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Title: From Jungle to Java - The Trivial Impressions of a Short Excursion to Netherlands India
Author: Keyser, Arthur Louis, 1856-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  FROM JUNGLE TO JAVA

  THE TRIVIAL IMPRESSIONS OF A
  SHORT EXCURSION TO NETHERLANDS INDIA.


  BY ARTHUR KEYSER,

  AUTHOR OF
  "OUR CRUISE IN NEW GUINEA," "CUT BY THE MESS,"
  "AN EXILE'S ROMANCE," ETC., ETC.


  [Publisher's Logo]


  THE
  ROXBURGHE PRESS,
  LIMITED,
  FIFTEEN, VICTORIA STREET,
  WESTMINSTER.



  CONTENTS


      I. A SELECT COMMUNITY                 1

     II. THE START                          7

    III. SINGAPORE                         14

     IV. ON THE WAY TO JAVA                19

      V. BATAVIA                           23

     VI. AN OFFICIAL CALL                  34

    VII. A CONCERT AT THE CONCORDIA CLUB   39

   VIII. CONCERNING THE LOMBOH WAR         44

     IX. BUITENZORG                        49

      X. CUSTOMS AND COSTUMES              56

     XI. AN UNTIMELY CALL                  62

    XII. A MODEL ESTATE                    66

   XIII. AMONG THE ROSES                   76

    XIV. GARVET                            84

     XV. BATHS AND VOLCANOES               89

    XVI. THE QUEST FOR A MOTHER            94

   XVII. THE QUEST CONTINUED. TJILATJAP    99

  XVIII. THE QUEST SUCCESSFUL. THE
           WODENA'S HOUSE                 109

    XIX. A VILLAGE HOME IN JAVA           115

     XX. BACK TO THE JUNGLE               120



FROM JUNGLE TO JAVA



CHAPTER I.

A SELECT COMMUNITY.


Mr. X., whose impressions and mild adventures I have undertaken the task
of editing, has asked me to narrow his personal introduction to such
limits as is consistent with the courtesy due to my readers, if haply I
find any. He prefers, as his pseudonym implies, to remain an unknown
quantity. I need only explain that he is an officer employed in one of
the small States of the Malay Peninsula, which are (very much) under the
protection of the Colonial Government of the Straits Settlements. The
latter, with careful forethought for their ease-loving rulers, appoints
officers to relieve them of all the cares and duties of administration,
and absolves them from the responsibility of a Government somewhat more
progressive in its policy than might commend itself to Oriental ideas,
if left without such outside assistance.

As the title intimates, Mr. X.'s duties compel him to make his home in
the jungle. The word has many significations in the East, where it is
often used to express a region remote from civilization, although
perhaps consisting of barren mountains or treeless plains. Mr. X.'s
jungle, however, is one realizing what it represents to the untravelled
Englishman. It is a land of hill and dale covered with thickly growing
forest trees, with here and there by the side of the rivers, which are
Nature's thoroughfares, or the main roads made by man, small oases of
cultivation. It is a beautiful country, with a climate which those who
live in it--and they are the best witnesses--declare to be healthy and
agreeable. And the members of the small community who form the European
population take a personal pride in the amenities of their beautiful
retreat, with its perennial verdure, and glory in their "splendid
isolation." Criticisms are resented, and suggestions of indisposition
due to climatic influence held to be little short of traitorous. So, as
may be imagined, it was a matter of no ordinary interest when X. not
only complained of being unwell, but also developed signs of a chronic
discontent. For X.--no Mr. was necessary in that little round-table
club--certainly was unwell. Of this there could be no doubt, and such a
condition of body was little short of an abuse of the privileges of the
place. But since he could give no real explanation of his feelings, and
only sighed vaguely when engaged in the daily preprandial game of
billiards at the club, it was thought best to ignore his new departure,
and to leave the subject severely alone.

However, the effect of this wise treatment was entirely ruined by the
arrival of the doctor, who bore the sounding official designation of the
Residency surgeon. This gentleman was wont to be sceptical in the matter
of ailments, limiting his recognition only to honest, downright illness
worthy of the attention of a medico whose name stood in front of a
formidable array of honourable letters, too numerous for him to mention.
But even really great people are not always strictly consistent, and
occasionally make small lapses from the straight path of precedent--and
so this man of science deigned to cast an eye of interest upon the
ailment of X. That it should be worthy of notice at all was enough for
the companions of the now much-appreciated invalid, but when the great
man added to his notice by bestowing a classical name, expressions of
sympathy knew no bounds, and the unwonted solicitude was almost more
than the sufferer could bear with the dignified attitude of conscious
merit fitting to the occasion. Something rather _distingué_ had happened
to the place, something quite new. A vulgar complaint was a subject for
reprobation and not sympathy, as casting discredit on this salubrious
retreat, but a malady composed of two words out of the Greek Lexicon
conferred a distinction perhaps unknown to, and to be envied by, the
larger communities beyond the pass. The matter was most seriously
discussed, and the decision arrived at that X. wanted a change. Not
exactly that a change would do him good, but because, when he came back,
the change, from the place he went to, to his happy home in Pura Pura,
would work wonders for his health. As the doctor endorsed the former
part of the verdict, rather modifying it by suggesting, that there were
few conditions of health when a change would not be beneficial to a
hard-worked official, there remained nothing but to select the spot to
which X.--his leave once granted--must go. It would never, of course, do
that he should go to Penang, or even to Hong Kong or Japan, such an
expedition would be too ordinary and commonplace. It was felt that X.
should do something worthy of the occasion, and show his appreciation of
the place he lived in by going to one as similar in respect of people
and scenery as could be found, and so, when the person chiefly
concerned, knowing what was expected of him, suggested Java, the idea
was accepted, and Java it was settled to be. And that night at the Club
there was a long sitting, and Manop, the patient barman, had to record
the disappearance of many extra "stengahs,"[1] as the matter was
discussed in all its bearings. Those of the community who had been to
Java recalled their experiences and recollections of that country,
rather to the annoyance of those others whose travels, though perhaps
more extended, had not led them in the same direction, and thus had to
accept the unwelcome rôle of silent listeners. However, goaded by long
endurance, one of the party, the scene of whose stories mostly lay in
the Antipodes, remarked that certainly when X. returned from Java he
must write a book about it, because if he had only half as much to
communicate as the present speakers, the book would be full of
information. This little sarcasm was entirely spoilt by being taken
literally, as it was at once decided that X. must write a book. Vainly
he protested that it would be impossible to write a book after only a
brief visit to a place, as he could only put into it what was already
known to others; his objections were over-ruled, and he was reminded
that only the other day, when H. E., the Governor, progressed (which is
the official rendering of travelled) through a neighbouring State (known
to those present only too painfully well, through many weary days spent
in the jungles while exploring and actually constructing the path over
which this "progress" was subsequently made), one of the party wrote a
book which announced the discovery of a newly found place, and even
went so far as to sniff severely at the presumption of those who had
undergone these early days of toil, because certain grateful pioneers
had named various landmarks after friends who had assisted them in the
first months of settlement. "If that State, which we know so well, was
discovered so recently," urged one of the speakers, "why not discover
Java?" "And as for a fortnight being too brief a time," suggested
another--"did the Progress take longer?" And thus, it being an unwritten
law in Pura Pura that the wishes of the community should be respected,
X. having now returned from leave, has commissioned a chronicler to
write about what he saw in Java, though it would be an easier task were
the latter allowed to write about the community. But that must not
be--at any rate now. Java is the theme--that, and no other.

    [Footnote 1: Local name for "peg."]



CHAPTER II.

THE START.


In the few days which elapsed before the due arrival of official
permission for X. to leave the jungle, it might have been observed that
he was changed. The hitherto sedate individual became fussy and worried,
and members of The Community agreed that he was "journey-proud"--a happy
expression used by one of the neighbouring Malay potentates when wishing
to describe _his_ feelings at a time of emerging from the security of
his own retreat. But there was much to do--clothes not looked at since
the distant days when they left those cities on the other side of the
pass, had to be inspected and all their lapses laid bare--moths had
eaten holes in most conspicuous places, and in others rats had,
literally, made their nests. The shirts were whitened shams, as they
lay, no more than so many "dickeys," in a row, for when unfolded it was
found that they had lost their tails, long since the prey of cockroaches
or bedding for the young of mice; collars, when severed from their
fray, were sadly diminished in height, and the overhauling of the boot
department revealed the fact that there was nothing that would bear a
more critical eye than that of "The Community." However, the best had to
be made of a bad job, and one Bo Ping, a stitcher in leather, certainly
did _his_ best in the matter.

Then an equal preparation was required for the wardrobes of Usoof and
Abu, the two followers selected to accompany X. upon his travels. This
entailed many visits from the local tailors, who spent long hours in the
back premises, accompanied by all their friends and relations--for in
Pura Pura, as amongst many other Eastern peoples, for one person at work
there are always ten looking on. Thus the interest in these proceedings
was not centred upon X.--to some he played quite a secondary part in the
matter, being merely an incident connected with the departure of Usoof,
who was going to Java, which was his birthplace--as all the world
knew--but which he had left years ago, when little more than a baby in
arms. Usoof was going home to find his relations and tell them all about
himself, and "Tuan"[2] X. happened to be going too. This being a fact
widely reported and discussed nightly far into the small hours of the
morning, while friends ate light refreshments of bread and sugar with
pink-coloured syrups to wash them down, it is not to be wondered at
that X. began at last to feel that it was settled he was going
principally to search for Usoof's mother, who was possibly living in a
village somewhere in Java, her name unknown; indeed, her still being in
the land of the living was a matter of conjecture. This quest, however,
which obtained additional interest from the little that was knowable of
its object, is alluded to here, so that when it is subsequently related
how it led X. from the beaten track of tourists, there may be no
surprise, since it can be understood that it would have been impossible
for him to return to Pura Pura without some attempt to perform that
which was expected of him.

    [Footnote 2: Malay equivalent for Mister = Sahib.]

In due time arrived the document permitting X. to leave Pura Pura, and
the day of departure was fixed. Usoof and Abu had already gone on ahead
in a bullock cart with the luggage, and X. was to leave next morning.
Several of "The Community" kindly came to see the start and sat calm and
superior over their long "stengahs," while the intending traveller
endeavoured to compress into a quarter of an hour the final instructions
for the regulation of affairs in his absence. However, after writing
various little memos and giving many injunctions to the syces and
tenants generally, concerning the care of the horses, sheep, geese,
dogs, bears, tame storks, porcupines, and other live stock which
belonged to the household, the traveller mounted into his sulky, with
that sinking in the region of his heart which comes to all those
temporarily about to leave Pura Pura's secluded calm. And thus he drove
forth into the great populous world beyond. The first glimpse of it was
distant twenty-four miles, and reached after a drive through some of the
most beautiful jungle scenery imaginable. This oasis of civilization was
the capital of the State at whose port it was necessary to embark. Here
X. remained for the night, accepting hospitality from the kind doctor
who had looked upon his complaint and so scientifically localised and
named it. To one fresh from the jungle, this evening appeared full of
novelty and life, from the fact of there being strange faces present.
One of the party was a French Roman Catholic priest, known to all in the
various States as a man of practical good works and a congenial
companion. And there was also a gentleman of title--a visitor fresh from
England--who should have been called a globe-trotter had he not, in the
course of the meal, thanked Providence that he had come across none of
that genus in those localities. This gentleman, who rejoiced at the
absence of globe-trotters, was bound for such a variety of places in
such a short space of time that X. could only regard him with
bewilderment and envy. For while he had only undertaken his journey
after the mature consideration of a month, during which time the
correspondence concerning leave and medical certificates had assumed
proportions of official magnitude, this traveller carried with him all
the documents connected with his plans in the form of a piece of paper
on which was written exactly where he must sleep, lunch, and dine during
the ensuing fortnight. It would be interesting to know if this visitor
actually accomplished his task and saw all that he proposed in the time
allowed. Perhaps, when he gets home, _his_ community--the other titled
people--will put pressure on him to write a book, and satisfy our
legitimate curiosity.

On the following morning X. boarded the train on the railroad which
connects the capital with the sea. He found himself an object of
interest to the dwellers in those distant parts, not only as the fleshly
embodiment of the personality hitherto known as initials at the bottom
of official minutes, but as the champion who had not long since
descended from his mountain for the purpose of engaging the railway in
litigation, in consequence of his garments having suffered from sparks
on the occasion of his last venture in the train.

This case had excited considerable interest, and X. had made a
triumphant exit, as he drove away from the court with portions of
charred wardrobe packed in behind. During the present journey there were
no sparks, and the coast was reached without any incident which might
promise litigation. The party consisting of X., Usoof and Abu, embarked
on the s.s. _Malacca_, a fairly comfortable steamship with a kindly
captain. The sniff of the sea was delightful to the jungle-wallah, and,
freed from official chains, he reclined in a long chair feeling that all
his plans and preparations had at least a present good result. The only
incident of the voyage that remains in his memory is the fact that a
Chinese passenger sitting opposite at dinner drank a bottle of whisky
and a bottle of claret mixed, and appeared to suffer no subsequent
inconvenience. In the evening the ship lay off Malacca. There are few
more suggestive views than this one of twinkling lights, here and there
disclosing momentary peeps of that picturesque old town, peeps that
conjure forth visions of half forgotten stories of that place of many
memories, told, in the jungle by the flicker of the camp fire, by
Malays, adepts at relating tales handed down by their fathers.

Then the cool evening of a tropical climate, the sea glinting in silver
moonlit streaks around the ship, which throwing a huge shadow on the
water lies silently swinging to her anchor before the peering little red
stars of that solitary old-world city. Scenes such as these are some
compensation to many a home-sick exile.

Ah, well,--we must not get sentimental and out of tune, though the
snores of the whisky-claret Chinaman are particularly discordant.
However he passed--as happily passengers do--and so did the night and
the early dawn as the s.s. _Malacca_ approached the beautiful island of
Singapore (does everyone know it is an island?) Ask you another! Well,
can my readers say straight off what constitutes the Straits
Settlements, and which are islands? but never mind--skip this and hurry
on over the bracket, if an answer were really wanted the bracket would
not be there.



CHAPTER III.

SINGAPORE.


I see that X. has it in his notes that the first view of this city is
the most beautiful in the East--does he mean the approach, the view, or
the city. It perhaps does not greatly matter, but it is certain that he
recorded the fact that to a poor jungle-wallah like himself it seemed
very vast and full of life, as he dressed himself and prepared to
re-enter the world from which he had so long been absent. A gharry--a
close carriage on four wheels with a dirty-looking driver and a tiny
pony--now conveyed, or rather set forth to convey, the traveller to the
hospitable house of a certain distinguished general who resides in
Singapore.

Singapore is a city in which it is notoriously difficult to find one's
way about, as all the roads seem alike--they are all excellent--and so
do the houses. Had I not undertaken to tell you how X. went to Java, I
should like to stop and relate how once on this account the writer
dined at the wrong house--and dined well--while his host, whose name he
never knew, preserved an exquisite _sang-froid_ and never showed
surprise; but such egotistic digressions might possibly annoy X. who has
a right to claim the first place in this little history.

The driver apparently knew where no one as an individual lived, and
entirely relied on strange local descriptions known only to the native
inhabitants, therefore it was vain for X. to try and explain where he
wanted to go. It transpired from interrogations of passers by that no
gharry driver or Malay policeman had heard of the General or even that
such a personage existed--X. never told the General that--and thus the
gharry containing X., and the two which followed with the suite and
luggage, drove backwards and forwards puzzling people as they went, for
such twistings and turnings argued ignorance of locality, and ignorance
of locality meant a globe-trotter, and yet no mail steamer was in, and,
again, no globe trotter would be followed by two Malays. And presently
he again endeavoured to explain where he wanted to go in forcible
Malay--this made the problem more difficult--till the passers by, mostly
cooks going to market, gave it up as one too deep, or perhaps too
trivial, for solution. The morning drive thus lasted till Europeans
early for office appeared in their smart buggies and fast trotting
horses, and one of these magnates of commerce coming to the rescue, it
was explained to the gharry syce that the Commander of all the Forces
occupied a house where Mr. So-and-so used to live, after the celebrated
Mr. So-and-so had sold off his racing stud and given up the
house--"didn't the driver remember?" "Yes, was not Omad the chief syce"
to the gentleman alluded to? At this the driver exclaimed, "of course,"
and whipping up his pony, with a withering look at his face, which
implied "if only he had had the sense to tell me that before," he drove
direct to one of the largest and most imposing mansions of the town.

