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

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[*Abdullah informs "our friend" Sir W. Jervois, that his position and
that of Perak are "in a most deplorable state," that there are two
Sultans between whom no arrangement can be made, that the revenues are
badly raised, and the laws are not executed with justice. "For these
reasons," he says, "we see that Perak is in very great distress, and, in
our opinion, the affairs of Perak cannot be settled except with strong,
active assurance from our friend the representative of Queen Victoria,
the greatest and most noble....We earnestly beg our friend to give
complete assistance to Perak, and govern it, in order that this country
may obtain safety and happiness, and that proper revenues may be raised,
and the laws administered with justice, and all the inhabitants of the
country may live in comfort."]

So far, as regards the Sultanate, I have followed the account given by
Sir Benson Maxwell. Mr. Swettenham, however, writes that Abdullah
failed to obtain complete recognition of himself as Sultan, and instead
of fulfilling the duties of his position, devoted himself to opium-
smoking, cock-fighting, and other vices, estranging, by his overbearing
manner and pride of position, those who only needed forbearance to make
them his supporters. It may be remarked that Abdullah was not as
yielding as had been expected to his English advisers.

The Pangkor Treaty was signed in January, 1874. On November 2d, 1875,
Mr. Birch, the British Resident, who had arrived the evening before at
the village of Passir Salah to post up orders and proclamations
announcing that the whole kingdom of Perak was henceforth to be
governed by English officers, was murdered as he was preparing for the

On this provocation we entered upon a "little war," Perak became known
in England, and the London press began to ask how it was that colonial
officers were suffered to make conquests and increase Imperial
responsibilities without the sanction of Parliament. Lord Carnarvon
telegraphed to Singapore that he could not sanction the use of troops
"for annexation or any other large political aims," supplementing his
telegram by a despatch stating that the residential system had been
only sanctioned provisionally, as an experiment, and declaring that the
Government would not keep troops in a country "continuing to possess an
independent jurisdiction, for the purpose of enforcing measures which
the natives did not cheerfully accept."

As the sequel to the war and Mr. Birch's murder, Ismail, who had
retained authority over a part of Perak, was banished to Johore;
Abdullah, the Sultan, and the Mentri of Larut, who was designated as an
"intriguing character," were exiled to the Seychelles, and the Rajah
Muda Yusuf, a prince who, by all accounts, was regarded as exceedingly
obnoxious, was elevated to the regency, Perak at the same time passing
virtually under our rule.

A great mist of passion and prejudice envelops our dealings with the
chiefs and people of this State, both before and after the war. Sir
Benson Maxwell in "Our Malay Conquests," presents a formidable
arraignment against the Colonial authorities, and Major M'Nair, in his
book on Perak, justifies all their proceedings. If I may venture to
give an opinion upon so controverted a subject, it is, that all
Colonial authorities in their dealings with native races, all Residents
and their subordinates, and all transactions between ourselves and the
weak peoples of the Far East, would be better for having something of
"the fierce light which beats upon a throne" turned upon them. The good
have nothing to fear, the bad would be revealed in their badness, and
hasty counsels and ambitious designs would be held in check. Public
opinion never reaches these equatorial jungles; we are grossly ignorant
of their inhabitants and their rights, of the manner in which our
interference originated, and how it has been exercised; and unless some
fresh disturbance and another "little war" should concentrate our
attention for a moment on these distant States, we are likely to remain
so, to their great detriment, and not a little, in one respect of the
case at least, to our own.

When the changes in Perak were completed, Mr. Hugh Low, formerly
administrator of the Government of Labuan, was appointed Resident, and
Mr. W. E. Maxwell, who had had considerable experience in Malay
affairs, Assistant Resident. Both these gentlemen speak the Malay
tongue readily and idiomatically, and Mr. Maxwell is an accomplished
Malay scholar. Of both the superior and subordinate it may truly be
said that, by tact, firmness, patience, and a uniformly just regard for
both Malay and Chinese interests, they have not only pacified the
State, but have conciliated the Rajahs, and in the main have reconciled
the people to the new order of things.


Province Wellesley--Water Buffaloes--A Glorious Night--Perak
Officials--A "Dismal Swamp"--Elephants at Home--An Epigrammatic
Description--The British Residency at Taipeng--Sultan Abdulla's Boys--A
Chinese Mining Town--The "Armed Police"--An Alligator's Victim--Major
Swinburne--A Larut Dinner Party--A Morning Hymn


I left Mr. Justice Wood's yesterday, and his servant dispatched me from
the jetty in a large boat with an attap awning and six Kling rowers,
whose oars worked in nooses of rope. The narrow Strait was very calm,
and the hot, fiery light of the tropic evening resting upon it, made it
look like oil rather than water. In half an hour I landed on the other
side in the prosperous Province Wellesley, under a row of magnificent
casuarina trees, with gray, feathery foliage drooping over a beach of
corals and, behind which are the solemn glades of cocoa-nut groves. On
the little jetty a Sikh policeman waited for me; and presently Mrs.
Isemonger, wife of the police magistrate of the Province, met me on the
bright, green lawn studded with clumps of alamanda, which surrounds
their lovely, palm-shaded bungalow.

Though the shadows were falling, Mr. Isemonger took me to see something
of the back country in a trap with a fiery Sumatra pony. There are
miles of cocoa-nut plantations belonging to Chinamen all along the
coast, with the trees in straight lines forming long, broad avenues,
which have a certain gloomy grandeur about them. Then come sugarcane
and padi, and then palm plantations again.

The cocoa-nut palm grows best near salt water, no matter how loose and
sandy the soil is, and in these congenial circumstances needs neither
manure nor care of any kind. It bends lovingly toward the sea, and
drops its ripe fruit into it. But if it is planted more than two
hundred yards from the beach, it needs either rich or well-manured
soil, or the proximity of human habitations. It begins to bear fruit
between its fourth and tenth years, according to soil, and a
well-placed, generous tree bears from one hundred and forty to one
hundred and fifty nuts a year. They are of wonderfully slow growth. It
is three months from the time the blossom appears before the fruit
sets, then it takes six months to grow, and three months more to ripen,
and after that will hang two months on the tree before it
falls--fourteen months from the first appearance of the flower!

It is certainly not beautiful as grown in Province Wellesley, and I am
becoming faithless to my allegiance to it in this region of areca and
other more graceful palms.

In returning we saw many Malay kampongs under the palms, each with a
fire lighted underneath it, and there were many other fires for the
water-buffaloes, with groups of these uncouth brutes gathered
invariably on the leeward side, glad to be smoked rather than bitten by
the mosquitoes. These huge, thin-skinned animals have a strange
antipathy to white people. They are petted and caressed by the Malays,
and even small boys can do anything with them, and can ride upon their
backs, but constantly when they see white people they raise their
muzzles, and if there be room charge them madly. A buffalo is
enormously strong, but he objects to the sun, and likes to bathe in
rivers, and plaster himself with mud, and his tastes are much humored
by his owners. A buffalo has often been known to vanquish a tiger when
both have had fair play. Most of the drive back was accomplished by
nearly incessant flashes of sheet lightning.

We had a most pleasant evening. Mrs. Isemonger, who is a sister of Mr.
Maxwell, my present host, is gentle, thoughtful, well-informed, and
studious, and instead of creating and living in an artificial English
atmosphere which is apt to make a residence in a foreign country a very
unproductive period, she has interested herself in the Malays, and has
not only acquired an excellent knowledge of Malayan, but is translating
a Malayan book.

I felt much humiliated by my ignorance of Province Wellesley, of which
in truth I had never heard until I reached Malacca. It is a mere strip,
however, only thirty-five miles long by about ten broad, but it is
highly cultivated, fertile, rich, prosperous, and populous. From Pinang
one sees its broad stretches of bright green sugar-cane and the
chimneys of its sugar factories, and it grows rice and cocoa-nuts, and
is actually more populous than Pinang or Malacca, and contains as many
Malays as Sungei Ujong, Selangor and Pinang together--fifty-eight
thousand! Mr. Maxwell had promised to bring the Kinta, a steam-
launch, across from Georgetown by 8 P.M., and it shows how very
pleasant the evening was, that though I was very tired, eight, nine,
ten, and eleven came, and the conversation never flagged.

Soon after eleven the Kinta appeared, a black shadow on a silver sea,
roaring for a boat, but the surf was so heavy that it was some time
before the police boat was got off; and then Mr. Maxwell, whose cheery,
energetic voice precedes him, and Mr. Walker landed, bullying
everybody, as people often do when they know that they are the
delinquents! It was lovely in the white moonlight with the curving
shadows of palms on the dewy grass, the grace of the drooping
casuarinas, the shining water, and the long drift of surf. It was hard
to get off, and the surf broke into the boat; but when we were once
through it, the sea was like oil, the oars dripped flame, and, seen
from the water, the long line of surf broke on the shore not in snow,
but in a long drift of greenish fire.

The Kinta is a steam-launch of the Perak Government. Her boilers, to
use an expressive Japanese phrase, are "very sick," and she is not
nearly so fine as the Abdulsamat, but a quiet, peaceful boat, without
any pretensions; and really any "old tub" is safe on the Straits of
Malacca except in a "Sumatran." I stayed on deck for some time enjoying
the exquisite loveliness of the night, and the vivacity of two of my
companions, Mr. Maxwell, the Assistant Resident here, a really able and
most energetic man, very argumentative, bright, and pleasant; and
Captain Walker, A.D.C. to Sir W. Robinson, on his way from the
ceaseless gayeties of Government House at Singapore to take command of
the Sikh military police in the solitary jungles of Perak. The third,
Mr. Innes, Superintendent of Lower Perak, whose wife so nearly lost her
life in the horrible affair at Pulo Pangkor, was in dejected spirits,
as if the swamps of Durion Sabatang had been too much for him.

The little cabin below was frightfully hot, and I shared it not only
with two nice Malay boys, sons of the exiled Abdullah, the late Sultan,
who are being educated at Malacca, but with a number of large and
rampant rats. Finding the heat and rats unbearable, I went on deck in
the rosy dawn, just as we were entering the Larut river, a muddy
stream, flowing swiftly between dense jungles and mangrove swamps, and
shores of shining slime, on which at low water the alligators bask in
the sun--one of the many rivers of the Peninsula which do not widen at
their mouths.

The tide was high and the river brimming full, looking as if it must
drown all the forest, and the trestle-work roots on which the mangroves
are hoisted were all submerged. It is a silent, lonely land, all
densely green. Many an uprooted palm with its golden plumes and wealth
of golden husked nuts came floating down on the swirling waters, and
many a narrow creek well suited for murder, overarched with trees, and
up which one might travel far and still be among mangrove swamps and
alligators, came down into the Larut river; and once we passed a small
clearing, where some industrious Chinamen are living in huts on some
festering slime between the river and the jungle; and once a police
station on stilts, where six policemen stood in a row and saluted as we
passed, and at seven we reached Teluk Kartang, with a pier, a long
shed, two or three huts, and some officialism, white and partly white,
all in a "dismal swamp." A small but very useful Chinese trading
steamer, the Sri Sarawak, was lying against the pier, and we landed
over her filthy deck, on which filthy Chinese swine, among half-naked
men almost as filthy, were wrangling for decomposing offal. Dismal as
this place looks, an immense trade in imports and exports is done
there; and all the tin from the rich mines of the district is sent
thence to Pinang for transhipment.

While my friends transacted business, I waited for an age in an empty
office where was one chair, a table dark with years of ink splotches, a
mouldy inkstand, a piece of an old almanac, and an empty gin bottle.
Outside, cockle-shells were piled against the wall; then there were
ditches or streamlets cutting through profuse and almost loathsome
vegetation, and shining slime fat and iridescent, swarming with
loathsome forms of insect and reptile life all rioting under the fierce
sun, and among them, almost odious by proximity to such vileness, were
small crabs with shells of a heavenly blue. The strong vegetable stench
was nearly overpowering, but I wrote to you and worked at your
embroidery a little, and so got through this detention pleasantly, as
through many a longer, though never a hotter one.

After a time three gharries arrived, and Mr. Innes and I went in one,
the two other gentlemen in another, and Sultan Abdullah's boys in the
third. No amount of world-wide practice in the getting in and out of
strange vehicles is any help to the tortuous process necessary for
mounting and dismounting from a Larut gharrie. A gharrie is a two-
wheeled cart with a seat across it for two people and a board in front
on which the driver sits when he is not running by his horse. This
board and the low roof which covers the whole produce the complication
in getting in and out. The bottom of the cart is filled up with grass
and leaves, and you put your feet on the board in front, and the little
rats of fiery Sumatra ponies, which will run till they drop, jolt you
along at great speed. Klings, untroubled by much clothing, own and
drive these vehicles, which are increasing rapidly. The traffic on the
road of heavy buffalo carts, loaded with tin, cuts it up so badly that
without care one might often be thrown upon the pony's back at the
river end of it.

