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Frontispiec. Pa^e 16. 
















I. INTRODUCTORY ... ... ... ... 7 

II. THE COURT-HOUSE ... ... ... 13 

III. COLLEGE HILL ... ... ... ... 21 

IV. PIRATES ... ... ... ... 32 


VI. THE GIRLS ... ... ... ... 58 

VII. THE LUNDUS ... ... ... ... 68 

VIII. A BOAT JOURNEY ... ... ... 82 






XIII. EVENTS OF 1857 ... ... 


















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

This progress was often unavoidably impeded 
by the struggles of the infant State ; for war drowns 
the voice of the missionary, and though the Sara- 
wak Government always discouraged the Dyak 
practice of taking the heads of their enemies, still 
it could not at once be checked, and every expedi- 


tion against lawless tribes, however righteous in 
its object, excited the old superstitions of those 
wild people. When their warriors returned from 
an expedition, the women of the tribe met them 
with dance and song, receiving the heads they 
brought with ancient ceremonies "fondling the 
heads," as it was called ; and for months afterwards 
keeping up, by frequent feasts, in which these 
heads were the chief attraction, the heathen 
customs which it was the object of the missionary 
to discourage. 

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

In giving a short account of our life in Borneo, 
I shall avoid alike all political questions, or, as 
much as possible, individual histories among the 
English community. It is already so long ago 


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

In those days, from 1847 to 1853, Sir James 
Brooke was very popular in England. The story of 
his first occupation of Sarawak, published in his 
journals, and the cruizes of her Majesty's ships in 
those eastern seas the Dido and the Samarang 
were read with avidity, and furnished the English 
public with a romance which had all the charm of 
novelty. However difficult and inconvenient it might 
be for the English Government to recognize a native 
State under an English rajah, who was at the 
same time a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, 
this question had not then arisen ; and all classes, 
high and low, could applaud a brave and noble 
man, who had stepped out of the beaten track to 
spend his fortune and expose his life in the cause 
of savages. There v/ere many fluctuations of 


sympathy and opinion in after years towards Sir 
James Brooke ; but, through evil report and good 
report, through difficulty and danger, Sarawak has 
still advanced, and is as worthy of the interest of 
the best and wisest of mankind as it was in 1847. 
At this time, indeed, it seems to me to furnish 
a lesson in the management of native races which 
might be useful in our own colonies. English 
governors always set out with good intentions to- 
wards the natives of savage countries, but how is 
it that war almost always follows their occupation ? 
Surely it is because the settlers go there, not in the 
interest of the native race, but their own, and the 
two interests are sure to clash in the long-run. 

It requires great patience and forbearance to 
educate natives up to a rule of justice and righteous 
laws ; but that it may be done, and carry the 
co-operation of the people themselves, is evident 
at Sarawak, where the Malays and Dyaks are 
associated in the Government, and have always 
stood by their English rajah, even when it was 
necessary to punish or exile some of their own 
chiefs. I am aware that an English colony cannot 
be governed in this way ; nevertheless, the spectacle 
of wild natives, rising by the influence of a few 
good Englishmen from lawless misrule to a settled 
government, where vice is punished without partial- 
ity, is very beautiful to philanthropists, and makes 
one think better of human nature and its capabilities. 
I wish I could portray the hilly and thorny road 
by which this has been attained ! It would, me- 


thinks, create a new interest in Sarawak, if the past 
and the present could be fairly set before the 
discerning world ; we should again hear of mis- 
sionaries longing to help in the improvement of 
people who have shown themselves so open to good 
influences. I have said that I would not touch 
upon politics, but Church and State are so naturally 
bound together in the task of civilization, that it 
is difficult to relate the history of the mission 
without mentioning the Government. Of course 
they do not stand in the same relation to one 
another in a Mahometan country, where the English 
Church is but a tolerated sect, as they do in a 
' Christian land ; still the Christian Church strengthens 
the Christian ruler, and he in his turn protects the 
Church by good government, although he may 
not favour it except by individual preference. 
For my own part, I have always thought it an 
advantage to our Dyak Christians that no favour 
was shown them on account of their faith ; at any 
rate, it w r as for no worldly interest that they became 

Although our life in Sarawak extended over 
a period of twenty years, it might naturally be 
divided into three parts of six, five, and six years 
respectively, the intervals being spent in visits to 
England. These visits, although absolutely neces- 
sary, were a drawback to the mission work. When 
the head of a family is absent, the responsibility is 
apt to fall upon the younger members, and is some- 
times too much for them. However, they always 


did their best, and always welcomed us home most 
warmly. It was a joyful sight, on our return, to 
find the missionaries and school-children waiting 
for us at the wharf below our houses, the children's 
dear little faces glad with smiles, and a warm 
welcome for any baby we brought home. The 
second time, it was our daughter Mab ; and in 1862, 
our last baby, Mildred, Mab, Edith, and Herbert 
being left in England, for no English child can 
thrive in that unchangeable climate after it is six 
years old. 