Saved from the hotels of Singapore, where bewildered travellers grumble
and strange-looking jungle-wallahs come down to drink, X. felt all the
half-dormant memories of civilization return to him, as, passing the
sentry, he entered the spacious hall and received a kindly welcome from
his host.

Having, as the books say, removed the traces of his journey, no very
palpable ones in this case, since washing is practicable and customary
on board s.s. _Malacca_, X. joined his host at breakfast and was
informed of the programme of the day--consisting of an afternoon drive,
dining out in the evening, and thence to hear the regimental band play
by moonlight in the gardens. What a gay place Singapore seemed to X.,
who nightly dined alone, and to whom the sound of a band was a memory of
bygone days--and a band by moonlight too. Yes, that also had memories
all its own. On moonlight nights he is wont to sit on the verandah and
listen to the drowsy monotonous singing of the Malays who dwell in the
villages below his hill. Very agreeable is that chanting sound as it
ascends, telling of companionship and content, although for that very
reason making the solitary European feel more solitary still. Native
servants have given him his dinner and left him to seek their own
amusement. He is a duty only, something finished with and put away for
the night, left solitary upon the broad verandah, half envying the
natives who can enjoy the moonlight in the society of their friends.

Here in Singapore X. need envy no one, for was he not to go out after
dinner and hear a band in the moonlight, and a band played by Europeans?
The reality equalled expectation, for moonlight in the beautiful gardens
of Singapore, with the _elite_ of society sitting in their carriages or
strolling along the grass by the lake would have been a pleasant evening
even to people more _blasé_ than X., nor did that person enjoy it any
the less from catching sight of Usoof and Abu standing as lonely amongst
this mass of strangers as ever he was wont to feel when brooding in his
solitude at home, while they sang songs in the moonlight to their
friends.

The evening ended up with the glorious dissipation of supper at the
regimental mess. The immediate result of this outing was pleasure, the
subsequent one--probably the addition of another syllable to the
compound Greek word with which X.'s ailments had been identified.



CHAPTER IV.

ON THE WAY TO JAVA.


On the following day, remembering what was expected of him, X. hired a
gharry and proceeded to discharge all such obligations as etiquette
demanded from one in his peculiar official position. The first and
foremost of these was to inscribe his name in a book in the ante-room
of the office of the Colonial Secretary. The names in this book would
make interesting reading, and, thought X., probably become a source of
wealth could one take it into the smoking-room of a London club and lay
ten to one that no three people present could locate the places named
upon a map. Perak[3]--or as they would call it in the smoking-room,
Pea rack--Selangor, Pahang--called at home Pahhang--Jelebu, Sungei
Ujong--also Londonized into Sonjeyajang--and many others of
unaccustomed sound.

    [Footnote 3: Pronounced Perah.]

Official routine over (this should be semi-official routine, suggests
X., who fears that he may be held responsible for any error of the
writer, which may lead it to be supposed that he is arrogating to
himself any real Colonial Office rank)--however, it is difficult to be
so observant of nice distinctions--X. next paid a visit to Messrs. John
Little and Co. Every one who has been to Singapore has been to John
Little's, for it is better known to the dwellers in that city than even
Whitely to Londoners. Whitely has rivals, John Little has none. From
this famous provider of necessaries and superfluities to the hospitable
club is but a step, and there the traveller lunched. This club is the
meeting-place of all the prominent merchants in Singapore. The building
is a fine one, with a verandah overlooking the sea, and the members
always cordially welcome strangers and neighbours from the adjoining
peninsula. Having said this much I feel compelled to risk incurring the
displeasure of X., who will be credited with having told me, and add
that the company is better than the cooking. The quality of the fluids
and the quantity are without reproach, but the food!--that is one of the
things they manage better in the jungle.

In the afternoon the General was again as good as his word, and took his
guest for a drive, showing to his wondering eyes all the beauties of the
new water-works. The China mail had that morning come in, and this
favourite resort was dotted over with evident passengers, some of them
globe-trotters. What would the titled traveller have said had his
hurried steps taken him that way? In the evening His Excellency gave a
dinner party to twenty guests culled from the most select circles in
Singapore. To sit at table with so many Europeans would at any time have
been a new sensation to X., but to suddenly find himself one of such a
distinguished company was almost alarming in its novelty. However, being
happily situated by the side of Beauty, the situation expanded
generally, and had any member of The Community been watching, he might
have thought that X. was proving false to the creed that there was no
place like Pura Pura for a man to dwell in.

That which to the other diners was a matter of every day, to him was
both a present pleasure and a glimpse of the past.

It was, of course, quite hopeless to attempt to explain to anyone whence
he came, or where he lived, for the very name of Pura Pura was unknown
to them, and so it was necessary to pose as a passenger passing through
_en route_ to Java.

Some amongst the company had been to Java (including the host), and all
spoke in high terms of the civility to be found there.

In the morning the traveller took leave of his kind host, who left first
at 5.30 a.m. for some early little game of war, a description of which
would probably have been as vague to a civilian as would the
geographical position of Pura Pura, or the exact official status of X.,
to members of the company of the previous evening. The great soldier
having driven off in full uniform through a throng of salaaming menials
of various nationalities, X. entered his humble gharry, and, followed by
Usoof and Abu, drove to the Messagerie wharf. The steamer for Batavia
was the s.s. _Godavery_, which was in connection with the mails for
home. The cost of the passage is, perhaps, for the actual distance
travelled, the most expensive in the world. The time taken by the voyage
is thirty-six hours.



CHAPTER V.

BATAVIA.


The voyage on board the _Godavery_ resembled similar ones, with the
notable difference that the excellent cuisine made X. wish that the time
to be spent in transit were longer. The only people who were not
contented were Usoof and Abu, for each of whom their employer was paying
the sum of three dollars a night. These particular Mahomedans refused to
touch the food shovelled out to them, and to crowds of natives of all
colour and class--by the rough and ready Chinese servants, and towards
the end of the second day, having eaten nothing, they presented a very
woebegone and miserable appearance. However, a few more judiciously
placed dollars produced them a square meal of bread and tea, after which
they smiled.

There is perhaps no sensation so agreeable as the arrival in a strange
port. Thoughts and conjectures as to the possibilities that lie beyond
the landing place are innumerable, and fancy and anticipation are
equally strong. When the _Godavery_ steamed into Batavia it was still
dark and the rain was coming down in torrents. It all looked miserable
enough, but, once alongside the wharf, daylight began to appear and the
passengers trooped ashore. The station was more than a quarter of a mile
from the place of landing, and this distance the poor people had to
hurry along in the rain.

The unfortunate natives--carrying bundles containing their
belongings--were drenched to the skin. Also the European
passengers--less objects of pity, as only the portion of their wardrobe
actually worn was exposed to the rain--came in for a considerable share
of the moisture of that wet arrival. It is true there was a magnificent
covered way, but this was hopelessly blocked up with trucks and other
railway gear, which were, presumably, more susceptible to cold than the
passengers. The luggage was quickly and courteously passed by the Custom
House officials, and the travellers entered a luxuriously fitted
train--apparently a show train, as X. never met another like it in Java.

Arrival in Batavia town created a good first impression, as there were
no pestering crowds, as there are in Singapore, and there were many
carriages waiting for hire, all two-horsed and good.

The drive to the hotel was a long one, through the business portions of
the town, till the residential side was reached. Here detached houses
are situated alongside the principal road, on the other side of which
flows a canal, giving to the place an appropriate Dutch appearance.

The hotel was a most imposing building outside, with apparently
countless rooms, but the thing which immediately struck X. as something
uncommon was the fact that the floors of the apartments were level with
the ground and not raised as is the case in Singapore and the Peninsula,
and he felt feverish as he noticed it. The traveller was allotted a fair
sized room opening on to a court yard, with other rooms and other
openings to the right and to the left, and in fact all round him, and in
front of these rooms sat people in every stage of deshabille. There
seemed to be no privacy and what, perhaps, under the circumstances was
fortunate,--no shyness. X. however had not yet reached that point of his
observations, and, entering his room, he shut the door and ordered his
first meal in Java. This turned out to be a terrible repast, consisting
of a plate of cold clammy selections from the interior of some edible
beast, two cold hard-boiled eggs, three small cold fish roasted in
cocoanut oil, and something intended to resemble ham and eggs. This
first meal is mentioned in detail as it was but a foretaste of an
equally trying series. X. thought of Dagonet and that power of
description which, when relating dyspeptic woes, will compel the
sympathy of the hardiest feeder.

It did not take long to skim hastily over the surface of these
uninviting viands, and now X. turned his attention to the notices which
stared at him from every wall. These in many languages threatened all
travellers with penalties if, immediately after their arrival, they
neglected to obtain permission to reside in Netherlands India. After
reading this, X. lost no time in sending for a conveyance to drive to
the British Consulate. The gentleman who received him there was
extremely civil and gave him all the information in his power. It
appeared that if the traveller was anxious for facts about Java, the
officials of that country were equally so in requiring the same from
him, and he was obliged to fill in a printed form stating his age,
birthplace, residence and occupation, etc., and, when this was done, pay
one guilder and a half for his trouble. The next step was to go to the
Bank, and nothing could exceed the kindness with which he was received
at this place, and the thoughtful manager assisted the stranger to
decide where he had better go in order to best see something of the
country, and what was most to the point, wrote for him the names of
places and hotels which seem outlandish and terrible on first meeting
with them. X. learnt to his dismay that the system of obtaining money
by cheque was almost unknown, and it would always be necessary to carry
money and, when more was wanted, receive it by registered letter
through the post. The idea of carrying ready money to a person who had
for years followed the customs of the East and depended on cheques and
"chits," seemed a new trouble for which he had not been prepared. On
the drive back to the hotel through streets sloppy with mud, the first
new impression made upon the traveller was caused by the number of
natives selling vegetables--good wholesome English looking specimens,
especially carrots. This was a refreshing sight after years of seeing
no familiar vegetables, except those which passed long periods of
imprisonment in tins.

All along the route natives of either sex were bathing in the filthy
water of the canal without even a suspicion of that modesty which
characterises the Malays. Impression No. 2 was noted to the effect that
none of the natives wore boots or shoes, and all plashed barefooted
through the mud. He had already had his attention called to this absence
of shoes when coming up in the train by the notice (not to say the
excitement) attracted by the neatly-booted feet of his followers. Could
it be possible that they would also be obliged to go barefooted through
the muddy streets? And still worse thought--would it fall to his lot to
break it to them? The natives all appeared larger and more strongly
built than the Malays of the Peninsula, but, as in Singapore, they were
a hybrid lot, and there were also to be seen a variety of other
nationalities--Malay nationalities--but, strange to say, no Arabs, and,
more remarkable still, no Chinamen. To those readers who may not have
visited that part of the world of which I write, it should be explained
that Singapore is almost entirely populated by Chinese, and in the
native states they materially outnumber the Malays, so that the eye is
accustomed to see Chinese everywhere and regard them as the real
inhabitants of the country. Their absence in a Malay town strikes anyone
coming from the Peninsula as strange. Cf course there _are_ Chinese in
Batavia, and many of them, as X. soon learnt, but they do not pervade
the whole place as is the case in the English colonies over the way.

Reaching the hotel X. was relieved to find that Usoof and Abu had
discarded their boots, and were picking their way delicately across the
mud of the courtyard. Also they had been provided with an excellent
curry. Then he prepared to get ready for his own lunch, and next to
bathe. In order to do this it was necessary to run the gauntlet of many
eyes, as the bathroom was some distance off, and, to reach it, the
entire length of the verandah must be passed. On to this verandah opened
the doors of bedrooms, the occupant of each sitting in his long chair in
front--exactly, as Abu remarked, like vendors holding stalls in a
market. The long chairs were of the luxurious kind, with short seats and
long movable arms, and on which latter the occupants extended their
naked feet. This of course refers to the men. Ladies also sat there, in
what X. subsequently learnt was not altogether considered _deshabille_,
namely, the sarong and kabaya of the country. The first-named garment,
it may be explained for the benefit of readers in the West, is a
close-fitting petticoat such as the natives wear, and the latter a white
linen jacket. It required some courage to take that first walk along
this verandah, but things seldom continue to seem strange, unless other
people look as if they thought them so, and as these reclining rows of
visitors lay back doing nothing, not even reading, with an air of
unconcern, it was not difficult for X. to assume one too. However, he
could not but believe that he helped to fill in that vacant blank in
which the sitters sank, as he passed along, himself clad in wondrous
garments made of gaudy silks woven by the skilled natives of the
Peninsula, while Usoof and Abu followed, bringing the towels and soap.
Nor did he entirely deceive himself, since he was subsequently informed
by Usoof that the "boy" of a Nyonia, or what in Singapore is called a
"mem," told him that his lady had instructed him to discover whether X.
had many more of those silk sarongs for sale.

Lunch was perhaps the first real revelation of life in Java, since it
introduced the traveller to that which a majority of the people seem to
live for (and always sleep after)--the rice-table. This rice-table has
been so often described that it need not be done in detail here; but the
basis, as it were, of this rice-table is, as may be supposed, rice, and
with this foundation in your plate, innumerable dishes of eggs, fish,
meat, etc., are offered by a string of attendants, who expect you to put
some of each on the top of it. Probably this is only a literal and
exaggerated interpretation of a Malay curry, which is incomplete without
the countless little relishes which should accompany it. This particular
dish, or rather function, is seen in its fullest development in the
up-country places, visited later, and the one in Batavia was scarcely a
fair sample, as though X. was unaware of this at the time, its
proportions had evidently been toned down and diminished out of
deference to the cosmopolitan character of the guests, who, probably
like our traveller, had on former occasions given their ignorance away
by asking for more plates and taking each dish seriously, as though it
were a separate course, sent up before its time, at the risk of getting
cold. To a person accustomed to Singapore there was something novel and
cheering about the first meal in the vast dining-hall of this hotel. The
floor was of marble--scrupulously clean--and the Javanese waiters were
dressed in a uniform of white trimmed with red, presenting a pleasing
contrast to the slipshod dirty "boy" of an ordinary hotel, whose habit
it is to clatter round flapping your face and brushing your food with
his long, unclean, hanging sleeves. Though in the native states from
whence X. came it is no uncommon thing to see Malays wait at table, yet
in Singapore, with the exception of Indian servants, it is very seldom
that there are any attendants but Chinese.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the meal was the absence of bread.
This could be procured, when asked for, but was not provided, as it is
elsewhere, as a matter of course, and was regarded as an extra. An
excellent arrangement of this marble hall was that it was permitted to
smoke immediately after lunch. As, availing himself of this, X. smoked
his cigarette and meditated contentedly, he noted all the various
details which might interest The Community at home. One rather prominent
detail was a lady at a neighbouring table dressed only in a sarong and
kabaya, with her extremities bare. The lower portion of these were
thrust into some loose sandal slippers, the upper turned back as far
under the chair as the stretch of the sarong would allow. It was not a
costume which, from X.'s point of view, appeared elegant, though, like
most articles of apparel worn by beauty, capable of becoming elegant if
elegantly worn; still in the present instance more natural elegance
would be required in proportion to that of the costume, there being so
little of the latter. Returning to the publicity of his apartment, X.
was met by Usoof and Abu, both with very long faces and evidently in
considerable distress. On being interrogated it transpired that they had
nowhere to bathe. Now to bathe, and bathe constantly, is as necessary to
a Malay as are regular meals to a European. X., being sadly aware that
he would be held responsible for everything that went wrong or did not
fit in with the exact views of these children of nature, thought it best
to be brave at the commencement of things and affect an indifference
which he was far from really feeling, and, therefore, with a jerk of his
head towards the canal, replied that that was where people bathed. "Yes,
perhaps _people_," said Abu, with meaning, and then for fear X. should
not be sufficiently intelligent to catch the tone, added "people who
don't mind filth or water like that in a drain." This seemed to need no
answer, and as Usoof had reserved his remarks X. knew that worse was to
come, and he would be more prudent to wait and reply on the whole
question, instead of being drawn into argument as though he were
actually to blame for this terrible state of affairs. But as Usoof still
kept silence X. rashly thought he had gained an easy victory, and airily
added, "All right, you must make the best of it and go to the canal."
Then the reserved remarks found vent, "Was the Tuan aware that all the
women in the place bathed there?" "Yes," this had to be admitted, since
the Tuan himself had noticed it, and, as has been recorded above, not
without some comments of his own. "Then how can I bathe there at the
same time?" continued Usoof, "I should be ashamed." "Well, if they are
not you need not be," rather frivolously replied his master, as he
sought escape from further conversation by burrowing in a box full of
books. It may as well be recorded here that the couple never did bathe
in that canal, and eventually drove some miles into the country, where
they performed their modest ablutions by a village well. They also
refused to permit any clothes to be sent to the wash in Batavia, and
they were not far wrong, since the water of the canal was equally
unfitted for washing either clothes or the human body it was their
office to adorn.



