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Title: Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak
Author: McDougall, Henriette, 1817-1886
Language: English
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[Cover]

[Illustration: HAPPILY HE HAD A STOUT WALKING-STICK, AND AT ONCE FELLED
THE REPTILE.

_Frontispiece._ _Page_ 26.]



  SKETCHES
  OF
  OUR LIFE AT SARAWAK


  BY
  HARRIETTE McDOUGALL.


  _WITH MAP._


  PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRACT COMMITTEE.


  LONDON:
  SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
  NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, CHARING CROSS, W.C.;
  43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.;
  26, ST. GEORGE'S PLACE, HYDE PARK CORNER, S.W.
  BRIGHTON: 135, NORTH STREET.
  NEW YORK: E. & J. B. YOUNG AND CO.



CONTENTS.


  PART I.

  CHAPTER                                    PAGE

      I.  INTRODUCTORY                          7

     II.  THE COURT-HOUSE                      13

    III.  COLLEGE HILL                         21

     IV.  PIRATES                              32

      V.  THE CHURCH AND THE SCHOOL            45

     VI.  THE GIRLS                            58

    VII.  THE LUNDUS                           68

   VIII.  A BOAT JOURNEY                       82

     IX.  CONTINUATION OF THE TRIP TO REJANG   92


  PART II.

      X.  RETURN TO SARAWAK                   105

     XI.  CHINESE INSURRECTION                120

    XII.  CHINESE INSURRECTION (_Continued_)  139

   XIII.  EVENTS OF 1857                      157

    XIV.  THE MALAY PLOT                      174


  PART III.

     XV.  THE CHILDREN'S CHAPTER              189

    XVI.  ILLANUN PIRATES                     204

   XVII.  A MALAY WEDDING                     215

  XVIII.  LAST YEARS AT SARAWAK               228

    XIX.  THE ISLAND OF BORNEO                239



PART I.

[Map: BORNEO]



SKETCHES OF OUR LIFE AT SARAWAK.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.


Nearly thirty years ago I published a little book of "Letters from
Sarawak, addressed to a Child." This book is now out of print, and, on
looking it over with a view to republication, I think it will be better
to extend the story over the twenty years that Sarawak was our home,
which will give some idea of the gradual progress of the mission.

This progress was often unavoidably impeded by the struggles of the
infant State; for war drowns the voice of the missionary, and though the
Sarawak Government always discouraged the Dyak practice of taking the
heads of their enemies, still it could not at once be checked, and every
expedition against lawless tribes, however righteous in its object,
excited the old superstitions of those wild people. When their warriors
returned from an expedition, the women of the tribe met them with dance
and song, receiving the heads they brought with ancient
ceremonies--"fondling the heads," as it was called; and for months
afterwards keeping up, by frequent feasts, in which these heads were the
chief attraction, the heathen customs which it was the object of the
missionary to discourage.

I dare say, when we first settled at Sarawak, we thought that twenty
years would plant Christian communities, and build Christian churches
all over the country: but it is as well that we cannot overlook the
future; and perhaps, considering the many difficulties which arose from
time to time, from the missionaries themselves, and the unsettled
country in which they laboured, we ought not to expect more results than
have appeared. At any rate we have much to be thankful for, and as every
year makes Sarawak a more important State, consolidates its Government,
and extends civilization to its subjects, we may look for more success
for the missionaries, who can now point to the peace and prosperity of
the people, and say, "This is the fruit of Christianity and Christian
rulers."

In giving a short account of our life in Borneo, I shall avoid alike all
political questions, or, as much as possible, individual histories among
the English community. It is already so long ago since we lived in that
lovely place, that events, trials, joys, and the usual vicissitudes of
life, are wrapt in that mellowing haze of the past, which, while it dims
the vividness of feeling, throws a robe of charity over all, and perhaps
causes actors and actions to assume a more true proportion to one
another than when we walked amongst them. I have, however, not depended
on memory alone for the records of twenty years, but have journals and
letters to refer to, which my friends in England have been good enough
to keep for me. Some parts of "Letters from Sarawak" I shall incorporate
into the present little book, for as it treats of the first six years we
lived there, and was written at that time, it is sure to be tolerably
correct.

In those days, from 1847 to 1853, Sir James Brooke was very popular in
England. The story of his first occupation of Sarawak, published in his
journals, and the cruizes of her Majesty's ships in those eastern
seas--the _Dido_ and the _Samarang_--were read with avidity, and
furnished the English public with a romance which had all the charm of
novelty. However difficult and inconvenient it might be for the English
Government to recognize a native State under an English rajah, who was
at the same time a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, this question
had not then arisen; and all classes, high and low, could applaud a
brave and noble man, who had stepped out of the beaten track to spend
his fortune and expose his life in the cause of savages. There were many
fluctuations of sympathy and opinion in after years towards Sir James
Brooke; but, through evil report and good report, through difficulty and
danger, Sarawak has still advanced, and is as worthy of the interest of
the best and wisest of mankind as it was in 1847. At this time, indeed,
it seems to me to furnish a lesson in the management of native races
which might be useful in our own colonies. English governors always set
out with good intentions towards the natives of savage countries, but
how is it that war almost always follows their occupation? Surely it is
because the settlers go there, not in the interest of the native race,
but their own, and the two interests are sure to clash in the long-run.

It requires great patience and forbearance to educate natives up to a
rule of justice and righteous laws; but that it may be done, and carry
the co-operation of the people themselves, is evident at Sarawak, where
the Malays and Dyaks are associated in the Government, and have always
stood by their English rajah, even when it was necessary to punish or
exile some of their own chiefs. I am aware that an English colony cannot
be governed in this way; nevertheless, the spectacle of wild natives,
rising by the influence of a few good Englishmen from lawless misrule to
a settled government, where vice is punished without partiality, is very
beautiful to philanthropists, and makes one think better of human nature
and its capabilities. I wish I could portray the hilly and thorny road
by which this has been attained! It would, methinks, create a new
interest in Sarawak, if the past and the present could be fairly set
before the discerning world; we should again hear of missionaries
longing to help in the improvement of people who have shown themselves
so open to good influences. I have said that I would not touch upon
politics, but Church and State are so naturally bound together in the
task of civilization, that it is difficult to relate the history of the
mission without mentioning the Government. Of course they do not stand
in the same relation to one another in a Mahometan country, where the
English Church is but a tolerated sect, as they do in a Christian land;
still the Christian Church strengthens the Christian ruler, and he in
his turn protects the Church by good government, although he may not
favour it except by individual preference. For my own part, I have
always thought it an advantage to our Dyak Christians that no favour was
shown them on account of their faith; at any rate, it was for no worldly
interest that they became Christians.

Although our life in Sarawak extended over a period of twenty years, it
might naturally be divided into three parts--of six, five, and six years
respectively, the intervals being spent in visits to England. These
visits, although absolutely necessary, were a drawback to the mission
work. When the head of a family is absent, the responsibility is apt to
fall upon the younger members, and is sometimes too much for them.
However, they always did their best, and always welcomed us home most
warmly. It was a joyful sight, on our return, to find the missionaries
and school-children waiting for us at the wharf below our houses, the
children's dear little faces glad with smiles, and a warm welcome for
any baby we brought home. The second time, it was our daughter Mab; and
in 1862, our last baby, Mildred,--Mab, Edith, and Herbert being left in
England, for no English child can thrive in that unchangeable climate
after it is six years old.

The first chapters of this little book will describe the first six years
of our stay at Sarawak; but, in speaking of subjects of interest, I
shall not stop short at the end of those years, but carry on the subject
to the end of our Sarawak experience. It is perhaps necessary to say
this to prevent confusion.



CHAPTER II.

THE COURT-HOUSE.


While Sir James Brooke was in England, in 1847, he asked his friends to
help him in his efforts to civilize the Dyaks, by sending a mission to
live at Sarawak.

Lord Ellesmere, Admiral Sir H. Keppel, Admiral C. D. Bethune, Canon Ryle
Wood, and the Rev. C. Brereton, formed themselves into a committee, with
the Rev. I. F. Stocks for their honorary secretary, and soon collected
funds for the purpose. The Rev. F. McDougall was chosen as the head of
the mission, and with him were associated the Rev. S. Montgomery and the
Rev. W. Wright; but Mr. Montgomery died very suddenly, of fever caught
when ministering to the poor of his parish, before the time came for us
to embark, so the party was reduced to two clergymen and their wives,
two babies and two nurses. We sailed from London in the barque _Mary
Louisa_, four hundred tons, the end of December; Mr. Parr, a nephew of
Mrs. Wright's, being also one of the passengers. I had all my life loved
the sea, and longed to take such a voyage as should carry us out of
sight of land, and give us all the experiences which wait on those "who
go down to the sea in ships;" but I little thought how we should all
long for land before we saw it again.

The barque was a poor sailer; we thought it a good run if she made eight
knots an hour, so no wonder we did not reach Singapore till May 23,
1848. It was a long monotonous voyage, but we were well occupied, and I
do not remember ever finding it dull. The sea was all I ever fancied by
way of a companion, and, like all one's best friends, made me happy or
unhappy, but was never stupid. Then we had to learn Malay and its Arabic
characters, with the help of Marsden's grammar and dictionary, and the
Bible translated into that language by the Dutch. We lived by rule,
apportioning the hours to certain duties, and every one knows how fast
time passes under those conditions. The two clergymen busied themselves
with teaching the sailors, and several of them presented themselves at
Holy Communion in consequence, the last Sunday before we landed. The
most trying time we passed was on the coast of Java, becalmed under a
broiling sun, the very sea dead and slimy with all sorts of creatures
creeping over it. As for ourselves, we were gasping with thirst, for we
had already been on short rations of water for six weeks, one of the
tanks having leaked out. One quart of water a day for each adult, and
none for the babies, so of course they had the lion's share of their
parents' allowance. Our one cup of tea in the evening was looked forward
to for hours; and what a wonderful colour it was, after all!--but that
was the iron of the tank.

On the 23rd of May we landed at Singapore, and had to wait there for
four weeks before the schooner _Julia_, then running between that place
and Sarawak, came to fetch us. We reached Sarawak June 29th, entering
the Morotabas mouth of the river, which is twenty-four miles from the
town of Kuching, whither we were bound. The sail up the river, our first
sight of the country and the people, was indeed exciting, and filled us
with delight. The river winds continually, and every new reach had its
interest: a village of palm-leaf houses built close to the water, women
and children standing on the steps with their long bamboo jars, or
peeping out of the slits of windows at the schooner; boats of all sizes
near the houses, fishing-nets hanging up to dry, wicked alligators lying
basking on the mud; trees of many varieties--the nibong palm which
furnishes the posts of the houses, the nipa which makes their mat walls,
and close by the water the light and graceful mangroves, which at night
are all alive and glittering with fire-flies. On the boughs of some
larger trees hanging over the stream parties of monkeys might be seen
eating the fruits, chattering, jumping, flying almost, from bough to
bough. We afterwards made nearer acquaintance with these droll
creatures.

At last we reached the Fort, a long white building manned by Malays, and
with cannon showing at the port-holes. The _Julia_ was not challenged,
however, but gladly welcomed, as she carried not only the missionaries
but the mail, and stores for the bazaar; for at that time there were not
many native trading-vessels--the fear of pirates was great, and there
was good reason to fear!

The town of Kuching consisted in those days of a Chinese bazaar and a
Kling bazaar, both very small, and where it was scarcely possible to
find anything an English man or woman could buy. Beyond was the court of
justice, the mosques, and a few native houses. Higher up the river lay
the Malay town, divided into Kampongs, or clusters of houses belonging
to the different chiefs or principal merchants of the place. Opposite
the bazaar, on the other side of the river, stood the rajah's bungalow,
as well as two or three others belonging to Europeans, embosomed in
trees, cocoa-nuts and betel-nut palms, and other fruit-trees. Behind the
rajah's house rose the beautiful mountain of Santubong, wooded to its
summit nearly 3000 feet, with a rock cropping out here and there. At
this bungalow we landed, and were hospitably entertained for a few days
until the upper part of the court-house could be made ready for our
party.

Shall I ever forget my first impressions of the rajah's bungalow? A
peculiar scent pervaded it. You looked about for the cause till your
eyes fell on two saucers, one filled with green blossoms, the other
with deep golden ones, much the same shape--the kenanga and the
chimpaka, flowering trees, which grew near the house. Their flowers were
picked every day for the rooms, as the rajah loved the scent, and so did
the Malays. The ladies steeped the blossoms in cocoa-nut oil and
anointed themselves, placing them also in their long black hair, with
wreaths of jessamine flowers threaded on a string. These perfumes were
rather overpowering at first, but I learnt to like them after I had been
some time in Sarawak. The large, bare, cool rooms were very refreshing
after the little cabins of the _Julia_. And then the library! a treasure
indeed in the jungle; books on all sorts of subjects, bound in enticing
covers, always inviting you to bodily repose and mental activity or
amusement, as you might prefer. This library, so dear to us all because
we were all allowed to share it, was burnt in 1857 by the Chinese
rebels. It took two days to burn. I watched it from our library over the
water, and saw the mass of books glowing dull red like a furnace, long
after the flames had consumed the wooden house. It made one's heart ache
to see it. An old gentleman of our English society watched it too, and I
wondered why his head shook continually as he sat with his eyes fixed on
those sad ruins; but I found afterwards that the sight, and doubtless
its cause, had palsied him from that day. But I must not linger too long
in the rajah's bungalow, though the white pigeons seem to call to me
from the verandahs; we must take boat again (for there are no bridges
over the Sarawak river), and cross to the court-house.

This square wooden house, with latticed verandahs like a big cage, was
built by a German missionary, who purposed having a school on the ground
floor and living in the upper story; but as soon as he had built his
house he was recalled to Germany, and the only trace of him that
remained was a box full of torn Bibles and tracts, which, I am sorry to
say, had been used as waste paper in the bazaar for tying up parcels
since he left, but as the tracts were not in any language the people
could understand they were scarcely to blame. Rajah turned the house
into a court of justice, and we settled ourselves in the upper rooms,
which were divided from one another by mat walls. The river flowed under
this house at spring tides, and then nests of ants would swarm into it:
the rapidity with which these little creatures would carry all their
eggs up the posts and settle the whole family under a box in your
bedroom was marvellous; but as they were not pleasant companions there,
a kettle of hot water had to put an end to the colony.

These little black ants did not sting, but there was a large red ant,
half an inch long, who was most pugnacious; he stood up on his hind legs
and fought you with amazing courage, and his jaws were formidable. We
made our first acquaintance with white ants while we lived in the
court-house. On unpacking a box of books, which had been our solace
during the voyage, we found them almost glued together by the secretion
of these creatures. The box had been standing on the ground floor of the
hotel. The white ants had eaten through and through the books, and
picked all the surface off the bindings; they were disgusting to look at
and to smell. Some years afterwards, one of our missionaries had a box
of clothes sent her from Singapore. It was necessary clothing, for she
had lost her effects, like the rest of us, during the Chinese rebellion.
I warned Miss Coomes that she must unpack the box directly, on account
of the white ants; but she put it off till the next day, and at night
these wretches ate through the bottom of the box, and munched up the new
linen and stockings. We soon learnt to guard against their attacks by
using no wood except balean, or iron-wood, which is too hard for them to
bite. English oak seemed like a slice of cake to white ants.

No sooner were we settled at the court-house, than we had visits from
all the principal Malays, and also some Dyaks who happened to be at
Sarawak. My husband opened a dispensary in a little room behind the
store-room, and had plenty of patients. I used to hear continual talking
and laughing going on there, and by this means Mr. McDougall learnt to
talk the Malay language, which he only knew from books when he first
arrived. The pure Malay of books is very different from the colloquial
_patois_ of Kuching. To my sorrow, I learnt this some time after, when I
was trying to prepare two women for baptism: they listened to me for
some time, and then one said to the other, "She talks like a book,"
which I fear meant that they only half understood me.

Soon after this we took four little half-caste children to bring up.
They were running about in the bazaar, and their native mothers were
willing to part with them; so Mary, Julia, Peter, and Tommy were housed
in a cottage close by, under the care of a Portuguese Christian woman,
the wife of our cook. Every day I used to spend some hours with them,
that we might become friends. The eldest of these children was only six
years old, Tommy, the youngest, but two and a half; so they wanted a
nurse. They were baptized on Advent Sunday, 1848, and were the beginning
of our native school.



CHAPTER III.

COLLEGE HILL.


We stayed at the court-house a whole year, while our house on the hill
was being prepared. The hill, and the ground beyond it, about forty
acres in all, was given to the mission by Sir James Brooke. It was then
some way out of the town, but as the Chinese population increased, the
town grew quite to the foot of the hill--College Hill, as it was then
called--and a blacksmith's quarter even invaded the mission land. At
first, in order to cultivate the property, nutmegs and spice-trees were
planted, but the soil was not good enough for them; when their roots
pierced through the pit of earth in which they were planted, and reached
the stiff clay of the hill, they died off. It was necessary to do
something to keep the land clear of the coarse lalang grass, which grew
wherever the jungle was cut down. So after a while a herd of cattle was
collected, and they improved the poverty of the land, at the same time
furnishing milk and a little butter. I say a _little_, because even
when seven cows were in milk, as they only gave two quarts a day each,
and there were always plenty of children in and out of the mission to
consume it, but little was left for butter-making. Cocoa-nut trees were
planted in the low ground, and some few grew up; but wild pigs were
great enemies to them, for they liked to eat the cabbage out of the
heart of the young tree, which of course killed it. In that seething
warmth of Sarawak you could almost see plants grow. If you scattered
seeds in the ground, they sprouted above it on the third day. I planted
some of those little coral-looking seeds which are to be found in every
box of Indian shells, the seed of the satin-wood, and they grew up into
beautiful forest trees in twelve years' time. We used to make long
strings of these coral seeds, and use them in Christmas decorations.

By degrees we had a very bright garden about the house. The Gardenia,
with its strongly scented blossom and evergreen leaves, made a capital
hedge. Great bushes of the Hybiscus, scarlet and buff, glowed in the
sun--they were called shoe-flowers, for they were used instead of
blacking to polish our shoes. The pink one-hundred-leaved rose grew
freely, and blossomed all the year round. Shrubs of the golden
Allamander were a great temptation to the cows, if they strayed
into the garden. The Plumbago was one of the few pale-blue flowers
which liked that blazing heat. Then we had a great variety of
creepers--jessamine of many sorts, the scarlet Ipomea, the blue
Clitorea, and passion-flowers, from the huge Grenadilla with its
excellent fruit, to the little white one set in a calyx of moss. The
Moon-flower, a large white convolvulus, tight-shut all day, unfolded
itself at six o'clock, and looked lovely in the flower-vases in the
evening. The Jessamine and Pergolaria odorotissima climbed up the
porch, and in the forks of the trees opposite I had air-plants
fastened, which flowered every three months, and looked like a flight
of white butterflies on the wing. The great mountain of Matang stood in
the distance, and when the sun sank behind it, which it always did in
that invariable latitude about six o'clock, I sat in the porch to watch
the glory of earth and sky. How dear a mountain becomes to you, is only
known to those who live in hilly countries. One gets to think of it as
a friend. It seems to carry a protest against the little frets of life,
and, by its strength and invariableness, to be a visible image of Him
who is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." But I am running on
too fast with the garden before the house is built.

The hill was first cleared of jungle, and flattened at the top, then the
foundation was dug, and great sleepers were laid ready for the upright
posts. A wooden house is joiner's work, and rather resembles a great
bedstead. All the wood is first squared and cut, which takes a long
time, because the balean-wood is extremely hard, and consumes a great
deal of labour; but once ready, the house rises from the earth like
magic, for every beam and post fits into its place.

We had brought a great box of carpenter's tools with us from England,
among them valuable moulding-planes; we wished the carpenters to learn,
in building the house, how to make the arches and ornamental mouldings
for the church.

Happily for us, when the _Mary Louisa_ was wrecked in the straits on her
way home, the crew were all saved, and the ship-carpenter came over to
Sarawak to see if my husband would employ him. As he was a capital
joiner, he was set over a gang of workmen at once. All the plans for the
house and church were made by Frank (my husband), and I was set to draw
patterns of the doors and windows, the verandah railings, and the porch.
Stahl was an intelligent German workman, and soon learnt Malay enough to
direct the men. The Malays levelled the hill and dug the foundations;
the Chinese were employed as carpenters, but they, too, could speak
Malay. I remember making great friends with one of them, Johnny Jangot,
John of the Beard, so called on account of a few long hairs at the tip
of his chin, for the Chinese are a beardless race. Johnny used to eat
his breakfast in the court-house to save himself trouble. What a set-out
it was! Rice, of course; then three or four little basins with different
messes--duck, fish, chicken, and plenty of soy-sauce; more basins with
vegetables, all eaten with the help of chop-sticks; and a teapot snugly
covered with a cosy. I asked one day to taste the tea, and Johnny
poured me out a tiny cup of hot, sweet, spirits and water! Samchoo is a
spirit made from rice, and very strong, as our poor English sailors used
to find to their cost when her Majesty's ships paid us a visit. The
Chinese said that the English drank the samchoo cold and raw, and
therefore it poisoned them, whereas they always qualified it with hot
water. It did not taste strong, which made it all the more pernicious.
Johnny drank real tea all day long, and smoked a good deal of
tobacco--it seemed to me he did very little else; but he was not a bad
workman, though of course it was not such a day's work as an Englishman
can do.

In the East you must accept the customs of the country, and be content
with the people: they are not given to change. Stahl made some
wheel-barrows for the men to use instead of little baskets in which they
carried earth, and which held nothing. But it was no use; they laughed
at the wheel-barrows, and said "Eh yaw!" but went on with the baskets.

Every evening we used to walk up the hill to see how the building was
getting on, all the children with us; then, as we sat on the timber, I
used to draw the letters of the alphabet on the white sand, and the
little ones learnt them. We went home through a piece of ground we
called our garden. In it grew plenty of pine-apples and sugar-cane, and
the gardener always supplied us with pieces of the latter to eat--very
refreshing and nice, but the juice ran all over your hands. As for
pine-apples, we soon got tired of them; but they made good tarts, and,
mixed with plantains and lime-juice, a very pleasant and useful jam.

In clearing the hill our workmen disturbed the haunts of many snakes. We
were a good deal visited by cobras for some years. The natives said that
the Adam and Eve of all the cobras lived in a cave under our hill.

One day we were having asphalte laid down in the printing-room, to keep
away white ants. The room had been emptied to do this, and Stahl went in
to inspect the work after the men had gone to their breakfast at eleven
o'clock. He saw a large cobra at the end of the room, and hit it with a
stick he had in his hand; but the stick broke in two, and the cobra
reared itself up with inflated hood. Another minute must have seen Stahl
a prey to the monster; but the Bishop, passing by, heard him exclaim
when the stick broke, and going quickly in saw Stahl standing, white,
fascinated, and motionless, before the cobra. Happily he had a stout
walking-stick, and at once felled the reptile; but he took a good deal
of killing. It was ten feet long.

This was Adam.

Eve was killed under the verandah of the house almost a year afterwards.
She was eight feet long.

One night the Bishop had been reading the Rev. F. Robertson's sermon
about St. Paul and the viper. It was late, and being rather sleepy he
carried the book in one hand and a candle in the other into his
dressing-room, and was just going to set the candle down, when his eye
fell on a cobra, coiled up on the chair on which he was about to seat
himself. No stick was at hand, but he smote the snake with the book.
Struck in the right place, they are not difficult to kill. So "St. Paul
and the Viper" put an end to the cobra. That the bite of this snake is
not, however, certain death we had a curious instance.

One of our servants, a very strict Mahometan, believed himself charmed
against poisonous reptiles, and used to bring me centipedes and
scorpions in his hands, saying they never hurt him. He left our service
and was employed by the Borneo Company, about half a mile from our
house. One day, while cutting rattans in a shed, a cobra bit his thumb.
He thought nothing of it, but, putting away his work as usual, went
home, cooked his rice and ate his supper. By this time, however, his arm
began to swell and his head to swim. Instead of going to the doctor, who
then lived close by, he must needs go to the Bishop to cure him; so just
as we were sitting down to dinner, about seven o'clock, he reeled into
the house. The Bishop cauterized the wound, although it seemed too late
to be any use; he was getting cold and faint. However, by dint of being
walked up and down between two men, and having two whole bottles of
brandy administered to him, a glass at a time, besides sal volatile,
chloroform, and every stimulant we had, he got through the night. The
Bishop sat up with him all night, and I could hear him, when at last I
went to bed, calling out at intervals, "Oh, Allah! Oh, Lord Bishop!"--so
terrible was the pain he suffered in his arm. His wife, who was my
baby's ayah, appeared in the morning. "Come," said she, "make no more
noise, keeping everybody awake, but take up your bed (mat) and let us go
home." He meekly obeyed; but, poor man, he had abscesses under his arm,
and fell into weak health afterwards; so it is evidently unwise to
despise a cobra.

There were many other snakes besides cobras, some poisonous, but most of
them harmless.

The Marquis Doria and Signor Becarri, two distinguished naturalists, who
lived for some months at Sarawak, collecting bird-skins, insects, and
plants, told me that the natives often represented a snake to be
poisonous which was not so. However, we had the mata hari, sun-snake,
black and coral colour, and a metallic green flat-headed creature,
Fortrex trigonocephalus, which were venomous enough. I once had a little
flower-snake for a pet. It was beautifully marked with green and lilac,
and used to catch flies climbing about the room; but one day it mounted
to the top of a high door, the wind blew the door to, and my pretty
snake was thrown to the ground and broke its back.

The boa-constrictor--sawar, as the Malays called it--lived in the jungle
and rice-swamps. Sometimes it attained an enormous size. An Englishman
told me that he and some Malays were exploring the jungle to find traces
of antimony ore, and came to an opening in the wood, across which they
saw the body of a sawar as thick as his own--he was not very
stout--moving along; but they never saw either the head or tail of that
snake, for, after watching its progress for a long time, they were
seized with a panic at its enormous length, and fled.

A Malay whom we knew very well, Abong Hassan by name, and a mighty
hunter, told us that once, when he was seeking deer in the forest,
towards evening he sat down to rest, and cook his rice, on what he
thought was a great fallen tree. While thus occupied, he felt his seat
moving from under him, and, starting up, found he had been making use of
a huge sawar lying inert and distended with food. He killed it, and
found a full-grown deer in its stomach. These snakes must live to a
great age, and grow always, to attain such a size.

Some people kept a small boa in their house to kill rats, but we found
they were equally fond of chickens, and therefore not desirable inmates;
for at Sarawak chickens were the principal animal food to be had, and it
was necessary to keep a stock of them.

After some years we built up the lower story of the mission-house with
bricks, to make it more substantial and cooler. The ground floor was at
first wholly occupied with the school, the dormitory on one side, the
matron's and girls' room on the other, and a large schoolroom through
the centre of the house. A similar room over it was our dining-room, and
was used for divine service until the church was finished. The library
and our bedroom were over the boys' dormitory, and bedrooms for
missionaries on the other side. There were also three rooms in the roof,
which made good bedrooms, but were too hot for use in the daytime. The
roof was covered with shingles of balean-wood, which only grows harder
and darker coloured from rain and use. They were blown off sometimes in
the storms to which we were subject, but were otherwise more lasting
than any other kind of roofing. We used to call this house Noah's Ark,
from the variety of its occupants. A bell hung in the porch roof, and
rung at different hours to call the workmen and regulate the school. The
people in the town got so used to it that, when we discontinued it for a
time, they sent a petition that it might begin again, for without it
they never knew what o'clock it was. When the school outgrew this house
we built another for the boys, their master, and the matron, close by;
but I always kept the girls with us until Julia married, when they were
sent to the Quop, in charge of the missionary's wife there.

Long before we left the court-house, Mr. and Mrs. Wright decided to give
up the Sarawak mission, and went to Singapore, where Mr. Wright became
master to the Raffles Institution for the education of boys. We were
therefore quite alone until February, 1851, when the Bishop of Calcutta
paid us a visit to consecrate the church, and brought with him Mr. Fox
from Bishop's College, to be catechist, with a view to his future
ordination. Very soon after him came the Rev. Walter Chambers from
England, and about the same time Mr. Nicholls also arrived from Bishop's
College; but, as he only wished to stay for two years in the country, he
had scarcely time to learn the language before he returned to Calcutta.



CHAPTER IV.

PIRATES.


When we first lived at Sarawak, the coasts and the seas from Singapore
to China were infested with pirates. "It is in the Malay's nature," says
a Dutch writer, "to rove the seas in his prahu, as it is in the Arab to
wander with his steed on the sands of the desert." Before the English
and Dutch Governments exerted themselves to put down piracy in the
Eastern seas, there were communities of these Malays settled in various
parts of the coast of Borneo, who made it the business of their lives to
rob and destroy all the vessels they could meet with, either killing the
crews or reducing them to slavery. For this purpose they went out in
fleets of from ten to thirty war-boats or prahus. These boats were about
ninety feet long; they carried a large gun in the bow and three or four
lelahs, small brass guns, in each broadside, besides twenty or thirty
muskets. Each prahu was rowed by sixty or eighty oars in two tiers, and
carried from eighty to a hundred men. Over the rowers, and extending
the whole length of the vessel, was a light flat roof, made of split
bamboo, and covered with mats. This protected the ammunition and
provisions from rain, and served as a platform on which they mounted to
fight, from which they fired their muskets and hurled their spears.
These formidable boats skulked about in the sheltered bays of the coast,
at the season of the year when they knew that merchant-vessels would be
passing with rich cargoes for the ports of Singapore, Penang, or to and
from China. A scout-boat, with but few men in it, which would not excite
suspicion, went out to spy for sails. They did not generally attack
large or armed ships, although many a good-sized Dutch or English craft,
which had been becalmed or enticed by them into dangerous or shallow
water, was overpowered by their numbers. But it was usually the small
unarmed vessels they fell upon, with fearful yells, binding those they
did not kill, and burning the vessel after robbing it, to avoid
detection. While the south-west monsoon lasted, the pirates lurked about
in uninhabited creeks and bays until the trading season was over. But
when the north-east monsoon set in, they returned to their settlements,
often rich in booty, and with blood on their hands, only to rejoice over
the past, and prepare for next year's expedition. There are still some
nests of pirates in the north of Borneo, although of late the Spaniards
have done much to exterminate them. But when Sir James Brooke first
visited Sarawak, the nobles there, and their sultan at Bruni, used to
permit, nay, encourage, piratical raids against their own subjects at a
little distance, provided they shared in the profits of the expedition,
thus impoverishing the country they ruled, and putting a stop to all
native trade--a short-sighted and wicked policy. It took a good many
years of stern resistance on Sir James Brooke's part before the Bruni
nobles could be cured of their connivance of pirates, whether Malay or
Dyak.

The Dyaks of Sarebas and Sakarran, a brave and noble people, were taught
piracy by the Malays who dwelt among them. These Dyaks were always
head-hunters, and used to pull the oars in the Malay prahus for the sake
of the heads of the slain, which they alone cared for. But, in course of
time, the Dyaks became expert seamen. They built boats which they called
bangkongs, and went out with the Malays, devastating the coast and
killing Malays, Chinese, Dyaks, whoever they met with. The Dyak bangkong
draws very little water, and is both lighter and faster than the Malay
prahu; it is a hundred feet long, and nine or ten broad. Sixty or eighty
men with paddles make her skim through the water as swiftly as a London
race-boat. She moves without noise, and surprises her victims with
showers of spears at dead of night; neither can any vessel, except a
steamer, catch a Dyak bangkong, if the crew deem it necessary to fly.
These boats can be easily taken to pieces; for the planks, which extend
the whole length of the boat, are not fastened with nails, but lashed
together with rattans, and calked with bark, which swells when wet; so
that, if they wish to hide their retreat into the jungle, they can
quickly unlace their boats, carry them on their shoulders into the
woods, and put them together again when they want them. When we first
lived at Sarawak no merchant-boat dared go out of the river alone and
unarmed. We were constantly shocked with dreadful accounts of villages
on the coast, or boats at the entrance, being surprised, and men, women,
and children barbarously murdered by these wretches. I remember once a
boat being found with only three fingers of a man in it, and a bloody
mark at the side, where the heads of those in the boat had been cut off.
Sometimes the pirates would wait until they knew the men of a village
were away at their paddy farms, then they would fall suddenly upon the
defenceless old men, women, and children, kill some, make slaves of the
young ones, and rob the houses.

Sometimes, having destroyed a village and its inhabitants, they would
dress themselves in the clothes of the slain, and, proceeding to another
place, would call out to the women, "The Sarebas are coming, but, if you
bring down your valuables to us, we will defend you and your property."
And many fell into the snare, and were carried off. If they attacked a
house when the men were at home, it was by night. They pulled stealthily
up the river in their boats, and landing under cover of their shields,
crept under the long house where many families lived together. These
houses stand on high poles. The pirates then set fire to dry wood and a
quantity of chillies which they carried with them for the purpose. This
made a suffocating smoke, which hindered the inmates from coming out to
defend themselves. Then they cut down the posts of the house, which
fell, with all it contained, into their ruthless hands.