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



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

Lord Ellesmere, Admiral Sir H. Keppel, Admiral 
C. D. Bethune, Canon Ryle Wood, and the Rev. 
C. Brereton, formed themselves into a committee, 
with the Rev. I. F. Stocks for their honorary 
secretary, and soon collected funds for the purpose. 
The Rev. F. McDougall was chosen as the head 
of the mission, and with him k were associated the 
Rev. S. Montgomery and the Rev. W. Wright ; 
but Mr. Montgomery died very suddenly, of fever 
caught when ministering to the poor of his parish, 
before the time came for us to embark, so the 
party was reduced to two clergymen and their 
wives, two babies and two nurses. We sailed 
from London in the barque Mary Louisa, four 
hund/ed tons, the end of December ; Mr. Parr, 


a nephew of Mrs. Wright's, being also one of the 
passengers. I had all my life loved the sea, and 
longed to take such a voyage as should carry us 
out of sight of land, and give us all the experiences 
which wait on those " who go down to the sea in 
ships;" but I little thought how we should all 
long for land before we saw it again. 

The barque was a poor sailer ; we thought it a 
good run if she made eight knots an hour, so no 
wonder we did not reach Singapore till May 23, 
1848. It was a long monotonous voyage, but we 
were well occupied, and I do not remember ever 
finding it dull. The sea was all I ever fancied by 
way of a companion, and, like all one's best friends, 
made me happy or unhappy, but was never stupid. 
Then we had to learn Malay and its Arabic cha- 
racters, with the help of Marsden's grammar and 
dictionary, and the Bible translated into that 
language by the Dutch. We lived by rule, appor- 
tioning the hours to certain duties, and every one 
knows how fast time passes under those conditions. 
The two clergymen busied themselves with teach- 
ing the sailors, and several of them presented them- 
selves at Holy Communion in consequence, the last 
Sunday before we landed. The most trying time 
we passed was on the coast of Java, becalmed 
under a broiling sun, the very sea dead and slimy 
with all sorts of creatures creeping over it. As for 
ourselves, we were gasping with thirst, for we had 
already been on short rations of water for six 
weeks, one of the tanks having leaked out. One 


quart of water a day for each adult, and none for 
the babies, so of course they had the lion's share 
of their parents' allowance. Our one cup of tea in 
the evening was looked forward to for hours ; and 
what a wonderful colour it was, after all ! but that 
was the iron of the tank. 

On the 23rd of May we landed at Singapore, and 
had to wait there for four weeks before the schooner 
Julia, then running between that place and Sa- 
rawak, came to fetch us. We reached Sarawak 
June 2Qth, entering the Morotabas mouth of the 
river, which is twenty-four miles from the town of 
Kuching, whither we were bound. The sail up the 
river, our first sight of the country and the people, 
was indeed exciting, and filled us with delight. 
The river winds continually, and every new reach 
had its interest : a village of palm-leaf houses built 
close to the water, women and children standing on 
the steps with their long bamboo jars, or peeping 
out of the slits of windows at the schooner ; boats 
of all sizes near the houses, fishing-nets hanging up 
to dry, wicked alligators lying basking on the mud ; 
trees of many varieties the nibong palm which 
furnishes the posts of the houses, the nipa which 
makes their mat walls, and close by the water the 
light and graceful mangroves, which at night are all 
alive and glittering with fire-flies. On the boughs 
of some larger trees hanging over the stream 
parties of monkeys might be seen eating the fruits, 
chattering, jumping, flying almost, from bough to 
bough. We afterwards made nearer acquaintance 
with these droll creatures. 


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

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

Shall I ever forget my first impressions of the 
rajah's bungalow? A peculiar scent pervaded it 
You looked about for the cause till your eyes fell 
on two saucers, one filled with green blossoms, the 


other with deep golden ones, much the same shape 
the kenanga and the chimpaka, flowering trees, 
which grew near the house. Their flowers were 
picked every day for the rooms, as the rajah loved 
the scent, and so did the Malays. The ladies steeped 
the blossoms in cocoa-nut oil and anointed them- 
selves, placing them also in their long black hair, 
with wreaths of jessamine flowers threaded on a 
string. These perfumes were rather overpowering 
at first, but I learnt to like them after I had been 
some time in Sarawak. The large, bare, cool rooms 
were very refreshing after the little cabins of the 
Julia. And then the library ! a treasure indeed in 
the jungle ; books on all sorts of subjects, bound in 
enticing covers, always inviting you to bodily repose 
and mental activity or amusement, as you might 
prefer. This library, so dear to us all because we 
were all allowed to share it, was burnt in 1857 by 
the Chinese rebels. It took two days to burn. 
I watched it from our library over the water, and 
saw the mass of books glowing dull red like 
a furnace, long after the flames had consumed the 
wooden house. It made one's heart ache to see it. 
An old gentleman of our English society watched 
it too, and I wondered why his head shook con- 
tinually as he sat with his eyes fixed on those sad 
ruins ; but I found afterwards that the sight, and 
doubtless its cause, had palsied him from that day. 
But I must not linger too long in the rajah's 
bungalow, though the white pigeons seem to call 
to me from the verandahs ; we must take boat 


again (for there are no bridges over the Sarawak 
river), and cross to the court-house. 

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

These little black ants did not sting, but there 
was a large red ant, half an inch long, who was 
most pugnacious ; he stood up on his hind legs 
and fought you with amazing courage, and his jaws 
were formidable. We made our first acquaintance 
with white ants while we lived in the court-house. 
On unpacking a box of books, which had been our 
solace during the voyage, we found them almost 


glued together by the secretion of these creatures. 
The box had been standing on the ground floor of 
the hotel. The white ants had eaten through and 
through the books, and picked all the surface off 
the bindings ; they were disgusting to look at and 
to smell. Some years afterwards, one of our mis- 
sionaries had a box of clothes sent her from Singa- 
pore. It \vas necessary clothing, for she had lost 
her effects, like the rest of us, during the Chinese 
rebellion. I warned Miss Coomes that she must 
unpack the box directly, on account of the white 
ants ; but she put it off till the next day, and at 
night these wretches ate through the bottom of 
the box, and munched up the new linen and 
stockings. We soon learnt to guard against their 
attacks by using no wood except balean, or iron- 
wood, which is too hard for them to bite. English 
oak seemed like a slice of cake to white ants. 