CHAPTER VI.

AN OFFICIAL CALL.


After luncheon X. took a drive. All the most noteworthy features of
Batavia are duly set forth in guide books, and it is therefore only
advisable to mention those few points of difference from an English
colonial town which seemed to the traveller worthy of note. The
principal one was that all the residents' houses were built along the
side of the high road; there were no secluded mansions standing in their
own grounds as in Singapore. All the houses were obtrusively _en
evidence_, so much so, that people, socially inclined, take their
evening drive and note at a glance, by the lights displayed, who is at
home and ready to receive. Those not prepared to entertain sit in
semi-darkness. The houses seemed as devoid of privacy as were the
verandahs of the hotels. Planted on each side of the road were huge
towering trees testifying by their presence that the town was not of
mushroom growth. No Europeans were met; this was understood later when
it was explained that at this hour of the day they were all asleep. At
first it seemed that there were no shops, but closer observation
discovered them under the same roof as some of the private dwellings,
standing detached away from the road. The English Church wore a deserted
aspect, closed and uncared for. Possibly the driver libelled the
community when he informed the traveller that it was never used. The
ordinary carriage is a _dos-à-dos_, a most uncomfortable conveyance like
an Irish car turned end on, but excellent carriages are provided by the
hotels.

Later our traveller proposed to call upon the Resident--the chief
authority in the place--and present his letters of introduction. He had
been told that he must not call before 7.30 in the evening, and also
that he must wear dress clothes. It seemed an outrageous thing to do, to
put on dress clothes in broad daylight in an hotel and to go out about
dinner time to call, and when he summoned Usoof to assist him, that
grave-faced individual did so with a kind of silent pity for his master
compelled to do unaccountable things in a land of strangers.

However, when X. had arrayed himself, as though he were dining out, his
heart failed him. He felt it was impossible to go to the house of a
stranger like this just at the hour for dinner without appearing as
though he hoped he would be asked to stay for that meal. And so he
shamefacedly untied his white tie and asked Usoof to provide him with a
morning coat. This apprehension might have been spared, however; the
call was never actually paid, for, in the drive that led up to the house
of the Resident, he met a carriage coming out containing a gentleman and
three ladies. This turned out to be the Resident with his wife and
daughters. It was an agreeable surprise to find that the carriage
stopped, and the traveller had the somewhat difficult task of
introducing himself and explaining his appearance in the dark. The
Resident, who spoke excellent English, was most cordial and kind. He
regretted that he was not at home to receive the intended visit, but he
was obliged to attend a reception given in honour of the General, the
hero of the Lomboh War. Then the great official expressed a hope that X.
had secured his permit, and told him that he must renew it when he
reached Buitensug, which was the limit of his jurisdiction. X. noticed
that the Resident was not in dress clothes and mentally congratulated
himself that he wore none either, or most certainly as the carriage
drove away he would have looked like a person disappointed of a dinner.

The hotel was most gorgeously illuminated with electric light, and the
marble dining hall was extravagantly lurid. Had X. consulted his
convenience he would certainly have worn his black sun spectacles, but
actually feared to alarm his followers by exhibiting any further
tendency to eccentricity on their first day in a strange country, and so
he resigned himself to blink owlishly throughout the meal. The absence
of a punkah, a necessity to which he was accustomed, was also a trial.
However, there was little fear of getting hot by over indulgence at the
table, as the chilly cocoanut-oily viands were excellent checks to any
imprudent display of appetite. Towards the end of the repast the
proprietor of the hotel informed X. that the Resident of Batavia wished
to speak to him through the telephone. If there is one place where he
exhibits himself in an unfavourable light it is in front of that
horrible, muttering, jibbering instrument, when, after the introductory
"Who's there?" and information as to who you are repeated _ad nauseam_,
there rumble to your ear the most exasperating sounds, so full of
meaning and yet conveying nothing, until it seems as though the person
at the other end were mocking you, and the tone of his voice gets so
irritating that you long to throw down the tubes and make a rush at him.
However, on this occasion X. wisely left the whole matter in the hands
of the proprietor, who presently informed him that the Resident invited
him to an open air concert given at the Concordia Club in honour of the
General, then the man of the hour, and, if he would care to come, an
English friend would presently call for him at the hotel. The only
possible answer to such a welcome invitation was duly transmitted.

X. has, according to his own account, all his life been a most fortunate
individual. Wherever he went he has always, as the phrase has it,
"fallen on his feet." On this expedition his luck did not desert him,
and on the appearance of his fellow countryman which took place (to be
exact in speaking of an event now historical) at 9 p.m., there commenced
a new departure which forged a first link in the chain of events which
was to happily land him in the most beautiful country that he had ever
yet beheld. X. has always thought of telephones more kindly since.



CHAPTER VII.

A CONCERT AT THE CONCORDIA CLUB.


The traveller was naturally much impressed with the scene at the
Concordia Club. In the beautiful gardens, which were gorgeously
illuminated, people were walking about and sitting down as though it
were an English summer night. But, as in the East thoughts of health and
diet always occupy an extraordinarily prominent place in the minds of
all who have dwelt there for any length of time, that which chiefly
struck the stranger was the apparently reckless indifference to fever
displayed by those _flaneurs_ who dawdled about under the trees on this
treacherous soil, as though it were the harmless green grass of
Hurlingham at home. And it almost relieved him to hear presently from a
lady, to whom he expressed this astonishment, that the doctors declared
this season of open air concerts was certainly the most busy time for
colds and fever. The Resident and his party were seated at a round table
on the top of the flight of marble steps leading to the Club. To each
person of this group X. was presented in turn, after which he had the
honour of a seat on the right hand of his host and thus full opportunity
to enjoy the novelty of the surroundings and the excellent music of the
band. As the party gathered round the table included some of the
greatest names in the country, people who were in a position to have an
intimate knowledge of recent events, the conversation proved interesting
and instructive. Thus the Englishman heard the story of the Balineri
war--that terrible defeat and massacre of the Dutch troops under the
command of the general, who ultimately retrieved the position, and to do
honour to whom all were assembled to-night. X. listened as people spoke
of the unparalleled treachery of the natives, the sufferings of the
troops, and the assistance rendered to the enemy by the importation of
arms by a European. And severe remarks were made as to this latter
incident, some present insisting that the culprit was an Englishman from
Singapore. War was in the air--everyone talked of the war, and such an
impression did the matter make upon X., who heard the conduct of the
campaign discussed wherever he went, throughout his stay, that it may be
of interest to give in a separate chapter the story of what was said
about the recent war.

All those who joined the party on the terrace spoke English, to the
relief of X.--and as new guests arrived to join the circle they were
formally introduced by name to each one among the company in that
precise manner which is the fashion in America. And likewise when any
individual rose to leave he would bid good-night to each separate member
of the party.

When I undertook to compile this little account of how X. went to Java,
it had been my intention to arrange what he saw and what he heard in
some order of sequence, but from the nature of his manner of
observation, I find this to be impossible, and therefore must record
each impression he received and facts of interest which he heard, just
as they came to him, regardless of apparent want of connection. As the
chief object of this sketch is to assist others intending to spend a
short holiday in that beautiful island belonging to our neighbours, this
little originality may pass.

Thus on this occasion the traveller learnt that, contrary to his former
ideas on the matter, the Civil Service was much underpaid, and that,
though it corresponds with our Indian Civil Service in standard of
examination, etc., the scale of pay and of pensions falls far short of
its prototype. And it may be mentioned here, as showing what an
important part naval officers are expected to play in Dutch East India,
that all midshipmen have to pass in the Malay language. The command of
the squadron on the waters of Netherlands India is the prize of the
service, to the holding of which the most distinguished naval officers
look forward. The Governor General of the Dutch possessions in the East
is known as His Excellency during his term of office. The admiral who
commands there not only has the same title during the years of his
command, but is entitled to retain it for the remainder of his life. In
the course of conversation the Resident kindly informed X. that he must
not be annoyed at being obliged to obtain a permit to travel, since it
had been found necessary to insist that even his own countrymen should
do so, and he had recently caused notices to be issued and posted in all
the steamers and hotels, so that there might be no misunderstanding in
the matter. After the concert and the conclusion of a most agreeable
evening X. was introduced to the Harmonic Club, where he had supper.

This, like the Concordia, is a magnificent building with marble pillars
and floors, more in accordance with his early ideas of the gorgeous East
than anything which the traveller had seen. The Harmonic Club was built
during the time when Java was an English possession--and his informant,
the Englishman, sighed. It was not long before the new comer also
sighed, when, having seen the beauties of this glorious country, he
remembered that but for the blindness of some former rulers, unmindful
of the advice of those on the spot who should know, another India might
have been held for England. But as the natural beauty of the country was
enhanced and made complete by the sight of universal prosperity and
content, the sound of such a sigh from an English visitor is the
greatest compliment the present proprietors could be paid.

The first day of X.'s stay in Java was now over--a pleasant day enough,
as he admitted to himself, after a long seclusion in the jungle--the
place on which, after all, his last thoughts rested, that negatively
happy jungle and its kindly inhabitants--represented to his immediate
view by two inanimate bundles on the floor entrenched behind a barricade
of boxes in a corner of the room. These were the faithful Usoof and Abu,
long since gone to rest--forgetful of all the troubles of their first
day in a new country.



CHAPTER VIII.

CONCERNING THE LOMBOH WAR.


Lomboh is an island to the east of Java. The Raja of Lomboh did not come
to Batavia at a time when it was expected of him, and after some
correspondence the Resident of the nearest district was sent to see him.
After--in true oriental fashion--promising to give him audience, and
then failing to do so--keeping the Resident waiting a week--he finally
sent a message refusing to meet him. Then troops were sent. But their
departure was not effected without a commencement of that bickering
which marked the whole subsequent course of events. The General in
command was junior to the Admiral over whom he was put. A compromise was
effected by a second general being appointed. When the expedition
reached its destination the Balineri showed great astonishment at this
parade of force, and affected to be at a total loss to understand why
they had come.

This unexpected turn of events finally ended in a great "chumming up"
which developed into social functions and the taking of a photograph, in
which the Raja's generals and other chiefs of the expedition were all
taken in one large group. This photograph was sent to Buitenzorg--the
seat of Government--as a proof of the unreality of the scare, and the
diplomatic ease with which the expedition had been able to come, see and
conquer.

The photograph is not now to be purchased. After the festivities and
photography the Dutch force camped by the Palace walls, and the general
in command reported officially that the matter was settled.

On receipt of this welcome news the Governor General was so delighted
that he gave a dinner party that same evening, and after the meal was
over stood on the billiard table and made a little speech announcing the
bloodless success and happy termination of the affair Lomboh.

The Palace where the troops had camped was a kind of village--a
collection of houses surrounded by a huge wall. Each day the Dutch held
parades and drill outside the village, and tried to astonish the natives
with the wonders of their Winchesters and field guns. At these the
people professed great astonishment, examining those modern weapons with
intense interest, and asking questions innumerable as to their
construction and cost. The latter is almost invariably the first
question which occurs to a native mind.

The Balinese must be clever actors, since all the while they possessed
hundreds of Winchesters and many pieces of field ordnance within those
deceitful walls. They were deceitful walls, for they were extensively
loop-holed, the apertures being cunningly stopped up with mortar. One
evening the crisis came. The officers while playing whist--dressed in
their lounge clothes of sarong and their feet bare, were attacked and
shot down almost to a man. When the poor fellows sought refuge under the
walls, hand grenades were fired to dislodge them. A general panic and
flight followed. Those fugitives who had managed to effect an orderly
retreat, took refuge in a temple about half way between their camp and
that of another detachment. It was only then that they realized to the
full extent the nature of the terrible disaster, for here they met a
poor remnant of that other detachment fighting their way to them for
help--they also having been treacherously attacked.

But this was not all, no warning had yet been sent to a third detachment
which had been left on the coast. This column, ignorant of any disaster,
marched in to the recent camp and had scarcely time to wheel round
before the guns in the loopholes opened fire, almost annihilating them,
a few only escaping back to the boats.

How deeply affected were the Dutch and their friends, the whole
civilized world, at the arrival of this terrible news, is matter of
history, and for a time something like consternation reigned in
Buitenzorg and Batavia.

After telegraphic communication with Europe, and the fortunate mislaying
of a certain message deprecating any prompt action, the Governor General
took a popular step in deciding to send every available man to the seat
of war, and to render all possible assistance.

This was done, and the Dutch forces subsequently retrieved their
fortunes, in some measure avenging the death of their comrades. But it
was at no small sacrifice, since Java--the Government of which place
much reliance on military display--was almost destitute of troops. As an
illustration of this it is related that during this war the Sultan of
Deli elected to pay a visit to Batavia. As only two battalions of troops
were left it was considered impolitic that he should know it, therefore
the men were marched past him first when he was dining in the capital,
and then despatched by train to represent other battalions, and march
past him once again on the occasion of his visit to Buitenzorg the
following day.

The description of the tears of the aged Sultan of Lomboh at the
destruction of his beautiful palace, and the marvellous stories of how
jewels and millions of treasure were borne away by the victorious
General more resembled a page for the "Arabian Nights" than a record of
facts in the present day. On the other hand, accounts of the terrible
hardships endured by the brave Dutch soldiers sounded more modern, and
were only too easy of belief.

The seat of the war was only half a day from the Javanese port of
Soerabaya, and enough money had been collected in Java and Holland to
pay the cost of the entire war, and yet it was so mismanaged that
officers had only rice to eat, and nightly camped out on the ground
without shelter in that fever-giving climate.



CHAPTER IX.

BUITENZORG.


On the afternoon of the day of his arrival, a Sunday, having declined a
kind invitation to a party for the theatre, X. decided to leave for
Buitenzorg. He thought he sniffed fever mingled with the other very
apparent odours in his room on the ground floor, while Usoof and Abu not
only could not bathe but were unable to send his clothes to the wash.
The combination of reasons and of smells was strong.

It may be mentioned here, it being about as _apropos_ in this place as
it would be in any other, that all functions in Java, from a reception
of the Governor General to a performance by a travelling show, take
place on a Sunday.

The train left Batavia at 4.30 and X. reached Buitenzorg at six.

So much that is misleading has been written about Buitenzorg--the
Washington of Java, that X. was woefully deceived. It certainly is a
beautiful place--indeed exquisitely so, but a traveller is scarcely
satisfied with the beauties of nature when he pays to mankind for
creature comforts which he fails to obtain. The most agreeable feature
of the journey to a stranger who has, as it were, been long hemmed in by
dense jungles in the Peninsula, was certainly the long stretches of open
country reminding him of the pasture lands and fields which fly past the
train at home. Cattle and ponies grazing complete the illusion, and X.
could scarcely refrain from outspoken exclamations of delight.

It had been much impressed upon the traveller that he must by all means
obtain a room at the Belle Vue Hotel, and if possible, one overlooking
the back which governs the famous view. This was achieved by telegram.
On arrival a carriage with three ponies conveyed him to the hotel--a
poor building on a lovely site, which bristled with possibilities.