In the year 1849, the atrocities of the piratical Dyaks were so
frequent, that the rajah applied to the English Admiral in the straits
for some men-of-war to assist him in destroying them. Remonstrances and
threats had been tried again and again. The pirates would always promise
good behaviour for the future to avert a present danger; but they never
kept these promises when an opportunity offered for breaking them with
impunity. In consequence of Sir James Brooke's application, H.M.S.
_Albatross_, commanded by Captain Farquhar; H.M.'s sloop _Royalist_,
commander, Lieutenant Everest; and H.E.I.C.'s steamer _Nemesis_,
commander, Captain Wallage, were sent by Admiral Collyer to Sarawak.
Then the rajah had all his war-boats got ready to join the English
force. There was the _Lion King_, the _Royal Eagle_, the _Tiger_, the
_Big Snake_, the _Little Snake_, the _Frog_, the _Alligator_, and many
others belonging to the Datus, who, on occasions like these, are bound
to call on their servants, and a certain number of able-bodied men
living in their kampongs, to man and fight in their boats. This is their
service to the Government. The rajah supplies the whole force with rice
for the expedition, and a certain number of muskets. The English ships
were left, the _Albatross_ at Sarawak, and the _Royalist_ to guard the
entrance of the Batang Lupar River, into which the Sakarran and Sarebas
Rivers _débouche_; but their boats, and nearly all the officers,
accompanied the fleet, and the steamer _Nemesis_ went also. On the 24th
of July they left us, as many as eighteen Malay prahus, manned by from
twenty to seventy men in each, and decorated with flags and streamers
innumerable, of the brightest colours,--the Sarawak flag, a red and
black cross on a yellow ground, always at the stern. For the _Tiger_ I
made a flag, as it was Mr. Brereton's boat, with a tiger's head painted
on it, looking wonderfully ferocious. It was an exciting time, with
gongs and drums, Malay yells and English hurrahs; and our fervent
prayers for their safety and success accompanied them that night, as
they dropped down the river in gay procession. They were afterwards
joined by bangkongs of friendly Dyaks, three hundred men from Lundu,
eight hundred from Linga, some from Samarahan, Sadong, and various
places which had suffered from the pirates, and were anxious to assist
in giving them a lesson. We heard nothing of the fleet until the 2nd of
August, when I received a little note from the rajah, written in pencil,
on a scrap of paper, on the night of the 31st of July, and giving an
account of how they fell in with a great balla (war fleet) of Sarebas
and Sakarran pirates, consisting of one hundred and fifty bangkongs,
returning to their homes with plunder and captives in their boats. The
pirates found all the entrances of the river occupied by their enemies,
the English, Malay, and Dyak forces being placed in three detachments,
and the _Nemesis_ all ready to help whenever the attack began. The _Lion
King_ sent up a rocket when she espied the pirate fleet, to apprise the
rest. Then there was a dead silence, broken only by three strokes of a
gong, which called the pirates to a council of war. A few minutes
afterwards a fearful yell gave notice of their advance, and the fleet
approached in two divisions. But when they sighted the steamer they
became aware of the odds against them, and again called a council by
beat of gong. After another pause, a second yell of defiance showed they
had decided on giving battle. Then, in the dead of the night, ensued a
fearful scene. The pirates fought bravely, but could not withstand the
superior forces of their enemies. Their boats were upset by the paddles
of the steamer; they were hemmed in on every side, and five hundred men
were killed, sword in hand; while two thousand five hundred escaped to
the jungle. The boats were broken to pieces, or deserted on the beach by
their crews; and the morning light showed a sad spectacle of ruin and
defeat. Upwards of eighty prahus and bangkongs were captured, many from
sixty to eighty feet long, with nine or ten feet beam.

The English officers on that night offered prizes to all who should
bring in captives alive: but the pirates would take no quarter; in the
water they still fought without surrender, for they could not understand
a mercy they never accorded to their enemies. Consequently the prisoners
were very few, and the darkness of the night favoured escape.

The peninsula to which they fled could easily have been so surrounded by
the Dyak and Malay forces that not one man of that pirate fleet could
have left it alive. This blockade the Malays entreated the rajah to
make; but he refused, saying that he hoped they had already received a
sufficient lesson, and would return to their homes humbled and
corrected. He therefore ordered his fleet to proceed up the river, and
the pirates went back to Sarebas and Sakarran. This severe punishment
cured the Dyaks of those rivers once and for all of piracy, and was the
greatest blessing which could have been conferred on those fine tribes.
They allowed forts to be built on their rivers, and submitted to English
residents, who ruled them with the counsel of their own chiefs. In 1857,
when the Chinese rebelled and burnt the town of Kuching, these Dyaks
sent their warriors to assist the Sarawak Government; in doing so they
joined other tribes whose hereditary enemies they had been for many
generations. Some of us felt anxious when we saw the fleet of Sakarrans
and Balows lying side by side at the Linga Fort; but they all kept
their good faith, and in fighting a common enemy became friends for
evermore.

In 1852 Sir James Brooke placed Mr. Brereton in a fort at Sakarran,
built at the entrance of the river. He threw himself heartily into the
work of improving the people, and gained a good influence over many. One
of the most important chiefs, Gassim, attached himself to him, and even
gave up the practice of head-taking to please him.

There were certain paddy farms in the country which by ancient custom
could only be cultivated by heroes who had taken many heads. One of
Gassim's people, however, who had never taken a single head, presumed to
clear and plant some of this ground; whereupon the other chiefs
complained, and one sent a message to Gassim, that if he did not put a
stop to this breach of law, he would fight him. Gassim answered that he
was ready to fight with swords if necessary, but first he begged a
conference with all the other chiefs to discuss the matter. To this they
agreed, and by the force of his eloquence and the justice of his cause,
Gassim proved to them that the old custom was bad and ought to be
repealed. About that time Brereton brought Gassim and a number of his
people to visit Kuching, and the chief breakfasted with us. When all the
school-children came in to prayers--for the church was not yet
finished--and Gassim heard them repeat the responses and say the Lord's
Prayer, he was delighted, and said that he and his people would also
like to be Christians.

We used to like the Sakarrans much better than their neighbours, the
Sarebas, in those days. They were fine, tall, handsome men, with
straight noses and pleasant manners. The Sarebas were coarser-looking
people, who disfigured themselves by wearing brass rings all along the
lobes of their ears: the one at the bottom was as large as a
curtain-ring in circumference, though of slender make; it lay on the
chest, and by its weight dragged a great hole in the ear. These rings
were inserted when the children were quite young, and pulled their
little faces out of shape, giving an uncomfortable expression. Sarawak
Malays always said, "A Sakarran Dyak may be trusted, but a Sarebas is
deceitful." It is a curious fact, however, that the Sakarrans, with all
their fair words and sleek prepossessing looks, did not embrace the
gospel as the Sarebas did. The Rev. Walter Chambers lived at Sakarran
for some time, but gathered no converts. He then settled himself among
the Balows of the Batang Lupar and Linga, and when there was a community
of Christians from these rivers, at Banting, where Mr. Chambers had
built his church and house, a Sarebas chief, Buda by name, the son of a
notorious old pirate, happened to meet some of these Christian Dyaks,
and came himself to be taught. He brought his wife, sister, and child.
They walked upwards of eighty miles, partly through the mud of the
sea-shore, carrying their mats and cooking-pots with them, and
established themselves in the mission-house, where they were kindly
welcomed, and stayed six weeks, during which time they were so diligent
that they learnt to read and made some progress in writing. This was in
the rainy season, when all farming operations are in abeyance. The next
year they returned at the same time, but, meanwhile, they had not been
idle, but had taught all they knew to their countrymen. Shortly
afterwards Buda was made a catechist, and he excited so much interest,
that in 1867 Mr. Chambers baptized one hundred and eighty of these
people, who were once the most dangerous enemies of the English and the
most notorious pirates of Borneo. Then Buda proceeded to the village of
Seruai, and Mr. Chambers had soon to visit there, for the people were so
earnest they would scarcely let him sleep, nor seemed to require any
sleep themselves, but day and night learnt the hymns and catechism,
which they must know by heart to be baptized. Nearly two hundred were
baptized on the Kryan River. A catechist had been placed there, called
Belabut. He married Buda's sister, who walked to Banting for
instruction. She had much influence over the women of the tribe, and Mr.
Chambers said it was delightful to hear her read "her beloved gospel"
with the correct pronunciation of an English lady.

The Christians of the Kryan did not keep the good news to themselves,
but proceeded to teach the next village of Sinambo. In these villages
there are now school-chapels, built by the Dyaks themselves. In 1873,
Mr. Chambers, who was then bishop, wrote: "These Sea Dyaks have made the
greatest advances in civilization and Christianity. Looking back even
five years, there is a great difference. They have abandoned
superstitious habits." "They no longer listen to the voices of birds to
tell them when to sow their seeds, undertake a journey, or build a
house; they never consult a manang[1] in sickness or difficulty; above
all, they set no store by the blackened skulls which used to hang from
their roofs, but which they have either buried or given away to any
people from a distance who cared for them, assuring them at the same
time that they 'were no use.'"

    [Footnote 1: Heathen doctor.]

Thus we see what a just punishment and a fostering Government, added to
the sweet influences of Christianity, have done for these people; but it
took years of patience and faith to effect so great a change.

After the pirate fight of 1849, the evil disposed and turbulent, both of
the Sakarrans and Sarebas, found a leader in Rentab, a Sarebas chief. He
braved the Government for years. In 1852 his war-boats appeared above
the Sakarran Fort, and the two young Englishmen there, Mr. Brereton and
Mr. Lee, too confident in their strength, attacked the boats with a
small force. In this engagement Mr. Lee was killed, and Mr. Brereton
escaped with difficulty. Several expeditions were taken into the
interior against Rentab; but he was so clever, that even when Captain
Brooke battered his stronghold to pieces by having guns dragged up the
steep hill on which his fort was built, Rentab managed to escape, and
was never taken. His followers, however, fell away from him by degrees,
and there are now no pirates in those rivers.



CHAPTER V.

THE CHURCH AND THE SCHOOL.


As soon as we removed to College Hill, the building of the church began.
On the 28th August, 1850, a few days after the return of the expedition
against the pirates, the summit of a rising ground about two hundred
yards from the house having been cleared and levelled, a large shed was
built over the ground, which the sailors of H.M.S. _Albatross_, and our
workmen, adorned with gay flags and green boughs.

A little procession left our house, the rajah walking first, dressed in
full uniform as Governor of Labuan, and Suboo, the Malay executioner,
holding a large yellow satin umbrella over his head, as is the custom on
all state occasions, for yellow is the royal colour in Borneo; then my
husband, in surplice and hood, the English residents, naval officers,
and, last, a crowd of Malays and Chinese followed, to witness the
ceremony of laying the first great block of wood in the foundation of
St. Thomas's Church. After prayers had been read, the rajah lowered the
great sleeper into its place, and we all returned home. From that day
the church began to rise out of the earth with the same seeming magic as
the house had done. It was entirely built of wood--all the beams,
rafters, and posts of the hard balean-wood, and the roof covered with
balean shingles, like the house. The planking was a cedar-coloured wood,
and all the arches and mouldings were finished like cabinet-work, so
that it was both handsome and durable. The ornamental pillars were first
made of polished nibong palms; but in a few years these had to be cut
away, as they were full of white ants, and hard wood substituted. The
building of this little church was most interesting to us. When my
husband was at Singapore for a short time in 1849, he had the pulpit,
reading-desk, a carved wooden eagle, and the chairs made there; also a
coloured glass east window was contrived, with the Sarawak flag for a
centre light. This pleased the Malays; indeed, they admired the house
and church immensely, and always assured us that they knew we could not
have built either, unless inspired by good antoos (spirits).

The baptismal font was a huge clam-shell, large enough to dip an infant
in, if desired; and this natural font was adopted in all the churches
afterwards built at Dyak stations--at Lundu, at Banting, Quop River.

The church bell was a difficult matter. Nothing larger than a ship bell
could be found in the straits. At last, a Javanese at Sarawak said he
could cast a bell large enough if he had the metal; so Frank bought a
hundredweight of broken gongs--there is a great deal of silver in gong
metal--and with these the bell was cast. Then an inscription had to be
put round the rim--"Gloria in excelsis Deo," in large letters; and the
date, Sir James Brooke's name on one side, and F. T. McDougall on the
other. It was a great success, and was safe in the little belfry before
the church was consecrated, in February, 1851. I do not know whether
this bell is now cracked, but it has worked very hard from that day--two
services every week-day, and four on Sunday, to say nothing of extra
occasions. Before long, we found a gilder who could adorn the reredos.
There were seven compartments at the east end: in the centre one was a
gilt cross, and in the others, the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, in
English, Malay, and Chinese. The gilder was a Chinese catechumen, and
was very anxious to do it well; but he knew nothing of English letters,
so each letter had to be cut in paper, and he traced it on the wooden
panel. It was necessary to watch him narrowly, or he put the letters
upside down! Such are the difficulties of making churches in the jungle.
All this took some time to complete. I had a very severe illness in
November, 1850; and when, about Christmas, I was able to sit in the
verandah, the progress of the church was my great amusement, for it was
quite near enough to watch from the house.

In August, 1850, a great influx of Chinese came to Sarawak. There was a
war at Sambas, the principal Dutch settlement in Borneo, between the
Chinese, who were friendly to the Dutch, and who were living at
Pernankat, and the Montrado Chinese, who, with the Dyaks of the country,
rebelled against the Dutch. The Montrados beat the Pernankat Chinese,
and they fled from the place, carrying with them their wives and
children, and as much property as they could cram into their boats. The
boats were overladen, and many of them perished at sea, but some reached
Tangong Datu. On the 26th of August, four hundred of these poor
creatures arrived at Sarawak, saying there were three thousand more
starving on the sands at Datu, who would follow as fast as they could;
and, in course of time, most of them did find their way up the river,
although those in charge of the Government (the rajah was at Labuan)
tried to persuade them to make a town for themselves at Santubong (one
of the mouths of the river). A few of them did settle at Santubong, but
every day brought boats full of Chinamen into the place. The rajah fed
these poor people for months with rice, and gave them tools that they
might clear the ground and make gardens in the jungle. At first, before
they could build themselves houses, the whole place seemed upset by
them. Many lived in their boats on the river; every shed and workshop in
the town was full. One night Frank walked into the church, to see no one
was stealing planks from the unfinished building. All was quiet, but by
a stray moonbeam he perceived that one end of the church, already
boarded, was full of mosquito curtains, and they as full of sleeping
Chinamen. Such a thing could not be allowed--nails knocked into the
polished walls to tie up the curtains, tobacco perfuming the place, to
say nothing of sparks to light the pipes, and a considerable allowance
of bugs which Chinese people always carry about with them. Frank jumped
straight into the middle of the muslin curtains, with a shout; and
amidst a hubbub of tongues, "yaw-yaw" and laughter, bundled them all out
into the workmen's shed close by, where they might sleep in peace. It
occurred to my husband that some of these Chinese would be glad to have
their children brought up with the seven little orphans we had already,
so he went to Aboo, the Chinese magistrate, and offered to take ten
children into our house to be brought up as Christians, baptized, and
educated for ten years. The Chinese value education, and were very glad
to give them to us. I shall never forget sitting in the porch one
morning to receive my new family. Neither parents nor children could
speak Malay. They walked up the stairs, bringing a little boy or girl,
nodded and smiled and put the child's hand into mine, as much as to say,
"There, take it." One of our Chinese servants then explained to them
what we could do for the child, and that it must remain with us until
grown up. That day we took Salion, Sunfoon, Chinzu, Queyfat, Assin,
Umque, Achin, boys; Achong, Moukmoy, Poingzu, girls. The English nurse
we had brought with us to Sarawak had married Stahl, the carpenter, of
whom I spoke before, and Mrs. Stahl became the matron of the school when
we moved to College Hill, and had these ten Chinese children as well as
the orphans to care for. We were very busy sewing for them, with a
Chinese tailor to help. Blue jackets and trousers for week-days, and
black trousers and white jackets for Sundays, had to be made at once.
The girls wore trousers as well as the boys, only wider, and their
jackets reached to the knee.

At the end of a week they were all clean and neat. Their heads were
shaved every Saturday, and their long tails freshly plaited up with
skeins of black or red strong silk, made on purpose. At first a barber
came to do this, but soon the elder boys learnt to do it, and it was a
regular Saturday business. These ten children soon learnt to speak
Malay. Then we took five more, and after that one or two as
circumstances threw them in our way. The school at last numbered
forty-five, but there was not room in the mission-house for so many; we
did not get beyond thirty the first year of the school.

I scarcely think thirty English children could have been so easily
reduced to order as these little Chinese. School must have been paradise
to them after the hardships they had undergone, and that perhaps made it
easier to please them; besides, the Chinese readily submit to rule and
method. The day was laid out for them. They rose at half-past five when
the day dawned; after a bath in a pond in the grounds, they had a slice
of rice-pudding with treacle on it, and then went to church for morning
prayers. By seven o'clock they were all at lessons in the big room--such
a buzzing and curious singsong of Chinese words--until nine, when the
breakfast took place; rice, of course, and a sort of curry of
vegetables, also a great dish of fish, either salt or fresh; a little
tea for the elder children, no milk or sugar, and water for the rest.
They soon learnt to sing their grace before and after meals.

The same kind of meal was repeated at five o'clock, but on Sunday they
had pork curried instead of fish, and on festivals chickens. I taught
these children to sing from the first. The Chinese are not musical
generally, and some of them found the sounds of _do_, _re_, _mi_, very
difficult to master, but we had very nice singing in church in time; and
when a schoolmaster came who knew plenty of songs, glees, and rounds,
the children learnt them quickly, and were often sent for to sing to the
rajah and other guests when they came to dinner.

It used to startle strangers to hear "The Hardy Norseman," "The Cuckoo,"
and such-like songs from the lips of little Chinese boys. Every Saturday
evening they came to the house to practise the hymns and chants for
Sunday; I had an harmonium in the dining-room. On these occasions they
all had a cup of tea and slice of cake, and used to look at the picture
newspapers which had come from England the last mail. They were very
intelligent boys. It was necessary they should learn Malay and English
as well as Chinese, and of course arithmetic, geography, and the usual
rudiments of learning. I have often watched the Chinese writing-lesson:
it seemed the most difficult branch of their education--one complicated
character, something like a five-barred gate, representing a variety of
sounds as well as meanings; but our little fellows learnt it all. They
had a Chinese master as well as an English, and they soon spoke English
as well as we could desire. My husband took the greatest interest in
this school. When the children first came he taught them games and made
them playthings, and they were always about him. Whenever we went
anywhere by boat a crew of boys was added to the rowers. They soon
learnt to use their paddles well, and at the public boat-races, on New
Year's Day, pulled their own boat in the race and sometimes won it. When
my husband became Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak, he always took some of
the schoolboys with him in his visits to the different stations. They
helped the church services by their singing, and had their especial
chums among the Dyak Christian boys in the different tribes. So many
boys passed through the school during the twenty years we took an
interest in it, that I cannot even remember all of them. Some are now
catechists among the Dyak tribes; many entered the service of the
Government or the Merchant Company as clerks; some went to Singapore and
found employment there. I know of only one who has as yet been
ordained, but perhaps that time has scarcely yet arrived in Sarawak. It
is difficult for Malays or Dyaks to look up to a Chinaman sufficiently
to make him their minister: they are less clever than the Chinese, but
look down upon them nevertheless--the Malays, because the Chinese are
the workers, and they the gentlemen; the Dyaks, I suppose, because they
gave them such a thrashing in 1857. One good consequence of the Chinese
school was, that it attracted the attention of the parents towards
Christianity, and they presented themselves as catechumens. There were
many difficulties with the languages, for the Chinese at Sarawak were
not all of the same tribe, and could not understand one another.
However, after a while a Chinese professor arrived at Sarawak, bringing
his wife and family with him. In those days the women were forbidden to
emigrate with their husbands, but Sing Sing put his wife into a large
chest with air-holes at the top, and brought her safely from China. The
Bishop employed this man, who was well educated, to make translations,
and to interpret what he said to the Chinese, so there were soon Bible
classes at our house every Wednesday evening. Sing Sing became an
inquirer himself while translating the gospel to others. He was soon
able to hold cottage lectures in the town, and after some years the
Bishop had the happiness to ordain him as minister to his people. There
was a large congregation of Chinese at the Sunday services before we
left, and it was a good proof of the sincerity of these converts, that
while all their heathen countrymen worked at their trades on Sunday as
well as other days, our Christians spent their Sunday in worship and
rest, which no doubt was an advantage to their health as well as their
growth in grace.

At Christmas they always shared in our feasting. We killed an ox, and
all the Christians had beef for their dinner, as well as all the queer
things they delight in.

In January, 1851, the Church of St. Thomas at Kuching was consecrated by
Bishop Wilson, of Calcutta. On the afternoon of the 18th, I was
returning from church, and mounting the flight of steps which led to the
porch of the house, I saw a large steamer turn the corner of the
Pedungen Reach and anchor above the fort. It was the _Semiramis_
bringing the Bishop, Archdeacon Pratt and Mrs. Pratt, the Rev. H. Moule
from Singapore, Dr. Beale, the Bishop's physician, and Mr. Fox from
Bishop's College. This party, escorted by Frank, who rushed home to
dress himself in black (his usual attire being grey flannels and a white
muslin cassock), very soon marched into the house, exclaiming with
pleasure at the wreaths of white jessamine growing over the stairs, and
the fresh air of the hill. We had so lately settled in the house that it
was not half furnished, but we gave up our rooms to our guests and
stowed ourselves in an empty corner. I remember the satisfaction with
which Mrs. Stahl produced the remains of the Christmas plum-pudding,
and the comfort it was to have a joint of venison in the house. Dinner
was soon on the table, and immediately afterwards the Bishop read
prayers and retired to his room. We all went into the library, where we
had tea and talk. It was very refreshing to have an English lady to
speak to, and Mrs. Pratt was so tall and fair that everybody admired
her, especially the Malays, who used to say that it was sufficient
pleasure to look at her throat only.

The natives used to flock into the house every evening to see the Tuan
Padre besar (the great priest), and all the new-comers. At half-past
five a.m. the Bishop's bell used to ring for his servants to dress him,
and bring his tea. The whole house was astir then. The Indian servants
of the party slept in the verandahs, and seemed to me to talk all night.

The next day was Sunday, but the church was not cleared out for
consecration, and most of the fittings had come from Singapore in the
_Semiramis_, and could not be got out on Saturday night. So morning and
evening prayers were as usual in the dining-room, and what with the
officers of the _Semiramis_, the English of the place, the school and
our home party, the room was very full. The children sang with all their
might, and were much interested with the visitors. The Bishop and
Archdeacon Pratt preached morning and afternoon. On Wednesday the church
was ready. Mrs. Stahl and I were up before dawn, covering hassocks with
Turkey red cotton. The church was tiled, but platforms of wood, covered
with mats, which were a present from Mr. and Mrs. Stahl, were placed on
the tiles, and the chairs just arrived by _Semiramis_ stood on them. We
afterwards had to clear the platforms away--they became full of white
ants; but they looked very well at first.

When all was ready, Captain Brooke and all the principal English
inhabitants met the Bishop at the church door, and presented a petition
that he would consecrate the building. He then entered, and walked up
and down the church repeating psalms, etc. Then came morning service;
afterwards, the Bishop preached, and as he was very energetic and struck
the desk with his hand, our gentle Datu Bandar thought he was angry, and
slipped quickly out of church. There was a confirmation of a Chinese
teacher and my little maid Susan after the celebration of Holy
Communion, and then, after three hours and a half service, we returned
home. The next morning, early, the Bishop consecrated the burial-ground.
He was carried round it in a chair, for he was unable to walk much; and
though he was a hale old man of seventy-two, his many years' residence
at Calcutta had, I imagine, spoilt his walking powers.

He was very kind and friendly to us all, and admired the church very
much. His visit was a boon to the mission. It impressed the native mind
with the importance Christians attach to their churches and to public
worship. When our church bell called us to prayers twice every day, the
Mahometans revived the daily muezzin at the mosque; and the sight of the
public practice of religion amongst us quickened the Malays in the
performance of their own religious rites, and from that time there were
many more pilgrims to Mecca from Sarawak.



CHAPTER VI.

THE GIRLS.


Having said so much about the schoolboys, it would be unfair not to
mention the girls. Mary, Julia, and Phoebe, the half-caste children,
grew up beside us, and so did Polly, who was a Dyak baby brought to me
after the pirate expedition of 1849. Her mother fled, and dropped her
baby in the long grass, where it was found by an English sailor, who
carried it to the boats and gave it to one of the women captives to
bring to me--a poor little, skinny thing, with long yellow hair, like a
fairy changeling. I got a wet nurse for her and fed her with baby food,
but she got thinner and more elfish-looking. One day her nurse was
standing by while the other children were eating their dinner, and Polly
stretched out her arms to the rice and salt fish, and began to cry.
"Oh," said I, "perhaps she can eat;" and from that day the little one
ate her rice and discarded the nurse, growing fat and merry like the
rest.

Polly had a great talent for languages. Of course she learnt English and
Malay at once, hearing both languages from her earliest years. But how
she learnt Chinese as well used to surprise me. In 1866 I took Polly to
Hongkong. She was then nurse to our youngest child. The lady of the
house where we were staying accosted Polly in the pigeon English of the
place--a jargon mysterious to unaccustomed ears. It must be allowed that
Polly was not unlike a Chinese in appearance. She stared at the lady,
and then at me, upon hearing directions she could not understand. I
laughed. "Speak to Polly in English," I said, "and she will understand
what you mean." "Impossible," answered Mrs. M----; "my servants tell me
she must be Chinese, for she can talk in two dialects."

Polly married a Christian Chinaman afterwards, so her taste lay in that
direction. When I last heard of her, she was teaching in the day-schools
at Sarawak.

Mary married the schoolmaster, Mr. Owen. We brought Julia home with us
in 1869, and put her into a training-school for teachers in Dublin,
where she was much beloved. When we returned to Sarawak, in 1861, she
became the schoolmistress to the girls I then had in the house, and
others who came as day-scholars. She was a thoroughly good girl, and a
great comfort to me, but of course she married, a young man employed as
mate in the _Rainbow_, a Government vessel running between Sarawak and
Singapore. Some years afterwards Forrest died, and Julia married again,
an older man very well off. I have no doubt she is bringing up her
family in the fear of God, but I have not heard of her lately. I had
many trials with the girls, more than I like to recount. All the first
little family of Chinese girls we received in 1850 belonged to the tribe
who rebelled in 1857, and their relations carried them off when we were
driven from the mission-house. They were taken to Bau where their
relations lived, but what became of them in the terrible flight to the
Dutch country, when many were killed, and still more died of the
privations of the jungle, we never could hear.

Sarah and Fanny came to us in 1856. They were little orphans, half
Chinese, half Dyak, whom, with two more girls and four boys, the
Government had redeemed from slavery and gave to the mission. Some of
these children stayed at Lundu with Mr. Gomez and his family; some came
to me--Sarah, Fanny, and Betsy, a baby whom I gave out to nurse. Poor
little Sarah had a very scarred face from a burn, but she was a bright,
clever child. Fanny was better-looking, but more heavy and less
impressible. These two girls married native catechists in course of
time. I trust they are doing some good among their own people.

In the year 1862 some little captives fell into the hands of Captain
Brooke, then ruling at Sarawak. They came from Sarebas, and one of them
had been wounded by a spear, though he was only a tiny boy of four
years old. Captain Brooke wrote to me to know if I would take this
family of children into the school--two girls, Limo and Ambat, and two
boys, Esau and Nigo. If I could not take them, he said, they must be
sent back to their own country immediately, as there was a boat
departing the next day. The Bishop was away from Sarawak, so I had to
decide; nor would there have been any doubt in my mind about it, but
Esau the eldest boy was covered with kurap, from head to foot. This is a
skin disease to which Dyaks are subject, and which suggests the leprosy
of the Old Testament, for the outer skin peels off in flakes, and gives
almost a "white as snow" appearance to the surface. I doubted whether I
ought to take a pupil so afflicted, for it is decidedly catching. I
found that Ambat and Nigo had both patches of it here and there from
contact with Esau, whereas Limo, who was older, more clothed, and who
slept apart, was quite free.

Still, the alternative was nothing less than sending these four children
to their heathen relations, and to a place at that time beyond the reach
of Christ's gospel--a terrible idea which could not be entertained for a
moment. So at last I sent for them, resolving to keep them in our house,
and not allow them to go down to the school until the Bishop returned.
Shortly afterwards a Chinese doctor came to the Bishop, and said, "If
you will give me fifteen dollars I will cure that boy of kurap. I have a
wonderful medicine for it, made at the Natunas Islands." So he had the
money on condition of the cure. The medicine was an ointment as black as
pitch--indeed, I believe there was a good portion of tar in it. With
this the doctor smeared Esau all over. He was to wear no clothes, and
not to be washed or touched. I used to see him, poor child, skipping
about exactly like the little black imps depicted in _Punch_.

The ointment did not hurt him, but every third day the doctor came and
washed it all off with hot water: this was rather a painful operation,
but it was worth while undergoing some discomfort, for at the end of a
month the disease had vanished, and "his skin came again like the flesh
of a child." Esau grew up to be a good man and catechist to his own
countrymen, so it was well I ventured to keep him at Sarawak. The other
children soon got well when separated from him. Kurap arises, I believe,
from poor food and exposure to weather. A Dyak wears no clothes except a
long sash wound round him and the ends hanging down before and behind;
and when we consider the hot sun and frequent rains which beat upon him,
for he lives mostly out of doors, it is no wonder his skin suffers. Limo
and Ambat were clever children. In a letter, written about a year after
they came to us, I find this passage: "I have only four girls who can
read English and understand it. My two little Dyaks, Limo and Ambat, are
very fond of learning English hymns, and say them in such a plaintive,
touching voice, pronouncing each syllable so clearly, but they don't
understand it until it has been explained to them in Malay. Limo's
brother and uncle came this week from Sarebas--two fine, tall men, with
only chawats[2] and earrings by way of clothes. Limo was delighted; she
would have gone away with them in their great boat if I had allowed her.
No doubt they told her how much they would do for her at Sarebas.
However, I drew a little picture of the women setting her to draw large
bamboos full of water, and to beat out the paddy with a long pole--very
hard work, and always done by the young girls,--a more truthful and less
delightful view of things; so Limo said she would stay with me until she
was grown up. I gave her a pair of trousers for each of the men, a
present generally much esteemed. But these two were very wild folk; they
laughed very much at the trousers, and carried them away over their
shoulders."

    [Footnote 2: A chawat is a long strip of cotton or bark cloth
    wound round the body.]

I must not forget to tell the story of my dear child Nietfong, although
it is a very sad one. She was the daughter of the Chinese baker who
lived in the lane which led from our garden to the town. I used to
befriend her mother, a delicate little woman, very roughly treated by
her husband. She twice ran to me for shelter when her husband beat her,
and though of course I always had to give her up to him when he came
begging for her the next day, he knew what I thought of him, and had a
sort of respect for me in consequence. This poor woman died young, and
left one little girl about four years old. Nietfong used to come up to
day-school when she was old enough, and in 1858, when I was so happy as
to have an English governess for my Mab, I took the little Chinese girl
to live with us and join Mab in her lessons. She was quite a little
lady, so gentle, teachable, and well mannered. In 1860 we took our
children to England: Mab was six years old, and could not with any
safety remain longer in a hot climate. Little Nietfong went home, for
her father would not allow her to go to the school in my absence. We
returned in 1861, leaving three children in England, and brought a baby
girl out with us. As I walked up the lane to the mission-house, Nietfong
stood watching for me at the gate. "Take me home with you; oh, I am so
glad you are come back!" So I took her home, and Nietfong told me that
her father had married again, and that her step-mother was unkind to
her, and beat her when she said the prayers I had taught her night and
morning; "but," said the child, "I always prayed, nevertheless." She
lived with us till she was about thirteen, perhaps not so much; then her
father came to the Bishop and said he had sold Nietfong for a good sum
of money to a man in China, and must send her there to stay with her
grandmother.

In vain I entreated Acheck not to be so wicked. "Tell me how much you
would get for your daughter," I said, "and we will give you the money."
He laughed, and said I could not afford it, mentioning a large sum, but
I do not remember what it was; so I had to break the sad news to
Nietfong. We wept and prayed together that she might remain steadfast in
her Christian faith. As she then knew English very well, I gave her an
English Prayer-book, which she promised to use. Soon after, Acheck
himself took her to China; and when he came back, he would only say, "Oh
yes, of course she is happy--she is married and well off." I have always
felt sure that this dear girl was kept by God's grace from sin and evil,
for I believe she truly loved and desired to serve God. There was
something especially pure about her. Nietfong was never wilfully
naughty; she was one of those blameless ones who seem untouched by the
evil around them. We shall not know the sequel of her history until by
God's mercy we meet her in the heavenly home.

As I have spoken about the Dyak kurap, I may as well here mention the
real leprosy of the East, which was a terrible but not frequent scourge
among the Chinese. The Rajah had a small house built out of the town for
any men who were so afflicted, and they were fed by Government. The
Bishop or his chaplain used to go and teach these poor creatures, but
there were not more than three or four of them at a time. We knew one
Chinese woman who had leprosy. She became a Christian, and liked to have
a cottage lecture at her house. I often went to see her. Her toes
gradually dropped off, and her fingers. I never heard her complain. One
day I went to see her and found her very ill, constantly sick. She said
she had been poisoned; and it seemed probable, for no medicine gave her
any relief, and in a few hours she died. The natives have such a horror
of leprosy that they do not like to touch the body of any one who has
died of it, so the Bishop and Owen, the schoolmaster, laid poor Acheen
in her coffin; and this charitable act they performed for any
unfortunate who died of this terrible disease.

Acheen had adopted a little boy, Sifok by name. She must have been very
kind to the child, for he seemed wild with grief when she died, and was
very anxious that whoever had poisoned his mother, as he called her,
should be punished. But the case was not clear, and no one was punished.
We took Sifok into the school, and I taught him to play the harmonium,
which at last he accomplished very fairly.

Amongst our schoolboys was one particularly steady and religious. Tung
Fa was so good a Malay and Chinese scholar that he could interpret at
the Chinese Bible class, and also the sermon at the Chinese service at
church on Sunday. I think he knew his Bible almost by heart. He was
never very strong in health; then his feet began to swell, and leprosy
declared itself. For a long time he was carried to and from the church
in a chair, but at last he was so diseased that he was removed from the
school-house, and a little hut was built for him close to us. The boys
brought him his food, and of course he had anything he fancied from our
kitchen. I think the servants were very kind to him, and he exhibited a
beautiful example of patience and resignation until the disease affected
his brain; even then he was quite gentle, only he was always begging to
be baptized over again that he might die free from sin. This mistake
arose entirely from his illness. We were quite thankful when one morning
he was found dead in his bed. What a blissful waking, after so much
suffering!



CHAPTER VII.

THE LUNDUS.


The beginning of the year 1851 brought us much sorrow. After my illness
in November, 1850, we were persuaded by Sir James Brooke to accompany
him to Penang Hill, where the Government bungalow had been placed at his
disposal; consequently, after Christmas, we sailed in H.M.S. _Amazon_,
through the kindness of Captain Troubridge, for Singapore, taking our
child Harry with us. We had to wait some weeks at Singapore for the
Rajah, and soon after our arrival our little boy died of diptheria,
leaving us childless, for we had already lost two infants at Sarawak.
This grief threw a veil of sadness over the remaining years of our first
sojourn in the East. Perhaps it urged us to a deeper interest in the
native people than we might have felt had there been any little ones of
our own to care for; but those six years "the flowers all died along our
way," one infant after another being laid in God's acre.