Near the port we met three elephants, the centre one of great size,
rolling along, one of them with a mahout seated behind his great
flapping ears. These are part of the regalia of the deposed Sultan, and
were sent down from the interior for me and my baggage. The smallest of
them would have carried me and my "Gladstone bag" and canvas roll. The
first sight of "elephants at home" is impressive, but they are
fearfully ugly, and their rolling gait does not promise well for the
ease of my future journey.

We passed through a swampy, but busy-looking Chinese village, masculine
almost solely, where Chinamen were building gharries and selling all
such things as Chinese coolies buy, just the same there as everywhere,
and at home there as everywhere; yellow, lean, smooth-shaven, keen,
industrious, self-reliant, sober, mercenary, reliable, mysterious,
opium-smoking, gambling, hugging clan ties, forming no others, and
managing their own matters even to the post and money-order offices,
through which they are constantly sending money to the interior of
China. I hope that it is not true that they look at us, as a singularly
able and highly educated Chinaman lately said to me that they do, as
"the incarnation of brute force allied to brute vices!" This is a
Chinese region, so the degression is excusable.

It was bright and hot, the glorious, equable equatorial heat, and when
we got out of the mangrove swamps through which the road is causewayed,
there was fine tropical foliage, and the trees were festooned with a
large, blue Thunbergia of great beauty. It is eight miles from the
landing at Teluk Kartang to Taipeng, where the British Residency is.
The road crosses uninteresting level country, but every jolt brings one
nearer to the Hijan mountains, which rise picturesquely from the plain
to a height of over three thousand feet. In the distance there is an
extraordinary "butte" or isolated hill, Gunong Pondok, a landmark for
the whole region, and on the right to the east a grand mountain range,
the highest peak of which cannot fall far short of eight thousand feet;
and the blue-green ranges showing the foam of at least one waterfall
almost helped one to be cool.

We reached Permatang, another Chinese village of some pretensions and
population, near which are two very large two-storied Malay houses in
some disrepair, in which the wife of the banished Mentri of Larut
lives, with a number of slaves. A quantity of mirthful-looking slave
girls were standing behind the window bars looking at us
surreptitiously. We alighted at the house of Mr. Wynne, the Government
Agent, who at once said something courteous and hospitable about
breakfast, which I was longing for; but after I had had a bath I found
that we were to pursue our journey, I regretting for the second time
already Mr. Maxwell's abstemiousness and power of going without food!

From this point we drove along an excellent road toward the mountains,
over whose cool summits cloud mists now and then drifted; and near noon
entered this important Chinese town, with a street about a mile long,
with large bazaars and shops making a fine appearance, being much
decorated in Chinese style; halls of meeting for the different tribes,
gambling houses, workshops, the Treasury (a substantial dark wood
building), large detached barracks for the Sikh police, a hospital, a
powder magazine, a parade ground, a Government store-house, a large,
new jail, neat bungalows for the minor English officials, and on the
top of a steep, isolated terraced hill, the British Residency. This
hill is really too steep for a vehicle to ascend, but the plucky pony
and the Kling driver together pulled the gharrie up the zigzags in a
series of spasms, and I was glad to get out of the sunshine into a
cool, airy house, where there was a hope of breakfast, or rather

The Residency is large and lofty, and thoroughly draughty, a high
commendation so near the equator. It consists of a room about thirty
feet wide by sixty long, and about twenty feet high at its highest
part, open at both ends, the front end a great bow window without glass
opening on an immense veranda. This room and its veranda are like the
fore cabin of a great Clyde steamer. It has a red screen standing
partly across it, the back part being used for eating, and the front
for sitting and occupation. My bedroom and sitting-room, and the room
in which Sultan Abdullah's boys sleep are on one side, and Mr.
Maxwell's room and office on the other. Underneath are bath-rooms, and
guard-rooms for the Sikh sentries. There are no ornaments or
superfluities. There are two simple meals daily, with tea and bananas
at 7 A.M., and afternoon tea at 5 P.M. Mr. Maxwell is most abstemious,
and is energetically at work from an early hour in the morning. There
is a perpetual coming and going of Malays, and an air of business
without fuss. There is a Chinese "housemaid," who found a snake, four
feet long, coiled up under my down quilt yesterday, and a Malay butler,
but I have not seen any other domestic.

Those boys of Sultan Abdullah's are the most amusing children I ever
saw. They are nine and twelve years old, with monkey-like,
irrepressible faces. They have no ballast. They talk ceaselessly, and
are very playful and witty, but though a large sum is being paid for
their education at Malacca, they speak atrocious "pidjun," and never
use Malayan, in my hearing at least. They are never still for one
instant; they chatter, read snatches from books, ask questions about
everything, but are too volatile to care for the answers, turn
somersaults, lean over my shoulders as I write, bring me puzzles, and
shriek and turn head over heels when I can't find them out, and jump on
Mr. Maxwell's shoulders begging for dollars. I like them very much,
for, though they are so restless and mercurial, they are neither rude
nor troublesome. They have kept the house alive with their antics, but
they are just starting on my elephants for Kwala Kangsa, on a visit to
the Regent. I wonder what will become of them? Their father is an exile
in the Seychelles, and though it was once thought that one of them
might succeed the reigning Rajah, another Rajah is so popular with the
Malays, and so intelligent, that it is now unlikely that his claims
will be set aside.

The steep little hill on which the Residency stands is planted with
miserable coffee, with scanty yellow foliage. The house on my side has
a magnificent view of the beautiful Hijan hills, down which a waterfall
tumbles in a broad sheet of foam only half a mile off, and which breed
a rampageous fresh breeze for a great part of the day. The front
veranda looks down on Taipeng and other Chinese villages, on neat and
prolific Chinese vegetable gardens, on pits, formerly tin mines, now
full of muddy, stagnant water, on narrow, muddy rivulets bearing the
wash of the tin mines to the Larut river, on all the weediness and
forlornness of a superficially exhausted mining region, and beyond upon
an expanse of jungle, the limit of which is beyond the limit of vision,
miles of tree tops as level as the ocean, over which the cloud shadows
sail in purple all day long. In the early morning the parade ground is
gay with "thin red" lines of soldiers, and all day long with a glass I
can see the occupations and bustle of Taipeng.

Taipeng is a thriving, increasing place, of over six thousand
inhabitants, solely Chinese, with the exception of a small Kling
population, which keeps small shops, lends money, drives gharries and
bullock-carts, and washes clothes. This place was the focus of the
disturbances in 1873, and the Chinese seem still to need to be held in
check, for they are not allowed to go out at night without passes and
lanterns. They are miners, except those who keep the innumerable shops
which supply the miners, and some of them are rich. Taipeng is
tolerably empty during the day, but at dusk, when the miners return,
the streets and gambling dens are crowded, and the usual Babel of
Chinese tongues begins. There are scarcely any Malays in the town.

Mr. Maxwell walks and rides about everywhere unattended and without
precautions, but Sikh sentries guard this house by night and day. They
wear large blue turbans, scarlet coats and white trousers. There are
four hundred and fifty of them, recruited in India from among the Sikhs
and Pathans, and many of them have seen service under our flag. They
are, to all intents and purposes, soldiers, drilled and disciplined as
such, though called "Armed Police," and are commanded by Major
Swinburne of the 80th Regiment. There is a half battery of mountain
train rifled guns, and many of these men are drilled as gunners. Their
joy would be in shooting and looting, but they have not any scent for
crime. They are splendid-looking men, with long moustaches and
whiskers, but they plait the long ends of the latter and tuck them up
under their turbans. They have good-natured faces generally, and are
sober, docile and peaceable, but Major Swinburne says that they indulge
in violent wordy warfare on "theological subjects." They are devoted to
the accumulation of money, and very many of them being betrothed to
little girls in India, save nearly all their pay in order to buy land
and settle there. When off duty they wear turbans and robes nearly as
white as snow, and look both classical and colossal. They get on
admirably with the Malays, but look down on the Chinese, who are much
afraid of them. One sees a single Sikh driving four or five Chinamen in
front of him, having knotted their pigtails together for reins. I have
been awoke each night by the clank which attends the change of guard,
and as the moonlight flashes on the bayonets, I realize that I am in

The air is so bracing here and the nights so cool, that I have been out
by seven each morning, and have been into Taipeng in the evening. This
morning I went to see the hospital, mainly used by the Sikhs, who,
though very docile patients, are most troublesome in other ways, owing
to religious prejudices, which render it nearly impossible to cook for
them. There was one wretched Chinaman there, horribly mangled. He was
stealing a boat on one of the many creeks, when an alligator got hold
of him, and tore both legs, one arm, and his back in such a way that it
is wonderful that he lives. The apothecary is a young Madrassee. One or
two cases of that terrible disease known in Japan as Kakke, and
elsewhere as Beri-Beri, have just appeared.* We walked also to a clear
mountain torrent which comes thundering down among great boulders and
dense tropical vegetation at the foot of the mountains, as clear and
cold as if it were a Highland stream dashing through the purple
[*Since my visit there have been three fatal outbreaks of this epidemic,
three thousand deaths having occurred among the neighboring miners and
coolies. So firmly did the disease appear to have established itself,
that a large permanent hospital was erected by the joint efforts of the
chief mining adventurers and the Government, but it has now been taken
over altogether by the Government, and is supported by an annual tax of
a dollar, levied upon every adult Chinaman. Extensive hospital
accommodation and sufficient medical attendance have also been provided
in other stricken localities. In the jail, where the disease was very
fatal, it has nearly died out, in consequence, it is believed, of
supplying the prisoners with a larger quantity of nitrogenous food. It
has been proposed to compel the employers of mining coolies to do the
same thing, for the ravages of the disease are actually affecting the
prosperity of Larut.]

There are "trumpeter beetles" here, with bright green bodies and
membranous-looking transparent wings, four inches across, which make
noise enough for a creature the size of a horse. Two were in the house
tonight, and you could scarcely hear anyone speak. But there is a
blessed respite from mosquitoes.

Major Swinburne and Captain Walker have dined here, and we had a simple
dinner of roast mutton, the first that I have tasted for ten months. It
is a great treat. One becomes tired of made dishes, consisting chiefly
of impoverished fowls, disguised in about twenty different ways.

When I left Malacca, Captain Shaw said: "When you see Paul Swinburne
you'll see a man you'll not see twice in a lifetime," so yesterday,
when a tall, slender, aristocratic-looking man, who scarcely looks
severable from the door-steps of a Pall Mall club, strode down the room
and addressed me abruptly with the words: "The sooner you go away again
the better; there's nothing to see, nothing to do, and nothing to
learn," I was naturally much interested. He has a dash of acquired
eccentricity of tone and manner, is very proud, but, unlike some proud
people, appreciates the co-humanity of his inferiors, is a brilliant
talker, dashing over art, literature, politics, society, tells stories
brilliantly, never flags, is totally regardless of "the equities of
conversation," and is much beloved by the Sikhs, to whom he is just.

At Pinang I heard an anecdote of him which is quite credible. The
regent (it is said) wanted him to use the Sikhs to catch a female
runaway slave, and on his refusing, the Rajah made use of a very
opprobrious epithet, on which he drew himself up, saying: "You are a
man of high birth in your country, but I'm a man of high birth in mine,
and, so long as I bear Queen Victoria's commission, I refuse to accept
insult. I take no future orders from your highness." Nor, it is said,
has he.

My human surroundings have an unusual amount of piquancy. Mr. Maxwell
is very pleasant, strong, both physically and mentally, clever and
upright, educated at Oxford and Lincoln's Inn, but brought up in the
Straits Settlements, of which his father was chief-justice. He is able,
combative, dogmatic, well-read and well-informed, expresses himself
incisively, is self-reliant, strong-willed, thoroughly just, thoroughly
a gentleman, and has immense energy and business capacity, and a large
amount of governing power. He, too, likes talking, and talks well, but
with much perfectly good-natured vehemence. He is a man on whose word
one may implicitly rely. Brought up among Malays, and speaking their
language idiomatically, he not only likes them, but takes the trouble
to understand them and enter into their ideas and feelings. He studies
their literature, superstitions, and customs carefully, and has made
some valuable notes upon them. I should think that few people
understand the Malays better than he does. He dislikes the Chinese. I
have the very pleasant feeling regarding him that he is the right man
in the right place, and that his work is useful, conscientious, and
admirable. As Assistant Resident he is virtually dictator of Larut,
only subject to Mr. Low's interference. He is a judge, and can inflict
the penalty of death, the Regent's signature, however, being required
for the death-warrant. He rules the Chinese rigidly.

Captain Walker is a new comer, and does not know more about Perak than
I do.