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


listened to me for some time, and then one said to 
the other, " She talks like a book," which I fear 
meant that they only half understood me. 

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



WE stayed at the court-house a whole year, while 
our house on the hill was being prepared. The 
hill, and the ground beyond it, about forty acres in 
all, was given to the mission by Sir James Brooke. 
It was then some way out of the town, but as the 
Chinese population increased, the town grew quite 
to the foot of the hill College Hill, as it was then 
called and a blacksmith's quarter even invaded 
the mission land. At first, in order to cultivate the 
property, nutmegs and spice-trees were planted, 
but the soil was not good enough for them ; when 
their roots pierced through the pit of earth in which 
they were planted, and reached the stiff clay of the 
hill, they died off. It was necessary to do some- 
thing to keep the land clear of the coarse lalang 
grass, which grew wherever the jungle was cut 
down. So after a while a herd of cattle was 
collected, and they improved the poverty of the 
land, at the same time furnishing milk and a 


little butter. I say a little, because even when seven 
cows were in milk, as they only gave two quarts a 
day each, and there were always plenty of children 
in and out of the mission to consume it, but little 
was left for butter-making. Cocoa-nut trees were 
planted in the low ground, and some few grew up ; 
but wild pigs were great enemies to them, for they 
liked to eat the cabbage out of the heart of the 
young tree, which of course killed it. In that 
seething warmth of Sarawak you could almost see 
plants grow. If you scattered seeds in the ground, 
they sprouted above it on the third day. I planted 
some of those little coral-looking seeds which are 
to be found in every box of Indian shells, the seed 
of the satin-wood, and they grew up into beautiful 
forest trees in twelve years' time. We used to make 
long strings of these coral seeds, and use them in 
Christmas decorations. 

By degrees we had a very bright garden about 
the house. The Gardenia, with its strongly scented 
blossom and evergreen leaves, made a capital 
hedge. Great bushes of the Hybiscus, scarlet and 
buff, glowed in the sun they were called shoe- 
flowers, for they were used instead of blacking to 
polish our shoes. The pink one-hundred-leaved 
rose grew freely, and blossomed all the year round. 
Shrubs of the golden Allamander were a great temp- 
tation to the cows, if they strayed into the garden. 
The Plumbago was one of the few pale-blue flowers 
which liked that blazing heat. Then we had a 
great variety of creepers jessamine of many sorts, 


the scarlet Ipomea, the blue Clitorea, and passion- 
flowers, from the huge Grenadilla with its excellent 
fruit, to the little white one set in a calyx of moss. 
The Moon-flower, a large white convolvulus, tight- 
shut ail day, unfolded itself at six o'clock, and 
looked lovely in the flower-vases in the evening. 
The Jessamine and !Pergolaria odorotissima climbed 
up the porch, and in the forks of the trees opposite 
I had air-plants fastened, which flowered every 
three months, and looked like a flight of white 
butterflies on the wing. The great mountain of 
Matang stood in the distance, and when the sun 
sank behind it, which it always did in that inva- 
riable latitude about six o'clock, I sat --in the porch 
to watch the glory of earth and sky. How dear a 
mountain becomes to you, is only known to those 
who live in hilly countries. One gets to think of it 
as a friend. It seems to carry a protest against the 
little frets of life, and, by its strength and invari- 
ableness, to be a visible image of Him who is "the 
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." But I am 
running on too fast with the garden before the 
house is built. 

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


earth like magic, for every beam and post fits into 
its place. 

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

Happily for us, when the Mary Louisa was 
wrecked in the straits on her way home, the crew 
were all saved, and the ship-carpenter came over to 
Sarawak to see if my husband would employ him. 
As he was a capital joiner, he was set over a gang 
of workmen at once. All the plans for the house 
and church were made by Frank (my husband), 
and I was set to draw patterns of the doors and 
windows, the verandah railings, and the porch. 
Stahl was an intelligent German workman, and 
soon learnt Malay enough to direct the men. The 
Malays levelled the hill and dug the foundations ; 
the Chinese were employed as carpenters, but they, 
too, could speak Malay. I remember making great 
friends with one of them, Johnny Jangot, John of 
the Beard, so called on account of a few long hairs 
at the tip of his chin, for the Chinese are a beard- 
less race. Johnny used to eat his breakfast in the 
court-house to save himself trouble. What a set- 
out it was ! Rice, of course ; then three or four little 
basins with different messes duck, fish, chicken, 
and plenty of soy-sauce; more basins with vegetables, 
all eaten with the help of chop-sticks ; and a teapot 
snugly covered with a cosy. I asked one day to 


taste the tea, and Johnny poured me out a tiny 
cup of hot, sweet, spirits and water ! Samchoo is a 
spirit made from rice, and very strong, as our poor 
English sailors used to find to their cost when her 
Majesty's ships paid us a visit. The Chinese said 
that the English drank the samchoo cold and raw, 
and therefore it poisoned them, whereas they always 
qualified it with hot water. It did not taste strong, 
which made it all the more pernicious. Johnny 
drank real tea all day long, and smoked a good 
deal of tobacco it seemed to me he did very little 
else ; but he was not a bad workman, though of 
course it was not such a day's work as an English- 
man can do. 

