for the rest of our journey.

This is a promontory covered with cocoa-palms, bananas, and small
jungle growths. On either side are small rivers densely bordered by
mangrove swamps. The first sight of a real mangrove swamp is an event.
This mangi-mangi of the Malays (the Rhizophera mangil of botanists) has
no beauty. All along this coast within access of tidal waters there is
a belt of it many miles in breadth, dense, impenetrable, from forty to
fifty feet high, as nearly level as may be, and of a dark, dull green.
At low water the mangroves are seen standing close packed along the
shallow and muddy shores on cradles or erections of their own roots
five or six feet high, but when these are covered at high tide they
appear to be growing out of the water. They send down roots from their
branches, and all too quickly cover a large space. Crabs and other
shell-fish attach themselves to them, and aquatic birds haunt their
slimy shades. They form huge breeding grounds for alligators and
mosquitoes, and usually for malarial fevers, but from the latter the
Peninsula is very free. The seeds germinate while still attached to the
branch. A long root pierces the covering and grows rapidly downward
from the heavy end of the fruit, which arrangement secures that when
the fruit falls off the root shall at once become embedded in the mud.
Nature has taken abundant trouble to insure the propagation of this
tree, nearly worthless as timber. Strange to say, its fruit is sweet
and eatable, and from its fermented juice wine can be made. The
mangrove swamp is to me an evil mystery.

Behind, the jungle stretches out--who can say how far, for no European
has ever penetrated it?--and out of it rise, jungle-covered, the Rumbow
hills. The elephant, the rhinoceros, the royal tiger, the black
panther, the boar, the leopard, and many other beasts roam in its
tangled, twilight depths, but in this fierce heat they must be all
asleep in their lairs. The Argus-pheasant too, one of the loveliest
birds of a region whose islands are the home of the Bird of Paradise,
haunts the shade, and the shade alone. In the jungle too, is the
beautiful bantam fowl, the possible progenitor of all that useful race.
The cobra, the python (?), the boa-constrictor, the viper, and at least
fourteen other ophidians, are winding their loathsome and lissom forms
through slimy jungle recesses; and large and small apes and monkeys,
flying foxes, iguanas, lizards, peacocks, frogs, turtles, tortoises,
alligators, besides tapirs, rarely seen, and the palandok or chevrotin,
the hog deer, the spotted deer, and the sambre, may not be far off. I
think that this part of the country, intersected by small, shallow,
muddy rivers, running up through slimy mangrove swamps into a vast and
impenetrable jungle, must be like many parts of Western Africa.

One cannot walk three hundred yards from this station, for there are no
tracks. We are beyond the little territory of Malacca, but this bit of
land was ceded to England after the "Malay disturbances" in 1875, and
on it has been placed the Sempang police station, a four-roomed
shelter, roofed with attap, a thatch made of the fronds of the nipah
palm, supported on high posts--an idea perhaps borrowed from the
mangrove--and reached by a ladder. In this four Malay policemen and a
corporal have dwelt for three years to keep down piracy. "Piracy," by
which these rivers were said to be infested, is a very ugly word,
suggestive of ugly deeds, bloody attacks, black flags, and no quarter;
but here it meant, in our use of the word at least, a particular mode
of raising revenue, and no boat could go up or down the Linggi without
paying black-mail to one or more river rajahs.

Our wretched little launch, moored to a cocoa-palm, flies a blue
ensign, and the Malay policemen wear an imperial crown upon their caps,
both representing somewhat touchingly in this equatorial jungle the
might of the small island lying far off amidst the fogs of the northern
seas, and in this instance at least not her might only, but the
security and justice of her rule.

Two or three canoes hollowed out of tree trunks have gone up and down
the river since we landed, each of the inward bound being paddled by
four men, who ply their paddles facing forward, which always has an
aboriginal look, those going down being propelled by single, square
sails made of very coarse matting. It is very hot and silent. The only
sounds are the rustle of the palm fronds and the sharp din of the
cicada, abruptly ceasing at intervals. In this primitive police station
the notices are in both Tamil and Arabic, but the reports are written
in Arabic only. Soon after we sat down to drink fresh cocoa-nut milk,
the great beverage of the country, a Malay bounded up the ladder and
passed through us, with the most rapid and feline movements I have ever
seen in a man. His large prominent eyes were fixed, tiger-like, on a
rifle which hung on the wall, at which he darted, clutched it, and,
with a feline leap, sprang through us again. I have heard much of amok
running lately, and have even seen the two-pronged fork which was used
for pinning a desperate amok runner to the wall, so that for a second I
thought that this Malay was "running amuck;" but he ran down toward Mr.
Hayward, our escort, and I ran after him, just in time to see a large
alligator plunge from the bank into the water. Mr. Hayward took a
steady aim at the remaining one, and hit him, when he sprang partly up
as if badly wounded, and then plunged into the river after his
companion, staining the muddy water with his blood for some distance.

Police Station, Permatang Pasir, Sungei Ujong, 5 P.M.--We are now in a
native State, in the Territory of the friendly Datu Klana, Syed
Abdulrahman, and the policemen wear on their caps not an imperial
crown, but a crescent, with a star between its horns.

This is a far more adventurous expedition than we expected. Things are
not going altogether as straight as could be desired, considering that
we have the Governor's daughters with us, who, besides being very
precious, are utterly unseasoned and inexperienced travelers, quite
unfit for "roughing it." For one thing, it turns out to be an absolute
necessity for us to be out all night, which I am very sorry for, as one
of the girls is suffering from the effects of exposure to the intense
heat of the sun.

We left Sempang at two, the Misses Shaw reeling rather than walking to
the launch. I cannot imagine what the mercury was in the sun, but the
copper sheathing of the gunwale was too hot to be touched. Above
Sempang the river narrows and shoals rapidly, and we had to crawl,
taking soundings incessantly, and occasionally dragging heavily over
mud banks. We saw a large alligator sleeping in the sun on the mud,
with a mouth, I should think, a third of the length of his body; and as
he did not wake as we panted past him, a rifle was loaded and we backed
up close to him; but Babu, who had the weapon, and had looked quite
swaggering and belligerent so long as it was unloaded, was too
frightened to fire; the saurian awoke, and his hideous form and
corrugated hide plunged into the water, so close under the stern as to
splash us. After this, alligators were so common, singly or in groups,
or in families, that they ceased to be exciting. It is difficult for
anything to produce continuous excitement under this fierce sun; and
conversation, which had been flagging before noon, ceased altogether.
It was awfully hot in the launch, between fire and boiler-heat and
solar fury. I tried to keep cool by thinking of Mull, and powdery snow
and frosty stars, but it would not do. It was a solemn afternoon, as
the white, unwinking sun looked down upon our silent party, on the
narrow turbid river, silent too, except for the occasional plunge of an
alligator or other water monster--on mangrove swamps and nipah palms
dense along the river side, on the blue gleam of countless kingfishers,
on slimy creeks arched over to within a few feet of their surface by
grand trees with festoon of lianas, on an infinite variety of foliage,
on an abundance of slender-shafted palms, on great fruits brilliantly
colored, on wonderful flowers on the trees, on the hoya carnosa and
other waxen-leaved trailers matting the forest together and hanging
down in great festoons, the fiery tropic sunblaze stimulating all this
over-production into perennial activity, and vivifying the very mud

Occasionally we passed a canoe with a "savage" crouching in it fishing,
but saw no other trace of man, till an hour ago we came upon large
cocoa groves, a considerable clearing in the jungle, and a very large
Malayan-Chinese village with mosques, one on either side of the river,
houses built on platforms over the water, large and small native boats
covered and thatched with attap, roofed platforms on stilts answering
the purpose of piers, bathing-houses on stilts carefully secluded, all
forming the (relatively) important village of Permatang Pasir.

