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Title: Tales of the Malayan Coast - From Penang to the Philippines
Author: Wildman, Rounsevelle, 1864-1901
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                   Tales of the Malayan Coast

                 From Penang to the Philippines

                               By

                      Rounsevelle Wildman

        Consul General of the United States at Hong Kong

                  Illustrated by Henry Sandham


                             Boston

                   Lothrop Publishing Company



                        Copyright, 1899,
                               By

                  Lothrop Publishing Company.

                         Norwood Press
              J. S. Cushing & Co.--Berwick & Smith
                      Norwood Mass. U.S.A.



                               To
                            Our Hero
                         And my friend
                  Admiral George Dewey, U.S.N.
                      I Dedicate this Book



                                              Flagship Olympia,
                                        Manila, 21 Sept., 1898.

        My Dear Wildman:--

        Yours of 12th instant is  at hand. I am much flattered by
        your request to dedicate your book to me, and would be
        pleased to have you do so.

            With kindest regards, I am,
                Very truly yours,

                        George Dewey.



PREFACE


These stories are the result of nine years' residence and experience
on the Malayan coast--that land of romance and adventure which the
ancients knew as the Golden Chersonesus, and which, in modern times,
has been brought again into the atmosphere of valor and performance
by Rajah Brooke of Sarawak, the hero of English expansion, and
Admiral George Dewey of the Asiatic squadron, the hero of American
achievement. The author, in his official duties as Special Commissioner
of the United States for the Straits Settlement and Siam, and, later,
as Consul General of the United States at Hong Kong, has mingled with
and studied the diverse people of the Malayan coast, from the Sultan
of Johore and Aguinaldo the Filipino to the lowest Eurasian and "China
boy" of that wonderful Oriental land. These stories are based on his
experiences afloat and ashore, and are offered to the American public
at this time when all glimpses of the land that Columbus sailed to
find are of especial interest to the modern possessors of the land
he really did discover.



CONTENTS


                                                     Page
    Baboo's Good Tiger                                 9
    Baboo's Pirates                                   28
    How we Played Robinson Crusoe                     47
    The Sarong                                        66
    The Kris                                          74
    The White Rajah of Borneo                         81
    Amok!                                            101
    Lepas's Revenge                                  130
    King Solomon's Mines                             147
    Busuk                                            181
    A Crocodile Hunt                                 200
    A New Year's Day in Malaya                       219
    In the Burst of the Southwest Monsoon            230
    A Pig Hunt on Mount Ophir                        254
    In the Court of Johore                           270
    In the Golden Chersonese                         293
    A Fight with Illanum Pirates                     321



TALES OF THE MALAYAN COAST
FROM PENANG TO THE PHILIPPINES


BABOO'S GOOD TIGER

A Tale of the Malacca Jungle


Aboo Din's first-born, Baboo, was only four years old when he had
his famous adventure with the tiger he had found sleeping in the
hot lallang grass within the distance of a child's voice from Aboo
Din's bungalow.

For a long time before that hardly a day had passed but Aboo-Din,
who was our syce, or groom, and wore the American colors proudly on
his right arm, came in from the servants' quarters with an anxious
look on his kindly brown face and asked respectfully for the tuan
(lord) or mem (lady).

"What is it, Aboo Din?" the mistress would inquire, as visions of
Baboo drowned in the great Shanghai jar, or of Baboo lying crushed
by a boa among the yellow bamboos beyond the hedge, passed swiftly
through her mind.

"Mem see Baboo?" came the inevitable question.

It was unnecessary to say more. At once Ah Minga, the "boy"; Zim, the
cook; the kebuns (gardeners); the tukanayer (water-boy), and even the
sleek Hindu dirzee, who sat sewing, dozing, and chewing betel-nut,
on the shady side of the veranda, turned out with one accord and
commenced a systematic search for the missing Baboo.

Sometimes he was no farther off than the protecting screen of the
"compound" hedge, or the cool, green shadows beneath the bungalow. But
oftener the government Sikhs had to be appealed to, and Kampong Glam
in Singapore searched from the great market to the courtyards of
Sultan Ali. It was useless to whip him, for whippings seemed only
to make Baboo grow. He would lisp serenely as Aboo Din took down
the rattan withe from above the door, "Baboo baniak jahat!" (Baboo
very bad!) and there was something so charmingly impersonal in all
his mischief, that we came between his own brown body and the rod,
time and again. There was nothing distinctive in Baboo's features or
form. To the casual observer he might have been any one of a half-dozen
of his playmates. Like them, he went about perfectly naked, his soft,
brown skin shining like polished rosewood in the fierce Malayan sun.

His hair was black, straight, and short, and his eyes as black as
coals. Like his companions, he stood as straight as an arrow, and
could carry a pail of water on his head without spilling a drop.

He, too, ate rice three times a day. It puffed him up like a little
old man, which added to his grotesqueness and gave him a certain
air of dignity that went well with his features when they were in
repose. Around his waist he wore a silver chain with a silver heart
suspended from it. Its purpose was to keep off the evil spirits.

There was always an atmosphere of sandalwood and Arab essence about
Baboo that reminded me of the holds of the old sailing-ships that used
to come into Boston harbor from the Indies. I think his mother must
have rubbed the perfumes into his hair as the one way of declaring to
the world her affection for him. She could not give him clothes, or
ornaments, or toys: such was not the fashion of Baboo's race. Neither
was he old enough to wear the silk sarong that his Aunt Fatima had
woven for him on her loom.

Baboo had been well trained, and however lordly he might be in the
quarters, he was marked in his respect to the mistress. He would
touch his forehead to the red earth when I drove away of a morning to
the office; though the next moment I might catch him blowing a tiny
ball of clay from his sumpitan into the ear of his father, the syce,
as he stood majestically on the step behind me.

Baboo went to school for two hours every day to a fat old Arab
penager, or teacher, whose schoolroom was an open stall, and whose
only furniture a bench, on which he sat cross-legged, and flourished
a whip in one hand and a chapter of the Koran in the other.

There were a dozen little fellows in the school; all naked. They
stood up in line, and in a soft musical treble chanted in chorus the
glorious promises of the Koran, even while their eyes wandered from
the dusky corner where a cheko lizard was struggling with an atlas
moth, to the frantic gesticulations of a naked Hindu who was calling
his meek-eyed bullocks hard names because they insisted on lying down
in the middle of the road for their noonday siesta.

Baboo's father, Aboo Din, was a Hadji, for he had been to Mecca. When
nothing else could make Baboo forget the effects of the green durian
he had eaten, Aboo Din would take the child on his knees and sing
to him of his trip to Mecca, in a quaint, monotonous voice, full of
sorrowful quavers. Baboo believed he himself could have left Singapore
any day and found Mecca in the dark.

We had been living some weeks in a government bungalow, fourteen miles
from Singapore, across the island that looks out on the Straits of
Malacca. The fishing and hunting were excellent. I had shot wild pig,
deer, tapirs, and for some days had been getting ready to track down
a tiger that had been prowling in the jungle about the bungalow.

But of a morning, as we lay lazily chatting in our long chairs behind
the bamboo chicks, the cries of "Harimau! Harimau!" and "Baboo"
came up to us from the servants' quarters.

Aboo Din sprang over the railing of the veranda, and without stopping
even to touch the back of his hand to his forehead, cried,--

"Tuan Consul, tiger have eat chow dog and got Baboo!"

Then he rushed into the dining room, snatched up my Winchester and
cartridge-belt, and handed them to me with a "Lekas (quick)! Come!"

He sprang back off the veranda and ran to his quarters where the men
were arming themselves with ugly krises and heavy parangs.

I had not much hope of finding the tiger, much less of rescuing Baboo,
dead or alive. The jungle loomed up like an impassable wall on all
three sides of the compound, so dense, compact, and interwoven, that
a bird could not fly through it. Still I knew that my men, if they
had the courage, could follow where the tiger led, and could cut a
path for me.

Aboo Din unloosed a half-dozen pariah dogs that we kept for wild pig,
and led them to the spot where the tiger had last lain. In an instant
the entire pack sent up a doleful howl and slunk back to their kennels.

Aboo Din lashed them mercilessly and drove them into the jungle,
where he followed on his hands and knees. I only waited to don my
green kaki suit and canvas shooting hat and despatch a man to the
neighboring kampong, or village, to ask the punghulo (chief) to send
me his shikaris, or hunters. Then I plunged into the jungle path
that my kebuns had cut with their keen parangs, or jungle-knives. Ten
feet within the confines of the forest the metallic glare of the sun
and the pitiless reflections of the China Sea were lost in a dim,
green twilight. Far ahead I could hear the half-hearted snarls of
the cowardly, deserting curs, and Aboo Din's angry voice rapidly
exhausting the curses of the Koran on their heads.

My men, who were naked save for a cotton sarong wound around their
waists, slashed here a rubber-vine, there a thorny rattan, and again
a mass of creepers that were as tenacious as iron ropes, all the time
pressing forward at a rapid walk. Ofttimes the trail led from the
solid ground through a swamp where grew great sago palms, and out
of which a black, sluggish stream flowed toward the straits. Gray
iguanas and pendants of dove orchids hung from the limbs above,
and green and gold lizards scuttled up the trees at our approach.

At the first plot of wet ground Aboo Din sent up a shout, and awaited
my coming. I found him on his hands and knees, gazing stupidly at
the prints in the moist earth.

"Tuan," he shouted, "see Baboo's feet, one--two--three--more! Praise
be to Allah!"

I dropped down among the lily-pads and pitcher-plants beside him.
There, sure enough, close by the catlike footmarks of the tiger, was
the perfect impression of one of Baboo's bare feet. Farther on was the
imprint of another, and then a third. Wonderful! The intervals between
the several footmarks were far enough apart for the stride of a man!

"Apa?" (What does it mean?) I said.

Aboo Din tore his hair and called upon Allah and the assembled Malays
to witness that he was the father of this Baboo, but that, in the
sight of Mohammed, he was innocent of this witchcraft. He had striven
from Hari Rahmadan to Hari Rahmanan to bring this four-year-old up in
the light of the Koran, but here he was striding through the jungle,
three feet and more at a step, holding to a tiger's tail!

I shouted with laughter as the truth dawned upon me. It must be
so,--Baboo was alive. His footprints were before me. He was being
dragged through the jungle by a full-grown Malayan tiger! How else
explain his impossible strides, overlapping the beast's marks!

Aboo Din turned his face toward Mecca, and his lips moved in prayer.

"May Allah be kind to this tiger!" he mumbled. "He is in the hands
of a witch. We shall find him as harmless as an old cat. Baboo will
break out his teeth with a club of billion wood and bite off his
claws with his own teeth. Allah is merciful!"

We pushed on for half an hour over a dry, foliage-cushioned strip
of ground that left no trace of the pursued. At the second wet spot
we dashed forward eagerly and scanned the trail for signs of Baboo,
but only the pads of the tiger marred the surface of the slime.

Aboo Din squatted at the root of a huge mangrove and broke forth
into loud lamentations, while the last remaining cur took advantage
of his preoccupation to sneak back on the homeward trail.

"Aboo," I commanded sarcastically, "pergie! (move on!) Baboo is a
man and a witch. He is tired of walking, and is riding on the back
of the tiger!"

Aboo gazed into my face incredulously for a moment; then, picking up
his parang and tightening his sarong, strode on ahead without a word.

At noon we came upon a sandy stretch of soil that contained
a few diseased cocoanut palms, fringed by a sluggish lagoon,
and a great banian tree whose trunk was hardly more than a mass
of interlaced roots. A troop of long-armed wah-wah monkeys were
scolding and whistling within its dense foliage with surprising
intensity. Occasionally one would drop from an outreaching limb to
one of the pendulous roots, and then, with a shrill whistle of fright,
spring back to the protection of his mates.

A Malay silenced them by throwing a half-ripe cocoanut into the
midst of the tree, and we moved on to the shade of the sturdiest
palm. There we sat down to rest and eat some biscuits softened in
the milk of a cocoanut.

"There is a boa in the roots of the banian, Aboo," I said, looking
longingly toward its deep shadow.

He nodded his head, and drew from the pouch in the knot in his sarong
a few broken fragments of areca nut. These he wrapped in a lemon leaf
well smeared with lime, and tucked the entire mass into the corner
of his mouth.

In a moment a brilliant red juice dyed his lips, and he closed his
eyes in happy contentment, oblivious, for the time, of the sand and
fallen trunks that seemed to dance in the parching rays of the sun,
oblivious, even, of the loss of his first-born.

I was revolving in my mind whether there was any use in continuing
the chase, which I would have given up long before, had I not known
that a tiger who has eaten to repletion is both timid and lazy. This
one had certainly breakfasted on a dog or on some animal before
encountering Baboo.

I had hoped that possibly the barking of the curs might have caused
him to drop the child, and make off where pursuit would be impossible;
but so far we had, after those footprints, found neither traces of
Baboo alive, nor the blood which should have been seen had the tiger
killed the child.

Suddenly a long, pear-shaped mangrove-pod struck me full in the
breast. I sprang up in surprise, for I was under a cocoanut tree,
and there was no mangrove nearer than the lagoon.

A Malay looked up sleepily, and pointed toward the wide-spreading
banian.

"Monkey, Tuan!"

My eyes followed the direction indicated, and could just distinguish a
grinning face among the interlacing roots at the base of the tree. So
I picked up the green, dartlike end of the pod, and took careful aim
at the brown face and milk-white teeth.

Then it struck me as peculiar that a monkey, after all the evidence
of fright we had so lately witnessed, should seek a hiding-place that
must be within easy reach of its greatest enemy, the boa-constrictor.

Aboo Din had aroused himself, and was looking intently in the same
direction. Before I could take a step toward the tree he had leaped
to his feet, and was bounding across the little space, shouting,
"Baboo! Baboo!"

The small brown face instantly disappeared, and we were left staring
blankly at a dark opening into the heart of the woody maze. Then we
heard the small, well-known voice of Baboo:--

"Tabek (greeting), Tuan! Greeting, Aboo Din! Tuan Consul no whip,
Baboo come out."

Aboo Din ran his long, naked arm into the opening in pursuit of his
first-born--the audacious boy who would make terms with his white
master!

"Is it not enough before Allah that this son should cause me, a Hadji,
to curse daily, but now he must bewitch tigers and dictate terms to
the Tuan and to me, his father? He shall feel the strength of my wrist;
I will--O Allah!"

Aboo snatched forth his arm with a howl of pain. One of his fingers
was bleeding profusely, and the marks of tiny teeth showed plainly
where Baboo had closed them on the offending hand.

"Biak, Baboo, mari!" (Good, come forth!) I said.

First the round, soft face of the small miscreant appeared; then
the head, and then the naked little body. Aboo Din grasped him in
his arms, regardless of his former threats, or of the blood that was
flowing from his wounds. Then, amid caresses and promises to Allah
to kill fire-fighting cocks, the father hugged and kissed Baboo until
he cried out with pain.

After each Malay had taken the little fellow in his arms, I turned
to Baboo and said, while I tried to be severe,--

"Baboo, where is tiger?"

"Sudah mati (dead), Tuan," he answered with dignity. "Tiger over there,
Tuan. Sladang kill. I hid here and wait for Aboo Din!"

He touched his forehead with the back of his brown palm. There was
nothing, either in the little fellow's bearing or words, that betrayed
fear or bravado. It was only one mishap more or less to him.

We followed Baboo's lead to the edge of the jungle, and there,
stretched out in the hot sand, lay the great, tawny beast, stamped
and pawed until he was almost unrecognizable.

All about him were the hoof-marks of the great sladang, the fiercest
and wildest animal of the peninsula--the Malayan bull that will charge
a tiger, a black lion, a boa, and even a crocodile, on sight. Hunters
will go miles to avoid one of them, and a herd of elephants will go
trumpeting away in fear at their approach.

"Kuching besar (big cat) eat Baboo's chow dog, then sleep in
lallang grass,"--this was the child's story. "Baboo find, and say,
'Bagus kuching (pretty kitty), see Baboo's doll?' Kuching no like
Baboo's doll mem consul give. Kuching run away. Baboo catch tail,
run too. Kuching go long ways. Baboo 'fraid Aboo Din whip and tell
kuching must go back. Kuching pick Baboo up in mouth when Baboo let go.

"Kuching hurt Baboo. Baboo stick fingers in kuching's eye. Kuching
no more hurt Baboo. Kuching stop under banian tree and sleep. Big
sladang come, fight kuching. Baboo sorry for good kuching. Baboo hid
from sladang,--Aboo Din no whip Baboo?"

His voice dropped to a pathetic little quaver, and he put up his
hands with an appealing gesture; but his brown legs were drawn back
ready to flee should Aboo Din make one hostile move.

"Baboo," I said, "you are a hero!"

Baboo opened his little black eyes, but did not dispute me.

"You shall go to Mecca when you grow up, and become a Hadji, and when
you come back the high kadi shall take you in the mosque and make
a kateeb of you," said I. "Now put your forehead to the ground and
thank the good Allah that the kuching had eaten dog before he got you."

Baboo did as he was told, but I think that in his heart he was more
grateful that for once he had evaded a whipping than for his remarkable
escape. A little later the punghulo came up with a half-dozen shikaris,
or hunters, and a pack of hunting dogs. The men skinned the mutilated
carcass of the only "good tiger" I met during my three years' hunting
in the jungles of this strange old peninsula.



BABOO'S PIRATES

An Adventure in the Pahang River


There was a scuffle in the outer office, and a thin, piping voice
was calling down all the curses of the Koran on the heads of my great
top-heavy Hindu guards.

"Sons of dogs," I heard in the most withering contempt, "I will see
the Tuan Consul. Know he is my father."

A tall Sikh, with his great red turban awry and his brown kaki uniform
torn and soiled, pushed through the bamboo chicks and into my presence.

He was dragging a small bit of naked humanity by the folds of its
faded cotton sarong.

The powerful soldier was hot and flushed, and a little stream of
blood trickling from his finger tips showed where they had come in
contact with his captive's teeth. It was as though an elephant had
been worried by a pariah cur.

"Your Excellency," he said, salaaming and gasping for breath.

"It is Baboo, the Harimau-Anak!"

Baboo wrenched from the guard's grasp and glided up to my desk. The
back of his open palm went to his forehead, and his big brown eyes
looked up appealingly into mine.

"What is it, Tiger-Child?" I asked, bestowing on him the title the
Malays of Kampong Glam had given him as a perpetual reminder of his
famous adventure.

Dimples came into either tear-stained cheek. He smoothed out the rents
in his small sarong, and without deigning to notice his late captor,
said in a soft sing-song voice:--

"Tuan Consul, Baboo want to go with the Heaven-Born to Pahang.
Baboo six years old,--can fight pirates like Aboo Din, the father. May
Mohammed make Tuan as odorous as musk!"

"You are a boaster before Allah, Baboo," I said, smiling.

Baboo dropped his head in perfectly simulated contrition.

"I have thought much, Tuan."

News had come to me that an American merchant ship had been wrecked
near the mouth of the Pahang River, and that the Malays, who were at
the time in revolt against the English Resident, had taken possession
of its cargo of petroleum and made prisoners of the crew.

I had asked the colonial governor for a guard of five Sikhs and a
launch, that I might steam up the coast and investigate the alleged
outrage before appealing officially to the British government.

Of course Baboo went, much to the disgust of Aboo Din, the syce.

I never was able to refuse the little fellow anything, and I knew if
I left him behind he would be revenged by running away.

I had vowed again and again that Baboo should stay lost the next
time he indulged in his periodical vanishing act, but each time when
night came and Aboo Din, the syce, and Fatima, the mother, crept
pathetically along the veranda to where I was smoking and steeling
my heart against the little rascal, I would snatch up my cork helmet
and spring into my cart, which Aboo Din had kept waiting inside the
stables for the moment when I should relent.

Since Baboo had become a hero and earned the appellation of the
Harimau-Anak, his vanity directed his footsteps toward Kampong Glam,
the Malay quarter of Singapore. Here he was generally to be found,
seated on a richly hued Indian rug, with his feet drawn up under him,
amid a circle of admiring shopkeepers, syces, kebuns, and fishermen,
narrating for the hundredth time how he had been caught at Changhi
by a tiger, carried through the jungle on its back until he came to
a great banian tree, into which he had crawled while the tiger slept,
how a sladang (wild bull) came out of the lagoon and killed the tiger,
and how Tuan Consul and Aboo Din, the father, had found him and kissed
him many times.

Often he enlarged on the well-known story and repeated long
conversations that he had carried on with the tiger while they were
journeying through the jungle.

A brass lamp hung above his head in which the cocoanut oil sputtered
and burned and cast a fitful half-light about the box-like stall.

Only the eager faces of the listeners stood out clear and distinct
against the shadowy background of tapestries from Madras and Bokhara,
soft rich rugs from Afghanistan and Persia, curiously wrought finger
bowls of brass and copper from Delhi and Siam, and piles of cunningly
painted sarongs from Java.

Close against a naked fisherman sat the owner of the bazaar in tall,
conical silk-plaited hat and flowing robes, ministering to the wants
of the little actor, as the soft, monotonous voice paused for a brief
instant for the tiny cups of black coffee.

I never had the heart to interrupt him in the midst of one of these
dramatic recitals, but would stand respectfully without the circle
of light until he had finished the last sentence.

He was not frightened when I thrust the squatting natives right
and left, and he did not forget to arise and touch the back of his
open palm to his forehead, with a calm and reverent, "Tabek, Tuan"
(Greeting, my lord).



So Baboo went with us to fight pirates.

He unrolled his mat out on the bow where every dash of warm salt
water wet his brown skin, and where he could watch the flying fish
dash across our way.

He was very quiet during the two days of the trip, as though he were
fully conscious of the heavy responsibility that rested upon his young
shoulders. I had called him a boaster and it had cut him to the quick.

We found the wreck of the Bunker Hill on a sunken coral reef near the
mouth of the Pahang River, but every vestige of her cargo and stores
was gone, even to the glass in her cabin windows and the brasses on
her rails.

We worked in along the shore and kept a lookout for camps or signals,
but found none.

I decided to go up the river as far as possible in the launch in
hope of coming across some trace of the missing crew, although I
was satisfied that they had been captured by the noted rebel chief,
the Orang Kayah of Semantan, or by his more famous lieutenant, the
crafty Panglima Muda of Jempol, and were being held for ransom.

It was late in the afternoon when we entered the mouth of the Sungi
Pahang.

Aboo Din advised a delay until the next morning.

"The Orang Kayah's Malays are pirates, Tuan," he said, with a sinister
shrug of his bare shoulders, "he has many men and swift praus; the
Dutch, at Rio, have sold them guns, and they have their krises,--they
are cowards in the day."

I smiled at the syce's fears.

I knew that the days of piracy in the Straits of Malacca, save for
an occasional outbreak of high-sea petty larceny on a Chinese lumber
junk or a native trader's tonkang, were past, and I did not believe
that the rebels would have the hardihood to attack, day or night,
a boat, however unprotected, bearing the American flag.

For an hour or more we ran along between the mangrove-bordered shores
against a swiftly flowing, muddy current.

The great tangled roots of these trees stood up out of the water like
a fretwork of lace, and the interwoven branches above our heads shut
out the glassy glare of the sun. We pushed on until the dim twilight
faded out, and only a phosphorescent glow on the water remained to
reveal the snags that marked our course.

The launch was anchored for the night close under the bank, where
the maze of mangroves was beginning to give place to the solid ground
and the jungle.

Myriads of fireflies settled down on us and hung from the low limbs
of the overhanging trees, relieving the hot, murky darkness with
their thousands of throbbing lamps.

From time to time a crocodile splashed in the water as he slid heavily
down the clayey bank at the bow.

In the trees and rubber-vines all about us a colony of long-armed
wah-wah monkeys whistled and chattered, and farther away the sharp,
rasping note of a cicada kept up a continuous protest at our invasion.

At intervals the long, quivering yell of a tiger frightened the
garrulous monkeys into silence, and made us peer apprehensively toward
the impenetrable blackness of the jungle.

Aboo Din came to me as I was arranging my mosquito curtains for
the night. He was casting quick, timid glances over his shoulder as
he talked.

"Tuan, I no like this place. Too close bank. Ten boat-lengths down
stream better. Baboo swear by Allah he see faces behind trees,--once,
twice. Baboo good eyes."

I shook off the uncanny feeling that the place was beginning to cast
over me, and turned fiercely on the faithful Aboo Din.

He slunk away with a low salaam, muttering something about the
Heaven-Born being all wise, and later I saw him in deep converse with
his first-born under a palm-thatched cadjang on the bow.

I was half inclined to take Aboo Din's advice and drop down the
stream. Then it occurred to me that I might better face an imaginary
foe than the whirlpools and sunken snags of the Pahang.

I posted sentinels fore and aft and lay down and closed my eyes to
the legion of fireflies that made the night luminous, and my ears
to the low, musical chant that arose fitfully from among my Malay
servants on the stern.

The Sikhs were big, massive fellows, fully six feet tall, with towering
red turbans that accentuated their height fully a foot.

They were regular artillery-men from Fort Canning, and had seen
service all over India.

They had not been in Singapore long enough to become acquainted
with the Malay language or character, but they knew their duty,
and I trusted to their military training rather than to my Malay's
superior knowledge for our safety during the night.

I found out later that the cunning in Baboo's small brown finger was
worth all the precision and drill in the Sikh sergeant's great body.

I fell asleep at last, lulled by the tenderly crooned promises of
the Koran, and the drowsy, intermittent prattle of the monkeys among
the varnished leaves above. The night was intensely hot; not a breath
of air could stir within our living-cabin, and the cooling moisture
which always comes with nightfall on the equator was lapped up by the
thirsty fronds above our heads, so that I had not slept many hours
before I awoke dripping with perspiration, and faint.

There was an impression in my mind that I had been awakened by the
falling of glass.

The Sikh saluted silently as I stepped out on the deck.

It lacked some hours of daylight, and there was nothing to do but go
back to my bed, vowing never again to camp for the night along the
steaming shores of a jungle-covered stream.

I slept but indifferently; I missed the cooling swish of the punkah,
and all through my dreams the crackle and breaking of glass seemed
to mingle with the insistent buzz of the tiger-gnats.

Baboo's diminutive form kept flitting between me and the fireflies.

The first half-lights of morning were struggling down through the
green canopy above when I was brought to my feet by the discharge of
a Winchester and a long, shrill cry of fright and pain.

Before I could disentangle myself from the meshes of the mosquito net
I could see dimly a dozen naked forms drop lightly on to the deck
from the obscurity of the bank, followed in each case by a long,
piercing scream of pain.

I snatched up my revolver and rushed out on to the deck in my bare
feet.

Some one grasped me by the shoulder and shouted:--

"Jaga biak, biak, Tuan (be careful, Tuan), pirates!"

I recognized Aboo Din's voice, and I checked myself just as my feet
came in contact with a broken beer bottle.

The entire surface of the little deck was strewn with glittering
star-shaped points that corresponded with the fragments before me.

I had not a moment to investigate, however, for in the gloom, where
the bow of the launch touched the foliage-meshed bank, a scene of
wild confusion was taking place.

Shadowy forms were leaping, one after another, from the branches above
on to the deck. I slowly cocked my revolver, doubting my senses,
for each time one of the invaders reached the deck he sprang into
the air with the long, thrilling cry of pain that had awakened me,
and with another bound was on the bulwarks and over the side of the
launch, clinging to the railing.

With each cry, Baboo's mocking voice came out, shrill and exultant,
from behind a pile of life-preservers. "O Allah, judge the dogs. They
would kris the great Tuan as he slept--the pariahs!--but they forgot
so mean a thing as Baboo!"

The smell of warm blood filled the air, and a low snarl among the
rubber-vines revealed the presence of a tiger.

I felt Aboo Din's hand tremble on my shoulder.

The five Sikhs were drawn up in battle array before the cabin door,
waiting for the word of command. I glanced at them and hesitated.

"Tid 'apa, Tuan" (never mind), Aboo Din whispered with a proud ring
in his voice.

"Baboo blow Orang Kayah's men away with the breath of his mouth."

As he spoke the branches above the bow were thrust aside and a dark
form hung for an instant as though in doubt, then shot straight down
upon the corrugated surface of the deck.

As before, a shriek of agony heralded the descent, followed by
Baboo's laugh, then the dim shape sprang wildly upon the bulwark,
lost its hold, and went over with a great splash among the labyrinth
of snakelike mangrove roots.

There was the rushing of many heavy forms through the red mud,
a snapping of great jaws, and there was no mistaking the almost
mortal cry that arose from out the darkness. I had often heard it
when paddling softly up one of the wild Malayan rivers.

It was the death cry of a wah-wah monkey facing the cruel jaws of
a crocodile.

I plunged my fingers into my ears to smother the sound.  I understood
it all now. Baboo's pirates, the dreaded Orang Kayah's rebels, were the
troop of monkeys we had heard the night before in the tambusa trees.

"Baboo," I shouted, "come here! What does this all mean?"

The Tiger-Child glided from behind the protecting pile, and came
close up to my legs.

"Tuan," he whimpered, "Baboo see many faces behind trees. Baboo 'fraid
for Tuan,--Tuan great and good,--save Baboo from tiger,--Baboo break
up all glass bottles--old bottles--Tuan no want old bottle--Baboo
and Aboo Din, the father, put them on deck so when Orang Kayah's men
come out of jungle and drop from trees on deck they cut their feet
on glass. Baboo is through talking,--Tuan no whip Baboo!"

There was the pathetic little quaver in his voice that I knew so well.

"But they were monkeys, Baboo, not pirates."

Baboo shrugged his brown shoulders and kept his eyes on my feet.

"Allah is good!" he muttered.

Allah was good; they might have been pirates.

The snarl of the tiger was growing more insistent and near. I gave
the order, and the boat backed out into mid-stream.

As the sun was reducing the gloom of the sylvan tunnel to a translucent
twilight, we floated down the swift current toward the ocean.

I had given up all hope of finding the shipwrecked men, and decided
to ask the government to send a gunboat to demand their release.

As the bow of the launch passed the wreck of the Bunker Hill and
responded to the long even swell of the Pacific, Baboo beckoned
sheepishly to Aboo Din, and together they swept all trace of his
adventure into the green waters.

Among the souvenirs of my sojourn in Golden Chersonese is a bit
of amber-colored glass bearing the world-renowned name of a London
brewer. There is a dark stain on one side of it that came from the
hairy foot of one of Baboo's "pirates."



HOW WE PLAYED ROBINSON CRUSOE

In the Straits of Malacca


Two hours' steam south from Singapore, out into the famous Straits of
Malacca, or one day's steam north from the equator, stands Raffles's
Lighthouse. Sir Stamford Raffles, the man from whom it took its name,
rests in Westminster Abbey, and a heroic-sized bronze statue of him
graces the centre of the beautiful ocean esplanade of Singapore,
the city he founded.

