Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

did, possess any property, or pecuniary means. Nor till in 1845, four contiguous houses were occupied by has a single shilling ever been solicited for its support, about 130 children. for the New Orphan Asylum is founded on faith.

The expense of supporting these establishments was This statement will probably raise a smile of incre- entirely defrayed by unsolicited contributions. Upon dulity; but it is, nevertheless, a fact which cannot be this principle they were started, and even when sorely gainsaid. There is the extensive range of build- pressed, it was rigidly adhered to. A perusal of the ings, in substantial stones and mortar; there, too, are author's journal shews that he was often reduced to 300 living witnesses, the recipients of its bounty great extremities, from which he was always relieved and protection. On every Wednesday, the doors in what will no doubt be deemed an unaccountable are open to all who choose to inspect for themselves manner. Thus, under date August 10, 1844, is the this monument of love and charity. Enter: in this following passage : stern, practical, matter-of-fact nineteenth century, it 'In the greatest need, when not one penny was in is refreshing to halt for a moment on such a verdant hand, I received L.5 from a brother at Hackney.' oasis. There is no charge for admission; neither are And again : the attendants permitted to receive any fees; but in 'Aug. 16, 1845. Our poverty is extremely great. the entrance-hall is a small box labelled, For the Use The trial of faith as sharp as ever, or sharper. It is of the Orphans ;' and if you think fit to drop a coin ten o'clock, and there are no means yet for a dinner. therein, you may do so. Visitors are shewn the I now thought of some articles which I should be able dormitories, each little bed with its snowy coverlet; to do without, to dispose of them for the benefit of the wardrobes, fitted up with presses, wherein every the orphans, when one of the labourers (teachers) gave child deposits his or her Sunday clothing with admir- me L.1. There were also taken out of the boxes in able precision of folding and arrangement; the nursery, the orphan houses 1s. 6d., and by knitting came in and its tiny inmates, their basinets and toys; and the 2s. 3d., and from A. A., 2s.' dining-room, so large and lofty, and well ventilated, Such passages as these are of continual recurrence. that it must be a pleasure to eat therein. Then there Frequently, the last crust of bread, and sip of milk, are the schools, three in number—the girls', the boys', was consumed, and Muller never contracted debts. and the infants—all of whom go through their exer- Over and over again, the daily record commences cises and sing their simple melodies, wearing, withal, with, ‘Not a penny in hand!' and ends with, 'Only a healthy, hearty, and happy expression, which speaks a few pence left ;' and there was no treasure to draw volumes for the system under which they are trained. upon, save the inexhaustible fund of faith—a fund Passing on, we visit the cutting-out' and 'making, which indeed appears to have fully answered every up' rooms, the bakery, the dairy, the kitchens, the demand upon it, for the wants of the day were always laundry, the bath-rooms-all well arranged, and indeed fully supplied. perfect in their appointments. Another range of But the great work was yet to come. In 1845, offices is devoted to various store-rooms. There are Muller first began to conceive the idea of building an stores of flour, of bread, of meat, of rice, of oatmeal asylum for the accommodation of 300 orphans, and -good Scotch meal, which forms the staple of the having fully considered the undertaking, "I judged,' children's breakfast. There are stores of shoes, of he says, 'that the cost would be L.10,000; and on clothing, of soap, of linen, of crockery, and even of November 4, I began asking the Lord for means.' toys for the delectation of the younger ones. The Strangely enough, on the following 10th December, staff of teachers, nurses, and servants is large and L.1000 came to hand. This was the largest donation efficient; the mental and physical wants of the which, up to that time, had ever been received ; “but children are amply provided for, and their comfort when this money came,' he writes, “I was as calm, as most sedulously studied; and all this, as many well quiet as if I had only received one shilling; for my know, has been brought into existence literally out of heart was looking out for answers. Therefore, having nothing. Doubt it not. Were you as incredulous as faith concerning the matter, this donation did not in Thomas of Didymus, yet must the evidence of your the least surprise me.' Other donations followed, senses convince you of the reality of this extraordinary including a second sum of L.1000 on the 30th of fact. Seek not to explain it away, for the truth of December; and then he relates how he,'having asked the history attached to that asylum is incontrovertibly the Lord to go before him, vent out to look for a established.