Up to this time we had expected to find perfectly smooth sailing, as a
runner was sent from Malacca to the Resident yesterday. We supposed
that we should be carried in chairs six miles through the jungle to a
point where a gharrie could meet us, and that we should reach the
Residency by nine tonight at the latest. On arriving at Sempang, Mr.
Hayward had sent a canoe to this place with instructions to send
another runner to the Resident; but

"The best laid schemes of men and mice gang aft aglee."

The messenger seemed to have served no other purpose than to assemble
the whole male population of Permatang Pasir on the shore--a
sombre-faced throng, with an aloofness of manner and expression far
from pleasing. The thatched piers were crowded with turbaned Mussulmen
in their bajus or short jackets, full white trousers, and red sarongs
or plaitless kilts--the boys dressed in silver fig-leaves and silver
bangles only. All looked at our unveiled faces silently, and, as I
thought, disapprovingly.

After being hauled up the pier with great difficulty, owing to the
lowness of the water, we were met by two of the Datu Klana's policemen,
who threw cold water on the idea of our getting on at all unless
Captain Murray sent for us. These men escorted us to this police
station--a long walk through a lane of much decorated shops,
exclusively Chinese, succeeded by a lane of detached Malay houses, each
standing in its own fenced and neatly sanded compound under the shade
of cocoa-palms and bananas. The village paths are carefully sanded and
very clean. We emerged upon the neatly sanded open space on which this
barrack stands, glad to obtain shelter, for the sun is still fierce. It
is a genuine Malay house on stilts; but where there should be an
approach of eight steps there is only a steep ladder of three round
rungs, up which it is not easy to climb in boots! There is a deep
veranda under an attap roof of steep slope, and at either end a low bed
for a constable, with the usual very hard, circular Malay bolsters,
with red silk ends, ornamented with gold and silk embroidery. Besides
this veranda there is only a sort of inner room, with just space enough
for a table and four chairs. The wall is hung with rifles, krises, and
handcuffs, with which a "Sam Slick" clock, an engraving from the
Graphic, and some curious Turkish pictures of Stamboul, are oddly mixed
up. Babu, the Hadji, having recovered from a sulk into which he fell
in consequence of Mr. Hayward having quizzed him for cowardice about an
alligator, has made everything (our very limited everything) quite
comfortable, and, with as imposing an air as if we were in Government
House, asks us when we will have dinner! One policeman has brought us
fresh cocoa-nut milk, another sits outside pulling a small punkah, and
two more have mounted guard over us. This stilted house is the barrack
of eleven Malay constables. Under it are four guns of light calibre,
mounted on carriages, and outside is a gong on which the policemen beat
the hours.

At the river we were told that the natives would not go up the shallow,
rapid stream by night, and now the corporal says that no man will carry
us through the jungle; that trees are lying across the track; that
there are dangerous swamp holes; that though the tigers which infest
the jungle never attack a party, we might chance to see their glaring
eyeballs; that even if men could be bribed to undertake to carry us,
they would fall with us, or put us down and run away, for no better
reason than that they caught sight of the "spectre bird" (the owl); and
he adds, with a gallantry remarkable in a Mohammedan, that he should
not care about Mr. Hayward, "but it would not do for the ladies." So we
are apparently stuck fast, the chief cause for anxiety and
embarrassment being that the youngest Miss Shaw is lying huddled up and
shivering on one of the beds, completely prostrated by a violent sick
headache, brought on by the heat of the sun in the launch. She declares
that she cannot move; but our experienced escort, who much fears
bilious fever for her, is resolved that she shall as soon as any means
of transit can be procured. Heretofore, I have always traveled "without
encumbrance." Is it treasonable to feel at this moment that these fair
girls are one?

I. L. B.


The Tomb of "A Great Prophet"--"Durance Vile"--Fragile Travelers--Our
Craft--A Night in the Jungle--Nocturnal Revelations--January in the
Perak Jungle--Glories of the Jungle--Activity and Stillness--An Uneasy
Night--A Slim Repast--Betel-Chewing--A Severe Disappointment--Police
Station at Rassa


By the date of my letter you will see that our difficulties have been
surmounted. I continue my narrative in a temperature which, in my
room--shaded though it is--has reached 87 degrees. After hearing many
pros and cons, and longing much for the freedom of a solitary traveler,
I went out and visited the tomb of a famous Hadji, "a great prophet,"
the policeman said, who was slain in ascending the Linggi. It is a
raised mound, like our churchyard graves, with a post at each end, and
a jar of oil upon it, and is surrounded by a lattice of reeds on which
curtains are hanging, the whole being covered with a thatched roof
supported on posts.

The village looks prosperous, and the Chinaman as much at home as in
China,--striving, thriving, and oblivious of everything but his own
interests, the sole agent in the development of the resources of the
country, well satisfied with our, or any rule, under which his gains
are quick and safe.

There are village officers, or headmen, Pangulus, in all villages, and
every hamlet of more than forty houses has its mosque and religious
officials, though Mohammedanism does not recognize the need of a
priesthood. If one see a man, with the upper part of his body
unclothed, paddling a log canoe, face forward, one is apt to call him a
savage, specially if he be dark-skinned; but the Malays would be much
offended if they were called savages, and, indeed, they are not so.
They have an elaborate civilization, etiquette, and laws of their own;
are the most rigid of monotheists, are decently clothed, build secluded
and tolerably comfortable houses, and lead domestic lives after their
fashion, especially where they are too poor to be polygamists, though I
am of opinion that the peculiar form of domesticity which we still
cultivate to some extent in England, and which is largely connected
with the fireside, cannot exist in a tropical country. After the
obtrusive nudity and promiscuous bathing of the Japanese, there is
something specially pleasing in the little secluded bathing sheds by
the Malay rivers, used by one person at a time, who throws a sarong on
the thatch to show that the shed is occupied.

Babu made some excellent soup, which, together with curry made with
fresh cocoa-nut, was a satisfactory meal, and though only in a simple,
white, Indian costume, he waited as grandly as at Malacca. Mr.
Hayward's knowledge of the peculiarities of the Malay character, at
last obtained our release from what was truly "durance vile." He sent
for a boatman apart from his fellows, and induced him to make a bargain
for taking us up the river at night; but the man soon returned in a
state of great excitement, complaining that the villagers had set on
him, and were resolved that we should not go up, upon which the police
went down and interfered. Even after everything was settled, Miss Shaw
was feeling so ill that she wanted to stay in the police station all
night, at least; but Mr. Hayward and I, who consulted assiduously about
her, were of opinion that we must move her, even if we had to carry
her, for if she were going to have fever, I could nurse her at Captain
Murray's, but certainly not in the veranda of a police station!

This worthy man, who is very brave, and used to facing danger--who was
the first European to come up here, who acted as guide to the troops
during the war, and afterward disarmed the population--positively
quailed at having charge of these two fragile girls. "Oh," he repeated
several times, "if anything were to happen to the Misses Shaw I should
never get over it, and they don't know what roughing it is; they never
should have been allowed to come." So I thought, too, as I looked at
one of them lying limp and helpless on a Malay bed; but my share of the
responsibility for them was comparatively limited. Doubtless his
thoughts strayed, as mine did, to the days of traveling "without
encumbrance." There was another encumbrance of a literal kind. They had
a trunk! This indispensable impediment had been left at Malacca in the
morning, and arrived in a four-paddled canoe just as we were about to

Mr. Hayward prescribed two tablespoonfuls of whisky for Miss Shaw, for
it is somewhat of a risk to sleep out in the jungle at the rainy
season, for the miasma rises twenty feet, and the day had been
exceptionally hot. Our rather dismal procession started at seven, Mr.
Hayward leading the way, carrying a torch made of strips of palm
branches bound tightly together and dipped in gum dammar, a most
inflammable resin; then a policeman; the sick girl, moaning and
stumbling, leaning heavily on her sister and me; Babu, who had grown
very plucky; a train of policemen carrying our baggage; and lastly,
several torch-bearers, the torches dripping fire as we slowly and
speechlessly passed along. It looked like a funeral or something
uncanny. We crawled dismally for fully three-quarters of a mile to cut
off some considerable windings of the river, crossed a stream on a
plank bridge, and found our boat lying at a very high pier with a
thatched roof.