It was on the rocky island on which stands this light, that we--the
mistress and I--played Robinson Crusoe, or, to be nearer the truth,
Swiss Family Robinson.

It was hard to imagine, I confess, that the beautiful steam launch
that brought us was a wreck; that our half-dozen Chinese servants were
members of the family; that the ton of impedimenta was the flotsam of
the sea; that the Eurasian keeper and his attendants were cannibals;
but we closed our eyes to all disturbing elements, and only remembered
that we were alone on a sunlit rock in the midst of a sunlit sea,
and that the dreams of our childhood were, to some extent, realized.

What live American boy has not had the desire, possibly but
half-admitted, to some day be like his hero, dear old Crusoe, on a
tropical island, monarch of all, hampered by no dictates of society
or fashion? I admit my desire, and, further, that it did not leave
me as I grew older.

We had just time to inspect our little island home before the sun
went down, far out in the Indian Ocean.

Originally the island had been but a barren, uneven rock, the
resting-place for gulls; but now its summit has been made flat by a
coating of concrete. There is just enough earth between the concrete
and the rocky edges of the island to support a circle of cocoanut
trees, a great almond tree, and a queer-looking banian tree, whose
wide-spreading arms extend over nearly half the little plaza. Below
the lighthouse, and set back like caves into the side of the island,
are the kitchen and the servants' quarters, a covered passageway
connecting them with the rotunda of the tower, in which we have set
our dining table.

Ah Ming, our "China boy," seemed to be inveterate in his determination
to spoil our Swiss Family Robinson illusion. We were hardly settled
before he came to us.

"Mem" (mistress), "no have got ice-e-blox. Ice-e all glow away."

"Very well, Ming. Dig a hole in the ground, and put the ice in it."

"How can dig? Glound all same, hard like ice-e."

"Well, let the ice melt," I replied. "Robinson Crusoe had no ice."

In a half-hour Jim, the cook, came up to speak to the "Mem." He
lowered his cue, brushed the creases out of his spotless shirt,
drew his face down, and commenced:--

"Mem, no have got chocolate, how can make puddlin'?"

I laughed outright. Jim looked hurt.

"Jim, did you ever hear of one Crusoe?"

"No, Tuan!" (Lord.)

"Well, he was a Tuan who lived for thirty years without once eating
chocolate 'puddlin'.' We'll not eat any for ten days. Sabe?"

Jim retired, mortified and astonished.

Inside of another half-hour, the Tukang Ayer, or water-carrier, arrived
on the scene. He was simply dressed in a pair of knee-breeches. He
complained of a lack of silver polish, and was told to pound up a
stone for the knives, and let the silver alone.

We are really in the heart of a small archipelago. All about us are
verdure-covered islands. They are now the homes of native fishermen,
but a century ago they were hiding-places for the fierce Malayan
pirates whose sanguinary deeds made the peninsula a byword in the
mouths of Europeans.

A rocky beach extends about the island proper, contracting and
expanding as the tide rises and falls. On this beach a hundred and one
varieties of shells glisten in the salt water, exposing their delicate
shades of coloring to the rays of the sun. Coral formations of endless
design and shape come to view through the limpid spectrum, forming
a perfect submarine garden of wondrous beauty. Through the shrubs,
branches, ferns, and sponges of coral, the brilliantly colored fish
of the Southern seas sport like goldfish in some immense aquarium.

We draw out our chairs within the protection of the almond tree, and
watch the sun sink slowly to a level with the masts of a bark that is
bound for Java and the Bornean coasts. The black, dead lava of our
island becomes molten for the time, and the flakes of salt left on
the coral reef by the outgoing tide are filled with suggestions of
the gold of the days of '49. A faint breeze rustles among the long,
fan-like leaves of the palm, and brings out the rich yellow tints
with their background of green. A clear, sweet aroma comes from out
the almond tree. The red sun and the white sheets of the bark sail
away together for the Spice Islands of the South Pacific.

We sleep in a room in the heart of the lighthouse. The stairway
leading to it is so steep that we find it necessary to hold on to a
knotted rope as we ascend. Hundreds of little birds, no larger than
sparrows, dash by the windows, flying into the face of the gale that
rages during the night, keeping up all the time a sharp, high note
that sounds like wind blowing on telegraph wires.

Every morning, at six o'clock, Ah Ming clambers up the perpendicular
stairway, with tea and toast. We swallow it hurriedly, wrap a sarong
about us, and take a dip in the sea, the while keeping our eyes open
for sharks. Often, after a bath, while stretched out in a long chair,
we see the black fins of a man-eater cruising just outside the reef. I
do not know that I ever hit one, but I have used a good deal of lead
firing at them.

One morning we started on an exploring expedition, in the keeper's
jolly-boat. It was only a short distance to the first island, a small
rocky one, with a bit of sandy beach, along which were scattered
the charred embers of past fires. From under our feet darted the
grotesque little robber-crabs, with their stolen shell houses on their
backs. A great white jellyfish, looking like a big tapioca pudding,
had been washed up with the tide out of the reach of the sea, and a
small colony of ants was feasting on it. We did not try to explore
the interior of the islet. We named it Fir Island from its crown of
fir-like casuarina trees, which sent out on every breeze a balsamic
odor that was charged with far-away New England recollections.

The next island was a large one. The keeper said it was called Pulo
Seneng, or Island of Leisure, and held a little kampong, or village of
Malays, under an old punghulo, or chief, named Wahpering. We found,
on nearing the verdure-covered island, that it looked much larger
than it really was. The woods grew out into the sea for a quarter
of a mile. We entered the wood by a narrow walled inlet, and found
ourselves for the first time in a mangrove swamp. The trees all seemed
to be growing on stilts. A perfect labyrinth of roots stood up out of
the water, like a rough scaffold, on which rested the tree trunks,
high and dry above the flood.  From the limbs of the trees hung the
seed pods, two feet in length, sharp-pointed at the lower end, while on
the upper end, next to the tree, was a russet pear-shaped growth. They
are so nicely balanced that when in their maturity they drop from the
branches, they fall upright in the mud, literally planting themselves.

The punghulo's house, or bungalow, stood at the head of the inlet. The
old man--he must have been sixty--donned his best clothes, relieved his
mouth of a great red quid of betel, and came out to welcome us. He
gracefully touched his forehead with the back of his open palm,
and mumbled the Malay greeting:--

"Tabek, Tuan?" (How are you, my lord?)

When the keeper gave him our cards, and announced us in florid
language, the genial old fellow touched his forehead again, and in
his best Bugis Malay begged the great Rajah and Ranee to enter his
humble home.

The only way of entering a Malay home is by a rickety ladder six feet
high, and through a four-foot opening. I am afraid that the great
"Rajah and Ranee" lost some of their lately acquired dignity in
accepting the invitation.

Wahpering's bungalow, other than being larger and roomier than
the ordinary bungalow, was exactly like all others in style and
architecture.

It was built close to the water's edge, on palm posts six feet above
the ground. This was for protection from the tiger, from thieves, from
the water, and for sanitary reasons. Within the house we could just
stand upright. The floor was of split bamboo, and was elastic to the
foot, causing a sensation which at first made us step carefully. The
open places left by the crossing of the bamboo slats were a great
convenience to the punghulo's wives, as they could sweep all the refuse
of the house through them; they might also be a great accommodation to
the punghulo's enemies, if he had any, for they could easily ascertain
the exact mat on which he slept, and stab him with their keen krises
from beneath.

In one corner of the room was the hand-loom on which the punghulo's
old wife was weaving the universal article of dress, the sarong.

The weaving of a sarong represents the labor of twenty days, and
when we gave the dried-up old worker two dollars and a half for one,
her syrah-stained gums broke forth from between her bright-red lips
in a ghastly grin of pleasure.

There must have been the representatives of at least four generations
under the punghulo's hospitable roof. Men and women, alike, were
dressed in the skirt-like sarong which fell from the waist down; above
that some of the older women wore another garment called a kabaya. The
married women were easily distinguishable by their swollen gums and
filed teeth.

The roof and sides of the house were of attap. This is made from
the long, arrow-like leaves of the nipah palm. Unlike its brother
palms--the cocoa, the sago, the gamooty, and the areca--the nipah is
short, and more like a giant cactus in growth. Its leaves are stripped
off by the natives, then bent over a bamboo rod and sewed together with
fibres of the same palm. When dry they become glazed and waterproof.

The tall, slender areca palm, which stands about every kampong,
supplies the natives with their great luxury--an acorn, known as the
betel-nut, which, when crushed and mixed with lime leaves, takes the
place of our chewing tobacco. In fact, the bright-red juice seen oozing
from the corners of a Malay's mouth is as much a part of himself as
is his sarong or kris. Betel-nut chewing holds its own against the
opium of the Chinese and the tobacco of the European.

As soon as we shook hands ceremoniously with the punghulo's oldest
wife, and tabeked to the rest of his big family, the old man scrambled
down the ladder, and sent a boy up a cocoanut tree for some fresh
nuts. In a moment half a dozen of the great, oval, green nuts came
pounding down into the sand. Another little fellow snatched them up,
and with a sharp parang, or hatchet-like knife, cut away the soft shuck
until the cocoanut took the form of a pyramid, at the apex of which
he bored a hole, and a stream of delicious, cool milk gurgled out. We
needed no second invitation to apply our lips to the hole. The meat
inside was so soft that we could eat it with a spoon. The cocoanut
of commerce contains hardly a suggestion of the tender, fleshy pulp
of a freshly picked nut.

We left the punghulo's house with the old chief in the bow of our
boat--he insisted upon seeing that we were properly announced to his
subjects--and proceeded along the coast for half a mile, and then up
a swampy lagoon to its head.

The tall tops of the palms wrapped everything in a cool, green
twilight. The waters of the lagoon were filled with little bronze
forms, swimming and sporting about in its tepid depths regardless of
the cruel eyes that gleamed at them from great log-like forms among
the mangrove roots.

Dozens of naked children fled up the rickety ladders of their homes
as we approached. Ring-doves flew through the trees, and tame monkeys
chattered at us from every corner. The men came out to meet us, and
did the hospitalities of their village; and when we left, our boat
was loaded down with presents of fish and fruit.

Almost every day after that did we visit the kampong, and were always
welcomed in the same cordial manner.

Wahpering was tireless in his attentions. He kept his Sampan Besar,
or big boat, with its crew at our disposal day after day.

One day I showed him the American flag. He gazed at it thoughtfully and
said, "Biak!" (Good.) "How big your country?" I tried to explain. He
listened for a moment. "Big as Negri Blanda?" (Holland.) I laughed. "A
thousand times larger!" The old fellow shook his head sadly, and
looked at me reproachfully.

"Tidah! Tidah!" (No, no.) "Rajah, Orang Blanda (Dutchman) show me
chart of the world. Holland all red. Take almost all the world. Rest
of country small, small. All in one little corner. How can Rajah say
his country big?"

There was no denying the old man's knowledge; I, too, had seen one
of these Dutch maps of the world, which are circulated in Java to
make the natives think that Holland is the greatest nation on earth.

One day glided into another with surprising rapidity. We could swim,
explore, or lie out in our long chairs and read and listlessly
dream. All about our little island the silver sheen of the sea
was checkered with sails. These strange native craft held for me
a lasting fascination. I gazed out at them as they glided by and
saw in them some of the rose-colored visions of my youth. Piracy,
Indian Rajahs, and spice islands seemed to live in their queer red
sails and palm-matting roofs. At night a soft, warm breeze blew from
off shore and lulled us to sleep ere we were aware.

One morning the old chief made us a visit before we were up. He
announced his approach by a salute from a muzzle-loading musket. I
returned it by a discharge from my revolver. He had come over
with the morning tide to ask us to spend the day, as his guests,
wild-pig hunting. Of course we accepted with alacrity. I am not
going to tell you how we found all the able-bodied men and dogs on
the island awaiting us, how they beat the jungle with frantic yells
and shouts while we waited on the opposite side, or even how many
pigs we shot. It would all take too long.

We went fishing every day. The many-colored and many-shaped fish we
caught were a constant wonderment to us. One was bottle-green, with
sky-blue fins and tail, and striped with lines of gold. Its skin
was stiff and firm as patent leather. Another was pale blue, with
a bright-red proboscis two inches long. We caught cuttle-fish with
great lustrous eyes, long jelly feelers, and a plentiful supply of
black fluid; squibs, prawns, mullets, crabs, and devil-fish. These
last are considered great delicacies by the natives. We had one
fried. Its meat was perfectly white, and tasted like a tallow candle.

The day on which we were to leave, Wahpering brought us some fruit and
fish and a pair of ring-doves. Motioning me to one side, he whispered,
the while looking shyly at the mistress, "Ranee very beautiful! How
much you pay?" I was staggered for the moment, and made him repeat his
question. This time I could not mistake him. "How much you pay for
wife?" He gave his thumb a jerk in the direction of the mistress. I
saw that he was really serious, so I collected my senses, and with
a practical, businesslike air answered, "Two hundred dollars." The
old fellow sighed.

"The great Rajah very rich! I pay fifty for best wife."

I have not tried to tell you all we did on our tropical island playing
Robinson Crusoe. I have only tried to convey some little impression
of a happy ten days that will ever be remembered as one more of
those glorious, Oriental chapters in our lives which are filled with
the gorgeous colors of crimson and gold, the delicate perfumes of
spice-laden breezes, and with imperishable visions of a strange,
old-world life.

They are chapters that we can read over and over again with an ever
increasing interest as the years roll by.



THE SARONG

The Malay's Chief Garment


No one knows who invented the sarong. When the great Sir Francis
Drake skirted the beautiful jungle-bound shores of that strange Asian
peninsula which seems forever to be pointing a wondering finger into
the very heart of the greatest archipelago in the world, he found
its inhabitants wearing the sarong. After a lapse of three centuries
they still wear it,--neither Hindu invasion, Mohammedan conversion,
Chinese immigration, nor European conquest has ever taken from them
their national dress. Civilization has introduced many articles of
clothing; but no matter how many of these are adopted, the Malay,
from his Highness the Sultan of Johore, to the poorest fisherman of
a squalid kampong on the muddy banks of a mangrove-hidden stream,
religiously wears the sarong.

It is only an oblong cloth, this fashion-surviving garb, from two
to four feet in width and some two yards long; sewn together at the
ends. It looks like a gingham bag with the bottom out. The wearer
steps into it, and with two or three ingenious twists tightens it
round the waist, thus forming a skirt and, at the same time, a belt
in which he carries the kris, or snake-like dagger, the inevitable
pouch of areca nut for chewing, and the few copper cents that he dares
not trust in his unlocked hut. The man's skirt falls to his knees,
and among the poor class forms his only article of dress, while the
woman's reaches to her ankles and is worn in connection with another
sarong that is thrown over her head as a veil, so that when she is
abroad and meets one of the opposite sex she can, Moslem-like, draw
it about her face in the form of a long, narrow slit, showing only
her coal-black eyes and thinly pencilled eyebrows.

In style or design the sarong never changes. Like the tartan of the
Highlanders, which it greatly resembles, it is invariably a check
of gay colors. They are all woven of silk or cotton, or of silk and
cotton mixed, by the native women, and no attap-thatched home is
complete without its hand-loom.

One day we crawled up the narrow, rickety ladder that led into the
two by four opening of old Wahpering's palm-shaded home. The little
punghulo or chief, touched his forehead with the back of his open
palm as we advanced cautiously over the open bamboo floor toward his
old wife, who was seated in one corner by a low, horizontal window,
weaving a sarong on a hand-loom. She looked up pleasantly with a soft
"Tabek" (Greeting), and went on throwing her shuttle deftly through the
brilliantly colored threads. The sharp bang of the dark, kamooning-wood
bar drove the thread in place and left room for another. Back and
forth flew the shuttle, and thread after thread was added to the
fabric, yet no perceptible addition seemed to be made.

"How long does it take to finish it?" I asked in Malay.

"Twenty days," she answered, with a broad smile, showing her black,
filed teeth and syrah-stained lips.

The red and brown sarong which she wore twisted tightly up under her
armpits had cost her almost a month's work; the green and yellow one
her chief wore about his waist, a month more; the ones she used as
screens to divide the interior into rooms, and those of the bevy
of sons and daughters of all ages that crowded about us each cost
a month's more; and yet the labor and material combined in each
represented less than two dollars of our money at the Bazaar in
Singapore.

I had not the heart to take the one that she offered the mistress,
but insisted on giving in exchange a pearl-handled penknife, which
the chief took, with many a touch of his forehead, "as a remembrance
of the condescension of the Orang American Rajah."

Wahpering's wife was not dressed to receive us, for we had come swiftly
up the dim lagoon, over which her home was built, and had landed
on the sandy beach unannounced. Had she known that we were coming,
she would have been dressed as became the wife of the Punghulo of
Pulo Seneng (Island of Leisure). The long, black hair would have been
washed beautifully clean with the juice of limes, and twisted up as a
crown on the top of her head. In it would have been stuck pins of the
deep-red gold from Mt. Ophir, and sprays of jasmine and chumpaka. Under
her silken sarong would have been an inner garment of white cotton,
about her waist a zone of beaded cloth held in front by an oval plate,
and over all would have been thrown a long, loose dressing-gown, called
the kabaya, falling to her knees and fastened down the front to the
silver girdle with golden brooches. Her toes would have been covered
with sandals cunningly embroidered in colored beads and gold tinsel.

Wahpering, too, might have added to his sarong a thin vest, buttoned
close up to the neck, a light dimity baju, or jacket, and a pair of
loose silk drawers. They made no apology for their appearance, but
did the honors of the house with a native grace, regaling us with
the cool, fresh milk of the cocoanut, and the delicious globes of
the mangosteens.

The glare of the noonday sun, here on the equator, is inconceivable. It
beats down in bald, irregular waves of heat that seem to stifle
every living being and to burn the foliage to a cinder. Even the
sharp, insistent whir of the cicada ceases when the thermometer on
the sunny side of our palm-thatched bungalow reaches 155°. If I am
forced to go outside, I don my cork helmet, and hold a paper umbrella
above it. Even then, after I have gone a half-hour, I feel dizzy and
sick. I pass native after native, whose only head covering, if they
have any at all save their short-cut black hair, is a handkerchief,
stiffened, and tied with a peculiar twist on the head, or a rimless
cap with possibly a text of the Koran embroidered on its front. It is
only when they are on the sea from early morning to sunset, that they
think it worth while to protect their heads with an umbrella-shaped,
cane-worked head frame like those worn by the natives of Siam and
China. The women I meet simply draw their sarongs more closely about
their heads as the sun ascends higher and higher into the heavens, and
go clattering off down the road in their wooden pattens, unconscious
of my envy or wonderment.

The sarong is more to the Malay than is the kilt to the Scotchman. It
is his dress by day and his covering at night. He uses it as a sail
when far out from land in his cockle-shell boat, or as a bag in which
to carry his provisions when following an elephant path through the
dense jungle.

The checks, in its design, although indistinguishable to the European,
differ according to his tribe or clan, and serve him as a means of
identification wherever he may be on the peninsula.

The sarong and kris are distinctly and solely Malayan; they are shared
with no other country; they are to be placed side by side with the
green turban of the Moslem pilgrim and the cimeter of the Prophet.

A history of one, like the history of the other, embraces all that
is tragical or romantic in Malayan story.



THE KRIS

And how the Malays use it


In an old dog-eared copy of Monteith's Geography, I remember a
picture of a half-dozen pirate prahus attacking a merchantman off a
jungle-bordered shore. A blazing sun hung high in the heavens above the
fated ship, and, to my youthful imagination, seemed to beat down on the
tropical scene with a fierce, remorseless intensity. The wedge-shaped
tops of some palm-thatched and palm-shaded huts could just be seen,
set well back from the shore.

I used to think that if I were a boy on that ship, I would slip quietly
overboard, swim ashore, and while the pirates were busy fighting,
I would set fire to their homes and so deliver the ship from their
clutches. Little did I know then of the acres of bewildering mangrove
swamps filled with the treacherous crocodiles that lie between the
low-water line and the firm ground of the coast.

But always the most striking thing in the little woodcut to me were
the curious, snake-like knives that the naked natives held in their
hands. I had never seen anything like them before. I went to the
encyclopædia and found that the name of the knife was spelled kris
and pronounced creese.

The day-dreams which seemed impossible in the days of Monteith's
Geography have since been realized. I am living, perhaps, within
sight of the very place where the scene of the picture was laid;
for it was supposed to be illustrative of the Malay Peninsula;
and, as I write, one of those snake-like krises lies on the table
before me. It is a handsomer kris than those used by the actors in
that much-studied picture of my youth. The sheath and handle are of
solid gold--a rich yellow gold, mined at the foot of Mount Ophir,
the very same mountain so famous in Bible history, from which King
Solomon brought "gold, peacocks' feathers, and monkeys." The wavy,
flame-like blade is veined with gold, and its dull silvery surface is
damascened with as much care as was ever taken with the old swords
of Damascus. It is only an inch in width and a foot in length and
does not look half as dangerous as a Turkish cimeter; yet it has a
history that would put that of the tomahawk or the scalping-knife
to shame. Many a fat Chinaman, trading between the Java islands and
Amoy, has felt its keen edge at his throat and seen his rich cargo
of spices and bird's-nests rifled, his beloved Joss thrown overboard,
and his queer old junk burnt before his eyes. Many a Dutch and English
merchantman sailed from Batavia and Bombay in the days of the old East
India Company and has never more been heard of until some mutilated
survivor returned with a harrowing tale of Malay piracy and of the
lightning-like work of the dreaded kris.

I do not know whether my kris has ever taken life or not. Had it done
so, I do not think the Sultan would have given it to me, for a kris
becomes almost priceless after its baptism of blood. It is handed
down from generation to generation, and its sanguine history becomes
a part of the education of the young. Next to his Koran the kris
is the most sacred thing the Malay possesses. He regards it with an
almost superstitious reverence. My kris is dear to me, not from any
superstitious reasons, but because it was given me by his Highness,
the Sultan of Johore, the only independent sovereign on the peninsula,
and because the gold of its sheath came from the jungle-covered slopes
of Mount Ophir.

The maker of the kris is a person of importance among the Malays,
and ofttimes he is made by his grateful Rajah a Dato, or Lord, for
his skill. Like the blades of the sturdy armorers of the Crusades,
his blades are considered, as he fashions them from well-hammered and
well-tempered Celebes iron, works of art and models for futurity. He
is exceedingly punctilious in regard to their shape, size, and general
formation, and the process of giving them their beautiful water lines
is quite a ceremony. First the razor-like edges are covered with a
thin coating of wax to protect them from the action of the acids;
then a mixture of boiled rice, sulphur, and salt is put on the blade
and left for seven days until a film of rust rises to the surface. The
blade is then immersed in the water of a young cocoanut or the juice
of a pineapple and left seven days longer. It is next brushed with
the juice of a lemon until all the rust is cleared away, and then
rubbed with arsenic dissolved in lime-juice and washed with cold
spring water. Finally it is anointed with cocoanut oil, and as a
concluding test of its fineness and temper, it is said that in the
old days its owner would rush out into the kampong, or village,
and stab the first person he met.

The sheath of the kris is generally made of kamooning wood, but often
of ivory, gold, or silver. The handle, while more frequently of wood
or buffalo horn, is sometimes of gold studded with precious stones and
worth more than all the other possessions of its owner put together.

The kris, too, has its etiquette. It is always worn on the left side
stuck into the folds of the sarong, or skirt, the national dress of
the Malay. During an interview it is considered respectful to conceal
it; and its handle is turned with its point close to the body of the
wearer, if the wearer be friendly. If, however, there is ill blood
existing, and the wearer is angry, the kris is exposed, and the point
of the handle turned the reverse way.

The kris as a weapon of offence and defence is now almost a thing
of the past. It is rapidly going the way of the tomahawk and the
boomerang--into the collector's cabinet. There is a law in Singapore
that forbids its being worn, and outside of Johore and the native
states it is seldom seen. It is still used as an executioner's knife
by the protected Sultan of Selangor, its keen point being driven
into the heart of the victim; but in a few years that practice, too,
will be abolished by the humane intervention of the English government.

It is to be hoped that the record of the kris is not as bad as it
has been painted by some, and that at times in its bloody career it
has been on the side of justice and right. The part it took in the
piracy that once made the East Indian seas so famous was not always
done for the sake of gain, but often for revenge and for independence.



THE WHITE RAJAH OF BORNEO

The Founding of Sarawak


In the East Indian seas, by Europeans and natives alike, two names
are revered with a singleness and devotion that place them side by
side with the national heroes of all countries.

The men that bear the names are Englishmen, yet the countless islands
of the vast Malayan archipelago are populated by a hundred European,
African, and Asiatic races.

Sir Stamford Raffles founded the great city of Singapore, and Sir
James Brooke, the "White Rajah," carved out of a tropical wilderness
just across the equator, in Borneo, the kingdom of Sarawak.

There is no one man in all history with whom you may compare Rajah
Brooke. His career was the score of a hero of the footlights or of
the dime novel rather than the life of an actual history-maker in
this prosaic nineteenth century. What is true of him is also true in
a less degree of his famous nephew and successor, Sir Charles Brooke,
G. C. M. C., the present Rajah.

One morning in Singapore, as I sipped my tea and broke open one cool,
delicious mangosteen after another, I was reading in the daily Straits
Times an account of the descent of a band of head-hunting Dyaks from
the jungles of the Rejang River in Borneo on an isolated fishing
kampong, or village,--of how they killed men, women, and children,
and carried their heads back to their strongholds in triumph, and of
how, in the midst of their feasting and ceremonies, Rajah Brooke,
with a little company of fierce native soldiery, had surprised and
exterminated them to the last man; and just then the sound of heavy
cannonading in the harbor below caused me to drop my paper.

In a moment the great guns from Fort Canning answered. I
counted--seventeen--and turned inquiringly to the naked punkah-wallah,
who stood just outside in the shade of the wide veranda, listlessly
pulling the rattan rope that moved the stiff fan above me.

His brown, open palm went respectfully to his forehead.

"His Highness, the Rajah of Sarawak," he answered proudly in Malay. "He
come in gunboat Raneé to the Gymkhana races,--bring gold cup for
prizes and fast runners. Come every year, Tuan."

I had forgotten that it was the first day of the long-looked-for
Gymkhana races. A few hours later I met this remarkable man, whose
thrilling exploits had commanded my earliest boyish admiration.

The kindly old Sultan of Johore, the old rebel Sultan of Pahang,
the Sultan of Lingae, in all the finery of their native silks and
jewels, the nobles of their courts, and a dozen other dignitaries,
were on the grandstand and in the paddock as we entered, yet no
one but a modest, gray-haired little man by the side of the English
governor had any place in my thoughts. We knew his history. It was
as romantic as the wild careers of Pizarro and Cortez; as charming
as those of Robinson Crusoe and the dear old Swiss Family Robinson;
as tragic as Captain Kidd's or Morgan's; and withal, it was modelled
after our own Washington. In him I saw the full realization of every
boy's wildest dreams,--a king of a tropical island.

The bell above the judges' pavilion sounded, and a little whirlwind
of running griffins dashed by amid the yells of a thousand natives
in a dozen different tongues. The Rajah leaned out over the gayly
decorated railing with the eagerness of a boy, as he watched his own
colors in the thick of the race.

The surging mass of nakedness below caught sight of him, and another
yell rent the air, quite distinct from the first, for Malayan and
Kling, Tamil and Siamese, Dyak and Javanese, Hindu, Bugis, Burmese,
and Lascar, recognized the famous White Rajah of Borneo, the man who,
all unaided, had broken the power of the savage head-hunting Dyaks,
and driven from the seas the fierce Malayan pirates. The yell was
not a cheer. It was a tribute that a tiger might make to his tamer.

The Rajah understood. He was used to such sinister outbursts of
admiration, for he never took his eyes from the course. He was secure
on his throne now, but I could not but wonder if that yell, which sent
a strange thrill through me, did not bring up recollections of one of
the hundred sanguinary scenes through which he and his great uncle, the
elder Rajah Brooke, had gone when fighting for their lives and kingdom.

The Sultan of Johore's griffin won, and the Rajah stepped back to
congratulate him. I, too, passed over to where he stood, and the
kindly old Sultan took me by the hand.

"I have a very tender spot in my heart for all Americans," the Rajah
replied to his Highness's introduction. "It was your great republic
that first recognized the independence of Sarawak."

As we chatted over the triumph of Gladstone, the silver bill,
the tariff, and a dozen topics of the day, I was thinking of the
head-hunters of whom I had read in the morning paper. I was thinking,
too, of how this man's uncle had, years before, with a boat's crew
of English boys, carved out of an unknown island a principality
larger than the state of New York, reduced its savage population
to orderly tax-paying citizens, cleared the Borneo and Java seas
of their thousands of pirate praus, and in their place built up a
merchant fleet and a commerce of nearly five millions of dollars a
year. The younger Rajah, too, had done his share in the making of
the state. In his light tweed suit and black English derby, he did
not look the strange, impossible hero of romance I had painted him;
but there was something in his quiet, clear, well-bred English accent,
and the strong, deep lines about his eyes and mouth, that impressed
one with a consciousness of tremendous reserve force. He spoke always
slowly, as though wearied by early years of fighting and exposure in
the searching heat of the Bornean sun.

We became better acquainted later at balls and dinners, and he was
never tired of thanking me for my country's kindness.



In 1819, when the English took Malacca and the Malay peninsula from
the Dutch, they agreed to surrender all claims to the islands south
of the pirate-infested Straits of Malacca.

The Dutch, contented with the fabulously rich island of Java and its
twenty-six millions of mild-mannered natives, left the great islands
of Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua to the savage rulers and savage nations
that held them.

The son of an English clergyman, on a little schooner, with a friend or
two and a dozen sailors, sailed into these little known and dangerous
waters one day nineteen years later. His mind was filled with dreams of
an East-Indian empire; he was burning to emulate Cortez and Pizarro,
without practising their abuses. He had entered the English army and
had been so dangerously wounded while leading a charge in India after
his superiors had fallen that he had been retired on a pension before
his twenty-first year.  While regaining his health, he had travelled
through India, Malaya, and China, and had written a journal of his
wanderings. During this period his ambitions were crowding him on to
an enterprise that was as foolhardy as the first voyage of Columbus.

He had spied those great tropical islands that touched the equator,
and he coveted them.

After his father's death he invested his little fortune in a schooner,
and in spite of all the protests and prayers of his family and friends,
he sailed for Singapore, and thence across to the northwest coast of
Borneo, landing at Kuching, on the Sarawak River, in 1838.