piece of ground' whereon to build. That history is to be read in a little book, entitled Here is a picture of startling sublimity! Imagine A Narrative of some of the Lord's Dealings with George a gaunt, grave man, attired in a suit of rusty black, Muller *ma quaint, strange title, which, of itself, seems walking forth into the bustling city, like the pilgrims to remove us far from the world of steam, and gas, in Vanity Fair, and in all simplicity of heart, and and electric telegraphs. It is written in a simple style, earnestness of faith, seeking to be so directed to a wherein is no seeking after effect or ornament, and suitable site. One almost expects to read on the next consists principally of extracts from the author's page, how that one of shining countenance appeared diary. I much fear, that in giving the substance of this unto him, and bade him be of good cheer.' narrative, I shall be unable to render it due justice; It is not my intention to follow George Muller but my limited space forbids expansion. Here it is : throughout the gradual process by which he effected his

George Muller's creed is so unsectarian, that I have purpose; suffice it to say that, by little and little, the never yet been able to ascertain its precise nature; necessary funds flowed in. The building, which, with he, indeed, distinctly states that he does not belong the land, cost eventually upwards of L.15,000, was to any sect, and his writings, no less than his deeds, commenced in July 1847; and in June 1849, the confirm the assertion. He is a Prussian by birth, and children were removed from Wilson Street to the emigrated, in 1829, to England, where, to quote from healthier locality of Ashley Down. No flourish of the narrative, he began the service of caring for trumpets ushered in the event; quietly and unostenchildren who are bereaved of both parents by death, tatiously the children and their more than father born in wedlock, and are in destitute circumstances, walked from the one house to the other; and save on December 9, 1835. For ten years he carried on that the old school-rooms were closed, whilst merry his work of love in Wilson Street, first renting a voices awoke the unwonted echoes of the Down, no single house for the use of his protégés. As their change was perceptible. number increased, other premises became necessary ; Little more than twelve months elapsed ere Muller

began to contemplate an extension of his work ; and undeterred by the absence of visible means, the

# Nisbet & Co. London : 1856.

frequency of pecuniary difficulties, or the magnitude building. Then there are donations of books, of coals, of the undertaking, he determined to build another of provisions, and of clothes-old and new; donations, wing, capable of receiving other 400 orphans, with a indeed, in almost every conceivable form. And in this view to the ultimate extension of this additional manner, to sum up all in his own words, ' without any number to 700, or 1000 in the whole. The first dona- one having been personally applied to for anything, tion received for this purpose was ten shillings! But, the sum of L.84,441, 6s. 31d. has been given to me for nothing discouraged, he persevered ; and in May the orphans since the commencement of the work.' 1852, the building fund amounted to L.3530, 9s. 04d. And greatly has it been needed, for, in addition to the The next year this amount had increased to L.12,531. expense of purchasing land, and building and furnishing In 1854, upwards of L.5000 was added to the fund; the asylum, the present average expense for each of and in 1855, the sum in hand being L.23,059, 128.04d. the orphans is stated at L.12, 6s. 8d. per annum. --always the odd farthing-the new building was Not the least peculiar feature in the subscriptioncommenced, and is, at this present writing, on the list is the absence of all personal publicity. Those point of being opened for the reception of the forlorn who give to the New Orphan Asylum must do so little beings for wliose benefit it is designed. Whether from a pure and unmixed feeling of charity, for their the benevolent founder will be enabled to complete names are carefully withheld; even their initials are his self-imposed task, by the construction of the rarely given; nor would any offer induce a departure intended third building, time alone can determine. from this rule. Let us hope so.

No sectarian doctrines are taught in the schools, Muller seems to have been incited to his efforts by neither is any interest necessary to obtain admission the success of a similar institution at Halle, in Prussia, for orphans. If they be deprived of father and mother, founded in 1696 by A. H. Franke, professor of divinity. and in distress, that is sufficient passport to the large This is the largest charitable establishment for poor warm heart and helping-hand of George Muller. Long children in the world, containing 2000 inmates, and is may his life be spared, and his labours blest! in a flourishing condition. We will here let our author speak for himself:

Franke is long since gone to his rest, but he spoke PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MECHANICS' to my soul in 1826, and he is speaking to my soul

INSTITUTES. now; and to his example I am greatly indebted in having been stirred up to care about poor children in It is not many years since the upper classes of this general, and about poor orphans in particular.