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

Every evening we used to walk up the hill to 
see how the building was getting on, all the 
children with us ; then, as we sat on the timber, 
I used to draw the letters of the alphabet on the 
white sand, and the little ones learnt them. We 
went home through a piece of ground we called 
our garden. In it grew plenty of pine-apples and 
sugar-cane, and the gardener always supplied us 
with pieces of the latter to eat very refreshing and 


nice, but the juice ran all over your hands. As 
for pine-apples, we soon got tired of them ; but 
they made good tarts, and, mixed with plantains 
and lime-juice, a very pleasant and useful jam. 

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

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

This was Adam. 

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

One night the Bishop had been reading the 
Rev. F. Robertson's sermon about St. Paul and 


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

One of our servants, a very strict Mahometan, 
believed himself charmed against poisonous reptiles, 
and used to bring me centipedes and' scorpions in 
his hands, saying they never hurt him. He left 
our service and was employed by the Borneo 
Company, about half a mile from our house. One 
day, while cutting rattans in a shed, a cobra bit his 
thumb. He thought nothing of it, but, putting away 
his work as usual, went home, cooked his rice and 
ate his supper. By this time, however, his arm 
began to swell and his head to swim. Instead of 
going to the doctor, who then lived close by, he 
must needs go to the Bishop to cure him ; so just as 
we were sitting down to dinner, about seven o'clock, 
he reeled into the house. The Bishop cauterized the 
wound, although it seemed too late to be any use ; 
he was getting cold and faint. However, by dint 
of being walked up and down between two men, 
and having two whole bottles of brandy adminis- 
tered to him, a glass at a time, besides sal volatile, 


chloroform, and every stimulant we had, he got 
through the night. The Bishop sat up with him 
all night, and I could hear him, when at last I went 
to bed, calling out at intervals, "Oh, Allah ! Oh, 
Lord Bishop ! " so terrible was the pain he suffered 
in his arm. His wife, who was my baby's ayah, 
appeared in the morning. "Come," said she, 
*' make no more noise, keeping everybody awake, 
but take up your bed (mat) and let us go home." 
I Ic meekly obeyed ; but, poor man, he had abscesses 
under his arm, and fell into weak health afterwards ; 
so it is evidently unwise to despise a cobra. 

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

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

The boa-constrictor sawar, as the Malays 
called it lived in the jungle and rice-swamps. 
Sometimes it attained an enormous size. An 


Englishman told me that he and some Malays 
were exploring the jungle to find traces of anti- 
mony ore, and came to an opening in the wood, 
across which they saw the body of a savvar as thick 
as his own he was not very stout moving along ; 
but they never saw either the head or tail of that 
snake, for, after watching its progress for a long 
time, they were seized with a panic at its enormous 
length, and fled. 

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

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

After some years we built up the lower story of 
the mission-house with bricks, to make it more 
substantial and cooler. The ground floor was at 
first wholly occupied with the school, the dormi- 


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

Long before we left the court-house, Mr. and 
Mrs. Wright decided to give up the Sarawak 
mission, and went to Singapore, where Mr. Wright 
became master to the Raffles Institution for the 


education of boys. We were therefore quite alone 
until February, 1851, when the Bishop of Calcutta 
paid us a visit to consecrate the church, and 
brought with him Mr. Fox from Bishop's College, 
to be catechist, with a view to his future ordination. 
Very soon after him came the Rev. Walter Cham- 
bers from England, and about the same time Mi. 
Nicholls also arrived from Bishop's College ; but, as 
he only wished to stay for two years in the country, 
he had scarcely time to learn the language before 
he returned to Calcutta. 



WHEN we first lived at Sarawak, the coasts and the 
the seas from Singapore to China were infested 
with pirates. " It is in the Malay's nature," says a 
Dutch writer, " to rove the seas in his prahu, as it 
is in the Arab to wander with his steed on the 
sands of the desert." Before the English and 
Dutch Governments exerted themselves to put down 
piracy in the Eastern seas, there were communities 
of these Malays settled in various parts of the coast 
of Borneo, who made it the business of their lives 
to rob and destroy all the vessels they could meet 
with, either killing the crews or reducing them to 
slavery. For this purpose they went out in fleets 
of from ten to thirty war-boats or prahus. These 
boats were about ninety feet long ; they carried a 
large gun in the bow and three or four lelahs, small 
brass guns, in each broadside, besides twenty or 
thirty muskets. Each prahu was rowed by sixty 
or eighty oars in two tiers, and carried from 


eighty to a hundred men. Over the rowers, and 
extending the whole length of the vessel, was a 
light flat roof, made of split bamboo, and covered 
with mats. This protected the ammunition and 
provisions from rain, and served as a platform on 
which they mounted to fight, from which they fired 
their muskets and hurled their spears. These 
formidable boats skulked about in the sheltered 
bays of the coast, at the season of the year when 
they knew that merchant-vessels would be passing 
with rich cargoes for the ports of Singapore, Penang, 
or to and from China. A scout-boat, with but 
few men in it, which would not excite suspicion, 
went out to spy for sails. They did not generally 
attack large or armed ships, although many a good- 
sized Dutch or English craft, which had been 
becalmed or enticed by them into dangerous or 
shallow water, was overpowered by their numbers. 
But it was usually the small unarmed vessels they 
fell upon, with fearful yells, binding those they did 
not kill, and burning the vessel after robbing it, to 
avoid detection. While the south-west monsoon 
lasted, the pirates lurked about in uninhabited 
creeks and bays until the trading season was over. 
But when the north-east monsoon set in, they 
returned to their settlements, often rich in booty, 
and with blood on their hands, only to rejoice over 
the past, and prepare for next year's expedition. 
There are still some nests of pirates in the north of 
Borneo, although of late the Spaniards have done 
much to exterminate them. But when Sir James 