The mystery of night in a strange place was wildly picturesque; the
pale, greenish, undulating light of fireflies, and the broad, red
waving glare of torches flashing fitfully on the skeleton pier, the
lofty jungle trees, the dark, fast-flowing river, and the dark, lithe
forms of our half-naked boatmen.

The prahu was a flattish-bottomed boat about twenty-two and a half feet
long by six and a half feet broad, with a bamboo gridiron flooring
resting on the gunwale for the greater part of its length. This was
covered for seven feet in the middle by a low, circular roof, thatched
with attap. It was steered by a broad paddle loosely lashed, and poled
by three men who, standing at the bow, planted their poles firmly in
the mud and then walked half-way down the boat and back again. All
craft must ascend the Linggi by this laborious process, for its current
is so strong that the Japanese would call it one long "rapid."
Descending loaded with tin, the stream brings boats down with great
rapidity, the poles being used only to keep them off the banks and
shallows. Our boat was essentially "native."

The "Golden Chersonese" is very hot, and much infested by things which
bite and sting. Though the mercury has not been lower than 80 degrees
at night since I reached Singapore, I have never felt the heat
overpowering in a house; but the night on the river was awful, and
after the intolerable blaze of the day the fighting with the heat and
mosquitoes was most exhausting, crowded as we were into very close and
uneasy quarters, a bamboo gridiron being by no means a bed of down. Bad
as it was, I was often amused by the thought of the unusual feast which
the jungle mosquitoes were having on the blood of four white people.
If it had not been for the fire in the bow, which helped to keep them
down by smoking them (and us), I at least should now be laid up with
"mosquito fever."

The Misses Shaw and I were on a blanket on the gridiron under the roof,
which just allowed of sitting up; Mr. Hayward, who had never been up
the river before, and was anxious about the navigation, sat, vigilant
and lynx-eyed, at the edge of it; Babu, who had wrapped himself in
Oriental impassiveness and a bernouse, and Mr. Hayward's police
attendant sat in front, all keeping their positions throughout the
night as dutifully as the figures in a tableau vivant, and so we
silently left Permatang Pasir for our jungle voyage of eighteen hours,
in which time, by unintermitting hard work, we were propelled about as
many miles, though some say twenty-nine.

No description could exaggerate the tortuosity of the Linggi or the
abruptness of its windings. The boatmen measure the distance by turns.
When they were asked when we should reach the end they never said in so
many hours, but in so many turns.

Silently we glided away from the torchlight into the apparently
impenetrable darkness, but the heavens, of which we saw a patch now and
then, were ablaze with stars, and ere long the forms of trees above and
around us became tolerably distinct. Ten hours of darkness followed as
we poled our slow and tedious way through the forest gloom, with trees
to right of us, trees to left of us, trees before us, trees behind us,
trees above us, and, I may write, trees under us, so innumerable were
the snags and tree trunks in the river. The night was very still,--not
a leaf moved, and at times the silence was very solemn. I expected,
indeed, an unbroken silence, but there were noises that I shall never
forget. Several times there was a long shrill cry, much like the
Australian "Coo-ee," answered from a distance in a tone almost human.
This was the note of the grand night bird, the Argus pheasant, and is
said to resemble the cry of the "orang-outang," the Jakkuns, or the
wild men of the interior. A sound like the constant blowing of a
steam-whistle in the distance was said to be produced by a large
monkey. Yells, hoarse or shrill, and roars more or less guttural, were
significant of any of the wild beasts with which the forest abounds,
and recalled the verse in Psalm civ., "Thou makest darkness that it may
be night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do move." Then there
were cries as of fierce gambols, or of pursuit and capture, of hunter
and victim; and at times, in the midst of profound stillness, came huge
plungings, with accompanying splashings, which I thought were made by
alligators, but which Captain Murray thinks were more likely the riot
of elephants disturbed while drinking. There were hundreds of
mysterious and unfamiliar sounds great and small, significant of the
unknown beast, reptile, and insect world which the jungle hides, and
then silences.

Sheet lightning, very blue, revealed at intervals the strong stream
swirling past under a canopy of trees falling and erect, with straight
stems one hundred and fifty feet high probably, surmounted by crowns of
drooping branches; palms with their graceful plumage; lianas hanging,
looping, twisting--their orange fruitage hanging over our heads; great
black snags; the lithe, wiry forms of our boat-men always straining to
their utmost; and the motionless white turban of the Hadji,--all for a
second relieved against the broad blue flame, to be again lost in

The Linggi above Permatang Pasir, with its sharp turns and muddy hurry,
is, I should say, from thirty to sixty feet wide, a mere pathway
through the jungle. Do not think of a jungle, as I used to think of it,
as an entanglement or thicket of profuse and matted scrub, for it is in
these regions at least a noble forest of majestic trees, many of them
supported at their roots by three buttresses, behind which thirty men
could find shelter. On many of the top branches of these, other trees
have taken root from seeds deposited by birds, and have attained
considerable size; and all send down, as it _appears_, extraordinary
cylindrical strands from two to six inches in diameter, and often one
hundred and fifty feet in length, smooth and straight until they root
themselves, looking like the guys of a mast. Under these giants stand
the lesser trees grouped in glorious confusion,--cocoa, sago, areca,
and gomuti palms, nipah and nibong palms, tree ferns fifteen and twenty
feet high, the bread-fruit, the ebony, the damar, the india rubber, the
gutta-percha, the cajeput, the banyan, the upas, the bombax or cotton
tree, and hosts of others, many of which bear brilliant flowers, but
have not yet been botanized; and I can only give such barbarous names
as chumpaka, Kamooning, marbow, seum, dadap; and, loveliest of all, the
waringhan, a species of ficus, graceful as a birch; and underneath
these again great ferns, ground orchids, and flowering shrubs of heavy,
delicious odor, are interlocked and interwoven. Oh that you could see
it all! It is wonderful; no words could describe it, far less mine. Mr.
Darwin says so truly that a visit to the tropics (and such tropics) is
like a visit to a new planet. This new wonder-world, so enchanting,
tantalizing, intoxicating, makes me despair, for I cannot make you see
what I am seeing! Amidst all this wealth of nature and in this
perennial summer heat I quite fail to realize that it is January, and
that with you the withered plants are shriveling in the frost-bound
earth, and that leafless twigs and the needles of half-starved pines
are shivering under the stars in the aurora-lighted winter nights.

But to the jungle again, The great bamboo towers up along the river
sides in its feathery grace, and behind it the much prized Malacca
cane, the rattan, creeping along the ground or climbing trees and
knotting them together, with its tough strands, from a hundred to
twelve hundred feet in length, matted and matting together while ferns,
selaginellas, and lycopodiums struggle for space in which to show their
fragile beauty, along with hardier foliaceous plants, brown and
crimson, green and crimson, and crimson flecked with gold; and the
great and lesser trees alike are loaded with trailers, ferns, and
orchids, among which huge masses of the elk-horn fern and the shining
five-foot fronds of the Asplenium Nidus are everywhere conspicuous.