country enjoyed exclusively, as it by prescription, the * At the last census in 1851, there were, in England advantage of newspapers, periodicals, and books. In and Wales, thirty-nine orphan establishments, and the towns, even of a moderate size, they had their readingtotal number of orphans provided for through them rooms and libraries; while their artificer brethren, amounted only to 3764; but at the time the New when they would indulge in intellectual luxuries, were Orphan House was being built, there were about 6000 obliged to be satisfied-if indeed they had the luck to young orphans in the prisons of England. Does not come into turn at all with a ten minutes' glance at this fact call aloud for an extension of orphan institu- the one political paper of the tap-room. Times are now tions ? By God's help, I will do what I can to keep changed. Throughout a considerable portion of the poor orphans from prigon.'

country, even in places where the upper classes are not The utter abnegation of self which pervades the numerous enough to afford a news-room, the workingwork is remarkable and characteristic. What have I classes-whose name is Legion everywhere-have done,' he cries out in one place, that men should their mechanics' institute; and this has not only its praise me? I have only sought to be used as the reading-room, but its educational classes, its lectures honoured instrument of saving young children, who on interesting and important subjects, its concerts of have neither father nor mother, from sin and vice.' music, and its enlivening soirées. Most of these instiTruly, such men are in the world, but not of it. tutions are self-supporting; but all are largely assisted

Contributions appear to arrive from all parts of the by what used to be considered the antagonistic class, globe, and from all kinds and conditions of men. Here with contributions of money, gratuitous lectures, and are a few entries, for example: “From negro brethren gratuitous teaching. Even ladies assume the part of in Demerara, 12 dollars ; ' . From an archdeacon, and schoolmistresses for there are female classes as well one of the Queen's chaplains, 12 guineas ;' 'From one as male and may be seen patiently assisting their of the orphans formerly under our care, a sovereign;' humbler sisters in reading, writing, cutting out clothes, * From Mount Lebanon, L.2, and from Orleans, five &c. Of what is this institution not susceptible? francs ;' “From an Israelitish gentleman, an entire Already it has begun to add to its system penny. stranger, L.5;' 'From a shepherd in Australia, who banks, which inculcate lessons, as good as any of the had read my narrative while tending his flock, 12s.' rest, to its juvenile members; and already access to The amounts vary from a single farthing to thousands higher than mechanical employments has been freely of pounds; and the receipt of a copper coin, or the opened to such of the members as turn to best presentation of a check for L.5000, is recorded in an account the scholastic and practical teachings they uniformly grateful strain.

enjoy. Nor is it to money alone that assistance is confined. The institution of examinations by the Society of One gentleman offers his services gratuitously as an Arts is certainly the most important event in the architect, and another as a surgeon. Another gives history of mechanics’ institutes. The Society offers to glass for the three hundred windows of the new test the acquirements of the pupils, and to bestor building, and others send jewellery and ornaments, prizes on the most deserving, with certificates of prosilver spoons and tea-pots, watches, gold and silver, gress which will be worth more to the possessors than old coins and needlework—to be sold for the benefit any number of ordinary letters of recommendation. of the institution. On one day, three autographs of This fact will be understood when it is known that William IV., two of Sir Robert Peel, and one of Lord from four to five hundred of the leading firms have Melbourne,' were received ; and on another, 'a Cover- formally consented to receive these certificates 23 dale Bible of 1535, perfected almost sheet by sheet.' | testimonials worthy of credit.' When this system Perhaps the most singular gift of this kind was, 'A comes to maturity by being responded to and aided silver medal, given to the donor for being engaged in by the institutes themselves, the jealous complains the taking of Java; but, laying down his honour, he will cease of clever but friendless young men, for desires to have this medal used to lay a stone in the new the poorest youth in a well-doing village may look

upon the Society of Arts as a powerful friend, from The discouraging fact of the diminishing number of whom he will receive a warm introduction to the such pupils would seem, on the face of the Report, first commercial and manufacturing houses in the to be strangely at variance with another—that an kingdom.