At this dinner of four there was as much noise as twenty stupid people
would make! Something brought up the dead lock in Victoria, which
excited violent feeling for some reason not obvious. Captain Walker
threw off his somewhat suave A.D.C. manner, and looked dangerous, Mr.
Maxwell fought for victory, and Major Swinburne to beat Mr. Maxwell,
and the row was deafening. I doubt whether such an argument could have
been got up in moist, hot Singapore, or steamy Malacca! An energetic
difference seems of daily occurrence, and possibly is an essential
ingredient of friendship. That it should be possible shows what an
invigorating climate this must be. Major Swinburne, in an aggravating
tone, begins upon some peculiarity or foible, real or supposed, of his
friend, with a deluge or sarcasm, mimicry, ridicule, and invective,
torments him mercilessly, and without giving him time to reply,
disappears, saying, Parthian-like, "Now, my dear fellow, its no use
resenting it, you haven't such a friend as me in the world--you know if
it were not for me you'd be absolutely intolerable!" All this is very
amusing. How many differing characters are required to make up even the
world that I know!

It is strange to be in a house in which there are no pets, for a small
Malay bear which lives at the back can scarcely be called one.
Sometimes in the evening a wild animal called a lemur rushes wildly
through the house and out at the front veranda. I am always afraid of
being startled by his tearing through my room in the depths of the
night, for here, as in many other houses, instead of doors there are
screens raised a foot from the ground.

This morning I got up before daylight, and went up a hill which is
being cleared, to enjoy the sunrise, the loveliest time of the tropic
day. It was all dew and rose color, with a delicious freshness in the
air, prolonged unusually, because the sun was so slow to climb above
the eastern mountain tops. Then there was a sudden glory, and birds,
beasts, and insects broke into a vociferous chorus, the tuneless hymn
which ascends daily without a discord. There are sumptuously colored
sunsets to be seen from this elevation, but one has no time to enjoy
them, and they make one long for the lingering gold and purple of more
northern latitudes. I have really been industrious since I came here,
both in writing to you, and in "reading up" the native states in blue
books, etc.

I. L. B.


The Chinese in Larut--"Monkey Cups"--Chinese Hospitality--A Sikh Belle


I am remaining here for another day or two, so have time to tell you a
little about the surroundings.

Larut province is a strip of land about seventy miles long, and from
twenty-five to forty-five broad. It was little known, and almost
unexplored till 1848, when a Malay, while bathing, found some coarse,
black sand, which, on being assayed, proved to be tin. He obtained
twenty Chinese coolies, opened a mine which turned out lucrative, and
the Chinese at home hearing that money was to be made, flocked into
Larut, but after some years took to quarreling about the ownership of
mines, and eventually to a war between the two leading clans, which
threatened to be a war of extermination, and resulted in British
interference, and the appointment of a Resident; and then Chinese
merchants in Pinang made advances of money and provisions to such of
their countrymen as were willing to work the abandoned mines. Very soon
the population increased to such an extent that it became necessary to
choose sites for mining towns, granting one to each faction; the Go
Kwan town being called Taipeng, and the Si Kwan town Kamunting.

American mining enterprise could hardly go ahead faster. At the end of
1873 the population of Larut was four thousand, the men of the fighting
factions only. Eleven months later these two mining towns contained
nine thousand inhabitants, a tenth of whom were shopkeepers, and the
district thirty-three thousand. Larut is level from the sea-shore to
the mountain range, twenty miles inland, and is very uninteresting.

We have been in a gharrie to Kamunting, a Chinese mining town of four
thousand people, three miles from here, approached through a pretty
valley full of pitcher plants with purple cups and lids. You can
imagine the joy of getting into my hands these wonderful nepenthes or
"monkey cups" for the first time. I gathered five in the hope of
finding one free from insects, but the cups of all were full of dried
flies and ants, looking much as flies do when they have been clutched
for a few days by the hairs of the "sun-dew." The lid has a quantity of
nectar on its under side which attracts insects; but below the rolled
rim of the cup, which is slightly corrugated, the interior is as smooth
as glass, and the betrayed flies must fall at once into the water at
the bottom and be drowned. As these ingenious arrangements are made for
their destruction, doubtless the plant feeds upon their juices.*
[*I have since learned that this is an ascertained fact, and that
nepenthes are among the insectiverous plants.]

We went first to a very large tin mine belonging to a rich and very
pleasant-looking Chinaman, who received us and took us over it. The
mine is like a large quarry, with a number of small excavations which
fill with water, and are pumped by most ingenious Chinese pumps worked
by an endless chain, but there are two powerful steam pumps at work
also. About four hundred lean, leathery-looking men were working,
swarming up out of the holes like ants in double columns, each man
carrying a small bamboo tray holding about three pounds of stanniferous
earth, which is deposited in a sluice, and a great rush of water washes
away the sand, leaving the tin behind, looking much like "giant"
blasting powder. The Chinese are as much wedded to these bamboo baskets
as to their pigtails, but they involve a great waste of labor. A common
hoe is the other implement used. The coolies are paid by piece-work,
and are earning just now about one shilling and sixpence per day.
Road-making and other labor is performed by Klings, who get one
shilling a day.

The tin is smelted during the night in a very rude furnace, with most
ingenious Chinese bellows, is then run into moulds made of sand, and
turned out as slabs weighing 66 lbs. each. The export duty on tin is
the chief source of revenue. Close to the smelting furnaces there are
airy sheds with platforms along each side, divided into as many beds as
there are Chinamen. A bed consists only of a mat and a mosquito-net.
There are all the usual joss arrangements, and time is measured by the
burning of joss-sticks. Several rain-cloaks, made of palm leaves, were
hanging up. These, and nearly all the other articles consumed by this
large population are imported from China.

Our Chinese host then took us to some rooms which he had built for a
cool retreat, to which, in anticipation of our visit, he had conveyed
champagne, sherry, and bitter beer! His look of incredulity when we
said that we preferred tea, was most amusing; but on our persisting, he
produced delicious tea with Chinese sweetmeats, and Huntley and
Palmer's cocoa-nut biscuits. He then insisted on taking our hired
gharrie and scrubby pony and sending us on in his buggy with a fine
Australian horse, but Mr. Maxwell says that this was as much from
policy as courtesy, as it gives him importance to be on obviously
friendly terms with the Resident.

We went on to Kamunting, a forlorn town, mainly built of attap, with
roads and ditches needing much improvement, and I bargained for some
Chinese purses and visited a gambling saloon, the place in which one
sees the peculiar expression of the Chinese face at its fullest
development. There is nothing very shocking about it, nothing more than
an intensified love of gain without a mask. Each coolie takes his pipe
of opium after his day's work, and each has a pot of tea kept always
hot in a thickly wadded basket, a luxury which no Chinaman seems able
to do without.

We called at a Sikh guard-house, and the magnificent sergeant took me
to see his wife, the woman of the regiment, who is so rigidly secluded
that not even the commanding officer nor Mr. Maxwell have seen her. She
is very beautiful, and has an exquisite figure, but was overloaded with
jewelry. She wore a large nose-jewel, seven rings of large size
weighing down her finely formed ears, four necklaces, and silver
bangles on each arm from the wrist to the elbow, besides some on her
beautiful ankles. She had an infant boy, the child of the regiment, in
her arms, clothed only in a silver hoop, and the father took him and
presented him to me with much pride. It was a pleasant family group.

The few days here have been a real rest, I have been so much alone.
There are no women to twitter; and when Mr. Maxwell is not at work he
talks of things that are worth talking about. The climate, too, is
bracing and wholesome, and the boisterous afternoon wind, which sweeps
letters and papers irreverently away, keeps off the mosquitoes.

I. L. B.


Novel Circumstances--The Excitements of the Jungle--Eternal
Summer--The Sensitive Plant--The Lotus Lake of Matang--
Elephant Ugliness--A Malay Mahout--A Novel Experience--
Domestic Pets--Malay Hospitality-Land Leeches--"A Fearful
Joy"--The End of My First Elephant Ride--Kwala Kangsa


This is rather exciting, for I have had an unusual journey, and my
circumstances are unusual, for Mr. Low, the Resident, has not returned,
and I am not only alone in his bungalow in the heart of the jungle, but
so far as I can learn I am the only European in the region.

"Of all my wild adventures past
This frantic feat will prove the last,"

for in a fortnight I propose to be at Pinang on my way to conventional
Ceylon, and the beloved "wilds" will be left behind.

At 4:30 this morning Mr. Maxwell's energetic voice roused me, and I got
up, feeling for the first time in Larut very tired from the unwonted
dissipation of another "dinner party," and from having been kept awake
late by the frantic rushes of the lemur and the noise of the "trumpeter
beetle," besides being awoke in a fright at 2 A.M., by the noise made
in changing guard, from a dream that the Sikhs had mutinied and were
about to massacre the Europeans, myself included! We had bananas and
chocolate, and just at daybreak walked down the hill, where I got into
a little trap drawn by a fiery little Sumatra pony, and driven by Mr.
Gibbons, a worthy Australian miner who is here road-making, and was
taken five miles to a place where the road becomes a quagmire not to be
crossed. Elephants had been telegraphed for to meet me there, but the
telegraph was found to be broken. Mr. Maxwell, who accompanied us on
horseback, had sent a messenger on here for elephants, and was dismayed
on getting to the quagmire to meet the news that they had gone to the
jungle; so there was no means of conveyance but the small pachyderm
which was bringing my bag, and which was more than two hours behind.

There was nothing for it but to walk, and we tramped for four miles. I
could not have done the half of it had I not had my "mountain dress"
on, the identical mud-colored tweed, in which I waded through the mud
of Northern Japan. The sun had risen splendidly among crimson clouds,
which, having turned gray, were a slight screen, and the air is so
comparatively dry that, though within 5 degrees of the equator, it was
not oppressively hot.

The drive had brought us out of the Chinese country into a region very
thinly peopled by Malays only, here and there along the roadside,
living in houses of all Malay styles, from the little attap cabin with
its gridiron floor supported on stilts, to the large picturesque house
with steep brown roofs, deep eaves and porches, and walls of matting or
bamboo basket work in squares, light and dark alternately, reached by
ladders with rungs eighteen inches apart, so difficult for shod feet.

The trees and plants of the jungle were very exciting. Ah! what a
delight it is to see trees and plants at home which one has only seen
as the exotics of a hothouse, or read of in books! In the day's journey
I counted one hundred and twenty-six differing trees and shrubs,
fifty-three trailers, seventeen epiphytes, and twenty-eight ferns. I
saw more of the shrubs and epiphytes than I have yet done from the
altitude of an elephant's back. There was one Asplenium nidus [bird's
nest fern] which had thirty-seven perfect fronds radiating from a
centre, each frond from three and a quarter to five and a half feet
long, and varying from myrtle to the freshest tint of pea-green!

There was an orchid with hardly visible leaves, which bore six crowded
clusters of flowers close to the branch of the tree on which it grew;
each cluster composed of a number of spikes of red coral tipped with
pale green. In the openings there were small trees with gorgeous
erythrina-like flowers, glowing begonias, red lilies, a trailer with
trumpet-shaped blossoms of canary yellow, and a smaller trailer, which
climbs over everything that is not high, entwining itself with the blue
Thunbergia, and bearing on single stalks single blossoms,
primrose-shaped, of a salmon orange color with a velvety black centre.
In some places one came upon three varieties of nepenthes or "monkey
cups," some of their pitchers holding (I should think) a pint of fluid,
and most of them packed with the skeletons of betrayed guests; then in
moist places upon steel blue aspleniums and luxuriant selaginellas; and
then came caelogynes with white blossoms, white flowered dendrobiums
(crumentatum?), all growing on or clinging to trees, with
scarlet-veined bauhinias, caladiums, ginger worts, and aroids,
inclining one to make incessant exclamations of wonder and delight. You
cannot imagine how crowded together this tropical vegetation is. There
is not room for half of it on the ground, so it seeks and finds its
home high up on the strong, majestic trees which bear it up into the
sunshine, where, indeed one has to look for most of the flowers.