The famous back terrace of rooms was at the further side of the
courtyard to the entrance, and, once duly installed, X. was delighted
with the outlook. Just immediately below the window was the railway
line--below that rushed a large, broad, shallow mountain river in which
half the native population seemed to be bathing. Beyond these stretched
an unbroken view of picturesque villages, whose scattered red-roofed
houses peeped here and there from among the palms and other graceful
trees. Beyond again, the mountain--with five distinct sugar-loaf tops,
tops which had to be watched while counting as they emerged and
disappeared in turn from out and in the hanging land of clouds. Yes, the
view had certainly not been overrated, and X. was glad he came.

Usoof and Abu refused to consider anything beautiful, and could only
exclaim with horror at the bathers in the river, who evidently shocked
their ideas of propriety. Their master was not surprised at their
comments, but his own views were broader and his moral perceptions
perhaps blunter, and experience had taught him the propriety of the
injunction concerning Rome and the Romans. But it was nevertheless quite
certain that the most moderate London County Councillor could not have
borne the sight of that river without a shock to his system. After
revelling in the view from the verandah a black coat was donned for
dinner, which the wearer subsequently found rendered him conspicuous,
and he then crossed the courtyard to the dining room prepared to dine
well off fresh fish, mutton, and other products of the country. Although
the soup was on the table cooling, the company sat outside round a
little table drinking gin and bitters. Not wanting any, X. as Clark
Russell would say, hung in the wind, and then after a few
seconds--seeing that dinner was certainly ready--seated himself. This
isolated action rendered him almost as conspicuous as his coat, which
was also alone in its sombre glory. Presently others followed the
stranger's example, and the meal began. Then ensued a period of
disillusion. There was no punkah, the glare of the lamplight was
blinding, and the food--all of it--coarse, greasy and cold. The soup
which had been waiting was of the variety known as tinned, an old
acquaintance which X. had hoped to have left in the jungle until his
return. This, and other messes, would not have mattered so greatly, had
not the proprietor of the hotel, a pompous gentleman (X. afterwards
learnt he was President of the Race Club), stood sentry over the door,
whence issued the rows of servants with the dishes, narrowly watching
what each guest partook of and detecting with an eagle eye the uneatable
scraps which the defeated diner had striven to conceal beneath his knife
and fork. The most amusing thing during the progress of the meal was the
conversation of an elderly English couple, who, in truly British tourist
fashion seemed to imagine they were alone, and the people round them but
figures of wax who could neither hear nor be affected by anything they
might say. "Oh, how they soak the fish in grease," the lady would
exclaim; or, "This is good meat, but ruined, yes, positively ruined in
the cooking; look, my dear, it is (doubtfully, and sniffing at her
plate), it is absolutely _soaked_ in grease--oh, what a pity, how can
you eat it, dear--but you would eat anything," the speaker continued
garrulously, "for yesterday you ate the fish on board that steamer when
it was almost rotten--I smelt it from my cabin before we came out, etc,"
and much more in the same strain. To all these domestic remarks, her
companion vouchsafed no reply, but continued his dinner as though
accustomed to such an accompaniment.

It was as much as X. could do to refrain from laughing, and, fearful of
hurting the feelings of others himself, he would take another helping
when the proprietor was looking, and felt uncommonly "hot" at the
conduct of his compatriot. However, worse was to come, for at the end of
dinner, when the "boys" brought coffee made in the way usual to the
country--a few drops of cold essence of coffee at the bottom of the
cups, which had to be filled up with boiling milk or water--the lady
from England could not contain her indignation, but loudly scolded the
waiter for such a stingy way of putting so little in the cup, since
"coffee should surely be cheap in Java," and then proceeded to empty the
contents of all the cups into two, one for herself and one for her
husband, while saying with a smile "we like a cup of coffee, not a
drop." Then while she sipped her full cup like one on whom there
unwillingly dawns the unpleasant consciousness of having made a mistake,
the lady further addressed the waiter and asked, "Do they always drink
cold coffee in Java?" The waiter, who could only stand passive while
this calm robbery was committed--for had not the whole company to wait
for a second brew--made reply with the only English of his vocabulary,
"yes." X., who had the doubtful advantage of understanding as well as
seeing all that was going on, glared fiercely as he saw himself deprived
of the only portion of the meal which was at all likely to be good, and
could willingly have caused an interruption by using his napkin and
bread as a sling and a stone. The "yes" of the native apparently checked
the embarrassment which the lady was beginning to feel, and triumphantly
she exclaimed, "My goodness, what a country." Then the husband blew his
nose with discomfort, and, her attention attracted, his good wife
exclaimed, "My dear, you have a cold, let us go to bed," and they went.
X., and possibly others, found satisfaction in the thought that people
might go to bed after partaking of such a concoction as that couple had
done, but that they certainly would not sleep. Nor did they, as the
sequel showed. For the lady and her husband also had a room on the
terrace suite, and this was divided only by a thin partition from that
of X., and though he did not wish to listen, the first words which
greeted his gratified ears on the following morning were, "Oh, darling,
I have had such a dreadful night; I never closed my eyes." X. heard no
more as he delicately buried his head in the pillows, lest he should be
dragged too deep in domestic confidences; but he had heard enough--he
was avenged. And they knew themselves it was the coffee, since it was
noticed that this night after dinner the sleepless couple each firmly
declined the brimming cups, which, with kind forethought for the public
good, the proprietor had ordered to be handed to them.



CHAPTER X.

CUSTOMS AND COSTUMES.


Early in the morning X. went out to explore, and, naturally, his first
visit was to those wonderful gardens which are the first in the world,
and are the resort of naturalists from all portions of the globe.

In a sketch of this nature it would be presumption to attempt to
describe the marvels of this garden, one of the sights of the East,
which it is worth while going to Java to see. During his walk the
traveller was at every turn astonished at the evidences of wealth
amongst the natives, the tiled roofed houses and plentifully stocked
orchards and gardens, while goats and sheep browsed everywhere. In the
streets everyone appeared to be selling--there seemed none left to
buy--and they sold the most attractive looking fruits and vegetables,
together with a variety of flowers. The population is large, and for
some distance round the town stretched rows and rows of native houses
built close together, backs and fronts facing each other in every angle
and position, showing that the people must surely live together in
unity, _en famille_ or rather _en masse_, in marked contrast to the
Malay villages, where, as a rule, each house stands in an enclosure of
its own grounds. But there they have unlimited space, here apparently
they have unlimited people.

Himself living an isolated life amongst a native race, it was only
natural that X. should be more inclined than the ordinary traveller to
notice the people of the country and their surroundings. He had heard so
many stories of their oppression by the Dutch and the uncomfortable
conditions under which they lived, that the actual appearance of the
natives came as a surprise, which only increased the more he saw and the
further he travelled in Java.

As to higher life in Java, to any one who has been there or knows
anything of the country, its social conditions are well known. But
however much may have been previously heard of them, it cannot but give
the ordinary Englishman a shock, when he is for the first time
confronted with them in their reality. Intermarriage with the people of
the country is not only condoned, but almost encouraged, and it is no
uncommon thing to meet the children of these marriages in the highest
society. Cases occur where people, holding great positions, legitimize
their children, and after years of unsolemnized intercourse lead their
mother to the altar. The mothers of many children being educated in
Holland, probably in the future to enter the service of the country, are
simply native women still living in their villages. The accident of
birth would seldom be considered a bar when ascending official heights,
nor is a mixed parentage any obstacle to such distinction.

Many instances of this were observed by X. during his visit, and, though
the state of affairs appeared to him rather strange, he was obliged to
own that from a Dutch point of view there existed many and weighty
arguments in its favour, the _pros_ and _cons_ of such a question are
certainly beyond the scope of a book which only purports to note for the
benefit of intending travellers such things as merit observation.

So far as I can gather, there were few excursions to be made from
Buitenzorg and few sights, but in the afternoon he drove to see a famous
stone covered with Hindoo inscriptions, the first indication brought to
his notice of the real origin of this now Mahommedan people.

Late in the day X. decided to call upon the official who holds the
position corresponding with that of an English Colonial Secretary, and
to ask his assistance in obtaining a pass to continue his journey into
the interior. Though warned not to call before 7 p.m., just as it was
getting dusk, the traveller felt nervous and fidgety, unable to really
believe that he would be doing right to make a call so late, and thus
six o'clock found him approaching the very modest-looking dwelling in
which the great official dwelt. A glance was enough to show that he was
wrong and his informant right, since in front of him, at a desk in a
room off the verandah, sat his host still clothed in the undress of
pyjamas--not having yet made his toilet for the evening. However, though
X. felt guilty of a _gaucherie_, the sense of it came entirely from his
own consciousness, and not at all from the manner of the gentleman whom
he interrupted, for without the least trace of either annoyance or
surprise, but as though the untimely appearance of a stranger and a
foreigner was a daily occurrence, he bade him welcome with polite
cordiality. This official was as agreeable and well informed as anyone
the traveller had met, and X. always waxes enthusiastic when speaking of
him. With true courtesy he at once abandoned the work on which he was
engaged, without that last lingering look at the table which so often
ruins the grace of a similar sacrifice, and forthwith evinced the utmost
interest in the affairs of his guest. He quickly reassured him
concerning his pass, and, on hearing that he was in some way connected
with the Government across the Straits, immediately promised to procure
for him a special permit which would enable him to travel where he
would, and ensure assistance from all with whom he came in contact.
Though, at this time relying upon his own ability to manage the order of
his going, X. may not have attached much importance to the future part
which this permit would play, at the end of his travels he gladly
acknowledged that it proved of the utmost utility, and there was more
than one occasion on which he felt impelled to record words of gratitude
towards him who had so thoughtfully provided it.

_Apropos_ of the calling hour, it may be mentioned here that this is a
social rock on which many English people strike. I use this nautical
simile advisedly since, not so very long ago, no less a person than a
British Admiral wishing to follow the hours to which he was accustomed
paid his official call on the Dutch Naval Commander at five o'clock. The
Dutch Admiral, who was not then dressed, and did not intend to dress
until seven o'clock, declined to receive him at such an unusual hour,
and the question of dress, always one of the first importance in the
British Navy, then became rather a burning one, until tactful mediators
paved the way for a more successful visit. Whereas, in the East, English
people maintain their usual habits and customs--did not our grandfathers
wear tall hats when pig-sticking in India?--the Dutch in Java adopt the
habits and the clothes they consider most fitting for the climate. It
is not intended to imply that both are loose, though certainly the
former are somewhat relaxed. No visitor to the country is competent to
give a judgment for or against the manners he finds there. X. longed to
impress this on more than one tourist whom he met on his travels.

Few Dutch ladies in Java mind being seen in what to us appears
undress--a sarong and kabaya--and frequently, when without guests, it is
the custom to dine in this scanty apparel. In consequence there is a
dislike to dining out, which involves the wearing of European clothes in
all their fashionable tightness, and many a story is told in Batavia of
sudden illness amongst lady guests during the evening--illness easily
attributable to the unusual compression of garments, worn only on such
rare occasions.

There is seldom necessity for dressing since Europeans scarcely ever
call in Java--of ladies it may be said they never call--though in the
mornings they drive round in covered carriages visiting their intimate
friends, clad in the skirts of the country so universally adopted.



CHAPTER XI.

AN UNTIMELY CALL.


It was this same custom which caused discomfiture to X. on the following
day, when having received the promised special permit, a document
calling upon all officials to assist him, in the name of the
Governor-General himself, he decided that it would be only right that he
should present himself at the house of the ruler who had signed it, and
in token of gratitude and respect inscribe his name in his book. As the
traveller had no intention of seeing anyone or attempting to enter the
gorgeous palace which stands in the midst of the famous gardens, there
seemed no need to trouble about the time for the call, and therefore it
seemed well to make it the excuse for a walk and fit it in with his
afternoon stroll. Accordingly about 5 o'clock found him walking up the
broad avenue, on either side of which were browsing deer in great
numbers--a very novel feature to anyone who for years had only seen such
creatures wild excepting one time when--but no I must withhold the
temptation to wander off the broad avenue which leads the visitor up to
the stately pile in front of him as, like he did a little further on, I
would wish to get it over. For it is not pleasant even to record the
admittedly awkward situations in which X., who had always prided himself
on his _savoir faire_, now so often found himself.

As he approached the portico (it reminded him much of Gorhambury, the
seat of Lord Verulam, in Hertfordshire) the stranger became aware,
rather than actually saw, that there were two figures seated on the main
verandah having tea. He almost felt their eyes upon him in wonder and
amusement, and, as he gradually neared the steps without in any way
looking up, it was in some mysterious manner conveyed to him that these
figures were ladies, and their dress, the sarong and kabaya! What was he
to do. He could not turn and fly, nor could he diverge from the broad
path and wander across the grass like any common trespasser--and, even
while he wondered, his steps took him deliberately on, feeling
self-conscious in the most literal understanding of the word--and
inexorably each moment took him nearer, though in the endeavour to put
off the evil moment he had, perhaps unknown to himself, slowed down his
previously deliberate saunter until his feet were now doing little more
than marking slow time. However, the visitor gazed alternately at the
tops of the trees and the roof of the palace, as though things of
absorbing interest were there taking place, and at last he was obliged
to realize that he had reached the lowest step of the imposing
staircase.

X. assures me that it is a fact, he never once lowered his eyes or
focussed the little party before him, although ultimately the tea table
could not have been more than a few yards off. There stood the stranger
with a vacant expression which would have made the fortune of a
performer in a waxwork show, and hoped and almost prayed that a servant
of some kind would appear, receive his signature or his card and allow
him to return to the comfortless obscurity of his hotel. There was no
bell, and no servant came, and the silence at length became unbearable.
Relief came at last from the tea party for the voice of a lady suddenly
fairly shrieked for a "boy." After this explosion the tension of the
situation was relieved, and there was a sound as of chairs hastily
pushed back and the patter of little feet and the rustle of sarongs,
which led X. to infer that there had been some sort of a retreat. Then a
flurried native appeared, he seemed a kind of gardener hastily fetched
from his duties, possibly the mowing machine, and pouring forth words in
a strange dialect he pointed wildly to another flight of steps and
another door. Following this menial, a veritable _deus ex machina_, X.
was led down those palatial steps and up another flight round the
corner. There the gardener threw open a door and seemed disposed to
resign his custody of the stranger, preparing to return again to his
machine. But X. steadily declined to enter alone into that vast hall,
nor would he even stay to look for a book in which to write his name,
for he felt that the hasty retreat he had heard was not carried beyond
the nearest pillars, and each moment he tarried, the fugitives were
wondering what he could be doing while, alas, their tea was getting
cold. And so he thrust his card, his only guarantee of good faith, into
the soiled hand of the solitary attendant of this Eastern palace and
fled--but fled he hoped with dignity. As he walked down the avenue with
conscious and deliberate steps--admiring the view on the right of him
and the view on the left of him--never looking back, though the desire
for one glance was so overpowering that the nape of his neck actually
ached, he conquered, and finally emerged from those great gates without
any further satisfaction to the curiosity aroused by his first
involuntary glimpse. But so long as he remained in Java he never paid
another call before dusk, a more convenient time, when such
_contretemps_ are not likely to occur.



CHAPTER XII.