He had no clearly outlined plan of operations,--he was simply waiting
his chance. The province of Sarawak, a dependency of the Sultan of
Borneo, was governed by an old native rajah, whose authority was
menaced by the fierce, head-hunting Dyaks of the interior.  Brooke's
chance had come. He boldly offered to put down the rebellion if the
Rajah would make him his general and second to the throne. The Rajah
cunningly accepted the offer, eager to let the hair-brained young
infidel annoy his foes, but with no intention of keeping his promise.

After days of marching with his little crew and a small army of
natives, through the almost impenetrable rubber jungles, after a
dozen hard-fought battles and deeds of personal heroism, any one
of which would make a story, the head-hunters were crushed and some
kind of order restored. He refused to allow the Rajah to torture the
prisoners,--thereby winning their gratitude,--and he refused to be
dismissed from his office. He had won his rank, and he appealed to
the Sultan. The wily Sultan recognized that in this stranger he had
found a man who would be able to collect his revenue, and much to
Brooke's surprise, a courier entered Kuching, the capital, one day
and summarily dismissed the native Rajah and proclaimed the young
Englishman Rajah of Sarawak.

Brooke was a king at last. His empire was before him, but he was
only king because the reigning Sultan relinquished a part of his
dominions that he was unable to control. The tasks to be accomplished
before he could make his word law were ones that England, Holland,
and the navies of Europe had shirked. His so-called subjects were
the most notorious and daring pirates in the history of the world;
they were head-hunters, they practised slavery, and they were cruel
and blood-thirsty on land and sea. Out of such elements this boy king
built his kingdom. How he did it would furnish tales that would outdo
Verne, Kingston, and Stevenson.

He abolished military marauding and every form of slavery, established
courts, missions, and school houses, and waged war, single-handed,
against head-hunting and piracy.

Head-hunting is to the Dyaks what amok is to the Malays or scalping to
the American Indians. It is even more. No Dyak woman would marry a man
who could not decorate their home with at least one human head. Often
bands of Dyaks, numbering from five to seven thousand, would sally
forth from their fortifications and cruise along the coast four or
five hundred miles, to surprise a village and carry the inhabitants'
heads back in triumph.

To-day head-hunting is practically stamped out, as is running amok
among the Malays, although cases of each occur from time to time.

As his subjects in the jungles were head-hunters, so those of the
coast were pirates. Every harbor was a pirate haven. They lived
in big towns, possessed forts and cannon, and acknowledged neither
the suzerainty of the Sultan or the domination of the Dutch. They
were stronger than the native rulers, and no European nation would
go to the great expense of life and treasure needed to break their
power. Brooke knew that his title would be but a mockery as long as
the pirates commanded the mouths of all his rivers.

With his little schooner, armed with three small guns and manned by
a crew of white companions and Dyak sailors, he gave battle first
to the weaker strongholds, gradually attaching the defeated to his
standard. He found himself at the end of nine years their master and
a king in something more than name. Combined with the qualities of
a fearless fighter, he had the faculty of winning the good will and
admiration of his foes.

The fierce Suloos and Illanums became his fast friends. He left their
chiefs in power, but punished every outbreak with a merciless hand.

One of the many incidents of his checkered career shows that his spirit
was all-powerful among them. He had invited the Chinese from Amoy to
take up their residence at his capital, Kuching. They were traders
and merchants, and soon built up a commerce. They became so numerous
in time that they believed they could seize the government. The plot
was successful, and during a night attack they overcame the Rajah's
small guard, and he escaped to the river in his pajamas without a
single follower.

Sir Charles told me one day, as we conversed on the broad veranda
of the consulate, that that night was the darkest in all his great
uncle's stormy life. The hopes and work of years were shattered at
a single blow, and he was an outcast with a price on his head.

The homeless king knelt in the bottom of the prau and prayed for
strength, and then took up the oars and pulled silently toward
the ocean. Near morning he was abreast of one of the largest Suloo
forts--the home of his bitterest and bravest foes.

He turned the head of his boat to the shore and landed unarmed and
undressed among the pirates. He surrendered his life, his throne,
and his honor, into their keeping.

They listened silently, and then their scarred old chief stepped
forward and placed a naked kris in the white man's hand and kissed
his feet.

Before the sun went down that day the White Rajah was on his throne
again, and ten thousand grim, fierce Suloos were hunting the Chinese
like a pack of bloodhounds.

In 1848 Rajah Brooke decided to visit his old home in England, and
ask his countrymen for teachers and missions. His fame had preceded
him. All England was alive to his great deeds. There were greetings by
enthusiastic crowds wherever he appeared, banquets by boards of trade,
and gifts of freedom of cities. He was lodged in Balmoral Castle,
knighted by the Queen, made Consul-General of Borneo, Governor of
Labuan, Doctor of Laws by Oxford, and was the lion of the hour.

He returned to Sarawak, accompanied by European officers and friends,
to carry on his great work of civilization, and to make of his little
tropical kingdom a recognized power.

He died in 1868, and was carried back to England for burial, and I
predict that at no distant day a grateful people will rise up and
ask of England his body, that it may be laid to rest in the yellow
sands under the graceful palms of the unknown nation of which he was
the Washington.

His nephew, Sir Charles Brooke, who had also been his faithful
companion for many years, succeeded him.

Sarawak has to-day a coast-line of over four hundred miles, with an
area of fifty thousand square miles, and a population of three hundred
thousand souls. The country produces gold, silver, diamonds, antimony,
quicksilver, coal, gutta-percha, rubber, canes, rattan, camphor,
beeswax, edible bird's-nests, sago, tapioca, pepper, and tobacco, all
of which find their way to Singapore, and thence to Europe and America.

The Rajah is absolute head of the state; but he is advised by
a legislative council composed of two Europeans and five native
chiefs. He has a navy of a number of small but effective gunboats,
and a well-trained and officered army of several hundred men, who look
after the wild tribes of the interior of Borneo and guard the great
coast-line from piratical excursions; otherwise they would be useless,
as his rule is almost fatherly, and he is dearly beloved by his people.

It is impossible in one short sketch to relate a tenth of the daring
deeds and startling adventures of these two white rajahs. Their lives
have been written in two bulky volumes, and the American boy who loves
stories that rival his favorite authors of adventure will find them by
going to the library and asking for the "Life of the Rajah of Sarawak."

There is much in this "Life" that might be read by our statesmen
and philanthropists with profit; for the building of a kingdom in a
jungle of savage men and savage beasts places the name of Brooke of
Borneo among those of the world's great men, as it does among those
of the heroes of adventure.

One evening we were pacing back and forth on the deck of the Rajah's
magnificent gunboat, the Raneé. A soft tropical breeze was blowing off
shore. Thousands of lights from running rickshas and bullock carts
were dancing along the wide esplanade that separates the city of
Singapore from the sea. The strange old-world cries from the natives
came out to us in a babel of sound.

Chinese in sampans and Malays in praus were gliding about our bows and
back and forth between the great foreign men-of-war that overshadowed
us. The Orient was on every hand, and I looked wonderingly at the
slightly built, gray-haired man at my side, with a feeling that he
had stepped from out some wild South Sea tale.

"Your Highness," I said, as we chatted, "tell me how you made subjects
out of pirates and head-hunters, when our great nation, with all its
power and gold, has only been able after one hundred years to make
paupers out of our Indians."

"Do you see that man?" he replied, pointing to a stalwart, brown-faced
Dyak, who in the blue and gold uniform of Sarawak was leaning idly
against the bulwarks. "That is the Dato (Lord) Imaum, Judge of the
Supreme Court of Sarawak. He was one of the most redoubtable of
the Suloo pirates. My uncle fought him for eight years. In all that
time he never broke his word in battle or in truce. When Sir James
was driven from his throne by the Chinese, the Dato Imaum fought to
reinstate him as his master.

"Civilization is only skin deep, and so is barbarism. Had your country
never broken its word and been as just as it is powerful, your red
men would have been to-day where our brown men are--our equals."

An hour later I stepped into my launch, which was lying alongside. The
American flag at the peak came down, and the guns of the Raneé belched
forth the consular salute.

I instinctively raised my hat as we glided over the phosphorescent
waters of the harbor, for in my thoughts I was still in the presence
of one of the great ones of the earth.



AMOK!

A Malayan Story


If you run amok in Malaya, you may perhaps kill your enemy or wound
your dearest friend, but you may be certain that in the end you will
be krissed like a pariah dog. Every man, woman, and child will turn
his or her hand against you, from the mother who bore you to the
outcast you have befriended. The laws are as immutable as fate.

Just where the great river Maur empties its vast volume of red water
across a shifting bar into the Straits of Malacca, stands the kampong
of Bander Maharani.

The Sultan Abubaker named the village in honor of his dead Sultana,
and here, close down to the bank, was the palace of his nephew--the
Governor, Prince Sulliman.

A wide, red, well-paved road separated the village of thatch and
grass from the palace grounds, and ended at a wharf, up to which a
steam-launch would dash from time to time, startling the half-grown
crocodiles that slept beneath the rickety timbers.

Sometimes the little Prince Mat, the son of the Governor, came down to
the wharf and played with the children of the captain of the launch,
while his Tuan Penager, or Teacher, dozed beneath his yellow umbrella;
and often, at their play, his Excellency would pause and watch them,
smiling kindly.

At such times, the captain of the launch would fall upon his face, and
thank the Prophet that he had lived to see that day. "For," he would
say, "some day he may speak to me, and ask me for the wish I treasure."

Then he would go back to his work, polishing the brass on the railings
of his boat, regardless of the watchful eyes that blinked at him from
the mud beneath the wharf.

He smiled contentedly, for his mind was made up. He would not ask to
be made master of the Sultan's marvellous yacht, that was sent out
from Liverpool,--although the possibility made him catch his breath:
he would ask nothing for himself,--he would ask that his Excellency
let his son Noa go to Mecca, that he might become a hadji and then
some day--who knows--Noa might become a kateeb in the attap-thatched
mosque back of the palace.

And Noa, unmindful of his father's dreaming, played with the little
Prince, kicking the ragga ball, or sailing miniature praus out into
the river, and off toward the shimmering straits. But often they
sat cross-legged and dropped bits of chicken and fruit between the
palm sleepers of the wharf to the birch-colored crocodiles below,
who snapped them up, one after another, never taking their small,
cruel eyes off the brown faces that peered down at them.

Child-life is measured by a few short years in Malaya. The hot,
moist air and the fierce rays of the equatorial sun fall upon child
and plant alike, and they grow so fast that you can almost hear them!

The little Prince soon forgot his childhood companions in the gorgeous
court of his Highness, the Sultan of Johore, and Noa took the place
of his father on the launch, while the old man silently mourned as he
leaned back in its stern, and alternately watched the sunlight that
played along the carefully polished rails, and the deepening shadows
that bound the black labyrinth of mangrove roots on the opposite
shore. The Governor had never noted his repeated protestations and
deep-drawn sighs.

"But who cares," he thought. "It is the will of Allah! The Prince
will surely remember us when he returns."

On the very edge of Bander Maharani, just where the almost endless
miles of betel-nut palms shut from view the yellow turrets of the
palace, stood the palm-thatched bungalow in which Anak grew, in a
few short years, from childhood to womanhood. The hot, sandy soil all
about was covered with the flaxen burs of the betel, and the little
sunlight that found its way down through the green and yellow fronds
drew rambling checks on the steaming earth, that reminded Anak of
the plaid on the silken sarong that Noa's father had given her the
day she was betrothed to his son.

Up the bamboo ladder and into the little door,--so low that even Anak,
with her scant twelve years, was forced to stoop,--she would dart when
she espied Noa coming sedately down the long aisle of palms that led
away to the fungus-covered canal that separated her little world from
the life of the capital city.

There was coquetry in every glance, as she watched him, from behind
the carved bars of her low window, drop contentedly down on the bench
beneath a scarred old cocoanut that stood directly before the door. She
thought almost angrily that he ought to have searched a little for her:
she would have repaid him with her arms about his neck.

From the cool darkness of the bungalow came the regular click of her
mother's loom. She could see the worker's head surrounded by a faint
halo of broken twilight. Her mind filled in the details that were
hidden by the green shadows--the drawn, stooping figure, the scant
black hair, the swollen gums, the syrah-stained teeth, and sunken
neck. She impulsively ran her soft brown fingers over her own warm,
plump face, through the luxuriant tresses of her heavy hair, and then
gazed out at the recumbent figure on the bench, waiting patiently
for her coming.

"Soon my teeth, which the American lady that was visiting his
Excellency said were so strong and beautiful, will be filed and
blackened, and I will be weaving sarongs for Noa."

She shuddered, she knew not why, and went slowly across the elastic
bamboo strips of the floor and down the ladder.

Noa watched the trim little figure with its single covering of cotton,
the straight, graceful body, and perfectly poised head and delicate
neck, the bare feet and ankles, the sweet, comely face with its fresh
young lips, free from the red stains of the syrah leaf, and its big
brown eyes that looked from beneath heavy silken lashes. He smiled,
but did not stir as she came to him. He was proud of her after
the manner of his kind. Her beauty appealed to him unconsciously,
although he had never been taught to consider beauty, or even seek
it. He would have married her without a question, if she had been as
hideous as his sister, who was scarred with the small-pox. He would
never have complained if, according to Malayan custom, he had not
been permitted to have seen her until the marriage day. He must marry
some one, now that the Prince had gone to Johore, and his father had
given up all hope of seeing him a hadji; and besides, the captain of
the launch and the old punghulo, or chief, Anak's father, were fast
friends. The marriage meant little more to the man.

But to Anak,--once the Prince Mat had told her she was pretty, when
she had come down to the wharf to beg a small crocodile to bury
underneath her grandmother's bungalow to keep off white ants, and
her cheeks glowed yet under her brown skin at the remembrance. Noa
had never told her she was beautiful!

A featherless hen was scratching in the yellow sand at her feet, and a
brood of featherless chicks were following each cluck with an intensity
of interest that left them no time to watch the actions of the lovers.

"Why did you come?" she asked in the soft liquid accents of her people.

There was an eagerness in the question that suggested its own answer.

"To bring a message to the punghulo," he replied, not noticing the
coquetry of the look.

"Oh! then you are in haste. Why do you wait? My father is at the
canal."

"It is about you," he went on, his face glowing. "The Prince is coming
back, and we are to be married. My father, the captain, made bold
to ask his Excellency to let the Prince be present, and he granted
our prayer."

She turned away to hide her disappointment. It was the thought of
the honor that was his in the eyes of the province, and not that
he was to marry her, that set the lights dancing in his eyes! She
hated him then for his very love; it was so sure and confident in
its right to overlook hers in this petty attention from a mere boy,
who had once condescended to praise her girlish beauty.

"When is the Prince coming?" she questioned, ignoring his clumsy
attempt to take her hand.

"During the feast of Hari Raya Hadji," he replied, smiling.

She kicked some sand with her bare toes, amongst the garrulous
chickens.

"Tell me about the Prince."

Her mood had changed. Her eyes were wide open, and her face
all aglow. She was wondering if he would notice her above the
bridesmaids,--if it was not for her sake he was coming?

And then her lover told her of the gossip of the palace,--of the
Prince's life in the Sultan's court,--of his wit and grace,--of how
he had learned English, and was soon to go to London, where he would
be entertained by the Queen.

Above their heads the wind played with the tattered flags of the palms,
leaving openings here and there that exposed the steely-white glare
of the sky, and showed, far away to the northward, the denuded red
dome of Mount Ophir.

The girl noted the clusters of berries showing redly against the
dark green of some pepper-vines that clambered up the black nebong
posts of her home; she wondered vaguely as he talked if she were to
go on through life seeing pepper-vines and betel-nut trees, and hot
sand and featherless hens, and never get beyond the shadow of the
mysterious mountains.

Possibly it was the sight of the white ladies from Singapore, possibly
it was the few light words dropped by the half-grown Prince, possibly
it was something within herself,--something inherited from ancestors
who had lived when the fleets of Solomon and Hiram sought for gold
and ivory at the base of the distant mountains,--that drove her to
revolt, and led her to question the right of this marriage that was
to seal her forever to the attap bungalow, and the narrow, colorless
life that awaited her on the banks of the Maur. She turned fiercely
on her wooer, and her brown eyes flashed.

"You have never asked me whether I love!"

The Malay half rose from his seat. The look of surprise and perplexity
that had filled his face gave place to one of almost childish wonder.

"Of course you love me. Is it not so written in the Koran,--a wife
shall reverence her husband?"

"Why?" she questioned angrily.

He paused a moment, trying dimly to comprehend the question, and then
answered slowly,--

"Because it is written."

She did not draw away when he took her hand; he had chosen his answer
better than he knew.

"Because it is written," that was all. Her own feeble revolt was but
as a breath of air among the yellow fronds above their heads.

When Noa had gone, the girl drew herself wearily up the ladder, and
dropped on a cool palm mat near the never ceasing loom. For almost
the first time in her short, uneventful life she fell to thinking
of herself. She wondered if the white ladies in Singapore married
because all had been arranged by a father who forgot you the moment
you disappeared within the door of your own house,--if they loved one
man better than another,--if they could always marry the one they
liked best. She wondered why every one must be married,--why could
she not go on and live just as she had,--she could weave and sew?

A gray lizard darted from out its hiding-place in the attap at a
great atlas moth which worked its brilliant wings; clumsily it tore
their delicate network until the air was full of a golden dust.

"I am the moth," she said softly, and raised her hand too late to
save it from its enemy.

The Sultan's own yacht, the Pante, brought the Prince back to Maur,
and as it was low tide, the Governor's launch went out beyond the
bar and met him.

The band played the national anthem when he landed on the pier,
and Inchi Mohammed, the Tuan Hakim, or Chief Justice, made a speech.

The red gravel walk from the landing to the palace gate was strewn
with hibiscus and alamander and yellow convolvulus flowers, and
bordered with the delicate maidenhair fern.

Johore and British flags hung in great festoons from the deep
verandas of the palace, and the brass guns from the fort gave forth
the royal salute.

Anak was in the crowd with her father, the old chief, and her
affianced, Noa. She had put on her silk sarong and kabaya, and some
curious gold brooches that were her mother's. In her coal-black hair
she had stuck some sprays of the sweet-smelling chumpaka flower. On her
slender bare feet were sandals cunningly wrought in colored beads. Her
soft brown eyes glowed with excitement, and she edged away from the
punghulo's side until she stood close up in front, so near that she
could almost touch the sarong of the Tuan Hakim as he read.

The Prince had grown so since he left that she scarcely knew him,
and save for the narrow silk sarong about his waist, he was dressed
in the English clothes of a Lieutenant of his Highness's artillery. In
the front of his rimless cap shone the arms of Johore set in diamonds,
exactly as his father, the Governor, wore them. He paused and smiled
as he thanked the cringing Tuan Hakim.

The blood rushed to the girl's cheeks, and she nearly fell down at
his feet. She realized but dimly that Noa was plucking at her kabaya,
wishing her to go with him to see the bungalow that his father was
building for them.

"The posts are to be of polished nebong" he was saying, "the wood-work
of maranti wood from Pahang; and there is to be a cote, ever so
cunningly woven of green and yellow bamboo, for your ring-doves,
under the attap of the great eaves above the door."

She turned wearily toward her lover, and the bright look faded from
her comely face. With a half-uttered sigh she drew off her sandals
and tucked them carefully beneath the silver zone that held her sarong
in place.

"Anak," he said softly, as they left the hot, red streets, filled
with lumbering bullock-carts and omnipresent rickshas, "why do you
look away when I talk of our marriage? Is it because the Koran teaches
modesty in woman, or is it because you are over-proud of your husband
when you see him among other men?"

But the girl was not listening.

He looked at her keenly, and as he saw the red blood mantle her cheek,
he smiled and went on:--

"It was good of you to wear the sarong I gave you, and your best
kabaya and the flowers I like in your hair. I heard more than one
say that it showed you would make a good wife in spite of our knowing
one another before marriage."

"You think that it was for you that I put on all this bravery?" she
asked, looking him straight in the face. "Am I not to be your wife? Can
I not dress in honor of the young Prince and--Allah?"

He turned to stammer a reply. The hot blood mounted to his temples,
and he grasped the girl's arm so that she cried out with pain.

"You are to be my wife, and I your master. It is my wish that you
should ever dress in honor of our rulers and our Allah, for in showing
honor to those above you, you honor your husband. I do not understand
you at all times, but I intend that you shall understand me. Sudah!"

"Tuan Allah Suka!" (The Lord Allah has willed it), she murmured,
and they plodded on through the hot sand in silence.

After his return they saw the Prince often, and once when Anak came
down to the wharf to bring a durian to the captain of the launch
from her father, the old punghulo, she met him face to face, and he
touched her cheek with his jewelled fingers, and said she had grown
much prettier since he left.

Noa was not angry at the Prince, rather he was proud of his notice,
but a sinister light burned in his eyes as he saw the flushed face
and drooping head of the girl.

And once the Prince passed by the punghulo's home on his way into
the jungle in search of a tiger, and inquired for his daughter. Anak
treasured the remembrance of these little attentions, and pondered
over them day after day, as she worked by her mother's side at the
loom, or sat outside in the sand, picking the flossy burs from the
betel-nuts, watching the flickering shadows that every breeze in the
leaves above scattered in prodigal wastefulness about and over her.

She told herself over and over, as she followed with dreamy eyes the
vain endeavors of a chameleon to change his color, as the shadows
painted the sand beneath him first green and then white, that her own
hopes and strivings were just as futile; and yet when Noa would sit
beside her and try to take her hand, she would fly into a passion,
and run sobbing up the ladder of her home. Noa became moody in
turn. His father saw it and his mates chaffed him, but no one guessed
the cause. That it should be for the sake of a woman would have been
beyond belief; for did not the Koran say, "If thy wife displease thee,
beat her until she see the sin of her ways"? One day, as he thought,
it occurred to him, "She does not want to marry me!" and he asked her,
as though it made any difference. There were tears in her eyes, but
she only threw back her head and laughed, and replied as she should:--

"That is no concern of ours. Is your father, the captain, displeased
with my father's, the punghulo's, dowry?"

And yet Noa felt that Anak knew what he would have said.

He went away angry, but with a gnawing at his heart that frightened
him,--a strange, new sickness, that seemed to drive him from despair
to a longing for revenge, with the coming and going of each quick
breath. He had been trying to make love in a blind, stumbling way;
he did not know it,--why should he? Marriage was but a bargain in
Malaya. But Anak with her finer instincts felt it, and instead of
fanning this tiny, unknown spark, she was driving it into other and
baser channels.

In spite of her better nature she was slowly making a demon out of a
lover,--a lover to whom but a few months before she would have given
freely all her love for a smile or the lightest of compliments.

From that day until the day of the marriage she never spoke to her
lover save in the presence of her elders,--for such was the law of
her race.

She submitted to the tire-women who were to prepare her for the
ceremony, uttering no protest as they filed off her beautiful white
teeth and blackened them with lime, nor when they painted the palms of
her hands and the nails of her fingers and toes red with henna. She
showed no interest in the arranging of her glossy black hair with
jewelled pins and chumpaka flowers, or in the draping of her sarong
and kabaya. Only her lacerated gums ached until one tear after another
forced its way from between her blackened lids down her rouged cheeks.

There had been feasting all day outside under the palms, and the
youths, her many cousins, had kicked the ragga ball, while the elders
sat about and watched and talked and chewed betel-nut. There were
great rice curries on brass plates, with forty sambuls> within easy
reach of all, luscious mangosteens, creamy durians and mangoes, and
betel-nuts with lemon leaves and lime and spices. Fires burned about
among the graceful palms at night, and lit up the silken sarongs and
polished kris handles of the men, and gold-run kabayas of the women.

The Prince came as he promised, just as the old Kadi had pronounced
the couple man and wife, and laid at Anak's feet a wide gold bracelet
set with sapphires, and engraven with the arms of Johore. He dropped
his eyes to conceal the look of pity and abhorrence that her swollen
gums and disfigured features inspired, and as he passed across the
mats on the bamboo floor he inwardly cursed the customs of his people
that destroyed the beauty of its women. He had lived among the English
of Singapore, and dined at the English Governor's table.

A groan escaped the girl's lips as she dropped back among the cushions
of her tinsel throne. Noa saw the little tragedy, and for the first
time understood its full import. He ground his teeth together, and
his hand worked uneasily along the scabbard of his kris.

In another moment the room was empty, and the bride and groom were left
side by side on the gaudily bedecked platform, to mix and partake of
their first betel-nut together. Mechanically Noa picked the broken
fragments of the nut from its brass cup, from another a syrah leaf
smeared with lime, added a clove, a cardamom, and a scraping of mace,
and handed it to his bride. She took it without raising her eyes, and
placed it against her bleeding gums. In a moment a bright red juice
oozed from between her lips and ran down the corner of her distorted
mouth. Noa extended his hand, and she gave him the half-masticated
mass. He raised it to his own mouth, and then for the first time
looked the girl full in the face.

There was no love-light in the drooping brown eyes before him. The
syrah-stained lips were slightly parted, exposing the feverish gums,
and short, black teeth. Her hands hung listlessly by her side, and
only for the color that came and went beneath the rouge of her brown
cheeks, she might have been dead to this last sacred act of their
marriage vows.

"Anak!" he said slowly, drawing closer to her side. "Anak, I will be
a true husband to you. You shall be my only wife--"

He paused, expecting some response, but she only gazed stolidly up
at the smoke-begrimed attap of the roof.

"Anak--" he repeated, and then a shudder passed through him, and his
eyes lit up with a wild, frenzied gleam,

A moment he paused irresolute, and then with a spring he grasped the
golden handle of his kris and with one bound was across the floor,
and on the sand below among the revellers.

For an instant the snake-like blade of the kris shone dully in the
firelight above his head, and then with a yell that echoed far out
among the palms, it descended straight into the heart of the nearest
Malay.

The hot life-blood spurted out over his hand and naked arm, and dyed
the creamy silk of his wedding baju a dark red.

Once more he struck, as he chanted a promise from the Koran, and the
shrill, agonized cry of a woman broke upon the ears of the astonished
guests.

Then the fierce sinister yell of "Amok! amok!" drowned the woman's
moans, and sent every Malay's hand to the handle of his kris.

"Amok!" sprang from every man's lips, while women and children, and
those too aged to take part in the wild saturnalia of blood that was
to follow, scattered like doves before a hawk.

With the rapidity of a Malayan tiger, the crazed man leaped from
one to another, dealing deadly strokes with his merciless weapon,
right and left. There was no gleam of pity or recognition in his
insane glance when he struck down the sister he had played with from
childhood, neither did he note that his father's hand had dealt the
blow that dropped his right arm helpless to his side. Only a cry of
baffled rage and hate escaped his lips, as he snatched his falling
knife with his left hand. Another blow, and his father fell across
the quivering body of his sister.

"O Allah, the all-merciful and loving kind!" he sang, as the blows
rained upon his face and breast. "O Allah, the compassionate."

The golden handle of his kris shone like a dying coal in the centre
of a circle of flamelike knives; then with one wild plunge forward,
into the midst of the gleaming points, it went out.

"Sudah!--It is finished," and a Malay raised his steel-bladed limbing
to thrust it into the bare breast of the dying man.

The young Prince stepped out into the firelight and raised his
hand. The long, shrill wail of a tiger from far off toward Mount
Ophir seemed to pulsate and quiver on the weird stillness of the night.

Noa opened his eyes. They were the eyes of a child, and a faint,
sweet smile flickered across the ghastly features and died away in
a spasm of pain.

A picture of their childhood days flashed through the mind of the
Prince and softened the haughty lines of his young face. He saw,
through it all, the wharf below the palace grounds,--the fat old
penager dozing in the sun,--the raft they built together, and the
birch-colored crocodiles that lay among the sinuous mangrove roots.

"Noa," he whispered, as he imperiously motioned the crowd back.

The dying man's lips moved. The Prince bent lower.

"She--loved--you. Yes--" Noa muttered, striving to hold his
failing breath,--"love is from--Allah. But not for--me;--for
English--and--Princes."

They threw his body without the circle of the fires.

The tense feline growl of the tiger grew more distinct. The Prince's
hand sought the jewelled handle of his kris. There was a swift rush
in the darkness, a crashing among the rubber-vines, a short, quick
snarl, and then all was still.

If you run amok in Malaya, you may kill your enemy or your dearest
friend, but you will be krissed in the end like a pariah dog. Every
man, woman, and child will turn his hand against you, from the mother
who bore you to the outcast you have befriended.

The laws are as immutable as fate.



LEPAS'S REVENGE

The Tale of a Monkey


There were many monkeys--I came near saying there were hundreds--in
the little clump of jungle trees back of the bungalow. We could lie
in our long chairs, any afternoon, when the sun was on the opposite
side of the house, and watch them from behind the bamboo "chicks"
swinging and playing in the maze of rubber-vines.

They played tag and high-spy, and a variety of other games. When
they were tired of playing, they fell to quarrelling, scolding,
and chasing each other among the stiff, varnished leaves, making so
much noise that I could not get my afternoon nap, and often had to
call to the syce to throw a stone into the branches. Then they would
scuttle away to the topmost parts of the great trees and there join
in giving me a rating that ought to have made me ashamed forever to
look another monkey in the face.

One day, I went out and threw a stick at them myself, and the next
day I found my shoes, which the Chinese "boy" had pipe-clayed and
put out in the sun to dry, missing; and the day after I found the
netting of my mosquito house torn from top to bottom.

So I was not in the best of humors when I was awakened, one afternoon,
by the whistling of a monkey close to my chair. I reached out quickly
for my cork helmet which I had thrown down by my side. As it was there,
I looked up in surprise to see what had become of my visitor.

There he sat up against the railing of the veranda with his legs
cramped up under him, ready to flee if I made a threatening gesture.
His face was turned toward me, with the thin, hairless skin of its
upper lip drawn back, showing a perfect row of milk-white teeth that
were chattering in deadly terror. The whole expression of his face
was one of conciliation and entreaty.

I knew that it was all make-believe, so I half closed my eyes and
did not move. The chattering stopped. The little fellow looked about
curiously, drew his mouth up into a pucker, whistled once or twice
to make sure I was not awake, and reached out his bony arm for a few
crumbs of cake that had fallen near.

He was not more than a foot in height. His diminutive body seemed
to have been fitted into a badly worn skin that was two sizes too
large for him, and the scalp of his forehead moved about like an
overgrown wig.

He was the most ordinary kind of gray, jungle monkey, not even a
wah-wah or spider face.

"Well," I said, after we had thoroughly inspected each other, "where
are my shoes?"

Like a flash the whistling ceased, and with a pathetic trembling of
his thin upper lip he commenced to beg with his mouth, and to put up
his homely little hands in mute appeal.