It is glorious to see the vegetation of eternal summer and the lavish
prodigality of nature, and one revels among hothouse plants "at home,"
and all the splendor of gigantic leaves, and the beauty and grace of
palms, bamboos, and tree-ferns; the great, gaudy flowers are as
marvelous as the gaudy plumaged birds, and I feel that no words can
convey an idea of the beauty and magnificence of an equatorial jungle;
but the very permanence of the beauty is almost a fault. I should soon
come to long for the burst of spring with its general tenderness of
green, and its great broad splashes of sociable flowers, its masses of
buttercups, or ox-eye daisies, or dandelions, and for the glories of
autumn with its red and gold, and leagues of purple heather. These
splendid orchids and other epiphytes grow singly. One sees one and not
another, there are no broad masses of color to blaze in the distance,
the scents are heavy and overpowering, the wealth is embarrassing. I
revel in it all and rejoice in it all; it is intoxicating, yet I am
haunted with visions of mossy banks starred with primroses and
anemones, of stream sides blue with gentian, of meadows golden with
buttercups, and fields scarlet with poppies, and in spite of my
enjoyment and tropical enthusiasm, I agree with Mr. Wallace and others
that the flowers of a temperate climate would give one more lasting

On either side of the road the ground is densely carpeted with the
sensitive plant, whose lovely tripartite leaves are green above and
brown below. It is a fascinating plant, and at first one feels guilty
of cruelty if one does more than look at it, but I have already
learned, as all people do here, to take delight in wounding its
sensibilities. Touch any part of a leaf ever so lightly, and as quick
as thought it folds up. Touch the centre of the three ever so lightly,
and leaf and stalk fall smitten. Touch a branch and every leaf closes,
and every stalk falls as if weighted with lead. Walk over it, and you
seem to have blasted the earth with a fiery tread, leaving desolation
behind. Every trailing plant falls, the leaves closing, show only their
red-brown backs, and all the beauty has vanished, but the burned and
withered-looking earth is as fair as ever the next morning.

After walking for four miles we came upon a glorious sight at a turn of
the road, a small lake behind which the mountains rise forest-covered,
with a slope at their feet on which stand the cocoa-nut groves, and the
beautiful Malay house of the exiled Mentri of Larut. I have written of
a lake, but no water was visible, for it was concealed by thousands and
thousands of the peltate leaves of the lotus, nearly round, attaining a
diameter of eighteen inches, cool and dewy-looking under the torrid
sun, with a blue bloom upon their intense green. Above them rose
thousands of lotus flowers, buds, and seed-vessels, each one a thing of
perfect beauty, and not a withered blossom was to be seen. The immense
corollas varied in color from a deep rose crimson to a pink as pale as
that of a blush rose. Some were just opening, others were half open,
and others wide open, showing the crowded golden stamens and the golden
disk in the centre. From far off the deep rose pink of the glorious
blossoms is to be seen, and their beauty carried me back to the castle
moats of Yedo, and to many a gilded shrine in Japan, on which the lotus
blooms as an emblem of purity, righteousness, and immortality. Even
here, where no such symbolism attaches to it, it looks a sacred thing.
It was delightful to see such a sociable flower rejoicing in a crowd.

Beyond is the picturesque kampong of Matang, with many good houses and
a mosque. Passing through a gateway with brick posts, we entered a
large walled inclosure containing a cocoa-grove, some fine trees, and
the beautiful dwellings of the Malay whom we have deported to the
Seychelles. This is one of the largest Malay houses on the peninsula.
It is built of wood painted green and white, with bold floral designs
on a white ground round some of the circular windows, and a very large
porch for followers to wait in, up a ladder of course. In a shed there
were three gharries, and behind the house several small houses for
slaves and others. A number of girls and children, probably mostly
slaves, mirthfully peeped at us from under the tasteful mat blinds.

Really the upper class of Malay houses show some very good work. The
thatch of the steep roof is beautifully put on, and between the sides
of finely woven checked matting interspersed with lattice work and
bamboo work, the shady inner rooms with their carved doorways and
portieres of red silk, the pillows and cushions of gold embroidery laid
over the exquisitely fine matting on the floors, the light from the
half-shaded windows glancing here and there as the breeze sways the
screens, there is an indescribable appropriateness to the region.

I waited for the elephant in a rambling empty house, and Malays brought
pierced cocoa-nuts, buffalo milk, and a great bouquet of lotus blossoms
and seed-vessels, out of which they took the seeds, and presented them
on the grand lotus leaf itself. Each seed is in appearance and taste
like a hazel-nut, but in the centre, in an oval slit, the future lotus
plant is folded up, the one vivid green seed leaf being folded over a
shoot, and this is intensely bitter.

The elephant at last came up and was brought below the porch. They are
truly hideous beasts, with their gray, wrinkled, hairless hides, the
huge ragged "flappers" which cover their ears, and with which they fan
themselves ceaselessly, the small, mean eyes, the hideous proboscis
which coils itself snakishly round everything; the formless legs, so
like trunks of trees; the piggish back, with the steep slope down to
the mean, bare tail, and the general unlikeness to all familiar and
friendly beasts. I can hardly write, for a little wah-wah, the most
delightful of apes, is hanging with one long, lean arm round my throat,
while with its disengaged hand it keeps taking my pen, dipping it in
the ink, and scrawling over my letter. It is the most winsome of
creatures, but if I were to oppose it there is no knowing what it might
do, so I will take another pen. The same is true of an elephant. I am
without knowledge of what it may be capable of!

Before I came I dreamt of howdahs and cloth of gold trappings, but my
elephant had neither. In fact there was nothing grand about him but his
ugliness. His back was covered with a piece of raw hide, over which
were several mats, and on either side of the ridgy backbone a shallow
basket, filled with fresh leaves and twigs, and held in place by ropes
of rattan. I dropped into one of these baskets from the porch, a young
Malay lad into the other, and my bag was tied on behind with rattan. A
noose of the same with a stirrup served for the driver to mount. He was
a Malay, wearing only a handkerchief and sarong, a gossiping, careless
fellow, who jumped off whenever he had a chance of a talk, and left us
to ourselves. He drove with a stick with a curved spike at the end of
it, which, when the elephant was bad, was hooked into the membranous
"flapper," always evoking the uprearing and brandishing of the
proboscis, and a sound of ungentle expostulation, which could be heard
a mile off. He sat on the head of the beast, sometimes cross-legged,
and sometimes with his legs behind the huge ear covers. Mr. Maxwell
assured me that he would not send me into a region without a European
unless it were perfectly safe, which I fully believed, any doubts as to
my safety, if I had any, being closely connected with my steed.

This mode of riding is not comfortable. One sits facing forward with
the feet dangling over the edge of the basket.* This edge soon produces
a sharp ache or cramp, and when one tries to get relief by leaning back
on anything, the awkward, rolling motion is so painful, that one
reverts to the former position till it again becomes intolerable. Then
the elephant had not been loaded "with brains," and his pack was as
troublesome as the straw shoes of the Japanese horses. It was always
slipping forward or backward, and as I was heavier than the Malay lad,
I was always slipping down and trying to wriggle myself up on the great
ridge which was the creature's backbone, and always failing, and the
mahout was always stopping and pulling the rattan ropes which bound the
whole arrangement together, but never succeeding in improving it.
[*See Frontispiece.]

Before we had traveled two hours, the great bulk of the elephant,
without any warning, gently subsided behind, and then as gently in
front, the huge, ugly legs being extended in front of him, and the man
signed to me to get off, which I did by getting on his head and letting
myself down by a rattan rope upon the driver, who made a step of his
back, for even when "kneeling," as this queer attitude is called, a
good ladder is needed for comfortable getting off and on. While the
whole arrangement of baskets was being re-rigged, I clambered into a
Malay dwelling of the poorer class, and was courteously received and
regaled with bananas and buffalo milk. Hospitality is one of the Malay
virtues. This house is composed of a front hut and a back hut with a
communication. Like all others it is raised to a good height on posts.
The uprights are of palm, and the elastic, gridiron floor of split
laths of the invaluable nibong palm (oncosperma filamentosum). The
sides are made of neatly split reeds, and the roof, as in all houses,
of the dried leaves of the nipah palm (nipa fruticans) stretched over a
high ridge pole and steep rafters of bamboo. I could not see that a
single nail had been used in the house. The whole of it is lashed
together with rattan. The furniture consists entirely of mats, which
cover a part of the floor, and are used both for sitting on and
sleeping on, and a few small, hard, circular bolsters with embroidered
ends. A musket, a spear, some fishing-rods, and a buffalo yoke hung
against the wall of the reception room. In the back room, the province
of the women and children, there were an iron pot, a cluster of
bananas, and two calabashes. The women wore only sarongs, and the
children nothing. The men, who were not much clothed, were lounging on
the mats.

The Malays are passionately fond of pets, and are said to have much
skill in taming birds and animals. Doubtless their low voices and
gentle, supple movements never shock the timid sensitiveness of brutes.
Besides this, Malay children yield a very ready obedience to their
elders, and are encouraged to invite the confidence of birds and
beasts, rather than to torment them. They catch birds by means of
bird-lime made of gutta, by horse-hair nooses, and by imitating their
call. In this small house there were bamboo cages containing twenty
birds, most of them talking minas and green-feathered small pigeons.
They came out of their cages when called, and perched in rows on the
arms of the men. I don't know whether the mina can learn many words,
but it imitates the human voice so wonderfully that in Hawaii when it
spoke English I was quite deceived by it. These minas articulated so
humanly that I did know whether a bird or a Malay spoke. There were
four love-birds in an exquisitely made bamboo cage, lovely little
creatures with red beaks and blue and green plumage. The children catch
small grasshoppers for their birds with a shovel-shaped instrument of
open rattan work. When I add that there were some homely domestic fowls
and a nearly tailless cat, I think I have catalogued the visible
possessions of this family, with the exception of a bamboo cradle with
a small brown inmate hanging from the rafters, and a small shed, used,
I believe, for storing rice.

The open floor, while it gives air and ventilation, has also its
disadvantages, for solid and liquid refuse is thrown through it so
conveniently that the ground under the house is apt to contain stagnant
pools and heaps of decomposing matter, and men lying asleep on mats on
these gridirons have sometimes been stabbed with a kris inserted
between the bars from below by an enemy seeking revenge.

I must not, however, give the impression that the Malays are a dirty
people. They wash their clothes frequently, and bathe as often as is
possible. They try to build their houses near water, and use small

I went into another house, rather poorer than the former, and, with a
touching hospitality, they made signs to me to know if I would like a
cocoa-nut. I hinted that I would, and the man at once got up and called
to him an ape or monkey about three feet high, which was playing with a
child, and the animal went out with him, and in no time was at the top
of a tall cocoa-nut tree. His master said something to him, and he
moved about examining the nuts till he decided upon a green one, which
he wrung off, using teeth and hands for the operation. The slightly
acid milk was refreshing, but its "meat," which was of the consistency
and nearly the tastelessness of the white of an egg boiled for five
minutes, was not so good as that of the riper nuts.

I had walked on for some distance, and I had to walk back again before
I found my elephant. I had been poking about in the scrub in search of
some acid fruits, and when I got back to the road, was much surprised
to find that my boots were filled with blood, and on looking for the
cause I found five small brown leeches, beautifully striped with
yellow, firmly attached to my ankles. I had not heard that these were
pests in Perak, and feared that they were something worse; but the
elephant driver, seeing my plight, made some tobacco juice and squirted
it over the creatures, when they recoiled in great disgust. Owing to
the exercise I was obliged to take, the bites bled for several hours. I
do not remember feeling the first puncture. I have now heard that these
blood-suckers infest leaves and herbage, and that when they hear the
rustling made by man or animal in passing, they stretch themselves to
their fullest length, and if they can touch any part of his body or
dress they hold on to it, and as quickly as possible reach some spot
where they can suck their fill.

I am making my narrative as slow as my journey, but the things I write
of will be as new to you as they were to me. New it was certainly to
stand upon a carpet of the sensitive plant at noon, with the rays of a
nearly vertical sun streaming down from a cloudless, steely blue sky,
watching the jungle monster meekly kneeling on the ground, with two
Malays who do not know a word of English as my companions, and myself
unarmed and unescorted in the heart of a region so lately the scene of
war, about which seven blue books have been written, and about the
lawlessness and violence of which so many stories have been
industriously circulated.

Certainly I always dreamed that there must be something splendid in
riding on an elephant, but I don't feel the least accession of dignity
in consequence. It is true, however, here, that though the trappings
are mean and almost savage, a man's importance is estimated by the
number of his elephants. When the pack was adjusted, the mahout jumped
on the back, and giving me his hands hauled me up over the head, after
which the creature rose gently from the ground, and we went on our

But the ride was "a fearful joy," _if_ a joy at all! Soon the driver
jumped off for a gossip and a smoke, leaving the elephant to "gang his
ain gates" for a mile or more, and he turned into the jungle, where he
began to rend and tear the trees, and then going to a mud-hole, he drew
all the water out of it, squirted it with a loud noise over himself and
his riders, soaking my clothes with it, and when he turned back to the
road again, he several times stopped and seemed to stand on his head by
stiffening his proboscis and leaning upon it, and when I hit him with
my umbrella he uttered the loudest roar I ever heard. My Malay fellow-
rider jumped off and ran back for the driver, on which the panniers
came altogether down on my side, and I hung on with difficulty,
wondering what other possible contingencies could occur, always
expecting that the beast, which was flourishing his proboscis, would
lift me off with it and deposit me in a mud-hole.