Not only do orchids crowd the branches, and the hoya carnosa, the yam,
the blue-blossomed Thunbergia, the vanilla (?), and other beautiful
creepers, conceal the stems, while nearly every parasitic growth
carries another parasite, but one sees here a filament carelessly
dangling from a branch sustaining some bright-hued epiphyte of quaint
mocking form; then a branch as thick as a clipper's main-mast reaches
across the river, supporting a festooned trailer, from whose stalks
hang, almost invisibly suspended, oval fruits, almost vermilion
colored; then again the beautiful vanilla and the hoya carnosa vie with
each other in wreathing the same tree; or an audacious liana, with
great clusters of orange or scarlet blossoms, takes possession of
several trees at once, lighting up the dark greenery with its flaming
splotches; or an aspiring trailer, dexterously linking its feebleness
to the strength of other plants, leaps across the river from tree to
tree at a height of a hundred feet, and, as though in mockery, sends
down a profusion of crimson festoons far out of reach. But it is as
useless to attempt to catalogue as to describe. To realize an
equatorial jungle one must see it in all its wonderment of activity and
stillness--the heated, steamy stillness through which one fancies that
no breeze ever whispers, with its colossal flowering trees, its green
twilight, its inextricable involvement, its butterflies and moths, its
brilliant but harsh voiced birds, its lizards and flying foxes, its
infinite variety of monkeys, sitting, hanging by hands or tails,
leaping, grimacing, jabbering, pelting each other with fruits; and its
loathsome saurians, lying in wait on slimy banks under the mangroves.
All this and far more the dawn revealed upon the Linggi river; but
strange to say, through all the tropic splendor of the morning, I saw a
vision of the Trientalis Europea, as we saw it first on a mossy
hillside in Glen Cannich!

But I am forgetting that the night with its blackness and mystery came
before the sunrise, that the stars seldom looked through the dense
leafage, and that the pale green lamps of a luminous fungus here and
there, and the cold blue sheet-lightning only served to intensify the
solemnity of the gloom. While the blackest part of the night lasted the
"view" was usually made up of the black river under the foliage, with
scarcely ten yards of its course free from obstruction--great snags all
along it sticking up menacingly, trees lying half or quite across it,
with barely room to pass under them, or sometimes under water, when the
boat "drave heavily" over them, while great branches brushed and ripped
the thatch continually; and as one obstacle was safely passed, the
rapidity of the current invariably canted us close on another, but the
vigilant skill of the boatmen averted the slightest accident. "Jaga!
Jaga!"--caution! caution!--was the constant cry. The most unpleasant
sensations were produced by the constant ripping and tearing sounds as
we passed under the low tunnel of vegetation, and by the perpetual
bumping against timber.

The Misses Shaw passed an uneasy night. The whisky had cured the
younger one of her severe sick headache, and she was the prey of many
terrors. They thought that the boat would be ripped up; that the roof
would be taken off; that a tree would fall and crush us; that the
boatmen, when they fell overboard, as they often did, would be eaten by
alligators; that they would see glaring eyeballs whenever the cry
"Rimou!"--a tiger!--was raised from the bow; and they continually awoke
me with news of something that was happening or about to happen, and
were drolly indignant because they could not sleep; while I, a blasee
old campaigner, slept whenever they would let me. Day broke in a heavy
mist, which disappeared magically at sunrise. As the great sun wheeled
rapidly above the horizon and blazed upon us with merciless fierceness,
all at once the jungle became vociferous. Loudly clattered the busy
cicada, its simultaneous din, like a concentration of the noise of all
the looms in the world, suddenly breaking off into a simultaneous
silence; the noisy insect world chirped, cheeped, buzzed, whistled;
birds hallooed, hooted, whooped, screeched; apes in a loud and not
inharmonious chorus greeted the sun; and monkeys chattered, yelled,
hooted, quarreled, and spluttered. The noise was tremendous. But the
forest was absolutely still, except when some heavy fruit, over ripe,
fell into the river with a splash. The trees above us were literally
alive with monkeys, and the curiosity of some of them about us was so
great that they came down on "monkey ropes" and branches for the fun of
touching the roof of the boat with their hands while they hung by their
tails. They were all full of frolic and mischief.

Then we had a slim repast of soda water and bananas, the Hadji
worshiped with his face toward Mecca, and the boatmen prepared an
elaborate curry for themselves, with salt fish for its basis, and for
its tastiest condiment blachang--a Malay preparation much relished by
European lovers of durion and decomposed cheese. It is made by
trampling a mass of putrefying prawns and shrimps into a paste with
bare feet. This is seasoned with salt. The smell is penetrating and
lingering. Our men made the boat fast, rinsed their mouths, washed
their hands, and ate, using their fingers instead of chopsticks. Poor
fellows! they had done twelve hours of splendid work.

Then one of them prepared the betel-nut for the rest. I think I have
not yet alluded to this abominable practice of betel-nut chewing, which
is universal among the inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula; the
betel-nut being as essential to a Malay as tobacco is to a Japanese, or
opium to the confirmed Chinese opium-smoker. It is a revolting habit,
and if a person speaks to you while he is chewing his "quid" of betel,
his mouth looks as if it were full of blood. People say that the
craving for stimulants is created by our raw, damp climate; but it is
as strong here, at the equator, in this sunny, balmy air. I have not
yet come across a region in which men, weary in body or spirit, are not
seeking to stimulate or stupefy themselves. The Malay men and women
being prohibited by the Koran from using alcohol, find the needed
fillip in this nut, but it needs preparation before it suits their

The betel-nut is the fruit of the lovely, graceful, slender-shafted
areca palm. This tree at six years old begins to bear about one hundred
nuts a year, which grow in clusters, each nut being about the size of a
nutmeg, and covered with a yellow, fibrous husk. The requisites for
chewing are: a small piece of areca nut, a leaf of the Sirih or betel
pepper, a little moistened lime, and, if you wish to be very luxurious,
a paste made of spices. The Sirih leaf was smeared with a little fine
lime taken from a brass box; on this was laid a little, brownish paste;
on this, a bit of the nut; the leaf was then folded neatly round its
contents, and the men began to chew, and to spit--the inevitable
consequence. The practice stains the teeth black. I tasted the nut, and
found it pungent and astringent, not tempting. The Malays think you
look like a beast if you have white teeth.

The heat was exhausting; the mercury 87 degrees in the shade as early
as 8:30, and we all suffered, more or less, from it in our cramped
position and enforced inactivity. At nine, having been fourteen hours
on the river, we came on a small cleared space, from which a bronzed,
frank-faced man, dressed in white linen, hallooed to us jovially, and
we were soon warmly greeted by Captain Murray, the British Resident in
the State of Sungei Ujong. On seeing him, we hoped to find a gharrie
and to get some breakfast; and he helped us on shore, as if our hopes
were to be realized, and dragged us under the broiling sun to a long
shed, the quarters of a hundred Chinese coolies, who are making a road
through the jungle. We sat down on one of the long matted platforms,
which serve them for beds, and talked; but there was no hint of
breakfast; and we soon learned that the Malacca runner had not reached
the Residency at all, and that the note sent from Permatang Pasir,
which should have been delivered at 1 A.M., had not been received till
8 A.M., so that Captain Murray had not been able to arrange for our
transport, and had had barely time to ride down to meet us at such
"full speed," as a swampy and partially made road would allow. So our
dreams of breakfast ended in cups of stewed tea, given to us by a
half-naked Chinaman, and, to our chagrin, we had to go back to the boat
and be poled up the shallowing and narrowing river for four hours more,
getting on with difficulty, the boat-men constantly jumping into the
water to heave the boat off mud banks.