Brooke first visited Sarawak, the nobles there, and 
their sultan at Bruni, used to permit, nay, encourage, 
piratical raids against their own subjects at a little 
distance, provided they shared in the profits of 
the expedition, thus impoverishing the country 
they ruled, and putting a stop to all native trade 
a short-sighted and wicked policy. It took a 
good many years of stern resistance on Sir James 
Brooke's part before the Bruni nobles could be 
cured of their connivance of pirates, whether Malay 
or Dyak. 

The Dyaks of Sarebas and Sakarran, a brave 
and noble people, were taught piracy by the 
Malays who dwelt among them. These Dyaks 
were always head-hunters, and used to pull the 
oars in the Malay prahus for the sake of the heads 
of the slain, which they alone cared for. But, in 
course of time, the Dyaks became expert seamen. 
They built boats which they called bangkongs, 
and went out with the Malays, devastating the 
coast and killing Malays, Chinese, Dyaks, whoever 
they met with. The Dyak bangkong draws very 
little water, and is both lighter and faster than the 
Malay prahu ; it is a hundred feet long, and nine 
or ten broad. Sixty or eighty men with paddles 
make her skim through the water as swiftly as 
a London race-boat. She moves without noise, 
and surprises her victims with showers of spears 
at dead of night ; neither can any vessel, except 
a steamer, catch a Dyak bangkong, if the crew 
deem it necessary to fly. These boats can be easily 


taken to pieces ; for the planks, which extend the 
whole length of the boat, are not fastened with 
nails, but lashed together with rattans, and calked 
with bark, which swells when wet ; so that, if they 
wish to hide their retreat into the jungle, they can 
quickly unlace their boats, carry them on their 
shoulders into the woods, and put them together 
again when they want them. When we first lived 
at Sarawak no merchant-boat dared go out of the 
river alone and unarmed. We were constantly 
shocked with dreadful accounts of villages on the 
coast, or boats at the entrance, being surprised, 
and men, women, and children barbarously mur- 
dered by these wretches. I remember once a boat 
being found with only three fingers of a man in it, 
and a bloody mark at the side, where the heads of 
those in the boat had been cut off. Sometimes 
the pirates would wait until they knew the men 
of a village were away at their paddy farms, then 
they would fall suddenly upon the defenceless old 
men, women, and children, kill some, make slaves 
of the young ones, and rob the houses. 

Sometimes, having destroyed a village and its 
inhabitants, they would dress themselves in the 
clothes of the slain, and, proceeding to another 
place, would call out to the women, " The Sarebas 
are coming, but, if you bring down your valuables 
to us, we will defend you and your property." 
And many fell into the snare, and were carried off. 
If they attacked a house when the men were at 
home, it was by night. They pulled stealthily up 


the river in their boats, and landing under cover 
of their shields, crept under the long house where 
many families lived together. These houses stand 
on high poles. The pirates then set fire to dry 
wood and a quantity of chillies which they carried 
with them for the purpose. This made a suffocating 
smoke, which hindered the inmates from coming 
out to defend themselves. Then they cut down 
the posts of the house, which fell, with all it con- 
tained, into their ruthless hands. 

In the year 1849, the atrocities of the piratical 
Dyaks were so frequent, that the rajah applied to 
the English Admiral in the straits for some men- 
of-war to assist him in destroying them. Remon- 
strances and threats had been tried again and 
again. The pirates would always promise good 
behaviour for the future to avert a present danger ; 
but they never kept these promises when an oppor- 
tunity offered for breaking them with impunity. 
In consequence of Sir James Brooke's application, 
H.M.S. Albatross, commanded by Captain Farqu- 
har ; H.M.'s sloop Royalist, commander, Lieutenant 
Everest ; and H.E.I.C.'s steamer Nemesis, com- 
mander, Captain Wallage, were sent by Admiral 
Collyer to Sarawak. Then the rajah had all his 
war-boats got ready to join the English force. 
There was the Lion King, the Royal Eagle, the 
Tiger, the Big Snake, the Little Snake, the Frog, 
the Alligator, and many others belonging to the 
Datus, who, on occasions like these, are bound to 
call on their servants, and a certain number of able- 


bodied men living in their kampongs, to man and 
fight in their boats. This is their service to the 
.Government. The rajah supplies the whole force 
with rice for the expedition, and a certain number 
of muskets. The English ships were left, the 
Albatross at Sarawak, and the Royalist to guard 
the entrance of the Batang Lupar River, into which 
the Sakarran and Sarebas Rivers debouche; but their 
boats, and nearly all the officers, accompanied the 
fleet, and the steamer Nemesis went also. On the 
24th of July they left us, as many as eighteen 
Malay prahus, manned by from twenty to seventy 
men in each, and decorated with flags and streamers 
innumerable, of the brightest colours, the Sarawak 
flag, a red and black cross on a yellow ground, 
always at the stern. For the Tiger I made a flag, 
as it was Mr. Brereton's boat, with a tiger's head 
painted on it, looking wonderfully ferocious. It 
was an exciting time, with gongs and drums, Malay 
yells and English hurrahs ; and our tervent prayers 
for their safety and success accompanied them that 
night, as they dropped down the river in gay pro- 
cession. They were afterwards joined by bang- 
kongs of friendly Dyaks, three hundred men from 
Lundu, eight hundred from Linga, some from 
Samarahan, Sadong, and various places which had 
suffered from the pirates, and were anxious to 
assist in giving them a lesson. We heard nothing 
of the fleet until the 2nd of August, when I received 
a little note from the rajah, written in pencil, on 
a scrap of paper, on the night of the 3ist of July, 