On the driver's return I had to dismount again, and this time the
elephant was allowed to go and take a proper bath in a river. He threw
quantities of water over himself, and took up plenty more with which to
cool his sides as he went along. Thick as the wrinkled hide of an
elephant looks, a very small insect can draw blood from it, and, when
left to himself, he sagaciously plasters himself with mud to protect
himself like the water buffalo. Mounting again, I rode for another two
hours, but he crawled about a mile an hour, and seemed to have a steady
purpose to lie down. He roared whenever he was asked to go faster,
sometimes with a roar of rage, sometimes in angry and sometimes in
plaintive remonstrance. The driver got off and walked behind him, and
then he stopped altogether. Then the man tried to pull him along by
putting a hooked stick in his huge "flapper," but this produced no
other effect than a series of howls; then he got on his head again,
after which the brute made a succession of huge stumbles, each one of
which threatened to be a fall, and then the driver, with a look of
despair, got off again. Then I made signs that I would get off, but the
elephant refused to lie down, and I let myself down his unshapely
shoulder by a rattan rope, till I could use the mahout's shoulders as
steps. The baskets were taken off and left at a house, the elephant was
turned loose in the jungle; I walked the remaining miles to Kwala
Kangsa, and the driver carried my portmanteau! Such was the comical end
of my first elephant ride. I think that altogether I walked about eight
miles, and I was not knocked up; this says a great deal for the climate
of Perak. The Malay who came with me told the people here that it was
"a wicked elephant," but I have since been told "that it was very sick
and tired to death," which I hope is the true version of its most
obnoxious conduct.

I have said nothing about the magnificence of the scenery for a part of
the way, where the road goes through a grand mountain pass, where all
the vegetable glories of the tropics seem assembled, and one gets a new
idea of what scenery can be; while beneath superb tree-ferns and
untattered bananas, and palms, and bright-flowered lianas, and graceful
trailers, and vermilion-colored orchids, and under sun-birds and
humming birds and the most splendid butterflies I ever saw, a torrent,
as clear as crystal, dashes over the rocks, and adds the music of
tumbling water to the enchantment of a scene whose loveliness no words
can give any idea of. The pass of Bukit Berapit, seen in solitude on a
glorious morning, is almost worth a journey round the world.

Another wonder of the route is Gunong Pondok, a huge butte or isolated
mass of red and white limestone, much weather-stained and ore-stained
with very brilliant colors, full of caverns, many of which are quite
inaccessible, their entrances fringed with immense stalactites. Some of
the accessible caves have roofs seventy feet in height. Gunong Pondok
is shaped like the Bass Rock, and is about twelve hundred feet in
height. Its irregular top is forest-crowned, but its nearly
perpendicular walls of white or red rock afford scarcely roothold for
trees, and it rises in comparatively barren solitude among the
forest-covered mountains of the interior.

At the end of ten hours' traveling, as I was tramping along alone, I
began to meet Malays, then I met nine elephants in groups of three,
with men, women, and children on their backs, apparently taking "an
airing," the beasts looking grand, as their fronts always do. But that
part of the road passes through a lonely jungle region, tiger,
elephant, and rhinoceros haunted, and only broken here and there by
some rude Malay cultivation of bananas or sugar-cane. When the sun was
low I looked down upon a broad and beautiful river, with hills and
mountains on its farther side, a village on the shores of a promontory,
and above that a grassy hill with a bungalow under cocoa-palms at its
top, which I knew must be the Residency, from the scarlet uniforms at
the door. There was a small bridge over the Kangsa, then a guard-room
and some official residences on stilts, and at the top of a steep slope
the bungalow, which has a long flight of stairs under a latticed porch,
leading to a broad and comfortably furnished veranda used as the
Resident's office and sitting-room, the centre part, which has a bed-
room on each side of it and runs to the back of the house, serving for
the eating-place. It is as unpretending a dwelling as can be. It keeps
out the sun and rain, and gives all the comfort which is needed in this
climate, but nothing more. My journey of thirty-three miles from the
coast has brought me into the interior of the State, where the Kangsa
river joins the Perak, at a distance of a hundred and fifty miles from
its mouth, and I am alone in the wilds!


Mystification--A Grotesque Dinner-Party--Mahmoud and Eblis--Fun and
Frolic--Mahmoud's Antics--A Perak Jungle--The Poetry of Tropical
Life--Village Life--The Officials of the Mosques--A Moslem Funeral--The
"Royal Elephant"--Swimming the Perak--The Village of Koto-lamah--A
"Pirate's Nest"--Rajah Dris

I fear that the involvement and confusion of dates in this letter will
be most puzzling. I was received by a magnificent Oriental butler, and
after I had had a delicious bath, dinner, or what Assam was pleased to
call breakfast, was "served." The word "served" was strictly
applicable, for linen, china, crystal, flowers, cooking, were all alike
exquisite. Assam, the Madrassee, is handsomer and statelier than Babu
at Malacca; a smart Malay lad helps him, and a Chinaman sits on the
steps and pulls the punkah. All things were harmonious, the glorious
cocoa-palms, the bright green slopes, the sunset gold on the lake-like
river, the ranges of forest-covered mountains etherealizing in the
purple light, the swarthy faces and scarlet uniforms of the Sikh guard,
and rich and luscious odors, floated in on balmy airs, glories of the
burning tropics, untellable and incommunicable!

My valise had not arrived, and I had been obliged to redress myself in
my mud-splashed tweed dress, therefore I was much annoyed to find the
table set for three, and I hung about unwillingly in the veranda, fully
expecting two Government clerks in faultless evening dress to appear,
and I was vexed to think that my dream of solitude was not to be
realized, when Assam more emphatically assured me that the meal was
"served," and I sat down, much mystified, at the well-appointed table,
when he led in a large ape, and the Malay servant brought in a small
one, and a Sikh brought in a large retriever and tied him to my chair!
This was all done with the most profound solemnity. The circle being
then complete, dinner proceeded with great stateliness. The apes had
their curry, chutney, pine-apple, eggs, and bananas on porcelain
plates, and so had I. The chief difference was that, whereas I waited
to be helped, the big ape was impolite enough occasionally to snatch
something from a dish as the butler passed round the table, and that
the small one before very long migrated from his chair to the table,
and, sitting by my plate, helped himself daintily from it. What a
grotesque dinner party! What a delightful one! My "next of kin" were
so reasonably silent; they required no conversational efforts; they
were most interesting companions. "Silence is golden," I felt; shall I
ever enjoy a dinner party so much again?

My acquaintance with these fellow-creatures was made just after I
arrived. I saw the two tied by long ropes to the veranda rail above the
porch, and not liking their looks, went as far from them as I could to
write to you. The big one is perhaps four feet high and very strong,
and the little one is about twenty inches high.* After a time I heard a
cry of distress, and saw that the big one, whose name is Mahmoud, was
frightening Eblis, the small one. Eblis ran away, but Mahmoud having
got the rope in his hands, pulled it with a jerk each time Eblis got to
the length of his tether, and beat him with the slack of it. I went as
near to them as I dared, hoping to rescue the little creature, and he
tried to come to me, but was always jerked back, the face of Mahmoud
showing evil triumph each time. At last Mahmoud snatched up a stout
Malacca cane, and dragging Eblis near him, beat him unmercifully, the
cries of the little semi-human creature being most pathetic. I vainly
tried to get the Sikh sentry to interfere; perhaps it would have been a
breach of discipline if he had left his post, but at the moment I
should have been glad if he had run Mahmoud through with a bayonet.
Failing this, and the case being clearly one of murderous assault, I
rushed at the rope which tied Eblis to the veranda and cut it through,
which so startled the big fellow that he let him go, and Eblis, beaten
I fear to a jelly, jumped upon my shoulder and flung his arms round my
throat with a grip of terror; mine, I admit, being scarcely less.
[*The sheet of my letter in which I afterward described the physique of
these apes has unfortunately been lost, and I dare not trust to my
memory in a matter in which accuracy is essential. The description of
an ape (in Letter XIV) approaches near to my recollection of them.]

I carried him to the easy-chair at the other end of the veranda, and he
lay down confidingly on my arm, looking up with a bewitching, pathetic
face, and murmuring sweetly "Ouf! Ouf!" He has scarcely left me since,
except to go out to sleep on the attap roof. He is the most lovable,
infatuating, little semi-human creature, so altogether fascinating that
I could waste the whole day in watching him. As I write, he sometimes
sits on the table by me watching me attentively, or takes a pen, dips
it in the ink, and scribbles on a sheet of paper. Occasionally he turns
over the leaves of a book; once he took Mr. Low's official
correspondence, envelope by envelope, out of the rack, opened each,
took out the letters and held them as if reading, but always replaced
them. Then he becomes companionable, and gently taking my pen from my
hand, puts it aside and lays his dainty hand in mine, and sometimes he
lies on my lap as I write, with one long arm round my throat, and the
small, antique, pathetic face is occasionally laid softly against mine,
uttering the monosyllable "Ouf! ouf!" which is capable of a variation
of tone and meaning truly extraordinary. Mahmoud is sufficiently
polite, but shows no sign of friendliness, I am glad to say. As I bore
Eblis out of reach of his clutches he threw the cane either at him or
me, and then began to dance.

That first night tigers came very near the house, roaring
discontentedly. At 4 A.M. I was awoke by a loud noise, and looking out,
saw a wonderful scene. The superb plumes of the cocoa-nut trees were
motionless against a sky blazing with stars. Four large elephants, part
of the regalia of a deposed Sultan, one of them, the Royal Elephant, a
beast of prodigious size, were standing at the door, looking majestic;
mahouts were flitting about with torches; Sikhs, whose great stature
was exaggerated by the fitful light--some in their undress white
robes, and others in scarlet uniforms and blue turbans--were grouped as
onlookers, the torchlight glinted on peripatetic bayonets, and the
greenish, undulating lamps of countless fireflies moved gently in the

I have now been for three nights the sole inhabitant of this bungalow!
I have taken five meals in the society of apes only, who make me laugh
with genuine laughter. The sentries are absolutely silent, and I hardly
hear a human voice. It is so good to be away for a time from the
"wearing world," from all clatter, chatter, and "strife of tongues," in
the unsophisticated society of apes and elephants. Dullness is out of
the question. The apes are always doing something new, and are far more
initiative than imitative. Eblis has just now taken a letter of yours
from an elastic band, and is holding it wide open as if he were reading
it; an untamed siamang, which lives on the roof, but has mustered up
courage to-day to come down into the veranda, has jumped like a demon
on the retriever's back, and riding astride, is beating him with a
ruler; and jolly, wicked Mahmoud, having taken the cushions out of the
chairs, has laid them in a row, has pulled a table cover off the table,
and having rolled it up for a pillow, is now lying down in an easy,
careless attitude, occasionally helping himself to a piece of
pine-apple. When they are angry they make a fearful noise, and if you
hinder them from putting their hands into your plate they shriek with
rage like children, and utter much the same sound as the Ainos do when
displeased. They seem frightfully jealous of the sweet little wah-wah
Eblis. Mahmoud beats it and teases it whenever it is not with me; he
takes its food, and when it screams with rage he laughs and shows his
white teeth. He upset all the chairs in the veranda this morning, and
when I attempted to scold him he took a banana which he was peeling and
threw it at me. I am sure that he would have a great deal of rough wit
if he could speak our tongue.

The night I came, Mr. Low's clerk, a Singhalese, came to arrange an
expedition, and early the next morning, after I had breakfasted with
the apes, he arrived, bringing the Royal Elephant, as well-broken and
stately an animal as I should wish to ride. He is such a height (they
say ten feet!) that, though he lay down to be mounted, a good-sized
ladder was needed for the climb upon his back. Assam put pillows and a
good lunch into the baskets, and as the day was glorious from sunrise
to sunset I had an altogether delightful expedition.

We turned at once into the jungle, and rode through it for seven hours
on the left bank of the Perak river. The loveliness was intoxicating.
The trees were lofty and magnificent; there were very many such as I
have not seen before. Many run up a hundred feet or more before they
branch. The twilight was green and dim, and ofttimes amidst the wealth
of vegetation not a flower was to be seen. But as often, through rifts
in the leafage far aloft, there were glimpses of the sunny, heavenly
blue sky, and now and then there were openings where trees had fallen,
and the glorious tropical sunshine streamed in on gaudy blossoms of
huge trees, and on pure white orchids, and canary-colored clusters
borne by lianas; on sun-birds, iridescent and gorgeous in the sunlight;
and on butterflies, some all golden, others amber and black, and amber
and blue, some with velvety bands of violet and green, others
altogether velvety black with spots of vermilion or emerald-green, the
under side of the wings corresponding to the spot, while sometimes a
shoal of turquoise-blue or wholly canary-colored sprites fluttered in
the sunbeams; the flash of sun-birds and the flutter of butterflies
giving one an idea of the joy which possibly was intended to be the
heritage of all animated existence. In these openings I was glad for
the moment to be neither an ornithologist nor an entomologist, so that
I might leave everyone of these daintily colored creatures to the
enjoyment of its life and beauty.