increase in the infinitesimal fees does not seem to There is another great advantage which has opened affect, in general, the number of the male pupils : but to the institutes--their banding together in a certain both these facts seem to us to depend upon the same local union, which gives the poorest and most recent principle. The average subscription is three halfsome share of the advantages of money and experience. pence per week, which usually includes not merely the The Yorkshire Union has just published its annual classes, but frequently the library, lecture, and newsReport, which shews very clearly what may be done in room. But what kind of education is it possible to this way. The Report itself is a history, carried on give for this sum ? In the sixty-seven best instifrom year to year, of a certain number of institutes, tutions of Yorkshire, we are told, 75 per cent. of the and must be an admirable guide in the reformation of pupils were learning nothing more than reading, old and the formation of new ones. A delegate from writing, and arithmetic. This, however small the each institute in the Union is sent to the annual outlay for each, was a bad speculation, for such acquimeeting, and each institute furnishes its own Report sitions would hardly improve the learners' prospects ; for the period. The central committee gives advice, while, on the other hand, an increase to 4d. or 6d. per and, as far as possible, aid; it inquires into the merits week would be considered prudently spent money, of lecturers, and publishes the names of the paid and inasmuch as it would open out to them access to a gratuitous; it sends its agent, when requested, to chance of higher and more remunerative employment. assist the local committees, and to deliver lectures; As for the girls, of what pecuniary advantage is and finally, it lends books, in fifty volumes at a time, education of any kind to them? Why should not the to institutes in need of the supply. Such advantages mothers have their assistance at home, and save the are obtained at a mere nominal fee: 58. per annum half-pence their classes cost? These questions may when the members are 70 or under; 10s. when they be, to a partial extent, answered in domiciliary visits are between that and 150; and 20s. when they exceed by the benevolent instructresses ; but the practical that number.

solution will come before long of itself. The educated One interesting feature of the Union is the Itinerat- young men will not marry profoundly ignorant women, ing Village Library, for the advantage of the inhabit- and the mothers will then see that it is an excellent ants of villages where no mechanics' institute or local speculation to leave their daughters for a reasonable library exists. A subscriber to the library pays ld. time in the institute. per week or 1s. per quarter in advance. Places where From a comparative table given in the Report, there are 25 subscribers have the use of 50 volumes, is clear that lectures are not so popular a feature as and for each additional 25 subscribers an additional 50 they have been; and in the Reports of the affiliated volumes. The history of this system, as given in the institutes, the complaint is pretty general of the small Report, seems to shew that a reading-room is essential attendance on such occasions. This seems to us to to its full success. In three places, since the last be owing to the subjects being very frequently too Report, the result has been the establishment of high-pitched. In the lists of lectures we find a great independent libraries- the nuclei, probably, of insti- proportion that would do very well in the institututes. The system exists also in Norfolk, where its tions of the gentry, but are quite out of place in the operations were carried on last winter in forty mechanics' institutes of small towns and villages. The parishes. 'Upwards of 3000 publications had been taste of the institutes is shewn pretty clearly in the issued and circulated in the associated parishes, and issues of books from the libraries. At Leeds, where the Report adduced instances of the anxiety of the the members are probably of a better class than usual, labourers to read, or to have read to them, the con- theology, philosophy and education, poetry and the tents of the society's book-cases. These cases are drama, attracted, on an average, 1400 or 1500 readers ; thirty-one in number; they circulate among a popula- voyages and travels, 2300; fine arts and literature, tion of about 16,000, or three-fourths of the whole 3000; history and biography, between 5000 and 6000; district.'

the exact sciences, chemistry and natural philosophy, The number of institutes in the Yorkshire Union a few hundreds; and fiction, 14,166. The amusing is 130, with 20,960 members. The annual income of and the practically useful are the most popular 89 institutes is L.10,324. To shew the proportion of subjects for the masses : the elegant, the learned, the sexes, we may add that in 100 institutes there are and the recherché fit audience find-though few. 17,387 males and 1112 females. Among the few The Reports of the affiliated institutes appended complaints made in the Report is the falling off in the to the general Report of the Yorkshire Union, are number of female members, amounting on the average exceedingly interesting. Some of these societies are to 14.6 last year, and 10 per cent. the year before. shewn to be in a most flourishing state, while others The following remarks are made on this subject in the are in the depths of misfortune, the committee only Report from Ripon : "To those who know anything of consoling themselves with the idea, that an energetic the domestic economy of our poor, it need not be said canvass of the place may give a turn to events. The how much of its disorder, extravagance, and misery is most frequent complaint, however, is of want of owing to the want of proper training in early life. accommodation : this chokes the whole concern, keepThe daughters of the poor, sometimes from want of ing down even the classes, and is the more vexatious means, sometimes because the hard-working mothers that the sum required to build a complete institute is with large families require their help at home, are only about L.500. taken from school at the very time when its restraints, We have ourselves, however, no fear of the ultimate discipline, and instruction are most likely to be bene- result. Our only difficulty is in imagining how far an ficial. For the benefit of such, the ladies who work institution of such capabilities is to go as a lever for in our institute give their time and energies. On elevating the lower masses of the people. The thirst working evenings, they are in attendance to give of these lower masses for knowledge communicated in instruction in cutting-out, making, mending, knitting, an attractive form may be guessed by a statistical and whatever else in this department may be of use, statement on the subject of free libraries and museums as tending to the better ordering, comfort, and economy read to the Association for the Promotion of Social of the poor man's home. While the work is going on, Science by Mr David Chadwick of Salford. By this an instructive book is read, remarks are made, and document we learn incidentally, that last year the questions asked.