We stayed six weeks amid the lovely scenery and in the cooler air of
Penang Hill, and returned to Sarawak in May, Admiral Austin giving us a
passage in H.M.S. _Fury_. The admiral gave me his cabin to sleep in, all
the gentlemen sleeping in the cuddy. I woke in the night, hearing a
rushing sound in the air, then, patter, patter, all over the bed. I
jumped up, and called Frank to bring a light and see what was the
matter. "Oh," said a voice from the cuddy, "better not: it is only
cockroaches, and if you saw them you would not go to sleep again." This
swarm of cockroaches came out several times before daylight. The next
night I put up a mosquito-net to protect my face and hands from these
disgusting creatures. When a steamer has been nearly three years in
these hot latitudes it becomes horribly full of rats and cockroaches. My
husband, taking a trip in H.M.S. _Contest_, in 1858, woke one morning
unable to open one eye. Presently he felt a sharp prick, and found a
large cockroach sitting on his eyelid and biting the corner of his eye.
They also bite all round the nails of your fingers and toes, unless they
are closely covered. It must be said that insects are a great discomfort
at Sarawak. Mosquitoes, and sand-flies, and stinging flies which turn
your hands into the likeness of boxing-gloves, infest the banks of the
rivers, and the sea-shore. Flying bugs sometimes scent the air
unpleasantly, and there are hornets in the woods whose sting is
dangerous. When we look back upon the happy days we spent in that
lovely country, these drawbacks are forgotten; the past is always
beautiful, and shadows, even of sorrow and sickness, only enhance the
interest of the picture. Sin alone, in ourselves and those about us, can
make the past hateful, and the great charm of the future is that it is
untouched by sin. Happy, then, are those who are able to look back on
the past with smiles of thankfulness, while they stretch out their arms
hopefully to the future.

Sarawak looked very peaceful on our return; and now began the interest
of the Dyak missions. From our first arrival at Kuching my husband had
taken every opportunity of visiting the Dyak tribes, and sometimes a
chief would come to the town with a number of his people, to pay their
rice tax, or purchase clothes, tobacco, gongs, gunpowder, whatever the
bazaar possessed which they valued. They brought with them beeswax,
damar, honey, or rattans to exchange for those things. On these
occasions the whole party came up to the mission-house to hear the
harmonium, see the magic-lantern, and beg presents. At first they would
ask for arrack, but finding nothing but claret to be had with us, soon
left off that request. Plates and cups were always valued, and they used
to say we had _so many_ more than we could possibly want in the pantry,
that of course we would give them some. To their honour be it said, they
never stole one, and were invariably refused, for we had not any more
than we wanted. The Dyaks hung their plates in loops of rattan very
ingeniously against the walls of their houses; but a plantain-leaf
folded up is more often used by them in lieu of plates, and they could
not have a better substitute. I never enjoyed a meal so much as some
cold rice and sardines eaten off a plantain-leaf in the jungle at Lundu,
after a long walk to the waterfall. The servant with the provision
basket had lost his way, and as we sat hungry under the great trees at
the foot of the fall, a Dyak friend produced a box of sardines and a
parcel of cold rice, and divided it amongst us. When at last the basket
of cold chickens arrived we handed them over to the Dyaks, feeling quite
superior to such civilized food.

The Lundu Dyak chief was a great friend and admirer of Sir James Brooke
from his first arrival in the country. He and his tribe were the
determined enemies of the pirates, and with the Balows of the Batang
Lupar braved the Sarebas and Sakarrans, even when they were most
powerful. At the pirate fight of 1849 the Lundu chief lost two of his
sons: they were killed by an ambush set by Lingi the Sarebas chief. Only
one son, Callon, remained, and he was not his father's favourite. Poor
old Orang Kaya! it was a terrible trial, and nearly brought him to his
grave. Some time afterwards, he and Callon were at Sarawak to pay their
tax. Lingi, who had then submitted to the Rajah, had been in Sarawak for
some days, professedly to trade, but really to see if he could not take
Sir James Brooke's head. This was prevented by the watchfulness of the
Malays, who, suspecting Lingi, never let him get near the Rajah when
they sat talking after dinner, as was the custom in those days. So Lingi
went away foiled, and the day they dropped down the river the Lundus
heard of it. Revenge seemed ready at hand: they had a fast boat, were a
large party, and brave to a man. They entreated the Rajah to let them
follow Lingi and take his head--never again would they take a head, only
Lingi's, the Rajah's enemy and their own. Of course they were refused,
and it must have been a terrible strain on their affection and fealty to
the Rajah, not in this instance to follow the traditions of their
ancestors, and gratify their personal revenge by killing a traitor. But
they obeyed, and Lingi got safely back to Sarebas, little knowing how
narrowly he escaped. The old Lundu chief was a Christian before he died.
He always professed a desire to be of the same religion and brother to
the white man, but when, after due instruction, his son and grandson
came to Kuching to be baptized, he was not well enough to accompany
them, Mr. Gomes promised to baptize him on their return; but when that
event took place Orang Kaya was dead, gone where, no doubt, the will was
taken for the deed, as he was a Christian at heart. Mr. Gomes was from
Bishop's College, Calcutta. Soon after he came to us, in 1852, he went
to Lundu and remained there until 1867, when his children requiring more
education than he could give them at a Dyak station, he went to
Singapore, and accepted the post of missionary priest there.

Mr. Grant was Government resident at Lundu, and the ruler and missionary
devoted themselves to the improvement of the people. In 1855, when we
returned to our home after our first visit to England, we received a
delightful visit from Mr. Gomes and twelve Dyaks, whom he brought to be
baptized at St. Thomas's Church. Callon's son Langi, and half a dozen
other boys, lived with Mr. Gomes, and ran after him all day--nice little
fellows, who fraternized with our boys at the school-house. There were
also five men, the chief of whom was Bulan (Moon), one of the manangs,
or witch-doctors, of the tribe. These manangs, being as it were the
priests of Dyak superstitions, and getting their living by pretended
cures, interpretations of omens and the voices of birds, were of course
the natural enemies of truth and enlightenment. Bulan, however, had
tried to be an honest manang, and finding it impossible had turned with
all his heart to Christianity. His brother Bugai, also a Christian, was
a very intelligent person, and became catechist at Lundu.

There was also a very rich old man, Simoulin by name, who was baptized
at this time. His wife had opposed his conversion with all her might;
indeed, she declared she would leave him and carry half the property
with her. Simoulin said quietly, "If she will she must: she is only a
woman, and her judgment in the matter is not likely to be good."
Christianity had strong opponents in the women of all the Dyak tribes.
They held important parts in all the feasts, incantations, and
superstitions, which could not be called religion, but were based on the
dread of evil spirits and a desire to propitiate them. The women
encouraged head-taking by preferring to marry the man who had some of
those ghastly tokens of his prowess. When Sir James Brooke forbad
head-taking among the tribes in his dominions, it was the women who
would row their lovers out of the rivers in their boats, and set them
down on the sea-coast to find the head of a stranger. When heads were
brought in, it was the women who took possession of them, decked them
with flowers, put food into their mouths, sang to them, mocked them, and
instituted feasts in honour of the slayers. The young Dyak woman works
hard; she helps in all the labours of sowing, planting out, weeding, and
reaping the paddy. She beats out the rice in a wooden trough, with a
long pole, or pestle. She grows the cotton for clothing, dyes and weaves
it. She carries heavy burdens, and paddles her boat on the river. All
these are her duties, and in performing them she quickly loses her
smooth skin, bright eyes, and slender figure. It is only the young girls
who can boast of any beauty, but the old women are very important
personages at a seed-time or harvest festival. They dress themselves in
long garments embroidered with tiny white shells, representing lizards
and crocodiles. With long wands in their hands, they dance, singing wild
incantations. They have already prepared the food for the
feast--chickens roasted in their feathers; cakes of rice, spun like
vermicelli and fried in cocoa-nut oil; curries, and salads of bitter and
acid leaves; sticks of small bamboo filled with pulut rice and boiled,
when it turns to a jelly and is agreeably flavoured with the young
bamboo. It is the women also who serve out the tuak, a spirit prepared
from rice and spiced with various ingredients, tobacco being one. The
men must drink at these feasts; they are very temperate generally, but
on this occasion they are rather proud of being drunk and boasting the
next day of a bad headache! The women urge them to drink, but do not
join in the orgies, and disappear when the intoxicating stage begins. I
trust that this description belongs only to the past; at any rate, we
know that in those places where the missionaries have long taught, their
people follow a more excellent way of rejoicing in the joy of harvest,
and, after their thanksgiving service in church, pour out their
offerings of rice before the altar to maintain the services, and
minister to the sick and needy.

[Illustration: A DYAK GIRL.

_Page_ 74.]

For many years, however, the women were opposed to a religion which
cleared away the superstitious customs which were the delight of their
lives, their chief amusement and dissipation, and a means of influencing
the men. It was not until the year 1864 that Mr. Gomes asked us to visit
Lundu and welcome a little party of women, the first converts to the
faith which their fathers and husbands had long professed. This is a
long digression from the history of the Lundus' visit to Kuching in
1855, which was at the time a great event. I find the following passage
in my journal: "Every evening, before late dinner, the Lundus go up to
Mr. Gomes's room to say their prayers, and sing, or rather chant, their
hymns. There is something very affecting in this little service--the
Dyak voices singing of Christ's second coming with His holy angels, and
rejoicing that He came once before for their salvation; then praying for
holy, gentle hearts to receive Him. I always feel on these occasions as
if I heard these precious truths afresh when they are spoken in a tongue
till lately ignorant of them. Indeed, there can scarcely be a more
joyful excitement than such passages in the life of a missionary; they
are worth any sacrifice. After English morning service, Mr. Gomes has
prayers in church for his Dyaks. He then instructs them in the baptismal
service. This makes five daily services in church, two English, two
Chinese, and one Dyak. We clothed all the candidates in a new suit of
cotton garments with a bright-coloured handkerchief for their heads. It
would be considered very irreverent for Easterns to uncover their heads
in church. I taught the school-children to sing 'Veni, Creator Spiritus'
at this baptism, while the clergy were arranging the candidates and
sponsors round the font. The font was wreathed with flowers by my
children. There was quite a full church, for the Chinese Christians all
came to see the Dyaks baptized, and all the English of the place were
present. Mr. Gomes baptized, and my husband signed them with the cross.
They all spoke up bravely in answering to their vows: may God give them
grace to keep them."

This baptism took place on Whit Sunday. On Thursday of that week, Mr.
Gomes, his Dyaks, and Frank, went off to Linga for a week to visit Mr.
Chambers, and Mr. Horsburgh at Banting, that the converts of both tribes
might become friends. The Balows and Lundus had always been united in
their efforts against the pirate tribes, and in their fealty to the
Rajah's Government. On this account they had a right to the services of
the first missionaries who came from England to teach Dyaks. The visit
to Banting had another object besides the mutual friendship of the
converts. A controversy had arisen in the mission about the right word
to be used in translations for _Jesus_. Isa is the name the Malays use,
and the Dutch translations of the Bible employ this name; but there
happened to be a bad Malay man owning the name of Isa, well known to the
Balows, and Mr. Chambers feared some confusion would arise in the minds
of converts in applying the same name to our Lord. It was therefore
necessary to have a meeting of the clergy to decide this and many other
religious terms to be used in hymns, catechisms, and in general
teaching, that there might be unity in the mission: it would not do to
have any divisions in the camp on such a subject. There are fifty miles
of sea to cross from the Sarawak River to the Batang Lupar, then a long
pull from the fort at Linga up to Banting. The journey took three nights
and two days.

The mission-house at Banting is most romantically placed on the crest of
a hill overhanging the river about three hundred feet, and stands in a
grove of beautiful fruit-trees. The view from it is enchanting. The
river branches at the foot of the hill, and each branch seems to vie
with the other in the tortuousness of its course through the bright
green paddy-fields. About a mile off rises Mount Lesong[3] with a
graceful slope, about three thousand feet, and then terminates abruptly
in a rugged top. The four clergymen who met at Banting looked almost as
wild as their people--wide shady hats, long staffs, long beards, not a
shirt among the party, and but one pair of shoes, belonging to my
husband, who never could walk barefooted. They spent several days
together, and had much consultation about religious terms. The most
intelligent of the Dyak Christians were present, as it was necessary,
not only to choose words they could understand, but such as they could
easily pronounce. On Trinity Sunday there were several services in the
large room of the house, for the church was not yet built. The Lingas
sang their hymns with great energy to one of their own wild strains, but
when they heard the Lundus' melodious chant they were ashamed to sing
after them, and begged them to teach them. The Dyaks love music and
verse. Mr. Gomes and Mr. Chambers wrote them hymns, and the Creed in
verse, which they readily commit to memory and understand better than
prose. Pictures are also used in their instruction: a parable or miracle
is read, then a picture of it produced and explained, the Dyaks
repeating each sentence after the teacher, to keep their attention.

    [Footnote 3: _Lesong_, mortar, being mortar-shaped.]

The baptized alone join in the Litany and Holy Communion. The afternoon
was spent in visiting the sick and giving medicine. Several women came
to the house for instruction, and seemed to take great interest in Mr.
Chambers, teaching; but it was not until Mr. Chambers was married that
any women were baptized. At breakfast the next morning came an old
chief, called Tongkat Langit--the Staff of Heaven. His son Lingire was
one of the most pleasing converts, and Tongkat was wavering--had not
leisure at present! The necessity of forswearing the practise of
head-taking deters the old men from becoming Christians: they fear to
lose influence with their tribe. The little party then fixed upon the
spot where the church should be built, a permanent bilian chancel to
which a nave could be added when the additional room was required.
Twenty-five pounds from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
was all the money then in hand to begin with; but very soon more was
collected, and when I visited Banting in 1857 there was a lovely little
church standing on the hill overlooking the village, and surrounded by
beautiful trees. The walk to it from the mission-house was just like a
gentleman's park, the green sward and groups of trees with lovely peeps
of hill and valleys and winding streams between. Again in 1864 we went
to Banting, that the Bishop might consecrate the church. The nave was
then built. Every stick in the church was bilian. The white ants walked
in as soon as the workmen left. In one night they carried their covered
ways all over the inside of the roof, the walls, the beams, and rafters;
and finding nothing they could bite, they walked out again, leaving
their traces plainly marked. Since then a coloured-glass window,
representing our Lord's Resurrection, has been added at the east end of
the church; and, what is better far, the church is full of Dyak
Christians every Sunday, and from this living Church many branches have
been planted, so that the Banting Mission now includes seven stations,
where there are school-churches built by the natives themselves, and
many hundreds of Christian worshippers.

In 1854, six years having passed away since a little band of Sir James
Brooke's friends founded the Borneo Church Mission, the funds of the
Society came to an end; and the mission would have collapsed also, had
not the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign
Parts consented to become responsible for it. As the missionaries and
catechists increased in number, and fresh stations were added to the
church, they opened their arms wider to receive them, until they set
apart £3000 a year for Borneo. Under their fostering care the mission
flourished, as it could not have done under the management of any
private society.



CHAPTER VIII.

A BOAT JOURNEY.


Throughout the year 1852 and part of '53 my husband was much tried with
rheumatism in his knee, which made him quite lame, though he would
hobble to church on crutches, and to hospital to look after his poor
patients. Meanwhile he taught the young missionaries something of the
art of healing, dressing wounds and broken bones, and physicking the
ailments to which natives are most subject--fever, dysentery, etc. It
was quite necessary they should know something of these subjects before
they could be any use in the jungle. The first question the Dyaks asked,
if told a new missionary was coming, would always be, "Is he clever at
physic?" Medicines and simple remedies were always furnished to every
mission-station, and the Rajah supplied all the stores that were needed
for Kuching or elsewhere. We had taken a good stock with us at first,
and all sorts of surgical instruments, but the Government kept it
replenished.

The hospital was set up when the great influx of Chinese brought numbers
of sick people to the place. A long shed was built, and twenty beds
immediately filled; but the next day, one of the patients having died,
all the others who could move ran away. They have so great a horror of a
dead body that they never suffered any one to die in their houses if
they could help it, but built a little shed for the sick man, and
visited him twice a day with food and opium while life lasted. A
separate room was therefore added for the dead. This hospital furnished
good instruction to the missionaries. It was also their duty to teach
the sick every day, and the result was that several Chinese were
baptized on their recovery. This shed was afterwards exchanged for a
long room above the fort, which was both more airy and substantial. A
dispensary was attached to it.

When Mr. Chambers came from England and was able to undertake the duties
at Kuching, my husband accompanied Captain Brooke and some of the
Government officers in a tour up the Batang Lupar and Rejang Rivers. He
was very lame at the time, but had no walking to do, only now and then
to get out of his large boat and scramble up into a Dyak house. How he
managed it under the circumstances I never could imagine, for the
staircase from the water to a high Dyak house is only the trunk of a
tree with a few notches in it, and, at low tide, a case of slippery mud;
this, placed at a steep angle, without any rail, is not easy climbing
for any one, but a stiff knee made it still more difficult.

The object of the expedition was to make peace between certain Dyak
tribes who had long been enemies, and to build a fort on the Rejang
River, similar to Mr. Brereton's fort at Sakarran, and for the same
purpose. An Englishman named Steele was to occupy the fort with some
Malays. Captain Brooke took the _Jolly Bachelor_ gunboat, and Frank
moved into it to cross the sea from the mouth of the Sarawak to the
Linga River, for the waves were high and wetted the smaller boats. When
they reached the Linga River, he was sitting one Sunday night on the
boom of the _Jolly_, enjoying the moonlight, and watching the swift rush
of the tide, which is very rapid in that river. Suddenly, the piece of
wood he was trusting to broke, and he was precipitated over the stern.
Had he fallen into the water he must have been dragged under the vessel
by the tide and drowned, but, through God's mercy, the ship's boat
(_Dingy_), which only a few minutes before was the whole length of its
painter away from the _Jolly_, swept up to it from the swing of the
vessel, and, as he fell, he caught hold of the boat and pulled himself
into it, escaping with only a bruise, when a watery bed, or the jaws of
an alligator or shark, might have received him. A shark had been
swimming round the gun-boat during Divine service that day, and an
alligator had taken a man only the day before from a boat close by. My
dear husband's comment on this narrow escape is, "Praise the Lord, O my
soul, and forget not all His benefits; who redeemeth thy life from
destruction, and crowneth thee with mercy and lovingkindness."

The fleet waited for some days in the Linga River, while the Balow Dyaks
fetched the jars which they were to exchange with the Sakarrans as a
pledge of peace. These jars, of which every Dyak tribe possessed some,
are of unknown antiquity. There is nothing very particular in their
appearance. They are brown in colour, have handles at the sides, and
sometimes figures of dragons on them. They vary in value, but though the
Chinese have tried to imitate them, hoping to sell them to the Dyaks,
they have never deceived them: they detect a difference where no
European or Chinese eye can, and at once pronounce the Chinese jars of
no value. Yet they will not sell their own rusas or tajows for any
money, and they fancy that some of them have the property of keeping
water always sweet. If a Dyak tribe offends the law, Government fines
them so many jars, which are brought to Kuching and kept, or returned on
their good behaviour. This reminds me of the story of a little Dyak boy
who was taken prisoner in 1849. His father was killed, and the boy,
about eight years old, was brought to the Rajah. For some days the child
seemed quite happy, then he begged to speak to "Tuan Rajah," and told
him confidentially that he knew a place in the jungle where some
valuable tajows were secreted, and if he would land him with some
Malays or the bank of the river, he would point out the place. The Rajah
believed the child, and the jars were found, and taken on board the
boat. Then the little boy went again to the Rajah, and bursting into
tears, said, "I have given you the riches of my tribe; in return give me
my liberty. Set me down in the jungle path, give me some food, and in
two days I shall reach my home and my mother." So the child was laden
with all he took a fancy to--a china cup, a glass tumbler, and a gay
sarong (waist-cloth), and as much food as he could carry--and we heard
afterwards that he rejoined his friends in safety.

I must now return to my husband's journal. He says: "While at breakfast
this morning, one of the men told us he had seen the people with tails,
of whom we have often heard.[4] They live fifteen days up a river, in
the interior of the Bruni country. It is a large river, but in some
places runs through caverns, where they can only pass on small rafts. He
was sent there by Pangeran Mumeim to get goats, as these tailed gentry
keep a great many of them. He says their tails are as long as the two
joints of the middle finger, fleshy and stiff. They must be very
inconvenient, for they are obliged to sit on logs of wood made on
purpose, or to make a hole in the earth, to accommodate their tails
before they can sit down. These people do not eat rice, but sago made
into cakes and baked in a pot. In their country, he said, was a great
stone fort, with nine large iron guns, of which the people can give no
account, not knowing when or by whom it was built.

    [Footnote 4: This legend, though commonly reported, has never
    been proved.]

"After dinner, when the men sit round me and smoke my cigars, they soon
enter into conversation. We spoke a good deal to-day on the subject of
religion, the difference between Christianity and Mahometanism, and,
above all, the absurdity of their repeating the Koran, like so many
parrots, without understanding one word of what they say; and the
irreverence of addressing God in words they do not understand, so that
their hearts can take no part in their prayers. They agreed that it
would be better to learn God's law, instead of trusting merely to their
hadjis, who are often as ignorant as themselves. A respectable old Bruni
man, speaking of different races of men of various colours, said he had
visited a tribe of white people, who lived on a high hill in the
interior of the country; they were very white, and the women beautiful,
with light hair. The men dress like Dyaks, but the women wear a long
black robe, tight at the waist, and puffed out on the shoulders. The
tradition of their origin, he said, was as follows: A long, long time
ago, an old man who lived on this mountain lost himself in the jungle at
its foot, and at night, being tired, and afraid of snakes and the evil
spirits of the wood, he climbed into a tree and fell asleep. He was woke
by a noise of ravishing music, the sweetest gongs and chanangs mingling
with voices over his head. The music came nearer and nearer to the
place where he was, until he heard the sweet voices under the tree, and,
looking down, beheld a large clear fountain opened, and seven beautiful
females bathing. They were all of different sizes, like the fingers on a
man's hand, and they sung as they sported in the water. The old man
watched them for some time, and thought how much he should like one of
them as a wife for his only son; but as he was afraid of descending
among them, he made a noose with a long piece of rattan, lowered it
gently, and slipping it over one of them, drew her up into the tree. She
cried out, and they all disappeared with a whirring noise. The girl he
caught was very young, and she cried sadly because she had no clothes
on; so he rolled her in a chawat (long sash), and immediately heard the
gongs at his own house, which he had thought was a long way off. He took
the child home, and she was brought up by his wife, until she was old
enough to marry their son. She was very good and sweet-tempered, and
everybody loved her. In course of time she had a son, as white as
herself. One day her husband was in a violent rage and beat her. She
implored him not to make her cry, or she should be taken away from him
and her child. But he did not heed, and at last pulled her jacket off to
beat her. Immediately another jacket was dropped with a great noise from
the sky, upon the house. She put it on, and vanished upwards, leaving
her son, who was the ancestor of the present tribe."

Who would have thought of a Dyak Undine?

While the Malay was telling this story, the boat was waiting in a
sheltered nook of the Sakarran River for the bore to pass, before the
crew dare venture up to the fort. The bore is a great wave, twelve feet
high, which rushes up with the tide, and is succeeded by two smaller
waves. It is very dangerous to boats; but happily the natives know where
to hide while it sweeps past.

When they reached Sakarran Fort it took several days to hear all the
claims the Lingas and Sakarrans had against each other. Six years
before, the Rajah had persuaded them to make peace, but they had broken
it the same day, and laid the blame upon one another. At last matters
were arranged, and a platform being made under a wide-spreading
banyan-tree, the chiefs sat round; and Captain Brooke made them a
speech, describing the evils of piracy and war, and the determination of
the Rajah that his subjects should live at peace with one another.

"He then presented each chief with a jar, a spear, and a Sarawak flag,
and desired them to use the flag in their boats for the purposes of
trade. Nothing could be more picturesque than the scene. The surface of
the water was dotted over with the long serpent-like bangkongs, gaily
painted and adorned with flags and streamers of many colours, which
looked all the brighter against the solemn jungle background. Then
Gassim and Gila Brani (madly brave), on the part of the Sakarrans, and
Tongkat Langit (Staff of Heaven), the Linga chief, joined hands; and
each tribe killed a pig with great ceremony, and inspected the entrails
to see if the peace was good. Then they feasted and rejoiced together.
This ended, they proceeded up the Rejang River in the boats, and paddled
for four days, from twenty-five to thirty miles a day, until they came
to the Kenowit, on the banks of which the fort was to be built."

The Rejang is a glorious river. It is not visited by a bore, and eighty
miles from the sea it is half a mile broad, and deep to the banks. The
flowers and fruits which grow there are a continual surprise and
pleasure--but how shall I describe the flowers of those great
woods?--not only up the Rejang, but everywhere in the old jungle. They
seldom grow on the ground, though you may sometimes come upon a huge bed
of ground orchids, but mostly climb up the trees, and hang in festoons
from the branches. One plant, the Ixora, for instance, propagating
itself undisturbed, will become a garden itself, trailing its red or
orange blossoms from bough to bough till the forest glows with colour.

The Rhododendron, growing in the forks of the great branches, takes
possession of the tall trees, making them blush all over with delicate
pinks and lilacs, or deepest rose clusters. Then the orchideous plants
fix themselves in the branches, and send out long sprays of blossom of
many colours and sweetest perfume. Here the voice of the Burong boya
(crocodile-bird) may be heard, singing like an English thrush. He shakes
his wings as he sings, and the Malays say that from time immemorial he
has owed a large sum of money to the crocodile, who comes every year to
ask payment; then the bird, perched on a high bough out of reach of the
monster, sings, "How can I pay? I have nothing but my feathers, nothing
but my feathers!" So the crocodile goes away till next year. There are
not many singing birds in Borneo besides this thrush. The soft voices of
many doves and pigeons may always be heard, and often the curious
creaking noise made by the wings of rhinoceros hornbills as they fly
past. More musical is the voice of the Wawa monkey, a bubbling like
water running out of a narrow-necked bottle, always to be heard at early
dawn, and the sweetest of alarums. A dead stillness reigns in the jungle
by day, but at sunset every leaf almost becomes instinct with life. You
might almost fancy yourself beset by Gideon's army, when all the lamps
in the pitchers rattled and broke, and every man blew his trumpet into
your ear. It is an astounding noise certainly, and difficult to believe
that so many pipes and rattles, whirring machines and trumpets, belong
to good-sized beetles or flies, singing their evening song to the
setting sun. As the light dies away all becomes still again, unless any
marshy ground shelters frogs. But to hear all this you must go to the
old jungle, where the tall trees stand near together and shut out the
light of day, and almost the air, for there is a painful sense of
suffocation in the dense wood.



CHAPTER IX.

CONTINUATION OF THE TRIP TO REJANG.


After two days' paddling from the mouth of the Rejang, the boats arrived
at Sibou, where there is a manufactory for nepa salt. The nepa palm
grows down to the edge of the banks, which are washed by a salt tide,
and furnishes the Dyak with many necessaries.

The leaves make the thatch to cover the roofs of the houses, or shelter
over their boats. Neatly fastened together with split rattans, they form
the walls of the house. From the juice of the tree they make a fermented
drink something like sweet beer, also brown sugar. The young shoots are
eaten in curries and salads. The fruit is salted or pickled. When they
have got all these good things out of it, they burn the stem of the palm
with some of the leaves, and wash the burnt ashes in water. This water
is then boiled until it is evaporated, and some black salt remains at
the bottom of the pot. It tastes bitter as well as salt; but the Dyaks
prefer it to common salt, and if you ask why, they say, "It is a fat
salt." I must now return to my husband's journal. "Arrived at Kenowit. A
tribe of Milanows have been induced to settle here lately by the Rajah.
Within the last few weeks they have built two long and substantial
houses, raised thirty feet from the ground on trunks of trees, some two
feet in diameter. There are in all sixty doors, or families. The tribe
furnishes three hundred fighting men, and numbers from fifteen hundred
to two thousand.

"The bachelors, as with the Dyaks, have a separate dwelling.

"Tanee's tribe, who are returning to Sibou on the Rajah's promise to
build a fort at Kenowit, are of the same tribe, and number about three
hundred men. They speak the Milanow language, and have the same customs
of burial. The men and some of the women are tattooed in the most
grotesque patterns. When you look at them closely the invention
displayed is truly remarkable; but at a distance they give a dingy,
dusky appearance to the men, as if they were daubed with an inky sponge.
Nature having denied them beards, they tattoo curly locks along their
faces, always bordered by a vandyke fringe, which must task their utmost
ingenuity. Tanee, who has followed us with some of his warriors, is the
very exquisite of a Kenowit. He is made like a Hercules, and is proud of
showing his strength and agility. He piques himself upon having the
best sword, of fine Kayan make and native metal, and the strongest arm
in his tribe. He sits most of the day sharpening one or another of these
swords, feeling and looking along its edge to see that the weapon is in
perfect order: then, to prove it, he seeks for a suitable block of wood,
as thick as his arm, severs it at a blow, gives a yell, and with a grin
of delight returns the weapon to its sheath. His jacket is of scarlet
satin; his long hair is confined by a gold-embroidered handkerchief; his
chawat is of fine white cloth, very long, and richly embroidered--the
ends hang down to his knees, he wears behind an apron of panther's skin,
trimmed with red cloth and alligator's teeth, and other charms; this
hangs from his loins to his knees, and always affords him a dry seat.
Tanee's boat is long, made out of one tree, like our river canoes, but
much lighter and faster. His cabin is a raised platform in the centre of
the boat, covered with a mat, and hung all round with weapons and
trophies of war--Kyan fighting-coats of bear and buffalo hides, having
head-pieces adorned with beads or shells, shields and spears all gaily
decked with Argus' feathers, or human hair dyed red.

"On Sunday we moved from the boats into Palabun's house, and settled
ourselves in part of the verandah. After breakfast I doctored the sick,
and then we had the morning service, much to the surprise of the
natives, who, however, did not disturb us. They sit round us all day,
hearing and asking us questions.... Meanwhile the seven hundred men who
came in the flotilla of twenty boats, were busy building the fort. First
they pulled down a temporary fort already set up by the Kenowits, and
then cut wood to erect a substantial building. Four guns were mounted on
the parapet, and there was a house inside for the Malay commandant, and
a powder magazine. All the chiefs near Kenowit were assembled when the
fort was finished, and had the same kind of address made them as at
Sakarran, praising the benefits of peaceful trade instead of the
miseries of wasteful war. They all listened with respect. That same
afternoon, dismal howlings issued from Palabun's house. His brother, who
had left him two years ago with a party of fourteen, to visit a friendly
tribe at a distance, had been treacherously murdered. He and his party
had been kindly received by their friends, and they had all gone out
together on the war-path to seek heads. It is supposed that when they
met no one, the hosts had turned on their visitors and taken their
heads, rather than return home without any. Palabun vowed vengeance, and
the whole tribe go into mourning for three months." (Bishop's Journal.)

A Dyak mourning is not a becoming black costume, made "cheerful," as the
dressmakers say, by jet ornaments and bugle trimmings. It consists in
the abandonment of all ornament and their usual clothing, and the
substitution of a kind of a brown cloth made of the inside bark of
trees, which must be as rough and uncomfortable as it is ugly. These
people, being Milanows, have peculiar burial customs. They lay the dead
in a boat, with all his property and belongings, and send it out to sea;
for they imagine that in some way a man's possessions may be of use to
him in another world, if no one claims them on earth.

"In this case there was no corpse to bury. The clothes were so disposed
on the bier as to represent a figure, and laid beside it were handsome
gold cloths and ornaments, gold buttons, krises,[5] and breastplates,
and weapons of Javanese manufacture, representing some hundreds of
dollars. There were also gongs and two brass guns. Of course the fate of
such boat-loads, sent adrift in a tidal river, is generally to be
capsized and lost in the water. But if Malays encounter them they do not
hesitate to appropriate the effects. Palabun knew this, so he did not
send his brother's boat away until our fleet had departed." (Bishop's
Journal.)

    [Footnote 5: A kris is a Malay dagger.]

I remember our once meeting one of these boats. It had been caught by
branches from the bank, and swayed idly to and fro in the stream. We
could only see a heap of coloured clothes inside it, but there was a
weird, ghastly look about the boat which made us shudder. An unburied
corpse, left to the winds and waves, without a prayer or a blessing! how
could it be otherwise? Even if we could delude ourselves into fancying
the Dyaks happy during their lives without Christianity, there can be no
doubt of their being miserable when death comes. They all believe dimly
in a future state, but their dread of spirits is so great that they can
have no ideas of happiness unconnected with their bodies. "Having no
hope, and without God in the world," describes the mental state of a
heathen Dyak. In 1856, we were living for a few weeks on a hill called
Peninjauh, some miles from Kuching, where the Rajah had built a cottage
as a sanitarium after illness. The cool freshness of the mountain air,
and the glorious view from See-afar Cottage, were indeed conducive to
health. On the hillsides lived several villages of Land Dyaks, and I had
a woman as nurse to my baby who belonged to one of these villages. The
cholera was in the country at that time, and three men had died of the
Sebumban Dyaks. Every night the most mournful wailing arose above the
trees--a sad sound indeed, rising and falling on the wind as the friends
of the dead walked all through the jungle paths near their homes, now
near to our cottage, now far off. One night I found my little ayah
seated in the nursery when she ought to have been in the cook-house
getting her supper. "What is the matter, Nina? Are you ill, that you are
eating no supper?" "No, I am not ill, but I dare not go to the
cook-house to-night." "Why?" "I fear to meet the spirits who are abroad
to-night in the jungle." "The spirits of the dead men?" "No, the spirits
who come to fetch them." After three days the bodies of these Dyaks were
burnt, for this was the custom of the Sebumbans. The dead man is laid
on a pile of wood, and they all sit round watching. Nina said, that when
the fire has burnt some time the dead man sits up for a moment,
whereupon they all burst into renewed waitings of sorrow and farewell. I
am told that the heat swelling the sinews of the dead body may cause
this curious phenomenon; but could there be a more mournful, hopeless
story of death?