and giving an account of how they fell in with a 
great balla (war fleet) of Sarebas and Sakarran 
pirates, consisting of one hundred and fifty bang- 
kongs, returning to their homes with plunder and 
captives in their boats. The pirates found all the 
entrances of the river occupied by their enemies, 
the English, Malay, and Dyak forces being placed 
in three detachments, and the Nemesis all ready 
to help whenever the attack began. The Lion 
King sent up a rocket when she espied the pirate 
fleet, to apprise the rest. Then there was a dead 
silence, broken only by three strokes of a gong, 
which called the pirates to a council of war. A 
few minutes afterwards a fearful yell gave notice 
of their advance, and the fleet approached in two 
divisions. But when they sighted the steamer they 
became aware of the odds against them, and again 
called a council by beat of gong. After another 
pause, a second yell of defiance showed they had 
decided on giving battle. Then, in the dead of 
the night, ensued a fearful scene. The pirates 
fought bravely, but could not withstand the superior 
forces of their enemies. Their boats were upset 
by the paddles of the steamer ; they were hemmed 
in on every side, and five hundred men were killed, 
sword in hand ; while two thousand five hundred 
escaped to the jungle. The boats were broken 
to pieces, or deserted on the beach by their 
crews ; and the morning light showed a sad spec- 
tacle of ruin and defeat. Upwards of eighty 
prnhus and bangkongs were captured, many from 


sixty to eighty feet long, with nine or ten feet 

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

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


Balows lying side by side at the Linga Fort ; but 
they all kept their good faith, and in fighting a 
common -enemy became friends for evermore. 

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

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


that he and his people would also like to be 

We used to like the Sakarrans much better than 
their neighbours, the Sarebas, in those days. They 
were fine, tall, handsome men, with straight noses 
and pleasant manners. The Sarebas were coarser- 
looking people, who disfigured themselves by wear- 
ing brass rings all along the lobes of their ears : the 
one at the bottom was as large as a curtain-ring 
in circumference, though of slender make ; it lay 
on the chest, and by its weight dragged a great 
hole in the ear. These rings were inserted when 
the children were quite young, and pulled their 
little faces out of shape, giving an uncomfortable 
expression. Sarawak Malays always said, " A 
Sakarran Dyak may be trusted, but a Sarebas is 
deceitful." It is a curious fact, however, that the 
Sakarrans, with all their fair words and sleek 
prepossessing looks, did not embrace the gospel 
as the Sarebas did. The Rev. Walter Chambers 
lived at Sakarran for some time, but gathered no 
converts. He then settled himself among the 
Balows of the Batang Lupar and Linga, and when 
there was a community of Christians from these 
rivers, at Banting, where Mr. Chambers had built 
his church and house, a Sarebas chief, Buda by 
name, the son of a notorious old pirate, happened 
to meet some of these Christian Dyaks, and came 
himself to be taught. He brought his wife, sister, 
and child. They walked upwards of eighty miles, 
partly through the mud of the sea-shore, carrying: 


ihcir mats and cooking-pots with them, and estab- 
lished themselves in the mission-house, where they 
were kindly welcomed, and stayed six weeks, during 
which time they were so diligent that they learnt to 
read and made some progress in writing. This was 
in the rainy season, when all farming operations are 
in abeyance. The next year they returned at the 
same time, but, meanwhile, they had not been idle, 
but had taught all they knew to their countrymen. 
Shortly afterwards Buda was made a catechist, 
and he excited so much interest, that in 1867 Mr 
Chambers baptized one hundred and eighty of these 
people, who were once the most dangerous enemies 
of the English and the most notorious pirates of 
Borneo. Then Buda proceeded to the village of 
Seruai, and Mr. Chambers had soon to visit there, 
for the people were so earnest they would scarcely 
let him sleep, nor seemed to require any sleep 
themselves, but day and night learnt the hymns 
and catechism, which they must know by heart 
to be baptized. Nearly two hundred were baptized 
on the Kryan River. A catechist had been placed 
there, called Belabut. He married Buda's sister, who 
walked to Banting for instruction. She had much 
influence over the women of the tribe, and Mr. 
Chambers said it was delightful to hear her read 
" her beloved gospel " with the correct pronuncia- 
tion of an English lady. 