For a moment I feared he would go into convulsions, but I soon
discovered that my sympathy, had been wasted.

Then I noticed, for the first time, that there was a leather strap
around his body just in front of his back legs, and that a string was
attached to it, which ran through the railings and off the veranda. I
looked over, and there, squatting on his sandalled feet, was a Malay,
with the other end of the string in his hand.

He arose, smiling, touched his forehead with the back of his brown
palm, and asked blandly:--

"Tuan, want to buy?"

The calm assurance of the man amused me.

"What, that miserable little monkey?" I said. "Do you take me for a
tourist? Look up in those trees and you will see monkeys that know
boiled rice from padi."

The man grinned and showed his brilliantly red teeth and gums.

"Tuan see. This monkey very wise," and he made a motion with his
stick. The little fellow sprang from the railing to his bare head,
and sat holding on to his long black hair.

"See, Tuan," and he made another motion, and the monkey leaped to
the ground and commenced to run around his master, hopping first
on one foot and then on the other, raising his arms over his head
like a ballet dancer. After every revolution he would stop and turn
a handspring.

The Malay all the time kept up a droning kind of a song in his native
tongue, improvising as he went along.

The tenor of it was that one Hamat, a poor Malay, but a good
Mohammedan, who had never been to Mecca, wanted to go to become a
Hadji. He had no money but he had a good monkey that was very dear
to him. He had found it in a distant jungle, beyond Johore, when a
little baby; had brought it up like one of his own children and had
taught it to dance and salaam.

Now he must sell the monkey to the great Tuan, or Lord, that the
money might help take him to Mecca. The monkey must dance well and
please the mighty Tuan.

As the little fellow danced, he kept one eye on me as though he
understood it all.

"How old is he?" I asked, becoming interested.

"Just as old as your Excellency would like," he replied, bowing.

"Is he a year old?"

"If the Tuan please."

"Well, how much do you want for him?"

"What your Excellency can give."

"Twenty-five dollars?" I asked.

His face lit up from chin to forehead. He hitched nervously at the
folds of his sarong, and changed the quid of red betel-nut from one
corner of his mouth to the other.

"Here, Hamat," I said, laughing, "here is five dollars; take it;
when you come back from Mecca with a green turban come and see me. If
I am sick of the monkey, you can have him back."

So commenced our acquaintance with Lepas. We got into the habit
of calling him Lepas, because it was the Malay for "let go," which
definition we broadened until it became a term of correction for every
form of mischief. He was such a restless, active little imp, with
hands into everything and upon everything, that it was "Lepas!" from
morning to night.

He soon learned the word's twofold meaning. If we said "Lepas" sternly,
he subsided at once; but when we called it pleasantly he came running
across the room and leaped into our laps.

It did not take Lepas as long to forget his former master as it did
to forget his former habits. In truth, his civilization was never
more than skin deep.

He would sit for hours cuddled up in the mistress's lap, playing
with her work and making deft slaps at passing flies, until he
had thoroughly convinced her of his perfect trustworthiness. Then,
the moment her back was turned, he would slip away to her bureau,
and such a mess as he would make of her ribbons and laces!

I think he liked the servants better than he did us. He would dance
and turn handsprings and salaam for them, but never for the mistress
or myself. Such tricks, he seemed to think, were beneath his new
position in society.

He had a standing grudge against me, however, for insisting on his
bath in the big Shanghai jar every day, and took delight in rolling
in the red dust of the road the moment he was through.

It was not long before he had a feud with the monkeys in the trees,
back of the house. He would stand on the ground, within easy reach
of the house, and as saucily as you please, till they were worked up
into a white heat of rage over his remarks.

Once he caught a baby monkey that had become entangled in the wiry
lallang grass under the trees, and dragged it screeching into the
house. Before we could get to him he had nearly drowned it by treating
it to a bath,--an act, I suppose, intended to convey to me his opinion
of my humane efforts to keep him clean.

I expected as a matter of course to lose another pair of shoes
or something, in payment for this unneighborly behavior, but the
colony in the trees seemed to know that I was innocent. It was not
long before they caught the true culprit, and gave him such a beating
that he was quiet and subdued for days.

But Lepas was a lovable little fellow with all his mischief. Every
afternoon when I came home from the office, tired out with the heat
and the fierce glare of the sun, he would hop over to my chair,
whistle soothingly, and make funny little chirrups with his lips,
until I noticed him.

Then he would crawl quietly up the legs of the chair until he reached
my shoulder, where he would commence with his cool little fingers to
inspect my eyes and nose, and to pick over carefully each hair of my
mustache and head.

So we forgave him when he pulled all the feathers out of a ring-dove
that was a valued present from an old native rajah; when he turned
lamp-oil into the ice cream, and when he broke a rare Satsuma bowl
in trying to catch a lizard. He was always so penitent after each
misadventure!

We had heard that Hamat had sailed for Jedda with a shipload of
pilgrims and were therefore expecting him back soon; but we had
decided not to give up Lepas. He had become a sort of necessity about
the house.

Next door to us, lived a high official of the English service. He was
a sour, cross old man and did not like pets. Even the monkeys in the
trees knew better than to go into his "compound," or inclosure.

But Lepas started off on a voyage of discovery one day, and not only
invaded his compound, but actually entered his house. The official
caught him in the act of hiding his shaving-set between the palm
thatch of the roof and the cheese-cloth ceiling. Recognizing Lepas,
he did not kill him, but took him by his leathern girdle and soused
him in his bath-tub, until he was so near dead that it took him hours
to crawl home.

Lepas went around with a sad, injured expression on his wrinkled
little face, for days. Not even a mangosteen sprinkled with sugar
could awaken his enthusiasm.

He went so far as to make up with the monkeys in the trees, and once
or twice I caught him condescending to have a game of leap-frog with
them. I made up my mind that he had determined to turn over a new leaf,
but the syce shook his head knowingly and said:--

"Lepas all the time thinking. He thinks bad things."

And so it proved.

One night the mistress gave a very big dinner party. The high official
from next door was there. So were several other high officials of
Singapore, the general commanding her Majesty's troops, and the
foreign consuls and members of Legislative Council.

It was a hot night, and the punkah-wallah outside kept the punkah, or
mechanical fan, switching back and forth over our heads with a rapidity
that made us fear its ropes would break, as very often happened.

Suddenly there was a crash, and a champagne glass struck squarely in
the high official's soup and spattered it all over his white expanse
of shirt front. We all looked up at the punkah. At the same instant
a big, soft mango smashed in the high official's face and changed
its ruddy red color to a sickly yellow.

The women screamed, and the men jumped up from the table. Then began
a regular fusillade of wine glasses and tropical fruits.

Sometimes they hit the high official from next door, at whom they all
seemed to be aimed, but more often they fell upon the table, among
the glass and dishes. In a moment everything was in wild confusion,
and the mistress's beautifully decorated table looked as though a
bomb had exploded on it.

The Chinese "boys" made a rush for the end of the room, and there,
up on the sideboard, among the glass, pelting his enemy, the high
official, as fast as he could throw, was Lepas.

A finger bowl struck the butler full in the face, and gave the monkey
time to make his escape out into the darkness through the wide-open
doors.

We saw nothing more of Lepas for a week or more; we had, indeed, about
given him up, wondering as to his whereabouts, when one afternoon, as I
was taking my usual post-tiffin siesta on the cool side of the great,
wide-spreading veranda, I heard a timid whistle, and looked up to see
Lepas seated on the railing, as sad and humble as any truant schoolboy.

His hair was matted and faded and his face was dirty. His form had
lost some of the plumpness that had come to it with good living,
but there was the same wicked twinkle in his eyes, and the same
hypocritical deceit in his bearing as of old.

I reached out my hand to take him, but he hopped a few feet away and
began to beg with his teeth.

"Lepas," I said, "you have a bad heart. I wash my hands of you. When
Hamat comes back you can go to him and be an ordinary, low caste
monkey. Now go! I never want to see you again!"

Lepas puckered up his lips and whistled mournfully for a few moments,
but seeing no sign of forgiveness in my face he jumped down and began
to turn handsprings and dance with the most demure grace.

I took no notice of him, and after a few vain efforts to attract
my attention, he hopped dejectedly off the veranda across the lawn,
and disappeared among the timboso trees and rubber-vines.

Two weeks later Hamat returned from Mecca. He paid me a visit in
state--white robe and green turban. I shook hands and called him by
his new title of nobility, Tuan Hadji, but he did not refer to Lepas.

Before many minutes he commenced to look wistfully about. I pointed
to the trees back of the house. He went out under them and called
two or three times.

There was a great chattering among the rubber-vines, and in a moment
down came Lepas and sprang to his old master's shoulder as happy as
a lover.

I never saw Lepas but once again, and that was one evening on the ocean
esplanade. He was in the centre of an admiring circle of half-nude
Malay and Hindu boys, going through his quaint antics, while Hamat
squatted before him beating on a crocodile-hide drum and singing a
plaintive, monotonous song.

When it was finished, Lepas took an empty cocoanut shell and went
out into the crowd to collect pennies.

I threw in a dollar. Lepas salaamed low as he snatched it out and bit
it to test its genuineness. It was his latest accomplishment. Then
he hid himself among the laughing crowd.

That Lepas knew me, I could tell by the droop in his eye and the
quick glance he gave to the right and left, to see if there was room
to escape in case I made an effort to avenge my wrongs.

I had no desire, however, to renew the acquaintance, and was quite
willing to let by-gones be by-gones.



KING SOLOMON'S MINES

Being an Account of an Ascent of Mount Ophir in Malaya, by His
Excellency, the Tuan Hakim of Maur, and the Writer


                        "And they came to Ophir, and fetched
                        from thence gold, four hundred and
                        twenty talents, and brought it to
                        King Solomon."--1 Kings IX. 28.

                        "For the King's ships went to Tarshish
                        with the servants of Huram; every
                        three years once came the ships of
                        Tarshish, bringing gold and silver,
                        ivory, and apes, and peacocks."
                                       --2 Chronicles VIII. 21.


The rose tints of a tropical sunrise had broken through the heavy
bamboo chicks that jealously guarded the rapidly fleeting half-lights
of my room: there came three deferential taps at the door, and the
smiling, olive-tinted face of Ah Minga appeared at the opening. "Tabek,
Tuan," he saluted, as he raised the mosquito curtains, and placed a
tray of tea and mangosteens on a table by my side.

I sprang to the floor and across the heavily rugged room, and pulled
up the offending chick.

Across the palace grounds, fresh from their morning bath, across the
broad river Maur, for the nonce black in the shadow of the jungle,
across the gilded tops of the jungle, forty miles away as the crow
flies, rested the serrated peak of Mount Ophir.

Directly below me, a soldier in a uniform of duck and a rimless cap
with a gold band was pacing up and down the gravelled walk. A little
farther on a bevy of women and children were bathing in the tepid
waters of the river, while a man in an unpainted prau was keeping
watch for a possible crocodile.

The sun was rising directly behind the peak, a ball of liquid fire. I
drew in a long draught of the warm morning air.

A Malay in a soft silken sarong, which fell about his legs like a
woman's skirt, stood in the door.

"The Prince is awaiting the Tuan Consul," he said, with a graceful
salaam.

I hurriedly donned my suit of white, drank my tea, and followed him
along the grand salon, down a broad flight of steps, through a marble
court, and into the dining room.

A great white punkah was lazily vibrating over the heavy rosewood
table.

Unko Sulliman, the Prince Governor of Maur, came forward and gave me
his hand.

"It will be a hard climb and a hard day's work?" he said, pleasantly,
in good English.

"I have done worse," I answered.

"But not under a Malayan sky. However, it is your wish, and his
Highness the Sultan has granted it. The Chief Justice will accompany
you, and now you had better start before the sun is high."

I turned to the Tuan Hakim, or Chief Justice, with a gesture of
unconcealed pleasure. We had shot crocodiles the day previous along
the banks of the Maur, and I had found him a good shot and an agreeable
companion. While not as handsome a man or as striking a representative
of his race as the Unko, or Prince, he was a scholar, and could aid me
more than any one else in my exploration of the ancient gold workings
about the base of the famous mountain.

The launch was awaiting us at the pier in front of the Residency,
and we took our places in the bow, and arranged our guns as our
half-naked crew worked her slowly into mid-stream. We hoped to get
some snap shots at the crocodiles that lined the banks as we steamed
swiftly up the river.

"I am inclined to agree with Josephus, that yonder mountain is the
Mount Ophir of Solomon, when I look at this river. It is equal to
our Hudson, and could easily carry ships twice the size of any he or
Huram ever floated."

The Tuan Hakim nodded, and kept his eyes fastened on the nearest shore.

The course of the great river seemed to stretch out before us in an
endless line of majestic circles. From shore to shore, at high tide,
it was a mile in breadth, and so deep that his Highness's yacht, the
Pante, of three hundred tons' burden, could run up full fifty miles.

For a moment we caught a view of the wooden minarets of the little
mosque at Bander Maharani; then we dashed on into the heart of another
great curve.

"What is it your Koran says that the wise king's ships brought from
Ophir?" he asked, never taking his eyes off the mangrove-bound shore.

"Gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks," I replied, quoting
literally from Chronicles.

"Biak (good)! Gold and silver we have plenty. Your English companies
are taking it out of the land by the pikul In the old days, before the
Portuguese came, the handle of every warrior's kris was of ivory. Now
our elephants are dying before the rifle of the sportsman. Soon our
jungles will know them no more. Apes--" and he pointed at the top of
a giant marbow, where a troop of silver wah-wahs were swinging from
limb to limb. "The glorious argus pheasant you have seen."

"Boyah, Tuan!" the man at the wheel sung out.

I grasped my Winchester Express. Just ahead, half hidden by a black
labyrinth of scaffold-like mangrove roots, lay the huge, mud-covered
form of a crocodile.

The Tuan Hakim raised his hand, and the launch slowed down and ran
in under the bank.

"Now!" he whispered, and our rifles exploded in unison.

A great splash of slimy red mud fell full on the front of my spotless
white jacket, another struck in the water close by the side of the
boat. The wounded crocodile had sprung into the air from his tail up,
and dropped back into his wallow with a resounding thud. In another
instant he was off the slippery bank and within the security of the
mud-colored water.

I saw that my companion had more to tell me, possibly a native
tradition of the fabled riches that were concealed within the heart
of the historic mountain that was for the moment framed in a setting
of green, directly ahead. I put a fresh cartridge into the barrel,
and leaned back in my deck chair.

The Chief Justice extracted a manila from his case and handed it to me.

"In the days when Tunku Ali III. ruled over Maur, from Malacca to
the confines of Johore, the Portuguese came, and Albuquerque with
his ships of war and soldiers in iron armor sought to wrest from our
people their cities and their riches. My ancestor was a dato,--our
laksamana, high admiral, of his Highness's fleet. His galley was built
of burnished teak, the lining of its cabin was of sandalwood,--algum
wood your Koran calls it,--and the turret in its stern was covered
with plates of solid gold. You will find record of it to this day in
the state papers of Acheen.

"For fully a hundred and forty years did the Emperor of Johore
and his valiant allies, the King of Acheen and the Sultan of Maur,
seek to retake Malacca from the Portuguese. The Dato Mamat was the
last laksamana of the fleet. With him died the war and the secret of
Mount Ophir."

"The secret!" I questioned, as the Tuan Hakim paused.

"For one hundred and forty years were we at war with the
invaders. Three generations were born and died with arms in their
hands. No work was done on the land, save by women and children. Still
we had plenty of gold with which to fit out fleet after fleet, with
which to arm our soldiers and feed our people.

"It came from yonder mountain. Not even the Sultan knew its
hiding-place. That was only trusted to one family, and handed from
father to son by word of mouth.

"Long before the days of Solomon the Wise did my family hold that
secret for the state. It was one of them that gave the four hundred
and twenty talents to the laksamana of Huram's fleet. Your Koran has
made record of the gift. He did not know from whence it came. He asked,
and we told him from the Ophirs, which means from the gold mines. Then
it was that he called the mountain that raised its head four thousand
feet above the sea, and was the first object his lookout saw as they
neared the coast, 'Mount Ophir.'

"No man, however so bold, ventured within a radius of fifteen miles
around the foot of the mountain. It was haunted by evil spirits. No
man save the laksamana, who went twice a year and brought away to his
prau, which was moored on the bank of the Maur thirty miles from the
mountains, ten great loads of pure gold, each time over one hundred
bugels. I know not as to the truth, but it is told that there was
one tribe consecrated to the mining of the gold, not one of whom had
ever been outside the shadow of the mountain: that when the great
admiral ceased to come, they blocked up the entrance to the mines,
planted trees about the spot, and waited. One after another died,
until not one was left.

"Such is the tradition of my family, Tuan."

"But the great laksamana?" I asked. "I know of the ancient riches of
Malacca. Barbosa tells us that gold was so common that it was reckoned
by the bhar of four hundred weight."

My companion contemplated the end of his manila. "Do you know how
died his Highness, Montezuma of Mexico, Tuan?"

I bowed.

"So died my ancestor one hundred years later. I will tell you of it,
that you may write his name in your histories by the side of the name
of the murdered Sultan of Mexico."

The eyes of the little man flashed, and he looked squarely into mine
for the first time. Possibly he may have detected a smile on my face,
at the thought of placing this leader of a band of pirates side by
side in history with the once ruler of the richest empire in the New
World, for he paused in the midst of his narrative and said rapidly:--

"Must I tell you what your own writers tell of the rulers of our
country, to make you credit my tale? It is all here," he said,
pointing to his head. "Everything that relates to my home I know. King
Emmanuel of Portugal wrote to his High Kadi at Rome, that his general,
the cruel Albuquerque, had sailed to the Aurea Chersonese, called
by the natives Malacca, and found an enormous city of twenty-five
thousand houses, that abounded in spices, gold, pearls, and precious
stones. Was Montezuma's capital greater?" he triumphantly asked.

"It was as great then as Singapore is today. Albuquerque captured it,
and built a fortress at the mouth of the river, making the walls
fifteen feet thick, all from the ruins of our mosques. This was
in 1513."

"Forgive me," I said hastily, "if I have seemed to cast doubt on the
relative importance of your country."

There was a Malay kampong, or village, to our right. Under the
heavy green and yellow fronds of a cocoanut grove were a half-dozen
picturesque palm-thatched houses. They were built up on posts six
feet from the ground, and a dozen men and children scampered down
their rickety ladders, as a shrill blast from our whistle aroused
them from their slumbers. Pressed against the wooden bars of their
low, narrow windows, we could make out the comely, brown faces
of the women. The punghulo, or chief, walked sedately out to the
beach, and touched his forehead to the ground as he recognized his
superior. The sunlight broke through the enwrapping cocoanuts, and
brought out dazzling white splotches on the sandy floor before the
houses. We passed a little space of wiry lallang grass, which was
waving in the faint breeze, and radiating long, irregular lines of
heat, that under our glasses resembled the marking of watered silk,
and were once more abreast the green walls of the impenetrable jungle.

"The Dato Mamat captured a Portuguese ship within a man's voice from
the harbor of Malacca. On it was the foreign Governor's daughter. She
was dark, almost as dark as my people. Her eyes were black as night,
with long, drooping lashes, and her hair fell about her shapely neck,
a mass of waving curls. She was tall and stately, and her bearing was
haughty. The mighty Laksamana, who had fought a hundred battles, and
had a hundred wives picked from the princesses of the kingdom,--for
there were none so noble but felt honored in his smiles,--loved this
dark-skinned foreigner. It was pitiful!

"His great fleet, which was to have swept the very name of the
Portuguese from the face of the earth, lay idle before the harbor. Its
captains were burning with ambition, but the Admiral would not give
the command, and they dare not disobey.

"Day after day went by while the great man hung like a pariah dog
on the words of his haughty captive. She scorned his words of love,
laughed at his prayers, and sneered at his devotion. Day after day the
sun beat down on the burnished decks of the war praus. Night after
night the evening gun in the besieged fort sent forth its mocking
challenge: still the Dato made no motion. Oh, but it was pitiful! One
by one the praus slipped away,--first those from Acheen, and then
those from Johore,--but the valiant Laksamana saw them not. He was
blind to all save one. Then she spoke: 'If thou lovest me as thou
boastest, and would win my smiles, send me to my father; then go
and bring me of this gold of Ophir,--for the Dato had laid his heart
bare before her,--enough to sink yon boat. The daughter of a Braganza
does not unite herself with a pauper. When the moon is full again,
I will expect you.'

"So did the Laksamana, to the everlasting shame of Islam. When the
moon was full he returned in his shining prau before the walls of
Malacca, He brought from Ophir, of gold more than enough; of the
pearls of Ceylon he brought a chupah full to the brim. He robbed
his great palace, that he might lay at the feet of the Portuguese a
fortune such as Solomon only ever saw. And yet the captains of his
fleet cared not for the gold, so long as the mighty Dato saved his
honor. When he left for the quay, on which stood the Governor, his
daughter, and the priests of their religion, they said not a word,
for he passed by with averted face; but each man grasped the jewelled
handle of his kris, and swore to Allah under his breath that should
but one hair of the mighty Admiral's head be lacking when he returned,
they would cut the false heart from the woman and feed it to the dogs.

"So spoke the captains; but ere the breath had passed their lips their
chief was a prisoner, and the guns from the fort hurled defiance at
the betrayed.

"It was pitiful! Allah was avenged.

"Fiercely raged the battle, and when there was a breach in the walls,
and the captain besar had ordered the attack, the Portuguese held
the mighty Laksamana over the walls, and reviled the allied fleets
with words of derision.

"Not one moved, and all was still. Suddenly the Admiral raised his
head, and gazed out and down at his followers. Then he spoke, and the
sound of his voice reached far out to the most distant prau that lay
becalmed within the shadow of casuarina-shaded Puli.

"'Allah il Allah, I have sinned, and I must die. No more shall my
name be known in the land. I am no longer laksamana; neither am I a
dato. Allah is just. Tuan Allah Suka!'

"A foreigner smote him in the mouth, and a great cry arose from
without the walls.

"The war went on; but day after day did the Governor send a message
to the Laksamana in the dungeon. 'Reveal the spot where thy gold is
hidden, and thy life and liberty are granted.'

"Day by day the Dato replied, 'My life is a pollution in the nostrils
of Allah. Take it.'

"So they laid the great chief on the stones of his cell, bound hand
and foot, and one by one did they break the joints of his toes,
his fingers, and then the joints of his legs and arms. When they had
finished, and he still lived, the woman came to him and mocked him,
but the Admiral closed his eyes and prayed. 'O Allah, the all-merciful
and the loving kind, forgive me for my erring heart. Thou knowest that
it goes out to this woman still.  Let not my country suffer for my
deeds. I gave unto thy servant Solomon of the gold that has made us
great. If thou canst, thou wilt whisper the secret of our nation to
one of thy chosen people, that they may have means whereby to fight
thy battles.'

"And then the woman raised her hand, and with one stroke of the axe an
attendant severed from his body the head of the once mighty Laksamana
of the fleets of Johore, Acheen and Maur.

"So died the secret of Ophir. So fell Malacca forever into the hands
of the foreigner."

The Tuan Hakim's voice trembled as he closed. During the tragic recital
he had dropped into the soft, melodious chant of his nation. At times
he would lapse into Malay, and the boatmen would push forward and
listen with unconcealed excitement. Then, as he returned to English,
they would drop back into their places, but never take their eyes off
the face of the speaker. Only our China "boys" took no interest in
the past of Maur. It was tiffin time, and they were anxious to set
before us our lunch of rice curry, gula Malacca, whiskey and soda.

The sun was directly above us, and the fierce, steely glare of the
Malayan sky and water dazzled our eyes. Mount Ophir looked as far
ahead as ever. The winding course of the river seemed at times to
take us directly away from it.

Just as we had finished our meal, and had lighted our manilas, the
steersman turned the little launch sharply about, and headed directly
for the shore. In a moment we had shot under and through the deep
fringe of mangrove trees, and had emerged into the jungle. On all
sides the trees rose, columnar and straight, and the ground was firm,
although densely covered with ferns and vines.

The launch stopped, and the chief turned to me. "Now for the climb. We
have thirty miles to the base of the mountain. We will push on ten
miles, and spend the night at a Malay village. The next day we will
try and reach the base of the mountain."

I looked about me. We might have been surrounded by prison walls,
for all hope there seemed to be of our getting an inch into the jungle.

Our servants gathered up our rather extensive impedimenta, and sprang
into the water. We were forced to follow suit, and begin our day's
march with wet feet. A few steps up the stream we came upon an old
elephant track and plunged boldly in,--and it was in! For three
miles we labored through a series of the most elaborate mud-holes
that I have ever seen. The elephants in breaking a path through the
jungle are extremely timid in their boldness. The second one always
steps in the footprints of the first. Year after year it is the same,
until in course of time the path is marked by a series of pitfalls,
often two feet in depth; and as it rains nearly every day they become
a seething, slimy paste of mud.

Our heavy cloth shoes and stockings did not protect us from the
attacks of innumerable leeches; for when we at last reached an open
bit of forest and sat down to rest, we found dozens of them attached
to our legs and even on our bodies. They were small, and beautifully
marked with stripes of bright yellow.

It was twilight when we neared the welcome kampong. We had sent a
runner ahead to notify the punghulo of our arrival, and as we finished
our struggle with the last thorny rattan, and tripped over the last
rubber-vine, we could hear the shouting of men and the barking of
dogs. Evidently we were expected.

The kampong might have been any other in the kingdom, and the little
old weazened punghulo, who came bowing and smiling forward, might
have been at the head of any one of a hundred other kampongs,--they
were all so much alike. A half-dozen attap bungalows, built under a
cocoanut grove, all facing toward a central plaza; a score of dogs for
each bungalow; a flock of featherless fowls scratching and wallowing
beneath them, and a bevy of half-naked children playing with a rattan
ball within the light of a central fire,--made up the details of a
little picture of Malayan home life that had become very familiar to
me within the last three years.

Our servants at once set about preparing supper before the fire,
while we for politeness' sake compounded a mouthful of betel-nut and
syrah leaf from the punghulo's state box.

The next morning we set out for our twenty miles' tramp, along a narrow
jungle path, accompanied by some ten natives of the village whom my
companion had retained to cut a path for us up the mountain. It was a
long, tiresome journey, and we were heartily glad when it was ended,
and we were encamped on the rocky banks of a fern-hid stream.

Twice during our day's march had we crossed deep, ragged depressions in
the earth, which were overgrown with a jungle that seemed to be coequal
in age with the surrounding trees. We did not pause to examine them,
although our natives pointed them out with the expressive word mas
(gold). We promised to do that at a later date. On the border of the
creek I found some gold-bearing rock, and while the Tuan Hakim was
engaged in securing some superb specimens of the great atlas moth,
I sat down and crushed some fragments of it, and obtained enough gold
to satisfy me that the rock would run four ounces to the ton.

It was a beautiful night. We lay under our mosquito netting, and gazed
up through the interlacing branches of the trees at the star-strewn
sky, and smoked our manilas in weary content. The long, full "coo-ee"
of the stealthy argus pheasant sounded at intervals in distant parts
of the forest. It might have been the call of the orang-utan, or the
wild hillmen of the country, for they have imitated the call of this
most glorious of birds.

The shrill, never ceasing whir of the cicada hardly attracted our
attention; while the whistle and crash of a monkey that was inspecting
us from his perch among the trees above caused me to peer upward,
in hopes of catching a glimpse of his grayish outlines.

I had not had an opportunity of asking my companion for the details
of his tragic story. I turned to him, and found him watching me
attentively. "Were you listening to the call of the coo-ee?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"It is the queen of birds. I will get you one. I have never shot
one. They only come out at night, and then only to disappear, but we
can trap them. It will die in captivity. That is why Solomon could
not keep them, and sent for new ones every three years."

"What became of the woman?" I asked.

"The body of the Laksamana was thrown over the walls by the
Portuguese," he said moodily. "It was embalmed and laid away. Two
months from that day the woman was walking outside the walls. The war
was over. There was no more gold. Three of my people sprang upon her
and the Portuguese she was to marry." He paused for a moment and looked
up at the stars, then went on in a cold, matter-of-fact tone. "They
were lashed to the headless body of the man they had murdered, and
thrown into the royal tiger-cage, by order of his Highness, Ali,
Sultan of Maur."

I raised my curtain and threw the stub of my cigar out into the
darkness, a smothered exclamation of horror escaping my lips.

"It was the will of Allah. Good night."

It was nearly nine o'clock the next morning before we started. Our
Malays had gone on at daybreak, to cut a path up the base of the
mountain to where the open forest began.

We ascended steadily up a moderate slope for several miles, keeping
the ravine on our left. It was comparatively easy work after we had
left the jungle behind. After crossing a level plateau we once more
found ourselves in a forest so dense that our men had to use their
parangs again. The heat of the jungle was intense, and we suffered
severely from the stings of a fly that is not unlike a cicada in shape.

From the jungle we emerged into an immense stone field,--padang-batu,
the Malays called it. It extended along the mountain side as far
as we could see, in places quite bare, at others deeply fissured
and covered with a most luxuriant vegetation. We tramped at times
waist deep through ferns, some green, some dark red, and some lined
with yellow, clumps of the splendid Dipteris Horsfieldi and Matonia
pectinala, with their slender stems and wide-spreading palmate fronds
towering two feet above our heads. The delicate maidenhair lay like a
rich carpet beneath our feet, while hundreds of magnificent climbing
pitcher-plants doused us with water as we knocked against them. Our
sympiesometer showed us that we were twenty-eight hundred feet above
the sea.

Beyond the padang-batu we entered a forest of almost Alpine character,
dwarfed and stunted. For several hours we worked along ridges,
descended into valleys, and ascended almost precipitous ledges, until
we finally reached a peak that was separated from the true mountain
by a deep, forbidding cañon.

Several of the older men of the party gave out, and we were forced
to leave them with half our baggage and what water was left: there
was a spring, they told us, near the summit.

The scramble down the one side of the cañon, and up the other, was a
hard hour's work. Its rocky, almost perpendicular sides were covered
with a bushy vegetation on top of a foundation of mosses and dead
leaves, so that it afforded us more hindrance than help.

Just below the summit we came to where a projecting rock gave us
shelter, and a natural basin contained flowing water. Dropping my load,
and hardly waiting to catch my breath, I was on my way up the fifty
feet that lay between us and the top. In another moment I had mounted
the small, rocky, rhododendron-covered platform, and stood, the first
of my party, on the summit of Mount Ophir. The little American flag
that I had brought with me I waved frantically above my head, much
to the amusement of my attendants.

Four thousand feet below, to the east, stretched the silver sheen of
the Indian Ocean. The smoke of a passing steamer lay like a dark stain
on the blue and white of the sky. Close into the shore was the little
capital town of Bander Maharani, connecting itself with us by a long,
snake-like ribbon of shimmering light,--the great river Maur.