A MODEL ESTATE


X. was informed that the proper journey from Buitenzorg was by carriage
_via_ Poentjuk to Sindanglaya, where a stay should be made at
Gezondleid's establishment after securing an upstairs room. The next
stage in the traveller's journey is to Tjandjoer and thence to Garvet.
And after a week at Garvet on again to Djoedja, Solo, Semarang, etc.,
but the traveller had already had sufficient of hotel life in Java, and
so determined to at once avail himself of a kind invitation he had
received to stay on an estate, not many miles from Soekaboemi. After a
few hours' rail in a first-class carriage (this fact is worth recording
as it was very seldom that such accommodation could be had, even if a
first-class ticket had been issued), he duly reached the station where
he had been instructed to alight. Here his host had sent two ponies to
meet him, one for himself and one for his servant, as well as several
coolies to carry his luggage. So, Abu being left at the house of the
stationmaster in care of the rest of the luggage (a terrible quantity,
the cost of its transport almost equalled the first-class fare of its
owner), X., followed by Usoof, started on the ten mile ride which led to
their destination. The path was a very rough one, and for the first
portion of the distance the way was through an open country planted with
padi as far as the eye could reach. The little ponies cared nothing for
the stony path, and went gamely along as though accustomed to canter on
a hard high road. After crossing the valley the route began to ascend
the range of hills, at the summit of which, 2,000 feet high, the estate
was situated. For almost the entire length of this ascent the view was
so glorious that the traveller continued to exclaim in wonder to his
companion to stop and look. Usoof who, as has been related, was a native
of the country, affected to gaze at it with the unconcern of a
proprietor, merely reminding his master that he had always said, that
his was a very fine country. For miles below the padi fields stretched
away narrowing in the distance, and here and there amidst this expanse
of emerald green were dotted little clumps of green of a darker shade,
these being the trees surrounding the clusters of houses inhabited by
the fortunate owners of the land. And every now and again athwart the
green carpet, stretched out below, glittered belts of water sparkling
like silver in the sun. The hills, which were also all planted with
padi, looked like grassy slopes with a back-ground formed by terraces of
hill-tops. One above the other they lay in ranges, until, in the
furthest distance, mountains of noble height towered like giants above
them all. It surely was a view worth going far to see, a wealth of green
such as an untravelled eye could not even dimly realise. No troubles of
travel, no greasy cookery or breadless meals could matter one jot if
this was the reward. The view repaid the enterprise even if the path by
which it were approached led only to a wayside inn of the most
unpretentious type, but its joys were enhanced by the anticipation of a
visit to a couple well known for their hospitality to strangers. The
host being a fellow-countryman who had had the good fortune to marry a
Dutch lady of most distinguished family. Almost at the summit of the
hill, about eight miles from the station, stood a little halting house
bearing the English-looking signboard with the legend of the "Pig and
Whistle." Here refreshments awaited the travellers, and then the journey
was continued along a jungle path which shortly emerged on to the
cultivated slopes of the estate. These slopes were covered with cinchona
trees, which X. afterwards learnt were in process of being rapidly
replaced by tea-plants. Presently at a dip in the road the first glimpse
was caught of the house below. A little English cottage, it appeared,
nestling cosily in a hollow, close beside a mountain stream. A nearer
approach revealed that the cottage was covered with blue convolvulus and
other creepers, and that the verandahs were enclosed with glass. It all
reminded him somehow of a well-known cottage by Boulter's Lock, and
there came a curious thrill of home memories at the sight of a typical
English home. On the further side of the stream stood a little detached
pavilion, kept exclusively for guests, after the fashion of all Dutch
houses in the East. This annexe is generally considered the house of the
elder son, but it is more usually built and used for the accommodation
of guests; an excellent arrangement in a country where both entertainers
and entertained wish occasionally to repose in attire, whose lightness
is best suited to the climate. A rustic bridge connected the two
buildings, and just above it was the bath room, into which a portion of
the stream had been diverted, so as to form a natural shower bath. The
stream and bridge and cottage, with their back-ground of hills and
fore-ground of roses, combined to make such a picture that X. longed to
be able to sketch it and take it away and keep it. The interior of this
cottage was as cosy and home-like as the outside promised it would be,
and, wonder of wonders! it had real wall paper on the walls. This almost
unheard of luxury in the East was a triumph of the skill of the hostess,
and had so far successfully defied the ravages of mildew and damp. The
chief characteristic of the house was that it looked like a home, its
tasteful decoration and contents indicating that the inhabitants had
come to stay. Most houses in the East have an unmistakeable air of being
mere temporary shelters, where the owners are lodging till they can get
away to their household goods now warehoused "at home."

This was only the second house X. had seen in this part of the world,
where the owners looked as if they lived in it (the other was in
Selangor). In this ideal spot it was the good fortune of the traveller
to spend some days--days pleasantly spent in riding about the
estate--which he soon grew to covet, and in watching the planting of the
tea, which, it was hoped, would eventually enable the kind host and
hostess to return with wealth to their native land. The climate at this
elevation was delightful, cool, and invigorating, and it was possible to
follow English hours and habits. Instead of getting up at 5 a.m. to go
for a ride, as was the custom in Pura Pura, X. found himself starting
for a ride after breakfast, about ten o'clock, without fear of the sun,
and this total change lifted his spirits, and he recorded silent thanks
to The Community who had suggested Java for his jaunt.

As may be imagined, during his stay in the hills the visitor was able to
learn much about the country, and hear many things that not only
interested him, but excited his admiration for the administration of the
precise and order-loving race who owned this beautiful island. Contrary
to what he had been led to believe, chiefly, perhaps, by a book which
had given currency to the impression, he found that the planters were
greatly assisted by the Government officials, who endeavour to work with
them, and, whenever possible, to meet their wishes. The coolies
certainly all appeared happy, when X. got accustomed to seeing them
crouch servilely in the ditches when he or his host passed by. English
officials in the native states of the Peninsula are accustomed to pass
their lives amongst the Malays, to listen to and help them in their
troubles, and to be constantly surrounded by them as followers or
companions, and the inmates and affairs of each household are known,
much as those of the cottagers on his estate would be to a home-staying
country squire in England. It can then be understood how strange it
seemed to X. to ride amongst people of the same race and see them crouch
down as he passed, not even daring to lift their eyes, as it is counted
an offence should they meet the gaze of one of the ruling race. What
could the latter really know of these people, he wondered, when
knowledge had to be obtained from across such a social gulf as this. He
could not conceal the disagreeable impression made upon him, but many
reasons were afterwards given to him as to why this state of things
should exist, and some of them were, he was compelled to admit, good
ones. The chief and foremost was, perhaps, that all Javanese customs and
manners are full of exaggerated formality and etiquette. These the Dutch
adopted as they found them, including all outward tokens of respect for
those of superior rank, deeming that all Europeans should be treated
with the same ceremony as the native headman.

One of the other reasons given was that the Dutch, being a small nation
and unable to keep a large force in the country, must rely upon keeping
the natives down in their proper place--under foot--for the continuance
of the supremacy they had achieved. X., as others would do, can only
hope that this view, though heard from several sources, was given to him
"sarcastic like," and that it was expected he would duly appreciate the
irony. And perhaps he did, seeing that he came from a country where,
without the presence of a single soldier, the widely scattered, and in
many cases isolated, officials can act as the friends and advisers of a
native race without the least fear of any loss of dignity or position,
both accepted as so much a matter of course as to make any question
regarding them impossible.

Java is, perhaps, the most governed country in the world. This phrase is
not the writer's; he merely quotes an opinion to be found in books on
Java, written by men entitled to judge, and frequently expressed by
people our traveller met in that island. The people are united by what
might be described as chains of officials, and each link in each chain
submits periodically precise reports on everything and everybody within
his charge. The system sounds flawless, and the head of all, the chief
official in the country, has thus pigeon-holed in front of him more
detailed and readily-found information about his subjects than is,
perhaps, possessed by any other ruler in the world. This is a matter
which might excite admiration, and there is no doubt that it in some
respects merits it, and the contrast presented to our own system of
government in the adjacent mainland is worthy of examination. But it
would be out of place in a book which professes to do no more than
describe a pleasant tour, and X.'s opinion upon a question of such
gravity, even though formed after a lengthy sojourn amongst the Malays,
and no little personal experience of the life and manners of an Eastern
people, may be omitted. It may be recorded, however, that the question
made him ponder, and he wondered if the officials who knew everybody
also knew everything, and whether many matters worthy of record did not
find themselves washed on one side as the stream of reports wound its
way from one native official to another, then to the subordinate
European officials (sometimes married to native women), and then once
more on to the pigeon-holes of the central authority. As I write I have
before me a list of fifteen titles of native officials given to X. by
one of themselves. There is no need to enumerate them here, though
allusion to them may suggest the possibilities of the various stages of
the journey to the final pigeon-holes.

Natives themselves have evidently formed opinions on these matters,
since in some of the native states of the Peninsula it was always the
custom of the people to invite a raja from another country to come and
rule over them, experience having taught them that a man with interest
and relations in the country might not always be sufficiently impartial;
in the same manner the native Mahommedan priest is always selected from
another nationality. However, to return to the place where we left X.
riding along amongst the young tea plants. When the coolies were not
running away from him or crouching to avoid the shock of meeting his
imperial glance, he was bound to admit that they were apparently happy
and contented, and, seeing the circumstances under which they lived, it
would have been strange had they not been so. These people were provided
with ample work within easy reach of their homes, which lay among the
surrounding hills. It seemed an earthly labour paradise to an official,
accustomed to hear the complaints of planters lamenting losses due to
their labourers, imported coolies from India, China or Java, running
away. Not only is the lot of the coolies in Java more conducive to
content than those in the Peninsula, but the planter is also happier in
the current rate of wages; 20 to 25 cents a day (Java cents) and for
women 15 cents. On this estate, as on most others, there was a festival
fund for the coolies, that is a certain sum of money is spent annually
on their recreation, providing for musical instruments and paying for
travelling shows, etc. X. felt that he had had the best of shows
provided for him, a show estate, where the supply of labour was cheap
and unlimited, and the people well cared for without any elaborate
legislation being required for their protection. Here at any rate was a
positive result of the administration of the Dutch, and a confutation of
the stories of down-trodden peasants in Java; and the traveller made up
his mind that if possible he would one day be a planter and that his
plantation should be in Java.



CHAPTER XIII.

AMONG THE ROSES.


Life was so smooth and even in this little cottage by the river that
days flew by with that pleasant rapidity which leaves nothing to record
except a general sense of restful enjoyment. One expedition, however,
might be described, a visit paid to a neighbouring estate which had been
advertised for sale, as giving a glimpse of a typical phase of
up-country life. The call was paid about noon, and after riding down a
steep hill, where natives were busily engaged in planting tea, the two
Englishmen came upon a little square white house half hidden in a bend
in the stream. This building had a deserted, untidy look which was
intensified by the state of the garden which surrounded it; even at some
distance from the house the scent of roses was perceptible, and in the
garden itself, if such a wilderness deserves the name, the odour was
almost overpowering. The place was a miniature forest of rose-bushes,
loaded with lovely blossoms, roses such as X. had not seen since he
left his native land. Everything looked untidy and ragged and ruined;
the house, the creepers, the rose bushes, the grass, the pigeon lofts
all spoke of neglect and want of money to put them straight, a want
caused by the fall in the price of cinchona, a misfortune which had
involved many a fair estate and reduced it to the desolate and unkempt
condition exemplified by the one now visited. But even unkempt and
uncared for, what a picture it made! It was the realisation of a poetic
death--the victim smothered by roses beside the singing waters of a
brook. It was a long time before any one came, and the two visitors sat
in the verandah feeling rather shy and uncomfortable, for this was the
neighbour's first visit, and the native, who had ushered them in,
vanished, sending weird cries around the tangled garden paths as though
to summon his master home.

At length, after long waiting, the silence and suspense, and the wonder
of who would come, from which direction, and when, grew almost
unbearable, and the absurd situation so wrought on their nerves that
both visitors gave vent to little gasps of laughter, brought on probably
by the same nervous sensations which compel children to misbehave in
church--direct promptings of the evil one, inducing a desire to do that
which we know we should not do. At length, after it had been debated in
hurried whispers whether a departure could not be effected, the lady of
the house appeared upon the scene. She was a tall, large lady, in
appearance typically Dutch. She wore the usual white linen jacket and
skimpy sarong, and her legs were bare. She gave a cordial greeting in
Dutch, at least to X. it was Dutch, for he knew nothing whatever of the
language. This his friend carefully explained, so he surmised, as the
lady gave vent to various guttural exclamations of astonishment and
turned to gaze at him as though he were indeed a strange person to
behold.

The conversation between the two then continued glibly, and X. was quite
forgotten, and he felt neglected and grew fidgety, realizing that he
extremely disliked this novel sensation of being ignored, without the
possibility of attracting any attention to himself by a remark. He was
soon to learn however, that those trifling inconveniences of which we
are cognizant are generally less unpleasant than those we do not know,
for presently there was a stir and a general rising from seats as the
husband of the good lady emerged from the house on to the verandah. This
gentleman was tall and dark, with a pointed grey beard like an American
in a caricature. He was clothed in a strange _deshabille_, which ended
in bare feet thrust loosely into carpet slippers, and when the eyes of
the visitors reached thus far they realized why his complexion was so
dark. After the first greetings the host--who X. afterwards learnt had
once held high office under Government, which he gave up for
planting--turned towards him and proceeded to harangue him without full
stops. There is no other way to describe what took place, as he
continued to pour language at his guest without the least apparent
desire for reply. To say that the visitor felt uncomfortable would be to
mildly describe his feelings--he had wished for recognition, and surely
had it now. What would his host think of him, if he allowed him to
continue to talk and never informed him that he could not understand one
word of Dutch? Again and again he endeavoured to stem the torrent of
words and explain both in English and in French, and this being of no
avail, at the risk of appearing rude and inattentive, X. turned to his
friend and begged him to make the matter clear. The friend said
something in Dutch, but he must, it seemed, have said the wrong thing,
since it had not the slightest effect, and the host continued his talk,
probably all about the advantages of the estate he wished to sell. Then,
regarding the situation as hopeless, X. fixed his expression into one of
intelligent attention and waited for him to stop. But he was not so
attentive that he did not presently hear the good lady say something to
his friend which caused him to exclaim as though astonished, and with a
suppressed click of a laugh he turned to X. and said, "It's all right.
Madame has just told me he is stone deaf and can't hear a word, so it's
no use my saying anything, he would understand you as well." "But can't
the lady tell him I don't know Dutch?" exclaimed X. almost
desperately--but too late, for by this time his friend was again deeply
engaged in conversation with his hostess, and there was nothing to be
done but once more give his assumed attention to his host. A pleasant
situation truly, to go to a man's house for the first time and so
conduct yourself that you feel certain he will presently believe that it
was your intention to deliberately insult and make a fool of him. X.
will never forget that quarter of an hour. At last the conversation
ended by its appearing that the lady had suggested, and her visitor
agreed to, a walk round the estate. When he gathered this, X. eagerly
seconded the proposition, but it took all joy out of it to find that the
verbose proprietor insisted upon accompanying them himself to do the
honours of the place. It was in vain that X. endeavoured to plant him on
his friend, for his prolonged assumption of intelligent interest had
apparently been so successful, that his host was flattered and never
left his side. However, a few climbs up slippery by-paths--I fear
deliberately chosen--soon dislodged the slippers, and the poor man was
compelled to heed what, it is hoped, he interpreted as polite
entreaties not to put himself out for his visitors and return to the
house. Then ensued a tour of the estate, which had once been of great
promise and now, alas, was overrun with undergrowth and weed. After
their walk the Englishmen found that the most hospitable preparations
had been made for their entertainment, and, more, that these had
evidently been seen to by a daughter whose presence had not before been
observed. Would I could describe this young girl as she appeared to X.,
who has confessed that he found it quite impossible to find words with
which to paint a picture which could do her the scantiest justice.
Simply attired in the same costume as her mother, but oh, how becoming
that costume can be! This charming apparition carried round the glasses
and offered wine to the visitors, while X. wished heartily that the dear
old host would harangue him ever so long that he might keep silence and
watch--watch this dainty, dark-eyed maiden, who looked as if she had
stepped out of some old picture to render those little domestic services
after the custom of days gone by; and as he received his glass from the
charming attendant, he endeavoured to think what it was this kindly
service most called to mind, and in his memory he found it in those
hospitable houses in New Zealand beyond the Bay of Islands where once he
visited, and all the daily life was like a glimpse of a century that had
passed. But though visiting was good, X. was soon wanting to improve
his position and show that he was capable of taking a more active part
in the conversation than he had hitherto done, and so reckless of his
host's disgust at a sudden lack of attention, he rose and went to the
side table to sniff at the beautiful flowers and peep at the sample
sacks of coffee which lay piled in the corner of the room. But such
little wiles to obtain speech with the modest maiden were of small use,
when one party spoke English and the other Dutch, while neither of them
knew both. It is true that X. could have carried on a conversation in
Malay, and he was sure that that language would be well known to all the
family, but he had been warned that people in Java did not like to be
addressed in a language they considered fit only for a medium of
communication with their servants. An invitation to stay and lunch was
refused--in Dutch--and the planter friend afterwards explained that he
had done so, as he thought X. would not have liked to go without bread,
since in such establishments up country bread was never found. As
if--under the circumstances--X. would have cared whether he ate bread or
rice, provided the rose-nymph had handed it to him; and so alas! they
rode away beyond the fragrance of the roses and through the neglected
grounds, carrying with them a new memory of home life which it will be
hard to forget. The shabby, neglected house--the sacks of coffee and
flowers run riot--the deaf, courteous ex-official, perhaps proud of his
descent from some great Makassar chief--the kindly lady, embodiment of
perfect health, who long ago had left her home in Europe for life in a
distant land with the husband of her choice--and last but not least of
all these impressions of that day--their child--reared in a glorious
country unspoilt by contact with civilization--simple, unaffected, a
picture from the past.



