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potatoes. They were a bad lot a few years ago, but the Dutch have brought them into order by their admirable system of supervision and government. By-the-by, I hope you have read Mr. Money's book on Java. It is well worth while, and you will see that I had come to the same conclusions as to Dutch colonial government from what I saw in Menado. Nothing is worse and more absurd than the sneering prejudiced tone in which almost all English writers speak of the Dutch government in the East. It never has been worse than ours has been, and it is now very much better ; and what is greatly to their credit and not generally known, they take nearly the same pains to establish order and good government in those islands and possessions which are an annual loss to them, as in those which yield them a revenue. I am convinced that their system is right in principle, and ours wrong, though, of course, in the practical working there may and must be defects; and among the Dutch themselves, both in Europe and the Indies, there is a strong party against the present system, but that party consists mostly of merchants and planters, who want to get the trade and commerce of the country made free, which in my opinion would be an act of suicidal madness, and would, moreover, seriously injure instead of benefiting the natives.
“Personally, I do not much like the Dutch out here, or the Dutch officials; but I cannot help bearing witness to the excellence of their government of native races, gentle yet firm, respecting their manners, customs, and prejudices, yet introducing everywhere European law, order, and industry.”
Singapore, January 20, 1862. “I cannot write more now. I do not know how long I shall be here; perhaps a month. Then, ho! for England !”
When I was at Sarawak in 1855 I engaged a Malay boy named Ali as a personal servant, and also to help me to learn the Malay language by the necessity of constant communication with him. He was attentive and clean, and could cook very well. He soon learnt to shoot birds, to skin
them properly, and latterly even to put up the skins very neatly. Of course he was a good boatman, as are all Malays, and in all the difficulties or dangers of our journeys he was quite undisturbed and ready to do anything required of him. He accompanied me through all my travels, sometimes alone, but more frequently with several others, and was then very useful in teaching them their duties, as he soon became well acquainted with my wants and habits. During our residence at Ternate he married, but his wife lived with her family, and it made no difference in his accompanying me wherever I went till we reached Singapore on my way home. On parting, besides a present in money, I gave him my two double-barrelled guns and whatever ammunition I had, with a lot of surplus stores, tools, and sundries, which made him quite rich. He here, for the first time, adopted European clothes, which did not suit him nearly so well as his native dress, and thus clad a friend took a very good photograph of him. I therefore now present his likeness to my readers as that of the best native servant I ever had, and the faithful companion of almost all my journeyings among the islands of the far East.
The two birds of paradise which I had purchased gave me a good deal of trouble and anxiety on my way home. I had first to make an arrangement for a place to stand the large cage on deck. A stock of food was required, which consisted chiefly of bananas; but to my surprise I found that they would eat cockroaches greedily, and as these abound on every ship in the tropics, I hoped to be able to obtain a good supply. Every evening I went to the storeroom in the fore part of the ship, where I was allowed to brush the cockroaches into a biscuit tin. The ship stayed three or four days at Bombay to discharge and take in cargo, coal, etc., and all the passengers went to a hotel, so I brought the birds on shore and stood them in the hotel verandah, where they were a great attraction to visitors. While staying at Bombay a small party of us had the good fortune to visit the celebrated cave-temple of Elephanta on a grand festival day, when it was crowded with thousands of natives—men,
women, and children, in ever-changing crowds, kneeling or praying before the images or the altars, making gifts to the gods or the priests, and outside cooking and eating-a most characteristic and striking scene.
The journey to Suez offered no particular incident, and the birds continued in good health ; as did two or three lories I had brought. But with the railway journey to Alexandria difficulties began. It was in February, and the night was clear and almost frosty. The railway officials made difficulties, and it was only by representing the rarity and value of the birds that I could have the cage placed in a boxtruck. When we got into the Mediterranean the weather became suddenly cold, and worse still, I found that the ship was free from cockroaches. As I thought that animal food was perhaps necessary to counteract the cold, I felt afraid for the safety of my charge, and determined to stay a fortnight at Malta in order to reach England a little later, and also to lay in a store of the necessary food. I accordingly arranged to break my voyage there, went to a hotel, and found that I could get unlimited cockroaches at a baker's close by.
At Marseilles I again had trouble, but at last succeeded in getting them placed in a guard's van, with permission to enter and feed them en route. Passing through France it was a sharp frost, but they did not seem to suffer ; and when we reached London I was glad to transfer them into the care of Mr. Bartlett, who conveyed them to the Zoological Gardens.
Thus ended my Malayan travels.