To the north and west successive ranges of hill and valley, divided
by the glistening river, and all covered by an interminable jungle
of vivid green, fell away until lost in the cloudless horizon.

For a moment I stood and gazed out over the vast expanse that lay
before me, my mind filled with the wild, unwritten poetry of its
jungles and its people; then I turned to my companion.

"It is beautiful!"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"But not equal to the view from our own Mount Washington."

"Then why take so much trouble to secure it? Mount Pulei is as high,
and there is a good road to its top."

I laughed. "Mount Pulei or Mount Washington is not Ophir."

"True!" he answered, opening his eyes in surprise at the seeming
absurdity of my statement. "He that told you they were speaketh a lie."

We spent the night on the summit, and watched the sun drop into the
midst of the sea, away to the west. It was cool and delightful after
the moist, heat-laden atmosphere of the lowlands, and a strong breeze
freed us from the swarm of tiger mosquitoes that we had learned to
expect as the darkness came on.

Where the Ophir of the Bible really is, will ever be a question of
doubt. To my mind it embraces the entire East--the Malay Peninsula,
Ceylon, India, and even China,--Ophir being merely a comprehensive
term, possibly taken from this Mount Ophir of Johore, which
signified the most central point of the region to which Solomon's
ships sailed. For all ages the gold of the Malay Peninsula has been
known; from the earliest times there has been intercourse between the
Arabians and the Malays, while the Malayan was the very first of the
far Eastern countries to adopt the Mohammedan religion and customs.

All the articles mentioned in the Biblical account of Mount Ophir
are found in and about Malacca in abundance, while on the coast of
Africa two of them, peacocks and silver, are missing.

If the Hebrew word thukyim is translated peacocks, and not parrots,
then Solomon's ships must have turned east after passing the Straits
of Bab-el-Mandeb, and not south along the coast of Africa toward
Sofala. For peacocks are only found in India and Malaya.

It is a singular fact that in the language of the Orang Bennu, or
aborigines of the Malay Peninsula, that word "peacocks," which in the
modern Malay is marrak, is in the aboriginal chim marak, which is the
exact termination of the Hebrew tuchim. Their word for bird is tchem,
another surprising similarity.

The morning sun brought us to our feet long before it was light in
the vast spaces beneath our eyes. The jungle held its reddening rays
for a moment; they flamed along the course of a half-hidden river;
we stood out clear and distinct in their glorious effulgence, and
then the broken, denuded crags and ragged ravines of the padang-batu
absorbed them in its black fastnesses.

The gold of Mount Ophir was all about us. The air, the stones, the
very trees, seemed to have been transformed into the glorious metal
that the little fleets of Solomon and Huram sailed so far to seek. The
Aurea Chersonese was a breathing, pulsating reality.



BUSUK

The Story of a Malayan Girlhood


They called her Busuk, or "the youngest" at her birth. Her father,
the old punghulo, or chief, of the little kampong, or village, of
Passir Panjang, whispered the soft Allah Akbar, the prayer to Allah,
in her small brown ear.

The subjects of the punghulo brought presents of sarongs run with gold
thread, and not larger than a handkerchief, for Busuk to wear about
her waist. They also brought gifts of rice in baskets of cunningly
woven cocoanut fibre; of bananas, a hundred on a bunch; of durians,
that filled the bungalow with so strong an odor that Busuk drew up
her wrinkled, tiny face into a quaint frown; and of cocoanuts in
their great green, oval shucks.

Busuk's old aunt, who lived far away up the river Maur, near the foot
of Mount Ophir, sent a yellow gold pin for the hair; her husband,
the Hadji Mat, had washed the gold from the bed of the stream that
rushed by their bungalow.

Busuk's brother, who was a sergeant in his Highness's the Sultan's
artillery at Johore, brought a tiny pair of sandals all worked in
many-colored beads. Never had such presents been seen at the birth
of any other of Punghulo Sahak's children.

Two days later the Imam Paduka Tuan sent Busuk's father a letter
sewn up in a yellow bag. It contained a blessing for Busuk. Busuk
kept the letter all her life, for it was a great thing for the high
priest to do.



On the seventh day Busuk's head was shaven and she was named Fatima;
but they called her Busuk in the kampong, and some even called her
Inchi Busuk, the princess.

From the low-barred window of Busuk's home she could look out on the
shimmering, sunlit waters of the Straits of Malacca. The loom on which
Busuk's mother wove the sarongs for the punghulo and for her sons
stood by the side of the window, and Busuk, from the sling in which
she sat on her mother's side, could see the fishing praus glide by,
and also the big lumber tonkangs, and at rare intervals one of his
Highness's launches.

Sometimes she blinked her eyes as a vagrant shaft of sunlight straggled
down through the great green and yellow fronds of the cocoanut palms
that stood about the bungalow; sometimes she kept her little black
eyes fixed gravely on the flying shuttle which her mother threw deftly
back and forth through the many-colored threads; but best of all did
she love to watch the little gray lizards that ran about on the palm
sides of the house after the flies and moths.

She was soon able to answer the lizards' call of "gecho, gecho," and
once she laughed outright when one, in fright of her baby-fingers,
dropped its tail and went wiggling away like a boat without a
rudder. But most of the time she swung and crowed in her wicker cradle
under the low rafters.

When Busuk grew older, she was carried every day down the ladder of the
house and put on the warm white sand with the other children. They were
all naked, save for a little chintz bib that was tied to their necks;
so it made no difference how many mudpies they made on the beach nor
how wet they got in the tepid waters of the ocean. They had only to
look out carefully for the crocodiles that glided noiselessly among
the mangrove roots.

One day one of Busuk's playmates was caught in the cruel jaws of
a crocodile, and lost its hand. The men from the village went out
into the labyrinth of roots that stood up above the flood like a
huge scaffolding, and caught the man-eater with ropes of the gamooty
palm. They dragged it up the beach and put out its eyes with red-hot
spikes of the hard billion wood.

Although the varnished leaves of the cocoanuts kept almost every ray
of sunlight out of the little village, and though the children could
play in the airy spaces under their own houses, their heads and faces
were painted with a paste of flour and water to keep their tender
skins from chafing in the hot, moist air.



At evening, when the fierce sun went down behind the great banian
tree that nearly hid Mount Pulei, the kateeb would sound the call to
prayer on a hollow log that hung up before the little palm-thatched
mosque. Then Busuk and her playmates would fall on their faces,
while the holy man sang in a soft, monotonous voice the promises
of the Koran, the men of the kampong answering. "Allah il Allah,"
he would sing, and "Mohammed is his prophet," they would answer.

Every night Busuk would lie down on a mat on the floor of the house
with a little wooden pillow under her neck, and when she dared she
would peep down through the open spaces in the bamboo floor into
the darkness beneath. Once she heard a low growl, and a great dark
form stood right below her. She could see its tail lashing its sides
with short, whip-like movements. Then all the dogs in the kampong
began to bark, and the men rushed down their ladders screaming,
"Harimau! Harimau!" (A tiger! A tiger!) The next morning she found
that her pet dog, Fatima, named after herself, had been killed by one
stroke of the great beast's paw. Once a monster python swung from a
cocoanut tree through the window of her home, and wound itself round
and round the post of her mother's loom. It took a dozen men to tie
a rope to the serpent's tail, and pull it out.



Busuk went everywhere astride the punghulo's broad shoulders as he
collected the taxes and settled the disputes in the little village. She
went out into the straits in the big prau that floated the star and
crescent of Johore over its stern, to look at the fishing-stakes,
and was nearly wrecked by a great water-spout that burst within a
few feet of them.

Then she went twice to Johore, and gazed in open-eyed wonder at
the palaces of the Sultan and at the fort in which her uncle was
an officer.

"Some day," she thought, "I may see his Highness, and he may notice me
and smile." For had not his Highness spoken twice to her father and
called him a good man? So whenever she went to Johore she put on her
best sarong and kabaya> and in her jetty black hair she put the pin
her aunt had given her, with a spray of sweet-smelling chumpaka flower.

When she was four years old she went to the penager to learn to read
and write. In a few months she could outstrip any one in the class
in tracing Arabic characters on the sand-sprinkled floor, and she
knew whole chapters in the Koran.

So the days were passed in the little kampong under the gently swaying
cocoanuts, and the little Malayan girl grew up like her companions,
free and wild, with little thought beyond the morrow. That some day
she was to be married, she knew; for since her first birthday she had
been engaged to Mamat, the son of her father's friend, the punghulo
of Bander Bahru.

She had never seen Mamat, nor he her; for it was not proper that a
Malay should see his intended before marriage. She had heard that
he was strong and lithe of limb, and could beat all his fellows at
the game called ragga. When the wicker ball was in the air he never
let it touch the ground; for he was as quick with his head and feet,
shoulders, hips, and breast, as with his hands. He could swim and box,
and had once gone with his father to the seaports on New Year's Day
at Singapore, and his own prau had won the short-distance race.

Mamat was three years older than Busuk, and they were to be married
when she was fifteen.

At first she cried a little, for she was sad at the thought of giving
up her playmates. But then the older women told her that she could
chew betel when she was married, and her mother showed her a little
set of betel-nut boxes, for which she had sent to Singapore. Each cup
was of silver, and the box was cunningly inlaid with storks and cherry
blossoms. It had cost her mother a month's hard labor on the loom.

Then Mamat was not to take her back to his father's bungalow. He
had built a little one of his own, raised up on palm posts six feet
from the ground, so that she need not fear tigers or snakes or white
ants. Its sides were of plaited palm leaves, every other one colored
differently, and its roof was of the choicest attap, each leaf bent
carefully over a rod of rattan, and stitched so evenly that not a
drop of rain could get through.

Inside there was a room especially for her, with its sides hung
with sarongs, and by the window was a loom made of kamooning wood,
finer than her mother's. Outside, under the eaves, was a house of
bent rattan for her ring-doves, and a shelf where her silver-haired
monkey could sun himself.

So Busuk forgot her grief, and she watched with ill-concealed eagerness
the coming of Mamat's friends with presents of tobacco and rice and
bone-tipped krises. Then for the first time she was permitted to open
the camphor-wood chest and gaze upon all the beautiful things that
she was to wear for the one great day.

Her mother and elder sisters had been married in them, and their
children would, one after another, be married in them after her.

There was a sarong of silk, run with threads of gold and silver, that
was large enough to go around her body twice and wide enough to hang
from her waist to her ankles; a belt of silver, with a gold plate
in front, to hold the sarong in place; a kabaya, or outer garment,
that looked like a dressing-gown, and was fastened down the front with
golden brooches of curious Malayan workmanship; a pair of red-tipped
sandals; and a black lace scarf to wear about her black hair. There
were earrings and a necklace of colored glass, and armlets, bangles,
and gold pins. They all dazzled Busuk, and she could hardly wait to
try them on.



A buffalo was sacrificed on the day of the ceremony. The animal was
"without blemish or disease." The men were careful not to break its
fore or hind leg or its spine, after death, for such was the law. Its
legs were bound and its head was fastened, and water was poured upon
it while the kadi prayed. Then he divided its windpipe. When it was
cooked, one half of it was given to the priests and the other half
to the people.

All the guests, and there were many, brought offerings of cooked rice
in the fresh green leaves of the plantain, and baskets of delicious
mangosteens, and pink mangoes and great jack-fruits. A curry was made
from the rice that had forty sambuls to mix with it. There were the
pods of the moringa tree, chilies and capsicums, prawns and decayed
fish, chutneys and onions, ducks' eggs and fish roes, peppers and
cucumbers and grated cocoanuts.

It was a wonderful curry, made by one of the Sultan's own cooks;
for the Punghulo Sahak spared no expense in the marriage of this,
his last daughter, and a great feast is exceedingly honorable in the
eyes of the guests.

Busuk's long black hair had to be done up in a marvellous chignon on
the top of her head. First, her maids washed it beautifully clean
with the juice of the lime and the lather of the soap-nut; then it
was combed and brushed until every hair glistened like ebony; next it
was twisted up and stuck full of the quaint golden and tortoise-shell
bodkins, with here and there a spray of jasmine and chumpaka.

Busuk's milky-white teeth had to be filed off more than a fourth. She
put her head down on the lap of the woman and closed her eyes tight
to keep back the hot tears that would fall, but after the pain was
over and her teeth were blackened, she looked in the mirror at her
swollen gums and thought that she was very beautiful. Now she could
chew the betel-nut from the box her mother had given her!

The palms of her hands and the nails of her fingers and toes were
painted red with henna, and the lids of her eyes touched up with
antimony. When all was finished, they led her out into the great room,
which was decorated with mats of colored palm, masses of sweet-smelling
flowers and maidenhair fern. There they placed her in the chair of
state to receive her relatives and friends.



She trembled a little for fear Mamat would not think her beautiful,
but when, last of all, he came up and smiled and claimed the bit of
betel-nut that she was chewing for the first time, and placed it in
his mouth, she smiled back and was very happy.

Then the kadi pronounced them man and wife in the presence of all,
for is it not written, "Written deeds may be forged, destroyed, or
altered; but the memory of what is transacted in the presence of a
thousand witnesses must remain sacred? Allah il Allah!" And all the
people answered, "Suka! Suka!" (We wish it! We wish it!)

Then Mamat took his seat on the dais beside the bride, and the punghulo
passed about the betel-box. First, Busuk took out a syrah leaf smeared
with lime and placed in it some broken fragments of the betel-nut,
and chewed it until a bright red liquid oozed from the corners of
her mouth. The others did the same.

Then the women brought garlands of flowers--red allamandas, yellow
convolvulus, and pink hibiscus--and hung them about Busuk and Mamat,
while the musicians outside beat their crocodile-hide drums in
frantic haste.

The great feast began out in the sandy plaza before the houses. There
was cock-fighting and kicking the ragga ball, wrestling and boxing,
and some gambling among the elders.

Toward night Busuk was put in a rattan chair and carried by the
young men, while Mamat and the girls walked by her side, a mile away,
where her husband's big cadjang-covered prau lay moored. It was to
take them to his bungalow at Bander Bahru. The band went, too, and
the boys shot off guns and fire-crackers all the way, until Busuk's
head swam, and she was so happy that the tears came into her eyes
and trickled down through the rouge on her cheeks.

So ended Busuk's childhood. She was not quite fifteen when she became
mistress of her own little palm-thatched home. But it was not play
housekeeping with her; for she must weave the sarongs for Mamat and
herself for clothes and for spreads at night, and the weaving of
each cost her twenty days' hard labor. If she could weave an extra
one from time to time, Mamat would take it up to Singapore and trade
it at the bazaar for a pin for the hair or a sunshade with a white
fringe about it.

Then there were the shell-fish and prawns on the sea-shore to be
found, greens to be sought out in the jungle, and the padi, or rice,
to be weeded. She must keep a plentiful supply of betel-nut and lemon
leaves for Mamat and herself, and one day there was a little boy to
look after and make tiny sarongs for.



So, long before the time that our American girls are out of school, and
about the time they are putting on long dresses, Busuk was a woman. Her
shoulders were bent, her face wrinkled, her teeth decayed and falling
out from the use of the syrah leaf. She had settled the engagement
of her oldest boy to a little girl of two years in a neighboring
kampong, and was dusting out the things in the camphor-wood chest,
preparatory to the great occasion.

I used to wonder, as I wandered through one of these secluded little
Malay villages that line the shores of the peninsula and are scattered
over its interior, if the little girl mothers who were carrying water
and weaving mats did not sometimes long to get down on the warm, white
sands and have a regular romp among themselves,--playing "Cat-a-corner"
or "I spy"; for none of them were over seventeen or eighteen!

Still their lives are not unhappy. Their husbands are kind and sober,
and they are never destitute. They have their families about them,
and hear laughter and merriment from one sunny year to another.

Busuk's father-in-law is dead now, and the last time I visited Bander
Bahru to shoot wild pig, Mamat was punghulo, collecting the taxes
and administering the laws.

He raised the back of his open palm to his forehead with a quiet
dignity when I left, after the day's sport, and said, "Tabek! Tuan
Consul. Do not forget Mamat's humble bungalow." And Busuk came down the
ladder with little Mamat astride her bare shoulders, with a pleasant
"Tabek! Tuan! (Good-by, my lord.) May Allah's smile be ever with you."



A CROCODILE HUNT

At the foot of Mount Ophir


The little pleasant-faced Malay captain of his Highness's three-hundred
ton yacht Pante called softly, close to my ear, "Tuan--Tuan Consul,
Gunong Ladang!" I sprang to my feet, rubbed my eyes, and gazed in
the direction indicated by the brown hand.

I saw not five miles off the low jungle-bound coast of the peninsula,
and above it a great bank of vaporous clouds, pierced by the molten
rays of the early morning sun. As I looked around inquiringly, the
captain, bowing, said: "Tuan," and I raised my eyes. Again I saw the
lofty mountain peak surmounting the cushion of clouds, standing out
bold and clear against the almost fierce azure of the Malayan sky.

"Mount Ophir!" burst from my lips. The captain smiled and went
forward to listen to the linesman's "two fathoms, sir, two and one
half fathoms, sir, two fathoms, sir"; for we were crossing the shallow
bar that protects the mouth of the great river Maur from the ocean.

The tide was running out like a mill-race. The Pante was backing from
side to side, and then pushing carefully ahead, trying to get into
the deep water beyond, before low tide.

Suddenly there was a soft, grating sound and the captain came to me
and touched his hat.

"We are on the bar, sir. Will you send a despatch by the steam-cutter
to Prince Suliman, asking for the launch? We cannot get off until
the night tide."

The Pante had so swung around that we could plainly see the big
red istana, or palace, of Prince Suliman close to the sandy shore,
surrounded by a grove of graceful palms. With the aid of our glasses
the white and red blur farther up the river resolved itself into the
streets and quays of the little city of Bander Maharani, the capital
of the province of Maur in dominions of his Highness Abubaker, Sultan
of Johore. Above and overshadowing all both in beauty and historical
interest was the famous old mountain where King Solomon sent his
diminutive ships for "gold, silver, peacocks, and apes."

By the time the ladies were astir, the mists had vanished and Gunong
Ladang, or as it is styled in Holy Writ Mount Ophir, presented to
our admiring gaze its massive outlines, set in a frame of green and
blue. The dense jungle crept halfway up its sides and at the point
where the cloud stratum had rested but an hour before, it merged into
a tangled network of vines and shrubs which in their turn gave place
to the black, red rock that shone like burnished brass.

If our minds wandered away from visions of future crocodile-shooting
to dreams of the past wealth that had been taken from the ancient
mines that honeycombed the base of the mountain, it is hardly to
be wondered at. If Dato or "Lord" Garlands told us queer stories of
woods and masonry that antedated the written history of the country,
stories of mines and workings that were overgrown with a jungle that
looked as primeval as the mountain itself, he was to be excused on
the plea that we, waiting on a sandy bar with the metallic glare of
the sea in our eyes, were glad of any subject to distract our thoughts.

The Resident's launch brought out Prince Mat and the Chief Justice,
both of whom spoke English with an easy familiarity. Both had been in
Europe and Prince Mat had dined with Queen Victoria. One night at table
he related the incidents of that dinner with a delightful exactness
that might have pleased her Britannic Majesty could she have listened.

I waited only long enough to see the ladies installed in a suite of
rooms in the Residency, then donned a suit of white duck, stepped
into a river launch in company with Inchi Mohamed, the Chief Justice,
and steamed out into the broad waters of the Maur.

The southernmost kingdom of the great continent of Asia is the little
Sultanate of Johore, ruled over by one of the most enlightened Princes
of the East. Fourteen miles from Singapore, just across the notorious
old Straits of Malacca, is his capital and the palace of the Sultan.

We had been guests of the State for the past two weeks. Its ruler,
among other kind attentions to us, had suggested a visit to his out
province Maur and a crocodile hunt along the banks of the broad river
that wound about the foot of Mount Ophir.

Fifteen hours' steam in his beautiful yacht along the picturesque
shores of Johore brought us to the realization of a long-cherished
dream,--the seeing for ourselves the mountain whose exact location
had been a subject of conjecture for so many centuries. Were I a
scholar and explorer and not a sportsman, I might again and more
explicitly set forth facts which I consider indubitable proof that
the Mount Ophir of Asia and not the Mount Ophir of Africa is, as I
have already claimed, the Mount Ophir of the Bible. But here, I wish
only to narrate the record of a few pleasant days spent at its foot.

The Maur River, at its mouth, is a mile across; it is so deep that one
can run close up to its muddy banks and peer in under the labyrinth of
mangrove roots that stand like a rustic scaffold beneath its trunks,
protecting them from the highest flood-tides.

It was some time before I could pick out a crocodile as he lay
sleeping in his muddy bath, showing nothing above the slime except
the serrated line of his great back, which was so incrusted that,
but for its regularity, it might pass for the limb of a tree or some
fantastically shaped root.

"There you are!" said the Chief Justice, pointing at the bank almost
before we had reached the opposite side. I strained my eyes and raised
the hammer of my "50 x 110" Winchester; for I was to have a shot at
my first live crocodile.

We drew nearer and nearer the shore and yet I failed to see anything
that resembled an animal of any sort. The little launch slowed down
and the crew all pointed toward the bank. I cannot now imagine what
I expected then to see, but something must have been in my mind's
eye that blinded my bodily sight; for there, right before me, was a
little fellow not over three feet long.

He had just come up from the river, and his hide was clean and
almost a dark birch color. His head was raised and he was regarding
us suspiciously from his small green eyes.

I put down my rifle in disgust, and took up my revolver. I had no
idea of wasting a hundred and ten grains of powder on a baby. I took
careful aim and fired. The revolver was a self-cocker, and yet before
I could fire again, he had whirled about and was out of reach. He was
gone and I drew a long breath. The Malays said I struck him. If I did,
I had no means of proving it.

The only way to bag crocodiles is to kill them outright or nearly
so. If they have strength enough to crawl into the river and die,
they will come to the surface again two days later; but the chances
are that they will get under a root, or that in some way you will
lose them. Out of forty or fifty big and small ones that we hit only
five floated down past the Residency.

I also soon found out that my hundred and ten grain cartridges were
none too large for even the smaller crocodiles. As for those eighteen
and twenty feet long, it was necessary that the Chief Justice and I
should fire at the same time and at the same spot in order to arrest
the big saurians in their wild scramble for the water.

We had tried some half-dozen good shots at small fellows, varying from
two to five feet in length, when I began to lose interest in the sport;
so I turned to watch a colony of little gray, jungle monkeys, that
were swinging and chattering and scolding among the mangrove trees.

One of them picked a long dart-shaped fruit off the tree and essayed
to drop it on the head of his mate below. I was about to call my
companion's attention to it, when I heard a crash among the roots
near where the missile had fallen, and a crocodile, so large that I
distrusted my senses, turned his great log-like head to one side and
gazed up at the frightened monkeys. I raised my hand, and the launch
paused not over twenty yards from where he lay patiently waiting for
one of the monkeys to drop within reach of his great jaws.

The sun had dried the mud on his back until the entire surface reminded
me of the beach of a muddy mill-pond that I used to frequent as a boy.

"Boyah besar!" (A royal crocodile) repeated our Malays under their
breaths.

The Chief Justice and I fired at the same time, and the massive fellow
who, but a moment before, had looked to be as stiff and clumsy as
a bar of pig iron, now seemed to be made of india-rubber and steel
springs. I should not have been more surprised had the great timboso
tree, beside which he lay, arisen and danced a jig. He seemed to
spring from the middle up into the air without the aid of either
his head or his tail. Then he brought his tail around in a circle
and struck the skeleton roots of the mangrove with such force as to
dislodge a small monkey in its top, which fell whistling with fright
into the lower limbs, while the crocodile's great jaws, which seemed
to measure a third of his length, opened and shut viciously, snapping
off limbs and roots like straws.

"He sick!" shouted the Chief Justice. "Fire quick."

I threw the cartridge from the magazine into the barrel, and raised
the gun to my shoulder just as the huge saurian struck the water. My
bullet caught him underneath, near the back legs. My companion's must
have had more effect, for the crocodile stopped as though stunned. I
had time to drop my gun and snatch up my revolver.

It was an easy shot. The bullet sped true to its mark and entered one
of the small fiery eyes. The huge frame seemed to quiver as though
a charge of electricity had gone through it and then stiffened
out,--dead.

Our Malay boys got a rope of tough gamooty fibres around the great
head, and we towed our prize out into the stream just as the Resident's
launch, bearing the Prince and the ladies, steamed up the river to
watch the sport.

A crowd of servants got the crocodile up on the bank near the palace
grounds and drew it two hundred yards to their quarters. Now comes
the strangest part of the story.

My servants had half completed the task of skinning him, for I wished
to send his hide to the Smithsonian, when the muezzin sounded the call
to prayers from the little mosque near by. In an instant the devout
Mohammedans were on their faces and the crocodile in his half-skinned
state was left until a more convenient time. At six o'clock the next
morning I was awakened by a knock at my door:--

"Tuan, Tuan Consul, come see boyah (crocodile)."

I got up, wrapped a sarong about me, put my feet into a pair of grass
slippers, and followed my guide out of the palace, through the courts
to where the crocodile had been the night before, but no crocodile
was to be seen. My guide grinned and pointed to a heavy trail that
looked like the track of a stone-boat drawn by a yoke of oxen.

We followed it for a hundred yards in the direction of the river,
and came upon the crocodile, covered with blood and mud. His own
hide hung about him like a dress, and his one eye opened and shut at
the throng of wondering natives about. It was not until he had been
put out of his misery and his hide taken entirely off that we felt
confident of his bona fide demise.

One day I had a real adventure while out shooting, which, like many
real adventures, was made up principally of the things I thought and
suffered rather than of the things I did. Hence I hardly know how
to write it out so that it will look like an "adventure" and not a
mere mishap.

My companion had told me of a trail some thirty miles up the river that
led into the jungle about three miles, to some old gold workings that
date back beyond the written records of the State. So one day we drew
our little launch close up under the bank of the river, and I sprang
ashore, bent on seeing for myself the prehistoric remains. Contrary
to the advice of the Chief Justice, I only took a heavy hunting-knife
with me, and it was more for slashing away thorns and rattans than
for protection.

It was the heat of the day, and the dense jungle was like a
furnace. Before I had gone a mile I began to regret my enthusiasm. I
found the path, but it was so overgrown with creepers, parasites,
and rubber-vines that I had almost to cut a new one. Had it not been
for the company of a small English terrier, Lekas,--the Malay for
"make haste,"--I believe I should have turned back.

However, I found the old workings, and spent several hours making
calculations as to their depth and course, taking notes as to the
country formation, and assaying some bits of refuse quartz. Rather
than struggle back by the path, I determined to follow the course of
a stream that went through the mines and on toward the coast. So I
whistled for Lekas and started on.

For the first half-hour everything went smoothly. Then the stream
widened out and its clay bottom gave place to one of mud, which made
the walking much more difficult. At last I struck the mangrove belt,
which always warns you that you are approaching the coast.

As long as I kept in the centre of the channel, I was out of the way
of the network of roots; but now the channel was getting deeper and my
progress becoming more labored. It was impossible to reach the bank,
for the mangroves on either side had grown so thick and dense as to
be impenetrable.

When I had perhaps achieved half the distance, the thought suddenly
crossed my mind--how very awkward it would be to meet a crocodile in
such a place! One couldn't run, that was certain, and as for fighting,
that would be a lost cause from the first.

Right in the midst of these unpleasant cogitations I heard a quiet
splash in the water, not far behind, that sent my heart into my
mouth. In a moment I had scrambled on to a mangrove root and had
turned to look for the cause of my fears.

For perhaps a minute I saw nothing, and was trying to convince myself
that my previous thoughts had made me fanciful, when, not many yards
off, I saw distinctly the form of a huge crocodile swimming rapidly
toward me. I needed no second look, but dashed away over the roots.

Before I had gone half a dozen yards I was down sprawling in the
mud. I got entangled, and my terror made me totally unable to act
with any judgment. Despair nerved me and I turned at bay with my long
hunting-knife in my hand. How I longed for even my revolver!

Whatever the issue, it could not be long delayed. The uncouth,
hideous form, which as yet I had only seen dimly, was plain now. I
took my stand on one of the largest roots, steadied myself by clasping
another with my left hand, and waited.

My chances, if it did not seem a mockery to call them such, were small
indeed. I might, by singular good luck, deprive my adversary of sight;
but hemmed in as I was by a tangled mass of roots, I felt that even
then I should be but little better off.

All manner of thoughts came unbidden to my mind. I could see Inchi
Mohamed propped up on cushions in the launch reading "A Little Book of
Profitable Tales" that had just been sent me by its author. I started
to smile at the tale of The Clycopeedy. Then I caught sight of the
peak of Mount Ophir through a notch in the jungle and all sorts of
absurd hypotheses in regard to its authenticity flashed through my
mind. All this takes time to relate, but those who have stood in
mortal peril will know how short a time it takes to think.

From the moment I left the water, but a few seconds had elapsed and the
saurian was not two yards from me. The abject horror and hopelessness
of that moment was something I can never forget. Suddenly Lekas came
floundering through the mud; a second more, and he perceived my enemy
when almost within reach of his jaws.

Barking furiously, Lekas began to back away. One breathless moment,
and the reptile turned to follow this new prey. I sank down among
the roots regardless of the slime and watched the crocodile crawl
deliberately away, with the gallant little dog retreating before him,
keeping up a succession of angry barks.

When I arrived at the mouth of the creek, weak, faint, and covered
from head to foot with mud, I found the Chief Justice awaiting me. The
barking of the dog had attracted his attention and he had steamed up
to see what was the matter.

I had not strength left to stroke the head of the brave little fellow
who had thus twice done me a most welcome service. I had, indeed, but
just strength enough to spring in, throw myself down on the cushions,
and let my "boys" pull off my clothes and bring me a suit of clean
pajamas and cool grass slippers.



A NEW YEAR'S DAY IN MALAYA

And some of its Picturesque Customs


My Malay syce came close up to the veranda and touched his brown
forehead with the back of his open hand.

"Tuan" (Lord), he said, "have got oil for harness, two one-half
cents; black oil for cudah's (horse) feet, three cents; oil, one cent
one-half for bits; oil, seven cents for cretah (carriage). Fourteen
cents, Tuan."

I put my hands into the pockets of my white duck jacket and drew out
a roll of big Borneo coppers.

The syce counted out the desired amount, and handed back what was left
through the bamboo chicks, or curtains, that reduced the blinding
glare of the sky to a soft, translucent gray. I closed my eyes and
stretched back in my long chair, wondering vaguely at the occasion
that called for such an outlay in oils, when I heard once more the
quiet, insistent "Tuan!" I opened my eyes.