CHAPTER XIV.

GARVET.


After leaving the cottage on the estate X. started for Garvet. The view
from the train, as it reached its destination, was certainly one of the
most beautiful that could be imagined. Long reaches of padi fields,
backed by hills in a high state of cultivation, and the whole watered by
little gushing torrents that looked cool and refreshing in the
all-surrounding sun.

It is impossible to describe the scenery as it appeared to the
traveller, or in any way to do it justice. It is altogether new and
unlike anything seen in other countries, with the exception, perhaps, of
Ceylon or Japan, and it is worth a journey from Europe to see.

The hotel at Garvet proved to be a combination of little buildings,
scattered about in the gardens surrounding the main buildings, or across
the road in enclosures of their own. X. obtained one of these cottages,
and felt that he would be fairly comfortable, till an inspection of the
bathing arrangements made him shudder.

When dinner time arrived, _table d'hote_ also served to dispel
illusions. There was the same absence of punkah, the same glaring light,
and succession of half-cooked clammy dishes. There were only a few
diners, apparently mostly residents of the place who boarded at the
hotel. These gentlemen had put on black coats, and made a kind of toilet
for the evening meal. But the penance they thus endured was brief, as,
after hastily disposing of sufficient of the viands to satisfy their
individual wants, they retired to their verandahs, where X. soon saw
them reclining in all the comfort of pyjamas and bare feet. Apparently
the coating of civilization was not sufficiently thin to be congenial.

In the morning the traveller went to pay his respects to the
Assistant-Resident, who received him very kindly, and gave him all the
information he required. This rather interrupted the work of the office
as, whenever the Assistant-Resident turned to any employee to ask how
far such and such a place might be distant, or the tariff of carriages,
etc., the person so addressed, no matter how engaged, would, before
reply, immediately flop on to his knees. The Regent was also calling on
the representative of the Government, and to him the Englishman was
introduced. This native functionary was fat and well-looking, but did
not seem to exactly bristle with intelligence.

The Assistant-Resident very kindly conversed freely with his visitor
about matters affecting the natives, and gave him much information,
which, from the nature of his own work in Pura Pura, interested him
greatly. To those whom the subject interests, the land system in Java is
too well known to need comment here, but there were a few facts learnt
by X. which should remove any idea amongst those who have not studied
the question, that the laws were either harsh or intricate. Indeed, they
seem to attain that brevity and simplicity which are the great
desideratum when dealing with a native peasantry. Thus, a man need pay
no rent until his land is in bearing. Coffee is the only product whose
sale to Government is compulsory. All land is classified and subject to
a fixed rent, there is therefore a safeguard that the fruits of an
owner's industry will not be taxed. Anyone can complain if he thinks his
land is rated too high, and should be in a lower class, and the
complaint receives immediate attention. Though the population is large,
there is seldom any trouble about boundary marks in the padi fields.
Owners are content with long custom and local knowledge, and their
reliance on their host of native officials never fails. All new land
must be fenced round, if it is contiguous to Government land, and on all
plantations people must themselves plant trees as boundaries and upkeep
them. And one register of titles with columns filled in and signed,
according to its cultivation and classification, answers for all.
Lastly, let it be mentioned that there is a golden rule, that a native
cannot sell his land to anyone but his own countrymen, neither to
European, Arab or Chinese. Thus no individual, tempted by the
speculation, can by his selfish action, cause harm or annoyance to his
neighbours. This one register of titles, mentioned above, is gradually
filled in and signed as the land is brought into cultivation, and an
exact record is thus kept of the actual present condition of each native
holding. When finally signed, and the land yields produce, rent is
demanded. The advantage of simplicity can only be realized by those
whose lot it has been to pose as the bringer of glad tidings, and
expound the advantages of the last new land code with its many
paragraphs to an ignorant native population, who, unreasoning,
tenaciously cling to the title which they already hold and think they
understand, obstinately refusing, speak the speaker never so plausibly,
to exchange it for the very newest that can be given to them from the
most up-to-date land code in existence.

After his interview with the courteous official, X. departed, pondering
on all he had heard, and bearing with him a memo, on which was written
the various places of interest which he had been recommended to visit in
the neighbourhood. On his return to the hotel the traveller passed what
appeared to be the local club.

The first thing an English official in an outstation in India or the
Peninsula will do for a stranger arriving with introductions, is to
offer to put him up for the club, and unless there seem strong reason
against it, he will most probably ask him to dinner. Apparently this was
not the custom here, and so X. was free to wander about the little town
and explore, with nothing more exciting to look forward to than a
repetition of last night's gruesome meal in company with the suffering
tenants of the prandial coats.



CHAPTER XV.

BATHS AND VOLCANOES.


Garvet seemed to boast of an enormous population for there were endless
rows, or rather groups of houses, crowded together, face to face, back
to back, and side by side, giving the idea of a casual conglomeration of
several villages. All these were scrupulously clean and neat, and fenced
round with little bamboo rails. Nearly every house had a tiled roof, and
all were of a superior class to the majority of those up country in the
Peninsula. The streets were little short of marvellously swept and
clean, and it was decided by X. during that walk that Garvet was the
cleanest Eastern town he had ever seen--the capital of Pura Pura of
course excepted. Much had been talked of about the hot baths at Tji
Panao, and so the traveller determined to make that his first excursion.
Hiring a conveyance drawn by three ponies abreast--reminding him of his
early youth when he would wonder at a smart turn-out in the Park at
home--three ponies abreast driven by a well known leader of society and
fashion, before the days of two-wheeled pony carts and bicycles, X.
told the driver to go to Tji Panao, and looked forward to spending a
delicious half hour lying in warm water like that of the springs in New
Zealand, which send the bather forth invigorated and refreshed. Another
disillusion was in store for him, however, in this country where nature
has done so much and man--for comfort--so little. The baths were located
in a shed on the side of a hill. This shed had three partitions. In each
partition was a shallow brick hole in which it was possible to sit. The
hot water was conveyed into these holes by means of pipes, one at the
head of each. The floor all round the bath was dirty, and the only
furniture was one cane chair. The depth of the water in the baths was
about three inches, and in this on slimy bricks the bather had to sit
miserably, with the lower portion of his body immersed in warm water
while the upper remained high and dry in the comparatively cool air
above. X. had made preparations for a prolonged stay in the water, and
came provided with literature to pass the time, but a very brief dip
under the circumstances proved enough, and he soon unhitched his
clothing from the back of the chair and prepared to depart. Close by
these baths was a building containing four rooms, apparently a
Government Rest House, very well furnished and comfortable, so it was
evident that people came there on purpose to make use of the baths. The
hot water springs possess great capabilities, and with a little trouble
and expenditure of money they should become both enjoyable and a source
of revenue.

There were one or two other excursions to be made from Garvet, but the
only one worthy of mention was that which was made to the volcano at
Tjiseroepan. One morning, together with Usoof and Abu, for X. was
growing tired of sight seeing all alone, having obtained permission from
the kind Assistant-Resident to use the Government Rest House, he drove
to Tjiseroepan. The road was excellent and the route, needless to say,
lay through a beautiful country. Here, as everywhere else, all
well-to-do natives were riding ponies. The distance was thirteen miles.
Tjiseroepan is a little village in the hills at the foot of the mountain
which it was proposed to ascend on the following day. The traveller was
received by the Assistant Wodena, a native official who had been riding
suspiciously behind and before the carriage during the last two miles.
After reading the credentials of the stranger and finding that he could
converse in Malay, the local magnate became quite cordial, and made X.
free of the Government Rest House. This was well furnished with beds and
tables, etc., but glass and crockery were not provided.

The Assistant Wodena conducted the visitor round the village, which was
a model of neatness. Each house stood in a garden, growing coffee,
vegetables, and strawberries. The head of the village and a few others
live in very good houses, and there seemed to be ponies without number.
The village perched on a slope and the cultivated hillside bore some
resemblance to a scene in the South of Italy. The usual signs of
prosperity and content reigned everywhere, and neither in this village,
nor elsewhere, where X. conversed with the natives could he find
anything to explain the commonly accepted view that the people of Java
are inimical to their rulers.

The Rest House proved comfortable, X. had brought his own provisions,
which his servants cooked, and for once he enjoyed a hot and palatable
meal. There was plenty of opportunity for conversation with the
Assistant Wodena, who was quite willing to discourse on the customs of
the country, and he gave a most interesting account of the elaborate
etiquette of Javanese Rajas, and of the extraordinary deference paid by
commoners to rank. He in his turn asked many questions concerning
Malacca and the Malay Straits, about which his interlocutor was able to
give him all the information sought for.

The next morning the sightseer and his followers ascended the mountain
on ponies to see the volcano. This was a kind of inferno with wicked
mouths which looked like ventilators from the bowels of the earth
spitting and hissing blinding steam.

The whole face of the mountain was yellow with sulphur, and the air was
sickening from its smell. Usoof and Abu were not a little terrified by
this awful experience, and grasped their Tuan by the arm entreating him
not to venture near what, they evidently thought, were the gates of
hell.

I feel that I have paid sufficient deference to my instructions in
recording the impressions the scenery made upon the traveller, and shall
therefore omit all mention of what he saw while descending the mountain.
He described it as wonderful, and those of my readers who have arrived
thus far will be prepared to admit the accuracy of the description.

The party reached Garvet in time to catch the two o'clock train to
Tassikmalaja, and thus make a start for Tjilatjap.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE QUEST FOR A MOTHER.


To start for Tjilatjap was such an unusual departure that it merits a
chapter all to itself. No one had apparently left Garvet for Tjilatjap
for years, since it had been pronounced to be one of the most unhealthy
places in the island. The correct thing for every traveller to do is to
go to Tassikmalaya for the night and proceed from thence to Djoeja by
train, go by carriage to Beroboeddoer, where a halt for the night can be
made at a Government Rest House. The drive is twenty-five miles. The
next morning the traveller should drive ten miles further to Magelang,
while his luggage goes by train or bullock cart. From Magelang Amberawa
is reached by another drive of twenty miles, and from here the railway
can be taken to Semerang or back to Djoeja, and from there to Solo, a
three hours' journey.

X. was informed that everyone took this route, but he persisted in
starting for Tjilatjap, notwithstanding that the lady who presided over
the hotel assured him that it was the most fever stricken port in the
country. Had he known then as much as he subsequently learnt of the evil
reputation of the place it is probable that the traveller might have
changed his plans. As it was, he only replied that he was inured to
fever and did not mind. At that time he had no particular reason for
going to one place more than another, and therefore the one which drove
him in this direction was good enough to serve his purpose. Usoof
desired to commence the search for his mother. He had no recollection of
the village where he was born, but believed it to be somewhere near the
coast which, considering the country was an island, was somewhat a vague
indication. After assisting his Tuan to study a map he exclaimed that
the name Tjilatjap sounded familiar to him, and sure enough it was a
large town on the coast. Now, he argued, it could not be familiar unless
he had heard it before, and that could only have been when he was in
Java, and as he was then little more than a baby, only the names of
places in the neighbourhood of his birth place could have been familiar
to him. It mattered little to X. where he went, the further away from
the beaten track, the more opportunity for studying the natives and
learning something of their lives. So he readily agreed to go to
Tjilatjap. It was only after all plans had been settled that its evil
reputation for fever was heard of.

The first stage of the journey was to Tassimalaja, and, leaving Garvet
at two, they arrived there in time for dinner. So far as could be judged
from a very brief stay during the dark hours and early morning, this
seemed a pretty little country town, but the train left early and there
was little time to look about. The first important stop was at Maos,
where a change had to be made. Among the passengers was an Englishman
whom X. had met some ten years before in New York. He was going the
orthodox round to Ojoedja and Semarang. The two Englishmen, both
experienced travellers, exchanged views as to their respective
impressions of Java, and both agreed that, wherever they went, the
courtesy and assistance received equalled if they did not exceed any
they had met with in other portions of the globe they had trotted over.
At Maos their ways separated, though fate brought them together again on
board the steamer to Singapore.

Another companion of the journey was a versatile young Dutchman who
spoke many languages and proved to be very good company. This gentleman
apparently had no great admiration for his fellow-countrymen, as he saw
them in Java. He abused with equal impartiality the food and the manner
of life, and declared that the Dutch in Java were devoid both of
digestion and energy. They were in fact half dead from bad food and too
much sleep. This communicative companion also gave his views on the
civil service, which had gradually grown from the stage, when anyone
could be pitchforked into it, to its present condition, when both brains
and interest are required to achieve the entry to its rank. Let a man
once get in (the views are those of the communicative Dutchman), his
fortune was made, if he only kept quiet and was satisfied to slip along
in the common groove. He must implicitly follow prescribed rules and
obey his immediate superior blindly, sinking all individual conscience
and identity. Should he have views for his own self-advancement or to
assist the people, should he economize Government money and reduce the
number of road-coolies or police, who actually officiate in the
household as cooks, gardeners, or grooms, should he try to set a good
example and relinquish perquisites, "that man" exclaimed the speaker "is
lost, and had better return to Holland forthwith." Such were the views
of his travelling companion, but what opportunity he had had for forming
them, and whether they were justified by actual facts, X. did not know,
or greatly care, so long as he found his company amusing, which he did
until their arrival at Tjilatjap. Here his opinion was somewhat
modified, when his voluble companion, profiting by superior experience,
annexed the only decent room in the hotel and exulted over the ruse
which secured it for him.

When X. first announced in the train that he was bound for Tjilatjap
there was a chorus of exclamations, and his companions evidently thought
him eccentric. Had he also explained his reason for going, there would
have been little doubt on the subject. It was then he learnt that
Tjilatjap had formerly been a garrison town, but it had been found
necessary to abandon it on account of the high rate of mortality among
the troops. It was not till after the change at Maos that the young
Dutchman acknowledged that Tjilatjap was also his destination, being
probably unwilling to appear eccentric in the eyes of his
fellow-countrymen who remained in the Djoeja carriage.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE QUEST CONTINUED--TJILATJAP.


Tjilatjap was reached at midday. The town had an imposing appearance,
all the streets being planted with avenues of large trees. X. drove at
once to the hotel, where he was given a room like a horse-box with the
sun streaming into it. As mentioned above, he subsequently ascertained
that his travelling companion had managed to secure the only decent room
in the hotel, and X. did not feel any love for the stranger, who had
taken what he felt to be an unfair advantage of his local innocence. He
only wished he could hand him over to the tender mercies of the most
muscular and irritable member of the civil service, after relating how
he had libelled it. There was lunch lying ready spread on the table and
its appearance was satisfactory. Next day he noticed that this meal was
laid hot at 9.30 daily, and left cooling until far on in the afternoon.
Being hungry, the distant view of the table looked inviting, and X.
prepared for a hearty meal. But his joyful expectation gave way to
something like disgust on discovering, what a nearer approach revealed,
that each article of food was firmly congealed in its own gravy. But no
one else seemed to mind, and a party opposite--father, mother and
daughter--ate of these provisions as though they were delicacies hot
from the kitchen of the Savoy or Bignon's. Strolling out a little later
to smoke a cigarette and try to persuade himself he had lunched, the
visitor spied the proprietor of the hotel, his family and some favoured
guests, enjoying cakes, and what appeared to be Madeira, and fruit in
the verandah. As sleep in that sunbaked oven of a room was impossible,
the traveller sent for a carriage and went for a drive. The appearance
of all the houses that he passed gave the idea that every one inside
them was asleep, but their stillness was counterbalanced by the busy
crowds of natives going to and fro along those avenues of wonderful
trees.