It was not the trees and lianas only that were beautiful in these sunny
openings, but the ferns, mosses, orchids, and selaginellas, with the
crimson-tipped dracaena, and the crimson-veined caladium, and the great
red nepenthe with purple blotches on its nearly diaphanous pitchers,
and another pitcher-plant of an epiphytal habit, with pea-green
pitchers scrambling to a great height over the branches of the smaller
trees. The beautiful tree-ferns themselves were loaded with other
ferns, orchids, and mosses; every fallen tree was draped with fresh
green forms, every swampy bit was the home of mottled aroids, film
ferns, and foliage plants, mostly green and gold, while in some places
there were ginger-worts with noble shining leaves fully six feet long.

In the green twilight of the depths of the forest the dew gemmed the
leaves till nearly 10 A.M., but in the openings the sun blazed with the
heat of a furnace. The silence and colorlessness of the heart of the
forest; and the color, vivacity, light, and movement in the openings,
and among the tree-tops, contrast most curiously. Legions of monkeys
inhabit the tree-tops, and seem to lead a completely aerial life. It is
said that they never come down to earth, but that they cross the
forests swinging themselves from tree to tree.

The Malays, if they can, build their kampongs near rivers, and during
the day we passed several of these. Several had mosques more or less
rude. Every village consists of such houses as I have described before,
grouped, but not by any means closely, under the shade of cocoa-palms,
jak, durion, bread-fruit, mango, nutmeg, and other fruit-trees.
Plantations of bananas are never far off. Many of these people have
"dug-outs" or other boats on the adjacent river, some have
bathing-sheds, and others padi plantations. These kampongs have much of
the poetry as well as inanity of tropical life about them. They are
beautiful and appropriate, and food is above them and around them.
"The primal curse" can hardly be known. A very little labor provides
all that the Malay desires, and if the tenure of the land be secure
(and the lack of security is one of the great evils), and he be not
over-taxed, his life must be calm and easy, if not happy. The people
were always courteous, and my Singhalese escort held long conversations
in every kampong. These jungle dwellers raise their houses on very high
posts, partly because tigers abound. The jak trees (artocarpus incisa),
near of kin to the bread-fruit, and the durion, flourish round all the
dwellings. The jak fruit, which may be called food rather than fruit,
grows without a visible stem from the trunk and branches of the very
handsome tree which bears it, and weighs from sixty to seventy pounds.
The durion grows to the size of a man's head, and is covered closely
with hard, sharp spines. The fall of either on one's head or shoulder
is much to be deprecated, and the Malays stretch strong nets above
their houses to secure themselves from accidents.

I saw for the first time the nutmeg growing in perfection. It was a
great delight, as is the first sight of any tree or flower well known
from description. It is a beautiful tree, from forty to fifty feet high
when full grown, with shining foliage, somewhat resembling that of the
bay, and its fruit looks like a very large nectarine. One fully ripe
was gathered for me. It had opened, and revealed the nutmeg with its
dark brown shell showing through its crimson reticulated envelope of
mace, the whole lying in a bed of pure white, a beautiful object.

Each house in the kampong seemed to have all its inmates at home doing
nothing but chewing betel-nut. In their home deshabilles the men wear
only the sarong, and a handkerchief knotted round their heads, and I
think that the women also dispense with an upper garment, for I noticed
at the approach of two strange men they invariably huddled another
sarong over their shoulders, heads, and faces, holding it so as to
conceal all but their eyes. The young children, as usual, were only
clothed in silver ornaments. This neglige dress in the privacy of their
homes is merely a matter of custom and climate, for these people are no
more savages than we are. These glimpses of a native tropic life,
entirely uninfluenced by European civilization, are most interesting.

In these kampongs the people have music, singing, story-telling,
games, and religious ceremonies, perhaps the most important of all. I
have not heard that the Perak Malays differ in their religious
observances from the other Malays of the Peninsula. It seems that
before "a parish" can be formed there must be forty-four houses. The
kampong may then have a properly constituted mosque in which every
Friday the religious officer recites an oration in praise of God, the
Prophet, and his vicegerents, from the steps of a rostrum. The same
person performs the marriage ceremony. Another official performs
sacrificial duties, and recites the service for the dead after the
corpse has been lowered into the grave. There is an inferior official
of the mosque who keeps it clean, and reports to the Imaum absentees
from public worship, goes round the villages to give notice of public
prayer, assists at burials, and beats the great drum of the mosque. The
Imaum appears to be the highest functionary, and performs what are
regarded as the most sacred rites of Islamism. There are regular fees
paid to these persons for their services, and at sacrifices they
receive part of the victim. I was afraid of going into any of the
mosques. They are all conical buildings of wood and attap raised on
wooden pillars, and are usually on small knolls a little way from the
kampongs. They have no minarets, but the larger ones have a separate
shed in which the drum or gong used for the call to prayer is kept.

Buffaloes are sacrificed on religious occasions, and at the births,
circumcisions, marriages, and shaving of the heads of the children of
wealthy people. The buffalo sacrificed for religious purposes must be
always without blemish. Its bones must not be broken after death,
neither must its horns be used for common purposes. It is slain near
the mosque with solemn sacrificial ceremonies, and one-half is usually
cooked and eaten on the spot by the "parishioners."

While I am on the subject of religious observances, I must tell you
that I saw a Moslem funeral to-day from a respectful distance. The
graves are decently placed together usually, though some of the pious
rich have large isolated burial places. The grave is dug by rule--i.e.,
the digger continues his work till his ear and the surface are on a
level. It is shaped like ours, with one important exception, that a
chamber two feet high for the reception of the body is dug in the side.

The corpse, that of a man I believe, covered with a cloth and dressed
in cotton clothing, was carried on a bier formed of two planks, with
the male relations following. On reaching the grave the Imaum read a
service in a monotonous tone, and then the body was lowered till it
reached the level of the side chamber, in which it was placed, and
inclosed with the planks on which it had been carried. Some leaves and
flowers were then thrown in, and the grave was filled up, after which
some water was sprinkled upon it, and a man, not the Imaum, sitting
upon it, recited what the Singhalese said was a sort of confession of
faith, turning toward Mecca. The relatives bowed in the same direction
and then left the place, but on stated days afterward offerings of
spices and flowers are made. It was reverential and decorous, perhaps
even more so than the Buddhist funerals which I saw in Japan, but the
tombs are not so carefully tended, and look more melancholy. The same
dumpy, pawn-shaped pillars are placed at the head and feet of the
raised mounds of earth which cover the graves, as in Malacca. It is
believed that when the mourners have retired seven paces from the grave
two angels enter upon inquisitorial functions. When death is seen to be
approaching, the dying person is directed to repeat a short form of
confession of his faith in the unity of God; and if he is unable, it is
recited for him. The offices of washing and shrouding the dead are
religious ceremonies, and are performed by one of the officials of the
mosque. The influence of the great Prophet of Arabia is wonderfully

This letter, which began among sun-birds and butterflies, has got into
a dismal groove, out of which I must rescue it, but it is difficult to
give any consecutive account of anything when the fascinating Eblis
murmurs ouf! ouf! sits on my writing book, takes my pen out of my hand,
makes these scrawls which I fear will make my writing illegible, and
claims constant attention.

The Royal Elephant is a noble animal. His docility is perfect. He
climbed up and down places so steep that a good horse would have
bungled at them, pulled down trees when he was told to do it, held
others which were slanting dangerously across the track high above our
heads till we had safely passed under them, lifted fallen trees out of
his way, or took huge steps over them, and slid down a steep bank into
the Perak with great dexterity. He was told to take a banana tree for
his dinner, and he broke off the tough thick stem just above the ground
as if it had been a stick, then neatly stripped the eight-foot leaves,
and holding the thick end of each stalk under his foot, stripped off
the whole leaf on each side of the midrib, and then, with the dexterity
of a monkey peeling a banana, he peeled off the thick rind from the
stem, and revelled in the juices of the soft inside. I was sitting on
the ground in a place where there was scarcely room for him to pass,
and yet he was so noble and gentle that I never thought of getting up,
even though his ponderous feet just touched me, and I ate my lunch
within the swing of his huge proboscis, but he stood quite still,
except that he flapped his "ears" and squirted water over himself. Each
elephant has his own driver, and there is quite a large vocabulary of
elephant language. The mahout carried an invaluable knife-weapon,
called a parang, broadest and heaviest at the point, and as we passed
through the jungle he slashed to right and left to clear the track, and
quite thick twigs fell with hardly an effort on his part.

After traveling for several hours we came upon a kampong under palms
and nutmeg trees, and then dismounted and took our lunch, looking out
from deep shadow down upon the beautiful river lying in the glory of
the noonday sun, its banks bright with birds and butterflies. The
mahout was here among friends, and the salutations were numerous. If
nose-rubbing as a form of greeting is practiced I have never seen it.
What I have seen is that when one man approaches another, or is about
to pay a visit, he joins his hands as if in supplication, and the other
touches them on both sides, and afterward raises his hands to his lips
and forehead. It is a courteous looking mode of salutation.

At this point the Singhalese said that the natives told him that it was
possible to ford the Perak, but that the mahout said that the elephant
was a "diver," and would probably dive, but that there was no danger to
us except of getting very wet. I liked the prospect of a journey on the
other side, so we went down a steep bank into the broad, bright, river,
and putting out from the shore, went into the middle, and shortly the
elephant gently dropped down and was entirely submerged, moving
majestically along, with not a bit of his huge bulk visible, the end of
his proboscis far ahead, writhing and coiling like a water snake every
now and then, the nostrils always in sight, but having no apparent
connection with the creature to which they belonged. Of course we were
sitting in the water, but it was nearly as warm as the air, and so we
went for some distance up the clear, shining river, with the tropic sun
blazing down upon it, with everything that could rejoice the eye upon
its shores, with little beaches of golden sands, and above the forest
the mountains with varying shades of indigo coloring.

There would have been nothing left to wish for if you had been there to
see, though you would have tried to look as if you saw an elephant
moving submerged along a tropical river every day with people of three
races on his back!!

The Singhalese said, "I'm going to take you to Koto-lamah; no European
has been there since the war. I've never been there, nor the Resident
either." I have pored over blue books long enough to know that this is
a place which earned a most unenviable notoriety during the recent
troubles, and is described as "a stronghold of piracy, lawlessness, and
disaffection." As we were making a diagonal crossing of the Perak, the
Singhalese said, "A few months ago they would have been firing at us
from both sides of the river." It was a beautiful view at that point,
with the lovely river in its windings, and on the top of the steep bank
a kampong of largish houses under palms and durions. A good many people
assembled on the cliff, some with muskets and some with spears, and the
Singhalese said, "I wish we had not come;" but as the elephant
scrambled up the bank the people seemed quite friendly, and I
dismounted and climbed up to a large house with a very open floor, on
which fine mats were laid in several places. There were many women and
children in the room when I went in, and one of the former put a fine
mat over a rice sack for me. Presently the room filled up with people,
till there were fifty-nine seated in circles on the floor, but some of
the men remained standing, one a thorough villain in looks, a Hadji,
with a dirty green turban and a red sarong. The rest of the men wore
handkerchiefs and sarongs only.

These people really did look much like savages. They all carried
parangs, or the short kris called a golo, and haying been told that the
Malays were disarmed, I was surprised to see several muskets, a rifle,
and about thirty spears on the wall. So I found myself in the heart of
what has been officially described as "a nest of robbers and
murderers," "the centre of disturbance and disaffection," etc. To make
it yet more interesting, on inquiring whose house it was, the name of a
notorious "rebel" leader was mentioned, and one of the women, I was
told, is the principal wife or rather widow of the Maharajah Lela, who
was executed for complicity in the assassination of Mr. Birch.
However, though as a Briton I could not have been a welcome visitor,
they sent a monkey for two cocoa-nuts, and gave me their delicious
milk; and when I came away they took the entrance ladder from one of
the houses to help me to mount the elephant.