"No got red, white, blue ribbon for whip."

"Sudah chukup!" (Stop talking) I commanded angrily. The syce shrugged
his bare shoulders and gave a hitch to his cotton sarong.

"Tuan, to-morrow New Year Day. Tuan, mem (lady) drive to
Esplanade. Governor, general, all white tuans and mems there. Tuan
Consul's carriage not nice. Shall syce buy ribbons?"

"Yes," I answered, tossing him the rest of the coppers, "and get a
new one for your arm."

I had forgotten for the moment that it was the 31st of December. The
syce touched his hand to his forehead and salaamed.

Through the spaces of the protecting chicks I caught glimpses of
my Malay kebun, or gardener, squatting on his bare feet, with his
bare knees drawn up under his armpits, hacking with a heavy knife at
the short grass. The mottled crotons, the yellow allamanda and pink
hibiscus bushes, the clump of Eucharist lilies, the great trailing
masses of orchids that hung among the red flowers of the stately
flamboyant tree by the green hedge, joined to make me forget the
midwinter date on the calendar. The time seemed in my half-dream July
in New York or August in Washington.

Ah Minga, the "boy" in flowing pantalets and stiffly starched blouse,
came silently along the wide veranda, with a cup of tea and a plate
of opened mangosteens. I roused myself, and the dreams of sleighbells
and ice on window-panes, that had been fleeting through my mind at
the first mention of New Year's Day by the syce, vanished.

Ah Minga, too, mentioned, as he placed the cool, pellucid globes
before me, "To-mollow New Year Dlay, Tuan!"

On Christmas Day, Ah Minga had presented the mistress with the gilded
counterfeit presentment of a Joss. The servants, one and all, from Zim,
the cookee, to the wretched Kling dhobie (wash-man), had brought some
little remembrance of their Christian master's great holiday.

In respecting our customs, they had taken occasion to establish one of
their own. They had adopted New Year's as the day when their masters
should return their presents and good will in solid cash.

At midnight we were awakened by a regular Fourth of July
pandemonium. Whistles from the factories, salvos from Fort Canning,
bells from the churches, Chinese tom-toms, Malay horns, rent the
air from that hour until dawn with all the discords of the Orient
and a few from Europe. By daylight the thousands of natives from all
quarters of the peninsula and neighboring islands had gathered along
the broad Ocean Esplanade of Singapore in front of the Cricket Club
House, to take part in or watch the native sports by land and sea.

The inevitable Chinaman was there, the Kling, the Madrasman, the Sikh,
the Arab, the Jew, the Chitty, or Indian money-lender,--they were all
there, many times multiplied, unconsciously furnishing a background
of extraordinary variety and picturesqueness.

At ten o'clock the favored representatives of the Anglo-Saxon race
took their place on the great veranda of the Cricket Club, and gave
the signal that we would condescend to be amused for ten hours. Then
the show commenced. There were not over two hundred white people to
represent law and civilization amid the teeming native population.

In the centre of the beautiful esplanade or playground rose the heroic
statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the English governor who made Singapore
possible. To my right, on the veranda, stood a modest, gray-haired
little man who cleared the seas of piracy and insured Singapore's
commercial ascendency, Sir Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak. A little
farther on, surrounded by a brilliant suite of Malay princes, was
the Sultan of Johore, whose father sold the island of Singapore to
the British.

The first of the sports was a series of foot-races between Malay and
Kling boys, almost invariably won by the Malays, who are the North
American Indians of Malaysia--the old-time kings of the soil. They are
never, like the Chinese, mere beasts of burden, or great merchants,
nor do they descend to petty trade, like the Indians or Bengalese. If
they must work they become horsemen.

Next came a jockey race, in which a dozen long-limbed Malays took
each a five-year-old child astride his shoulders, and raced for
seventy-five yards. There were sack-races and greased-pole climbing
and pig-catching.

Now came a singular contest--an eating match. Two dozen little Malay,
Kling, Tamil, and Chinese boys were seated at regular intervals about
an open circle by one of the governor's aids. Not one could touch the
others in any way. Each had a dry, hard ship-biscuit before him. A
pistol shot and two dozen pairs of little brown fists went pit-a-pat
on the two dozen hard biscuits, and in an instant the crackers were
broken to powder.

Then commenced the difficult task of forcing the powdered pulp down
the little throats. Both hands were called into full play during the
operation, one for crowding in, the other for grinding the residue
and patting the stomach and throat. Each little competitor would shyly
rub into the warm earth, or hide away in the folds of his many-colored
sarong, as much as possible, or when a rival was looking the other way,
would snap a good-sized piece across to him.

The little brown fellow who won the fifty-cent piece by finishing
his biscuit first simply put into his mouth a certain quantity of the
crushed biscuit, and with little or no mastication pushed the whole
mass down his throat by sheer force.

The minute the contest was decided, all the participants, and
many other boys, rushed to a great tub of molasses to duck for
half-dollars. One after another their heads would disappear into
the sticky, blinding mass, as they fished with their teeth for the
shining prizes at the bottom.

Successful or otherwise, after their powers were exhausted they would
suddenly pull out their heads, reeking with the molasses, and make
for the ocean, unmindful of the crowds of natives in holiday attire
who blocked their way.

Then came a jinrikisha race, with Chinese coolies pulling Malay
passengers around a half-mile course. Letting go the handles of their
wagons as they crossed the line, the coolies threw their unfortunate
passengers over backward.

Tugs of war, wrestling matches, and boxing bouts on the turf finished
the land sports, and we all adjourned to the yachts to witness those
of the sea. There were races between men-of-war cutters, European
yachts, rowing shells, Chinese sampans, and Malay colehs with great,
dart-like sails, so wide-spreading that ropes were attached to the
top of the masts, and a dozen naked natives hung far out over the
side of the slender boat to keep it from blowing over. In making the
circle of the harbor they would spring from side to side of the boat,
sometimes lost to our view in the spray, often missing their footholds,
and dragging through the tepid water.

Between times, while watching the races, we amused ourselves
throwing coppers to a fleet of native boys in small dugouts beneath
our bows. Every time a penny dropped into the water, a dozen little
bronze forms would flash in the sunlight, and nine times out of ten
the coin never reached the bottom.

Last of all came the trooping of the English colors on the magnificent
esplanade, within the shadow of the cathedral; the march past of the
sturdy British artillery and engineers, with their native allies, the
Sikhs and Sepoys; then the feu-de-joie, and New Year's was officially
recognized by the guns of the fort.

That night we danced at Government House,--we exiles of the Temperate
Zone,--keeping up to the last the fiction that New Year's Day under
a tropic sky and within sound of the tiger's wail was really January
first. But every remembrance and association was, in our homesick
thoughts, grouped about an open arch fire, with the sharp, crisp
creak of sleigh-runners outside, in a frozen land fourteen thousand
miles away.



IN THE BURST OF THE SOUTHWEST MONSOON

A Tale of Changhi Bungalow


We had been out all day from Singapore on a wild-pig hunt. There were
eight of us, including three young officers of the Royal Artillery,
besides somewhere between seventy and a hundred native beaters. The
day had been unusually hot, even for a country whose regular record
on the thermometer reads 150 degrees in the sun.

We had tramped and shot through jungle and lallang grass, until, when
night came on, I was too tired to make the fourteen miles back across
the island, and so decided to push on a mile farther to a government
"rest bungalow."  I said good-by to my companions and the game, and
accompanied only by a Hindu guide, struck out across some ploughed
lands for the jungle road that led to and ended at Changhi.

Changhi was one of three rest bungalows, or summer resorts, if
one can be permitted to mention summer in this land of perpetual
summer. They were owned and kept open by the Singapore Government for
the convenience of travellers, and as places to which its own officials
can flee from the cares of office and the demands of society. I had
stopped at Changhi Bungalow once for some weeks when my wife and a
party of friends and all our servants were with me. It was lonely
even then, with the black impenetrable jungle crowding down on three
sides, and a strip of the blinding, dazzling waters of the uncanny
old Straits of Malacca in front.

There were tigers and snakes in the jungle, and crocodiles and sharks
in the Straits, and lizards and other things in the bungalow. I thought
of all this in a disjointed kind of a way, and half wished that I
had stayed with my party. Then I noticed uneasily that some thick
oily-looking clouds were blotting out the yellow haze left by the sun
over on the Johore side. A few big hot drops of rain splashed down into
my face, as I climbed wearily up the dozen cement steps of the house.

The bamboo chicks were all down, and the shutter-doors securely locked
from the inside, but there was a long rattan chair within reach,
and I dropped into it with a sigh of satisfaction, while my guide
went out toward the servant-quarters to arouse the Malay mandor, or
head gardener, whom H. B. M.'s Government trusted with this portion
of her East Indian possessions.

As might have been expected, that high functionary was not to be
found, and I was forced to content myself, while my guide went on to
a neighboring native police station to make inquiries. I unbuttoned
my stiff kaki shooting-jacket, lit a manila, which my mouth was too
dry to smoke, and gazed up at the ceiling in silence.

It was stiflingly hot. Even the cicadas in the great jungle tree, that
towered a hundred and fifty feet above the house, were quiet. Every
breath I took seemed to scorch me, and the balls of my eyes ached. The
sky had changed to a dull cartridge color.

A breeze came across the hot, glaring surface of the Straits, and
stirred the tops of a little clump of palms, and died away. It brought
with it the smell of rain.

For a moment there was a dead stillness,--not even a lizard clucked
on the wall back of me; then all at once the thermometer dropped down
two or three degrees, and a tearing wind struck the bamboo curtains
and stretched them out straight; the tops of the massive jungle trees
bent and creaked; there was a blinding flash and a roar of thunder,
and all distance was lost in darkness and rain. It was one of the
quick, fierce bursts of the southwest monsoon.

I did not move, although wet to the skin.

Presently I could make out three blurred figures fighting their way
slowly against the storm across the compound. One was the guide;
the second was the mandor, naked save for a cotton sarong around his
waist; the third was a stranger.

The trio came up on the veranda--the stranger hanging behind, with an
apologetic droop of his head. He was a white man, in a suit of dirty,
ragged linen. It took but one look to place him. I had seen hundreds of
them "on the beach" in Singapore,--there could be no mistake. "Loafer"
was written all over him--from his ragged, matted hair to the fringe
on the bottom of his trousers. He held a broken cork helmet, that had
not seen pipe-clay for many a month, in his grimy hands, and scraped
one foot and ducked his dripping head, as I turned toward him with
a gruff,--

"Well?"

"Beg pardon, sir," he said, in a harsh, rasping voice, "but I heard
that the American Consul was here. I am an American."

He looked up with a watery leer in his eyes.

"Go on," I said, without offering to take the hand of my
fellow-countryman.

He let his arm fall to his side.

"I ain't got any passport; that went with the rest, and I never had
the heart to ask for another."

He gave a bad imitation of a sob.

"Never mind the side play," I commented, as he began to rumble in
the bottomless pocket of his coat. "I will supply all that as you go
along. What is it you want?"

He withdrew his hand and wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

"Come in out of the rain and you won't need to do that," I said,
amused at this show of feeling.

"I thought as how you might give a countryman a lift," he whined.

I smiled and stepped to the door.

"Boy, bring the gentleman a whiskey and soda."

The "boy" brought the liquor, while I commenced to unstrap and dry
my Winchester.

My fellow-countryman did not move, but stood nervously tottering from
one leg to the other, as I went on with my task. He coughed once or
twice to attract my attention.

"Beg pardon, sir, but I meant work--good, honest work. Work was what
I wanted, to earn this very glass of whiskey for my little gal. She's
sick, sir, sick--sick in a hut at the station."

"Your little what?" I asked in amazement.

"My little gal, sir. She's all that's left me. If you'll trust me
with the glass, I'll take it to her. Can't give you no security,
I'm afraid, only the word of a broken-down old father, who has got
a little gal what he loves better than life!"

My long experience with tramps and beach-combers was at fault. No
words can convey an idea of the pathos and humility he threw into
his tone and actions. The yearning of the voice, the almost divine
air of self-abnegation, the subdued flash of pride here and there
that suggested better days, the hopeless droop of the arms, and the
irresolute tremble of the corners of his mouth would have appealed
to the heart of a heathen idol. That one of his caste should refuse
a glass of "Usher's Best," and be willing to brave the burst of a
southwest monsoon to take it to any one--child, mother, or wife--was
incredible.

"Drink it," I said roughly. "You will need it before you get to the
station. Boy, bring me my waterproof and an umbrella. Now out you
go. We'll see whether this 'little gal' is male or female,--seven
or seventy."

The loafer snatched up his helmet with an avidity that admitted of
no question as to his earnestness.

We made a wild rush down across the oozing compound, through a little
strip of dripping jungle, over a swaying foot-bridge that spanned
the muddy Sonji Changhi, and along the sandy floor of a cocoanut
grove. On the outskirts of a station we came upon a deserted bungalow,
that was trembling in the storm on its rotten supports.

We went up its rickety ladder and across its open bamboo floor, to
the darkest corner, where, on an old mat under the only dry spot in
the hut, lay a bundle of rags.

My companion dropped down among the decayed stumps of pineapples and
cocoanut refuse, and commenced to croon in a hoarse voice, "Daddy
come,--Daddy come,--poor dearie," and made a motion as though to put
the bottle to a small, dirty white face that I could just make out
among the rags.

I pushed him aside and gathered the unconscious little burden up into
my arms. There was no time for sentiment. Every minute I expected
the miserable old shelter would go over.

We made our way as best we could back through the darkness and
driving blasts of rain. The loafer followed with a long series of "God
bless you's." He essayed once or twice to hold the umbrella over his
"little gal's" head, but each time the wind turned it inside out, and
he gave it up with an air of feeble inconsequence that characterized
all his movements.

I put my burden down on a couch in the dining room, and chafed her
hands and feet, while the boy brought a beer bottle filled with
hot water.

It was a sweet little face, pinched and drawn, with big hazel eyes,
that looked up into mine as my efforts sent the blood coursing through
her veins. She was between five and six years old. A mass of dark
brown hair, unkempt and matted, fell about her face and shoulders.

I wrapped a rug about her. She was asleep almost before I had finished.

A little later I roused her, and she nestled her damp little head
against my shoulder as I gave her some soup; but her eyelids were
heavy, and it seemed almost cruel to keep her awake, even for the
food she so badly needed. The father had shuffled about uneasily
during my motherly attentions, and seemed relieved when I was through.

While the boy brought a steaming hot curry and a goodly supply of
whiskey and soda, I turned the self-confessed father of the big hazel
eyes into the bath-room.

With the grime and dirt off his face he was pale and haggard. There
were big blue marks under his shifting gray eyes and his hair hung
ragged and singed about his ears.

He had discarded his dirty linen for a blue-flannel bathing-suit that
some former high official of H. B. M. service had left behind. There
were traces of starvation or dissipation in every movement. His hand
trembled as he conveyed the hot soup to his blue lips.

Gradually the color came back to his sunken cheeks, and by the time
he had laid in the second plate of curry and drank two whiskey and
sodas he looked comparatively sleek and respectable. Even his anxiety
for the little sleeper seemed to fade out of his weak face.

I had been watching him narrowly during the meal. I could not make
up my mind whether he was a clever actor or only an unfortunate;
he might be the latter, and still be what I was certain of,--a scamp.

The wind whistled and roared about the great verandas and into the
glassless windows with all the vehemence of a New England snowstorm. It
caught our well-protected punkah-lamps, and turned their broad flames
into spiral columns of smoke. Ever and again a flash of lightning
flared in our eyes, and revealed the water of the narrow straits
lashed into a white fury.

I should have been thankful for the company of even a dog on such a
night, and think the loafer felt it, for I could see that he was more
at ease with every crash of thunder. I tiptoed over to the "little
gal," and noted her soft, regular breathing and healthful sleep,
undisturbed by the fierce storm outside.

I lit a manila, and handed one to my companion. We puffed a moment
in silence, while the boy replenished our glasses.

"Now," I said, tipping my chair back against the wall, "tell me
your story."

My guest's face at once assumed the expression of the professional
loafer. My faith in him began to wane.

"I am an American," he began glibly enough under the combined effects
of the whiskey and dinner, "an old soldier. I fought with Grant in
the Wilderness, and--"

"Of course," I interrupted, "and with Sherman in Georgia. I have heard
it all by a hundred better talkers than you. Suppose you skip it."

I did not look up, but I was perfectly familiar with the expression
of injured innocence that was mantling his face.

He began again in a few minutes, but his voice had lost some of its
engaging frankness.

"I am the son of a kind and indulgent mother,--God bless her. My
father died before I knew him--"

I moved uneasily in my chair.

He hurried on:--

"I fell in bad ways in spite of her saintly love, and ran away to sea."

"Look here, my friend," I said, "I am sorry to spoil your little tale,
but it is an old one. Can't you give me something new? Now try again."

He looked at me unsteadily under his thin eyebrows, shuffled restlessly
in his seat, and said with something like a sob in his voice:--

"Well, sir, I will. You have been kind to me and taken my little gal
in; you saved her life, and, for a change, I'll tell you the truth."

He drew himself up a little too ostentatiously, threw his head back,
and said proudly:--

"I am a gentleman born."

"Good," I laughed. "Now you are on the right track, and besides you
look it."

"Ah! you may sneer," he retorted, "but I tell you the truth."

His face flushed and his lip quivered. He brought his fist down on
the table.

"I tell you my father,--ah! but never mind my father." His voice
failed him.

"Certainly," I replied. "Only get on with your story."

"I came out to India from Boston as a young man," he continued,
"either in '66 or '68, I forget which."

"Try '67," I suggested.

"It was not '67," he exclaimed angrily, "it was either '66 or '68."

"Or some other date. However, that's but a detail. Proceed."

"Sir, you can make sport of me, but what I am telling you is God's
truth. May I be struck dead if one lie passes my lips. I came out to
plant coffee; I thought, like many others, that I had only to cut down
the jungle and put in coffee plants, and make my everlasting fortune."

"And didn't you?" I asked, glancing at his dilapidated old helmet
that hung over the corner of the sideboard.

"Look at me!" he burst forth, springing upon his feet, his breast
heaving under his blue pajamas.

"Pardon the question," I answered. "Go on, you are doing bravely."

He sank back into his chair with a commendable air of dignity.

"I had a little money of my own," he continued, "and opened up an
estate. It promised well, but I soon came to the end of my small
capital. I thought I could go to Calcutta and Bombay and Simla,
and cultivate my mind by travel and society, while the bushes were
growing. Well it ended in the same old way. I got into the chitties'
hands--they are worse than Jews--at two per cent a month on a mortgage
on my estate. Then I went back to it with a determination to pay up
my debt, make my estate a success, and after that to see the world.
I worked, sir, like a nigger, and for a time was able to meet my naked
creditor, from month to month, hoping all the time against hope for
a bumper crop."

"I understand," I said. "Your bumper crop did not come, and your
chitty did. Where does she come in?" I nodded in the direction of
the little sleeper.

He glanced uneasily in the same direction, and a tear gathered in
his eye.

"I married on credit, sir, the daughter of an English army officer. It
was infernal. But, sir, you would have done likewise. Live under the
burning sun of India for four years, struggle against impossibilities
and hope against hope, and then have a pair of great hazel eyes look
lovingly into yours and a pair of red lips turned up to yours,--and
tell me if you would not have closed your eyes to the future, and
accepted this precious gift as though it were sent from above?"

The pale, shrunken face of the speaker glowed, and his faded eyes
lit up with the light of love.

"We were happy for a time, and the little gal was born, but the
bumper crop did not come. Then, sir, I sold farm tools and my horse,
and sent the wife to a hill station for her health. I kept the little
gal. I stayed to work, as none of my natives ever worked. It was a
gay station to which she went. You know the rest,--she never came
back. That ended the struggle. I would have shot myself but for the
little one. I took her and we wandered here and there, doing odd jobs
for a few months at a time. I drifted down to Singapore, hoping to
better myself, but, sir, I am about used up. It's hard--hard."

He buried his head in his long, thin fingers, and sat perfectly still.

There was a sound outside above the roar of the wind and the rain. At
first faint and intermittent, it grew louder, and continuous, and
came close. There was no mistaking it,--the march of booted men.

"What's that?" asked my companion, with a start.

"Tommy Atkins," I replied, "the clang of the ammunition boot as big
as life."

His face grew ashy white, and he looked furtively around the room.

"What's the matter?" I exclaimed, but as I asked, I knew.

I opened the bath-room door and shoved him in.

"Go in there" I said, "and compose some more fairy tales."

He was scarcely out of sight when the front door was thrown open,
and a corporal's guard, wet yet happy, marched into the room.

The corporal stood with his back to the door, and gave himself
mental words of command,--"Eyes left, eyes right,"--then, as a last
resource,--"eyes under the table." He had not noticed the little bundle
in the dark corner. He drew himself up and gave the military salute.

"Beg pardon, sir, but we are out for a deserter from the 58th,--Bill
Hulish,--we 'ave tracked him 'ere, and with the compliments of the
commanding hofficer, we'll search the 'ouse."

"Search away," I answered, as I heard the outside bath-room door open
and close softly.

They returned empty-handed, but not greatly disappointed.

"Wet night, corporal," I ventured.

"One of the worst as ever I knew, sir," he replied, eying the whiskey
bottle and the two half-drained glasses.

"'Ad a long march, sir, fourteen miles."

I pushed the bottle toward him, and with a deprecatory salute he
turned out a stiff drink.

"'Ere's to yer 'ealth, sir, an' may ye always 'ave an extra glass
ready for a visitor."

I smiled, and motioned for his men to do likewise, and then, because
he was a man of sweet composure and had not asked any questions as
to the extra glass and chair, told him that his bird had flown.

"Bad 'cess to him, sir, 'e's led us a pretty chase for these last
four weeks. If 'e was only a deserter I wouldn't mind, but 'e's a
kidnapper. Leastways, Tommy Loud's young'n turned up missin' the day
he skipped, an' we ain't seen nothin' of 'er since."

"Is this she?" I asked, leading him to the cot.

Hardly looking at the child, he raised her in his arms and kissed her.

"God be praised, sir," he said with a show of feeling. "We 'ave got
her back. I think her mother would 'ave died if we 'ad come back again
without her,--but, O my little darlin', you look cruel bad. Drugged,
sir, that's what she is. Drugged to keep 'er quiet and save food. The
blag'ard!"

"But what did he take her for?" I asked.

"Bless you, sir," replied the corporal, "she was his stock in trade. I
reckon she's drawn many dibs out of other people's pockets that would
'ave been nestlin' there to-day if it 'adn't 'a' bin for 'er."

Then a broad grin broke over his ruddy features, and he looked at
me quizzically.

"But 'e was a great play hactor, sir."

"And a poet," I added enthusiastically.

"'E could beat Kipling romancin', sir." He checked himself, as though
ashamed of awarding such meed of praise to his ex-colleague.

"But we must be goin'; orders strict. With your permission, sir,
I will leave her with a guard of one man for to-night, and send the
ambulance for her in the morning."

He drew up his little file, saluted, and marched out into the rain
and wind, with all the cheerfulness of a duck.

I could hear them singing as they crossed the compound and struck
into the jungle road:--


    "Oh, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' 'Tommy, go away';
    But it's 'Thank you, Mister Atkins,' when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to--"


A peal of thunder that shook the bungalow from its attap roof to its
nebong pillars drowned the melody and drove me inside.



A PIG HUNT

In the Malayan Jungle


The thermometer stood at 155 degrees in the sun. The dry lallang grass
crackled and glowed and returned long irregular waves of heat to the
quivering metallic dome above.

The sensitive mimosa, at our feet, had long since surrendered to the
fierce wooing of the sun-god, submissively folding its leaves and
then its branches and putting aside its morning dress of green for
one more in keeping with the color of the earth and sky. Even the
clamorous cicada had hushed its insistent whir.

We were dressed in brown kaki suits. Wide-spreading cork helmets
were filled with the stiff varnished leaves of the mango, and wet
handkerchiefs were draped from underneath their rims; yet, after an
hour of exposure, our flesh ached--it was tender to the touch. The
barrel of my Express scorched my hand, and I wrapped my camerabuna
about it. But then it was no hotter than any other day. In fact,
we never gave a thought to the weather.

We were formed in a line, perhaps two miles in length, in a
deserted pepper plantation, fronting a jungle of timboso trees
and rubber-vines. I squatted patiently under the checkered shade
of a neglected coffee tree and kept my eyes fixed on the seemingly
impenetrable walls of the jungle. A hundred feet to the right and the
left, under like protection, were two of my companions, determined
like myself to be successful in three points,--to have the first shot
at the pigs, to avoid getting shot, or shooting a neighbor. But our
minds rose above mental cautions with the first faint halloos of the
Hindu shikaris on the opposite side of the jungle. In another moment
the babel gave place to a confusion of shrieks, howls, yells, laughs,
barking of dogs, beating of tins, blowing of horns, explosions of
crackers, and a din that represents all that is wild and untamable
in three nations. It is a weird, almost appalling prologue. Those
laughs!--they are a study--they fairly chill the blood--they would make
the fortune of a comic actor--so intense, thrilling, surprising, and
seemingly filled with a ghoulish glee. Over and over they would break
out clear and distinct above the tintamarre. I have never been able
to find out whether it belongs to the Malay or the Kling or the Tamil.

The yelling became more distinct. A troop of brown and silver wah-wahs
swung with their long arms out to the very edge of the jungle and then
up to the tops of the highest trees, the while uttering the full,
clear note from which they take their name; followed by a troop of
gray little jungle monkeys, whistling and scolding at the unwonted
disturbance. A colony of cicadas on the limbs of a great gutta tree
awoke into life and pierced our ears with buzz-saw strains.

In an instant we were all alert,--the heat was forgotten. At any minute
a herd of pigs might dart out and on to us, or possibly our drivers
might rouse a tiger. The screaming ascended to a delirious pitch--the
pigs were discovered! I threw my cartridge from the magazine into the
barrel. It was a 50×95 Express and I had perfect confidence that one
ball to a pig was sufficient.

The yelling grew nearer until, with a sudden deploy, one hundred
Klings and Malays dashed out into the open, close on the heels of a
dozen wild pigs. We could just see their black backs above the grass,
as they broke down a little ravine in single file, led by a big,
hoary boar with tusks. They were three hundred yards off, but I could
not resist the temptation. I brought my rifle to my shoulder and fired
twice in rapid succession. Two or three more shots were heard beyond. I
threw out the shells as the herd lunged on me. It was so sudden that
I was dazed, but fortunately so were the pigs, with the exception of
a wary old leader, who made into the jungle behind, almost between my
legs. One little fellow threw himself on his haunches for an instant
and stared at me. I came to my senses first and put a ball into his
wondering eyes. My second shot was so near that it tore away a pound
of meat from his shoulder and killed him instantly.

The firing had opened up all along the line. The drivers were
pushing in nearer and nearer, beating the grass and clumps of bushes,
seemingly regardless of the widely flying balls. I suspect they held
our prowess in contempt. I know they looked it, when it was discovered
that out of the dozen pigs they had raised, we had allowed over half
to escape. Then, too, their lives were insured, in a way; for they
knew that their deaths would cost us twenty big Mexican dollars.

Pig-hunting is the one big-game hunt that can be indulged in on the
Malay Peninsula without great preparation and danger. Deer and tapirs
are scarce. Tigers, or harimau as the Malays call them, abound, but
live in the depths of the almost inaccessible jungle, and come forth
only at rare intervals, except in the case of the man-eaters, who
are usually ignominiously caught in pitfalls, very seldom affording
true sport. Elephants are still hunted in the native states north
of Singapore, but the sport is too expensive for the generality of
sportsmen. One of the peculiar attributes of the Malayan tiger is his
decided penchant for Chinese flesh, repeatedly striking down Chinese
coolies in the fields to the exclusion of the Malays or Europeans who
are working by their side. Perhaps once a month, a tiger or his skin
will be brought into the city by natives, and several times at night
I have heard them in the jungle; but to my knowledge only three have
been shot by European sportsmen during my residence in the island. So
wild pigs really remain the one item of big game.

The pigs live in the jungle bordering plantations in which they can
range for pineapples, sweet potatoes, and tapioca root. They are
the ordinary wild hog, black in color, and fleet of foot. The older
ones have good-sized tusks and show fight when cornered. The lone
sportsman has very little chance of obtaining a shot, so they are
hunted in large companies of from five to fifteen guns. Such parties
generally organize a hunt at least once a week and leave Singapore
early in the morning for an all-day shoot.

The pig hunts organized by the officers of the Royal Artillery are
the largest, and as a description of one is a description of all,
I will take one up in regular order, rather than quote from many.

We left Singapore at six o'clock in the morning in a four-horse
dray. As the sun had not reached the tops of the trees, the
atmosphere was mild and pleasant. A half-hour took us outside the
great cosmopolitan city, of three hundred thousand inhabitants. The
low, cool bungalows with their wide-spreading lawns gave place to
the grass-thatched huts of the Chinese coolies, and the omnipresent
eating-stalls. A hard-packed road carried us through almost endless
cocoanut groves. At intervals a Malay kampong, or village, was
revealed in the heart of the grove, its queer attap-thatched houses
raised a man's height from the ground, and connected with it by rickety
ladders. Dozens of nude little children played under the shadow of the
palms, while the comely faces and syrah-stained teeth of their mothers
peeped at us from behind low barred windows. The cocoanut groves were
superseded by tapioca, pepper, and coffee plantations. At regular
distances were neat stations, manned by Malay and Sikh police. The
roads over which we dashed were in perfect repair. In another hour
we were nine miles from Singapore and near our first "beat."

Major Rich had sent his shikaris on the night before to collect
beaters, so that when we arrived we were welcomed by a small
army of Klings, Tamils, and Malays, and the usual sprinkling of
pariah dogs. A wild, strange set are these beaters. They toil not,
neither do they spin. Their wives do that occasionally, making a
few sarongs for home use and an odd one for the market. Cocoanuts,
pineapples, a little patch of paddy with a dozen half-wild chickens,
and perchance, if they are not Mohammedans, a pig with its litter,
afford them sustenance. For their day's beating they were to receive
fifteen cents apiece. They were all ranged in line and counted,
after which we took up our march through a plantation of tapioca,
the brush standing about level with our heads. Chinese coolies
were working about its roots keeping down the great pest of Malayan
farmers,--lallang grass. The tapioca was broken in places by a few
acres of pepper vines and again by neglected coffee shrubs.

Our procession was truly formidable. Fifty or more natives went on
ahead making a path. Then we followed, fifteen in number, each with
a native to carry his gun. The rear was brought up by twoscore more
and half as many dogs. Three-quarters of an hour's walk brought us
to our first beat. The head shikaris placed us in an open position,
from fifty to one hundred yards apart, facing the jungle. The beaters,
in the meantime, had gone by a long detour around the jungle to drive
whatever it contained within reach of our guns.