Later in the day X. sallied forth to call on the Assistant Resident. He
had been informed at the hotel that this official was not visible
between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.--rather a long period of
retirement.

As it was growing dark X. walked up to the house, a far superior
residence to the one at Garvet. The lady of the house and her family
were starting for the evening drive, not daring to venture out before
this late hour. The Assistant Resident, apparently a very young man,
received his visitor with great cordiality and gave him all the
information in his power, promising his assistance if he wished to go
further up country. It should be stated that, arrived at Tjilatjap,
Usoof's memory received a filip, and he recollected that the town of
Jombong, not far off, had been the chief place near his "kampong." On
hearing this, the Assistant Resident promised to send a letter to the
Wodena or native magistrate of the village, who lived at Soempioet and
could let him stay in his house. This exactly met the wishes of X., who
had been only wanting an opportunity to see more of the native life in
Java, away from the track of hotels and tame curio sellers, who differed
but little in one town from another. While the traveller was paying this
call, another visitor arrived. This was no less a personage than the
President of the Landraad. After they had left, he hospitably invited
the Englishman into the club, where they played billiards. The great man
made himself most agreeable and was quite ready to impart to his
companion all he might wish to hear about the duties of the local
government officers. He learnt that the Assistant Resident exercised a
very limited jurisdiction as magistrate, and all cases, excepting the
most trivial, are brought before the Landraad. The post held by this
cheery official was evidently most congenial, and he explained with much
satisfaction how he had to be frequently travelling, and what a liberal
allowance he could draw while doing so. It need be liberal, thought his
hearer, to compensate for a course of feeding in Java hotels. But
sympathy on this point was wasted, as the President of the Landraad
alluded to the one, at which it appeared they were both staying, and
spoke of it as comfortable. Billiards over, it was time to return to the
hotel for dinner. This meal, probably more owing to the lamp-light than
to any inherent superiority, seemed an improvement on the last one, had
not the diners made it unnecessarily uncomfortable by treating it as
though it were a hurried snack at the counter of a railway refreshment
room. For instance, three or four times during the progress of the meal
callers came to see the courteous President, who cheerfully left the
table to interview them, returning with equanimity to the discussion of
the chilled dishes at whatever stage of the feast he chanced on when he
returned. The table was not cleared away after the sorry farce of dinner
was over, and X. noticed, as late as ten and even half-past ten o'clock,
late diners strolling in to feed on the ever less appetising remains. X.
recalled the words of his companion in the train, and thought he at
least had some justification for his remarks on the digestions, or the
want of them, of his fellow-countrymen in Java.

The chief thing for intending travellers in Java to recollect is the
difficulty of obtaining money, since no one will look at a cheque, as
people in that country do not use them. It is necessary, therefore, to
take ready money and rely upon periodical remittances sent by registered
letter from the bank. At Garvet X. had his first experience of pecuniary
trouble through having placed confidence in his cheque book, backed by
the special permit signed by the Governor General of the Netherlands
India. He had invested in some Java ponies and thus outrun all
calculations as to expenditure. The hotel people would not look at his
cheque, though they certainly looked at the owner of it with the careful
scrutiny born of suspicion. Very troubled, he had called at all the
chief shops and places of business in the town asking assistance, and
assuring merchants of his _bona fides_, as they scanned his cheque and
passed it from one to another as a curiosity such as none of them had
ever seen before. At length good fortune appeared in the shape of a Mr.
Schmidt. One of those who had endeavoured to grasp some meaning from the
cheque, explained that he believed this kind of thing was seen in
Europe, and they had better call Mr. Schmidt, who not only had been
there within the last two years, but also spoke a little English. X.
eagerly seconded the suggestion, and Mr. Schmidt appeared. His verdict
was anxiously awaited, but especially by the owner of the cheque, whose
future movements must depend on the decision, and his relief was great
when the good, the discerning, the up-to-date Mr. Schmidt pronounced in
his favour. He declared that, certainly he had seen such cheques before,
and generously offered to cash it himself. Thus the situation was saved,
and the stranger was able to carry out his arrangements and pay his
debts. Good Mr. Schmidt! that stranger remembers you with gratitude.
Here, in Tjilatjap, X. was again threatened with penury, for, though he
had telegraphed for money, the little registered packet had so far not
appeared. Perhaps his bankers could not really credit that he had gone
to a place with such a reputation as Tjilatjap. But it was because of
this reputation that X. was unwilling to prolong his stay there beyond
what was actually necessary, and, therefore, sending off the Malays with
the luggage, remained behind, relying upon the arrival of the money by
the morning post. He utilised the opportunity of this enforced stay to
visit the hospital. The hospitals in the Native States of the Peninsula
are perhaps the chief signs of the civilization, of which their
Government may be proud, seeing that in them natives of all
nationalities are splendidly housed and have the best of medical
attendance free. It was, therefore, interesting for the Englishman who
hailed from that Peninsula to see how, in a large town like Tjilatjap in
Java, these things were done.

He had the good fortune to be most courteously shown over the building
by the doctor in charge. It was somewhat of a surprise to find that
there were few patients in the hospital, notwithstanding the reputation
of the place for fever, and to learn that the average number of sick
amongst the natives was not noticeably in excess of other towns.

The whole building was a picture of neatness and cleanliness. The walls
were made of bertam (a kind of plaited reed) so as to be easily
destroyed and replaced in case of infection. The floors were of cement
and raised off the ground. This hospital has only been started two
years, and, at the present time, possesses fifty beds. The bathing
places in particular merited attention, the floors being tiled, while
large tanks of brick and cement contained the water supply--baths are
provided for feeble patients. The most elaborate building was the
dead-house, where all the latest improvements were to be seen. There
was, and is, a European ward where patients can be treated for three
guilders a day. Another building, standing a little apart, was for
Europeans of a better class who could afford to pay six guilders a-day,
"but," the doctor added, "they never come." The hospital is free for all
natives, and, contrary to what is frequently the case elsewhere, the
authorities seem to experience no difficulty in inducing them to go
there. The doctor has one assistant to help him in managing the
hospital. He spoke very highly of the native dressers, and said that
they frequently turn out well. To X., accustomed to see similar
hospitals crowded with Chinese, it was curious only to find one in the
whole hospital, and he was the cook.

After his visit to the hospital the traveller went to the post office to
ask if his registered letter had come, and was considerably depressed to
find that, though the post had arrived, there was no letter by it for
him. There was nothing to be done but to accept the information and
return to the hotel and think it out. He was alone--servants and luggage
had gone, and some ten guilders of money only remained. Where could he
find a local Schmidt. The landlord suggested that perhaps the people at
the Factory might change his cheque. X. was not certain, but believed
the Factory to be the name for the offices of the chief trading firm in
Java. Acting on this advice, he took a carriage and drove there. The
haughty young gentleman who presided behind the counter received him
suspiciously, and at once disdainfully and very firmly refused to have
anything to do with the cheque, which he turned over and over in his
fingers as though it might bite him, and then returned to its owner.

Bowed out and baffled, the traveller returned to his hotel. The
situation was now growing serious, for the train to Soempioeh went in
half-an-hour, and, after paying his bill, there would be no money for
the fare, even could he start penniless. As a forlorn hope X. sallied
forth in the sun to pay one more visit to the post-office. This building
was closed, and the hard-worked officials had retired to their private
apartments in the back premises. Bold to desperation, the visitor
skirted round the post-office and peered into the privacies beyond.
Seeing an open door he walked in, and found the chief official in his
shirt sleeves partaking of his midday meal. With profuse apologies for
his intrusion, X. stated his anxiety about his remittance, and rather
feebly asked the officer if he were "quite sure" the letter had not
come. "Quite sure," grumbled the official in excellent English, "but to
satisfy you I'll let you come and look yourself." X. almost begged him
not to take what surely must be superfluous trouble, but, luckily,
refrained, and accompanying the officer into the post-office, walked
towards a pile of papers stacked in pigeon-holes. "There," exclaimed his
guide, "see--see for yourself"; and he did, for on the top lay a blue
envelope duly registered and addressed to himself.

Thus the hotel bill was paid, and he caught the train to Soempioeh.
There he was met by Abu and messengers from the Wodena, who accompanied
him to that officer's house.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE QUEST SUCCESSFUL--THE WODENA's HOUSE.


The Wodena's house was a comparatively large building made with
alang-lalang walls,[4] and the floor on a level with the ground. The
entire front of the house was open, though the overhanging eaves of the
roof kept out the glare. In the foreground three tables with
corresponding chairs were ranged stiffly, as though in a hotel verandah.
In one corner was a little cupboard kind of compartment, which X. found
was his bedroom.

There was no attempt to cover the floor of bare earth with mats, as
would have been the case in even poor Malay houses. At the back of the
one large sitting room stood an imposing long table. The outlook of the
house was on to some untidy waste land covered with long grass--rather
an unusual sign of slovenliness in a country of such universal neatness.
Close by a new house was in course of construction for Government use.
This building had the somewhat strange combination of alang-lalang
walls and a tiled roof. The host who welcomed X. to his house was, as
has been said, the Wodena, or local head native magistrate. A Malay in
such a position would most certainly have had a courteous manner and
have probably been an agreeable companion. This official, though he
evidently intended to be cordial, was awkward and seemingly stupid. He
also spoke bad Malay, and seemed an ill-educated man for such a
position. He wore a terrible old sun-helmet on his head, and presented a
grotesque appearance.

    [Footnote 4: Plaited grass.]

After having tea his host took X. for a walk round to show him the
place, and all the people crouched on the ground as they passed. The
followers in uniform walked after them, occasionally shouting at those
who did not promptly go to earth, while hurrying their movements with
insinuating prods from the poles of office. The few Chinese who were
met, bowed low like ladies to a royalty, which was a somewhat startling
experience to X., so recently from Singapore, where Chinamen jostle
Europeans from the side walks and puff bad tobacco in their faces as
they pass. _Apropos_ of this it might be mentioned here that a high
Dutch official in Java stated that he considered that the way the
Chinese in Singapore were allowed to treat the Europeans was "nothing
less than a disgrace to civilization." In the Singapore local press at
the time of writing there is now appearing a series of indignant letters
from a Chinaman in Selangor who signs himself as "Speaking Pig Tail."
This scribe complains to "Mr. Editor" that he has not the same rights as
a European. I wonder what "Speaking Pig Tail" would say to the
above-mentioned Dutch official.

However these particular Chinese in Soempioeh bowed many inches low to
the Wodena, while X. with bland self-consciousness appropriated a
certain length to himself as the only white man in the place.

This walk at Soempioeh was full of interest, and the Wodena kindly
replied to the best of his ability to all the questions asked. The whole
country round was one vast expanse of padi, valleys and hills alike so
far as the eye could reach, and it seemed to X. that no population could
be sufficiently dense to consume such an apparently unlimited supply,
but the Wodena assured him that none was ever exported. The town
presented a busy scene of great activity, as there was evidently a
country fair in full swing, and rows of people lined the roadside
selling quaint cakes and fruit, and here and there a stall was gay and
sweet-smelling with little heaps of gathered rose leaves and yellow
blooms of fragrant chimpaka. The Wodena and his visitor called on the
chief Chinese of the town, of which race he informed him there were two
hundred all told. These people scarcely resembled the Chinamen as known
to X., since they had all been born and bred in the neighbourhood, and
not one of them had experience of life beyond the island of Java. The
head Chinaman produced various curios--so considered--for inspection,
these being sent for from the pawn-shops close by. The Wodena
volunteered the information that large quantities of opium were consumed
in the district. This meant, as there were no Chinese, the habitual use
of this drug amongst the people. After this walk the little procession
wended its way back to the Wodena's house. Dinner that night proved a
weird meal, as Usoof, who cooked, had gone to the neighbouring village
of Tambak, where he found his mother dwelt, and Abu, who had never
cooked anything more complicated than rice, tried his 'prentice hand.
The next day was Sunday, and the weekly fair was at its height till
twelve noon. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were packed tightly
together, line after line, under little sheds, selling sarongs and
cloths of every conceivable colour, with hats, mats, and native
ornaments of all descriptions. It was an animated scene, and one not
easily forgotten, and this was the first time, if the Wodena was to be
believed, that any white man had seen it. Be that as it may, or perhaps
as it may not, X. allowed himself the satisfaction of believing that it
was the first time that any Englishman had seen it.

After the fair the traveller returned home, and there received a visit
from Usoof and his mother. He had found her, and the object of his
journey to Java was accomplished. It appears that he had met her while
walking along a path by the river, which his awakened memory recalled
would lead him to his home. And she, noting his unusual dress and
stranger-like appearance, stopped to ask whether he had any news of her
son who many years ago had gone away to Singapore, and to whom she had
so frequently written, receiving no reply. She feared he was dead, but
as the kind stranger came from foreign parts it was possible that
amongst the colony of Javanese in Singapore he might have heard of her
long-lost son.

Such was the meeting, and a dramatic and successful climax to what had
seemed a somewhat forlorn quest. Had I the pen of a Swettenham or a
Clifford, those sympathetic spinners of delightful tales of a race whose
childish faith so lends itself to story, I might here find material for
pages of a charming romance. But in reality there was little romance
about Usoof, rather a sturdy honesty and affection, as he brought his
poor mother in her humble attire and presented her to his Tuan, who, at
that moment, bored to death by his kind host, who would not cease to
entertain him by sitting by him in attentive silence, would have
welcomed any diversion as a boon.

But the poor lady, according to the custom of the country, could only
prostrate herself outside the house nor venture nearer than some dozen
yards, probably regarding her new-found son, who stood upright, as some
knave who courted death.

This system of obeisance had been rather embarrassing to X., since all
the retainers of his host stooped low and crept about while his own
attendants had maintained their usual attitudes with occasional lapses
from the perpendicular. For there had been intervals over night when,
realizing his conspicuous position, Abu had wandered about awkwardly
doubled up, and offered cigarettes and liquid refreshment from somewhere
among the legs of the table, startling his master by his sudden cat-like
appearance in unexpected places, while there was that in his eye which
said, "Do not expect this sort of thing to continue when we get you
home."



CHAPTER XIX.

A VILLAGE HOME IN JAVA.


To Usoof and his mother the great Wodena was kindness itself, and
conversed with them in Javanese with much affability. X. wishing to see
a real country village, and obtain speech with its people, away from the
all-subduing eye of the local authority, promised to go that afternoon
and visit the good lady in her ancestral home, and a few hours later he
took the train for the next station, Tambak. No European had ever done
such a thing before apparently, and there was quite a fuss at the
station to find a first or even a second-class ticket. And during the
search the railway officials displayed the most naive curiosity, and
questioned the traveller without restraint. Arrived at Tambak X.
descended, and immediately the station-master hurried forward and
politely assured him that he had made a mistake, since Gombong, the
large town, was the next station but one. He obviously could not believe
it possible that any European should get out at Tambak on purpose, and
regarded the polite insistence of X. that he knew where he wanted to go
as evidence of some sort of want of sanity, to be passed over as
harmless. Gesticulating and ejaculating, the worthy gentleman collected
quite a little crowd of gazers as the white man, followed by Usoof,
sauntered out of the station. Once out of sight, the station-master
would have been intensely gratified to see X., who did not really in the
least know where he was going, turn round and ask his follower the way.
So they branched off to the left and wended their route along the banks
of a noisy river, beneath the shade of huge trees which formed an avenue
by the side of the water. On their right lay the endless padi fields of
early green and ripening gold, all equally shimmering in the sun. This
combination of ripe padi, side by side with newly sown, forms a striking
feature of Javanese agriculture. While gazing upon this warm picture,
and congratulating himself that someone had had the forethought to plant
this pleasant row of trees, the voice of Usoof from the rear announced
that they must now turn to the right. To turn to the right naturally
meant to go across that sunlit plain. The hand of X. involuntarily went
up to his stiff stand-up collar, and though he could not see the face of
his attendant, he was aware through his back that he smiled. So climbing
a rustic stile they branched off to the right and walked across the
padi, where the lurid light was zigzagging above the corn. Presently the
red roofs of a village were in sight, and once more the voice of Usoof
spoke to introduce his birthplace. This was interesting, as was the
additional information that the little river they had now to cross was
the boundary of his ancestral land. The house they had come all this way
to see was deep in the shadow of countless fruit trees, over which
towered palms of considerable age. The green turf so scrupulously neat,
and the little group of buildings set round the central house, all
combined to make a picturesque scene.