total number of visitors of the British Museum was

361,000, while that of the Royal Free Museum of notoriously treacherous and cruel, we found ample Salford was 580,000, and is expected this year to occupation in fishing alongside the ships, especially by exceed 800,000. The cause of this extraordinary torch-light, or in shooting the wild ducks and geese, difference can only be, that the British Museum is which hourly swept overhead, bound to those inlandclosed at six o'clock in summer, while that of Salford lakes reputed to be so abundant in Sumatra, and is kept open till dusk: in other words, the difference equally famous for the deadly miasma their vicinity between the numbers must be composed in great part emits. Even had we possessed the inclination, our of the working-classes.

time was limited; and before the expiration of a week,

the small fleet had separated, and was scattered over MY INTERVIEW WITH AN ACHENESE the intervening coast between Diamond Point and

Achen Head. We ourselves anchored off a wretched PRINCESS

village called Psatu Barra, so far from the land, that Not many years ago, a severe attack of what is known the natives brought off the rice in some of the largest in India as jungle-fever compelled me, at the sugges- proas, many of which were armed; all well equipped, tion of my medical advisers, to seek change of air and and so dangerous, as to oblige us to permit only one scenery, by visiting for a period that most delightful boat to come alongside at a time, whilst a main-deck and hospitable of eastern islands, Pulo Penang. watch rigidly observed the movements of all the other

Whilst there, I was so fortunate as to be the guest of boats hovering about us. The rice was measured a worthy Scotch merchant, a near relative of Viscount over at the gangway; and at every tenth measure, its Strathallan; and, as he had frequent commercial inter- equivalent, either in Turkey red or dollars, was handed course with the least frequented ports on the west to the proprietor, who, seated upon the poop, smoked coast of Sumatra, I gladly availed myself of his offer pipe after pipe of English tobacco, and drank brandy to accompany him on a betel-nut collecting cruise neat with as much apparent impunity as though it along the Pedir coast.

had been spring-water. The vessel we sailed in was his own, and in every We worked day and night, for the moonlight way fitted out suitably for the cruise in question, favoured us, and in less than three days had completed which was one not unattended with danger. The our cargo. Not only the hold, but every available people of Sumatra, especially those about the west cabin had been stuffed full of rice in bulk; and the coast, were notoriously treacherous, and by incli- result of this glut in cargo had well-nigh proved our nation and rearing, a horde of ruthless pirates-a destruction. Just when midway between Sumatra and blood-thirsty, reckless set, in whose hearts humanity Penang, we were overtaken by one of those fearful had never yet found a lodging-place; consequently, squalls so prevalent off Diamond Point, and which we went well armed: the ship carried six guns, and come upon the unwary so unexpectedly as to endanger an unusual complement of men, including ten Manilla the safety of the vessel. Our captain was an old gunners. We had three officers besides the captain, trader, but the great serenity of the night had, I am the supercargo, and myself, all armed with pistols persuaded, lulled him into an unsuspicious nap. At and cutlasses ; and last, though by no means least, a all events, the first notification we had of the squall famous old dog, the gift of a Danish captain, a was the crash of the topmasts going over the side, and creature nearly as high as a moderate-sized calf, and the simultaneous jerk of the vessel as she threw us out the best and most faithful watch we could rely upon of our berths, and bent, gunwale under, to the force in times of danger. After the watches were set, of the wind. The cabin light had been smashed to and the eight o'clock grog and biscuits had been atoms; the binnacle swept over the side; the heavens discussed, I should have liked to see the man that were obscured by an impenetrable pall; and in the durst venture upon deck before Phaon had been duly alarm and confusion of the moment, Buxo, the owner's warned, and coaxed into recognition. He would Hindostanee servant, and myself, rushing from our instantly, have been extended upon his back on the respective berths towards the companion-ladder, were deck, and have lain there, under the animal's powerful suddenly overtaken by, and completely hemmed in paws till the captain's or some other well-known voice with, what in our alarm we supposed to be the sea interposed for his liberation.