Mr. Low was at first displeased that I had been to Koto-lamah, and
said that my escort was "ignorant and foolish" for taking me; but now
he says that though he would not have taken the responsibility of
sending me, he is glad that the thing was done, as it affords a proof
such as he has not yet had of the complete pacification of the
district; but, he added, it would appear somewhat odd that the first
European to test the disposition of the Koto-lamah people should be a

Leaving this large kampong we traveled by a much-grown-up elephant
track, needing the constant use of the parang and the strength and
wisdom of the elephant to make it passable, saw several lairs and some
recent tiger tracks, crossed a very steep hill, and, after some hours
of hard riding, came down upon the lovely Perak, which we crossed in a
"dugout" so nearly level with the water that at every stroke of the
paddle of the native who crouched in the bow the water ran in over the
edge. We landed at the village of Kwala Kangsa

"In the glory of the sunset,
In the purple mists of evening,"

in which the magnified purple mountains were piled like Alps against
the flaming clouds. By the river bank lay the Dragon boat and the
square bamboo floating bath, through the side of which Mr. Birch was
mortally wounded.

On landing we met a very bright intelligent-looking young Malay with a
train of followers, a dandy almost, in white trousers, short red
sarong, black baju with gold buttons, gold watchguard, and red head
dress. The expression of his face was keen and slightly scornful. This
is Rajah Dris, a judge, and the probable successor to the Perak throne.
The present Resident thinks highly both of his character and his
abilities, and he is very popular among his countrymen. He walked with
us as far as the mosque, and I heard him ask questions about me. The
Mussulmen of the village, several of them being Hadjis, were assembling
for worship, lounging outside the mosque till the call to prayer came.
Ablutions before worshiping are performed in floating baths in the
river. The trade of Kwala Kangsa seems in the hands of the Chinese,
with a few Klings among them, and they have a row of shops.

LETTER XX (Continued)

A Joyous Welcome--A Severe Mortification--The British Resident--Daily
Visitors--Rajah Dris--A Tipsy Ape--Marriage Ceremonies--Marriage
Festivities--Malay Children--The Rajah Muda Yusuf--A Dreary
Funeral--Fascinating Companionship--A Cocoa-Nut Gatherer--The Argus
Pheasant--An Opium Wreck--Rhinoceros
Horns--Elephant-Taming--Petrifying Influences of Islamism--A Dwindling

February 17.--I was very glad that yesterday was Sunday, so that I had
a quiet day, for nearly twelve hours of jungle riding on an elephant
makes one very stiff and sleepy. Three days of solitude, meals in the
company of apes, elephant excursions, wandering about alone, and free,
open air, tropical life in the midst of all luxuries and comforts, have
been very enchanting. At night, when the servants had retired to their
quarters and the apes to the roof, and I was absolutely alone in the
bungalow, the silent Oriental sentries motionless below the veranda
counting for nothing, and without a single door or window to give one
the feeling of restraint, I had some of the "I'm monarch of all I
survey" feeling; and when drum beat and bugle blast, and the turning
out of the Sikh guard, indicated that the Resident was in sight, I felt
a little reluctant to relinquish the society of animals, and my
"solitary reign," which seemed almost "ancient" also.

When Mr. Low, unattended as he always is, reached the foot of the
stairs the retriever leapt down with one bound, and through the air
over his head fled Mahmoud and Eblis, uttering piercing cries, the
siamang, though keeping at a distance, adding to the jubilations, and
for several minutes I saw nothing of my host, for these creatures,
making every intelligent demonstration of delight, were hanging round
him with their long arms; the retriever nearly wild with joy, but
frantically jealous; all the creatures welcoming him more warmly than
most people would welcome their relations after a long absence. Can it
be wondered at that people like the society of these simple, loving,
unsophisticated beings?

Mr. Low's arrival has inflicted a severe mortification on me, for
Eblis, who has been absolutely devoted to me since I rescued him from
Mahmoud, has entirely deserted me, takes no notice of me, and seems
anxious to disclaim our previous acquaintance! I have seen children do
just the same thing, so it makes the kinship appear even closer. He
shows the most exquisite devotion to his master, caresses him with his
pretty baby hands, murmurs ouf in the tenderest of human tones, and
sits on his shoulder or on his knee as he writes, looking up with a
strange wistfulness in his eyes, as if he would like to express himself
in something better than a monosyllable.

This is a curious life. Mr. Low sits at one end of the veranda at his
business table with Eblis looking like his familiar spirit, beside him.
I sit at a table at the other end, and during the long working hours we
never exchange one word. Mahmoud sometimes executes wonderful capers,
the strange, wild, half-human face of the siamang peers down from the
roof with a half-trustful, half-suspicious expression; the retriever
lies on the floor with his head on his paws, sleeping with one eye
open, always on the watch for a coveted word of recognition from his
master, or a yet more coveted opportunity of going out with him; tiffin
and dinner are silently served in the veranda recess at long intervals;
the sentries at the door are so silently changed that one fancies that
the motionless blue turbans and scarlet coats contain always the same
men; in the foreground the river flows silently, and the soft airs
which alternate are too feeble to stir the over-shadowing palm-fronds
or rustle the attap of the roof. It is hot, silent, tropical. The sound
of Mr. Low's busy pen alone breaks the stillness during much of the
day; so silent is it that the first heavy drops of the daily tropical
shower on the roof have a startling effect.

Mr. Low is greatly esteemed, and is regarded in the official circles of
the Settlements as a model administrator. He has had thirty years'
experience in the East, mainly among Malays, and has brought not only a
thoroughly idiomatic knowledge of the Malay language, but a sympathetic
insight into Malay character to his present post. He understands the
Malays and likes them, and has not a vestige of contempt for a dark
skin, a prejudice which is apt to create an impassable gulf between the
British official and the Asiatics under his sway. I am inclined to
think that Mr. Low is happier among the Malays and among his apes and
other pets than he would be among civilized Europeans!

He is working fourteen hours out of the twenty-four. I think that work
is his passion, and a change of work his sole recreation. He devotes
himself to the promotion of the interests of the State, and his evident
desire is to train the native Rajahs to rule the people equitably. He
seems to grudge every dollar spent superfluously on the English
establishment, and contents himself with this small and old-fashioned
bungalow. In this once disaffected region he goes about unarmed, and in
the daytime the sentries only carry canes. His manner is as quiet and
unpretending as can possibly be, and he speaks to Malays as
respectfully as to Europeans, neither lowering thereby his own dignity
nor theirs. Apparently they have free access to him during all hours of
daylight, and as I sit writing to you or reading, a Malay shadow
constantly falls across my paper, and a Malay, with silent, cat-like
tread glides up the steps and appears unannounced in the veranda, on
which Mr. Low at once lays aside whatever he is doing, and quietly
gives himself to the business in hand. The reigning prince, the Rajah
Muda Yusuf, and Rajah Dris, are daily visitors; the former brings a
troop of followers with him, and they remain outside, their red sarongs
and picturesque attitudes as they lounge in the shade, giving to the
place that "native" air which everywhere I love, at least where
"natives" are treated as I think that they ought to be, and my
requirements are pretty severe!

I am painfully aware of the danger here, as everywhere, of forming
hasty and inaccurate judgments, and of drawing general conclusions from
partial premises, and on my present tour there is the added risk of
seeing things through official spectacles; but still certain things lie
on the surface, and a traveler must be very stupid indeed if he does
not come to an approximately just conclusion concerning them. As, for
instance, it is easy to see that far in the interior of the Malay
Peninsula, in regions rarely visited by Europeans, themselves without
advisers, and away from the influence of public opinion, dealing with
weak rulers to whom they represent preponderating brute force in the
last resort, the position of "Resident" is very much what the
individual man chooses to make it. Nor is it difficult to perceive
whether the relations between the English official and the natives are
hearty and cordial, or sullen and distrustful, or whether the Resident
makes use of his position for purposes of self-aggrandizement, and
struts tempestuously and swaggeringly before the Malays, or whether he
devotes his time and energies to the promotion of prosperity, good
order, and progress, in a firm and friendly spirit.

After a very quiet day we went at sunset, to see Rajah Dris, not taking
the dog. The trifling matter of the dog being regarded as an
abomination is one of the innumerable instances of the ingrained
divergence between Moslem and Christian feeling. Rajah Dris lives in a
good house, but it is Europeanized, and consequently vulgarized. He
received us very politely on the stairs, and took us into a sitting-
room in which there were various ill-assorted European things. His
senior wife was brought in, a dull, heavy-looking woman, a daughter of
the Rajah Muda Yusuf, and after her a number of slave women and babies,
till the small room was well filled. The Rajah hospitably entertained
us with tea, milk, and preserved bananas; but I noticed with regret
that the white table-cloth was much soiled, and that the china and
glass were in very bad taste. The house and its equipments are a
distressing contrast to those of the Datu Bandar in Sungei Ujong, who
adheres closely to Malay habits. Rajah Dris sent a servant the whole
way back with us, carrying a table lamp.

to-day the mercury was at 90 degrees for several hours. The nights,
however, are cool enough for sleep. I have lately taken to the Malay
custom of a sleeping mat, and find it cooler than even the hardest
mattress. I did not sleep much, however, for so many rats and lizards
ran about my room. These small, bright-eyed lizards go up the walls in
search of flies. They dart upon the fly with very great speed, but just
as you think that they are about to swallow him they pause for a second
or two and then make the spring. I have never seen a fly escape during
this pause, which looks as if the lizard charmed or petrified his
victim. The Malays have a proverb based upon this fact: "Even the
lizard gives the fly time to pray." There were other noises; for wild
beasts, tigers probably, came so near as to scare the poultry and
horses, and roared sullenly in the neighborhood for a long time, and
the sentries challenged two people, after which I heard a messenger
tell Mr. Low of a very distressing death.

February. 18.--Major Swinburne and Captain Walker arrived in the
morning, and we had a grand tiffin at twelve, and Mahmoud was allowed
to sit on the table, and he ate sausages, pommeloe, bananas,
pine-apple, chicken and curry, and then seizing a long glass of
champagne, drank a good deal before it was taken from him. If
drunkenness were not a loathsome human vice, it would have been most
amusing to see it burlesqued by this ape. He tried to seem sober and to
sit up, but could not, then staggered to a chair, trying hard to walk
steadily, and nodding his head with a would-be witty but really
obfuscated look; then, finding that he could not sit up, he reached a
cushion and lay down very neatly, resting his head on his elbow and
trying to look quite reasonable, but not succeeding, and then he fell

After tiffin a Rajah came and asked me to go with him to his house, and
we walked down with his train of followers and my Malay attendant. It
was a very nice house, with harmonious coloring and much deep shadow.
It soon filled with people. There were two women, but not having an
interpreter, I could not tell whether they were the chief's wives or
sisters. He showed me a number of valuable krises, spears and parangs,
and the ladies brought sherbet and sweetmeats, and they were altogether
very jolly, and made me pronounce the Malay names of things, and the
women laughed heartily when I pronounced them badly. They showed me
some fine diamonds, very beautifully set in that rich, red "gold of
Ophir" which makes our yellow western gold look like a brazen
imitation, as they evidently thought, for they took off my opal ring,
and holding the gold against their own ornaments, made gestures of
disapproval. I think that opals were new to them, and they were
evidently delighted with their changing colors.

Mussulman law is very stringent as to some of the rights of wives. In
Malay marriage contracts it is agreed that all savings and "effects"
are to be the property of husband and wife equally, and are to be
equally divided in case of divorce. A man who insists on divorcing his
wife not only has to give her half his effects, but to repay the sum
paid as the marriage portion. It appears that polygamy is rare, except
among the chiefs.

Marriage is attended with elaborate arrangements among these people,
and the female friends of both parties usually make the "engagement,"
after which the bridegroom's friends go to the bride's father, talk
over the dowry, make presents, and pay the marriage expenses. Commonly,
especially among the higher classes, the bridegroom does not see the
lady's face until the marriage day. Marriage is legalized by a
religious ceremony, and then if the wife be grown up her husband takes
her to his own home. Girls are married at fourteen or fifteen, and
although large families are rare, they look old women at forty.

On the day before the marriage expenses are paid by the bridegroom, the
bride-elect has her teeth filed. It is this process which gives the
Malay women, who are very pretty as children, their very repulsive
look. It produces much the same appearance of wreck and ruin as
blackening the teeth does in Japan, and makes a smile a thing to be
dreaded. Young girls are not allowed to chew betel, which stains
badly, and have white, pearly teeth, but these are considered like the
teeth of animals. The teeth are filed down to a quarter of their
natural length by means of a hard Sumatran stone, or fine steel file.
The operation lasts about an hour, and the gums continue swelled and
painful for some days. After they have recovered, the blackening of the
teeth by means of betel chewing is accelerated by means of a black
liquid obtained by burning cocoa-nut shells on iron, Three days before
the marriage ceremony henna is applied to the nails of the hands and
feet, and also to the palms of the hands, and the hair is cut short
over the forehead, something in the style of a "Gainsborough fringe."