In the second of these beats (I described the first in the opening of
this chapter) a deer ran out far in advance of the pigs. We caught
but a fleeting glimpse of it above the grass. My gun and that of my
neighbor went off simultaneously. The deer disappeared. We rushed
to the spot and found the leaves dyed with blood. Then commenced a
chase, which, although fruitless, was well worth the exertion. All
the panorama of tropical life seemed to lay in our tracks. For
an half-hour we traversed the rolling plain with its burden of
grass. Some smoker dropped a match in it, and in an instant it was
all ablaze, spreading away like a whirlwind, burning only the very
tips, toward a distant jungle. Then we dove into a bosky wood by
a narrow winding path, and through a stream of water. The path was
like a tunnel, the dense foliage shutting it in on both sides and
above. The thorns of the rattans reached down and tore our clothes,
and long trailing rubber-vines caught up our helmets and held our
feet. In a marshy bit of jungle, a small colony of unwieldy sago
palms found root, while pitcher-plants and orchids hung from almost
every limb. Clumsy gray iguanas and long-tailed lizards of a brilliant
green rushed up the trunks of lichen-covered trees. Troops of monkeys
went scattering away on all sides, and black squirrels chattered on in
the perfect security of the dim obscurity. In a bit of sandy bottom,
a silken-haired, zebra-striped tapir scuttled away ere we were half
alive to his presence.

Outside was the metallic glare of the Malayan sun once more, now at its
height, and another march was before us, over the burning hot mésa. At
one o'clock we came upon a half-neglected plantation. The bloody trail
of the deer led through it.  In the centre of the plantation we found
a huge wedge-shaped attap house for drying pepper, and there we rested.

Our tiffin baskets were six miles away in the dray, and sending after
them was out of the question. So we foraged for eatables. Cocoanuts
were easily obtained from trees all about, and a little whiskey
mixed with its milk made a very refreshing drink. Pineapples, small
oranges, limes, papayas, custard apples, and bananas were in large
quantities. Our drivers added to this bill of fare by roasting the
sweet-potato-like roots of the tapioca. After this impromptu lunch
they compounded their quids of areca-nut and lime, and were ready
once more to beat up an adjacent jungle for deer, pig, or tiger.

As before, we were soon in position in the open before the jungle
and the beaters were yelling at the top of their voices.

I was half dozing in the sun, trying to smoke a Manila cigar that
my mouth was too dry to draw, when I was aroused by my neighbor,
who called my attention to a file of pigs at the extreme end of the
line. I could just see what was going on from the knoll on which I
was standing. They were received by Major Rich, one of his subalterns,
and his Hindu gun-carrier. One of the file fell at the first volley,
two more broke through the line, and the remaining six or seven,
led by a fierce old fellow, from whose long tusks the foam dripped,
turned up the line and charged point-blank on the next gunner, who
fired and missed, but succeeded in keeping them between the line and
the jungle. The fourth gun brought down the second pig and wounded the
boar in the shoulder. Frantic with rage and pain, the old fellow tore
up the ground and grass with his tusks and then, seeming to give up
all idea of escape, wheeled sharply around and with his back bristles
standing erect and his mouth open, charged directly on to the fifth,
who was in the act of throwing the cartridge into the barrel. Taken
completely by surprise, the officer gave one lusty yell and started
to run in line with the gun on his right. The boar was gaining on
him at every step when he tripped and fell. The report of No. 6's
Winchester Express rang out almost simultaneously. For an instant we
held our breaths, wondering whether the man or boar had been hit. It
was a splendid shot and took a steady hand. The boar's shoulder was
shattered and his heart reached. Two or three angry grunts and he lay
quiet. He weighed close to three hundred pounds. The bristles on his
back were white with age. All in all, he was not nice to look at.

As half of our beaters were Mohammedans and so forbidden to touch pork,
the burden of carrying our pigs the six miles through lallang grass,
jungle and swamp land, came hard on our Brahmists. We knew that the
only way to make them work was to call them "Sons of dogs" and walk
off and leave them with a parting injunction to "get in by the time
we did if they wanted their wages."

This we did without deigning to notice their pathetic gestures,
heart-rending appeals and protestations to the "Sons of the
Heaven-Born" that they could not lift one hundredth part of such
burdens.



IN THE COURT OF JOHORE

The Crowning of a Malayan Prince


Tunku Ibrahim was just past seventeen when his father, the Sultan
Abubaker, chose to recognize him as his heir and Crown Prince of
Johore.

From the day when the little prince had been deemed old enough to leave
his mother and the women's palace until the day he had entered the
native artillery as a lieutenant, he had been schooled and trained by
the English missionaries and the Tuan Kadi, or Mohammedan high priest,
as becomes a son of so illustrious a father.

Tunku Ibrahim had made one trip to England when he was fifteen years
old, and with his little cousin, the Tunku, or Prince, Othman, had
dined with the Queen at Windsor.

So, when the Sultan returned from a long stay at Carlsbad and found
that the Sultana was dead and that Ibrahim had shot up into a man,
he said:--

"I am getting to be an old man and may die at any time. I will call
all my nobles and people to the palace, and they shall see me place the
crown on Ibrahim's head. Then if I die, he will rule, and the British
will not take his country from him as long as he is wise and kingly."

Whereupon his Highness sent out invitations to the Governor and all
the foreign consuls in Singapore to be his guests and witness the
crowning of his son.

We started in quaint little box-like carriages, called gharries, long
before the fierce Malayan sun had risen above the palms, accomplishing
the fourteen miles across the beautiful island in little over an hour.

The diminutive Deli ponies, not larger than Newfoundland dogs,
broke into a run the moment we closed the lattice doors, and it was
all their half-naked drivers could do to keep their perches on the
swaying shafts.

When we arrived at the little half-Malay, half-Chinese village of
Kranji, on the shores of the famous old Straits of Malacca, our
ponies were panting with heat, and the sun beat down on our white
cork helmets with a quivering, naked intensity.

Close up to the shore we found a long, keel boat manned by a dozen
Malays in canary-colored suits. An aide-de-camp in a gorgeous uniform
of gold and blue came forward and touched his forehead with the back
of his brown palm and said in good English:--

"His Highness awaits your excellencies."

We stepped into the boat. The men lightly dipped their spear-shaped
paddles in the tepid water, the rattan oarlocks squeaked shrilly,
and the light prow shot out into the strait. We could see the istana,
or palace, close down to the opposite shore, with the royal standard
of white, with black star and crescent in centre, floating above it.

For a moment I felt as though I had invaded some dreamland of my
childhood.

As our boat drew up to the iron pier that extended from the broad
palace steps out into the straits, the guns from the little fort on the
hill above the town boomed out a welcome and the flags of our several
countries were run to the tops of the poles. A squad of native soldiers
presented arms, and we were conducted up the stone steps, to the cool,
dim corridors of the reception or waiting room. Malays in red fezzes
and silken sarongs that hung about their legs like skirts conducted us
along a marble hall to our rooms in a wing of the palace. Crowds were
already gathering outside on the palace grounds, and we could look down
from our windows and watch them as we bathed, dressed, and drank tea.

The Chinese in their holiday pantaloons and shirts of pink, lavender,
and blue silk: outnumbered all the other races; for, strange as it
may seem, this Malay Sultan numbers among his 250,000 or 300,000
subjects 175,000 Chinamen. They are as loyal and a great deal more
industrious than the Malays, and many of them, styled Baboos, do not
even know their native tongue.

The Malays, dressed in gayly colored sarongs and bajus (jackets),
with little rimless caps on their heads, squatted on their heels and
chewed betel-nut, with eyes half closed and mouths distended.

The Arab traders and shopkeepers were grouped about in little knots,
gravely conversing and watching the files of gharries or carriages,
and even rickshaws, that were bringing Malay unkus (princes not of
the royal blood), patos (peers), holy men, and rich Chinese mandarins
to the steps that led up to the plaza before the throne-room.

The palace was two stories high, long and narrow. The interior rooms
were separated from the outer walls by wide, airy corridors. The
lattice-work windows were without glass and were arranged to admit
the breezes from the ocean and ward off the searching rays of the
equatorial sun. In these dusky corridors were long rattan chairs,
divans, and tables covered with refreshments, and along its walls
were arranged weapons of war and chase, Japanese suits of straw armor,
Javanese shields, and Malay krises and limbings.

In a little court at the end of our corridor, where a fountain splashed
over a clump of lotus flowers and blue water lilies, a long-armed
silver wah-wah monkey played with a black Malay cat that had a kink
in its tail like the joint in a stovepipe, and chased the clucking
little gray lizards up the polished walls.

The gorgeous aide stared in poorly concealed wonderment, when he
entered to conduct us to the grand salon, at my plain evening dress
suit, destitute of gold lace or decorations, but he was too polite to
say anything, and I humbly followed my uniformed colleagues through the
long suite of rooms. It would have been useless for me to have tried to
explain the great American doctrine of "Jeffersonian simplicity." He
would have shrugged his narrow shoulders, which would have meant,
"When you are among Romans, you should do as Romans do."

In the grand salon, more than in any other part of the palace, one
feels that he is in the home of an Oriental prince whose tastes far
outrun his own dominions.

Velvet carpets from Holland, divans from Turkey, rugs from Bokhara,
tapestries from Persia, and lace from France mingle with embroideries
from China, cut glass from England, and rare old Satsuma ware from
Japan. On a grand square German piano is a mass of music in which
the masterpieces of all countries have equal rights with the national
anthem of Johore.

Going directly through a mass of Oriental drapery, we are in the
throne-room, where are gathered the nobility of the little Sultanate.

Amid the crash of music and the booming of guns the Sultan took his
seat in one of the gilded chairs on the dais, with the English Governor
on his left. Ranged about the burnished walls of the great room,
several files deep, were the nobility of the kingdom, the ministers of
state, and officers of the army and navy, the space back of them being
filled with Chinese mandarins and towkoys, and rich native merchants
in their picturesque costumes. In front of the nobility, standing in
the form of a square, were the sons of the datos each bearing golden,
jewel-studded chogans, spears, krises, and maces. Inside the square
stood the fifteen consuls. Back of the throne were four young princes,
two bearing each the golden bejewelled kris of the Malay, another
the golden sword of state, and the fourth the cimeter of the Prophet.

Up to the steps of the throne came the young prince, dressed in the
uniform of a lieutenant of artillery, with the royal order of Darjah
Krabat ablaze with jewels on his breast. He was slightly taller than
his father, the Sultan, straight, graceful, and handsome, with big,
brown eyes and strongly marked features. He was nervous and agitated,
and his lips trembled as he bent on one knee and kissed his Highness's
hand.

Above our heads in the gilded walls, behind a grated opening, were
Inche Kitega, the Sultan's beautiful Circassian wife, and the women
of the court. We could see their black eyes as they peered curiously
down. It was only when the Dato Mentri, or Prime Minister, stood
up and asked his people if they wished the young Tunku to be their
future lord that we could hear their shrill voices mingling with the
"Suku, suku" ("We wish it, we wish it"), of the men.

It is only the wives of the nobles that are secluded in the istana
isaras, or women palaces, according to Mohammedan law; the women of
the poor are as free as the more civilized countries of Europe. They
bask in the sun with their brown babies on their laps, or wander
among the cocoanuts that always surround their palm-thatched homes,
happy and contented, with no thought for the morrow. The trees furnish
them their food, and a few hours before their looms of dark kamooning
wood each week keep them supplied with their one article of dress--the
sarong. They never heard of the Bible, but they are very religious,
and at sunrise and sunset, at the deep-toned boom of the hollow log
that hangs before their little thatched mosques, they fall on their
faces and pray to "Allah, the All Merciful and Loving Kind."

When the Crown Prince had stepped modestly back among his brothers
and cousins, a holy man in green robes and turban came forward and
read an address in Arabic. He recited the glories of the Prophet,
the promises of the Koran, and then told of the ancient greatness of
Johore,--how it once ruled the great peninsula that forever points
like a lean, disjointed finger down into the heart of the greatest
archipelago of the world,--how its ruler was looked up to and made
treaties with, by the kings of Europe,--of the coming of the thieving
Portuguese and the brutal Dutch,--of the dark, bloody years when the
deposed descendants of the once proud Emperors of Johore turned to
piracy,--of the new days that commenced when that great Englishman,
Sir Stamford Raffles, founded Singapore,--down to the glorious reign
of the present just ruler, Abubaker.

Our eyes wandered from time to time out through the cool marble courts
and tried vainly to pierce the botanic chaos that crowded close up
to the palace grounds. Banian and sacred waringhan trees covered
great stretches of ground, and dropped their fantastic roots into the
steaming earth like living stalactites. The fan-shaped, water-hoarding
traveller's palm formed a background for the brilliant magenta-colored
bougainvillea. The dim, translucent depths of an orchid-house lured
us on, or a great pond covered with the sacred lotus, blue lilies,
and the flush-colored cups of the superb Victoria regia commanded
our admiration. Palms, flowering shrubs, ferns, and creepers rioted
on all sides. Monkeys swung above in the ropelike tendrils of the
rubber-vines, and spotted deer gamboled beneath the shade of mango
trees.

The brilliant audience listened with bated breath to the dramatic
recital of their nation's story. Even we, who did not understand
a word, were impressed by their flushed faces and eager attention,
and when the band in the columned corridors beyond broke forth into
the national anthem of Johore and the vast concourse outside took up
the shouts of fealty that began within, I, for one, felt an almost
irresistible desire to join in the shouts and do honor to the kindly
old Sultan and his graceful son.

After his Highness, the Sultan, had spoken, through the mouth of
his Prime Minister, to the nobles, and commended his son to their
care, we crowded forward and congratulated him in the names of our
respective countries.

We filed through the grand salon, with its luxurious medley of divans,
tapestries, and rugs, through a great hall whose walls were hung with
heroic-sized paintings of the English royal family, down a flight of
steps, across the marble reception room, and into the open doors of
the royal dining room.

From its polished ceiling of black billion wood hung great white
punkahs, which half-nude Indians on the outside kept gently swaying
back and forth.

In the centre of the vast table stood a golden urn filled with
delicate maidenhair ferns and dragon orchids. Against a great
plate-glass mirror, at the far end, rested massive salvers of gold,
engraven with the arms of Johore, and in its flawless depths shone
the jewels that decked the entering throng and the splendid service
of plate that dazzled our eyes.

Around his Highness's throat was a collar of diamonds and on his hands
and in the decorations that covered his breast were diamonds, emeralds,
and rubies, of almost priceless value. Each button of his coat and
low-cut vest was a diamond, and from the front of his rimless cap
waved a plume of diamonds. On his wrists were heavy gold bracelets
of Malayan workmanship, and his fingers were cramped with almost
priceless rings. In his buttonhole blazed a diamond orchid. The
handle and scabbard of his sword were a solid mass of precious
stones. Altogether this little known Oriental potentate possessed
$10,000,000 worth of diamonds, the second largest collection on earth.

In personal appearance his Highness compared favorably with the best
representatives of the Anglo-Saxon race. He was five feet eight in
height, well built, with clean-cut, kindly features, in color nearer
the Spanish type than the Indian. His hands and feet were small,
forehead high and full, lips thin, and nose aquiline, his hair and
mustache iron gray. He spoke good English, and was able to converse in
French and German. In every-day dress he affected the English Prince
Albert suit, to which he added a narrow silk sarong and a rimless
black cap.

Besides being a lover of jewels, his Highness was a lover of good
horseflesh and of yachts. His stud comprised two hundred horses, among
which were fleet Arabians, sturdy little Deli ponies, thoroughbred
Australians, and Indian galloways. Twice a year he offered a cup at
the Singapore jockey races, and entered a half dozen of his best
runners. At his tent on the grounds he dispensed champagne, ices,
and cakes, and his native band of thirty pieces played alternately
with the regimental band from the English barracks.

His three hundred ton steam-launch was built on the Clyde. Besides
the Sultan's saloon on the lower deck, which was furnished befitting a
king, there were cabins for ten people. The promenade deck was under
an awning, and was furnished with a heavy rosewood dining-table and
long chairs. She carried four guns of long range.

The revenue of Johore amounts to six million dollars a year, to
which the Sultan's private property in Singapore adds nearly a half
million more. The bulk of the national revenue is raised from opium,
spirits, and gambling. The scheme of taxation is simple, but most
effective. Any Chinaman who has a longing for the pipe pays into his
Highness's treasury one dollar a month, and is granted a permit to buy
and smoke opium; another monthly dollar and he is licensed to drink.

The gambling privilege is given to the highest bidder, and he has the
monopoly for the kingdom. There is also a small export tax on gambier
and tin. On the other hand, any immigrant that wishes to settle and
open a farm of any kind is given all the ground he can work, rent free,
to have and to hold as long as he keeps it under cultivation. Should
he leave, it reverts with all its improvements to the crown.

The government is autocratic, but tempered and kept in sympathy
with the English ideas of justice as seen in the great colonies that
surround it.

The dinner throughout was European, save for the one national
dish, curry. Every Malay, from the poorest fisherman along the
mangrove-fretted lagoon to the chef of his Highness's kitchen, justly
boasts of the excellence of his curry and the number of sambuls he
can make.

First came a golden bowl filled with rice, as white and as light
as snow; then another, in which was a gravy of yellow curry powder,
choice bits of fowl, and plump, fresh slices of egg-plant. Then came
the sambuls, or condiments, more than forty varieties, in little
circular dishes of Japanese ware on big silver trays. There were
fish-roes, ginger, and dried fish, or "Bombay duck," duck's eggs
hashed with spices, chutney, peppers, grated cocoanut, anchovies,
browned crumbs, chicken livers, fried bananas, barley sprouts, onions,
and many more, that were mixed and stirred into the spongy rice until
your taste was baffled and your senses bewildered.

We knew that the curry was coming, so we passed courses that were
as expensive and rare in this equatorial land as the fruit of the
durians would be in New York,--mutton from Shanghai, turkey from Siam,
beef from Australia, and oysters from far up the river Maur. We felt
that besides being a pleasure to ourselves it was a compliment to
our royal host to partake generously of his national dish.

"This service," said the old Tuan Hakim, or chief justice, pointing to
the gold plate off which we were dining, "is the famous Ellinborough
plate that once belonged to that strange woman, Lady Ellinborough. His
Highness attended the auction of her things in Scotland. Do you
see the little Arabic character on the rim of each? It is the late
Sultana's name. His Highness telegraphed to her for the money to pay
for it, and she telegraphed back two hundred thousand dollars, with
the request that her name be engraved on each. Then she presented
them to her husband. The Sultana was very rich in her own right,
and left the Sultan over two million dollars when she died."

Throughout the long dinner the native band played the airs of Europe
and America, intermixed with bits of weird Malayan song. After we
had lighted our cigars from the golden censer, the British Governor
arose and proposed the health of the Sultan and the young heir
apparent. His Highness raised his glass of pineapple juice to his
lips in acknowledgment, and said smilingly to me as the Prime Minister
said the magic word that stirs every Englishman's heart,--

"The Queen!"

"Your people think all Orientals very bad."

I protested.

"Oh, yes, you do; that is why you send so many missionaries among
us. But," he went on pleasantly, "look around my table. Not one of
my court has touched the wine. A Mohammedan never drinks. Can you
say as much for your people?"

Then he raised his glass once more to his lips and said quietly,
while his eyes twinkled at my confusion:--

"Tell your great President that Abubaker, Sultan of Johore, drank
his health in simple pineapple juice."

As the sun sank behind the misty dome of Mount Pulei we embarked once
more at the broad palace steps in the royal barges, amid the booming
of guns and the strains of the international "God Save the Queen,"
"My Country, 'tis of Thee," and bared our heads to the royal standard
of Johore that floated so proudly above the palace, thankful for this
short peep into the heart of an Oriental court.



So the young Prince received the crown from the hands of his
father. To-day, the bones of that grand old statesman, the Sultan of
Johore, rest beside those of his royal fathers within the shadow of
the mosque.

In 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles purchased the island on which
Singapore now stands from the father of the late Sultan of Johore,
the royal palace was a palm-thatched bungalow, the country an
unbroken jungle, and the inhabitants pirates and fishermen by turns;
the notorious Strait of Malacca was infested with long, keen, swift
pirate praus, and the snake-like kris menaced the merchant marine of
the world.

The advancement of the United States has not been more rapid since
that date than the advancement of Johore. The attap istana, or palace,
has given place to a series of palaces that rival those of many a much
better-known country; the jungle has given place to plantations of
gambier, tea, coffee, and pepper; the few elephant tracks and forest
paths, to a network of macadamized roads and projected railways;
and the native praus, to English-built barks and deeply laden cargo
steamers.

Two hundred thousand hard-working, money-making Chinese have been
added to the thirty-five thousand Malay aborigines, and the revenue
of this remnant of an empire is far greater than was the revenue of
the original state.

It remains to be seen whether the young Sultan will follow in the
footsteps of his father and preserve to Johore the distinction of
being, with the one exception of Siam, the only independent native
kingdom in southern Asia. One misstep and he will become but a
dependency of the great British Empire, a king only in name.



IN THE GOLDEN CHERSONESE

A Peep at the City of Singapore


Could an American boy, like a prince in the Arabian Nights, be taken by
a genie from his warm bed in San Francisco or New York and awakened
in the centre of Raffles Square, in Singapore, I will wager that
he would be sadly puzzled to even give the name of the continent on
which he had alighted.

Neither the buildings, the people, or the vehicles would aid him in
the least to decide.

Enclosing the four sides of the little banian-tree shaded park
in which he stands are rows of brick, white-faced, high-jointed
go-downs. Through their glassless windows great white punkahs swing
back and forth with a ceaseless regularity. Standing outside of each
window, a tall, graceful punkah-wallah tugs at a rattan withe, his
naked limbs shining like polished ebony in the fierce glare of the
Malayan sun.

For a moment, perhaps, the boy thinks himself in India, possibly at
Simla, for he has read some of Rudyard Kipling's stories.

Back under the portico-like verandas, whose narrow breadths take the
place of sidewalks, are little booths that look like bay windows turned
inside out. On the floor of each sits a Turk, cross-legged, or an Arab,
surrounded by a heterogeneous assortment of wares, fez caps, brass
finger-bowls, a praying rug, a few boxes of Japanese tooth-picks, some
rare little bottles of Arab essence, a betel-nut box, and a half dozen
piles of big copper cents, for all shopkeepers are money-changers.

The merchant gathers his flowing party-colored robes about him,
tightens the turban head, and draws calmly at his water-pipe while a
bevy of Hindu and Tamil women bargain for a new stud for their noses,
a showy amulet, or a silver ring for their toes.

Squatting right in the way of all passers is a Chinese travelling
restaurant that looks like two flour barrels, one filled with drawers,
the other containing a small charcoal fire. The old cookee, with
his queue tied neatly up about his shaven head, takes a variety of
mixtures from the drawers,--bits of dried fish, seaweed, a handful of
spaghetti, possibly a piece of shark's fin, or better still a lump of
bird's nest, places them in the kettle, as he yells from time to time,
"Machen, machen" (eating, eating).

Next to the Arab booth is a Chinese lamp shop, then a European
dry-goods store, an Armenian law office, a Japanese bazaar, a foreign
consulate.

A babble of strange sounds and a jargon of languages salute the
astonished boy's ears.

In the broad well-paved streets about him a Malay syce, or driver,
is trying to urge his spotted Deli pony, which is not larger than a
Newfoundland dog, in between a big, lumbering two-wheeled bullock-cart,
laden with oozing bags of vile-smelling gambier, and a great patient
water buffalo that stands sleepily whipping the gnats from its black,
almost hairless hide, while its naked driver is seated under the
trees in the square quarrelling and gambling by turns.

The gharry, which resembles a dry-goods box on wheels, set in with
latticed windows, smashes up against the ponderous hubs of the
bullock-cart. The meek-eyed bullocks close their eyes and chew their
cuds, regardless of the fierce screams of the Malay or the frenzied
objurgations of their driver.

But no one pays any attention to the momentary confusion. A party of
Jews dressed in robes of purple and red that sweep the street pass
by, without giving a glance at the wild plunging of the half-wild
pony. A Singhalese jeweller is showing his rubies and cat's-eyes to
a party of Eurasian, or half-caste clerks, that are taking advantage
of their master's absence from the godown to come out into the court
to smoke a Manila cigarette and gossip. The mottled tortoise-shell
comb in the vender's black hair, and his womanish draperies, give
him a feminine aspect.

An Indian chitty, or money-lender, stands talking to a brother,
supremely unconscious of the eddying throng about. These chitties are
fully six feet tall, with closely shaven heads and nude bodies. Their
dress of a few yards of gauze wound about their waists, and red
sandals, would not lead one to think that they handle more money
than any other class of people in the East. They borrow from the
great English banks without security save that of their caste name,
and lend to the Eurasian clerks just behind them at twelve per cent
a month. If a chitty fails, he is driven out of the caste and becomes
a pariah. The caste make up his losses.

Dyaks from Borneo idle by. Parsee merchants in their tall, conical
hats, Chinese rickshaw runners and cart coolies, Tamil road-menders,
Bugis, Achinese, Siamese, Japanese, Madras serving-men, negro firemen,
Lascar sailors, throng the little square,--the agora of the commercial
life of the city.

Such is Singapore, embracing all the races of Asia and Europe. Is it
any wonder that the American boy is bewildered, standing there under
the great banian tree with a Malay in sarong and kris by his side,
singing with his syrah-stained lips the glorious promises of the Koran?



Look on the map of Asia for the southernmost point of the continent,
and you will find it at the tip of the Malay Peninsula,--a giant
finger that points down into the heart of the greatest archipelago in
the world. At the very end of this peninsula, like a sort of cut-off
joint of the finger, is the little island of Singapore, which is not
over twenty-five miles from east to west, and does not exceed fifteen
miles in width at its broadest point.

The famous old Straits of Malacca, which were once the haunts of the
fierce Malayan pirates, separate the island from the mainland and
the Sultanate of Johore.

The shipping that once worked its way through these narrow straits,
in momentary fear that its mangrove-bound shores held a long, swift
pirate prau, now goes further south and into the island-guarded harbor
before Singapore.

Nothing can be more beautiful than the sea approach to Singapore. As
you enter the Straits, the emerald-green of a bevy of little islands
obstructs the vision, and affords a grateful relief to the almost
blinding glare of the Malayan sky, and the metallic reflections of
the ocean.

Some seem only inhabited by a graceful waving burden of strange,
tropical foliage, and by a band of chattering monkeys; on others you
detect a Malay kampong, or village, its umbrella-like houses of attap,
close down to the shore, built high up on poles, so that half the time
their boulevards are but vast mud-holes, the other half--Venice, filled
with a moving crowd of sampans and fishing praus. A crowd of bronzed,
naked little figures sport within the shadow of a maze of drying nets,
and flee in consternation as the black, log-like head and cruel,
watchful eyes of a crocodile glide quietly along the mangrove roots.

On another island you discern the grim breastworks and the frowning
mouth of a piece of heavy ordnance.

Soon the island of Singapore reveals itself in a long line of dome-like
hills and deep-cut shadows, whose stolid front quickly dissolves. The
tufted tops of a sentinel palm, the wide-spreading arms of the banian,
clumps of green and yellow bamboo, and the fan-shaped outlines of
the traveller's palm become distinguishable. As the great, red,
tropical sun rises from behind the encircling hills, the monotony
of the foliage is relieved in places by objects which it all but hid
from view. The granite minaret of the Mohammedan mosque, the carved
dome of a Buddhist temple, the slender spire of an English cathedral,
the bold projections of Government House, and the wide, white sides
of the Municipal buildings all hold the eye.

Then a maze of strange shipping screens the nearing shore--the military
masts and yards of British and Dutch men-of-war, the high-heeled,
shoe-like lines of Chinese junks, innumerable Malay and Kling sampans,
and great, unwieldy Borneo tonkangs.

For six miles along the wharves and for six miles back into the island
extend the municipal limits of the city. Two hundred thousand people
live within these limits; while outside, over the rest of the island
along the sea-coast, in fishing villages, and in the interior on
plantations of tapioca and pepper, live a hundred thousand more. Of
these three hundred thousand over one hundred and seventy thousand
are Chinese and only fifteen hundred are Europeans.

Grouped about Raffles Square, and facing the Bund, are the great
English, German, and Chinese houses that handle the three hundred
million dollars' worth of imports and exports that pass in and out of
the port yearly, and make Singapore one of the most important marts
of the commercial world.

Beyond, and back from the Square, is Tanglin, or the suburbs, where
the government officials and the heads of these great firms live in
luxurious bungalows, surrounded by a swarm of retainers.

Let us drive from Raffles Square through this cosmopolitan city and
out to Tanglin. Beginning at Cavanagh Bridge, at one end of which
stands the great Singapore Club and the Post Office, is the ocean
esplanade,--the pride of the city. It encloses a public playground
of some fifteen acres, reclaimed from the sea at an expense of over
two hundred thousand dollars. Every afternoon when the heat of the
day has fallen from 150° to 80°, the European population meets on this
esplanade park to play tennis, cricket, and football, and to promenade,
gossip, and listen to the music of the regimental or man-of-war band.

The drive from the sea, up Orchard Road to the Botanic Gardens,
carries you by all the diversified life of the city. The Chinese
restaurant is omnipresent. By its side sits a naked little bit of
bronze, with a basket of sugar-cane--each stick, two feet long, cleaned
and scraped, ready for the hungry and thirsty rickshaw coolies, who
have a few quarter cents with which to gratify their appetites. On
every veranda and in every shady corner are the Kling and Chinese
barbers. They carry their barber-shops in a kit or in their pockets,
and the recipient of their skill finds a seat as best he may. The
barber is prepared to shave your head, your face, trim your hair,
braid your queue, and pull the hairs out of your nose and ears.

There is no special quarter for separate trades. Madras tailor shops
rub shoulders with Malay blacksmith shops, while Indian wash-houses
join Manila cigar manufactories.

Once past the commercial part of the ride, the great bungalows of the
European and Chinese merchants come into view. The immediate borders
of the road itself reveal nothing but a dense mass of tropical verdure
and carefully cut hedges, but at intervals there is a wide gap in
the hedge, and a road leads off into the seeming jungle. At every
such entrance there are posts of masonry, and a plate bearing the
name of the manor and its owner.

At the end of a long aisle of palms and banians you see a bit of
wide-spreading veranda, and the full-open doors of a cool, black
interior. Acres of closely shaven lawns, dotted with flowering shrubs
of the brightest reds, deepest purples, and fieriest solferinos,
beds of rich-hued foliage plants, and cool, green masses of ferns
meet your eye.

