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forced suddenly upon me, and a dozen pair of hands tried to lift me upon their respective beasts. But now my patience was exhausted, so, keeping firm hold of the bridle I had first taken with one hand, I hit right and left with the other, and calling upon my guide to do the same, we succeeded in clearing a little space around us. Now, then, behold your long-legged friend mounted upon a jackass in the streets of Alexandria; a boy behind, holding by his tail and whipping him up ; Charles, who had been lost sight of in the crowd, upon another; and my guide upon a third ; and off we go among a crowd of Jews and Greeks, Turks and Arabs, and veiled women and yelling donkey-boys, to see the city. We saw the bazaars, and the slave market (where I was again nearly pulled to pieces for ‘backsheesh'), the mosques with their graceful minarets, and then the pasha's new palace, the interior of which is most gorgeous. We passed lots of Turkish soldiers, walking in comfortable irregularity; and after the consciousness of being dreadful guys for two crowded hours, returned to the hotel, whence we are to start for the canal boats. You may think this little narrative is exaggerated, but it is not so. The pertinacity, vigour, and screams of the Alexandrian donkey-drivers cannot be exaggerated. On our way to the boats we passed Pompey's Pillar; for a day we were rowed in small boats on a canal, then on the Nile in barges, with a panorama of mud villages, palm-trees, camels, and irrigating wheels turned by buffaloes, a perfectly flat country, beautifully green with crops of corn and lentils; endless boats with immense triangular sails. Then the Pyramids came in sight, looking huge and solemn; then a handsome castellated bridge for the Alexandria and Cairo railway; and then Cairo–Grand Cairol the city of romance, which we reached just before sunset. We took a guide and walked in the city, very picturesque and very dirty. Then to a quiet English hotel, where a Mussulman waiter, rejoicing in the name of Ali-baba, gave us a splendid tea, brown bread and fresh butter. One or two French and English travellers were the only guests, and I could hardly realize my situation. I longed for you to enjoy it with me. Thackeray's ‘First Day in the East’ is admirable. Read it again, and you will understand just how I think and feel. “Next morning at seven we started for Suez in small fourhorsed two-wheeled omnibuses, carrying six passengers each. Horses were changed every five miles, and we had a meal every three hours at very comfortable stations. The desert is undulating, mostly covered with a coarse, volcanic-looking gravel. The road is excellent. The skeletons of camels— hundreds of them—lay all along the road ; vultures, sandgrouse, and sand-larks were occasionally seen. We frequently saw the mirage, like distant trees and water. Near the middle station the pasha has a hunting-lodge—a perfect palace. The Indian and Australian mails, about six hundred boxes, as well as all the parcels, goods, and passengers' luggage, were brought by endless trains of camels, which we passed on the way. At the eating-places I took a little stroll, gathering some of the curious highly odoriferous plants that grew here and there in the hollow, which I dried in my pocket-books, and I also found a few landshells. We enjoyed the ride exceedingly, and reached Suez about midnight. It is a miserable little town, and the bazaar is small, dark, and dirty. There is said to be no water within ten miles. The next afternoon we went on board our ship, a splendid vessel with large and comfortable cabins, and everything very superior to the Eurine. Adieu.” I have given this description of my journey from Alexandria to Suez, over the route established by Lieutenant Waghorn, and which was superseded a few years later by the railway, and afterwards by the canal, because few persons now living will remember it, or know that it ever existed. Of the rest of our journey I have no record. We stayed a day at desolate, volcanic Aden, and thence across to Galle, with its groves of cocoa-nut palms, and crowds of natives offering for sale the precious stones of the country; thence across to Pulo Penang, with its picturesque mountain, its spice-trees, and its waterfall, and on down the Straits of Malacca, with its richly-wooded shores, to our destination, Singapore, where I was to begin the eight years of wandering throughout the Malay Archipelago, which constituted the central and controlling incident of my life.
THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO—SINGAPORE, MALACCA,
IN order not to omit so important a portion of my life as my eight years in the far East, I propose to give a general sketch of my various journeys and their results, told as far as possible in quotations from the few of my letters home that have been preserved, with such connecting facts as may serve to render them intelligible. Ten days after my arrival at Singapore I wrote home as follows:—“After being a week in a hotel here, I at last got permission to stay with a French Roman Catholic missionary, who lives about eight miles out of town, in the centre of the island, and close to the jungle. The greater part of the inhabitants of Singapore are Chinese, many of whom are very rich, and almost all the villages around are wholly Chinese, who cultivate pepper and gambier, or cut timber. Some of the English merchants have fine country houses. I dined with one, to whom I brought an introduction. His house was spacious, and full of magnificent China and Japan furniture. We are now staying at the mission of Bukit Tima. The missionary (a French Jesuit) speaks English, Malay, and Chinese, and is a very pleasant man. He has built a pretty church here, and has about three hundred Chinese converts.” A month later (May 28th) I wrote—“I am very comfortable here with the missionary. I and Charles go into the jungle every day for insects. The forest here is very similar WOL. I. 337 Z
to that of South America. Palms are very numerous, but they are generally small, and very spiny. There are none of the large majestic species so common on the Amazon. I am so busy with insects now that I have no time for anything else. I send now about a thousand beetles to Mr. Stevens, and I have as many other insects still on hand, which will form part of my next and principal consignment. Singapore is rich in beetles, and before I leave I think I shall have a beautiful collection of them. I will tell you how my day is now occupied. Get up at half-past five, bath, and coffee. Sit down to arrange and put away my insects of the day before, and set them in a safe place to dry. Charles mends our insect-nets, fills our pin-cushions, and gets ready for the day. Breakfast at eight; out to the jungle at nine. We have to walk about a quarter mile up a steep hill to reach it, and arrive dripping with perspiration. Then we wander about in the delightful shade along paths made by the Chinese wood-cutters till two or three in the afternoon, generally returning with fifty or sixty beetles, some very rare or beautiful, and perhaps a few butterflies. Change clothes and sit down to kill and pin insects, Charles doing the flies, wasps, and bugs; I do not trust him yet with beetles. Dinner at four, then at work again till six: coffee. Then read or talk, or, if insects very numerous, work again till eight or nine. Then to bed.” In July I wrote from “The Jungle, near Malacca:” “We have been here a week, living in a Chinese house or shed, which reminds me of some of my old Rio Negro habitations. We came from Singapore in a small trading schooner, with about fifty Chinese, Hindoos, and Portuguese passengers, and were two days on the voyage with nothing but rice and curry to eat, not having made any special provision, it being our first experience of the country vessels. Malacca is a very old Dutch city, but the Portuguese have left the clearest marks of their possession of it in the common language of the place being still theirs. I have now two Portuguese servants, a cook and a hunter, and find myself almost back in Brazil, owing to the similarity of the language, the people,