When we eventually landed at Nioto, a small village, Captain Murray
again met us, and we found a road; and two antiquated buggies, sent by
a Chinaman, with their component parts much lashed together with rope.
I charioteered one of these, with reins so short that I could only
reach them by sitting on the edge of the seat, and a whip so short that
I could not reach the pony with it. At a Chinese village some policemen
brought us cocoa-nut milk. After that, the pony could not, or would
not, go; and the Malay syce with difficulty got it along by dragging
it, and we had to walk up every hill in the fierce heat of a tropic
noon. At the large Chinese village of Rassa, a clever little Sumatra
pony met us; and after passing through some roughish clearings, on
which tapioca is being planted, we arrived here at 4 P.M., having
traveled sixty miles in thirty-three hours.

The Residency is on a steepish hill in the middle of an open valley,
partially cleared and much defaced by tin diggings. The Chinese town of
Serambang lies at the foot of the hill. The valley is nearly surrounded
by richly wooded hills, some of them fully three thousand feet high.
These, which stretch away to the northern State of Selangor, are bathed
in indigo and cobalt, slashed with white here and there, where cool
streams dash over forest-shaded ledges. The house consists of two
attap roofed bungalows, united by their upper verandas. Below there are
a garden of acclimatization and a lawn, on which the Resident instructs
the bright little daughter of the Datu Klana in lawn tennis. It was
very hot, but the afternoon airs were strong enough to lift the British
ensign out of its heavy folds and to rustle the graceful fronds of the
areca palms.

Food was the first necessity, then baths, then sleep, then dinner at
7:30, and then ten hours more sleep.

I. L. B.


The Appurtenances of Civilization--Babu--Characteristics of Captain
Murray--An Embodied Government--Chinese Mining Enterprise--A Chinese
Gaming-House--The "Capitans China"--New-Year Visits--Sittings "In
Equity"--A Court of Justice--The Serambang Prison--"Plantation
Hill"--A Monster Bonfire--An Ant World--An Ant Funeral--Night on
"Plantation Hill"--The Murder of Mr. Lloyd--A Chinese Dragon Play--A
Visit to a Malay Prince--The Datu Bandar's House--A Great
Temptation--The Return Journey--An Obituary Quotation


We have been here for four days. The heat is so great that it is
wonderful that one can walk about in the sunshine; but the nights,
though the mercury does not fall below 80 degrees, are cool and
refreshing, and the air and soil are both dry, though a hundred inches
of rain fall in the year. These wooden bungalows are hot, for the
attap roofs have no lining, but they are also airy. There is no-one but
myself at night in the one in which my room is, but this is nothing
after the solitude of the great, rambling Stadthaus. Since we came a
sentry has been on duty always, and a bull-dog is chained at the foot
of the ladder which leads to both bungalows. But there is really
nothing to fear from these "treacherous Malays." It is most curious to
see the appurtenances of civilization in the heart of a Malay jungle,
and all the more so because our long night journey up the Linggi makes
it seem more remote than it is. We are really only sixty miles from

The drawing-room has a good piano, and many tasteful ornaments, books,
and china--gifts from loving friends and relations in the far off
home--and is as livable as a bachelor would be likely to make it. There
is a billiard table in the corridor. The dining-room, which is reached
by going out of doors, with its red-tiled floor and walls of dark,
unpolished wood, is very pretty. In the middle of the dinner table
there is a reflecting lake for "hot-house flowers;" and exquisite
crystal, menu cards with holders of Dresden china, four classical
statuettes in Parian, with pine-apples, granadillas, bananas,
pomegranates, and a durion blanda, are the "table decorations." The
cuisine is almost too elaborate for a traveler's palate, but plain meat
is rarely to be got, and even when procurable is unpalatable unless
disguised. Curry is at each meal, but it is not made with curry powder.
Its basis is grated cocoa-nut made into a paste with cocoa-nut milk,
and the spices are added fresh. Turtles when caught are kept in a pond
until they are needed, and we have turtle soup, stewed turtle, curried
turtle and turtle cutlets ad nauseam. Fowls are at every meal, but
never plain roasted or plain boiled. The first day there was broiled
and stewed elephant trunk, which tastes much like beef.

Babu, who is always en grand tenue, has taken command of everything and
saves our host all trouble. He carves at the sideboard, scolds the
servants in a stage whisper, and pushes them indignantly aside when
they attempt to offer anything to "his young ladies," reduces Captain
Murray's butler to a nonentity, and as far as he can turns the
Residency into Government House, waiting on us assiduously in our
rooms, and taking care of our clothes. The dinner bell is a bugle.

In houses in these regions there is always a brick-floored bath-room,
usually of large size, under your bedroom, to which you descend by a
ladder. This is often covered by a trap-door, which is sometimes
concealed by a couch, and in order to descend the sofa cushion is
lifted. Here it is an open trap in the middle of the room. A bath is a
necessity--not a luxury--so near the equator, and it is usual to take
one three, four, or even five times a day, with much refreshment. One
part of Babu's self-imposed duty is to look under our pillows for
snakes and centipedes, and the latter have been found in all our rooms.

I must now make you acquainted with our host, Captain Murray. He was
appointed when the Datu Klana asked for a Resident four years ago. He
devotes himself to Sungei Ujong as if it were his own property, though
he has never been able to acquire the language. He is a man about
thirty-eight, a naval officer, and an enterprising African traveler;
under the middle height, bronzed, sun-browned, disconnected in his
conversation from the habit of living without anyone in or out of the
house to speak to; professing a misanthropy which he is very far from
feeling, for he is quite unsuspicious, and disposed to think the best
of every one; hasty when vexed, but thoroughly kind-hearted; very
blunt, very undignified, never happy (he says) out of the wilds;
thoroughly well disposed to the Chinese and Malays, but very impatient
of their courtesies, thoroughly well meaning, thoroughly a gentleman,
but about the last person that I should have expected to see in a
position which is said to require much tact if not finesse. His
success leads me to think, as I have often thought before, that if we
attempt to deal with Orientals by their own methods, we are apt to find
them more than a match for us, and that thorough honesty is the best

He lives alone, unguarded; trusts himself by night and day without any
escort among the people; keeps up no ceremony at all, and is
approachable at all hours. Like most travelers, he has some practical
knowledge of medicine, and he gives advice and medicines most
generously, allowing himself to be interrupted by patients at all
hours. There is no doctor nearer than Malacca. He has been so
successful that people come from the neighboring States for his advice.
There is very little serious disease, but children are subject to a
loathsome malady called puru. Two were brought with it to-day. The
body and head are covered with pustules containing matter, looking very
much like small-pox, and the natives believe that it must run its
course for a year. Captain Murray cures it in a few days with iodide of
potassium and iodine, and he says that it is fast disappearing.

Captain Murray is judge, "sitting in Equity," Superintendent of Police,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Surveyor of Taxes, besides being Board
of Trade, Board of Works, and I know not what besides. In fact, _he is
the Government_, although the Datu Klana's signature or seal is
required to confirm a sentence of capital punishment, and possibly in
one or two other cases; and his Residential authority is subject only
to the limitations of his own honor and good sense, sharpened somewhat,
were he other than what he is, by possible snubs from the Governor of
the Straits Settlements or the Colonial Secretary. He is a thoroughly
honorable man, means well by all the interests of his little kingdom,
and seems both beloved and trusted.

On Sunday morning we had English service and a sermon, the congregation
being augmented by the only other English people--a man from Australia
who is here road-making, and his wife; and in the afternoon,
disregarding a temperature of 85 degrees, we went through the Chinese
village of Serambang.