Perhaps you spy the inevitable tennis-court, swarming with players,
and bordered with tables covered with tea and sweets. Red-turbaned
Malay kebuns, or gardeners, are chasing the balls, and scrupulously
clean Chinese "boys" are passing silently among the guests with trays
of eatables.

Dozens of gharries dodge past. Hundreds of rickshaws pull out of
the way.

A great landau, drawn by a pair of thoroughbred Australian horses,
driven by a Malay syce, and footman in full livery, and containing a
bare-headed Chinese merchant, in the simple flowing garments of his
nation, dashes along. The victoria and the dog-cart of the European,
and the universal palanquin of the Anglo-Indian, form a perfect maze
of wheels.

Suddenly the road is filled with a long line of bullock-carts. You
swing your little pony sharply to one side, barely escaping the big
wooden hub of the first cart. The syce springs down from behind,
and belabors the native bullock driver, who, paying no attention to
the blows rained upon his naked back, belabors his beasts in turn,
calling down upon their ungainly humps the curses of his religion. The
scene is so familiar that only a "globe-trotter" would notice it. Yet
to me there is nothing more truly artistic, or more typically Indian
in India, than a long line of these bullock-carts, laden with the
products of the tropics,--pineapples, bananas, gambier, coffee,--urged
on by a straight, graceful driver, winding slowly along a palm and
banian shaded road. We would meet such processions at every turning,
but never without recalling glorious childish pictures of the Holy
Land and Bible scenery as we painted them, while our father read of a
Sunday morning out of the old "Domestic Bible,"--we children pronounce
it "Dom-i-stick,"--how the Lord said unto Moses, "Go take twenty fat
bullocks and offer them as a sacrifice." As we would see these "twenty
fat bullocks" time and again, I confess, with a feeling of reluctance,
that some of the gilt and rose tint was rubbed from our childish
pictures, and that a realistic artist drawing from the life before him
would not deck out the patient subject in quite our extravagant colors.

The color of the Indian bullock varies. Some are a dirty white,
some a cream color, some almost pink, and a few are of the darker
shades. They are about the size of our cows, seldom as large as a
full-grown ox. Their horns, which are generally tipped with curiously
carved knobs, and often painted in colors, are as diversified in
their styles of architecture as are the horns of our cattle, though
they are more apt to be straight and V-shaped. Their necks are always
"bowed to the yoke," to once more use biblical phraseology, and seem
almost to invite its humiliating clasp. Above their front legs is the
mark of their antiquity, the great clumsy, flabby, fleshy, tawny hump,
always swaying from side to side, keeping time to every plodding step
of its sleepy owner. This seemingly useless mountain of flesh serves
as a cushion against which rests a yoke. Not the natty yoke of our
rural districts, but a simple pole, with a pin of wood through each
end, to ride on the outside of the bullocks' necks. The burden comes
against the projecting hump when the team pulls. To the centre of this
yoke is tied, with strong withes of rattan, the pole of a cart, that
in this nineteenth century is generally only to be seen in national
museums, preserved as a relic of the first steps in the art of wagon
building. And yet as a cart it is not to be despised: all the heavy
traffic of the colonies is done within its rude board sides. It has
two wheels, with heavy square spokes that are held on to a ponderous
wooden axle-tree by two wooden pins. A platform bottom rests on the
axle-tree, and two fence-like sides.

The genie of the cart, the hewer of wood and drawer of water, is a
tall, wiry, bronze-colored Hindu. He has a yard of white gauze about
his waist, and another yard twisted up into a turban on his head. The
dictates of fashion do not interest him. He does not plod along year in
and year out behind his team for the pittance of sixty cents per day,
to squander on the outside of his person. Not he. He has a wife up near
Simla. He hopes to go back next year, and buy a bit of ground back from
the hill on the Allabadd road from his father-in-law, old Mohammed
Mudd. They have cold weather up in Simla, and he knows of a certain
gown he is going to buy of a Chinaman in the bazaar. But his bullocks
lag, and he saws on the gamooty rope that is attached to their noses,
and beats them half consciously with his rattan whip. Ofttimes he will
stand stark upright in the cart for a full half-hour, with his rattan
held above his head in a threatening attitude, and talk on and on to
his animals, apotheosizing their strength and patience, telling them
how they are sacred to Buddha, how they are the companions of man, and
how they shall have an extra chupa of paddy when the sun goes down,
and he has delivered to the merchant sahib on the quay his load of
gambier; or he reproves them for their slowness and want of interest,
and threatens them with the rod, and tells them to look how he holds it
above them. If in the course of the harangue one of the dumb listeners
pauses to pick a mouthful of young lallang grass by the roadside,
the softly crooning tones give place to a shriek of denunciation.

The agile Kling springs down from his improvised pulpit, and rushes
at the offender, calls him the offspring of a pariah dog, shows him
the rattan, rubs it against his nose, threatening to cut him up with
it into small pieces, and to feed the pieces to the birds. Then he
discharges a volley of blows on the sleek sides of the offender, that
seem to have little more effect than to raise a cloud of tiger gnats,
and to cause the recipient to bite faster at the tender herbs.

As the bullock-cart that has blocked our way, and at the same time
inspired this description, shambles along down the shady road, and
out of the reach of the syce's arms, the driver slips quietly up the
pole of the cart until a hand rests on either hump, and commences
to talk in a half-aggrieved, half-caressing tone to his team. Our
syce translates. "He say bullock very bad to go to sleep before the
palanquin of the Heaven-Born. If they no be better soon, their souls
will no become men. He say he sorry that they make the great American
sahib angry."

The singular trio passes on, the driver praising and reprimanding
by turns in the soft, musical tongue of his people, the historic
beasts swinging lazily along, regardless of their illustrious past,
all unconscious of the fact that their names are embalmed in sacred
writ and Indian legend, and rounding a corner of the broad, red road,
are lost to view amid the olive-green shadows of a clump of gently
swaying bamboo. To me, for the moment, they seem to disappear, like
phantoms, into the mists of the dim centuries, from out of which my
imagination has called them forth.

Soon you are at the wide-open gates of the Botanic Garden. A perfect
riot of strange tropical foliage bursts upon the view. The clean, red
road winds about and among avenues of palms, waringhans, dark green
mangosteens, casuarinas, and the sweet-smelling hibiscus, all alike
covered with a hundred different parasitic vines and ferns. Artificial
lakes and moats are filled with the giant pods of the superb Victoria
regia, and the flesh-colored cups of the lotus.

In the translucent green twilight of the flower-houses a hundred
varieties of the costly orchids thrive--not costly here. A shipload
can be bought of the natives for three cents apiece.

Walks carry you out into the dim aisles of the native jungle. Monkeys,
surprised at your footsteps, spring from limb to limb, and swing,
chattering, out of sight in a mass of rubber-vines. Splendid
macadamized roads, that are kept in perfect repair by a force of
naked Hindus and an iron roller drawn by six unwilling, hump-backed
bullocks, spread out over the island in every direction. Leave one at
any point outside the town, and plunge into the bordering jungle,
and you are liable to meet a tiger or a herd of wild boar. The
tigers swim across the straits from the mainland, and occasionally
strike down a Chinaman. It is said that if a Chinaman, a Malay, and
a European are passing side by side through a field, the tiger will
pick out the Chinaman to the exclusion of the other two.

Acres upon acres of pineapples stretch away on either hand, while
patches of bananas and farms of coffee are interspersed with spice
trees and sago swamps.

This road system is the secret of the development of the agriculture,
and one of the secrets of the rapid growth of the great English
colonies. Were it not for the great black python, that lies sleeping in
the road in front of you, or the green iguana that hangs in a timboso
tree over your head, or a naked runner pulling a rickshaw, you might
think you were travelling the wide asphaltum streets of Washington.

The home of the European in Singapore is peculiar to the country. The
parks about their great bungalows are small copies of the Botanic
Gardens--filled with all that is beautiful in the flora of the
East. From five to twenty servants alone are kept to look after its
walks and hedges and lawns.

A bungalow proper may consist of but a half-dozen rooms, and yet look
like a vast manor house. It is the generous sweep of the verandas
running completely around the house that lends this impression. Behind
its bamboo chicks you retire on your return from the office. The
Chinese "boy" takes your pipe-clayed shoes and cork helmet, and
brings a pair of heelless grass slippers. If a friend drop in, you
never think of inviting him into your richly furnished drawing-room,
but motion him to a long rattan chair, call "Boy, bring the master
a cup of tea," and pass a box of Manila cigars.

Bungalows are one story high, with a roof of palm thatch, and are
raised above the ground from two to five feet by brick pillars, leaving
an open space for light and air beneath. Nearly every day it rains
for an hour in torrents. The hot, steaming earth absorbs the water,
and the fierce equatorial sun evaporates it, only to return it in a
like shower the next day. So every precaution must be taken against
dampness and dry-rot.

In every well-ordered bungalow seven to nine servants are an
absolute necessity, while three others are usually added from time
to time. The five elements, if I may so style them, are the "boy,"
or boys, the cook and his helpers, the horseman, the water-carrier,
the gardener, and the maid. The adjuncts are the barber, the wash man,
the tailor, and the watchman. In a mild way, you are at the mercy of
these servants. Their duties are fixed by caste, one never intruding
on the work of another. You must have all or none. Still this is
no hardship. Only newcomers ever think, of trying to economize on
servant bills. The record of the thermometer is too appalling, and
you speedily become too dependent on their attentions.

The Chinese "boy"--he is always the "boy" until he dies--is the
presiding genius of the house. He it is who brings your tea and fruit
to the bedside at 6 A.M., and lays out your evening suit ready for
dinner, puts your studs in your clean shirt, brings your slippers,
knows where each individual article of your wardrobe is kept, and,
in fact, thinks of a hundred and one little comforts you would never
have known of, had he not discovered them. He is your valet de chambre,
your butler, your steward and your general agent, your interpreter and
your directory. He controls the other servants with a rod of iron,
but bows to the earth before the mem, or the master. For his ten
Mexican dollars a month he takes all the burdens from your shoulders,
and stands between you and the rude outside polyglot world. He is
a hero-worshipper, and if you are a Tuan Besar--great man--he will
double his attentions, and spread your fame far and wide among his
brother majordomos.

But a description of each member of the ménage and their duties would
be in a large measure the description of the odd, complex life of
the East.

The growth of Singapore since its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles
in 1819 would do honor to the growth of one of our Western cities.

Within three months after the purchase of the ground from the Sultan
of Johore, Raffles wrote to Lord Warren Hastings, the Governor:--

"We have a growing colony of nearly five thousand souls," and a little
later one of his successors wrote apologetically to Lord Auckland,
discussing some project relating to Singapore finance;--

"These details may appear to your Lordship petty, but then everything
connected with these settlements is petty, except their annual surplus
cost to the Government of India."

To-day the city and colony has a population of over one million,
and a revenue of five million dollars--a magnificent monument to its
founder's foresight!

From a commercial and strategic stand-point, the site of the city is
unassailable. When the English and the Dutch divided the East Indies
by drawing a line through the Straits of Malacca,--the English to hold
all north, the Dutch all south,--the crafty Dutchman smiled benignly,
with one finger in the corner of his eye, and went back to his coffee
and tobacco trading in the beautiful islands of Java and Sumatra,
pitying the ignorance of the Englishman, who was contented with the
swampy jungles of an unknown and savage neck of land, little thinking
that inside of a half century all his products would come to this
same despised district for a market, while his own colonies would
retrograde and gradually pass into the hands of the English.

Singapore is one of the great cities of the world, the centre of all
the East Indian commerce, the key of southern Asia, and one of the
massive links in the armored chain with which Great Britain encircles
the globe.



A FIGHT WITH ILLANUM PIRATES

The Yarn of a Yankee Skipper


The Daily Straits Times on the desk before me contained a vivid
word picture of the capture of the British steamship Namoa by three
hundred Chinese pirates, the guns of Hong Kong almost within sight,
and the year of our Lord 1890 just drawing to a close. The report
seemed incredible.

I pushed the paper across the table to the grizzled old captain
of the Bunker Hill and continued my examination of the accounts of
a half-dozen sailors of whom he was intent on getting rid. By the
time I had signed the last discharge and affixed the consular seal
he had finished the article and put it aside with a contemptuous
"Humph!" expressive of his opinion of the valor of the crew and
officers. I could see that he was anxious for me to give him my
attention while he related one of those long-drawn-out stories of
perhaps a like personal experience. I knew the symptoms and sometimes
took occasion to escape, if business or inclination made me forego
the pleasure. To-day I was in a mood to humor him.

There is always something deliciously refreshing in a sailor's yarn. I
have listened to hundreds in the course of my consular career, and
have yet to find one that is dull or prosy. They all bear the imprint
of truth, perhaps a trifle overdrawn, but nevertheless sparkling with
the salt of the sea and redolent of the romance of strange people
and distant lands. In listening, one becomes almost dizzy at the
rapidity with which the scene and personnel change. The icebergs and
the aurora borealis of the Arctic give place to the torrid waters
and the Southern Cross of the South Pacific. A volcanic island, an
Arabian desert, a tropical jungle, and the breadth and width of the
ocean serve as the theatre, while a Fiji Islander, an Eskimo, and
a turbaned Arab are actors in a half-hour's tale. In interest they
rival Verne, Kingston, or Marryat. All they lack is skilled hands to
dress them in proper language.



I

THE CAPTAIN'S YARN


The captain helped himself to one of my manilas and began:--

I've nothing to say about the fate of the poor fellows on the Namoa,
seeing the captain was killed at the first fire, but it looks to me
like a case of carelessness which was almost criminal. The idea of
allowing three hundred Chinese to come aboard as passengers without
searching them for arms. Why! it is an open bid to pirates. Goes to
show pretty plain that these seas are not cleared of pirates. Sailing
ships nowadays think they can go anywhere without a pound of powder
or an old cutlass aboard, just because there is an English or Dutch
man-of-war within a hundred miles. I don't know what we'd have done
when I first traded among these islands without a good brass swivel
and a stock of percussion-cap muskets.

Let me see; it was in '58, I was cabin boy on the ship Bangor. Captain
Howe, hale old fellow from Maine, had his two little boys aboard. They
are merchants now in Boston. I've been sailing for them on the Elmira
ever since. We were trading along the coast of Borneo. Those were
great days for trading in spite of the pirates. That was long before
iron steamers sent our good oaken ships to rot in the dockyards of
Maine. Why, in those days you could see a half-dozen of our snug
little crafts in any port of the world, and I've seen more American
flags in this very harbor of Singapore than of any other nation. We
had come into Singapore with a shipload of ice (no scientific ice
factories then), and had gone along the coast of Java and Borneo to
load with coffee, rubber, and spices, for a return voyage. We were
just off Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, and about loaded, when the
captain heard that gold had been discovered somewhere up near the head
of the Rejang. The captain was an adventurous old salt, and decided
to test the truth of the story; so, taking the long-boat and ten men,
he pulled up the Sarawak River to Kuching and got permission of Rajah
Brooke to go up the Rejang on a hunting expedition. The Rajah was
courteous, but tried to dissuade us from the undertaking by relating
that several bands of Dyaks had been out on head-hunting expeditions
of late, and that the mouth of the Rejang was infested by Illanum
pirates. The captain only laughed, and jokingly told Sir James that
if the game proved scarce he might come back and claim the prize
money on a boat-load of pirate heads.

We started at once,--for the captain let me go; we rowed some sixty
miles along the coast to the mouth of the Rejang; then for four days
we pulled up its snakelike course. It was my first bit of adventure,
and everything was strange and new. The river's course was like a
great tunnel into the dense black jungle. On each side and above we
were completely walled in by an impenetrable growth of great tropical
trees and the iron-like vines of the rubber. The sun for a few hours
each day came in broken shafts down through the foliage, and exposed
the black back of a crocodile, or the green sides of an iguana. Troops
of monkeys swung and chattered in the branches above, and at intervals
a grove of cocoanut broke the monotony of the scenery. Among them we
would land and rest for the day or night, eat of their juicy fruit,
and go on short excursions for game. A roasted monkey, some baked yams,
and a delicious rice curry made up a royal bill of fare, and as the
odor of our tobacco mixed with the breathing perfume of the jungle,
I would fall asleep listening to sea-yarns that sometimes ran back
to the War of 1812.



II


At the end of the fifth day we arrived at the head of the Rejang. Here
the river broke up into a dozen small streams and a swamp. A stockade
had been erected, and the Rajah had stationed a small company of
native soldiers under an English officer to keep the head-hunting
Dyaks in check. I don't remember what our captain found out in regard
to the gold fields, at least it was not encouraging; for he gave up
the search and joined the English lieutenant in a grand deer-hunt
that lasted for five days, and then started back accompanied by two
native soldiers bearing despatches to the Rajah.

It was easy running down the river with the current. One man in each
end of the boat kept it off roots, sunken logs, and crocodiles, and the
rest of us spent the time as best our cramped space allowed. Twice
we detected the black, ugly face of a Dyak peering from out the
jungle. The men were for hunting them down for the price on their
heads, but the captain said he never killed a human being except in
self-defence, and that if the Rajah wanted to get rid of the savages he
had better give the contract to a Mississippi slave-trader. Secretly,
I was longing for some kind of excitement, and was hoping that the
men's clamorous talk would have some effect. I never doubted our
ability to raid a Dyak village and kill the head-hunters and carry off
the beautiful maidens. I could not see why a parcel of blacks should
be such a terror to the good Rajah, when Big Tom said he could easily
handle a dozen, and flattered me by saying that such a brawny lad as
I ought to take care of two at least.

In the course of three days we reached the mouth of the river, and
prepared the sail for the trip across the bay to the Bangor. Just as
everything was in readiness, one of those peculiar and rapid changes
in the weather, that are so common here in the tropics near the
equator, took place. A great blue-black cloud, looking like an immense
cartridge, came up from the west. Through it played vivid flashes of
lightning, and around it was a red haze. "A nasty animal," I heard the
bo's'n tell the captain, and yet I was foolishly delighted when they
decided to risk a blow and put out to sea. The sky on all sides grew
darker from hour to hour. A smell of sulphur came to our nostrils. It
was oppressively hot; not a breath of wind was stirring. The sail
flapped uselessly against the mast, and the men labored at the oars,
while streams of sweat ran from their bodies.

The captain had just taken down the mast, when, without a moment's
warning, the gale struck us and the boat half filled with water. We
managed to head it with the wind, and were soon driving with the
rapidity of a cannon-ball over the boiling and surging waters. It was
a fearful gale; we blew for hours before it, ofttimes in danger of a
volcanic reef, again almost sunk by a giant wave. I baled until I was
completely exhausted. But the long-boat was a stanch little craft, and
there were plenty of men to manage it, so as long as we could keep her
before the wind, the captain felt no great anxiety as to our safety.



III


At about six bells in the afternoon, the wind fell away, and the
rain came down in torrents, leaving us to pitch about on the rapidly
decreasing waves, wet to the skin and unequal to another effort. We
were within a mile of a rocky island that rose like a half-ruined
castle from the ocean. The Dyak soldiers called it Satang Island,
and I have sailed past it many a time since. Without waiting for
the word, we rowed to it and around it, before we found a suitable
beach on which to land. One end of the island rose precipitous and
sheer above the beach a hundred feet, and ended in a barren plateau
of some two dozen acres. The remainder comprised some hundred acres
of sand and rocks, on which were half a dozen cocoanut trees and a
few yams. Along the beach we found a large number of turtles' eggs.

The captain, remembering the Rajah's caution in regard to pirates,
decided not to make a light, but we were wet and hungry and overcame
his scruples, and soon had a huge fire and a savory repast of coffee,
turtles' eggs, and yams. At midnight it was extinguished, and a
watch stationed on top of the plateau. Toward morning I clambered
grumblingly up the narrow, almost perpendicular sides of the rift
that cut into the rocky watch-tower. I did not believe in pirates
and was willing to take my chances in sleep. I paced back and forth,
inhaling deep breaths of the rich tropical air; below me the waves
beat in ripples against the rugged beach, casting off from time to
time little flashes of phosphorescent light, and mirroring in their
depths the hardly distinguishable outline of the Southern Cross. The
salt smell of the sea was tinged with the spice-laden air of the
near coast. Drowsiness came over me. I picked up a musket and paced
around the little plateau. The moon had but just reached its zenith,
making all objects easily discernible. The smooth storm-swept space
before me reflected back its rays like a well-scrubbed quarter-deck;
below were the dark outlines of my sleeping mates. I could hear the
light wind rustling through the branches of the casuarina trees that
fringed the shore. I paused and looked over the sea. Like a charge
of electricity a curious sensation of fear shot through me. Then an
intimation that some object had flashed between me and the moon. I
rubbed my eyes and gazed in the air above, expecting to see a night
bird or a bat. Then the same peculiar sensation came over me again,
and I looked down in the water below just in time to see the long,
keen, knife-like outline of a pirate prau glide as noiselessly as a
shadow from a passing cloud into the gloom of the island.  Its great,
wide-spreading, dark red sails were set full to the wind, and hanging
over its sides by ropes were a dozen naked Illanums, guiding the
sensitive craft almost like a thing of life. Within the prau were
two dozen fighting men, armed with their alligator hide buckler,
long, steel-tipped spear, and ugly, snake-like kris. A third prau
followed in the wake of the other two, and all three were lost in
the blackness of the overhanging cliffs.



With as little noise as possible, I ran across the plain and warned my
companion, then picked my way silently down the defile to the camp. The
captain responded to my touch and was up in an instant. The men were
awakened and the news whispered from one to another. Gathering up
what food and utensils we possessed, we hurried to get on top of
the plateau before our exact whereabouts became known. The captain
hoped that when they discovered we were well fortified and there was
no wreck to pillage, they would withdraw without giving battle. They
had landed on the opposite side of the island from our boat and might
leave it undisturbed. We felt reasonably safe in our fortress from
attacks. There were but two breaks in its precipitous sides, each a
narrow defile filled with loose boulders that could easily be detached
and sent thundering down on an assailant's head. On the other hand,
our shortness of food and water made us singularly weak in case of
siege. But we hoped for the best. Two men were posted at each defile,
and as nothing was heard for an hour, most of us fell asleep.



IV


It was just dawn, when we were awakened by the report of two muskets
and the terrific crashing of a great boulder, followed by groans
and yells. With one accord we rushed to the head of the cañon.
The Illanums, naked, with the exception of party-colored sarongs
around their waists, with their bucklers on their left arms and
their gleaming knives strapped to their right wrists, were mounting
on each other's shoulders, forcing a way up the precipitous defile,
unmindful of the madly descending rocks that had crushed and maimed
more than one of their number. They were fine, powerful fellows, with
a reddish brown skin that shone like polished ebony. Their hair was
shorn close to their heads; they had high cheek bones, flat noses,
syrah-stained lips, and bloodshot eyes. In their movements they were
as lithe and supple as a tiger, and commanded our admiration while
they made us shudder. We knew that they neither give nor take quarter,
and for years had terrorized the entire Bornean coast.

We were ready to fire, but a gesture from the captain restrained us;
our ammunition was low, and he wished to save it until we actually
needed it. By our united efforts we pried off two of the volcanic
rocks, which, with a great leap, disappeared into the darkness below,
oftentimes appearing for an instant before rushing to the sea. Every
time an Illanum fell we gave a hearty American cheer, which was
answered by savage yells. Still they fought on and up, making little
headway. We were gradually relaxing our efforts, thinking that they
were sick of the affair, when the report of a musket from the opposite
side of the island called our attention to the bo's'n, who had been
detailed to guard the other defile.

The bo's'n and one native soldier were fighting hand to hand with a
dozen pirates who were forcing their way up the edge of the cliff. Half
of the men dashed to their relief just in time to see the soldier go
over the precipice locked in the arms of a giant Illanum. One volley
from our muskets settled the hopes of the invaders.

Our little party was divided, and we were outnumbered ten to one. One
of the sailors in dislodging a boulder lost his footing and went
crashing down with it amid the derisive yells of the pirates. Suddenly
the conflict ceased and the pirates withdrew. In a short time we
could see them building a number of small fires along the beach, and
the aroma of rice curry came up to us with the breeze. The captain, I
could see, was anxious, although my boyish feelings did not go beyond
a sense of intoxicating excitement. I heard him say that nothing but
a storm or a ship could save us in case we were besieged; that it
was better to have the fight out at once and die with our arms in
our hands than to starve to death.

Giving each a small portion of ship biscuit and a taste of water,
he enjoined on each a careful watchfulness and a provident use of
our small stock of provisions.

I took mine in my hand and walked out on the edge of the cliff somewhat
sobered. Directly below me were the pirates, and at my feet I noticed
a fragment of rock that I thought I could loosen. Putting down my food,
I foolishly picked up a piece of timber which I used as a lever, when,
without warning, the mass broke away, and with a tremendous bound
went crashing down into the very midst of the pirates, scattering
them right and left, and ended by crushing one of the praus that was
drawn up on the sand.

In an instant the quiet beach was a scene of the wildest confusion. A
surging, crowding mass of pirates with their krises between their
teeth dashed up the cañon, intent on avenging their loss. I dropped
my lever and rushed back to the men, nearly frightened to death at
the result of my temerity. There was no time for boulders; the men
reached the brink of the defile just in time to welcome the assailants
with a broadside. Their lines wavered, but fresh men took the places
of the fallen, and they pushed on. Another volley from our guns,
and the dead and wounded encumbered the progress of the living. A
shower of stones and timbers gave us the light, and they withdrew
with savage yells to open the siege once more. Only one of our men
had been wounded,--he by an arrow from a blowpipe.



V


All that night we kept watch. The next morning we were once more
attacked, but successfully defended ourselves with boulders and our
cutlasses. Yet one swarthy pirate succeeded in catching the leg of
the remaining native soldier and bearing him away with them. With
cessation of hostilities, we searched the top of the island for food
and water. At one side of the tableland there was a break in its
surface and a bench of some dozen acres lay perhaps twenty feet below
our retreat. We cautiously worked our way down to this portion and
there to our delight found a number of fan-shaped traveller's palms
and monkey-cups full of sweet water, which with two wild sago palms
we calculated would keep us alive a few days at all events.

We were much encouraged at this discovery, and that night collected
a lot of brush from the lower plain and lit a big fire on the
most exposed part of the rocks. We did not care if it brought a
thousand more pirates as long as it attracted the attention of a
passing ship. Two good nine-pounders would soon send our foes in all
directions. We relieved each other in watching during the night, and
by sunrise we were all completely worn out. The third day was one of
weariness and thirst under the burning rays of the tropical sun. That
day we ate the last of our ship biscuit and were reduced to a few
drops of water each. Starvation was staring us in the face. There
was but one alternative, and that was to descend and make a fight
for our boat on the beach. The bo's'n volunteered with three men to
descend the defile and reconnoitre. Armed only with their cutlasses
and a short axe, they worked their way carefully down in the shadow
of the rocks, while we kept watch above.

All was quiet for a time; then there arose a tumult of cries, oaths,
and yells. The captain gave the order, and pell-mell down the rift
we clambered, some dropping their muskets in their hurried descent,
one of which exploded in its fall. The bo's'n had found the beach
and our boat guarded by six pirates, who were asleep. Four of these
they succeeded in throttling. We pushed the boat into the surf,
expecting every moment to see one of the praus glide around the
projecting reef that separated the two inlets. We could plainly
hear their cries and yells as they discovered our escape, and with
a "heigh-ho-heigh!" our long-boat shot out into the placid ocean,
sending up a shower of phosphorescent bubbles. We bent our backs to
the oars as only a question of life or death can make one. With each
stroke the boat seemed almost to lift itself out of the water. Almost
at the same time a long dark line, filled with moving objects, dashed
out from the shadow of the cliffs, hardly a hundred yards away.

It was a glorious race over the dim waters of that tropical sea. I
as a boy could not realize what capture meant at the hands of our
cruel pursuers. My heart beat high, and I felt equal to a dozen
Illanums. My thoughts travelled back to New England in the midst of
the excitement. I saw myself before the open arch fire in a low-roofed
old house, that for a century had withstood the fiercest gales on the
old Maine coast, and from whose doors had gone forth three generations
of sea-captains. I saw myself on a winter night relating this very
story of adventure to an old gray-haired, bronzed-faced father, and
a mother whose parting kiss still lingered on my lips, to my younger
brother, and sister. I could feel their undisguised admiration as I
told of my fight with pirates in the Bornean sea. It is wonderful how
the mind will travel. Yet with my thoughts in Maine, I saw and felt
that the Illanums were gradually gaining on us. Our men were weary
and feeble from two days' fasting, while the pirates were strong,
and thirsting for our blood.

The captain kept glancing first at the enemy and then at a musket
that lay near him. He longed to use it, but not a man could be spared
from the oars. Hand over hand they gained on us. Turning his eyes on
me as I sat in the bow, the captain said, while he bent his sinewy
back to the oar, "Jack, are you a good shot?"

I stammered, "I can try, sir."

"Very well, get the musket there in the bow.  It is loaded.  Take good
aim and shoot that big fellow in the stern. If you hit him, I'll make
you master of a ship some day."

Tremblingly I raised the heavy musket as directed. The boat was
unsteady, I hardly expected to hit the chief, but aimed low, hoping
to hit one of the rowers at least. I aimed, closed my eyes, and
fired. With the report of the musket the tall leader sprang into the
air and then fell head fore-most amid his rowers. I could just detect
the gleam of the moonlight on the jewelled handle of his kris as it
sank into the waters. I had hit my man. The sailors sent up a hearty
American cheer and a tiger, as they saw the prau come to a standstill.

Our boat sprang away into the darkness. We did not cease rowing until
dawn,--then we lay back on our oars and stretched our tired backs
and arms. I had taken my place at the oar during the night.

Away out on the northern horizon we saw a black speck; on the southern
horizon another. The captain's glass revealed one to be the pirate
prau with all sails set, for a wind had come up with the dawn. The
other we welcomed with a cheer, for it was the Bangor. Enfeebled
and nearly famishing, we headed toward it and rowed for life. How we
regretted having left our sails on the island. The prau had sighted
us and was bearing down in full pursuit; we soon could distinguish
its wide-spreading, rakish sails almost touching the water as it
sped on. Then we made out the naked forms of the Illanums hanging
to the ropes, far out over the water, and then we could hear their
blood-curdling yell. It was too late; their yell was one of baffled
rage. It was answered by the deep bass tones of the swivel on board the
Bangor sending a ball skimming along over the waters, which, although
it went wide of its mark, caused the natives on the ropes to throw
themselves bodily across the prau, taking the great sail with them.

In another instant the red sail, the long, keen, black shell, the
naked forms of the fierce Illanums, were mixed in one undefinable
blot on the distant horizon.

And that was the skipper's yarn.





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