It is a relief to return to the party on the Rejang River. They were
much entertained one day with a war-dance between two warriors, which
was a graphic pantomime of their customs. "The two men appeared fully
armed, and were supposed to be each alone on the war-path, looking out
for a head. They moved to the beat of native drums, and seemed to be
going through all the motions of looking out for an enemy, pulling out
the ranjows (sharp pieces of cane stuck in the earth, point upwards, to
lame an enemy). At length they descried one another, danced defiance,
and, flourishing swords and shields, commenced the attack. The
nimbleness with which they parried every stroke of the sword, and
covered their bodies with their shields, was remarkable. In real combat,
to strike the shield is certain death, because the sword sticks in the
wood and cannot be withdrawn in time to prevent the other man from using
his sword. After a time, one of the combatants fell wounded, and covered
his body with his shield. The other danced round him triumphantly, and
with one blow pretended to cut off his head; then, head in hand, he
capered with the wildest gestures, expressive of the very ecstasy of
savage delight But, on looking at his trophy closely, he recognized the
features of a friend, and, smitten with remorse, he replaced the head
with much solicitude. Then, moving with a slow, measured tread, he wept,
and with many sighs of grief adjusted the head with much care, caught
rain in his shield and poured it over the body; then rubbed and shook
the limbs, which by degrees became alive by his mesmeric-like passings
and chafings from the feet upwards. Each limb as it revived beat time to
the music, first faintly, then with more vigour, till it came to the
head; and when that nodded satisfactorily, and the whole body of his
friend was in motion, he gave him a few extra shakes, lifted him on his
legs, and the scene concluded by their dancing merrily together."
(Bishop's Journal.)

Captain Brooke and my husband were a month away on this expedition. They
would have liked to pay a visit to Kum Nepa, a Kyan chief, who lived
much farther up the river,--six days in a fast Kyan boat, said the
Dyaks, ten days in the boats our friends had with them. But Kum Nepa had
just lost two children from small-pox, and, according to their custom,
he and all his tribe had left their houses and taken to the jungle. The
Dyaks dread small-pox to such a degree that, when it appears, they
neglect all their usual occupation. The seed is left unsown, the paddy
unreaped; they leave the sick to die untended, and support themselves
in the jungle upon wild fruits and roots, until the scourge has passed
away.

From the time we lived at Sarawak a continual effort was made to
introduce vaccination. It was difficult to get lymph in good order at so
distant a place; the sea voyage often rendered it useless. The other
difficulty was made by the Malays, who inoculated for small-pox; and, as
they charged the Dyaks a rupee a head for inoculating them, made it
answer pecuniarily. Some who were adepts in the art went about the
country inoculating until they caused quite an epidemic of small-pox.
Now, I believe, the Dyaks have learnt from experience the superior
advantages of vaccination, and, by a late _Sarawak Gazette_, I gather
that it is one of the duties of a Resident among the tribes up country
to vaccinate his people as well as to judge them wisely.

When the guns were mounted at the fort, and a garrison of seventy men,
under Abong Duraup, settled there to guard it, the fleet left the Rejang
to return to Sarawak. Captain Brooke had persuaded Palabun to give up
his ideas of retaliation for his brother's death, on condition that the
Kapuas people who killed him should give satisfaction. The last
afternoon was devoted to doctoring the sick and giving them a stock of
remedies. One poor man had nearly recovered his eyesight during the week
he had been under treatment. So the Sarawak flag was hoisted at the fort
and saluted, and after some good advice and renewed promises from the
Sakarrans and Kenowits, the boats pulled away to the _Jolly Bachelor_,
which had been left at the Serikei River; and a few days afterwards we
heard gongs and boat music on the river, and my servant Quangho running
into my room called out, "Our Tuan is coming," so we all went down to
the stone wharf and welcomed them home. The lameness which had so long
hindered my husband from moving about, did not yield to any remedies we
applied, and at last we went to Singapore for medical advice. The
doctors there sent their patient to China for a cold season, and he
spent six weeks at Hongkong with the Bishop of Victoria, and at Canton
with other friends, to the advantage of his knee. Afterwards we went
together to Malacca, where there was a hot spring bubbling up in a
field. Into this spring we put a large tub; and there, in the early
morning, Frank used to sit, with no neighbours but the snipe feeding in
the field, and, as he had his gun by his side, he occasionally shot some
game for breakfast.

In 1853 we went home. My health was very much broken, and my husband was
called to England by the necessary transfer of the mission from the
Borneo Mission Society, whose funds came to an end, to the venerable
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, who kindly adopted us. We
arrived at Southampton one grey November day. I wondered to see the sky
so near the earth, and the trees almost like shrubs in height compared
to our Eastern forests. But it was sweet to hear the children speaking
English in the streets, and their fair rosy faces were refreshing
indeed. I never thought our school-children plain when we were at
Sarawak, but the contrast was certainly very great when we looked about
us in England.



PART II.



CHAPTER X.

RETURN TO SARAWAK.


In 1854, after eighteen months' stay in England, during which time my
husband worked as deputation for the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel, we returned to Sarawak, _via_ Calcutta, in one of Green's
sailing vessels, for we were too large a party to afford the overland
route.

Besides ourselves and our baby, we had two young ladies who wished to
try and teach the Malay women in their homes, and to help with the
day-scholars at the mission-house. Only one of these ladies reached
Sarawak; the other left us at Calcutta, and married there eventually.
The Rev. J. Grayling and Mr. Owen, a schoolmaster, also went with us,
and a young friend who was put under my charge, and lived with us for
some years on account of his health.

For nurse I had an old Malay woman who had taken some children to
England from Singapore, and wanted to return. She was a capital sailor,
and always able to carry Mab about however rough the sea was. Nothing
could exceed her devotion to the child, but she had contracted a bad
habit of always sharing the sailor's grog by day, and requiring a
tumbler of hot gin and water before she went to bed. This was a great
trouble to me, but I never saw her tipsy till we were staying at the
Bishop's palace at Calcutta. Ayah, having been in the bazaar buying
presents for her children, was brought back lying senseless in a
palanquin. The Bishop, who was in the hall when the bearers set the
palanquin down, exclaimed, "Oh! that woman has cholera! take her away."

However, she was kindly cared for by the servants, and appeared the next
day without any shame, bringing "a toy for missy." All my lecture was
quite thrown away--she "had only taken a glass of grog in the bazaar,
and they had put bang into it, so of course it made her insensible; but
it was no fault of hers." This curious old woman was a Mahometan,
therefore her tipsiness was inexcusable. She practised the habit of
alms-giving, however, not only with her own money but mine. She used to
say I did nothing in that way for the salvation of my soul, and, as she
loved me, she must do it for me. I remember seeing a beggar-woman with
twin babies, who used to sit in the streets of Kensington with Mab's
bonnets on the babies' heads. Ayah gave them for my sake. Indeed, she
was notorious in Kensington, because she could not resist treating boys
to ginger-beer, and I sometimes had the mortification of seeing Ayah
with a small crowd at her heels, and my baby kissing her little hands to
them as Ayah desired her.

We only spent a week in Calcutta. The object of our going there was that
the Bishop, in conjunction with Bishop Dealtry of Madras, and Bishop
Smith of Victoria, should consecrate my husband Bishop of Labuan; but
the Bishops had not reached Calcutta, and their arrival was uncertain.
We were anxious to get to Sarawak, and could not wait for them; so it
was decided that Frank should return by himself in the autumn, and we
should proceed as quickly as we could. Sad news reached us from Kuching.
Our dear friend Willie Brereton, who had done so much for the Sakarran
Dyaks, was dead of dysentery. There was no medical man when my husband
was away.

Our Rajah had been very dangerously ill of small-pox, and had only a
Malay doctor, who was devoted but ignorant. Happily Mr. Horsburgh, with
medical books to aid him, came to the rescue in time, but the return of
the physician of soul and body was much desired. I see, by my journal,
that after a weary passage of twenty-four days in a sailing vessel from
Singapore, we reached Sarawak on the 25th of April. Mr. Horsburgh came
to fetch us from the mouth of the river in the Siam boat, a long boat
with a house in it, which the Rajah brought with him from Siam after his
embassy to that country. Mr. Horsburgh told us that all the chief
Government officers were away, looking for Lanun pirates on the coast;
but we had plenty of kind greetings from the Christian Chinese, who came
about us in the bazaar, and all the school-children came running down
the hill with Mrs. Stahl, who almost screamed for joy at our return. The
house looked nicer than ever, for the trees had grown up about it, and I
felt most vividly that this was our chosen home, endeared to us by many
sorrows, but the place where we had received much blessing from God, and
where our work lay, and perhaps some day its reward, in the Church
gathered from the heathen into Christ's fold. We were not long alone;
the next day Mr. Chambers arrived from Banting with a party of seven
baptized Dyaks.

We had brought all sorts of beautiful things from England for the
Church. A carpet to lay before the altar, a new altar-cloth, also
painted shields for the roof. Our friends in England had furnished us
with a box of clothes for the Dyaks, cotton trousers and jackets, and
gay handkerchiefs for their heads. We always dressed the Christians for
baptism--it was a sign of the new life they professed at the font; but
we did not expect them to wear clothes generally, except their own
chawats, nor was it to be desired until they knew how to wash them. We
had also brought a beautiful magic lantern with a dissolving-view
apparatus for our people's amusement and instruction, for some of the
slides were painted by Miss Rigaud to illustrate the life of our Lord,
and there were many astronomical slides also. All these treasures
brought us numerous visitors. The Chinese Christians were all invited to
a feast at our house, after which the magic lantern was exhibited, and
we were glad to find that our school-children could explain all the
Scripture slides quite correctly.

Mr. Horsburgh accompanied Mr. Chambers to Banting that day, to assist
him in his work for the Balow Dyaks; and soon after, Mr. Gomes arrived
from Lundu with a large party of men and boys; but I have already
described their visit. My dear husband went off to Calcutta again in
September, and was consecrated Bishop of Labuan on St. Luke's Day,
October 18, 1855. Sir James Brooke added Sarawak to his diocese and
title on his return; indeed, the small island of Labuan, no larger than
the Isle of Wight, was only the English title to a bishopric which was
then almost entirely a missionary one. The Straits Settlements,
including Singapore, Penang, and Malacca, were then under the Government
of India, and Labuan was the only spot of land under the immediate
control of the Colonial Office. The Bishop of Calcutta would, from the
first, have been glad to part with so distant a portion of his then
unwieldy diocese, but it could not at that time be effected. As soon as
the Straits Settlements were passed over to the Queen's Government, the
Bishop of Labuan became virtually the Bishop of the Straits, and, even
long before that, performed all episcopal functions in those
settlements; but the title has only lately been altered.

As I was not present at my husband's consecration, I cannot do better
than transcribe good Bishop Wilson's letter to the venerable society
(S.P.G.), describing the ceremony.

    Calcutta, Bishop's Palace, October 22, 1855.

    Thank God, the consecration took place with complete success on
    Thursday, October 18th, St. Luke's Day. The Bishop elect arrived
    some days before, the Bishop of Victoria on the 16th, and Bishop
    Dealtry (of Madras) on the 17th. The crowded cathedral marked
    the interest which was excited. We sent out two hundred printed
    invitations to gentry, besides requesting the clergy to attend
    in their robes. There were more than eight hundred jammed into
    the cathedral, and hundreds could not gain admittance. The
    clergy were thirty. After morning prayer the assistant bishops
    conducted the elect Bishop to the vestry, where, having attired
    himself in his rochet, he was presented to me when seated near
    the Communion table. Her Majesty's mandate was then read, and
    the commission of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. The
    several oaths were next duly administered by the registrar of
    the diocese. The Litany was devoutly read by the Bishop of
    Madras, and afterwards the examination of the candidate took
    place. I should have said that the sermon followed the Nicene
    Creed. It was by the Bishop of Madras, the text being taken from
    2 Tim. i. 6, 7:--

        "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the
        gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
        For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,
        and of love, and of a sound mind."

    The Bishop has consented at my request to print the discourse,
    which I shall have the pleasure of sending copies of for the
    Archbishop and yourself, I was gratified at observing that the
    text is taken from the solemn words used at the very act itself
    of consecration. After the examination, the Bishop returned to
    the vestry to put on the rest of the episcopal dress; and as the
    vestry in the cathedral is at the west end of the building, he
    had to pass down the one hundred and twenty feet conducting to
    it, with the eyes and hearts of the congregation fixed upon him
    with wonder and pleasure. On his return, the "Veni, Creator
    Spiritus" was sung, each alternate line being answered by the
    Bishops and clergy, with the accompaniment of our fine organ.
    After the appointed prayers, which are directed to follow this
    hymn, the imposition of hands took place, and the words of the
    consecration pronounced by myself as presiding metropolitan. The
    Bible was next placed in his hands, with the admirable
    exhortation prescribed--an exhortation which I think
    incomparable and almost inspired, as indeed the whole service
    is. The collection at the offertory was made for the Sarawak
    Mission, and above five hundred C. rupees collected. The whole
    service concluded with the Holy Communion of the body and blood
    of Christ.

    The new Bishop preached at St. Thomas's Church on Sunday, the
    21st, for his mission; and a single gentleman contributed one
    thousand C. rupees. He will preach at the cathedral on the 28th,
    when something more will be gathered. The Bishop of Madras has
    presented the four hundred rupees of his voyage expenses, from
    Madras to Calcutta and back, to the same blessed cause. I have
    had three breakfast parties (for I don't give dinners) to meet
    the Bishop, of about forty each, on the day after the
    consecration, and on Saturday, and this morning, and the
    addresses made by Bishops Dealtry and Smith were most warmly
    received. Thus has this great occasion passed off--the first
    consecration, I believe, that has ever taken place out of
    England since the glorious Reformation, and perhaps the first
    missionary Bishop sent out by our Church; unless the Bishop of
    Mauritius may be considered as having preceded him.

    It was, indeed, a singular event that four Protestant Bishops
    should meet in the heart of heathen India, amidst one hundred
    and fifty millions of idolaters and worshippers of the false
    Prophet.

    God be praised for this completion of episcopal functions in
    India!

    DANIEL CALCUTTA.

I must add to this graphic letter a note which the venerable Bishop
wrote to my husband, November 6th of the same year.

    Tennasarim, Bishop's Cabin.

    MY BELOVED REV. BISHOP OF LABUAN,

    Whether to write to you by the pilot or not I can hardly tell.
    However, I am so anxious for your beginning well at Singapore
    and Sarawak, and so responsible also from having consecrated you
    to the Lord, that I must write. I have taken the liberty with
    you which Mr. Cecil took with me in 1801, to caution you, now
    you are a chief pastor and a father in God, against excessive
    hilarity of spirits. There is a mild gravity, with occasional
    tokens of delight and pleasure, becoming your sacred character,
    not noisy mirth.

    I met with a letter of a minister, now with God, to a brother
    minister, who was about to take his duty for a time, which I
    think will give you pleasure. "Take heed to _thyself_; your own
    soul is your first and greatest concern. You know that a sound
    body alone can work with power; much more a healthy soul. Keep a
    clear conscience through the blood of the Lamb. Keep up close
    communion with God. Study likeness to Him in all things. Read
    the Bible for your own growth first, then for your people.
    Expound much; it is through the truth that souls are to be
    sanctified, not through essays upon the truth. You will not find
    many companions; be the more with God. Be of good courage,
    there remaineth much land to be possessed. Be not dismayed, for
    Christ shall be with you to deliver you. I am often sore cast
    down; but the Eternal God is my refuge. Now farewell; the Lord
    make you a faithful steward." If we do not meet again in the
    flesh, may we meet, never to part, before the throne of the
    Great Redeemer!

    I am your affectionate

    D. CALCUTTA.

After my husband's consecration, he undertook a confirmation tour for
Bishop Wilson, at the mission stations around Calcutta. He also
consecrated a church at Midnapore in South Bengal. In December, after
four month's absence, he returned to Sarawak.

Our party in the mission-house during his absence consisted of a
chaplain, a missionary lady learning Malay and teaching the girls'
school, our young friend Mr. Grant, myself, and baby Mab. The days ran
along a smooth groove, although we had all plenty to do. Up early in the
morning, then a walk, and service in church at seven. After prayers some
hours' teaching and learning before midday bath and breakfast. The
afternoon was a more lazy time, though the hum of school went on
continuously, while we did our sewing and reading in the coolest corners
we could find. The new school-house, in which all the boys, the Stahls,
and Mr. Owen, the schoolmaster, lived, was near enough to the
mission-house for us to know the hour of the day by the lesson going on
at the time; for all the younger boys repeated their multiplication
tables in a loud voice together (in Malay), also their Chinese reading;
then came the singing, rounds and part-songs, the most popular lesson of
all. At four o'clock the school broke up. The children amused themselves
as English boys do. There was a season for marbles, for hop-scotch, for
tops, and for kites. Above all, do Chinese children love kites, and are
most ingenious in making them. They cut thin paper into the shapes of
birds, fish, or butterflies, and stretch it over thin slips of the spine
of the cocoa-nut leaf, then they ornament it with bits of red or blue
paper, and fasten it together with a pinch of boiled rice. The string is
the most expensive part, and two pennyworth lasts many kites, for they
are very frail affairs, and in that land of trees do not long escape
being caught, though they fly beautifully. Miss J---- had a cockatoo
which amused her and the little girls during sewing-class. He was a
beautiful bird with a rosy crest, but extremely mischievous. To sharpen
his beak he notched all the Venetian shutters in the verandahs; and if
he spied a looking-glass, flew at it in a rage and broke it: fortunately
there were no large mirrors in the house. These birds look very pretty
perching in the trees, and this one became tame enough to be trusted out
of doors, but they are bad inmates.

We had also a chicken-yard for Alan's amusement, and great were our
difficulties in preserving the nests from rats, who ate the eggs. If we
placed the nests on a high shelf, these creatures managed to shove the
eggs out of the nests so that they fell broken on the floor all ready
for their supper. At last we circumvented them by slinging the nests by
long rattans from the roof.

At five o'clock another short service took place in church. In the
evening we read aloud to one another, while the rest sewed or drew.

This tranquil, even monotonous life was very much to my taste in my
husband's absence, but after a few weeks it was disturbed by sad trials.
First, the chaplain had a sunstroke, and fell out with the climate, the
place, and some members of our little society; so he went to Singapore,
and from thence to England. When we were recovering from this blow, and
had again settled down into our usual ways, a worse trial befell me.

One morning Miss J---- did not appear at early breakfast, and little
Mary, who waited upon her in her room, said she was sound asleep and did
not wake when she opened the shutters. I thought nothing of it at first,
for Miss J---- sometimes sat up late at night; but an hour afterwards, I
went into her room and looked at her. Her breathing was so laboured I
thought she was in a fit; and first I tried to put leeches on her
temples, but they would not bite, and we resolved to carry her into the
fresh breeze in the verandah, for the air of the room seemed laden with
something close and stifling. When I threw back the covering of the bed,
I perceived that the veins of both arms had been cut, and a few drops
of blood stained her night-dress; also there was a small empty bottle in
the bed with "Laudanum" on its label. The terrible truth was
evident--she had taken poison and tried to bleed herself to death!
Probably the action of the laudanum prevented any flow of blood, yet the
few drops may have relieved the brain. The horror of this discovery
nearly deprived me of my senses; but there was no time for
lamentation--she was not dead, thank God, and all our efforts must be
used to restore her to life. We were very ignorant, but we did all we
could think of. There was no doctor to apply to, only the chemist who
served the dispensary. He gave medicine which was certainly very strong,
and we put mustard plasters on her legs. By the evening she was sensible
enough to take some food, but for a week there was serious illness, and
it was a long time before I could ask my poor friend why she had done
this thing. She had left me a letter to read in the event of her death,
but of course I never read it. We were very much together, but I had not
thought her unhappy; indeed the only reason she ever gave me for so
hating her life was, that she could not learn Malay, and did not think
she should be any use as a missionary. This despondency was known to me,
but I had no idea it cut so deep. Miss J---- had a great deal of quiet
fun--she often amused us by her clever and somewhat caustic remarks. But
Sarawak was too monotonous a life for her. When, some weeks afterwards,
she had quite regained the balance of her mind, she went to Singapore,
and became a very useful member of society for many years before she
died. I never felt that I could judge her, for I had so much more to
occupy my mind and interest my heart than my companion. There was baby
in the first place, and the responsibilities of the school and mission
naturally fell to my share. No doubt it requires an even temperament to
live contentedly without society, and with only such excitement as daily
duties and the beauties of nature afford. Yet these are full of infinite
happiness, and we were not without friends, although we had no company:
the little party at Government House, as it was then called, were very
agreeable and uniformly kind. It is, however, a common mistake to
imagine that the life of a missionary is an exciting one. On the
contrary, its trial lies in its monotony. The uneventful day, mapped out
into hours of teaching and study, sleep, exercise, and religious duties;
the constant society of natives whose minds are like those of children,
and who do not sympathize with your English ideas; the sameness of the
climate, which even precludes discourse about the weather,--all this,
added to the distance from relations and friends at home, combined with
the enervating effects of a hot climate, causes heaviness of spirits and
despondency to single men and women. Married people have not the same
excuse; for besides duty and nature, they have "one friend who loves
them best," and that ought to be enough for the most exacting
temperament. I say nothing about the comforts of religion--they are the
portion of all, married or single; still some spirits become so
sensitive in solitude that they are not able to take the cheerful side,
even of their relation to their Heavenly Father, and these are generally
the most reserved to their companions. I am glad to find that
missionaries are now seldom sent alone to any station, and women are
more often associated in sisterhoods for mission work under our colonial
Bishops, so that they have the society and sympathy of English ladies
after the toils of the day. I felt much discouraged after Miss J----
left me, and afraid of urging any one to follow in her place; but at
last a cousin of my husband's came out to us, and as she enjoyed the
climate, and delighted in the place and people, declaring that she had
never been more happy in her life than with us, I consoled myself that
it was not all the fault of Sarawak and the mission-house that poor Miss
J---- could not live there.



CHAPTER XI.

CHINESE INSURRECTION.

    "Mortal! if life smile on thee, and thou find
          All to thy mind,
    Think, Who did once to earth from heaven descend
          Thee to befriend;
    So shalt thou dare forego, at His dear call,
          Thy life, thine all."


These lines were most applicable to us during the year 1856. It was such
rest and peace when our Bishop returned from Calcutta and soothed all
the griefs and heartburnings we had suffered the four months he was
away. Then ensued the performance of his new episcopal duties. Mr. Gomes
was ordained priest in March. Confirmations took place, of our elder
school-children, who were all baptized when they first came to us; also
many Chinese Christians too, who had long attended the Bible classes at
the mission-house and stood firm to their baptismal vows. In April we
had another baby girl; and soon after, the Bishop went to Labuan, to
arrange about a church being built there. Unfortunately he caught fever
at Labuan; which declared itself at Singapore on his return. We were
both very ill, and glad of doctors' advice at Singapore; but Labuan
fever returns again and again, though in a slighter form after a while,
and was for years a constant trial to the Bishop's strength. When we
returned to Sarawak in October, our party was increased. Mr. and Mrs.
Crookshank had come out from England--she a bride, and quite a new
element of youth and beauty for Sarawak. A lady friend and her child and
nurse also came on a long visit to us, the air of Sarawak being
considered quite a tonic compared to the sea-breeze at Singapore, which
was at times visited by a hot wind from Java. Very pleasant days
followed our return home. Mrs. Harvey and I, with our children, went for
a month to "See-afar" Cottage on the hill of Serambo. I have already
mentioned this little house, built by Sir James Brooke as a sanitarium
after his attack of small-pox. The only objection to it was, that it was
built in the region of clouds: had the hill been five hundred feet
higher we should have had the clouds below us, as they are on Penang
Hill. The path up the mountain--if path it can be called--is almost a
staircase of tumbled rocks, and requires both strength and agility to
climb. It was quite beyond me; but I was carried on a man's back,
sitting on a bit of plank, with a strip of cloth fastened round my waist
and across the man's forehead, my back to his back. The Dyaks are famous
mountaineers, their bare feet cling to the stones, or notched trunks of
trees thrown from one rock to another. I never felt unsafe on my Dyak
friend's back, and he used to laugh when I proposed his setting me down
and taking a rest, and say, "You are not as heavy as a basket of durian
fruit." These Dyaks have beautiful groves of fruit-trees, and make a
good purse in the fruit season by bringing down durians, mangosteen and
lansat fruit to sell at Kuching. They also carry all their harvest of
paddy up the mountain to their rice-stores in the villages, so they are
used to heavy weights.

We took a stock of provisions up with us, fowls and ducks, a goat and
her kid, etc., and all the bedding we wanted, for of course there was
not much furniture in the cottage. Our first night was unfortunate. We
had settled ourselves in the rooms, had our supper, and were about to go
to bed, when the servants ran out of the cook-house, which was a
stone's-throw from the cottage, crying out, "Fire!" and in a few minutes
we saw it wrapped in flames. Of course a house built of sticks and
leaves does not take long to burn down to the ground, but we were
distressed to hear the bleatings of the little kid which could not be
got out in time. The ducks, too, were still in the long basket coop in
which they were carried up, and were literally roasted in their feathers
before anybody remembered them. A large party of Dyaks were on the spot
directly they saw the flames, and they did good service by throwing
water on the roof of the cottage, and watching lest the thatch should
catch. In the morning they discovered the burnt ducks, and ate them up
with much relish, for a Dyak likes the flavour of burnt feathers. The
next day the cook-house was rebuilt. These native huts look so clean and
fresh when first put up, the straw-coloured attap[6] walls and green
leaf roofs are so agreeable to the eye. They quickly turn hay colour and
then get discoloured by the wood smoke. Except that we were at times
rather short of food, we enjoyed our mountain retreat very much. The
bath was a remarkable feature--a natural stone basin, under the shadow
of a great rock, fed by the clearest streamlet and sheltered from view
by a heavy bit of curtain, was our bathing-place. We carried a little
leaf bucket and our towels in our hands, and while we poured the fresh
water over our heads we could now and then stop to look at the great
expanse of plain and forest, with silver rivers winding amidst them, and
blue smoke stealing up here and there to mark a Dyak village. There was,
however, a particular rock on the spur of the mountain from whence we
always watched the sun set; there was a much wider view from thence. The
sea lay on the horizon, and the pointed mountain of Santubong stood on
the plain, with other ranges of hills far away. I fear we did little
else but watch the glories of earth and sky at that time, and look after
our children, who could not be trusted alone a minute on those steep
paths.

    [Footnote 6: Palm leaf.]

Meanwhile the Bishop was paying a visit to Lundu in his new life-boat, a
boat of about twenty-eight feet, with a little covered house in it, and
water-tight compartments in the bow and stern to keep her afloat. She
was well named, for even in this first voyage she saved the lives of her
passengers. From the coast at Santubong you see blue hills far away to
the west, which lie in the Lundu country. The sea runs very high, in the
north-cast monsoon, between the mouths of these two rivers, the Sarawak
and Lundu; and on this occasion the waves on their return from Lundu
were fearful. Seven great waves like green hills advanced one after
another. The Malay crew prayed aloud with terror. Stahl and the Bishop
steered the boat and held their breaths. It looked like rushing into the
jaws of death, but the life-boat mounted the big waves one after
another, sometimes shuddering with the strain, but buoyant and stiff.
The danger past, the crew praised Allah and the good boat; and they, as
well as Stahl who had behaved so well at the time of danger, fell into a
fit of ague from the nervous shock. We knew on the top of the hill that
a fearful storm was raging, but we did not see the white boat flying
like a bird over the seven great rollers, or there would have been no
sleep for us that night. The crew never forgot it, nor the calm pluck of
their steersman the Bishop. I must confess that an attack of fever was
the result of all this exertion when he joined us on the hill.

The rest of the year 1856 passed away quietly. We were all looking
forward to an event which was to improve the English society of the
place very much. The Rajah's nephew, Captain Brooke, was bringing out a
bride; and her brother, Mr. Charles Grant, another. These four young
people were expected in the early spring of 1857, and the Rajah was
refurnishing his bungalow to receive these additions to his family. A
new piano had arrived, and all sorts of pretty things, to brighten up
the cool dark rooms of Government House. Mr. and Mrs. Crookshank were
preparing a house for themselves also; and all their boxes, which had
remained unopened while they lived with the Rajah, were moved up to
their bungalow. Little did we think that all these treasures would be
burnt before they were even unpacked!

The Chinese gold-workers of Bau and Seniawan had long given more or less
trouble to the Sarawak Government. They were governed by their own
self-elected kunsi (magistrates), and recognized their fealty to Sarawak
only by the payment of a small tax on the gold they washed from the
soil. They sent the gold away to China, and habitually cheated as to the
quantity obtained. They also smuggled opium from the Dutch settlement of
Sambas, thus defrauding Government of revenue. Worse than all this, they
introduced secret societies, or hui, among themselves, and threatened to
rebel if any of their kunsi were punished for breaking the laws of the
country. At Christmas, 1856, they boasted they could demolish Kuching
in one night, if they chose; and that a new Joss House they were
building there should furnish them with a pretext to gather by hundreds
to set the Joss in his temple, and possess themselves of the place and
the Europeans who lived there. These uncomfortable rumours seemed to
have some foundation when a new road was discovered which the Chinese
had made between Bau and Seniawan, another settlement nearer to Kuching.
Mr. Crookshank, who was in charge of the Government, sent word to Mr.
Johnson, who immediately came from Sakarran with a fleet of Dyaks,
delighted to have a chance of fighting the Chinese, and carrying plenty
of heads back to their homes. At the same time a gun-boat was stationed
on the river to prevent any communication between Bau and Kuching. Upon
this the kunsi came very humbly and begged pardon, declared the whole
story was a fabrication, and that they never intended mischief. We only
half believed them, but the Dyaks were dismissed, and unfortunately the
gun-boat no longer kept watch on the river. Our Christian Chinese
teacher "Sing-Song," was of the Kay tribe, the same as the Bau people,
and once a month he went there to teach his countrymen. There were a few
Christians among them. One, a goldsmith, did his best to let us know
that danger was impending, but the kunsi suspected him, and put him in
prison; we were therefore quite unprepared for what took place. On the
17th of February, three Chinese kunsi were flogged by order of the
court at Kuching, for taking the law into their own hands, and seizing a
runaway prisoner, as well as the captain of the boat in which she
absconded, although he was not guilty of hiding her. This seems to have
put the finishing touch to the factious state of feeling at Bau. The
Rajah and the Bishop had determined to take a trip together on the 15th,
in the life-boat, to Sadong, and from thence to Linga and Sakarran. The
Rajah had been ailing for some time, and we hoped this little voyage
would do him good. We prepared all the provisions for this trip: bread
and rusks were made, salt meat was cooked, and everything was ready
packed in the provision baskets (this was of great importance to us
afterwards). That evening we all met out walking, on the only
riding-road there was in those days. Rajah spoke to the school-children,
and we all amused ourselves with the little Middletons, boys of four and
five, strutting along with turbaned hats and long walking-sticks. It was
a dull evening, and we all felt unaccountably gloomy. We fancied it was
because Rajah was not well enough to come and dine with us, as he had
purposed in the morning; but during dinner I remembered afterwards that
the Bishop said, "If any sudden alarm were to take place to-night it
would rouse him and make him all right."

We certainly went to bed without expecting anything to happen, but,
about twelve o'clock, we were roused by shouts and screams, and the
firing of guns. We got up and looked out. The Rajah's bungalow was in
flames across the river. On our side the Middletons' house was burning,
and Mr. Crookshank's new house, a little way up the road, was soon after
on fire. The most horrid noises filled the air, there was evidently
fighting going on at the two forts at either end of the town by the
river's side. We knew there were very few defenders at either of these
two forts, and that they would soon be taken; for by this time we were
sure it must be the Chinese miners who had fulfilled their threat to
take the town. We thought, "When the forts are taken they will come to
us." Presently the brothers, William and John Channon, who lived near
us, came to our house, bringing their wives and children for shelter.
They brought news that the fort near their houses was taken and burnt,
and they dare not stay in their own cottages, as they were Government
servants, and would be obnoxious to the rebels.

We took our children out of bed and dressed them, and then we all went
down to the school-house, from whence we could see the burning houses
and hear what was going on in the town. A Chinaman came up from the
bazaar, begging us not to go to them for shelter, for they had been
warned by the kunsi not to harbour any English people, and they dared
not take us in. Poor creatures, they were in terror for themselves, as
they were not of the same tribe of Chinese as the Bau people. What
should we do?

[Illustration: WE ALL WENT DOWN TO THE SCHOOL-HOUSE, FROM WHENCE WE
COULD SEE THE BURNING HOUSES.

_Page_ 128.]

We were so large a party, and had so many children amongst us, that we
did not venture to hide in the jungle: the night was quite dark and we
might lose one another. Then the Bishop said, "We cannot make any
resistance: we will hide away the guns we have in the house, and unite
in prayer to God." So we all knelt round him while he commended us to
the mercy of our Heavenly Father, and prayed for all our dear friends
who were exposed to the fury of the Chinese. Then we sat and waited.
Miss Woolley, who had only been three months in Sarawak, read aloud a
psalm from time to time to comfort us; but the hours seemed very long.
At five o'clock in the morning the kunsi, having possessed themselves of
the Chinese town, sent us word that they did not mean to harm us--"the
Bishop was a good man and cared for the Chinese," but he must go down to
the hospital and attend to their wounded. Then came the welcome news
that the Rajah had escaped, and Mr. Crookshank and Middleton--the three
people whom the Chinese most desired to kill, for the one was chief
constable and the other police magistrate, who carried out the Rajah's
sentence on the kunsi. A price was set on their heads, but the Malays'
love of their English Rajah made that only an idle threat. We were told
that Mrs. Crookshank was dead, and the little Middletons, as well as Mr.
Wellington, who lodged in their house, and Mr. Nicholetts, who was
staying at the Rajah's house. Mrs. Crookshank, however, was not dead,
but lying wounded in a ditch near the ashes of her house. When the
Bishop knew this he demanded her of the kunsi. They said no, at first,
for they were angry that her husband had escaped; but Bishop refused to
attend to the wounded unless they gave her up, so at last they gave
leave to have her carried to our house.