The Christians of the Kryan did not keep the 
good news to themselves, but proceeded to teach 
the next village of Sinambo. In these villages 


there are now school-chapels, built by the Dyaks 
themselves. In 1873, Mr. Chambers, who was then 
bishop, wrote : ," These Sea Dyaks have made the 
greatest advances in civilization and Christianity. 
Looking back even five years, there is a great differ- 
ence. They have abandoned superstitious habits." 
" They no longer listen to the voices of birds to tell 
them when to sow their seeds, undertake a journey, 
or build a house ; they never consult a manang * in 
sickness or difficulty ; above all, they set no store 
by the blackened skulls which used to hang from 
their roofs, but which they have either buried or 
given away to any people from a distance who 
cared for them, assuring them at the same time 
that they ' were no use.' " 

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

After the pirate fight of 1849, the evil disposed 
and turbulent, both of the Sakarrans and Sarebas, 
found a leader in Rentab, a Sarebas chief. He 
braved the Government for years. In 1852 his war- 
boats appeared above the Sakarran Fort, and the 
two young Englishmen there, Mr. Brereton and 
Mr. Lee, too confident in their strength, attacked 
the boats with a small force. In this engagement 
Mr. Lee was killed, and Mr. Brereton escaped with 
difficulty. Several expeditions \vere taken into the 
* Heathen doctor. 


interior against Rentab ; but he was so clever, that 
even when Captain Brooke battered his stronghold 
to pieces by having guns dragged up the steep hill 
on which his fort was built, Rentab managed to 
escape, and was never taken. His followers, however, 
fell away from him by degrees, and there are now 
no pirates in those rivers. 



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

A little procession left our house, the rajah 
walking first, dressed in full uniform as Governor of 
Labuan, and Suboo, the Malay executioner, holding 
a large yellow satin umbrella over his head, as is 
the custom on all state occasions, for yellow is the 
royal colour in Borneo ; then my husband, in surplice 
and hood, the English residents, naval officers, and, 
last, a crowd of Malays and Chinese followed, to 
witness the ceremony of laying the first great block 
of wood in the foundation of St. Thomas's Church. 


After prayers had been read, the rajah lowered 
the great sleeper into its place, and we all returned 
home. From that day the church began to rise 
out of the earth with the same seeming magic as 
the house had done. It was entirely built of wood 
all the beams, rafters, and posts of the hard balean- 
wood, and the roof covered with balean shingles, 
like the house. The planking was a cedar-coloured 
wood, and all the arches and mouldings were 
finished like cabinet-work, so that it was both 
handsome and durable. The ornamental pillars 
were first made of polished nibong palms ; but in 
a few years these had to be cut away, as they were 
full of white ants, and hard wood substituted. 
The building of this little church was most inter- 
esting to us. When my husband was at Singapore 
for a short time in 1849, he had the pulpit, reading- 
desk, a carved wooden eagle, and the chairs made 
there ; also a coloured glass east window was con- 
trived, with the Sarawak flag for a centre light. 
This pleased the Malays; indeed, they admired the 
house and church immensely, and always assured 
us that they knew we could not have built either, 
unless inspired by good antoos (spirits). 

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

The church bell was a difficult matter. Nothing 
larger than a ship bell could be found in the straits. 


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


In August, 1850, a great influx of Chinese came 
to Sarawak. There was a war at Sambas, the 
principal Dutch settlement in Borneo, between the 
Chinese, who were friendly to the Dutch, and who 
were living at Pcrnankat, and the Montrado 
Chinese, who, with the Dyaks of the country, 
rebelled against the Dutch. The Montrados beat 
the Pernankat Chinese, and they fled from the 
place, carrying with them their wives and children, 
and as much property as they could cram into 
their boats. The boats were overladen, and many 
of them perished at sea, but some reached Tangong 
Datu. On the 26th of August, four hundred of 
these poor creatures arrived at Sarawak, saying 
there were three thousand more starving on the 
sands at Datu, who would follow as fast as they 
could ; and, in course of time, most of them did find 
their way up the river, although those in charge of 
the Government (the rajah was at Labuan) tried to 
persuade them to make a town for themselves at 
Santubong (one of the mouths of the river). A few 
of them did settle at Santubong, but every day 
brought boats full of Chinamen into the place. 
The rajah fed these poor people for months with 
rice, and gave them tools that they might clear the 
ground and make gardens in the jungle. At first, 
before they could build themselves houses, the 
whole place seemed upset by them. Many lived in 
their boats on the river ; every shed and workshop 
in the town was full. One night Frank walked 
into the church, to see no one was stealing planks 


from the unfinished building. All was quiet, but 
by a stray moonbeam he perceived that one end of 
the church, already boarded, was full of mosquito 
curtains, and they as full of sleeping Chinamen. 
Such a thing could not be allowed nails knocked 
into the polished walls to tie up the curtains, 
tobacco perfuming the place, to say nothing of 
sparks to light the pipes, and a considerable 
allowance of bugs which Chinese people always 
carry about with them. Frank jumped straight 
into the middle of the muslin curtains, with a shout ; 
and amidst a hubbub of tongues, "yaw-yaw" and 
laughter, bundled them all out into the workmen's 
shed close by, where they might sleep in peace. It 
occurred to my husband that some of these Chinese 
would be glad to have their children brought up 
with the seven little orphans we had already, so he 
went to Aboo, the Chinese magistrate, and offered 
to take ten children into our house to be brought 
up as Christians, baptized, and educated for ten 
years. The Chinese value education, and were very 
glad to give them to us. I shall never forget 
sitting in the porch one morning to receive my new 
family. Neither parents nor children could speak 
Malay. They walked up the stairs, bringing a little 
boy or girl, nodded and smiled and put the child's 
hand into mine, as much as to say, " There, take it." 
One of our Chinese servants then explained to 
them what we could do for the child, and that 
it must remain with us until' grown up. That day 
we took Salion, Sunfoon, Chinzu, Queyfat, Assin, 



Umque, Achin, boys ; Achong, Moukmoy, Poingzu, 
girls. The Knglish nurse we had brought with us 
to Sarawak had married Stahl, the carpenter, of 
whom I spoke before, and Mrs. Stahl became the 
matron of the school when we moved to College 
Hill, and had these ten Chinese children as well as 
the orphans to care for. We were very busy sewing 
for them, with a Chinese tailor to help. Blue jackets 
and trousers for week-days, and black trousers and 
white jackets for Sundays, had to be made at once. 
The girls wore trousers as well as the boys, only 
wider, and their jackets reached to the knee. 