Tin is the staple product of Sungei Ujong, and until lately the Malay
peninsula and the adjacent regions were supposed to be the richest tin
producing countries in the world. There is not a single tin mine,
however, properly so-called. The whole of the tin exported from Sungei
Ujong, which last year (1879), even at its present reduced price, was
valued at 81,400 pounds, and contributed as export duty to the
Government 5,800 pounds, is found in the detritus of ancient mountains,
and is got, in mining parlance, in "stream works"--that is, by washing
the soil, just as gold is washed out of the soil in Australia and
California. It is supposed that there is a sufficient supply to last
for ages, even though the demand for tin for new purposes is always on
the increase. It is tin mining which has brought the Chinese in such
numbers to these States, and as miners and smelters they are equally
efficient and persevering. In 1828, the number of Chinese working the
mines here was one thousand; and in the same year they were massacred
by the Malays. They now number ten thousand, and under British
protection have nothing to fear.

It is still the New Year holidays, and hundreds of Chinamen were
lounging about, and every house was gayly decorated. The Malays never
join house to house, the Chinese always do so, and this village has its
streets and plaza. The houses are all to a certain extent
fire-proof--that is, when a fire occurs, and the attap-thatched roofs
are burned, the houses below, which are mostly shops, are safe. These
shops, some of which are very large, are nearly dark. They deal mainly
in Chinese goods and favorite Chinese articles of food, fireworks,
mining tools, and kerosene oil. In one shop twenty "assistants," with
only their loose cotton trousers on, were sitting at round tables
having a meal--not their ordinary diet, I should think, for they had
seventeen different sorts of soups and stews, some of them abominations
to our thinking.

We visited the little joss-house, very gaudily decorated, the main
feature of the decorations being two enormous red silk umbrellas,
exquisitely embroidered in gold and silks. The crowds in this village
remind me of Canton, but the Chinese look anything but picturesque
here, for none of them--or at all events, only their "Capitans"--wear
the black satin skull cap; and their shaven heads, with the small patch
of hair which goes into the composition of the pigtail, look very ugly.
The pig-tail certainly begins with this lock of hair, but the greater
part of it is made up of silk or cotton thread plaited in with the
hair, and blue or red strands of silk in a pigtail indicate mourning or
rejoicing. None of the Chinese here wear the beautiful long robes used
by their compatriots in China and Japan. The rich wear a white,
shirt-like garment of embroidered silk crepe over their trousers and
petticoat, and the poorer only loose blue or brown cotton trousers, so
that one is always being reminded of the excessive leanness of their
forms. Some of the rich merchants invited us to go in and drink
champagne, but we declined everything but tea, which is ready all day
long in tea-pots kept hot in covered baskets very thickly padded, such
as are known with us as "Norwegian Kitchens."

In the middle of the village there is a large, covered, but open-sided
building like a market, which is crowded all day--and all night too--by
hundreds of these poor, half-naked creatures standing round the gaming
tables, silent, eager, excited, staking every cent they earn on the
turn of the dice, living on the excitement of their gains--a truly sad
spectacle. Probably we were the first European ladies who had ever
walked through the gambling-house, but the gamblers were too intent
even to turn their heads. There also they are always drinking tea. Some
idea of the profits made by the men who "farm" the gambling licenses
may be gained from the fact that the revenue derived by the Government
from the gambling "farms" is over 900 pounds a year.

Spirits are sold in three or four places; and the license to sell them
brings in nearly 700 pounds a year, but a drunken Chinaman is never
seen. There are a few opium inebriates, lean like skeletons, and very
vacant in expression; and every coolie smokes his three whiffs of opium
every night. Only a few of the richer Chinamen have wives, and there
are very few women, as is usual in a mining population. A good many
roads have been made in the State, and the Chinese are building
buggies, gharries, and wagons, and many of the richer ones own them and
import Sumatra ponies to draw them. To say that the Chinese make as
good emigrants as the British is barely to give them their due. They
have equal stamina and are more industrious and thrifty, and besides
that they are always sober, can bear with impunity the fiercest
tropical heat, and can thrive and save where Englishmen would starve.
The immense immigration of Chinese, all affiliated to clubs or secret
societies, might be a great risk to the peace of the State were it not
that they recognize certain leaders known as "Capitans China," who
contrive to preserve order, so far as is known by a wholesome influence
merely; and who in all cases, in return for the security which property
enjoys under our flag, work cordially with the Resident in all that
concerns the good of the State. How these "Capitans" are elected, and
how they exercise their authority, is as inscrutable as most else
belonging to the Chinese. The Chinese seem not so much broadly
patriotic as provincial or clannish, and the "Hoeys," or secret
societies, belong to the different southern provinces. The fights
between the factions, and the way in which the secret societies screen
criminals by false swearing and other means, are among the woes of the
Governor and Lieutenant-Governors of these Settlements. Though they get
on very well up here, thanks to the "Capitan China," the clans live in
separate parts of the village, have separate markets and gaming houses,
and a wooden arch across the street divides the two "Nations."

We went to pay complimentary visits for the New Year to these
"Capitans" with the Malay interpreter, and were received with a curious
mixture of good-will and solemnity. Wine, tea and sweet-meats were
produced at each house. Their houses are very rude, considering their
ample means, and have earthen floors. They have comfortable carriages,
and their gentle, sweet-mannered children were loaded with gold and
diamonds. In one house, a sweet little girl handed round the tea and
cake, and all, even to babies who can scarcely toddle across the floor,
came up and shook hands. A Chinese family impresses one by its extreme
orderliness, filial reverence being regarded as the basis of all the
virtues. The manners of these children are equally removed from shyness
and forwardness. They all wore crowns of dark red gold of very
beautiful workmanship, set with diamonds. When these girl-children are
twelve years old, they will, according to custom, be strictly secluded,
and will not be seen by any man but their father till the bridegroom
lifts the veil at the marriage ceremony.

After these visits, in which the "Capitans China," through the
interpreter, assured us of their perpetual and renewed satisfaction
with British rule, Mr. Hayward, the interpreter, and I, paid another
visit of a more leisurely kind to one of the Chinese gambling houses,
which, as usual, was crowded. At one end several barbers were at work.
A Chinaman is always being shaved, for he keeps his head and face quite
smooth, and never shaves himself. The shaving the head was originally a
sign of subjection imposed by the Tartar conquerors, but it is now so
completely the national custom that prisoners feel it a deep disgrace
when their hair is allowed to grow. Coolies twist their five feet of
pigtail round their heads while they are at work, but a servant or
other inferior, only insults his superior if he enter his presence with
his pigtail otherwise than pendent. The gaming house, whose open sides
allow it to present a perpetual temptation, is full of tables, and at
each sits a croupier, well clothed, and as many half-naked Chinamen as
can see over each others' shoulders crowd round him. Their silent,
concentrated eagerness is a piteous sight, as the cover is slowly
lifted from the heavy brass box in which the dice are kept, on the cast
of which many of them have staked all they possess. They accept their
losses as they do their gains, with apparent composure. They work very
hard, and live on very little; but they are poor just now, for the
price of tin has fallen nearly one-half in consequence of the great tin
discoveries in Australia.

Along with Mr. Hayward I paid a visit to the Court House, a large
whitewashed room, with a clean floor of red tiles, a tiled dais, with a
desk for the judge, a table with a charge sheet and some books upon it,
and three long benches at the end for witnesses and their friends. A
punkah is kept constantly going. There are a clerk, a Chinese
interpreter, who speaks six Chinese dialects, and a Malay interpreter,
who puts the Chinese interpreter's words into English. As the judge
does not understand Malay, it will be observed that justice depends on
the fidelity of this latter official. Though I cannot say that the
dignity of justice is sustained in this court, there is not a doubt
that the intentions of the judge are excellent, and if some of the
guilty escape, it is not likely that any of the innocent suffer. The
Datu Bandar sometimes sits on the bench with the Resident.