making a clean breach over the vessel. Never was With such means, offensive and defensive, a few there a more ludicrous spectacle than we must have cases of Spanish dollars, and a full cargo of Turkey presented to the astonished Seacunny,* when he came red cloth, we sailed from Penang one evening towards below, horn-lantern in hand, to ascertain the amount sunset; and after encountering the usual provoking of damage. The bulwarks of the side-cabins had given calms, so prevalent between that island and Diamond way under the pressure, and the whole volume of loose Point, eventually anchored off Achen Head-one of a rice stowed therein had literally and de facto nailed rather considerable fleet of trading-vessels, principally Buxo and myself to the opposite side of the vessel-a English and Danish, which were there assembled for dilemma from which we were liberated by the assistthe purpose of sharing amicably among them the ance of the lascars, as soon as they recovered from various points of the coast, so that the trading opera- their convulsions of laughter. tions of one captain might not clash with the interests After discharging our cargo of rice at Penang, we of another.

returned to the Pedir coast, and anchored off the In the course of a few days the commodore of this town of Pedir itself, which was the chief city of that betel-nut fleet-a veteran Dane, the oldest trader to independent principality, then under the sway of a Sumatra—had appointed the vessels to the various ranee or princess. Her highness, who had been pretrading-ports along the coast; and to us fell the lot of viously apprised of our advent, had caused a considerloading an intermediate cargo of rice, and carrying it able quantity of betel-nut to be warehoused in the to Penang; the supercargo in the meantime remaining immediate vicinity of her palace; and the day after upon the coast, bartering Turkey red for betel-nut, our arrival, we were invited ashore to a friendly and warehousing the cargo in convenient sheds against interview with the royal lady: at least, such was our return.

the intimation conveyed to us by an interpreter, Of Achen itself, I have very little to say; an open a native, who at the same time hinted mysteriously, and exposed roadstead, with a low uninviting coast, to that we had better land well armed and prepared reach which a formidable shoal had to be crossed, against treachery. possessed but small attraction for the little floating If truth must be told, not one amongst us relished colony of Europeans there assembled; and, in security from the risks to be incurred amongst a people

# Manilla helmsman.

the honour conferred; for my own part, despite a large scale. Immense quantities of rice were curiosity, I would have much preferred being left on boiled in hollow bamboos; and from the screaming board; but for mutual security, it was best that all of in the poultry-yard, we were convinced that great us that could be spared should leave the vessel ; and slaughter was going on there. The cookery was carried with as many arms secreted about our person as we on down stairs under the immediate supervision of could conveniently carry, we left the ship's side, and the princess's daughter, and in an incredibly short pulled in towards the landing-place. The distance space a really sumptuous repast was served up on was considerable, so that there was no hope of succour wooden platters. Some of the dishes were novel and from the vessel, should that be required. As we tasty, consisting of chickens stewed in cocoa-nut milk, approached, our spirits did not rise at the prospect well seasoned with green chillies and onions ; baked before us: the boat had to be pushed over a very yams were also by no means contemptible. After shallow bar, and we then entered a narrow river, partaking of this hospitality, we were escorted back whose banks were lined with luxuriant verdure, till a to the boat, which we found deep laden with fruit, sudden bend shut out the view of the sea, and brought vegetables, and poultry, the gift of her highness the us into the presence of some forty or fifty half-naked princess of Pedir. savages, who were all armed with formidable Malay After this interview, I visited the shore frequently, creeses, many of them also carrying spears. The loud and though but slightly versed in the Malay tongue, shouting and capering of these ruffians seemed any managed to carry on trifling conversa Emthing but conciliatory : however, the interpreter who boldened by impunity, I often pushed my walks accompanied us assured us that all was right, and we further perhaps than prudence might have dictated; jumped ashore, determined at all hazards to sell our but the younger of the princesses generally accomlives as dearly as possible.