It was about ten o'clock when she was brought in--a pitiful sight, her
dress covered with blood, her hair matted with grass and dust, her
fingers bleeding. It did not seem possible she could live after
remaining all night in this dreadful state. She told us that she and her
husband did not awake until the house was full of men. They had only
time to jump up and run down their bath-room stairs, he catching up a
spear for their defence. Opening the bath-room door it creaked, and a
man came running round the house shouting, "Assie Moy," the name of the
woman-prisoner they had seized. He struck down Mrs. Crookshank with a
sword he had in his hand, and Mr. Crookshank attacked him with the
spear. They struggled together till the Chinaman cut his right arm to
the bone, and the spear fell from his hand; then, seeing his wife lying
dead, as he thought, in the grass, he managed to get away to the edge of
the jungle, and sitting down, faint with loss of blood, saw his house
burn to the ground. As morning dawned he found his way to the Datu
Bandar's house, where the Rajah had already arrived, and Middleton.
Meanwhile the Chinese, chasing the fowls from the burning fowl-house,
came upon Mrs. Crookshank lying on her face, and one of them, seizing
her by her hair, desired her to follow him. She could not walk a step,
so he carried her in his arms; but when she groaned with the pain, he
laid her in a ditch near the road. Many Chinese came and stood by her:
they covered her with their jackets, one held an umbrella over her head,
another offered her some tobacco, but they would not let any of our
people touch her until an order came from the kunsi. We had sent our
eldest school-boy to reassure her, and he stood beside her until our
servants could bring her away safely. As soon as the Bishop had dressed
the wounded in the town, he came home for some breakfast. When I saw him
I called out, for his pith hat was covered with blood. "It is only
fowl's blood," said he, "don't be frightened: they killed a chicken over
my head as a sign of friend ship." The Middletons' servants came to us
early in the morning, and said that they did not know what had become of
their mistress, but the two little boys were killed by the Chinese,
their heads cut off, and their bodies thrown into the burning. Later on,
we heard that Mrs. Middleton, after seeing Mr. Wellington killed in
trying to defend her, had escaped into the bath-room and hidden herself
in one of the big water-jars; but, the door being open, she had seen her
children murdered, and then had got out of the jar and run into the
jungle, where she concealed herself in a little pool of water, much
hidden by overhanging boughs. There this poor mother remained for some
hours, until a Chinaman from the town came to the spring, carrying a
drawn sword in his hand. "Oh, sir, pray don't kill me!" she called out.
"Oh no!" answered the man, "I am a friend of Mr. Peter" (her husband),
"and will take care of you." So he took her to his house, and dressed
her in Chinese clothes. It was almost a wonder to me that this poor
young woman lived through that dreadful time. As the day wore on, Mr.
Ruppell, the banker of the place, and a great friend of the Chinese,
came and took up his abode with us. Then he, the Bishop, and Mr. Helms,
the manager of the English Merchant Company, were ordered to meet the
kunsi at the court-house; also the Datu Bandar, the chief Malay
magistrate. There a very trying scene took place. The kunsi sat in the
seats of the magistrates, smoking, their principal in the Rajah's own
chair. They stated that they did not wish to make war with the English,
or the Malays, only with the Rajah's government, and they desired those
present to assist them in the government of the country. This they had
drawn up in writing, and desired the English and Datu Bandar to sign.
The Bishop pointed out to them that the best thing they could do would
be to return to Bau and defend their town; that the Dyaks would
certainly come in fleets of boats directly they heard of what had
happened at Kuching, and they would as certainly be killed if they
remained in the place. This was true enough, but they were afraid of the
Malays attacking them on the water. The Chinese are bad boatmen. They
could not therefore make up their minds to go, and much fierce
discussion arose. The thieves and rogues of the place, being under no
restraint, robbed all the houses, on this afternoon, whose inmates had
taken refuge at the mission-house. The Christian Chinese, being afraid
of their countrymen, rushed into our house, carrying all sorts of goods
and chattels, and caused me much distress on Mrs. Crookshank's account,
who was very sensitive to fresh alarms. However, we settled our Chinese
friends in some of the lower rooms. The Channons and their babies were
in the attics. Night came at last, and a dead silence fell upon the town
and the crowded mission-house. Not even the usual sounds in the bazaar
or on the river were heard; only an occasional gun broke the stillness
of the night. Friends and foes were alike weary. We did not venture to
undress, but lay down all ready for flight if necessary, with our hats
and little bundles beside us. The Bishop and Mr. Ruppell watched all
night in the porch. Friday morning the Chinese, continually urged by the
Bishop, determined to return to Bau. Later on they heard a rumour that
the Malays would attack them on the river; then they made the Datu
Bandar sign a promise not to follow them. Still they felt no confidence
that he would not, so they said they would take Mr. Helms with them as a
hostage for the Datu's good faith. Poor Mr. Helms did not like this idea
at all, and having a fast boat lying in the creek near his house, he
slipped away early in the afternoon, down the river, and hid himself in
the jungle. No one in Sarawak could imagine what had become of him.

About midday the Bishop told me he wished me, Miss Woolley, and the
children, including Alan Grant, to go to Singapore in a trading schooner
which Mr. Ruppell had detained at the mouth of the river in case of
emergency.

Mrs. Stahl and Miss Coomes were to remain and nurse Mrs. Crookshank, but
it would be a great relief to him to think of us in safety. The Chinese
kunsi also wished us to go, "that the people at Singapore might see that
they did not desire our death." It seemed very hard to me to leave my
husband in such danger, for that morning the kunsi had flourished swords
in his face and threatened him, knowing very well that he wished to
bring the Rajah back. Still I knew he could more easily provide for the
safety of those left behind if we were already out of the way. So I
packed up some clothes and provisions for the voyage. While I was doing
this a Chinaman came from the _Good Luck_ schooner to say I must only
take one box for our party, as the schooner was very full of Chinese
passengers, fleeing for fear of the kunsi. With this we had to be
content. At three o'clock we went to the shop of Amoo, the Chinese owner
of the _Good Luck_. There I found my husband writing to Mr. Johnson at
Linga, to tell him what had happened. Then Datu Bandar came in to say
that the kunsi had gone up the river, and had taken some of the fort
guns with them; that they were very crowded in the boats, and that he
should follow after them with a Malay force at night. They did nothing,
however, when the time came; for until the Malays had got their families
safe out of the place they were not willing to fight. They were brave
enough when the women and children were moved to Samarahan on Saturday.
There were many Chinese women collected at Amoo's, belonging to the
shopkeepers in the bazaar. The wife of the court scribe, whom I knew,
told me in a whisper that she managed to get some bread to the Rajah and
his party, and had told Mr. Crookshank that his wife was alive and with
us. At last the life-boat was ready. Stahl went with us to steer, and
said there were plenty of Chinese to row the boat. When we got down to
it, we found it not only fully manned by Chinese, but full of their
women, children, and boxes, so that we could scarcely find room to
squeeze ourselves into the stern, and we were so heavily laden that we
made very slow progress. It was no use protesting, however: we were only
English folk, and the Chinese had it all their own way in those days.
About eight o'clock we got down to the mouth of the Morotabas, where the
schooner lay. Pitch dark and very wet it was, but it was a relief when
all the Chinese passengers climbed up the schooner ladder, and the men
hauled the boxes up one after another, last of all a very heavy one
which it took six men to lift, full of dollars,--so no wonder we were
overladen. Last of all I climbed into the _Good Luck_, leaving the
children still in the boat with Stahl and Kimchack, one of our
school-boys whose family were moving away in the schooner. I found the
deck covered with Chinese, and when I said to the little Portuguese
captain, "Where is the little cabin Mr. Ruppell promised me I should
have?" he answered, "Oh, ma'am, pray go back to your boat. I have
neither water nor fuel for the people who are already on board. The
cabin is filled with the family and friends of the Chinese owner of the
schooner, and I cannot give you even room to sit down anywhere." It was
indeed true. My friend, the court scribe's wife, said, "Come and sit by
me on the deck." "But the children, they cannot be exposed day and night
on deck." "Oh well, there is no other place for them." So I jumped into
the life-boat again, and reclaimed my treasures. "Rather," said Miss
Woolley and I, "die on shore than in that horrid boat." Indeed we felt
quite cheerful now we had the boat to ourselves; and Kimchack said he
had already been two nights on board the _Good Luck_ and had had no room
to lie down. There we were, however, in the middle of the river, with no
one to row the boat. Stahl could not move it by himself. At this moment
a small boat pulled alongside, and Mr. Helms' face appeared in the
darkness. How glad we were to see him! and he, faint and exhausted with
wandering all day in the jungle, was glad of a glass of wine, which was
soon got out of the provision basket. Then we opened a tin of soup, and
fed our tired and hungry children, who behaved all through those
terrible days as if it was a picnic excursion got up for their
amusement. They enjoyed everything, and were no trouble at all, either
Alan or Mab. Edith was a baby, and suffered very much from want of
proper food--but that was later on. Mr. Helms and his crew rowed our
boat into Jernang Creek, where there were some Malay houses. In one of
these he and Alan went to sleep, but he advised us to remain in the boat
until the morning. We laid Mab and Edith on one of the seats; Miss
Woolley lay on the other; and I sat at the bottom of the boat to prevent
the children from falling off. The mosquitoes were numerous on that mud
bank, and I was very glad when the morning dawned. At six o'clock Mr.
Helms came to say we could have an empty Malay house on shore for a few
days, so we gladly mounted up the landing-place and found a kind and
hospitable reception from our Malay friends. They had put up some mat
partitions in a large room, that we might sleep in private, and
presented us with a nice curry for breakfast. We then unpacked our box
and dried the clothes in it, which were wet through from the overlading
of the life-boat. About midday two Englishmen arrived from the Quop
River, nearer to Kuching, where they had been with the Rajah. They only
stayed a short time, but told us that the Kunsi Chinese had really gone
to Bau, and that the Bishop was with the Rajah at Quop. Late at night I
had a note from my husband, saying he thought we might return to
Sarawak, for all was quiet, and he hoped the Rajah would come back early
on Sunday morning. The next morning, therefore, we prepared to set off
again in the life-boat, but first I went to pay a visit to Inchi Bouyang
the Malay writer, who lived in one of the houses near, and who was too
stout to venture out of his own house into a less strongly built one.
This seems absurd enough, but the Malay houses were certainly very
slight; they seemed to sway in the mud of the creek, and the floors of
the rooms were made of very open strips of nibong palm, so that you had
to walk turning your feet well out in order not to slip through the
lantiles. I found many Malays gathered in the writer's house, all to
entreat me not to go to Kuching, because it was "not a lucky day." "If
the Malays fight the Chinese to-day," they said, "they will be beaten."
"What reason have you for saying so?" "No reason exactly, but the day is
unlucky; it is like Friday to the English, they never go to sea on that
day." "Oh," said I, "that was long ago: they often go to sea on Friday
now they know better, and no sensible person thinks anything of lucky or
unlucky days." "Well, we have told you what we think. If you must go,
some of us will go with you, and we shall tell the Tuan Padre it was not
our fault that you would not wait until to-morrow." So Lulut, a servant
of the Rajah's, and another Malay got into the boat with us, and we set
off up the river.



CHAPTER XII.

CHINESE INSURRECTION (_Continued_).


As we proceeded up the river we agreed we would ask news of any boat we
met. Presently we noticed smoke rising above the trees. "The Malays are
burning the Chinese town," said the men; but as we drew nearer it was
evidently the Malay town which was burning. At last we met a boat. "Yes;
the Chinese had returned, and had set fire to the Malay town; they were
also firing at the Sarawak Chinese in the bazaar." On Saturday the
Bishop and the Channons and Stahl had unspiked two of the guns left in
the fort, and had hoisted the Sarawak flag again on the flag-staff. The
Bishop then went to the Rajah's war boat at the Quop, and told him that
the Malays had sent away their women, and were ready to fight should the
Chinese return; and he begged him to come to our house early the next
morning, where breakfast should be ready for him, and take the command.
But the Chinese heard of this, and returned in the morning, some by
river, some by road. As soon as the Malays saw their boats rounding the
corner near the Malay town, they attacked them bravely, drove them
ashore, and though suffering much loss from their superior fire,
captured ten of their boats, and secured them to a Malay prahu in the
river. While this struggle was going on, a large party of Chinese, who
walked from Seniawan, were ransacking the town. Enraged with the Bishop
for trying to bring the Rajah back, they rushed into our house to find
him; but he, having sent off all our belongings, English and native, ran
down the back stairs while the Chinese rushed up into the porch in
front, and escaped to the Chinese town, where shots were flying about in
plenty, but did not hit him. He got into a little boat passing by, with
two Malays in it, and they paddled him to the Rajah's war boat, then
retreating down the river. When they reached the Quop he found a little
boat, which brought him quickly to Jernang.

We lay off the town in the life-boat, and saw one boat after another
rowing fast towards us. In one, Mr. Koch, the missionary, with a number
of school-boys; in another, Mrs. Crookshank, laid on a mattress, Mrs.
Stahl, and Miss Coomes, and the school-girls; then the Channons'
families and some Chinese; then the Sing-Song's family, and more boys.
"Where is the Bishop?" I shouted. "In the Rajah's war boat. We had the
greatest difficulty in getting boats enough for us; the Chinese were
running up to the house when he sent us off, and firing had already
begun in the streets when Mrs. Crookshank was got into the boat."

This was an anxious moment; but before long our servant James appeared
with a message to me from my husband, to return to Jernang, and stay
there until he appeared. Our Malay friends here left us, to join their
families anchored in boats by the banks, and I filled the life-boat with
the school-children to lighten the other boats. Then we pulled slowly
back against the tide to Jernang. The little landing-place was crowded
when we arrived, for the smaller boats had got there first. I had the
greatest difficulty in persuading the Malays to give shelter to the
Chinese Christians and children. I answered for their good behaviour;
but all Chinese, whether rebels or no, were in sufficiently bad odour in
those days. At last I got them part of a house to themselves. No sooner
was all arranged than the Bishop arrived in his little boat; it was like
receiving him from the dead.

Presently appeared the Rajah's war boat, he standing at the stern. We
all ran down to meet him and Mr. Crookshank, and take them to Bertha,
who had been carried into a house. While we were all standing on the
little wharf, built on tall piles into the water, the Malays cried out
that it was giving way, and we must all go into the houses. The Bishop
then decided what to do with his large party. Mr. Helms had a schooner
close by, in which he was going to Sambas, to seek assistance from the
Dutch, our nearest neighbours. He kindly offered to take Miss Woolley,
Miss Coomes, and two of our eldest school-boys with him. The rest of us
could go to Linga, where there was a fort, as a little pinnace belonging
to Mr. Steele lay handy at the mouth of the river. The Chinese, however,
implored to go with us; and indeed it would have been cruel to leave
them a prey to the Malays, or the bad Chinese, or the Dyaks. When we
were lodged in the pinnace, therefore, the Bishop went back to Jernang,
and packed all our Chinese into the life-boat, which was attached by a
rope to the pinnace; so we were all together. It was nearly dark when we
weighed anchor, and left the mouth of the river. There was a tiny cabin,
just large enough to hold Bertha on her mattress; a fowl-house, into
which our native children crept; an open hold, where we women sat down
on our bundles, with our children in our arms; and there was a place for
cargo forward, where the men settled themselves. The Rajah in his war
boat also proceeded to Linga, and we expected him to arrive long before
our slow boat; he would meet Mr. Johnson, his nephew, there, and
organize a force of Dyaks from the great rivers, Sakarran and Batang
Lupar, to drive away the Chinese rebels. We never had any doubt of their
doing this eventually, though we feared the remedy might be almost as
bad as the disease, if the Dyaks proved unmanageable and quarrelled with
one another. The night was very dark and wet, and the deck leaked upon
us, so that we and our bags and bundles were soon wet through. But we
neither heeded the rain nor felt the cold. We had eaten nothing since
early morning, but were not hungry; and although for several nights we
could scarcely be said to have slept, we were not sleepy. A deep
thankfulness took possession of my soul; all our dear ones were spared
to us. My children were in my arms, my husband paced the deck over my
head. I seemed to have no cares, and to be able to trust to God for the
future, who had been so merciful to us hitherto. I remember, too, when
Mrs. Stahl opened the provision basket, and gave us each a slice of
bread and meat, how very good it was, although we had not thought about
wanting it. We lit a little fire, and made some hot tea, but soon had a
message from the Rajah's boat to put out the fire lest we should be
seen. The only thing that troubled me was a nasty faint smell, for which
I could not account; but next morning we found a Chinaman's head in a
basket close by my corner, which was reason enough! We had taken a fine
young man on board to help pull the sweeps, a Dyak, and this ghastly
possession was his. He said he was at Kuching, looking about for a
_head_, and went into the court-house. Hearing some one in a little side
room, he peeped in, and saw a Chinaman gazing at himself in a bit of
looking-glass, which was stuck against the wall. He drew his sword, and
in one moment, stepping close behind him, cut off his head: and having
obtained this prize, was naturally desirous of getting away from the
place; so he came off as boatman in one of the flying boats, bringing
the head in a basket, which he stowed in the side of the boat. It
entirely spoilt my hand-bag, which lay near it; I had to throw it away,
and everything in it which could not be washed in hot water.

Towards morning the sea made us all sick, added to the wet, and cold of
dawn; yet, when the day cleared a little, and we got a fire on deck, and
some hot tea and biscuits, and the children seemed none the worse for
their bad night and the swarms of mosquitoes which had feasted upon
them, we could not repine. In the evening we passed the island of
Burong, at the mouth of the Batang Lupar River, and Mr. Crookshank tried
to stimulate the men pulling the sweeps to reach a Sebuyan village
farther on, before the tide left us and it grew dark. By dint of hard
pulling we made the village, and its little fort, standing close beside
the water and washed by its strong tide. A little boat came off from the
fort, with some Malays, of whom we inquired for the Rajah, thinking his
boat was far ahead of us, but they said they had seen nothing of him.
Mr. Crookshank then begged them to bring a boat in which he could take
Bertha up to Linga Fort that evening, instead of her remaining another
night in the pinnace. We went on as long as the tide lasted, and then
anchored in the Batang Lupar. Again we made a fire on deck, and after
taking some food, settled ourselves for the night. At eleven o'clock the
promised boat came for Bertha and Mr. Crookshank, and Mrs. Stahl went
with them as nurse; they thought nothing could be worse than spending
another night on board the pinnace, but I fear the little boat journey
was still more painful. When they reached Linga, they found only Malays
in the fort, and the dwelling-house shut up, for Mr. Johnson was at
Sakarran. They had to carry Mrs. Crookshank up a ladder into the fort,
and lay her on a table; but happily Mr. Chambers arrived that night from
Banting, and furnished a curtain as a screen, and pillows from his boat
to make a more comfortable couch. As we were setting off again next
morning, we met Mr. Johnson in a long boat, going straight off to
Kuching. He was lying ill of fever at Sakarran, when his Malays roused
him by saying, without preface--"The news is bad, Tuan: the Rajah is
killed and Kuching in the hands of the rebel Chinese." Upon this he
jumped up, called together the chiefs, and bidding them follow him with
a strong force of Dyaks, he set off himself without calling at Linga by
the way. When we told him that Rajah was alive and on his way to Linga,
he turned back with us, and taking me, my ayah, and the children into
his boat, soon landed us at his house. This was Tuesday, but we heard
nothing of the Rajah until Friday. Mr. Johnson, after breakfasting with
us at his house, went on to Kuching, and found that, after we lost sight
of the Rajah's war boat, they had fallen in with the steamer belonging
to the Borneo Company, the _Sir James Brooke_, just entering the river.
Mr. Helms' schooner also came across her, so all the passengers in the
schooner and the war boat had moved into the steamer, and they
immediately proceeded up the river, preparing the guns on board to
attack as soon as they reached the town. What must have been the
feelings of the Chinese in the fort when they saw the smoke of the
steamer curling above the trees, and then received one ten-pounder shot
after another into their midst! They fired one round of grape shot at
the steamer, and shouts of "Run!" rose on all sides. The steamer then
proceeded up to the Malay town, where the Malays still held out against
the Chinese; but as they were getting very short of ammunition, and
their enemies were bringing some large guns to bear on their position,
they greeted the steamer with shouts of welcome. The Chinese fled in
every direction. Cut off from their boats, they ran into the jungle; and
while many no doubt reached Bau in safety, many fell into the hands of
the Dyaks, who, following their usual course of warfare, spread
themselves through the jungle, and took the head of every man they met.
The town was quite clear of the rebels in a few hours, and the _Sir
James Brooke_, anchored in the river, furnished the base of operations
which the Rajah required: from thence he could direct the Malay and Dyak
forces, which were immediately at his disposal, to drive the rebels out
of the country. The day before, the Chinese had filled our house and
looted it completely, except the books in the library, for which they
seem to have had some respect; but we had reason to believe that on
Monday the house would have been burnt, for gunpowder and inflammable
materials were found strewed about after they left. They took everything
they could carry away, and destroyed the rest, cutting long slits in the
gauze of the mosquito-rooms, and pouring all the chemicals and medicines
of the dispensary over the contents of the drawers, clothes, and papers
they did not wish for. They found a long table set out ready for
breakfast, and had only to gather up the small plate, which, with a
house full of people, was all in requisition. The church, too, was
emptied of all its furniture, and the harmonium smashed; but the
opportune arrival of the steamer prevented these buildings from sharing
the fate of the other houses.

Meanwhile, we were settling ourselves with our large party in Mr.
Johnson's house, which he kindly placed at our disposal. This house was
surrounded by a latticed verandah, the ground immediately about it was
cleared of jungle and drained by deep ditches. From the fort you looked
over the wide stretch of water of the Batang Lupar, but it was a lonely
and monotonous look-out. As the fort men were taken away to fight at
Kuching, the gentlemen had to form themselves into watches day and
night, with the few Malays who remained to guard the fort. Boats full of
Dyaks continually arrived, to join the Rajah's force--Balows, Sarebas,
and Sakarrans lay side by side on the river, all excited by the
prospects of war, and frequently causing silly panics among the Malays
of Linga, lest these warriors, from tribes so long enemies, should fall
out with one another before they got to Kuching. There were, of course,
no books or newspapers to read; our Bibles and Prayer-books alone were
among our luggage. We women were the best off, for we got some
unbleached calico from Sakarran, and cut out some under-clothing, of
which we had but little; this gave us occupation. We also had every day
to wash our linen and towels after bathing. The bath was a clear running
stream, covered in near the house, very pretty and romantic, but the
water was of a light brown colour, like toast and water, and had a
slightly acid taste, very agreeable but not very wholesome. Probably the
spring forced its way through dead leaves in the jungle; at any rate, it
did not wash the clothes white. It was very difficult to procure food
for us all. Rice and gourds made into a kind of curry stew was our daily
meal; if a chicken was got it was devoted to the children and the sick.
We were very anxious for some time on account of Mrs. Crookshank. Had
she remained quiet at Kuching, her wounds would have healed quickly, for
she was young and perfectly healthy; but all the moving into boats, and
carrying up ladders and steps, had broken open the wounds, and it was a
struggle of strength and youth against adverse circumstances. She was so
patient and cheerful that we never heard a complaint, which was in her
favour no doubt; still there were some days when her life was in great
danger in that hot climate. Twice during the month we received a box
from Kuching, sent by a native boat. Once it contained our mail--an
immense pleasure; also some bread and biscuits, but they were wet with
salt water, and mouldy besides. However, Mab and Alan could eat them. I
used to look with thankful astonishment at those children, both so
delicate generally, but who throve all the time we were without proper
food or shelter. But baby Edith shrank and pined, and at last my husband
said, "We shall lose this child if you stay here any longer: better go
and live among the Dyaks, who have plenty of fowls."

So Mr. Chambers kindly took us in at his house at Banting, where we had
a most loving welcome, and saw something of the Dyak women and children.
The men were mostly gone to the war, and great excitement prevailed
among the tribe with the prospect of acquiring heads again, for the
Sarawak Government had quite stopped that hunting in the country. Boats
were continually arriving, gay with streamers, and noisy with gongs and
drums beating, with heads of Chinese on board. One day we were invited
to a feast in one of the long houses. I said, "I hope we shall see no
heads," and was told I need not see any; so, taking Mab in my hand, I
went with Mr. Chambers, and we climbed up into the long verandah room
where all the work of the tribe goes on. This long house was surrounded
with fruit-trees, and very comfortable. There were plenty of pigs under
the house, and fowls perching in every direction. About thirty families
lived in the house, the married people having each their little room,
the girls a room to themselves, and the long room I spoke of being used
for cooking, mat-making, paddy-beating, and all the usual occupations of
their lives. We were seated on white mats, and welcomed by the chief
people present. The feast was laid on a raised platform along the side
of the room. There were a good many ornaments of the betel-nut palm,
plaited into ingenious shapes, standing about the table, so that I did
not at first remark anything else. As we English folks could not eat
fowls roasted in their feathers, nor cakes fried in cocoa-nut oil, they
brought us fine joints of bamboo filled with pulut rice, which turns to
a jelly in cooking and is fragrant with the scent of the young cane. I
was just going to eat this delicacy when my eyes fell upon three human
heads standing on a large dish, freshly killed and slightly smoked, with
food and sirih leaves in their mouths. Had I known them when alive I
must have recognized them, for they looked quite natural. I looked with
alarm at Mab, lest she should see them too; then we made our retreat as
soon as possible. But I dared say nothing. These Dyaks had killed our
enemies, and were only following their own customs by rejoicing over
their dead victims. But the fact seemed to part them from us by
centuries of feeling--our disgust, and their complacency. Some of them
told us that afterwards, when they brought home some of the children
belonging to the slain, and treated them very kindly, wishing to adopt
them as their own, they were annoyed at the little ones standing looking
up at their parents' heads hanging from the roof, and crying all day, as
if it were strange they should do so! Yet the Dyaks are very fond of
children, and extremely indulgent to them. Our school was recruited
after the war by the children of Chinese, bought by Government from
their captors. This was my first and last visit to a Dyak feast. I used
to go and see the women in the early morning sometimes, and they
constantly came up to the mission-house to see my children. Of course
the war had an evil influence on them, increasing their interest in
heads, and all the heathen ceremonies connected with their possession.

We stayed about ten days at Banting, walking every afternoon to the
little church through a long avenue of fruit-trees--great forest trees
which threw a grateful shade over the path, charming for the children's
walks. They could have chicken broth too for their dinners; and Edith
revived, but it was a whole year after this before she grew any taller,
so that when she began to run about, three months later, it looked a
surprising feat for a baby who should be in long clothes, yet she was
then sixteen months old. This life at Banting was a kind of dream, after
all the hurry and anxiety we had gone through. At last we heard that we
might go back to Kuching, the Chinese had all been driven out of the
country, or killed. Our house was purified, and the dead bodies lying
about in the jungle had been buried, so that the air was sweet again. We
returned to Linga, and all embarked in a little schooner for home. It
was not a much better boat than the one we had fled in, and we suffered
two very trying days' voyage; but when we walked into the mission-house
and found Miss Woolley to welcome us, and our house, though dismantled,
uninjured, and most of the books in the library, we were very thankful.
The Sunday after, we had a thanksgiving service in the church, in which
all joined very heartily.

I must return, however, to the history of the war, from the time the
Rajah steamed up the river in the _Sir James Brooke_.

At Bau there were supposed to be from three to four thousand Chinese
rebels, who had lately been strengthened by many malcontents from the
Dutch country. The Chinese held Bau, Seniawan, the government fort of
Baleda, and a fort at Peninjauh opposite to Baleda. They boasted that
they had rice and gunpowder enough to last out six months in these
places; but they were gradually surrounded on all sides by Malays and
Dyaks, so that they could get no fresh stores. On the 10th of March a
body of Chinese came down the river to Leda Tanah (Tongue of Land) about
halfway to Kuching. They built a breast-work by the river-side, dug a
trench behind it, placed some brass guns in position, and then retired
to eat their dinners in comfort behind their defences. There was a
little house and garden belonging to the Rajah at Leda Tanah. The Datu
Tumangong and Abang Boujong hearing of this, went up the river with a
Malay force and attacked the breast-work in front. The Chinese fired one
volley and ran. The Malays entered, sword in hand, but only killed two
men; all the rest fled into the arms of the Dyaks, who lay in wait in
the jungle behind, and took a hundred heads, some say two hundred, but
stories do not lose in the telling. The Chinese begged hard for their
lives, wrung their hands, wept, prayed the Dyaks to be friends with
them; but Dyaks know nothing about prisoners. One of the principal kunsi
was killed in this affair, and some say that Kamang, the leader of the
attack on the 18th of February, lost his head to the Sakarran Dyaks.

This success was matter of great rejoicing at Kuching. Two days
afterwards they heard that Baleda Fort was deserted by the Chinese. Mr.
Johnson went up and found it quite empty; Seniawan too, and soon after
Bau also. All had fled towards the Dutch territory. A dreadful march
they had, poor creatures; carrying their sacred stone Tai pekong with
them. Nearly a thousand women and children delayed their progress. They
were harassed all the way by parties of Malays, and Dyaks cutting off
the stragglers. The party dwindled by degrees, until nearly all the
kunsi were killed, either by the enemy or their incensed countrymen,
who found themselves driven from their peaceful homes for the sins of
these rebels. It is so painful to think of the many innocent who
suffered with the guilty on this occasion, of the miseries they endured,
and the relentlessness of their foes, that I cannot detail it. War
naturally brines such evils in its train; even civilized warfare is not
without its horrors and its injustice: but when revenge falls into the
hands of savages these ills are multiplied. The Malays both hated and
despised the Chinese. That _such_ people should have taken their forts,
burnt their dwellings, compelling them to seek safety for their families
by flight, was so great an insult that their most violent passions were
aroused, and only the blood of all the Kay tribe could wipe out the
disgrace they had incurred. It was indeed wonderful that these Chinese
should imagine for a moment that they could remain rulers in a country
whose inhabitants regarded them as the natural hewers of wood and
drawers of water to the community; but no doubt they were intoxicated by
their unlooked-for success on the 18th of February, and a Chinaman seems
destitute of any appreciation of people who are not Celestials! A
remnant of these people got safely into the Dutch territory, where the
authorities took what arms and ammunition they had, and, very properly,
returned them to the Sarawak Government. They also offered to send a war
steamer and soldiers if desired. So our misfortunes called out the
goodwill of our neighbours. Soon after we returned home, H.M.S.
_Spartan_, Captain Hoste, arrived to protect British interests in
Sarawak. They stayed with us for a while, but the troubles were over,
and the only difficulty was how to make any visitors comfortable or to
feed them. We had to pass round a knife and fork at table for some days,
and there were only a few spoons left to us. On the beds there were hard
mattresses, but no pillows, sheets, or in fact any bed-furniture. Our
guests being travellers and full of resources, slept on their pith hats
for pillows, and used their pocket-knives. A good deal of fun was made
of our privations, and indeed, as no beloved friend was missing, we
could afford to laugh.

We had all great reason to be thankful for the good behaviour of the
Dyaks during the war. There were no intertribal quarrels, and Mr.
Chambers told me that his Christians among the Balows were in the first
boats which went off to succour the Rajah, when they knew nothing of the
arrival of the steamer, and believed themselves to be facing a great
danger, and fire-arms, which they do not like. This was not the only
time that the Christians were among the bravest when all behaved well--a
fact which recommended their religion to their countrymen, with whom
courage is the first virtue. It was some years after this, however, that
Dyak Christians learnt to fight without taking the heads of their
enemies.

When we left our house, our servants generally, except James a
Portuguese, and my Bengalee Ayah, fled from the place. But we had an
old Hindoo Syce, who was much attached to us and to the creatures under
his charge. He drove the two ponies we rode into the jungle, where they
looked after themselves, and, living in his cottage next to the stable,
did what he could for the cow and calves. When the rebels filled our
house and appropriated our effects, they broke open the plate-chest, and
melted the silver they found. Then Syce came forward and claimed a
portion of the spoil They gave him a lump of silver with some alloy in
it, the produce of some plated salvers, as his share. He pretended to
help them, but this lump he hid in the earth near his cottage, and, on
our return, triumphantly produced it as what he had saved for us from
the wreck. Some years after, this old man was very ill with an abscess
in his thigh, which he was sure would kill him. Bishop doctored and
nursed him through it, but he had given him a good-sized bag of dollars,
his savings, saying he wished Bishop to be his heir. When he got well
and the money was returned to him, he spent it in paying a visit to his
relations at Trichinopoli. I believe this faithful creature worshipped
the bull of our herd, and it was a great trouble to him that the Chinese
cruelly cut off the tail of the poor animal, thereby depriving him of
the means of whisking off the flies which sting so vehemently in that
climate.



CHAPTER XIII.

EVENTS OF 1857.


When we were once more at home we found it would be better to go to
Singapore, and from thence to Penang, for a little quiet. We were both
ill, the Bishop seriously so. We wanted for everything, and the bazaar
in Sarawak could not supply us: besides, ours was the only English
dwelling-house left in the place, except the Borneo Company's premises.
Captain Brooke and Mr. Grant with their brides were immediately
expected, and must be housed at the mission while a bungalow was being
built across the water. We left Miss Woolley to take care of the
expected visitors, the children and I went to Singapore in the _Sir
James Brooke_ steamer, and Sir William Hoste gave a passage in H.M.S.
_Spartan_ to the Bishop and Alan Grant.

I was glad of an opportunity to get my baby vaccinated, which could only
happen at Singapore in those days. We were two months away, and the cool
quiet of Penang Hill was a great refreshment. The first news I heard
there was that Miss Woolley was to be married to Mr. Chambers. This
wedding took place immediately on our return home, the end of July. It
was a great benefit to the Banting Dyaks, for Mrs. Chambers devoted
herself to the women and young girls, and was a true friend to them. She
taught them to sew, and instructed them in morals and religion. When I
went to Banting some years afterwards, I found a set of modest young
women who were much pleased with gifts of needles, thread, and thimbles;
they also enjoyed a game of croquet after the lessons were done, and it
was wonderful to see what smart taps of the mallet were fearlessly given
under their bare feet; for of course the Dyaks do not wear shoes.

About a month after our return to Sarawak, Captain Brooke's baby boy was
born. No one can tell what a care and anxiety this event was, in a place
where there was no doctor except the Bishop. The well-being of so
important a person as the Rajah mudah's wife, and the birth of the heir
of Sarawak, called forth much sympathy from everybody. Thank God, all
went well; but we said it ought never to happen again--there should be a
medical man whose sole duty it was to care for the bodies of the
community, while the Bishop was free to minister to their spiritual
wants. Soon after there was a public baptism of this boy Basil Brooke,
and his cousin Blanche Grant, in the church, which was full of Malays as
well as English to witness the ceremony. This was the day before the
Rajah set off for England.

There were many happy days during the next few months, for there were
several English ladies in the place and we were all friends. In October
the Bishop went to Labuan, and while he was away the cholera made its
first appearance at Sarawak, among the Malays. The Rajah muda and I
consulted together what physic should be made ready for those who would
take it. A short time before, a little pamphlet had been sent to us
about the virtues of camphor, and especially its value in cholera. We
made a saturated solution of camphor in brandy, and gave a teaspoonful
of it on moist sugar for a dose, adding three drops of Kayu Puteh oil,
extracted from a Borneon wood and called cajeput oil in England, a very
strong aromatic medicine. This mixture proved itself very useful. If the
patients applied in good time it invariably gave relief to the cramp and
pain in the stomach; if the disease had gone on to sickness it was more
difficult to administer. Sometimes we followed it up with laudanum and
castor oil.