The benches were crowded almost entirely with Chinamen, and a number of
policemen stood about. I noticed that these were as anxious as our own
are to sustain a case. The case which I heard, and which occupied more
than an hour, was an accusation against a wretched Chinaman for
stealing a pig. I sat on the bench and heard every word that was said,
and arrived at no judicial conclusion, nor did the Resident, so the
accused was dismissed. He did steal that pig though! I don't see how
truth can be arrived at in an Oriental court, especially where the
witnesses are members of Chinese secret societies. Another case of
alleged nocturnal assault, was tried, in which the judge took immense
pains to get at the truth, and the prisoner had every advantage; and
when he was found guilty, was put into a good jail, from which he will
be taken out daily to work on the roads.

Malays being Mussulmen, are mostly tried by the "Divine Law" of the
Koran, and Chinamen are dealt with "in equity." The question to be
arrived at simply is, "Did the prisoner commit this crime or did he
not?" If he did he is punished, and if he did not he is acquitted.
There are no legal technicalities by which trial can be delayed or the
ends of justice frustrated. Theft is the most common crime. One hundred
and fourteen persons were convicted last year, which does not seem a
large proportion (being less than one per cent.) out of an unsettled
mining population of twelve thousand. Mr. Hayward, through whose hands
the crime of Singapore and Malacca has filtered for twenty years, was
very critical on the rough and ready method of proceeding here, and
constantly interjected suggestions, such as "You don't ask them
questions before you swear them," etc. Informal as its administration
is, I have no doubt that justice is substantially done, for the
Resident is conscientious and truly honorable. He is very lovable, and
is evidently much beloved, and is able to go about in unguarded

It is not far from the Court House to the prison, a wholesomely
situated building on a hill, made of concrete, with an attap roof. The
whole building is one hundred feet long by thirty feet broad. There are
six cells for solitary confinement. A jailer, turnkey, and eight
warders constitute the prison staff. The able-bodied prisoners are
employed on the roads and other public works, and attend upon the
scavengers' cart, which outcome of civilization goes round every
morning! The diet, which costs fourpence a day for each prisoner,
consists of rice and salt fish, but those who work get two-pence
halfpenny a day in addition, with which they can either buy luxuries or
accumulate a small sum against the time when their sentences expire.
Old and weakly people do light work about the prison. One man was
executed for murder last year under a sentence signed by the Datu
Klana. I have not been in a prison since I was in that den of horrors,
the prison of the Naam-Hoi magistrate at Canton, and I felt a little
satisfaction in the contrast.

The same afternoon we all made a very pleasant expedition to the
Sanitarium, a cabin which the Resident has built on a hill three miles
from here. A chair with four Chinese bearers carried Miss Shaw up, her
sister and the two gentlemen walked, and I rode a Sumatra pony, on an
Australian stock-man's saddle, not only up the steep jungle path, but
up a staircase of two hundred steps in which it terminates, the
sagacious animal going up quite cunningly. One charm of a tropical
jungle is that every few yards you come upon something new, and every
hundred feet of ascent makes a decided difference in the vegetation.
This is a very grand forest, with its straight, smooth stems running up
over one hundred feet before branching, and the branches are loaded
with orchids and trailers. One cannot see what the foliage is like
which is borne far aloft into the summer sunshine, but on the ground I
found great red trumpet flowers and crimson corollas, like those of a
Brobdingnagian honeysuckle, and flowers like red dragon-flies
enormously magnified, and others like large, single roses in yellow
wax, falling slowly down now and then, messengers from the floral
glories above, "wasting (?) their sweetness on the desert air." A
traveler through a tropical jungle may see very few flowers and be
inclined to disparage it. It is necessary to go on adjacent rising
ground and look down where trees and trailers are exhibiting their
gorgeousness. Unlike the coarse weeds which form so much of the
undergrowth in Japan, everything which grows in these forests rejoices
the eye by its form or color; but things which hurt and sting and may
kill, lurk amidst all the beauties. A creeping plant with very
beautiful waxy leaves, said by Captain Murray to be vanilla, grows up
many of the trees.

When we got up to the top of this, which the Resident calls "Plantation
Hill," I was well pleased to find that only the undergrowth had been
cleared away, and that "The Sanitarium" consists only of a cabin with a
single room divided into two, and elevated on posts like a Malay house.
The deep veranda which surrounds it is reached by a stepladder. A
smaller house could hardly be, or a more picturesque one, from the
steepness and irregularity of its roof. The cook-house is a small attap
shed, in a place cut into the hill, and an inclosure of attap screens
with a barrel in it under the house is the bath-room. The edge of the
hill, from which a few trees have been cleared, is so steep that but
for a bamboo rail one might slip over upon the tree-tops below. Some
Liberian coffee shrubs, some tea, cinchona, and ipecacuanha, and some
heartless English cabbages, are being grown on the hillside, and the
Resident hopes that the State will have a great future of coffee.

The view in all directions was beautiful--to the north a sea of densely
wooded mountains with indigo shadows in their hollows; to the south the
country we had threaded on the Linggi river, forests, and small tapioca
clearings, little valleys where rice is growing, and scars where tin-
mining is going on; the capital, the little town of Serambang with its
larger clearings, and to the west the gleam of the shining sea. In the
absence of mosquitoes we were able to sit out till after dark, a rare
luxury. There was a gorgeous sunset of the gory, furnace kind, which
one only sees in the tropics--waves of violet light rolling up over the
mainland, and the low Sumatran coast looking like a purple cloud amidst
the fiery haze.

Dinner was well cooked, and served with coffee after it, just as at
home. The primitive bath-room was made usable by our eleven servants
and chair-bearers being sent to the hill, where the two gentlemen
mounted guard over them. After dark the Chinamen made the largest
bonfire I ever saw, or at all events the most brilliant, with trunks of
trees and pieces of gum dammar, several pounds in weight, which they
obtained by digging, and this was kept up till daylight, throwing its
splendid glare over the whole hill-top, lighting up the forest, and
bringing the cabin out in all its picturesqueness.

I should have liked to be there some time to study the ways of a tribe
of ants. Near the cabin, under a large tree, there was an ant-dwelling,
not exactly to be called an ant-hill, but a subterranean ant-town,
with two entrances. Into this an army of many thousand largish ants, in
an even column three and a half inches wide, marched continually, in
well "dressed" ranks, about twenty-seven in each, with the regularity
of a crack regiment on the "march past," over all sorts of
inequalities, rough ground, and imbedded trunks of small trees, larger
ants looking like officers marching on both sides of the column, and
sometimes turning back as if to give orders. Would that Sir John
Lubbock had been there to interpret their speech!

Each ant of the column bore a yellowish burden, not too large to
interfere with his activity. A column marshaled in the same fashion,
but only half the width of the other, emerged equally continuously from
the lower entrance. From the smaller size of this column I suppose that
a number of the carrier ants remain within, stowing away their burdens
in store-houses. Attending this latter column for eighteen paces, I
came upon a marvelous scene of orderly activity. A stump of a tree,
from which the outer bark had been removed, leaving an under layer
apparently permeated with a rich, sweet secretion, was completely
covered with ants, which were removing the latter in minute portions.
Strange to say, however, a quantity of reddish ants of much larger size
and with large mandibles seemed to do the whole work of stripping off
this layer. They were working from above, and had already bared some
inches of the stump, which was four feet six inches in diameter. As the
small morsels fell among the myriads of ants which swarmed round the
base they were broken up, three or four ants sometimes working at one
bit till they had reduced it into manageable portions. It was a
splendid sight to see this vast and busy crowd inspired by a common
purpose, and with the true instinct of discipline, forever forming into
column at the foot of the stump.