The wedding feast is a very grand affair. Goats and buffaloes are
killed, and the friends and relatives of the bride send contributions
of food. The wedding decorations are family property, and descend from
mother to daughter, and both bride and bridegroom are covered with
flowers, jewels, and gay embroidery. The bride sits in state and
receives the congratulatory visits of her relatives and friends, and
after the actual ceremony is over, the newly-married couple sit on a
seat raised above the guests, and the sirih and betel-nut are largely
chewed. There are "floral decorations," music, and feasting; all
strangers are made welcome; the young men spend the afternoon in games,
among which cock-fighting usually plays a prominent part, and the
maidens amuse themselves in a part of the house screened off from the
rest of the guests by curtains, and made very gay.

As religious ceremonies attend upon marriage and death, so on the birth
of a child the father puts his mouth to the ear of the infant and
solemnly pronounces what is called the Azan or "Allah Akbar," the name
of the one God being the first sound which is allowed to fall upon his
ears on entering the world, as it is the last sound which he hears on
leaving it. There is a form of prayer which is used at births, and
another on the seventh day afterward, when the child's head is shaved.
The sage femme remains for forty days with the mother, who on the
fortieth day makes the ceremonial purifications and prayers which are
customary, and then returns to her ordinary duties. The child, as soon
as it can speak, learns to recite prayers and passages from the Koran,
and is very early grounded in the distinctive principles of Islam.

The children of both sexes are very pretty, but with strangers they are
very shy and timid. They look very innocent, and are docile, gentle and
obedient, spending much of their time in taming their pets and playing
with them, and in playing games peculiar to their age. Except in one or
two cases in Sungei Ujong, I have not seen a child with eye or skin
disease, or any kind of deformity.

There have been Rajahs all day in the veranda, and their followers
sitting on the steps, all received by Mr. Low with quiet courtesy, and
regaled with tea or coffee and cigarettes. A short time ago the
reigning prince, who does not appear to be a cypher, came with a great
train of followers, some of them only wearing sarongs, a grandson, to
whom he is much attached, and the deposed Sultan's two boys, of whom I
told you before. They are in Malay clothing, and seem to have lost
their vivacity, or at least it is in abeyance. Before I came here, I
understood from many people that "His Highness" is very generally
detested. So, also, says Sir Benson Maxwell in _Our Malay Conquests_.
Major M'Nair in his amusing book on Perak says: "He is a man over
middle age, and is described as being of considerable ability, feared
and hated by many of the chiefs, and as being of a fierce and cruel
disposition, but he was a proved man as to his loyalty" (to British
interests), "and there being no desire on the part of the Government to
annex the State of Perak, his appointment was the wisest course that,
under the circumstances, could be pursued." This is all that the
greatest apologist for British proceedings in Perak has to say.

I was not prepossessed in his favor before I came, for among other
stories of his cruel disposition, I was told that it was "absolutely
true" that three years ago he poured boiling water down the back of a
runaway female slave who had been recaptured, and then put a red ant's
nest upon it. If "piracy" is to be the term applied to levying
blackmail, he was certainly a pirate, for he exacted a tenth of the
cargo of every boat which passed up his river, a Rajah higher up doing
the same thing. He is said to have a very strong character, to be
grasping, and to be a "brute;" but Mr. Low gets on very well with him
apparently. He is an elderly man, wearing a sort of fez on a shaven
head. He has a gray mustache. His brow is a fine one, and his face has
a look of force, but the lower part of it is coarse and heavy. He was
fanning himself with his fez, and when I crossed the veranda and gave
him a fan, he accepted it without the slightest gesture of thanks, as
if I had been a slave. When Mr. Low told him that I had been at
Koto-lamah, he said that the chief in whose house I had rested deserved
to be shot, and ought to be shot. He and Mr. Low talked business for an
hour; but all important matters are transacted in what is called a
native council.

I wrote that I believed myself to be the only European in Kwala Kangsa,
but I find that there was another at the time when I wrote thus--a
young man of good family, who came out here seeking an appointment. He
was sun-stricken three days ago, and violent fever and delirium set in,
during the height of which he overpowered four Sikhs who were taking
care of him, rushed out of doors, fell down exhausted, was carried
home, and died at four in the morning, his last delirious dreams being
of gambling and losing heavily.

The lamentable burial took place in the evening as the shadows fell.
This sums up the story--a career of dissipation, death at twenty-one, a
rough, oblong box, no one to be sorry. It made my heart ache for the
mother, who would have given much to be where I was, and see "the
dreary death train" move slowly to the dreary inclosure on a hill-top,
where the grass grows rank and very green round a number of white
wooden crosses, which mark the graves of the officers and soldiers who
fell in 1876. The Union Jack was thrown over the coffin, which was
carried by six Sikhs, and Mr. Low, Major Swinburne, Rajah Dris and some
followers, and Sultan Abdullah's two boys, who had nothing better to
do, followed it. By the time the grave was reached torches were
required, and the burial service was read from my prayer-book. It was
all sad and saddening.

The weather is still glorious, the winding Perak still mirrors in
scarcely rippled blue the intensely blue sky, "never wind blows
loudly," but soft airs rustle the trees. One could not lead a more
tropical life than this, with apes and elephants about one under the
cocoa-palms, and with the mercury ranging from 80 degrees to 90
degrees! Gorgeous, indeed, are the birds and butterflies and flowers;
but often when the erythrina and the Poinciana regia are strewing the
ground with their flaming blossoms, I think with a passionate longing
of the fragile Trientalis Europae, of crimson-tipped lichens, of faint
odors of half-hidden primroses, of whiffs of honey and heather from
purple moorlands, and of all the homely, fragrant, unobtrusive flowers
that are linked with you! I should like a chance of being "cold to the

I have wasted too much of my time to-day upon the apes. They fascinate
me more daily. They look exactly like familiar demons, and certainly
anyone having them about him two hundred years ago would have been
burned as a wizard. When Mr. Low walks down the veranda, these two
familiars walk behind him with a stealthy tread. He is having a
business conversation just now with some Rajahs, whose numerous
followers are standing and lying about, and Eblis is sitting on his
shoulder with one arm round his neck, while Mahmoud sits on the table
opening letters, and the siamang, sitting on the rafter, is looking
down with an unpleasant look. Eblis condescends to notice me to-day,
and occasionally sits on my shoulder murmuring "Ouf! ouf!" the sweet
sound which means all varieties of affection and happiness. They say
wah-wah distinctly, and scream with rage like children, but have none
of the meaningless chatter of monkeys. It is partly their silence which
makes them such very pleasant companions. At sunrise, however, like
their forest brethren, they hail the sun for some minutes with a noise
which I have never heard them make again during the day, loud and
musical, as if uttered by human vocal organs, very clear and pleasant.
Doubtless the Malays like Mr. Low all the better for his love of pets.

At lunch they were both, as usual, sitting at the table. I am still
much afraid of Mahmoud, but Captain Walker is infatuated with him, and
likes his rough, jolly manners, and his love of fun and rough play. As
Assam was bringing me a cup of coffee this creature put out his long
arm, and with his face brimming over with frolic, threw the coffee over
the mat. Then he took up a long glass of beer and began to drink it
eagerly, but as Mr. Low disapproved of his being allowed to get tipsy a
second time, it was taken from him, upon which he took up the breast of
a fricasseed chicken and threw it at the offender. The miscreant did
every kind of ludicrous thing, finishing by pulling everyone to go out
with him, as he always does at that hour; and when he had succeeded in
getting us all out was in a moment at the top of a high tree, leaping
from branch to branch, throwing himself on coffee shrubs below,
swinging himself up again in a flash, leaping, bounding! a picture of
agility, strength, and happiness. The usual morning gathering of Rajahs
and their followers, with Klings and Sikhs, was there, and I suspect
that they thought adult Europeans very foolish for being amused with
these harum-scarum antics.

A follower had brought a "baboon," an ape or monkey trained to gather
cocoa-nuts, a hideous beast on very long legs when on all fours, but
capable of walking erect. They called him a "dog-faced baboon," but I
think they were wrong. He has a short, curved tail, sable-colored fur
darkening down his back, and a most repulsive, treacherous, and
ferocious countenance. He is fierce, but likes or at all events obeys
his owner, who held him with a rope fifty feet long. At present he is
only half tame, and would go back to the jungle if he were liberated.
He was sent up a cocoa-nut tree which was heavily loaded with nuts in
various stages of ripeness and unripeness, going up in surly fashion,
looking round at intervals and shaking his chain angrily. When he got
to the top he shook the fronds and stalks, but no nuts fell, and he
chose a ripe one, and twisted it round and round till its tenacious
fibers gave way, and then threw it down and began to descend, thinking
he had done enough, but on being spoken to he went to work again with
great vigor, picked out all the ripe nuts on the tree, twisted them all
off, and then came down in a thoroughly bad, sulky, temper. He was
walking erect, and it seemed discourteous not to go and thank him for
all his hard toil.

As I write I see a fascinating sight: three black apes sitting under
the roof in such a position that I can only see their faces, and they
are all leaning their chins on a beam, and with their wrinkled faces
and gray beards are looking exactly like -----. It is most interesting
to be among wild beasts, which, though tame, or partly so, are not in
captivity, and to see their great sagacity and their singular likeness
and unlikeness to us. I could dispense with the reptiles, though. Last
night there were seventeen lizards in my room and two in my slippers.
During the profound stillness of about 3 A.M., a crowd, hooting,
yelling, and beating clappers, passed not far off in the darkness, and
there was a sound of ravaging and rending caused by a herd of elephants
which had broken into the banana grounds.

Besides apes, elephants, dogs, and other pets, there are some fine
jungle-fowls, a pheasant, a "fire-back," I think, and an argus pheasant
of glorious beauty; but glorious is not quite the word either, for the
hundred-eyed feathers of its tail are painted rather in browns than
colors. These birds are under the charge of a poor Chinaman, who once
had money, but has gone to complete ruin from opium-smoking. His frame
is reduced to a skeleton covered with skin. I never saw such emaciation
even in an advanced stage of illness.

Just now I saw Mahmoud and Eblis walk into my room, and shortly
following them, I found that Mahmoud had drawn a pillow to the foot of
the bed, and was lying comfortably with his head upon it, and that
Eblis was lying at the other end. I do hope that you will not be tired
of the apes. To me they are so intensely interesting that I cannot help
writing about them. Eblis has been feverish for some days. I think he
has never recovered from the thrashing he got the day I came. He is
pining and growing very weak; he eats nothing but little bits of
banana, and Mr. Low thinks he is sure to die. It is a curious fact that
these apes, which are tamed by living with Europeans, acquire a great
aversion to Malays.

February 19.--Eblis became much worse while I was out yesterday, and I
fear will surely die. He can hardly hold anything in his cold, feeble
hands, and eats nothing. He has a strangely human, faraway look, just
what one sees in the eyes of children who have nearly done with this

The heat is much greater to-day, there is less breeze, and the mercury
has reached 90 degrees, but in the absence of mosquitoes, and with
pine-apples and bananas always at hand, one gets on very well. But
mosquitoes do embitter existence and interfere with work. Apparently,
people never become impervious to the poison, as I thought they did,
and there is not a Malay in his mat hut, or a Chinese coolie in his
crowded barrack, who has not his mosquito curtains; and I have already
mentioned that the Malays light fires under their houses to smoke them
away. Last night a malignant and hideous insect, above an inch long, of
the bug species, appeared. The bite of this is as severe as the sting
of a hornet.

The jungle seems to be full of wild beasts, specially tigers, in this
neighborhood, and the rhinoceros is not uncommon. Its horn is worth
$15, but Rajah Muda Yusuf, who desires to have a monopoly of them, says
that there are horns with certain peculiar markings which can be sold
to the Chinese for $500* each to be powdered and used as medicine. Wild
elephants are abundant, but, like the rhinoceros, they ravage the deep
recesses of the jungle. All the tame elephants here, however, were
once wild, including the fifty which, with swords, dragons, bells,
krises with gold scabbards, and a few other gold articles, formed the
Perak regalia. The herds are hunted with tame, steady elephants, and on
a likely one being singled out, he is driven by slow degrees into a
strong inclosure, and there attached by stout rattan ropes to an
experienced old elephant, and fed on meager diet for some weeks, varied
with such dainties as sugar-cane and sweet cakes. The captive is
allowed to go and bathe, and plaster himself with mud, all the while
secured to his tame companion, and though he makes the most desperate
struggles for liberty, he always ends by giving in, and being led back
to his fastenings in the corral. At times a man gets upon him, sits on
his head, and walks upon his back. It is here generally about two years
before an elephant is regarded as thoroughly broken in and to be
trusted; and, as elsewhere, stories are told of elephant revenge and
keepers being killed. A full-grown elephant requires about 200 lbs. of
food a day. These animals are destructive to the cocoa-nut trees, and
when they get an opportunity they put their heads against them, and
then, with a queer swaying movement throw the weight of their bodies
over and over again against the stem till the palm comes down with a
crash, and the dainty monster regales himself with the blossoms and the

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