The Malays suffered very much from this epidemic. Constant funerals were
to be seen on the river, and there was much praying at the mosque. Then
the Chinese were attacked, but not so fatally. Two dead men were,
however, found on our premises; they were strangers to us, but we
supposed they came late at night to the mission for medicine, and, lying
down in the stable or cow-house, died without reaching the house. It
was an anxious time. I used to hang little bags of camphor round the
children's necks, and was very careful of the diet for the household.
Thank God, we had no case either in the school or the house.

Seven years afterwards the cholera returned much more violently. An
English gun-boat, lying off the town, lost several of her crew; and at
last the Bishop advised them to go to sea and let the sea air blow
through the ship, to carry off the infection. He went on board himself
to see them off, and while they were going down the river two more men
were seized with cholera, and died in half an hour.

This time the cholera was very fatal among the Dyaks up some of the
rivers. The poor creatures were so terrified that they left their
houses, as in small-pox, and scarcely dared bury their dead. In one
instance they paid a very strong man to carry the dead on his back to a
steep hill, and throw them into the ravine at the bottom. The food
enjoyed by the Dyaks, rotten fish and vegetables, no doubt inclined them
to get cholera. The first time of its visitation was after a great fruit
season when durian, that rich and luscious fruit, had been particularly
abundant. A durian is somewhat larger than a cocoa-nut in its inner
husk; it has a hard prickly rind, but inside lie the seeds, enclosed in
a pulp which might be made of cream, garlic, sugar, and green almonds.
It is very heating to the blood, for when there are plenty of durians
the people always suffer more from boils and skin disease than usual. We
never permitted them to enter our house, for we could not bear the smell
of them. But many English people liked them; and they were so much
esteemed by the Dyaks, that when the fruit was ripe they encamped for
the night under the trees. When a durian fell to the ground with a great
thud, they all jumped up to look for it, as the fallen fruit belongs to
the finder, and they loved it so that they willingly sacrificed their
sleep for it. Woe be to the man, however, on whose head the fruit falls,
for it is so hard and heavy it may kill him.[7]

    [Footnote 7: The Dyaks believe there is a special place in the
    other world, after death, for those who are killed by the fall
    of a durian.]

In February three new missionaries came from England--Mr. Hacket, Mr.
Glover, and Mr. Chalmers. The two last came straight to Sarawak on their
arrival at Singapore, Mr. Hacket and his wife about a month afterwards.
They were all from St. Augustine's College, Canterbury, thoroughly good
people, and a great happiness to us. Mr. Chalmers was settled among the
Land Dyaks at Peninjauh, afterwards at the Quop. Mr. Glover went to
Banting, to work among the Balows. The Hackets stayed at Sarawak: indeed
they all remained with us until Easter, when their ordination took
place. The Easter services that year, 1858, were very delightful. All
these missionaries were more or less musical, and Mr. Hacket adorned the
church as it had never been decked before. Flowers and ferns, and
lycopodium moss, were always to be had in abundance; and the polished
wooden walls were brightened by some beautiful scroll texts, printed by
a friend in England. We had full choral service on Easter Sunday, and
the school-children sang their part beautifully; indeed, our new comers
were astonished to find such good material for a choir in little native
boys.

I had been fully occupied with preparations for these missionaries while
the bishop was at Labuan; some additions to the comfort of the house for
the Hackets; a new cook-house and servants' rooms near, to build; and
the church to reroof. The balean attaps were as good as ever, but the
strips of wood on which they hung were attacked by white ants, and had
to be renewed or the shingles would have fallen through. Such
responsibilities fell to my share when the Bishop was away, and heavy
cares they were when money was not abundant. The prospect of three new
missionaries was, however, worth any trouble. They came to teach the
Dyaks, who had so long waited for teachers, and we hoped they would
settle themselves among them for many years. In this hope we were to be
disappointed. Mr. Glover fell ill of dysentery at Banting, and before
two years had passed away was obliged to remove to a cold climate. He
went to Australia, and has been doing good work there ever since. Mr.
Chalmers was a very valuable missionary, and his labours among the Quop
and Merdang Dyaks bore much fruit in after years; but he also fell ill
from the climate, and the food which was attainable up country. In 1860,
he also made up his mind to follow Mr. Glover to Australia. There are no
doubt many difficulties for Englishmen living in Sarawak jungles. Some
become acclimatized to them, others cannot bear the low diet, the
loneliness, the apathy and indifference of the Dyaks. The Bishop was
once accused, by a person who ought to have known better, that he was
too apt to gather his clergy at Sarawak and keep them from their Dyak
parishes: but it was a necessary part of the Bishop's work to keep a
home where the missionaries could come for change and refreshment; where
they could enjoy a more generous diet, and the society of English
friends; where they could consult a medical man, and get some hints how
to treat the maladies of the Dyaks--for they expected all the
missionaries to know the art of healing, having had more or less
experience of the Bishop's skill. Mr. Hacket was consumptive, but
Sarawak is the best climate in the world for that disease: he got much
stronger with us, and might have lived many years there, but he was too
nervous for so unsettled a country. We were often subjected to panics
for many months after the Chinese insurrection, and though we old
inhabitants took it very easily, Mr. Hacket always thought his wife and
child in danger. I remember, one day a Malay was being tried in the
court-house, when he, by a sudden spring, escaped from the police, and
snatching a sword from a bystander, ran amuck through the bazaar,
wounding two or three people he met. The hue and cry in the town fired
the imaginations of the timid. People came running to the house for
shelter, bringing their goods and chattels, and all sorts of tales--"The
Chinese were coming from Sambas," and all sorts of nonsense. Then, Mrs.
Hacket fainting on the sofa, and the servants all leaving their work to
listen, and look out of the verandah, provoked us extremely: we
administered sal volatile and a good scolding, and sent everybody off to
their business again. But those scenes were very trying to the nerves.
That a Malay should run amuck (amok, in Malay) with anger or jealousy,
or a fit of madness arising from both these passions, was an occasional
event all through our Sarawak life, but it was no more alarming in 1858
than in former years. It was the breach in the general feeling of
security under the Sarawak Government, which for a time magnified every
little disturbance of the peace into a public danger.

Our school was enriched this year by, first, seven new Chinese boys,
then four more and four girls, the captives of the Lundu Dyaks, ransomed
by Captain Brooke. Those children were, some of them, miserable objects,
covered with sores from neglect. One boy had been set to carry red wood
which blisters the skin, another was badly burnt. Mrs. Stahl took them
in hand, dressed their wounds, nursed them, clothed them, and soon they
looked quite nice, sitting on a bench at the end of the church with a
monitor to take charge of them, for they were still unbaptized--they
were old enough to be instructed first, except two of the little girls
who were immediately received into the Church. About this time a little
Dyak boy, Nigo by name, was paying a visit to the school, and was
baptized in church, answering for himself. He was about six years old,
and as he stood at the font his face was lit up with so sweet a smile it
touched us all. Mab begged him to stay at Sarawak; but the Dyaks never
part with their children, and in this case it was not necessary, for
Nigo's father was a Christian. It was a great happiness to us that none
of our boys were killed in the insurrection; three got away to Sambas,
the rest came back to the school one by one, having all escaped the
Dyaks. The Christian goldsmith, too, who was put in prison by the kunsi
for trying to warn us of the attack on the 18th of February, got to
Sambas safe, and afterwards returned to us at Sarawak.

This summer a doctor came out to Sarawak with his family. I heard of
their proposed arrival some months before, and wrote to Mrs. C---- to
beg they would leave their elder children in England, and only bring the
babies with them, for the little ones thrive well enough at Sarawak. I
also gave a plain unvarnished account of the place. But Mr. C----,
having made up his mind to bring all his family out, put the letter in
his pocket; and we were very sorry when they arrived, a party of nine,
having lost one child at Singapore. They only stayed one month; the
lady was so disgusted with the place--"no shops, no amusements, always
hot weather, and food so dear!"--that she persuaded her husband to take
advantage of some difference he had with the Government, and return in
the same steamer by which they came out. I, however, gained by their
departure, for they brought a sweet young girl with them as governess,
and as she did not wish to return so soon, she remained with me, and
became Mab's governess and friend. We liked her very much, and I cannot
help mentioning an incident of her spirit and courage. One of our
children being ill, I had taken her down to Santubong, where we had a
seaside cottage; but as the house was full of clergy preparing for
ordination, I left Miss McKee to do the housekeeping and take care of
our guests for a few days. She slept at the top of the house, and little
Edith in a cot beside her. It was late at night, and the moon shining
into Miss McKee's room, when she woke and saw a Chinaman standing at the
foot of her bed with a great knife in his hand. She felt under her
pillow if the keys were safe, for the box of silver was put in her room
while I was absent; then she jumped up, shouting "Thieves!" with all her
might. The man ran and she after him, down a long passage, down the
staircase, out of the house, by which time her cries had roused the
gentlemen--the Bishop was nursing a sick man in fever, and was not in
the house that night. They looked out of their doors, asking what was
the matter? However, Miss McKee had by this time made up her mind that
the thief was our own cook; she had seen enough of him by her courageous
pursuit to be sure of it. No doubt he thought she would be fast asleep,
and he should carry off the silver and the keys without discovery. Only
a servant of the house would have known where they were kept. This young
lady afterwards married Mr. Koch, one of the missionaries. He came from
Ceylon, and eventually returned to his native country, where I hope they
are still.

Now we were again without a doctor, and in the autumn Mrs. Brooke
expected her second confinement. This brings me to what we always called
the sad, dark time at Sarawak. The weather was rainy beyond any former
experience. We always had heavy rains in November, but this year they
began in October, and the sky scarcely seemed to clear. In October, God
gave us a little son, and in a usual way I should have been quite well
at the end of three weeks, and across the water to see Mrs. Brooke many
times before her confinement. But a long influenza cold kept me at home,
and the weather being always wet, there was no prospect of getting over
in a boat without a drenching, so only notes passed between us.

On November 15th, Mrs. Brooke had another boy, and though there was some
anxiety at the time, she seemed pretty well until the fourth day, when
inflammation set in with puerperal fever, and at the end of ten days our
much-loved friend was gone to her home in heaven, leaving her husband
and children desolate. It seemed so impossible that so bright a creature
should pass away from us, that to the last day we believed she would
recover. That afternoon she called her husband and brothers and sisters
to her bedside, and said, "I have tried hard to live for your sakes, but
I cannot;" then she calmly and sweetly bade them good-bye, and no
earthly cares touched her afterwards. Very sad hearts were left behind,
but her example remained to us and called us upwards. Her short life had
been continual self-sacrifice. She gave up her beautiful home in
Scotland for love, and the prospect of doing good to Sarawak. On her
arrival there the most rigid economy was practised, on account of the
losses in the Chinese insurrection. A mat house, called "The Refuge,"
neither airy nor comfortable, was her only home; but it was always
bright with Annie's good taste and cheerful spirits. Then came the last
sacrifice, her husband and children. These, too, she laid at her Lord's
feet with a willing heart. Everybody went into mourning; for in so small
a place it was quite a calamity to lose the head of our little society.
But to the Bishop this event was a great trial. He had spent most of his
time, day and night, striving to save this precious life. He was very
fond of her; he ministered to her as her priest; from his hands she
received the Blessed Sacrament a few hours before she died, and he heard
her say with almost her last breath, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;"
but he had also to witness agony which he could not relieve, and no
effort could prolong her life. It made him quite ill for some time, and
all the happy holiday days passed away with Annie Brooke. Government
House was never again, in our time, a bright and cheerful home: it
returned to its bachelor ways; and business, not social pleasure,
presided there. On Christmas Day, exactly a month after Mrs. Brooke died
and was laid in the churchyard, we placed a bouquet of flowers from her
garden on the altar, but there could be no festivities. The Chinese
Christians had their feast, and the school-children; but we who had lost
our companion and friend could not rejoice. It was sad enough to go over
the water and see Annie's empty room, kept just as she had left it, and
no sound in the house except the wails of the motherless baby, who we
feared would soon follow his mother to the grave. Captain Brooke was
obliged to go to England very soon after his wife's death; the Rajah was
struck with paralysis, and it was at first doubtful whether he would
recover. In the midst of all this sorrow I had the trouble of losing my
faithful servant, Mrs. Stahl, who took all the care of the
school-children off my hands. Her husband had found more lucrative work
at Singapore, and sent for her to join him. It was a grief to both of
us, and a great addition to my responsibilities. Mrs. William Channon,
then a widow, was installed matron of the school, but she had neither
knowledge nor experience. She did as well as she could, with continual
supervision. The sick children now came to me to be doctored early every
morning. I also had a large sewing-class of boys, and a tailor to teach
us how to cut out and make their peculiar-shaped clothes: however, we
soon learnt to do without the tailor. Mrs. Hacket taught the little ones
to sew, and I had the elder ones from seven to ten every morning.
Sometimes I gave a music lesson between whiles; sometimes I had to leave
them for a while, first to see what the cook had brought from the bazaar
for their day's food, and to give out the rice which was kept in my
store-room; also the cocoa-nut oil, which trimmed the lamps of both
house and school. Sometimes I read aloud to my boys, stories from
history. They could understand English quite well.

While our spirits were at their lowest ebb, and the rain still pouring
with little intermission, we had a visit from H.M.S. _Esk_, Sir Robert
J. McClure captain. He did his best to cheer us. How kind and bright he
was I shall never forget, nor how he used to sit patiently under a tree
in the rain to be photographed, simply to amuse us. There are certainly
some people who have more of the wine of life than others, and who are a
wonderful refreshment to their friends. It was during this year, 1858,
that we built our seaside cottage at Santubong--Sandrock Cottage, as we
called it, which sounds rather cockney; but as it stood on the sand,
with great boulders of granite rock scattered about, it seemed the most
appropriate name. Santubong is the most beautiful of the two mouths of
the Sarawak River, but not as safe as the Morotabas for ships to enter.
The Bishop had a mission yacht this year; consequently he was away,
visiting the mission stations. The next year he sailed the _Sarawak
Cross_ to Labuan. The voyage took only one week either way, whereas in
other years he had to go to Singapore, more than four hundred miles off,
in order to get to Labuan by P. and O. steamer, or any man-of-war
chancing to go there. Months instead of weeks were consumed by this
means.

Our cottage took three weeks to build. We sent three men down with a
thousand palm-leaf attaps for the outside walls and roof, and thirty
mats to make inner walls. The men went into the jungle and felled wood
for posts and rafters, then nibong palms were split into strips for the
floors. The whole building was tied together with rattans, like all
Malay houses. There were three rooms, twelve feet by fifteen each, and
two little bath-rooms. A verandah ran along the whole length of the
front, and this was planked to prevent little feet from slipping
through. But the rooms were covered with thick mats, and the floor was
so springy it danced as you moved. We put very little furniture into
these rooms, and the inside walls were only eight feet high, so that
though you could not see into the next room, you could hear all that
went on in all three rooms. The cook-house and servants' room were
separate.

As early as the year 1848, the Rajah had a little Dyak house built on
high poles, under the mountain of Santubong. It was an inconvenient
little place, into which you climbed up a steep ladder--only one room,
in fact, with a verandah; but we spent some happy days there, for the
beauty of that shore made the house a secondary consideration. A small
Malay village nestled in cocoa-nut palms at the foot of Santubong; in
front lay a smooth stretch of sand, and a belt of casuarina-trees always
whispering, without any apparent wind to move their slender spines. The
deer in those days stole out of the jungle at night to eat the sea-foam
which lay in flakes along the sand, and wild pigs could often be shot in
a moonlight stroll under the trees. In the morning, we used to set off
as soon as it was light to a fresh spring in the jungle, where we took
our bath. Dawdling along the edge of the waves, then quite warm to our
bare feet, with towels and leaf buckets in our hands, we reached the
little stream, running under the shade of tall trees in which the
wood-pigeons were cooing. How delicious and fresh that water was! and
every sense was charmed at the same time, unless some stinging ants
walked over our feet, which was not uncommon.

Then we trudged home again, with the wet towels folded on our heads to
shield us from the sun, who by that time was an enemy to be shunned.

A little colony of Chinese were settled here in 1852, but they never
took to the place; the soil was perhaps not good enough for their
gardens. In 1857 the Malays fell upon them and killed them all, because
they were of the same tribe as the rebels, although they had nothing
whatever to do with the insurrection. When we were building our cottage
on the sands two Chinese skulls were dug up. We were all indignant at
this wanton cruelty, but unable to resent it, except by the expression
of our opinion, for the English were a mere handful of individuals in
Sarawak.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE MALAY PLOT.


Our cottage at Santubong was a source of much pleasure to many people.
We often lent it to invalids, sometimes to newly married couples, who
certainly had a good opportunity of studying each other's characters and
tastes in that lonely solitude.

Sometimes we sent down all the children from the school, who wanted
sea-air and a holiday. Indeed, when we were staying there, we always had
relays of children to play on the sands and enjoy themselves. We had a
place staked round with strong hurdles, where we could bathe in safety
from sharks and alligators, who both infested the coast. I have often
seen quantities of jelly-fish and octopus sticking on the outside of the
hurdles: they sting dreadfully, so they were quite welcome to stay
there.

During one of our visits to Santubong I remember a timber-ship lying off
the mouth of the river, to lade planks from a saw-mill which was on the
other side. One day three sailors came ashore to fill a cask with fresh
water; there was a spring among the rocks close to the water's edge. As
they neared the shore, the three men jumped into the sea for a swim; but
suddenly, one of them threw up his arms and disappeared. In vain his
comrades searched for him, but the next day his body, partly devoured by
a shark, was thrown upon the rocks. No doubt he was seized and dragged
under water. His comrades were much distressed, for he was a favourite
among the crew. Frank buried him, and helped the men to put a wooden
cross on the grave.

In the north-west monsoon we sometimes went to Buntal, a bay on the
other side of the mountain of Santubong. No soul resided there, but it
was the resort of great flocks of wild-fowl at that season. We rowed
into the bay while it was still high tide, then left the boat; and our
men made little huts of boughs some distance from the shore, where we
could sit without being perceived. As the tide ebbed the birds
arrived--tall storks, fishing eagles, gulls, curlew, plover, godwits,
and many others we did not know. They flew in long lines, till they
seemed to vanish and reappear, circling round and round, then swooping
down upon the sand where the receding waves were leaving their supper. I
never saw a prettier sight. The tall storks seemed to act like
sentinels, watching while the others fed. At a note of alarm they all
rose in the air, flew about screaming, and then settled again on the
sands in long lines, the smaller birds together, the larger ones in
ascending rows. At last, alas! a gun fired into their midst caused death
and dismay. A few fell dead, and the rest fled to some happier shore,
where no destroying man could mar their happiness. And there are many
such spots in Borneo where no human foot ever trod, and where trees,
flowers, and insects flourish exceedingly; where the birds sing songs of
praise which are only heard by their Maker, and where the wild animals
of the forest live and die unmolested. There is always something
delightful to me in this idea. We are apt to think that this earth is
made for man, but, after many ages, there are still some parts of his
domain unconquered, some fair lands where the axe, the fire, and the
plough are still unknown.

While we were at Santubong, in 1859, we were distressed to hear that Mr.
Fox and Mr. Steele, two Government officers in charge of a fort at
Kenowit, had been murdered by some Dyaks, whom they were judging in the
court-house. We were very grieved for our friends, especially for Mr.
Fox, who was for two years with us as catechist in the mission, and only
left because he could not make up his mind to be ordained. However, he
was most faithful in the performance of his duties at that lonely fort,
and most blameless in his life; we could only regret the loss of so good
a young man. We did not at that time connect this event with any general
enmity to Englishmen among the natives, but only thought that
particular tribe of Kenowits were not to be trusted.

It was really a much more serious matter. Mr. Charles Johnson went up to
Kenowit directly, taking the Bishop's yacht, the _Sarawak Cross_, as his
floating fortress. He sent a thousand Dyaks to attack the fortified
village of the Kenowits, who were engaged in the murders. These Dyaks
were repulsed, but he led them on again himself with two hundred Sarawak
Malays, good men and true. They took a brass gun overland to the
village, and pounded them for a day; then the Malays and Dyaks attacked
and fired the place, and took it.

There were many killed, but it was their own fault; for, before
attacking, a flag of truce had been hoisted, and all who would were
invited to submit, and promised their lives, but only a few women and
children availed themselves of it and were saved. Tanee the brave was
killed, and Hadji Mahomet. It was found that these traitors had spread a
report that all the English at Sarawak and at Labuan, as well as at
Bunjermassin, had been killed, and this was so thoroughly believed that
the Kenowits thought they had only to kill Mr. Fox and Mr. Steele, in
order to possess themselves of the arms and goods in the fort with
impunity. It was true that the Malays at Bunjermassin had risen upon the
Europeans there, and killed twenty Dutch officials and their families;
also four of the German missionaries living among the Dyaks, and a Mr.
Mattley, with his wife and three children, who used to live at Labuan.
The Dutch took summary vengeance for this massacre, but in spite of that
the Malays at Coti killed the Europeans who lived there; so that
neighbouring countries showed a bad example to our people, and we were
afraid that religious fanaticism might have something to do with the
hatred to Christians, whether Dutch or English.

In every country there are unfortunately some bad men, who are
irreclaimable by kindness or severity. Such were the two who instigated
a plot to murder all the English in the Sarawak territory, and take the
Government to themselves. The oldest and most shameless of these men was
the Datu Patinghi of Sarawak, and to tell his story I must go back to
the early days of Sarawak. When Sir James Brooke first visited Mudah
Hassim, the Malay Rajah, he found him endeavouring to put down a
rebellion among his subjects. After a time Sir James Brooke helped him
with the guns of his yacht and the services of his blue jackets. The
enemy submitted, and then he begged their lives of Mudah Hassim. It was
with very great difficulty this unprecedented favour was granted.

Gapoor and his followers were pardoned, and when Sarawak was given over
to Sir James Brooke by the Sultan of Bruni, it was naturally supposed
that this man who owed his life to the English Rajah would remain his
faithful friend and follower. He was made the chief datu, or magistrate,
of whom there were three--the Datu Patinghi, the Tumangong, and the
Bandhar. These Malay chiefs were members of the Council, and represented
Home Department, War Office, and Treasury in the State. For some time
all seemed to go well, but the Rajah soon found that the Datu Patinghi
could not be restrained from oppressing the Dyaks under his charge,
levying more than the proper tax, or obliging them to buy whatever he
wished to sell, at exorbitant prices. His power over the Dyaks was
therefore taken away, and a fixed income given him to preclude
temptation. When the Rajah was in England, in 1851, this Datu intrigued
with the Bruni Malays to upset the Government; he mounted yellow
umbrellas, a sign of royalty, and arrogated power to himself which might
have been mischievous had he been more popular with the natives. But he
had many relations among the high Malays of the place, and it was a
question whether they would resent his being publicly disgraced. Captain
Brooke told them plainly that he must be exiled, but that it should be
done in the most cautious way, and appearances should be saved. Datu
Patinghi was therefore advised to go a pilgrimage to Mecca. Money and
servants were supplied him, but he had no choice about it. We all hoped
he would never return.

About a year afterwards Sir James Brooke said to me, "Did you ever feel
pleasure at hearing of the death of an old friend?" Before I could
consider this knotty question, he added Gapoor had died of small-pox at
Mecca. It was only a report, and proved untrue. Datu came back a hadji,
but was desired to go and live at Malacca the rest of his days. In 1859
he begged to be allowed to return to Sarawak, and, as it was hoped he
could not be ungrateful for so much kindness and forbearance, he was
permitted; but he was only biding his time. After his return to Sarawak
he married his daughter to Seriff Bujang, the brother of Seriff
Messahore, whose rascality and bad faith were on a par with his own.
Bujang was a quiet creature enough, drawn into the wicked plots of his
brother and father-in-law, but they were bad to the core. A Seriff is
supposed to be a descendant of the Prophet Mahomet, at any rate he is an
Arab, and Messahore was said to be invulnerable and sacred in his
person. He was a fine, handsome creature, with insinuating manners, but
there was nothing more to say in his favour. He was at the bottom of
every disturbance in the country, but was cunning enough to keep himself
in the background. Directly a plot miscarried, he came forward zealously
to punish the wrong-doers.

He instigated the murder of Mr. Fox and Mr. Steele; nay, it was intended
to be a general massacre of all the English in Sarawak territory; but by
a mistake of the Kenowits these two unfortunates were killed
prematurely. The day had not arrived, and this led to the discovery of
the plot. When Mr. C. Johnson went with an armed force to Kenowit,
Seriff Messahore had already killed the fort men, who had only executed
his own orders. For some time he, the guilty one, escaped detection. At
last some Christian Dyaks of Lundu and Banting disclosed to their
missionaries that Malays had visited them to say they had better turn
Mahometans, for soon there would be no English left in the country.
These stories being communicated by the Bishop to Mr. Johnson, he
consulted the Malay members of the council and other trustworthy native
friends, and it was evident they knew there was good reason for anxiety,
as they advised all the English to wear firearms, even the ladies.

At last the rumours of threats were traced to old Gapoor, the
ex-Patinghi, and he was again banished the country by order of the
council. Seriffs Messahore and Bujang, being connected with him by
marriage, were also suspected. Messahore was warned that if he came to
Kuching he would be treated as an enemy. Nevertheless he advanced up the
river; his boat was greeted by a shower of balls, and he ignominiously
fled. When the glamour was thus taken from him everybody was ready to
divulge what they knew of the plot, and that a pension of six hundred
rupees a year was promised to any one who would kill Mr. C. Johnson. The
Rajah was in England, and known to be in bad health. Very few English
men-of-war visited Sarawak at that time. Rumours were got up at Bruni
that the Rajah was in disgrace with his own queen. This was the
consequence of the commission of inquiry about piracy, which had taken
place in 1858, by order of the English Parliament; for though the
results of that commission thoroughly exculpated Sir James Brooke from
any blame, there was never any _amende honourable_ made for subjecting
him to such an indignity. It was never understood by the natives as
anything but a slur on the Rajah's character, and was a terrible injury
to his prestige for a time. Indeed, it was the seed of the Malay plot;
and if we had all been killed, our own English Government would have
been the remote cause of our death. It is no doubt difficult for
Englishmen to understand the feelings of Malays and Dyaks. We are
accustomed in England to find fault with our rulers, and submit to them
all the same. But in the East it is different: no breath of blame must
touch the Rajah, nor can he be arraigned before any court, except the
throne of God.

Fatima, Seriff Bujang's wife, was an old friend of mine. She had always
visited me from the time of our first arrival at Sarawak, and was then a
very handsome girl, with a pale, clear complexion, and fine hair and
eyes. We took a great interest in her marriage, and Seriff Bujang
frequently came to our house. He was apparently fond of Mab, and liked
to hear her tell fairy tales. Mab spoke Malay very well, and was always
popular with the natives, to whom she would sing, dance, or relate
Cinderella, the White Cat, or the Three Bears, etc. It was curious to
see a grave-looking Malay sitting to listen to fairy stories; still more
so when all the time he was party to a plot for the destruction of the
household he visited. He was more weak than wicked; and two years after
that he died. I had occasion to visit some Malays in his kampong after
his death, and found poor Fatima bereft of all her ornaments and gay
dresses, and working as a drudge in the house. Widows are little
accounted of in Eastern households.

To return to the events of October, 1859.

A timber-ship, the _Planet_, was lying in the river, and Mr. Johnson
requested that the women and children of the mission should be sent on
board until the panic passed away, and the old Datu was got safely out
of the place. The fort and Government House were manned and armed, and
the rest of the Europeans sheltered there. The Hacket family went down
at once, and in the evening we sent Miss McKee and the two youngest
children with her; but Mab was ill of fever, and could not be moved. So
the Bishop and I stayed with her, and ten Chinamen guarded our house.

Mr. Chalmers had come from Merdang with news that some of those Dyaks
had joined the Datu Hadji, and also some bad Lundus, who had been
punished for sedition four years before. We all sat up that night; but I
was too much occupied with my sick child to be nervous about anything
else. The night passed over without any rising of the disaffected, and
the next day Gapoor consented to leave the country quietly, finding no
chief Malays would stand by him, and to be taken in a Government
gunboat to a brig just leaving the river. Thus, through God's mercy and
the loyalty of the people, no harm came of this plot, except that Mr.
and Mrs. Hacket decided to leave the mission, not being strong enough to
stand such alarms. They went to Malacca, where he became Government
chaplain, and died there of consumption, after some years' service.

The heat of Sarawak climate was so injurious to our child Mab, who had
frequent attacks of fever, that as soon as the place was quiet again, we
resolved to pay another visit to England. The Bishop's health was much
shaken, and the doctors at Singapore ordered him home at once. But it
was winter, and we were afraid of taking our children too quickly into
the rigorous cold of England; therefore we took a passage in the
_Bahiana_, a steamer which had brought out a telegraph cable to lay
between Singapore and Batavia, and having accomplished her purpose, was
returning empty to England. The Bishop went with us as far as Bombay,
and then took P. and O. boat to England; whilst we called first at
Mauritius, then at the Cape of Good Hope, staying some days at each
place, and at the latter adding several passengers to our small party.
We proceeded very happily until we were within a day's steam of the
Island of St. Vincent, off the coast of Africa; then the great crank of
the steam-engine snapped in two, and we had to sail. It took us ten days
to beat up to the island, for a large screw steamer was never intended
to be propelled by sails.

We began to have gloomy forebodings of the time which must elapse before
we could reach England, sailing at this rate, when we saw, lying in the
roads at St. Vincent, a very large West Indian steamer on her way home.
It was difficult to communicate with this ship, because she lay in
quarantine, yellow flag flying; and we did not know whether she had
yellow fever on board or not. Our captain, however, called us all
together, and said, "I hoped to have found some provisions in this
island, to add to our stores; but I find there is nothing." The island
seemed just a bare rock, with one solitary palm-tree growing by the
office door, and not a blade of grass. It was difficult to imagine what
provisions there could be, except the coal left by ships to supply
passing steamers. "It will be necessary," added Captain Grenfell, "that
some of you should go home in the _Magnolia_, West Indian steamer, for
we have not food on board for all, and cannot expect to be less than
another month reaching England under sail: therefore you must each of
you decide to-night what you will do; and if you choose to go home in
the _Magnolia_, I will pay your passage. But I ought to tell you that
probably there are cases of yellow fever on board that ship; for it is
the time of year when it is rife at the South American stations."

Here was a problem to solve in the night! Should I take my children on
board a ship where there was probable infection, or should I subject my
husband to harassing anxiety about us for a whole month? In the morning
I decided to go home in the _Magnolia_; and I was rewarded when we
climbed up into that great ship, with two hundred passengers on board,
by finding that there was not a single case of yellow fever, or anything
infectious. We had a delightful ten days' passage, stopping a few hours
at Lisbon, but not allowed to land, and then straight to Southampton. My
only regret was leaving Captain Grenfell, who had been so kind to the
children all the way.

The _Bahiana_ took just a month to get to England from St. Vincent.



PART III.



CHAPTER XV.

THE CHILDREN'S CHAPTER.


In 1861 we again returned to our Eastern home, leaving our three
children behind, and taking only our baby girl for companion. What a
difference it makes in India, to "leave the children behind!"--a common
fate indeed for parents, but not the less to be deplored. We used to
think and speak of Sarawak as home until 1861; but ever after, we spoke
of going home to our children, for where the treasure is there must the
heart be also. To do the work so that the time might pass quickly and
peacefully, to live upon the mails from England, to carry on two lives
as it were, one in the present, the other in the pictures our English
letters presented--such at any rate was my fate, though my husband was
too true a missionary to feel as I did.

Most of our old Sarawak friends had either died or gone away when we
returned in '61, but the mission grew more and more interesting as
Christian Churches sprang up on the Dyak rivers. Four new missionaries
came out soon after our arrival. Mr. and Mrs. Abè, Mr. Zehnder, Mr.
Mesney, and Mr. Crossland, the two latter from St. Augustine's College,
Canterbury, from whence had formerly come those two good men, Mr.
Chalmers and Mr. Glover. They had both gone to Australia on account of
their health, but the teaching of Mr. Chalmers had left its mark among
the land Dyaks of Murdang and the Quop, so that Mr. Abè, who was
afterwards placed on that station, reaped the harvest which had been
sown with many prayers two years before. Mr. Mesney succeeded Mr. Glover
at Banting, and its many branch missions; and Mr. Crossland went farther
off, to the Dyaks, on the Undop, where he eventually built a church and
gathered a little flock of Christians about him. Mr. Richardson came as
catechist about the same time, and after staying a short time at Lundu,
built himself a house among the Selaku Dyaks at Sedemac, in the country
towards Sambas. He was much beloved by those simple people, who speak
quite a different language to the Lundus. They exerted themselves to
build their own church of substantial balean-wood, and their women
learnt to pray as well as the men. "To learn to pray" is the Dyak
description of a Christian. "What will you do," asked a missionary, "to
bring those around you to Christ?" "I will teach them to pray," was the
answer. And surely this is the great distinction between the Christian
and the heathen--the one has communion with his Father in heaven, an
all-powerful, wise, and loving Friend; the other may cherish some vague
belief and worship of an unknown God, but has neither love nor trust to
carry him above this world's troubles and trials.

Another baby was added to our family in May, 1862, whose mother died at
her birth. This little one stayed with us only seventeen months, and was
a great happiness to me; then Sir James Brooke took her to England.
However, it was a pleasant chapter as long as it lasted.

Julia, one of our original school-girls, became very useful to me at
this time. We had taken her home with us in '59, and sent her to a
training-school for teachers in Dublin, so that she was quite competent
on our return to take the management of the girls' school. We had eight
girls in the house, and a few day-scholars from the town. Lessons used
to go on in a room on the basement, where of course I was
superintendent, and they learnt sewing in the afternoon. Julia was a
very gentle mistress, and I was feeling very happy about my girls, when
I found to my sorrow that Julia had an admirer, and I must make up my
mind to part with my child who had lived with us since she was four
years old. Such natural events must not be considered trials, but the
difficulty of replacing her was insuperable. I was obliged at last to
send my girls to Mrs. Abè, at the Quop Station, for I was too often away
in the mission-boat with the Bishop to keep them at the mission-house.
This was not until 1865, however. Poor Mildred felt parting with "her
girls," as she called them, very much, and often said, "Mamma, if Sarah
and Fanny might come back we would never, never quarrel any more." Are
not such pricks of conscience common to us all when our dear ones leave
us? But the past never returns!