Toward dusk the reddish ants, which may be termed quarriers, gave up
work, and this was the signal for the workers below to return home. The
quarriers came down the stump pushing the laborers, rather rudely as I
thought, out of their way; and then forming in what might be called
"light skirmishing order," they marched to the lower entrance of the
town, meeting as they went the column of workers going up to the stump.
They met it of course at once, and a minute of great helter-skelter
followed, this column falling back on itself as if assailed, in great
confusion. If this be the ordinary day's routine, why does that column
fall into confusion, and why, after throwing it into disorder, do the
reddish ants close their ranks and march into the town in compact
order, parallel with the working column going the other way, and which
they seemed to terrorize? Is it possible that the smaller ants are only
slaves of the larger? Inscrutable are the ways of ants! However, when
the advancing column had recovered from its confusion it formed up,
and, wheeling round in most regular order, fell behind the rear-guard
of the working column, and before dark not an ant remained outside
except a dead body.

Soon after the last of its living comrades had disappeared, six ants,
with a red one (dare I say?) "in command," came out and seemed to hold
a somewhat fussy consultation round the corpse which had fallen on the
line of march to the stump. After a minute or two, three of them got
hold of it, and with the other four as spectators or mourners, they
dragged it for about six feet and concealed it under a leaf, after
which they returned home; all this was most fascinating. A little later
Captain Murray destroyed both entrances to the town, but before
daylight, by dint of extraordinary labor, they were reconstructed lower
down the slope, and the work at the stump was going on as if nothing so
unprecedented had happened.

I should have liked also to study the ways of the white ant, the great
timber-destroying pest of this country, which abounds on this hill. He
is a large ant of a pale buff color. Up the trunk of a tree he builds
a tunnel of sand, held together by a viscid secretion, and under this
he works, cutting a deep groove in the wood, and always extending the
tunnel upward. I broke away two inches of such a tunnel in the
afternoon, and by the next morning it was restored. Among many other
varieties of ants, there is one found by the natives, which people call
the "soldier ant." I saw many of these big fellows, more than an inch
long, with great mandibles. Their works must be on a gigantic scale,
and their bite or grip very painful; but being with a party, I was not
able to make their acquaintance.

When it grew dark, tiny lamps began to move in all directions. Some
came from on high, like falling stars, but most moved among the trees a
few feet from the ground with a slow undulatory motion, the fire having
a pale blue tinge, as one imagines an incandescent sapphire might have.
The great tree-crickets kept up for a time the most ludicrous sound I
ever heard--one sitting in a tree and calling to another. From the
deafening noise, which at times drowned our voices, one would suppose
the creature making it to be at least as large as an eagle.

The accommodation of the "Sanitarium" is most limited. The two
gentlemen, well armed, slept in the veranda, the Misses Shaw in camp
beds in the inner cabin, and I in a swinging cot in the outer, the
table being removed to make room for it. The bull-dog mounted guard
over all, and showed his vigilance by an occasional growl. The eleven
attendants stowed themselves away under the cabin, except a garrulous
couple, who kept the fire blazing till daylight. My cot was most
comfortable, but I failed to sleep. The forest was full of quaint, busy
noises, broken in upon occasionally by the hoot of the "spectre bird,"
and the long, low, plaintive cry of some animal.

All the white residents in the Malacca Settlements have been greatly
excited about a tragedy which has just occurred at the Dindings, off
this coast, in which Mr. Lloyd, the British superintendent, was
horribly murdered by the Chinese; his wife, and Mrs. Innes, who was on
a visit to her, narrowly escaping the same fate. Lying awake I could
not help thinking of this, and of the ease with which the Resident
could be overpowered and murdered by any of our followers who might
have a grudge against him, when, as I thought, the door behind my head
from the back ladder was burst open, and my cot and I came down on the
floor at the head, the simple fact being, that the head-rope, not
having been properly secured, gave way with a run. An hour afterward
the foot-ropes gave way, and I was deposited on the floor altogether,
and was soon covered with small ants.

Early in the morning the apes began to call to each other with a
plaintive "Hoo-houey," and in the gray dawn I saw an iguana fully four
feet long glide silently down the trunk of a tree, the branches of
which were loaded with epiphytes. Captain Shaw asked the imaum of one
of the mosques of Malacca about alligator's eggs a few days ago, and
his reply was, that the young that went down to the sea became
alligators, and those which came up the rivers became iguanas. At
daylight, after coffee and bananas, we left the hill, and after an
accident, promptly remedied by Mr. Hayward, reached Serambang when the
sun was high in the heavens. I should think that there are very few
circumstances which Mr. Hayward is not prepared to meet. He has a
reserve of quiet strength which I should like to see fully drawn upon.
He has the scar of a spear wound on his brow, which Captain Murray says
was received in holding sixty armed men at bay, while he secured the
retreat of some helpless persons. Yet he continues to be much burdened
by his responsibility for these fair girls, who, however, are enjoying
themselves thoroughly, and will be none the worse.

We had scarcely returned when a large company of Chinamen, carrying
bannerets and joss-sticks, came to the Residency to give a spectacle or
miracle-play, the first part consisting of a representation of a huge
dragon, which kicked, and jumped, and crawled, and bellowed in a manner
totally unworthy of that ancient and splendid myth; and the second, of
a fierce melee, or succession of combats with spears, shields, and
battle-axes. The performances were accompanied by much drumming, and by
the beating of tom-toms, an essentially infernal noise, which I cannot
help associating with the orgies of devil-worship. The "Capitan China,"
in a beautiful costume, sat with us in the veranda to see the

I have written a great deal about the Chinese and very little about the
Malays, the nominal possessors of the country, but the Chinese may be
said to be everywhere, and the Malays nowhere. You have to look for
them if you want to see them. Besides, the Chinese are as ten to two of
the whole population. Still the laws are administered in the name of
the Datu Klana, the Malay ruler. The land owned by Malays is being
measured, and printed title-deeds are being given, a payment of 2s. an
acre per annum being levied instead of any taxes on produce. Export
duties are levied on certain articles, but the navigation of the rivers
is free. Debt slavery, one curse of the Malay States, has been
abolished by the energy of Captain Murray with the cordial co-operation
of the Datu Klana, and now the whole population have the status and
rights of free men. It is a great pity that this Prince is in Malacca,
for he is said to be a very enlightened ruler. The photograph which I
inclose (from which the engraving is taken) is of the marriage of his
daughter, a very splendid affair. The buffalo in front was a marriage
present from the Straits Government, and its covering was of cloth of
gold thick with pearls and precious stones.

We visited yesterday a Malay kampong called Mambu, in order to pay an
unceremonious visit to the Datu Bandar, the Rajah second in rank to the
reigning prince. His house, with three others, a godown on very high
stilts, and a mound of graves whitened by the petals of the Frangipani,
with a great many cocoa-nut and other trees, was surrounded, as Malay
dwellings often are, by a high fence, within which was another
inclosing a neat, sanded level, under cocoa-palms, on which his
"private residence" and those of his wives stand. His secretary, a
nice-looking lad in red turban, baju, and sarong, came out to meet us,
followed by the Datu Bandar, a pleasant, able-looking man, with a
cordial manner, who shook hands and welcomed us. No notice had been
given of our visit, and the Rajah, who is reclaiming and bringing into
good cultivation much of his land, and who sets the example of working
with his own hands, was in a checked shirt, and a common, checked, red
sarong. Vulgarity is surely a disease of the West alone, though, as in
Japan, one sees that it can be contagious, and this Oriental, far from
apologizing for his dishabille, led us up the steep and difficult
ladder by which his house is entered with as much courteous ease as if
he had been in his splendors.

I thoroughly liked his house. It is both fitting and tasteful. We
stepped from the ladder into a long corridor, well-matted, which led to
a doorway with a gold-embroidered silk or valance, and a looped-up

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