panied me upon these tours, and her presence alone Forming a kind of guard of honour, preceded by a was a sufficient guarantee for my safety. The girlish drum and one or two ragged banners, this company delight she evinced whenever I was fortunate enough escorted us into a dense, and apparently impenetrable to bring down some gaily plumaged bird with my gun, brushwood, from which, however, we speedily emerged amply recompensed her for any fatigue or trouble. again, coming suddenly upon a wide clear space of A few days prior to our departure, three of the ground, which had hitherto been entirely shut out Malay lascars deserted, and, having obtained the from view, and in the centre of which rose a bamboo princess's permission to search for them in the environs and mud stockade, containing the palace of the prin- of her domains, accompanied by a native guard, we cess, and one or two smaller houses. The stockade penetrated far into the country, both on land and by had but one entrance-gate, and though it mounted water. On the river, the scenery was desolate and six guns, was in so deplorable a condition, that the wild. Now and then, a huge rhinoceros would poke up report alone of these cannon would have been almost his nose in unpleasant proximity to the boat; but, sufficient to shake it to the ground. The palace was apparently more alarmed than ourselves, would as more substantially built, and consisted of a large speedily retreat. Once, and only once, I caught sight bamboo and mat edifice, raised a considerable height of one beautiful bird of the bird of paradise species ; off the ground, and supported upon the stumps of trees the trees by the water-side teemed with animation, that had been evidently left there for the purpose and I do not remember to have ever seen so great a when the rest of the forest was cleared away. Up a variety of the monkey-tribe as were here, swinging rickety old ladder our party climbed into the presence from branch to branch. of royalty, and whilst her own subjects crouched on On shore I found the generality of the houses conall-fours around, we were permitted to approach the structed upon the same principle as the princess's musnud—which consisted of an empty rice-basket palace—that is, elevated upon poles. The country reversed—and to shake hands after English fashion. seemed in a high state of cultivation, and each house

Of the princess's personal appearance I have but had a well-stocked poultry-yard and kitchen-garden, little to say, save that she was portly, like most upon the produce of which, and the abounding fruits, orientals who live well; whilst her garments con- | in addition to a large supply of rice, the people subsisted sisted merely of a gold and silk tissue petticoat, and throve. with a loose shawl thrown over the shoulders. By A rather unexpected and ludicrous circumstance her side was seated an extremely good-looking girl brought my visit to Pedir to a sudden close: the about fifteen years of age, who proved to be her only princess had set her heart upon retaining me on the daughter. The floor of the apartment was liberally island as the future husband of her only daughter, strewed with cocoa-nuts, yams, and a great variety and to this intent offered my friends several boatof delicious fruits peculiar to these parts; there loads of betel-nut as an equivalent. I am sorry to were also huge piles of betel-nut and the betel-leaf, say that I was ungallant and unambitious enough to from which the assembled native courtiers supplied object to the intended honour, although, if I had known themselves; whilst one man, who may have been the my own interest better, I might by this time have prime-minister, was continually occupied in pounding been a prince in my own right. The old lady, howthe ingredients in a little mortar, from which he ever, was exceedingly obstinate; and refusing to consupplied the princess, who, having lost a great many tinue any further shipments until her demands had of her teeth, was thus saved the trouble of mastication. been complied with, we were compelled to go foraging I need hardly say that, owing to this practice, and at other ports; and very shortly afterwards, I bade a frequent expectorations, the floor was spotted like a final adieu to the Pedir coast and my prospects of leopard-skin.

royalty. We were welcomed with much courtesy, and feasted with fruits, rice-cakes, and the fresh milk of the cocoa

KOUAN-FOU-YOUAN. nut; then tobacco, rolled up in dry leaves, was handed round, and, princess and all, we fell a-smoking, and, through the medium of the interpreter, the palavering part of the business commenced. The princess In the fifth watch of the first day of the year, when winter undertook to supply us with a full cargo of betel- reigns in all his severity, my tender wife died. Is there on nut-the greater portion of which had been already earth a man more unhappy than I? Oh, if thou wert still collected -and to take, as equivalent, certain pieces alive, I would give thee a new robe for the new year! But, of Turkey red. These preliminaries being arranged, alas, thou hast descended to the gloomy kingdom watered preparations for dinner were commenced on rather by the Yellow Fountain. Come to me in the middle of

AN

ELEGY

ON

THE DEATH

OF

А

WIFE.

FROM THE CHINESE

« AnteriorContinuar »