In 1863, the Bishop built a charming little yawl for mission work. The
_Fanny_ was just suited, from her light draught of water, to cross the
bars of the rivers, and she was a very good sea-boat too. Not only was
she wanted to take the Bishop on his missionary, tours, but she brought
the missionaries to Sarawak when, they came for ordinations, or the
annual synod; also when they were sick, and required medical aid or
change. Very few clergymen know much about the management of boats, and
native crafts are very unsafe, so that until the Bishop had a yacht many
accidents used to occur, not actually dangerous, for the natives swim
like fishes, but drenchings and loss of goods from the upsetting of
boats. In the north-east monsoon _Fanny_ was thatched over and laid
snugly up a creek, but all the south-west monsoon she was very useful;
and no one wanted to travel about, if they could help it, during the wet
tempestuous weather which prevailed from November to March.

The Bishop paid his annual visit to Labuan in any steamer which happened
to be going. We had the great advantage of frequent visits from an
English gunboat, for the admiral of the Chinese seas had orders from
England to tell off one gun-boat for the two stations of Labuan and
Sarawak. This arose from our being also blest with the presence of an
English consul. But after he and his wife had remained two years at
Sarawak, they were heartily tired of the dulness of their lives, and did
their best to get removed to a more stirring station. However, the
recognition of England gave confidence to native traders and security to
the well disposed, so that there ensued a time of peace such as we had
not experienced during our former sojourns in the country.

[Illustration: Tommy. Fanny. Mary. Mab. Sarah. Nietfong.

SCHOOL CHILDREN. _Page_ 194.]

I think the history of our life during these years may be partly told by
the letters I wrote to my children at home, or extracts from them; so
that this may be called the children's chapter.

    Sunday before Easter, 1862.

    MY DARLING MAB,

    I am glad you are not here, for it is very, very hot, and you
    would probably have a bad headache. Julia is sitting in the
    verandah teaching Polly, Sarah, Fanny, and Phoebe the Easter
    hymn for next Sunday. Ayah is walking up and down with Mildred,
    and Louis Koch is running about, making her laugh. I must tell
    you how we spend the day. Papa gets up at five, and takes a ride
    on his pony. I make the tea at six, and cut bread and butter for
    Ayah and Julia, and Samchoon, one of the boys who has had fever
    and wants feeding up. The bell calls us to church at seven, but
    I don't go till the afternoon. The gardener brings me a tray of
    flowers, and I make the nosegays for the day. Then I go
    downstairs and see the butter made. The boy brings in a great
    jar of milk, with which he mixes some warm water; into this he
    puts a long piece of bamboo, with cross pieces fixed in it like
    the spokes of a wheel. This he twirls round and round in the jar
    till the butter comes. Then he takes it out with his black
    hands, and I carry it off and wash and salt it. We only get five
    ounces now at a time, though there are six cows in milk; but the
    calves are such miserable little things they have to be helped
    first, and fed with rice-gruel also. The butter finished, I go
    up to the sewing-class, who are very busy making their Easter
    clothes, both boys and girls; and I help them with my
    sewing-machine until half-past ten, only running away
    twice--once to see what the school cook has brought for their
    breakfast, and then to order our own. Then we all bathe and
    breakfast, and Ayah goes away for two hours for her breakfast
    and midday nap; and I take care of Mildred, which is, I own, the
    hardest part of my day's work, for the little restless thing
    will never let me sit down, and is up to all sorts of mischief.
    At two o'clock Ayah comes and sings Mildred to sleep, with the
    same old tune of "Doo doo baby" which you used to sing to your
    dolls. I think in the next box I have from home you might send
    your old friends Sarah and Fanny a doll each, and dress them
    yourself. Our Malay Tuan Ku was here the other day and asked
    after you; he remembered your Malay fairy tales.

           *       *       *       *       *

    MY BELOVED CHILD,

    Our letters were very welcome last Sunday, _Easter Sunday_,
    telling us good news of you all. Our church was very gay with
    flowers and moss ferns; and the font was filled with large pink
    water-lilies, whose beautiful round green leaves, a foot wide at
    least, looked quite lovely round the white shell font. All holy
    week and Easter Monday and Tuesday we had full service at seven
    o'clock in the morning, papa preaching a short sermon from the
    altar. It was delightfully cool at that hour, and began the day
    so pleasantly. I always love Easter, when all our dear ones seem
    to be gathered to us in Christ our Lord, whether those in Heaven
    or those far away--all one family, and Christ's children through
    God the Father's love and mercy. I have been very busy. The
    school-children had all new clothes for Easter. We worked
    diligently for three hours every morning. The jackets were made
    of the Irish gingham I brought from home. This week is holiday,
    and Julia and I have had a fine wash, and have clear-starched
    the Bishop's sleeves and ruffles--such a business! My hand aches
    to-day with lifting the heavy smoothing-iron, which is not iron,
    but a large brass box, hollow and filled with hot charcoal. We
    shall get more used to it in time. Mrs. Stahl used to do it. Now
    she is gone it is quite impossible to let the Kling Dobie touch
    papa's sleeves; they would soon be torn to ribbons. I gave the
    school a treat on Easter Tuesday. They had two soup-tureens full
    of syllabub, plum cake, and pine-apple puffs. My cook stared
    when I said, "Make forty large pine-apple puffs." However, they
    were for his own countrymen--he is Chinese. I thought at first
    he understood English, for he always said "Yes" to my orders;
    but it was his one word. After the school-children had finished
    off with fruit and native cakes, they had, what they like best
    of all, quantities of crackers, which filled the house with the
    smell of gunpowder, and frightened baby Mildred out of her
    sleep. Good-bye.

           *       *       *       *       *

    July, 1862.

    MY PRECIOUS MAB,

    Thank you for your note, written on the 4th of May, which I
    received the other day. I always rejoice to think of you in the
    springtime, because, like other young things, you enjoy the
    opening buds, flowers, and sunshine after the long grave winter.
    But winter is a good friend, although he has a grave face; we
    should be all the better for a visit from him out here. My
    garden is now as full of flowers as it will hold; Mrs. Little
    brought me so many new ones from Singapore. I have a very gay
    nosegay every morning, and still, leave flowers to adorn the
    beds outside. We have turned out some of the fruit-trees to make
    more room for flowers. This morning I have sown a quantity of
    blue and purple convolvulus, which only display their beauties
    to those who rise early before the sun closes their blossoms;
    but we have flowers which only open at night, the moon-flower,
    and night-blowing cereus, both white and fragrant. Dr. Little
    has been travelling about the country looking for new plants. He
    and Mr. Koch went to the top of the mountain of Poè near Lundu.
    It was so cold six thousand feet above the level of the sea,
    that they had to supply the natives who went with them with
    blankets. At the very top of the mountain they found a new
    orchid growing on the ground, a bright yellow flower, with
    streaks of magenta colour inside. Dr. Little picked some of the
    blossoms, and dug up one hundred roots, two of which he gave me;
    but they will not live in my garden, they want mountain air. He
    also gave me the dead flowers, and asked me to paint a picture
    of one from his description and the faded blossom. I did it as
    well as I could, but I fear it was not very good, and, after
    all, the flower was not nearly as pretty as a bunch of laburnum
    in England. They also found growing on the roots of a tree that
    strange fungus flower described by Sir Stamford Raffles in his
    book on Java and Sumatra--a yard wide across the petals,
    brilliantly coloured red, purple, yellow and white, and, in the
    hollow of the flower (nectarium), capable of holding twelve
    pints of water, the whole weighing from fifteen to twenty
    pounds; for it is a thick fleshy flower, not frail and delicate
    as one likes a flower to be. It is very curious and gorgeous,
    but as soon as it is fully expanded it begins to decay and
    smells putrid. Sir James Brooke once found a specimen of this
    gigantic flower in the jungle, and sent it to me to look at; but
    it had lost all its beauty in the journey, and I held my nose as
    I looked at it. The Dyaks said, "It is an auton" (spirit), which
    is their explanation of anything they never saw before. The
    natives of Sumatra call it "The Devil's sirih-box."[8] Are you
    as fond of frogs as you used to be? Last week, some people were
    dining with us. I had just helped the soup, and, letting my hand
    fall upon my lap, picked up one of your friends who had settled
    himself there. Not knowing at first what the cold clammy thing
    was, I jumped up, and everybody else jumped up too, to see what
    was the matter; for it might have been a snake, you know!
    Good-bye.

    [Footnote 8: The real name is _Rafflesia Arnoldi_. See page 343,
    vol. i., "Raffles' Life and Journals."]

           *       *       *       *       *

    December 1, 1862.

    MY DEAREST MAB,

    Uncle told me of your walk with him to West Hyde Church, and how
    you made believe to get to Sarawak and see mamma walking in the
    verandah. You are much better off in the cold December air of
    England, than you would be in this sultry place, for all its
    green beauty and never-failing flowers. I had rather you carried
    the roses in your cheeks than have them in the garden all the
    year round. Last month papa went to visit the Quop Mission,
    where Mr. and Mrs. Abi and their little baby, and your old Ayah
    Fatima, live. To get there he goes down the Sarawak River and
    up the Quop River, then lands at a Malay village, from whence
    there is a walk of three or four miles, up and down pretty hills
    and across Dyak bridges, and over paths made of two bamboos tied
    together, with a muddy swamp on either side. Then you come to
    the mission-house which papa has built, and to Mr. Chalmers' old
    house, which at present serves as the church, and to some long
    Dyak houses. Papa baptized twenty-four men, women, and girls,
    and confirmed nineteen people who had been baptized by Mr.
    Chalmers. The old Pangara, one of the principal chiefs, was
    baptized, and three of his grown-up sons, and one little
    grandson whom the old man held in his arms. We had made white
    jackets for the baptized, but the old Pangara had not quite made
    up his mind, fearing the ridicule of the other elders of the
    tribe, till papa talked to him; so there was no jacket for him,
    and papa gave him a clean white shirt, round the skirt of which
    we tied his chawat, a very long waist-band which wraps round and
    round the body, and that was all! no trousers, and very funny he
    looked; but papa was too rejoiced at his becoming a Christian,
    to laugh at him. These people will all be Christians soon. They
    come to Mr. and Mrs. Abi, morning, noon, and night, to be
    taught, and there are two daily services; so the missionaries
    have plenty to do. Two of our old school-boys, now grown up, are
    catechists there, Semirum and Aloch. There is much love between
    the people and their teachers; they are so happy at the Quop
    they never want to come away. However, I have asked the Abis to
    come for a fortnight at Christmas, and bring their poor little
    baby to be fattened on cow's milk. There are no cows at the
    Quop.

           *       *       *       *       *

     January, 1863.

     MY BELOVED CHILDREN,

     As I cannot have you with me this Christmas and new year, I
     must comfort myself as best I may by writing you an account of
     all we have been doing, and how we have tried to fancy
     ourselves in old England amidst the frost and snow,
     notwithstanding the bright sunshine and perpetual green of our
     Eastern home. When we woke before daylight on Christmas morning
     the school boys were singing under our windows, "When Joseph
     was a-walking he heard an angel sing," so we got up and looked
     out, wishing the children a happy Christmas. Then we dressed,
     for there was a great deal to do. Papa had many services in
     church, Chinese, English, and Dyak. I had the wreaths to make.
     The church had been decked with moss fern the day before, but
     the flowers must be added in the morning, or they would be
     faded. So Julia and I made a crown of French marigolds to hang
     on the cross over the altar, two large wreaths for either side,
     and one at the west end made entirely of the golden allamanda,
     in the buds of which you used to imprison fire-flies when you
     lived here. The font was adorned all over, in preparation for
     the baptisms to take place in the morning service. At half-past
     eleven we all went to church, and after the Litany there were
     sixteen Dyaks from Murdang, six Chinamen, and six little
     children baptized. Mr. Koch read the service in Malay, and papa
     baptized. It was a beautiful sight. The children, four of my
     little girls, and two small boys from the school behaved very
     well, and looked pretty in their new clothes. But they all
     understood something of why they were sprinkled with the
     blessed water, for we had been teaching them for some time, and
     Limo told me on Christmas Eve, that "our Saviour came into this
     world a little child, to teach us to be good; and when He had
     blessed them in their baptism, they must take pains to do all
     He desired them." I thought this pretty well for a beginning.
     Ambat always repeats what Limo says, so I do not know how much
     is her own: she is Limo's sister. Ango and Llan, the other two
     girls, have been taught by Miss Rocke, who has given them to
     me; they know but little, but are gentle children. The school
     had a feast at five o'clock, beef curry (papa had an ox
     killed), salt pork, rice, and a huge plum-pudding. They had
     newly white-washed their dining-room the week before, and
     decked it with boughs, so that it looked very nice with six
     lanterns hanging from the roof. They played there while we were
     at dinner, and the Christian Chinese feasted at Sing Song's
     house. Julia had her little party in her school-room, and
     dinner from our table: some of the grown-up schoolboys and
     Polly. We had Mr. and Mrs. Koch, Mr. and Mrs. Owen, Mr.
     Zehnder, and Mrs. Crookshank at our table. Papa counted that
     ninety-seven people were fed on the mission premises on
     Christmas Day. After dinner we had a bonfire in the hollow
     below our hill, between the house and the church. Quantities of
     dry bamboo had been collected there, which threw up columns of
     sparks, and lit up all the under leaves of the trees, making
     the dark sky and the young moon look so far far away. Then the
     boys began with crackers and rockets. Baby Agnes was not
     frightened, but poor Mildred could not sleep for terror. Every
     rocket made her call out "Bumah," and hide her face on my
     shoulder; however, she got used to it at last. Christmas is the
     time of year which belongs especially to children, because our
     Lord Jesus Christ then deigned to become a little child. We
     forget what happened to us when we were very young--even a
     mother does not know all the feelings, little troubles, ardent
     wishes and desires of her little ones--but it is impossible
     that our Saviour can ever forget. He knows exactly all that
     belongs to the daily life of a child, not only because He is
     God and knows everything, but because He was once a child
     Himself, and remembers all the joys and sorrows of His
     child-life in the cottage at Nazareth; and so children are very
     dear to Him--He listens to their prayers, accepts their
     praises, and watches over them always. Remember, my darling,
     that He is your best friend; to Him you may tell all your
     little troubles and confess all your faults, for He is very
     pitiful and of tender mercy.

     I gave my school-girls a box of dominoes and a set of
     draughtsmen with a board for their Christmas present. They play
     very well. All the sewing-class boys, too, had each a
     present--either a knife, or belt, or box or basket to keep
     their treasures in, or a head-handkerchief; but the Sarawak
     bazaar does not furnish many desirable things, even for
     school-boys. H.M.S. _Renard_ has arrived since I wrote thus
     far, and we have had the boat races, which always take place in
     January. Eleven of our school-boys won the boys' race, pulling
     against Inchi Boyangs' school, the Mahometan school, and some
     other boats. We dressed our boys in white and blue, and they
     pulled beautifully. Papa had taught them to pull all together,
     when they went to mission stations with him, and they are
     really good paddlers. They disdained the short course marked
     out for the boys, and pulled all the way out to the
     winning-post, a boat anchored near the wharf, round it, and
     back again, winning by two boats' lengths. They won five
     dollars, and papa added two more; they gave some of the money
     to their school-fellows, and celebrated their victory by
     singing all the evening so nicely, and hurrahing at the end of
     each song. They are good boys, and much happiness to us.
     Good-bye.



CHAPTER XVI.

ILLANUN PIRATES.


I have described in a former chapter the habits of the Dyak pirates of
Sakarran and Sarebas, and how, after being punished by Sir James Brooke
when they were caught at the entrance of their river, with captives and
plunder in their boats, they were required to live at one with their
neighbours, and to study the arts of peace. Happily for them, they had a
wise and paternal Government to repress their vices, and, after a time,
Christian missionaries to teach them the fear and love of God. But the
Malay pirates who lived on the islands and coasts of North Borneo were
governed by sultans who encouraged piracy, and insisted on sharing their
spoils; moreover, they are Mahometans by religion, and that is not a
faith which teaches mercy or respects life. To this day, therefore,
these Illanuns remain pirates. They have larger prahus and carry heavier
guns than the Dyaks, and nothing can exceed their cruelty. When we
lived at Kuching there was scarcely a Malay family there who had not
suffered from them, either by the loss of relations or property; for
they are naturally a trading people.

It is a common practice for a party of men to join together in hiring a
boat in which to venture goods or gold-dust by trading on the coast, or
even to Singapore three hundred and sixty miles away, These small and
comparatively unarmed boats fell an easy prey to the pirate prahus, who
went out in fleets.

The Spaniards and the Dutch were every now and then roused to search the
seas for these pests of the human race, but they were so cunning they
generally evaded them. At last they had a signal lesson. In the year
1862, Captain Brooke, then governing Sarawak in his uncle's absence,
decided to go to Bintulu on the north-west coast of Borneo, a territory
which had lately been ceded to the Rajah by the Sultan, and build a fort
on the river, to check piracy and protect the peaceable inhabitants who
were settling there on the promise of such protection. For this purpose
he took the _Rainbow_, a small screw steamer of eighty-nine tons and
thirty-five horse power; and the _Jolly Bachelor_, a Government
gun-boat. The Bishop accompanied him, to see what missionary prospects
there were in that distant spot, also because he was at that time
anxious about Captain Brooke's health. Mr. Helms, the manager of the
Borneo mercantile company, accompanied them as far as Muka, where was
an establishment to collect sago for exportation. On the second day
after his arrival, a piratical fleet of Ilanuns, consisting of six
large, and as many smaller vessels, appeared on the coast, and blockaded
the town. For two days they remained off Muka, capturing there, and on
the coast southwards, thirty-two persons.

Mr. Helms persuaded Hadji Mataim and a few natives to start in a fast
boat and apprize Captain Brooke; and this boat, though chased by the
pirates, got safe to Bintulu. Hadji Mataim got alongside the steamer
early on Thursday morning, while it was still dark, and the Bishop,
recognizing his voice, called him on board. He delivered a letter from
Mr. Helms, asking for help. Steam was got up directly, the Chinese
carpenters who were to build the fort were landed, and the guns which
had been brought to protect it were put on board, as well as the fort
men who were to man the fort, that they might strengthen the crew. With
the first dawn of light the _Rainbow_ steamed over the bar taking the
_Jolly Bachelor_ in tow, and steered for Muka.

Meanwhile all preparation was made for fighting. Planks were hung over
the railing to raise the sides of the poop where there were no bulwarks,
and mattresses were laid inside to receive the shot and spears of the
enemy; this doubtless saved the lives of several of the crew. There were
eight Europeans on board, including the captain of the _Rainbow_ and his
mate, the engineer, Captain Brooke, Mr. Stuart Johnson, Mr. Hay, Mr.
Walters, and the Bishop. As soon as there were any wounded, Mr. Walters
assisted the Bishop in his work of mercy. The Bishop always carried a
medicine chest and case of surgical instruments wherever he went; and,
happily, a large sheet had been packed among his things this voyage,
which was speedily torn up into bandages. Now all was ready, but it was
not until Friday morning that they sighted what looked like three large
palm drifts to seaward off Tanjong Kidorong, to the north-east of the
British River. They proved to be three large prahus, with their masts
struck, and bristling with men, who were rowing like the Maltese,
standing, and pushing for shore, casting off their sampans[9] one by one
to make better way. Hadji Mataim recognized the sampan which chased and
fired at him when he slipped away from Muka. Brooke then asked one of
the chief officers of the Sarawak Government, who was on board, and
Pangeran Matussim of Muka, if they were perfectly sure that these prahus
were Illanuns? "Not a shadow of doubt," they said. So they loaded their
guns and prepared for action. The leading prahu was going almost as fast
as the steamer herself, and though steam was put on, and every effort
made to get between her and the Point, the prahu won the race, and got
into shallow water where the steamer could not follow; then she opened
fire on the steamer, which was returned with interest. This prahu had
three long brass swivel guns, and plenty of rifles and muskets. As she
was beyond the reach of the steamer, Captain Brooke turned to the second
prahu, which was now fast nearing the shore. His plan was to silence the
brass guns by the fire of the rifles on board the steamer, and shake the
rowers at their oars by a discharge of grape and round shot; then to put
on all steam and run at them with the stem of the _Rainbow_. This was
done with great coolness by Captain Hewat when Captain Brooke gave the
order; the steamer struck the prahu amid-ships and went over her. Those
on board called to the slaves, and all who would surrender, to hold on
by the wreck until the boats could take them off; then they steamed away
after the third prahu, which had already got into two-fathom water and
was struck too far forward to sink. All the pirates in her jumped
overboard and swam for shore, leaving their own wounded, the slaves, and
captives, who were also bid to remain by their vessel till they were
rescued.

    [Footnote 9: Small boats.]

Meanwhile the first prahu, seeing the fate of the others, ran ashore
among the rocks inside Tanjong Kidorong; and all the crew, pirates, and
slaves ran into the jungle. Had the captives known better they would not
have run away. The _Jolly Bachelor_ was left to look after these
runaways, and then the captives of the other two prahus were helped on
board the steamer. Several of the crew of the _Rainbow_ recognized
friends and acquaintances among the saved; and the joyous, thankful look
of the captives, as they came on board and found themselves among
friends, was indeed a compensation for the awful destruction of the
pirates. Many were wounded, either with shot or the fearful cuts of the
Illanun swords of the pirates, who tried to murder their captives when
they saw all was lost. The Bishop was dressing one man who was shot
through the wrist, when he spoke to him in English, and after pouring
out his gratitude for his wonderful escape, said he was a Singapore
policeman, and was going to see his friends in Java when he was
captured. There were also two Singapore women, and a child, and two
British-born Bencoolen Malays, who were taken in their own trading boat
going to Tringanau. The husband of the younger woman had been killed by
the pirates, and she, like all women who fall into their hands, had
suffered every outrage and insult which could be offered her. They were
almost living skeletons. One was shot through the thigh, and after the
Bishop had dressed her wound, Mr. Walters said quaintly, "Poor thing,
she has not meat enough on her bones to bait a rat-trap." It is a wonder
how the poor creatures lived at all, under the treatment to which they
were subjected. When the Bishop asked some of the men whether their
wounds hurt much, they answered, "Nothing hurts so much as the salt
water the Illanuns gave us to drink. We never had fresh water; they
mixed three parts of fresh with four of salt water: and all we had to
eat was a handful of rice or raw sago twice a day." Very few of the
pirates who were not wounded surrendered. They are marvellous swimmers:
took their arms with them into the water, and fought the men in the
boats who were trying to pick up the captives. The Bishop and Mr.
Walters were fully occupied doctoring friends and foes, arresting
hemorrhage, extracting balls, and closing frightful sword or chopper
wounds. One man came on board with the top of his skull as cleanly
lifted up by a Sooloo knife, as if a surgeon had desired to take a peep
at the brain inside! It took considerable force to close it in the right
place. This man had also two cuts in his back, yet the next morning he
was discovered eating a large plate of rice, and he ultimately
recovered. Another poor fellow could not be got up the ladder because he
had a long-handled three-barbed spear sticking in his back: the Bishop
had to go down and cut it out before he could be moved.

While all this was going on, the captives told Captain Brooke that there
were three more pirate vessels out at sea, waiting for those near shore
to rejoin them; as soon, therefore, as the steamer had picked up as many
captives as she could find, she steamed out to sea in search of them.
After an hour, the look-out from the mast-head reported three vessels in
sight. It was then a dead calm, and they were using their long sweeps,
when they were seen from the deck, to arrange themselves side by side,
with their bows towards the steamer; but, a breeze springing up, they
hoisted sail, spread themselves out broadside on, and opened fire on
the _Rainbow_ as soon as she was within range, so that there was no
question as to whether these were pirate prahus or not. The same plan
was followed as in the case of the other boats, and with more success,
as there was no shore to escape to.

The pirates had secured their captives below the decks of the prahus,
but when the steamer struck them and opened their sides, they were
liberated. But few of them were drowned, being all good swimmers; but
some were killed by the pirates in their rage and despair, and some had
been lashed to the vessel and could not therefore escape.

One poor Chinaman came swimming along, holding up his long tail of hair
lest he should be suspected to be a pirate; other men held up the ropes
round their necks, to show they were captives. The deck of the steamer
was soon covered with those who had been picked out of the water, men of
every nation and race in the Archipelago, who had been captured during
this cruise, which had lasted seven months. These vessels left
Tawi-Tawi, an island to the south-west of Sooloo, in October. The Sultan
of Sooloo is in league with the pirates, and receives part of the
plunder and slaves. In the only boat boarded by Captain Brooke was found
the Sultan's flag, which is only given to people of high rank; also the
usual Illanun flag, six Dutch, and one Spanish flag, which no doubt
belonged to vessels they had captured. The men who were saved gave
details of the taking of two large vessels--one a Singapore prahu
trading to Tringanau; the other a Dutch tope, of one hundred and fifty
tons, on the coast of Borneo to the south of Pontianak. There they fell
in with five other Illanun boats, which had come down from the
northward--they themselves were going up from the southward. The
new-comers told them of a merchant vessel near at hand, and proposed
they should join them in capturing her, which they did. She had a
valuable cargo, worth ten thousand dollars. They killed everybody on
board, plundered and burnt the vessel. Only the one Chinaman escaped who
told this tale. The captives stated that this was the usual proceeding
if resistance was made. When they spare their captives' lives, they beat
them with a flat piece of bamboo over the elbows and knees, and the
muscles of arms and legs, until they are unable to move; then a halter
is put round their necks, and, when they are sufficiently tamed, they
are put to the oars and made to row in gangs, with one of their own
fellow-captives as overseer to keep them at work. If he does not do it
effectually, he is krissed and thrown overboard. If these miserable
creatures jump into the sea they spear them in the water. They row in
relays, night and day; and to keep them awake, cayenne pepper is rubbed
into their eyes or into cuts dealt them on their arms.

The masts of these prahus are very small, so that they may not be seen
at a distance. They go very fast. Those encountered by the _Rainbow_
were seen off Datu on Monday night, and on Friday morning they were near
Bintulu, a distance of two hundred and forty miles, although they had
delayed nearly two days at Muka, picking up thirty people on the coast.
Most of these were recaptured and returned to Muka. On reckoning up, it
was found that one hundred and sixty-five people had been rescued, and
perhaps one hundred and fifty or two hundred had got away from the
vessels sunk on shore. In every pirate prahu were from forty to fifty
Illanuns, and from sixty to seventy captives, many of whom were killed
by the pirates when they found themselves beaten, among them two women.
Nine women and six children were saved; seven of the women belonged to
Muka or Oya. Of the Illanuns, thirty-two were taken alive; ten of these
were boys. Some died afterwards of their wounds; some were taken to
Kuching in irons, there tried, and some of them executed. They died the
death of murderers; but Captain Brooke gave the boys to respectable
people to bring up, hoping they might be reformed. We had one young
fellow, about fourteen years old, when he had been cured of his wounds
in the hospital. I kept him about me, and used to teach him; but he
could not be tamed. He turned Mahometan, and left us to be employed at
the fort; but there he stole money, and had to be sent elsewhere. The
nature of an Illanun pirate seems almost unmixed evil, because they are
taught to be cruel from their childhood.

There were two circumstances in this affray with the Illanuns which
called for thankfulness on the part of the victors. First, that they met
the pirates in two detachments, which enabled them to attack them
successfully, without the danger of their boarding the steamer, which,
from their numbers, would have been fatal to the little party on board
the _Rainbow_. Secondly, that their ammunition lasted through the two
engagements. It was quite finished; only a little loose powder in a
barrel, and a few broken cartridges, remained when the last prahus were
taken. Had they fallen in with another fleet, they would have been at
their mercy. Almost while I write these last words, we have received a
letter from the present Rajah of Sarawak--Charles Johnson Brooke. He
says, "I have heard this morning that one of our schooners has been
captured by the Sooloo pirates, and the crew murdered." The last twenty
years have not therefore altered the character of these people, and
their extermination seems the only remedy for the misery they inflict on
their fellow creatures.



CHAPTER XVII.

A MALAY WEDDING.


    MY DARLING MAB,

    I am sitting in a darkened room, while Mildred is having her day
    sleep; and as I am thinking of you, I may as well begin a letter
    for next mail. Last week I went to a Malay wedding, the first I
    ever attended, although I have been here so many years. It
    amused me very much; so I shall try to describe it to you.

    Early in the morning the bridegroom's friends came to beg
    flowers from our garden. Then papa told them I would go to the
    wedding, and they said, "Be sure not to be later than twelve
    o'clock." Accordingly, Mr. and Mrs. Ricketts, the British Consul
    and his wife, Mr. Zehnder, and I set off in two boats, after
    eleven o'clock breakfast; but we need not have got there before
    two o'clock.

    Eastern people set little value on time. They would just as soon
    sit cross-legged on the floor smoking for three hours as for
    one. The bride is the daughter of one of the first merchants in
    the place, Nakodah Sadum, and the bridegroom is the grandson of
    the old Datu Tumangong, whom you may remember. A handsome young
    man is Matussim, and enlightened, for a Malay. He made his
    betrothed a present of his photograph last year. Formerly Malays
    objected to having their portraits taken, fancying it a breach
    of the second commandment.

    The bride's father's house was gay with flags and streamers, and
    in front of it lay, by the river's brink, four small cannon,
    which had been busy, for days before and all that morning,
    saluting the occasion. We walked up into the house, which was
    full of guests. A long verandah, lined with hadjis and elders,
    all smoking and talking, led to the principal room, which,
    unlike any Malay house before built in Sarawak, had large
    Venetian-shuttered doors all round, and was therefore cool and
    airy. There was a little round table, and some armchairs covered
    with white mats for the expected guests, in the middle of the
    room. Sadum and his wife came forward and greeted us very
    cordially, and then we were told to sit down on the chairs. I
    looked about for the bride, and saw a crowd of women in one
    corner, and a boy holding a gilt umbrella over the young lady,
    who was being shaved. A woman with a razor was shearing her
    eyebrows into a delicate line, and all round her forehead
    trimming disorderly hairs. Four women, seated on their heels in
    front of her, were fidgeting over her face; she, impassive as a
    log in their hands. A vast deal of singing and drumming went on
    all the time, a row of musicians keeping it up all round the
    room. The girl was washed; then her hair, magnificent black hair
    down to her heels, knotted in two great bows on either side of
    her head. Over these, gold ornaments like wings were fixed, and
    a little tower of gold bells above them. Then the women painted
    a black band round her forehead, and added a silver edge to it,
    also painted. Her eyebrows were likewise touched up, and her
    skin rubbed all over with yellow powder. Poor child! she was a
    curious figure by the time it was all finished, and her skin
    must have felt painfully stiff. She was then attired in very
    handsome silk robes, ornamented with solid gold, and the
    attendants carried her to a raised dais or bed-place at one end
    of the room. There she sat, not daring to lift her eyes until
    the bridegroom's arrival.

    The divan was gorgeous with silk curtains and cushions
    embroidered with gold thread and embossed with tinsel ornaments,
    the work of the bride herself. The seat for the bridegroom was
    somewhat higher and larger than the bride's. At last the
    bridegroom approached in a large barge, which held about two
    hundred people. A small boat preceded it with three guns, which
    kept up a deafening noise as he drew near. He was carried up the
    steps, and the house door was shut to in his face, according to
    the Malay custom. Then he begged admittance very humbly, and
    after paying a fee of five dollars, was admitted. His followers
    rush in first--such a clatter! Greetings, welcomes, jokes, and
    laughter, make a Babel of noise; everybody speaking at once.
    Then a cloth was laid down for the bridegroom to pass over, and
    he was pulled with apparent reluctance into the room, panting
    and shutting his eyes as if exhausted. His head was wreathed
    with Indian jessamine. He was naked to the waist, except a gold
    scarf over one shoulder; otherwise he had plenty of gold and red
    silk about him. He was pulled up to the bride, turning his head
    away as if he was ashamed to look at her, and dropped a red silk
    handkerchief over her face for a moment. Then he sat down on the
    divan, and all the old women of both houses sprinkled the couple
    with yellow rice, and rubbed their foreheads with some charm,
    which looked like a bit of stone and a nutmeg-grater, and wished
    them all kinds of luck--but especially that they might be the
    parents of _sons_ only. After the young people had endured this
    long enough, the curtains were let down round the dais, and only
    two or three old women kept going in and out. We found they were
    taking off all the finery, and dressing the bride and bridegroom
    in their usual clothes; for while we were drinking coffee and
    eating Malay cakes at the little table, they came out from the
    curtains, looking quite pleasant and natural. So we shook hands,
    made our congratulations, and bade them adieu. We got home at
    four o'clock, very hot and tired, and papa laughed at us for
    going; but I was glad I did for once in a way.

    A wedding is a very serious expense to Malays of any rank. The
    bridegroom has to make settlements on the bride, and the bride's
    father has to keep open house for weeks, besides fees to the
    hadjis, and gunpowder _ad libitum_. The religious part of the
    ceremony is enacted some days before the marriage. One day papa
    was calling at a Malay house, where a wedding was about to take
    place, and found the bridegroom learning a passage in the Koran,
    in Arabic, which he could not translate, but which it was
    necessary he should repeat. A hadji was standing by, driving the
    words into his head. The hadji could not translate it either;
    but the Koran may only be read in Arabic, lest it should be
    desecrated. Sometimes papa would read a chapter to any Malay who
    desired to understand the meaning of his sacred book; but they
    were generally content with learning it as a charm, or certain
    parts of it.

    The Rajah often made a present of an ox for a great man's
    wedding. This was a great help, for many dishes of curry could
    be made out of so much meat. When we wished for some meat at
    Christmas and Easter, we sent for the Mahometan butcher to kill
    the animal. He turned its head towards Mecca, repeated prayers
    over him, and then cut his throat in such a way that no drop of
    blood was left in the flesh; for the Malays hold to the Jewish
    law in that as well as many other particulars. Then the people
    would buy whatever beef we did not want ourselves; but not
    otherwise.

    This is a long letter, but as I am on the subject of weddings, I
    may as well tell you about a Chinese wedding we had the other
    day at our house. The bridegroom was Akiat, a carpenter, about
    six feet two inches high. He was dressed in whity-brown silk,
    which made him look like a tall spectre; and the bride was Quey
    Ginn, a fat, dumpy little girl of sixteen, the Chinese deacon's
    daughter, and one of my scholars. She did not choose her old
    husband of fifty years, but her parents arranged it, and Akiat
    paid one hundred dollars for his wife. I went to see her the day
    before the wedding, and she showed me all her clothes and
    ornaments; but I thought she did not look as if she cared for
    them. So I whispered, "Are you happy, child?" "No, not at all,"
    burst out Quey Ginn. "I don't want to be married and leave my
    parents." Whereupon I could not help taking her in my arms and
    comforting her, telling her to be a good wife, and she would
    soon learn to be content. She has been to visit me since her
    marriage, and I am amused to see that she is quite a little
    woman, instead of the shy girl she used to be; and, whereas as a
    girl she was never allowed to be seen in the streets, or even to
    go to church, she now does exactly as she likes, and, I am happy
    to say, comes regularly to church. These people were all sincere
    Christians. Akiat was the Chinese churchwarden, and, as papa
    esteemed them very highly, he allowed the breakfast to take
    place at our house.