In the front of these cottages, on the green turf, was the reception
house--a square building, surrounded by benches with a table in the
middle.

Here the stranger was escorted by a crowd of Javanese, cousins and
sisters and brothers and aunts, without number--for it seemed less of a
family than a tribe which had come together to do him honour. Then the
guest was seated in the place of state, and fruit of many kinds in large
brass dishes was set before him. It was truly a pleasant spot, and there
was additional satisfaction in the thought that with so little to guide
them they had been able to light upon it without lengthy search. Then
ensued a conversation, during which the visitor learnt and imparted many
things. Amongst the former he heard that once before, when the railway
was being made, a white man had been seen in the neighbourhood, but the
present occasion was the first, when the village had beheld one close.
And this stranger told them of the Malays and his life amongst them, and
how their houses and customs resembled theirs, while Usoof, alone
venturing to remain upright, acted as interpreter as a swarm of young
brown relations clasped his hands and ruthlessly robbed him of his watch
and chain, his brass buttons, and all the loose coins in his pockets.
Then X., who has a material mind, asked to see the title deeds of their
lands, which were produced and inspected, and they were instructed how
to proceed, so that when the time came the absent Usoof, as the eldest
son, should obtain his fair share of the inheritance. Then, as the
shadows were lengthening, and the zigzags on the padi had given way to a
soft and mellow light fanned by an evening breeze, X. gave the signal to
depart and announced that farewells must be made. Hurrying over his own,
he wandered towards the river so that he might not witness the anguish
of the mother bereaved anew of her long lost son, but he could not
escape hearing the sounds of sobs which arose behind him. And the little
procession of two--the European with his limp collar, and the Javanese
bereft of all his finery--started once more across the plain. But the
procession grew and grew, as one by one the fond relations hurried after
it for one more glimpse or one more word for the departing brother.
Then the traveller began to feel as near a brute as ever in his life
before, and suggested to Usoof that he should bid him good-bye and
return for good to the bosom of his weeping family. But this he declined
to do, and at the rustic stile the actual parting came. Arrived at the
train, the good station-master was still on the look-out and walking
around as though something unusual had happened, but, tired and hot, X.
parried his questionings with some abruptness. But the interviewer was
as persistent as if he were on the staff of a London evening paper, and
after producing an inverted wheelbarrow, which he offered X. as a seat,
went to his house for a whisky and soda--called by the natives "Dutch
water." After that walk in the sun, his whole physical and nervous
system disorganized by the deglutition of strange fruits and condiments,
and by witnessing heartrending family farewells, an unexpected whisky
and soda, when such a restorative had seemed as unobtainable as the very
moon which was beginning to appear, was welcome indeed. The
station-master was at once the master of the situation, and the hitherto
taciturn Englishman, his thirst assuaged and his limbs at rest, became
as communicative as a star of _the_ profession, and answered all
questions as fully and docilely as a willing witness in the hands of his
own counsel.



CHAPTER XX.

BACK TO THE JUNGLE.


Arrived at the house of the Wodena, the traveller had to submit to more
pumping, nor would his host rest until he knew, or was persuaded he
knew, each word which X. had written in his letter of thanks to the
Assistant Resident at Tjilatjap. That night it was very hot, and it was
borne in upon the sleepless traveller that he had exhausted the
resources of the place. Therefore at an early hour next morning his
miscellaneous fairings were packed, the cost of his entertainment
liberally repaid, and accepted without demur, and the visitors, after
earnestly commending the picturesque little village at Tambak to special
official protection, departed for the station. X. had intended to now
perform the usual round and visit the temples at Djaokjakerta, Solo and
Semarang, but when almost in the act of asking for his ticket, a spirit
of revolt infected him, and he rebelled at the thought that he must go
here and there just because all others did, when his inclinations
really called him elsewhere, for his inclinations were bidding him go
back to the cottage in the hills, where the tea and coffee grew. And so
without hesitation he took his ticket and sent a telegram to announce
his intended return. Bandong was to be the first halting-place, which
meant travel in that crawling train from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and stopping
at twenty-eight stations on the way. There was no first-class
compartment and the seats of the second-class were hard and narrow, and
the cramped space after the first few hours became almost unbearable.
Things looked brighter, the guard flattered the hopes of passengers by
asking who would buy tickets for lunch at some halting-place further on,
so that he could telegraph for the meal to be prepared. Hope is eternal,
and experience of Java hotels had not yet robbed the traveller of the
fond pleasure of anticipation. The Swindon of the line was reached, and
there, sure enough, was a table spread with food. After the first bite
of the first dish X. realized sadly that he had been done, since it
would have been impossible to make any impression on that meat with
aught less forcible than an axe. Thus, with reluctance, his portion,
albeit paid for in advance, was relinquished, to be again paid for
probably and again to flatter and deceive some other passing and hungry
stranger. The remainder of the journey proved agreeable, thanks to the
companionship of a young officer who, invalided home from the Lomboh
war, was _en route_ to Buitenzorg, where he lived. This poor warrior had
undergone a time of much hardship, and related how he and his men had
slept shelterless on the wet ground and for nights had nothing but rice
to eat. And this only half a day's journey from the principal port in
Java, and with as much money collected for aid to the soldiers as would
have, if necessary, paid for the whole cost of the war. This companion
told many interesting anecdotes of the war, and related some almost
incredible tales of the treachery and ingratitude of the natives.

The Englishman also availed himself of this opportunity for hearing
something of social etiquette in time of peace, and the unwritten rules
which guided those attending entertainments where Dutch and natives met.
As for instance, when the Sultan of Djoedja gives a ball, each official
must stand upon a step, high or low, in proportion to his rank, while
the Resident is met and escorted to the same lofty altitude as the
Sultan, on the top.

To the Governor-General, however, the Sultan must do obeisance.

This might be a convenient place to mention the great regard officially
paid to caste. Reverence for rank amongst the people is fostered and
aided by their rulers, and if a man of position is ever suspected or
accused so that inquiry becomes necessary, it must take place with
closed doors and in private.

That night the party lay at Bandong (fresh from reading the "Red
Cockade" its language seems the most descriptive). The train reached
that considerable town at dusk. Here the traveller had the good fortune
to again meet his friend the President of the Landraad, and was
introduced by him to the Club. Being introduced to the Club meant being
separately introduced to every member then in it, with that punctilious
formality which X. had observed in Batavia. The hotel at Bandong was the
best which the traveller had yet visited, and, contrary to expectation,
dinner was warm and comforting. The others of the party, however, Usoof
and Abu, were not so fortunate, for they had no means of getting
anything to eat. It was not permitted them to go out after dark without
lights, and they could not get lights. Added to this it was raining
hard. The hotel apparently could not supply natives with food at such an
hour, and it was necessary for them to go and look for it. This sad
story greeted X. when his own dinner was done. But the kind President of
the Landraad cut the knot of this dilemma and soon provided a caterer,
protector, and guide for the hungry pair.

As usual next morning, the time fixed for the train to leave was very
early, and other trains were starting too, and of these Abu selected
the one on the point of departure for Maos in which to stow all the
portable luggage--no small amount--and this was only rescued as the
train was actually on the move. This, of course, necessitated hurried
action, making those who hurried hot. Then the scene at the ticket
window was scarcely to be described. For a country where, in public,
such a gulf is fixed between Europeans and natives, it is a strange
thing to find the one aperture for the purchase of tickets, besieged by
a serging clamouring throng of both races, and no one had any idea of
waiting his turn. X. attempted to force his way to the little window,
but as he stopped to observe the rules of the game, as played in
civilized countries of the West, he was each time passed over, when the
tickets were almost in his grasp. At length, disgusted at having to take
part in such a scene, he retired. Then Usoof, with much insinuation of
elbows and words in Javanese (words such as his mother may not have
approved), managed to obtain tickets just in time to catch the train.
This train duly landed them at the familiar little station, where, as
before, the ponies waited them to carry them up that hill of wonderful
views. At the station the traveller parted with his companion, the
invalid officer, after accepting a kindly invitation to lunch with him
at Buitenzorg on his way through to Batavia.

No need to repeat myself in describing those few extra days spent at the
cottage in the hills. And they also resembled the last ones in that they
went too quickly.

The hearty welcome received was, the visitor liked to think, rendered
even warmer by the fact that he was able to assure his busy host that
the young tea plants had most certainly grown a little in his absence.

The day soon came when X. was nearing the limits of his leave and must
start for Batavia. The always early train reached Buitenzorg in the
morning, and there, where on his first visit he had felt so lonely, the
traveller was met by his soldier friend and driven by him to the home of
his _fiancée_. That reception, and its pleasant sequel of a home-like
lunch, is one of the most agreeable of the recollections which X. now
preserves of the town. Though he felt inclined to take the welcome all
to himself, yet in his heart he knew that it was in great manner due to
the fact that he was even remotely connected with the safe return of one
whom the household considered as a son.

After lunch the host, bravely clad in uniform, took his guest to see the
barracks. These buildings seemed as clean and comfortable as could be
expected in a tropical climate. The extreme youth of some of the men was
so noticeable that the visitor could not but observe it, and he learnt
that this was accounted for by the fact that they could enlist at the
age of sixteen. Another item of information was that one-third of the
army in Java was composed of people of other nationalities. In the
native corps there is never any difficulty in obtaining recruits.

After inspecting the barracks a visit was made to the gaol. This over
they drove to the Club for the much-needed refreshment of "Dutch water"
with something in it. The Club was a fine building, but there was no
time left to enjoy its luxurious lounges, and in a very short time X.
was bidding farewell to his good friend and steaming once more towards
Batavia.

Arrived in the capital, the traveller thought it best to widen his
experience by driving to an hotel other than the one of electric light.
This was also a huge building at the end of a regular street of rooms,
all looking out on to the main verandah. As this look-out provided the
only light, the majority of the occupants kept open both doors and
windows, and a walk along the verandah was like some panorama of
dressing in all its stages.

The chief points about this hotel were the usual ones--indifferent food,
absence of privacy, and horrible bathing arrangements. In Eastern
countries it is usual to find a bath-room attached to the bedroom. In
Java hotels people--ladies as well as men--burdened with sponges and
towels, and some with soap, must cross a public court-yard and wait
their turn outside the bath-room door. In this particular hotel the
ordeal was especially trying, since the bathrooms were outside the
office, and in the centre of a regular street where people drove past
arriving and departing or calling on friends, and must perforce gaze
upon that little forlorn group of scantily-clad humans on cleanliness
intent. However, this hotel remains to X. one of blessed memory, since
it was while there he was, through the knowledge of the language, able
to render some slight service to two charming American ladies who were
courageously going round the world alone. On the following day these
ladies were passengers on board the s.s. _Godavery_ en route for Hong
Kong, Shanghai, Japan, Havaü, and all the places in the world
apparently, excepting, alas! that little one of Pura Pura.

That last evening there happened to be a performance of an English
circus, and X. went there and laughed at the jokes of an excellent
clown--a cheery being whose like he had not seen for many a long year
past. Fancy a clown in the jungle!

The next day he reluctantly bade farewell to the country where such a
pleasant three weeks had been spent, and embarking on board the s.s.
_Godavery_--his impedimenta increased by three ponies--the traveller
steamed again for Singapore. The day after his arrival there he started
for home, and some thirty-six hours later was once more seated in his
verandah, listening all alone to the chanting songs of his Malay
neighbours in the plain below. The moon was bright, and Pura Pura kept
high revelry.

Those readers who have had the patience to follow my friend through his
short holiday may leave him there--sighing perhaps with contented
discontent--an excuse for grumbling--while all around is beautiful, and
body and mind can revel in long chairs and books galore. There is a
world perhaps, he thinks, where all are up and doing, but--like his
dreams--it is very far away. Has he been to Java--he asks himself--has
he ever been anywhere beyond the edge of this green turfed hill--to
which are now ascending sounds of happiness from poor villagers who live
among the padi fields, away there across the river, dimly seen now when
the moon is high? And has he helped to make them happy?--did they always
sit singing there before he or others came, or did they have to watch
with Krises ready, for fear of stealthy foes--foes who crept to stab
beneath the raised bamboo floors. Perhaps he, too, has aided with his
mite--perhaps--who knows? And as this thought occurs, the discontent
will fade, while content alone remains.

Long years has this exile lived in Pura Pura, and then when he left it
for a space--to redeem a promise--he asked me to relate all that he did
and saw while thus away. From Jungle to Java have I therefore followed
him as a faithful chronicler and my commission is ended. But it should
not be so, since there are tales of the jungle and tales of Pura Pura
all worth the telling if what I think be true. For there, where life
moves slowly, the incidents, which make it dwell, dwell so long that
those who watch may note and read. And though that which they read,
being of nature and mankind, is necessarily an old, old story, yet is
the framework new, and thus with an interest all its own, able to impart
a lesson to those who sit at home and speak with vague pity of peoples
far away. Perhaps our traveller--to whom such a name must have seemed
irony indeed--will one day ask my assistance to relate certain chapters
of that life, brief glimpses of which have been afforded the reader in
this little sketch.



THE
_ROXBURGHE ROMANCES._


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  =TITLES AND AUTHORS.=

  A WIDOW WELL LEFT             R. MANIFOLD CRAIG.

                             _Ready November the First, 1896._

  ONE WEAK MOMENT                E. WHITE.

  WITHOUT BLOODSHED              HAROLD E. GORST.

  THAT CHARMING WIDOW            CLARENCE HAMLYN.

  A ROMANCE OF THE FAIR          L. & H. CRANMER-BYNG.

  MADEMOISELLE SOPHIE            ARTHUR J. IRELAND.

  AN AFTERNOON RIDE              ANNE PAGE.

  THE DIAMOND SHOE BUCKLES       MARY ALBERT.

  BLOTTED OUT                    E. PULLEN BURRY.
    (Or a Puritan's Curse)

  THE PRIEST AND THE ACTRESS     ETHEL WALKER.
    (Some Idylls of St. Giles)

  MARIE VASELLIS                 JOSEPHINE STOCKWELL.

  THE DEALER IN DEATH            ARTHUR MORRIS.

  TOLD AT THE CLUB               CHARLES F. RIDEAL.


_And others in preparation, by_

MRS. CECIL MARRYAT NORRIS; MR. MASSEY SHAW; MR. J. L. OWEN; MR. C.
GORDON WINTER; THE HON. STUART ERSKINE; MR. WALTER HERRIES POLLOCK; MR.
R. BRINSLEY; MR. GRAHAM EVERETT; MR. RICHARD DAVEY; MRS. GRAHAM and
other attractive writers.


May be obtained through all Booksellers, Newsagents, and Railway Book
Stalls; or from the Publishers:

THE
_ROXBURGHE PRESS,_
_LIMITED,_
=Fifteen, Victoria Street.=
=Westminster.=


[Bookplate: Ex Libris Roxburghe Press]



Transcriber's Notes:


Inconsistencies in the hyphenation of words preserved. (bathroom,
bath-room; courtyard, court-yard; foreground, fore-ground; lamplight,
lamp-light; stationmaster, station-master)

Pg. 96, "Ojoedja" possibly refers to the town "Djoedja" (short for
Djoedjakarta) which is mentioned elsewhere in the text. However, the
original text has been preserved.

Pg. 99, "civi service" changed to "civil service". (irritable member of
the civil service)

Pg. 124, "attemped" changed to "attempted". (X. attempted to force his
way)

Pg. 125, duplicated word "a" removed. (sequel of a home-like lunch)





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