    I had a cake made for the occasion, which Quey Ginn cut up with
    much pleasure. The ring in it fell to Mr. Zehnder's share, which
    amused him also. Good-bye.

It was this year, 1865, that Mr. Waterhouse, the chaplain of Singapore,
came to visit us. The doctors often sent us a patient or friend to be
under the Bishop's care, and for rest and change; the latter was the
cause of Mr. Waterhouse's visit, and six weeks of jungle life did him
good, while his society and sympathy were a great pleasure to us, the
Bishop especially. The Bishop took him to visit the different mission
stations, and he often spoke to me with satisfaction of the "real
mission work" he witnessed at Banting, Lundu, and the Quop. At each of
these stations he found a consecrated church and a community of
Christian people; whilst the missionaries set over them, not only
instructed and ministered to the tribe among whom they lived, but
journeyed to outlying places, founding branch missions and setting
catechists to work under them. I find in one of my letters, when Mr.
Waterhouse returned from Banting, he said, "I cannot but admire the
patience with which Mr. Chambers talks all day, morning, noon, and
night, to every party of Dyaks, who march into the house whenever they
like, making it quite their home: it is what very few people could do
day after day." This is the trial of Dyak teaching. You cannot appoint
specific hours for instruction. People come when they can, sometimes
long distances. They can never be denied, except you are actually at
meals, and then they sit down and wait till the eating is over. Here is
a programme of a day at Banting:--

By seven in the morning Mr. Chambers goes to one or another Dyak house
to teach. These houses contain many families under one roof. The people
understand now that teaching is the sole object of Mr. Chambers' visit,
so, when he enters, all who are at leisure gather round him. He returns
home to eleven o'clock breakfast. After breakfast his school of boys
occupies him for the afternoon; but every party of Dyaks who come in
must be listened to, and, if they are willing, instructed, taught a
prayer, a hymn, a parable, or some Scripture lesson. This goes on till
five o'clock, when the bell calls them to daily prayers, and they all
walk together down the beautiful jungle avenue to the pretty church. A
short service, in which the Dyaks respond heartily, and a catechizing
follows, during which they are allowed to ask questions of their
teacher. Then an hour's rest before dinner. But immediately after dinner
more Dyaks, sometimes a whole house, _i.e._ forty or fifty persons, come
in, and have coffee, and pictures, and a lecture. All this does not
happen every day, but most days during what we call the working season,
from March till October, and no doubt so much talking and so little
leisure is very fatiguing. But then comes the harvest, and afterwards
the wet monsoon, and the schools fall off, and the Dyaks no longer come
from a distance to be taught. It is sufficiently dull and lonely then in
the jungle stations. The sea runs too high for boats to bring mails, or
books, or provisions; the rain falls heavily, and with little
intermission, and food becomes scarce. Mrs. Chambers told me that the
prayer for daily bread, which seems to us to relate to the daily needs
of our souls for the bread and water of life, bore a literal meaning to
them in the north-east monsoon, when the day's food was by no means
certain. Rice they had, it is true; but English people get nearly
starved upon rice alone, without fish, meat, or bread. It was therefore
with sincere thankfulness that they welcomed a chicken, however skinny,
in that season.

After the Banting expedition, the Bishop took Mr. Waterhouse to Lundu,
and Mr. Hawkins, a missionary lately come out, went with them. They
arrived on a Saturday. On Sunday there was a great gathering of
Christian Dyaks: fifty-two people were confirmed, eighty received the
Holy Communion, so that they were more than three hours in church, the
Bishop preaching to them in Malay. On Monday Mr. Waterhouse and Mr.
Hawkins paid a visit to a beautiful waterfall, about two miles from the
town; and on Tuesday all the party, Mr. Gomez included, went in boats
forty miles up the river Lundu, with three hundred Dyaks, to tuba fish.
The Bishop had paid the Dyaks to collect tuba the week before. It is a
plant found in the jungle, the root of which washed in water makes a
milky-looking poison. It does not make the fish unwholesome to eat, only
intoxicates them for the time, so that they rise floundering about on
the surface of the water, but it destroys human life, and is the poison
chosen by Dyaks who commit suicide, though I do not believe that this
crime is common among them.

When the party had ascended the river far enough, the Dyaks built a hut
for the English to sleep in. They made a floor of logs of wood, spread
over with the bark of trees, which, beaten down hard, made a capital
mattress on which to lay their mats and pillows. The kajangs (leaf mats)
off the boat made some shelter from the weather, although it takes a
good deal to keep Borneo rain out! The Dyaks were much too busy to go to
sleep at all: they drove stakes all across the river to secure their
fish, then they beat out the tuba in the bottom of their boats. It took
all night, by the light of torches, to do this; and a wild sight it was,
in the midst of the solemn old jungle. Very early in the morning, when
the tide was at its lowest ebb, they put the tuba into the river; the
flood coming up, and bringing plenty of fish, encountered this
intoxicating milk, and carried over the stakes a whole shoal of dead and
tipsy fish. Then the Dyaks, darting about in little boats, speared the
big fishes, and caught the small ones in landing-nets.

Hundreds of fish were caught, and the Dyaks had a grand feast; also,
they salted quantities, in their nasty way--pounding the fish up,
letting it turn sour, and then packing it into bamboos with salt, as a
relish to eat with their rice. Certainly it has a strong flavour! They
all camped two nights in the jungle, then returned to Lundu, and reached
Sarawak in the yacht _Fanny_, after an absence of ten days. We had a
visit from H.M.S. _Scout_ about this time, and one day sat down sixteen
to dinner in the mission-house, some of the officers having come up to
spend the day. It is difficult to improvise a dinner in a country where
no joints of meat are to be had, unless you kill an ox for the purpose.
Sheep there are none. A capon or goose, or a sucking pig, are the only
big dishes, and not always to be had. However, we did very well, and our
visitors were delighted with Sarawak, and with the schoolboys' singing;
for I had them up to sing glees and rounds, and "Rule Britannia," after
dinner. Captain Corbett was so pleased with the little fellows that he
invited them all to see the ship the next morning. Accordingly our
largest boat took the choir down very early to Morotabas, where the
_Scout_ lay, and Captain Corbett took them all over it himself, even
down to the screw chamber. The boys had never seen so large a man-of-war
before (1600 tons), so they were delighted. Some Dyaks who went with
them were much terrified lest they should be carried off to sea, for the
captain ordered "up anchor," that the boys might see how it was done,
and then sent them off the last minute. They came home in high glee.
Only those who live at the ends of the earth can tell what a pleasure
and refreshment is a little visit from her Majesty's ships from time to
time. The whiff of English air they bring with them, and the hearty
English enthusiasm which has not had time to evaporate, is most
reviving.

Many Chinese Christians returned to China this summer. I hope they
carried the good seed of the word of life with them. They are only birds
of passage at Sarawak: when they grow rich they prefer to spend their
money in their native country. Our Chinese deacon took his family for a
visit to their Chinese relations. Even the married daughter went with
them; and a few days afterwards, Akiat, her husband, came to tell me
that he was so wretched without his wife, that he should go to Singapore
for the few months of her absence, to while away the time, and he meant
to have a nice new house ready for her on her return.

Voon Yen Knoon deserved a holiday, certainly, for he worked hard among
his countrymen, besides teaching every day in the school. Three evenings
every week were devoted to the instruction of the Chinese, at the
mission-house. Two distinct languages were spoken by the different
tribes of Chinese who had settled at Sarawak. They could not be taught
together. The people of the Kay tribe came on one evening, the Hokien
another, each having their own interpreter. On the third evening the
interpreters were instructed in the lessons for the following week. On
these nights our long dining-room was full of Chinamen, and a large tray
of tiny cups of tea was carried in, and consumed before the teaching
began.



CHAPTER XVIII.

LAST YEARS AT SARAWAK.


Mr. Chalmers' Merdang Dyaks once said to him, "See how many races of
people there are: Dyaks, Malays, Klings, Chinese, English. They have all
different religions: this is proper, for God has given to each the
religion suited to them."

I remembered this ingenious remark when I was reading Mr. Helms's
interesting book, just published, "Pioneering in the Far East." He says:
"Like most barbarous and savage nations, the Dyak identifies his gods
and spirits with the great phenomena of nature, and assigns them abodes
on the lofty mountains. Though, in his opinion, all spirits are not
equally malignant, all are more or less to be dreaded. The silent
surroundings of primæval forests in which the Dyak spends most of his
time, the mountains, the gloomy caves, often looming mysteriously
through cloud and mist, predispose him to identify them with
supernatural influences, which in his imagination take the form of
monsters and genii. With no better guide than the untutored imagination
of a mind which in religious matters is a blank, who shall wonder that
this is so? I have myself often felt the influences of such
surroundings, when dark clouds deepened the forest gloom, and the
approaching storm set the trees whispering: if, at such a moment, the
shaggy red-haired and goblin form of the orang-outang, with which some
of the Dyaks identify their genii, should appear among the branches, it
requires little imagination to people the mystic gloom with unearthly
beings."

Mr. Helms is quite right--the religion which springs from circumstance
and surrounding nature is always one of fear; evil is so close to the
heart of man that the very elements and mysteries of nature seem his
enemies, so long as he is ignorant of the love of God. The great
creating Spirit, whose existence is acknowledged by all Dyaks, inspires
them with neither love nor trust; it is only malign spirits who are
active, who concern themselves with his affairs, and threaten his
happiness and prosperity, and who must therefore be propitiated. What a
different aspect his native woods must present to the Christian Dyak,
who can look around without fear, and believe that his Heavenly Father
made all these things! You would imagine that Christianity would be
welcomed as a deliverance from such superstition; but here the apathy of
long habit raises a barrier. The Dyak who professed to think his dismal
religion was given him by God, was probably too intellectually idle to
think at all. "What you say is most likely true, but we have received
our belief from our forefathers, and it is good enough for us," is the
common remark of the Land Dyak. This listlessness was perhaps originally
caused by oppression and misery, a hard life and cruel masters. In the
days we knew these people they had a sad and patient expression in their
faces, as if they could not forget the time when they were ground down
by Malay extortion, and despoiled by stronger, more warlike tribes. The
present generation may have more spirit, more independence, and the
blessings of peace and liberty may leave their minds more open to the
light of truth. It is, however, interesting to note how different races
of men develop different religious beliefs, and how these Dyaks
intuitively perceive spirit through matter, and are governed, however
blindly and ignorantly, by the powers of the unseen world.

The orang-outang, or wild man, in not very commonly met in the jungle. I
have seen the trees alive with monkeys, but never met an orang-outang at
liberty. The Dyaks may well be afraid of them if it is true, as they
say, that if one of these monsters attacks a man, he picks his flesh off
his bones like a cook plucking a chicken. They are immensely powerful,
but once caged are gentle enough. Their one desire in confinement is
clothing, why I cannot tell; large-sized monkeys always wrapped
themselves in any bit of cloth they could find, partly in imitation of
their keepers, and perhaps also because they are very chilly creatures,
and, deprived of their usual violent gymnastics, suffered from cold. A
Chinaman had a female orang in his shop while we were at Sarawak, who
took a violent liking to the Bishop, and always expected to be noticed
when he passed the shop. Then she would kiss and fondle his hand; but if
he forgot to speak to "Jemima," she went into a passion, screamed, and
dashed about her cage.

I never allowed any kind of monkey to be kept at the mission-house. We
had too many children on the premises, and they are jealous and
uncertain in their behaviour to children. Indeed I always regretted
their being either shot or caged--they enjoy life so intensely in the
jungle, and are so amusing, swinging themselves from the branches of
tall trees, leaping, flying almost, in pursuit of one another for mere
fun, that it was sad to put them in prison, where they never lived long,
and where they only exhibited a ludicrous and humiliating parody on the
habits of mankind.

There was a race of monkeys at Sarawak called by the natives "Unkah,"
from the noise they made, but which we called Noseys, for they had long
noses which fell over their mouths, so that the large males had to lift
their noses with one hand, while they put food into their mouths with
the other. When we first lived in the country, and were anxious to send
specimens of every new and curious thing to England, my husband shot one
of these large monkeys for the sake of his skin, but he was so
distressed at the look the beast gave him when he felt himself hit, he
was so like his own uncle in England, who had rather a red face and long
nose, that he resolved never again to shoot a monkey. This ape was
clothed in long brown fur, while his legs were encased in much shorter
hair of a tan colour, which gave the idea of leather breeches. I once
saw a monkey's nest in a high tree. The tree was very bare of leaf or
the nest might have escaped notice. It was formed of big sticks laid in
a strong fork of the branches; and whether it was lined with anything
softer could not be seen from below, but the sticks stuck out, covering
a large space, which had no appearance of comfort or snugness.

The one monkey I liked, and that at a distance, was the wa-wa, whose
voice was very sweet and melodious, like the soft bubbling of water; but
it was a very melancholy animal, and never seemed to possess the fun and
trickishness of the more common sorts of ape. They are all delicate and
difficult to rear, and invariably die of over-eating, or rather eating
what is unwholesome for them, if they have a chance. It seems as if, in
approaching the form of man, they lost the instinct of the brute. It was
a great addition to the pleasures of life in Sarawak that there were no
wild beasts to be feared in the jungles. When we were once staying at
Malacca, and, for the sake of a natural hot spring, inhabited a little
bungalow in the country, we were always liable to encounter a tiger in
our walks; on Penang Hill, also, there was a large tiger staying in the
woods. During one of our visits, we tracked his footsteps in a cave on
the hill; and he carried off a calf from a gentleman's cow-house near
us--at another time a pony from a neighbour's stable. Tigers do not,
however, live at Penang: they occasionally swim over the strait from
Johore, opposite the island, if driven by hunger. The natives made deep
pits to catch them, with bamboo spears at the bottom to transfix them
when they fall in. On one occasion a French Roman Catholic missionary
fell into one of these tiger-pits, and remained there, starved and
wounded, for three days before he was discovered. He was a very good
man, and gave a wonderful account of his happiness, his visions of
heavenly bliss while dying in that slow torture, for he was too far gone
to be restored. He died rejoicing that he had known what it was to
suffer with Christ.

The last two years of our life at Sarawak, the Bishop's health failed
and caused me much anxiety. The long jungle walks, which were so
necessary in getting about from one mission to another, became more and
more difficult to him. Often he had to stop and lie down under a tree
till the palpitation of his heart abated; repeated attacks of Labuan
fever affected his liver; and our friends often warned us that we ought
to go home to save his life. The interest of the different missions
increased so much at this time, that it seemed hard to give up a post
in which many trials and disappointments had been lived through, just as
success seemed about to reward the years of patient labour. The peace
and harmony of the mission was greatly promoted, the last three years of
our stay, by an annual meeting of the clergy with their bishop. They
came from their different rivers to spend a week at the mission-house,
and for certain hours of each day met in the church to discuss
missionary operations, Church discipline, religious terms, translations,
etc. It was very desirable there should be no diversity of opinion in
these matters, but that the different missions should have the same
plans, uses, and customs. And these meetings, besides the importance of
the subjects discussed, knit the missionaries to one another and all to
the Bishop, promoting also that _esprit de corps_ which strengthens any
institution, be it school, college, or Church in a heathen country.

A curious adventure happened to the Bishop in 1865. It was the rainy
season, and the roads were saturated with water and full of holes,
especially a new bit of road towards Pedungan, where sleepers of wood
had been laid down, to steady what would otherwise have been a bog; but
holes here and there could not be avoided. The Bishop always took a ride
early in the morning, before seven o'clock service in church. That
morning I had asked him to go to a house down that road, to inquire
about a servant. He came home late, and covered with mud all down one
side. "Papa has fallen," said little Mildred, playing in the garden. At
her voice her father seemed to wake up out of a deep sleep, and
gradually he became conscious of a severe bruise on his face and pain in
his head; but he could give no account of the matter, which was,
however, explained by a Malay in the course of the day. This man was
walking on the road to Pedungan, when he met the Bishop returning home.
He saw the horse put his foot into a deep hole and come down, the Bishop
also. He did not, however, at once fall off, not until the horse in his
efforts to rise had inflicted a blow with his head on his rider's face.
The Malay helped the horse up, which was not hurt, and the Bishop on his
back; and seeing he was much stunned, he followed them for some way lest
the Bishop should need assistance: but when they reached the town and
seemed all right, he went back. All this time, however, the Bishop was
perfectly unconscious; the horse carried him as he chose, over a ditch,
up a steep bank, under low-hanging trees, and quite safely until he
stopped at our own door. A headache and some stiffness were the only
results of what might have been a fatal accident. We were very thankful
to God for having sent His angel to guard steps as unconscious and
heedless as any little child's could have been. No memory of what had
happened ever came back to the Bishop.

           *       *       *       *       *

In 1866 the _Rifleman_, her Majesty's surveying ship, gave us a passage
to Labuan, where the Bishop wanted to hold a confirmation. This ship
was going to Manilla, and from thence to Hong Kong, before she returned
to Singapore, and, through the kindness of Captain Reed, we accompanied
her. At Labuan I caught the fever of the country, but it did not come
out for ten days, by which time we were at Manilla. We anchored off
Manilla on Christmas-day evening: it had been a very wet day, but
cleared up at night, and we sat on deck watching the lights on shore,
and listening to the constant chimes of the numerous church bells,
whilst the sailors sang songs and did their best to amuse us. It seemed
so strange to be in a Christian country again.

They have some customs at Manilla which I could not help admiring. When
the Vesper bell rings at six o'clock, all business and pleasure is
suspended for a few minutes, and all the world, man, woman, and child,
say a prayer. The coachmen on the carriages stop their horses, the
pedestrians stand still, friends engaging in animated conversation are
suddenly silent. The setting sun is a signal for the heart to rise to
God; it is a public recognition of His protecting care, and an act of
thanksgiving. When it is over, the children ask their parents' blessing
for the night. This was told me by a native of Manilla, an educated
gentleman, who gave his children every advantage of learning and travel.
The Vesper custom I saw for myself every time I took an evening drive.
We witnessed a very gorgeous procession on the feast of the Epiphany.
All the city functionaries, the military, the priests, bands of music,
and a masquerade of the three kings on horseback, surrounded by troops
of children beautifully dressed in white and scattering flowers, passed
through the streets to a church, into which they all poured, the three
horses riding in too, to attend high mass. I saw but little of Manilla,
being ill nearly all the time. It is a place shaken to pieces by
earthquakes. When we were there the great square, where the Government
offices once stood, was a heap of ruins, and the treasury was too poor
even to clear them away. The bridges were all broken in the middle, and
patched up somehow; and all the rooms in the houses were crooked, the
timbers of the walls being joined loosely together to admit of the
frequent trembling, heaving, and subsidence of the ground, without their
cracking. I believe the country all round was lovely, but I only took
one drive when I was convalescent, and then we steamed away to Hong
Kong. I shall say nothing about Hong Kong, for all the world knows what
a beautiful place it is in winter--how bright and sparkling the blue
sea, how clean and trim the streets, and how stately the buildings; also
what a dream of loveliness is the one drive out of the town to the Happy
Valley, where many an Englishman lies buried in the cemetery. I had a
second bout of fever at Hong Kong. Happily for us, we found kind
relatives both at Manilla and Hong Kong, who nursed me, and who were
very good to us. We found it very cold there after stewing for six
years in Borneo, and the Bishop caught a chill which made him ill all
the rest of the way home. Had we thought when we left Sarawak in '66
that we should never return there, it would have been a great trial to
bid adieu to our old home, but we had no such intention. We were only
taking Mildred to England, and seeking a necessary change for the
Bishop's failing health. The knowledge that he would not be able to
resume his work in the East dawned upon us by degrees. It was a great
disappointment, but we were thankful that an English vicarage was found
for us, where we could make a home for our children, and where the
duties and pleasures of an English parish remained to us. It is,
however, very pleasant, on a foggy day in November or February, to
return in fancy to that land of sunshine and flowers; to imagine one's
self again sitting in the porch of the mission-house, gazing at the
mountain of Matang, lit up with sunset glories of purple and gold. Then,
when the last gleam of colour has faded, to find the Chinaman lighting
the lamps in the verandah, and little dusky faces peeping out, to know
if you will sing with them "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," or the hymn
about the "Purple-headed mountain and river running by," which must have
surely been written for Sarawak children.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE ISLAND OF BORNEO.


Borneo is so little known that a short account of it may be interesting.
If any one will examine a map of Borneo they will see that it is a large
island, in shape something like a box with the lid open. The interior of
the square part of it presents almost a blank on the map, for the coasts
only are known to the civilized world. Its greatest length is eight
hundred miles, and its greatest breadth six hundred and twenty-five
miles. Ranges of mountains through the centre of the island provide the
sources of many fine rivers which are the highways of the country.

The Dutch claim the south and south-west of the island. They have
settlements at Sambas, at Pontianak, and at Banjermassin; and forts on
the rivers, inhabited by Dutch residents, or Malay chiefs in their pay:
but they have never won the hearts of the aborigines, for the Dutch
maxim is always to get as much money as possible out of native
subjects, consequently they are every now and then obliged to send
European troops to enforce the obedience of the Chinese and Dyaks to
their rule. On the west of Borneo lies the little kingdom of Sarawak,
about three hundred miles of coast line from Cape Datu to Point
Kiderong.

The Sultan of Bruni, who was the nominal ruler of all the north-west of
Borneo, gave up this province to Sir James Brooke in 1841, "to him and
his heirs for ever," on condition a small sum of money was paid him
annually. The province consisted originally of "about sixty miles of
coast, from Cape Datu to the entrance of the Samarahan River, with an
average breadth of fifty miles inland;"[10] but from time to time the
Sultan entreated Sir James Brooke to take the rule of one river after
another beyond this province towards Borneo Proper, for, owing to his
own weakness, and the rapacity of his nobles who governed in his name,
no revenue came to him from those rivers, nor could he protect native
trade, or secure the lives of his subjects from the extortions and
covetousness of their Malay chiefs. So Sarawak grew, and peace, and
justice, and free trade flourished where before there were only poverty
and oppression. The country is traversed by fine rivers. The Rejang,
four fathoms deep two hundred miles from the mouth, the Batang Lupar,
and the Sarawak are the largest, and the great highways of the country;
along the banks of which are cultivated clearings and Dyak villages,
but beyond these extend dense jungle which even clothes the sides of the
mountains. Besides the before-mentioned rivers are many smaller ones
which are still noble streams--the Sarebas, Samarahan, Sadong, Lundu,
etc. It is indeed a well-watered country, and only requires the industry
of man to develop its riches.

    [Footnote 10: Letter of Sir J. Brooke to J. Gardner, Esq.]

There are great mountain ranges to the north-west and through the
interior of the island, and the natives speak of lakes of vast extent,
with Dyak villages on their shores. But this is only tradition. There is
a lake commonly reported only two days' journey from the foot of Kini
Balu, a high mountain on the north-west, but no Englishman has yet trod
its shores. The difficulties of exploring such dense jungles and
mountain precipices as bar the way across Borneo are almost insuperable.
I quote from Mr. Hornaday's recent lecture at Rochester. He says, "Owing
to the peculiar and almost impassable nature of the country, Borneo has
never been crossed by the white man. Travelling over some of the
mountains seems to be an absolute impossibility. Many of them consist
almost wholly of huge blocks of basalt, soft, moist, and too slippery to
walk upon. I would rather attempt to cross the continent of Africa than
the island of Borneo. The explorer must carry with him provisions enough
to last both going and returning. The jungle affords nothing fit for
human sustenance, and there are no inhabitants to supply the explorer
with food. Fame awaits the man who will thoroughly explore the interior
of the island."[11]

    [Footnote 11: Mr. Hornaday's lecture before the Young Men's
    Christian Association.]

Sir Spencer St. John, who has had more experience of Borneo jungles than
any other Englishman hitherto, says, "As I have now made many journeys
in Borneo, and seen much of forest walking, I can speak of it with
something like certainty. I have ever found, in recording progress, that
we can seldom allow more than a mile an hour under ordinary
circumstances. Sometimes, when extremely difficult or winding, we do not
make half a mile an hour. On certain occasions, when very hard pressed,
I have seen the men manage a mile and a half; but, with all our
exertions, I have never yet recorded more than ten miles' progress in a
day, through thick pathless forests, and that was after ten hours of
hard work. It requires great experience not to judge distance by the
fatigue we feel."[12]

    [Footnote 12: St. John's Limbong Journal.]

It seems that the Sultan of Bruni has found out that the best way he can
govern his subjects and gain a revenue without trouble, is by ceding
parts of his territory to others. He has given over the whole of the
north of the island to an English company, on condition they pay twelve
thousand five hundred dollars for it annually. This country, embracing
an area of twenty thousand square miles, has fine harbours on its
coasts very suitable for a commercial settlement. The great mountain of
Kini Balu, nearly fourteen thousand feet high, with its range of lesser
mountains, stands on the north-west, and between it and the sea lies a
very fertile country, thus described some years ago by Sir Spencer St.
John, in his "Forests of the Far East": "We rode over towards Pandusan
in search of plants. From the summit of the first low hill we had a
beautiful view of the lovely plain of Tampusak, extending from the sea
far into the interior. Groves of cocoanuts were interspersed among the
rice-grounds which extended, intermixed with grassy fields, to the
sea-shore, bounded by a long line of Casuarina trees. Little hamlets lie
scattered in all directions, some distinctly visible, other nearly
hidden by the rich green foliage of fruit-trees. The prospect was
bounded on the west by low sandstone hills, whose red colour
occasionally showing through the lately burnt grass, afforded a varied
tint in the otherwise verdant landscape. In the south Kini Balu and its
attendant ranges were hidden by clouds."

Here is another description after a day's journey towards the
mountain:--

"While reclining under the shade of cocoanut palms, we had a beautiful
view of the country beyond. The river Tampusak flowed past us, bubbling
and breaking over its uneven bed, here shallower and therefore broader
than usual. To the left the country was open almost to the base of the
great mountain, to the right the land was more hilly, and Saduk Saduk
showed itself as a high peak, but dwarfed by the neighbourhood of Kini
Balu, whose rocky precipices looked a deep purple colour. The summit was
beautifully clear. The people in this part of the country are called
Idaan. They seem industrious and good agriculturists, even using a rough
plough, and cultivating the whole valley; a rich black soil produces
good crops of rice, and Killadis, an arum root used for food. They also
grow tobacco."

These people live too far from Bruni to be robbed by the Sultan and his
nobles. The Lanuns who inhabit the north coasts are very warlike, and
have always been pirates within the memory of man. They will not be easy
subjects to deal with, nor will the Sooloos on the east coast, but if
they can be reclaimed they may become an enterprising and fine people,
like the Sarebas pirates of Sarawak.

I hope the Company will have patience with the natives of this vast
territory. They will probably _not work for wages_. Chinese labour must
be depended upon, and as they are the most industrious people on the
face of the earth, and will do anything for money, they are always
available. But they require a firm government, and great care must be
taken that they do not infringe on the rights of the natives or there
will be quarrels and bloodshed. Tradition says that there was once a
Chinese kingdom at the north of Borneo, whose chiefs married into the
families of the principal Dyak chiefs; but it is the misfortune of the
Chinese character to be both boastful and cowardly, and when they had
irritated the Malays by their big words, they stood no chance of
prevailing against them in war. If their enemies did not run away after
the first attack and discharge of firearms, they were pretty sure to
show them an example by doing so themselves. I speak of the Chinese
fifty years ago; since they have had wars with Europeans they have
learnt better to stand to their arms. But they were gradually
exterminated by the Malays in these petty wars, and now all that remains
of them is a trace of Celestial physiognomy in their Dyak descendants,
and the knowledge of agriculture which they still retain.

The Bruni Government protects no one. It is wonderful that any Chinese
should still trade at a place where riches, however moderate, are sure
to excite the cupidity of the Malay nobles, and to be transferred, under
some pretext or another, to their own pockets. I rejoice to think that
English rule and justice is now to be offered to the inhabitants of the
North of Borneo. They expect an Englishman to be just and generous,
brave and firm, and they ground this expectation on their knowledge and
experience of Labuan and Sarawak, and the lessons which her Majesty's
ships of war have from time to time impressed on the corrupt and
faithless Bruni people. I trust this experience will never be reversed
by unworthy agents or settlers. The climate is too tropical for
colonization, no families of emigrants can be reared in such heat.
There are, no doubt, more decided seasons in the north of the island
than in the centre: it is hotter at one part of the year, and colder at
another, than in the lands bordering on the equator, which are the rain
nurseries of the world. A less fierce heat, but rain almost every day in
the year, was our lot at Sarawak; and though it was very healthy for
English men and women, it was not so good for crops: pepper and coffee
prefer a drier climate.

There will be one difficulty in the North Borneo settlement which will
require wise handling. I mean the slaves which are the possession of
every petty chief and every Malay family in the country. All pirates
bring home fresh slaves from every expedition. This can be put an end to
at once. But it will be as impolitic as impossible to put a sudden end
to the state of slavery in which so large a proportion of the
inhabitants will be found. In this respect I hope the North Borneo
Company will take a leaf out of Sarawak experience. Sir James Brooke, as
long ago as 1841, appealed to the English Government "to assist him to
put down piracy and the slave trade, which," he said, "are openly
carried on within a short distance of three European settlements, on a
scale and system revolting to humanity."

The exertions of Sir James Brooke and his nephews, aided occasionally by
her Majesty's ships, have indeed nearly put a stop to piracy, and
therefore to the kidnapping of slaves. Still the descendants of Dyak
slaves remain the property of their masters. Besides these, there are
slave debtors, whole families who have sold themselves to pay the
accumulations arising from taxes or impositions of the Malays which they
had no hope of repaying. Usury, which was the fountain of this evil, has
been forbidden at Sarawak, and many are the slave debtors whom the
Rajah's purse has freed.

"Slavery in the East," says Mr. Low,[13] "has always been of a more mild
and gentle character than that which in the West so disgusted the
intelligent natives of Europe. The slaves in Borneo are generally Dyaks
and their descendants, who have been captured by the rulers of the
country to swell the number of their personal attendants. Their duties
consist in helping their master, who always works with them, in his
house or boat building operations, accompanying him in his trading
expeditions, assisting in the navigation of his boats, etc. Their
masters generally allot them wives from amongst their female domestics,
and many of them acquire the affection and confidence of their
superiors. The price of a slave in Sarawak is from thirty to sixty
dollars, but as the trade is being as quickly repressed as possible,
without too much shocking the prejudices of the inhabitants, they have
of late become very scarce, and difficult to be bought. The price of a
girl varies from thirty to one hundred dollars, but at Sarawak they are
even more difficult than men to obtain." Thus wrote Mr. Low in the year
1848. By this time, 1882, slavery is almost nominal at Sarawak. I read,
in a _Sarawak Gazette_, six months ago, that Rajah Brooke had proposed
to his Supreme Council, which consists of four Malays and two
Englishmen, that slavery should be by law abolished in Sarawak
territory. He had proposed this, he said, six months previously, and the
Malay councillors present assented heartily as far as themselves and the
people of Kuching were concerned, but they thought it would be desirable
to give six months' notice to the outlying rivers and coasts, where the
people were not as advanced in civilization as those at the capital. Now
the six months had passed away, were they prepared to assent to the law?
They again expressed their cordial approval of the abolition of slavery,
but recommended three months more delay before it was enforced on the
out-stations. In the same _Gazette_ I noticed a letter from the Resident
at Bintulu, one of the farthest stations from Kuching, in which he
speaks of a Malay noble, warmly attached to the Sarawak Government, who
claimed all the inhabitants of a large district as his slaves. It was
merely a nominal claim, as they did no work for him, but he said they
belonged to him. Still, when he was assured by Mr. De Crespigny[14] that
such a claim would not be allowed by the Rajah, he submitted without
complaint. We may hope that such will be the universal acceptance of
the new law, but it is easy to see that forty years of past repression
and discountenance, and the strong influence of English opinion on the
subject of slavery, has effected what would doubtless have caused strong
opposition and estrangement if attempted hastily.

    [Footnote 13: "Sarawak, its Inhabitants and Productions," by
    Hugh Low.]

    [Footnote 14: The Resident.]

I have just received a _Sarawak Gazette_, dated July 1st, which contains
an account of a further cession of territory from the Sultan of Bruni to
Rajah Brooke of Sarawak.

This is the passage:

    "On Saturday, the 10th June, his Highness the Sultan signified
    his willingness to cede to the Rajah of Sarawak, and his heirs,
    all the country and rivers that lie between Points Kadurong and
    Barram, including about three miles of coast on the east side of
    Barram Point. Negotiations about the sum to be paid for this
    hundred miles of coast continued for three days, when the deed
    of cession was finally sealed and delivered. This deed of
    cession, sealed with the respective seals of his Highness the
    Sultan of Bruni and the Rajah of Sarawak, was read out in full
    court on the 10th June. After which his Highness the Rajah
    addressed a few words to the people, telling them that he
    intended going to the river Barram towards the end of this moon,
    for the purpose of choosing a site whereon to erect a fort, and
    establishing a government there, to be a nucleus of trade. He
    added that all those who wished to trade there might now do so
    without fear."

This is an important addition to the country of Sarawak.

The time may indeed not be far distant when the country of Bruni, now
wedged in between Sarawak and the territory of British North Borneo, may
disappear altogether, and with it the misrule and oppression of that
corrupt Eastern court. Then English people will be responsible for the
whole of the north and north-west of the island of Borneo, and a new era
of peace and happiness will dawn upon its inhabitants.


THE END.


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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:


Inconsistencies in the hyphenation of words preserved. (cocoanut/s,
cocoa-nut/s; firearms, fire-arms; gunboat, gun-boats; schoolboys,
school-boys; schoolroom, school-room)

Pg. 32, duplicated word "the" removed. (the coasts and the seas)

Pg. 42, inserted period after "Mr". (that in 1867 Mr. Chambers)

Pg. 63, closing double quote inserted at end of what appears to be the
end of a quoted passage.(carried them away over their shoulders.")

Pg. 95, duplicated period removed at sentence end. (by jet ornaments and
bugle trimmings.)

Pg. 111, "examition" changed to "examination". (After the examination,)

Pg. 118, added period at sentence end. (agreeable and uniformly kind.)

Pg. 138, period changed to comma. (If you must go, some of us will go
with you)

Pg. 162, unusual construction retained. (a new cook-house and servants'
rooms near, to build;)

Pg. 243, closing double quote added at end of title of a book. (in his
"Forests of the Far East":)





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