At the end of a week they were all clean and 
neat. Their heads were shaved every Saturday, and 
their long tails freshly plaited up with skeins of 
black or red strong silk, made on purpose. At first 
a barber came to do this, but soon the elder boys 
learnt to do it, and it was a regular Saturday 
business. These ten children soon learnt to speak 
Malay. Then we took five more, and after that one 
or two as circumstances threw them in our way. 
The school at last numbered f6rty-five, but there 
was not room in the mission-house for so many ; 
we did not get beyond thirty the first year of the 

I scarcely think thirty English children could 
have been so easily reduced to order as these little 
Chinese. School must have been paradise to them 
after the hardships they had undergone, and that 
perhaps made it easier to please them ; besides, the 
Chinese readily submit to rule and method. The 


day was laid out for them. They rose at half-past 
five when the day dawned ; after a bath in a pond 
in the grounds, they had a slice of rice-pudding with 
treacle on it, and then went to church for morning 
prayers. By seven o'clock they were all at lessons 
m the big room such a buzzing and curious sing- 
song of Chinese words until nine, when the break- 
fast took place ; rice, of course, and a sort of curry 
of vegetables, also a great dish of fish, either salt or 
fresh ; a little tea for the elder children, no milk 
or sugar, and water for the rest. They soon learnt 
to sing their grace before and after meals. 

The same kind of meal was repeated at five 
o'clock, but on Sunday they had pork curried 
instead of fish, and on festivals chickens. I taught 
these children to sing from the first. The Chinese 
are not musical generally, and some of them found 
the sounds of do, re, mi, very difficult to master, 
but we had very nice singing in church in time ; 
and when a schoolmaster came who knew plenty of 
songs, glees, and rounds, the children learnt them 
quickly, and were often sent for to sing to the 
rajah and other guests when they came to dinner. 
It used to startle strangers to hear " The Hardy 
Norseman," "The Cuckoo," and such-like songs 
from the lips of little Chinese boys. Every Saturday 
evening they came to the house to practise the 
hymns and chants for Sunday; I had an harmonium 
in the dining-room. On these occasions they all 
had a cup of tea and slice of cake, and used to look 
at the picture newspapers which had come from 


England the last mail. They were very intelligent 
boys. It was necessary they should learn Malay 
and English as well as Chinese, and of course 
arithmetic, geography, and the usual rudiments of 
learning. I have often watched the Chinese writing- 
lesson : it seemed the most difficult branch of their 
education one complicated character, something 
like a five-barred gate, representing a variety of 
sounds as well as meanings ; but our little fellows 
learnt it all. They had a Chinese master as well as 
an English, and they soon spoke English as well as 
we could desire. My husband took the greatest 
interest in this school. When the children first came 
he taught them games and made them playthings, 
and they were always about him. Whenever we 
went anywhere by boat a crew of boys was added 
to the rowers. They soon learnt to use their paddles 
well, and at the public boat-races, on New Year's 
Day, pulled their own boat in the race and sometimes 
won it. When my husband became Bishop of 
Labuan and Sarawak, he always took some of the 
schoolboys with him in his visits to the different 
stations. They helped the church services by their 
singing, and had their especial chums among the 
Dyak Christian boys in the different tribes. So 
many boys passed through the school during the 
twenty years we took an interest in it, that I cannot 
even remember all of them. Some are now cate- 
chists among the Dyak tribes ; many entered the 
service of the Government or the Merchant Com- 
pany as clerks ; some went to Singapore and found 


employment there. I know of only one who has 
as yet been ordained, but perhaps that time has 
scarcely yet arrived in Sarawak. It is difficult for 
Malays or Dyaks to look up to a Chinaman suffi- 
ciently to make him their minister : they are less 
clever than the Chinese, but look down upon them 
nevertheless the Malays, because the Chinese are 
the workers, and they the gentlemen ; the Dyaks, 
I suppose, because they gave them such a thrashing 
in 1857. One good consequence of the Chinese 
school was, that it attracted the attention of the 
parents towards Christianity, and they .presented 
themselves as catechumens. There were many 
difficulties with the languages, for the Chinese at 
Sarawak were not all of the same tribe, and could 
not understand one another. Hov/ever, after a while 
a Chinese professor arrived at Sarawak, bringing 
his wife and family with him. In those days the 
women were forbidden to emigrate with their 
husbands, but Sing Sing put his wife into a large 
chest with air-holes at the top, and brought her 
safely from China. The Bishop employed this 
man, who was well educated, to make translations, 
and to interpret what he said to the Chinese, so 
there were soon Bible classes at our house every 
Wednesday evening. Sing Sing became an inquirer 
himself while translating the gospel to others. He 
was soon able to hold cottage lectures in the town, 
and after some years the Bishop had the happiness 
to ordain him as minister to his people. There 
was a large congregation of Chinese at the Sunday 


services before we left, and it was a good proof of 
the sincerity of these converts, that while all their 
heathen countrymen worked at their trades on 
Sunday as well as other days, our Christians spent 
their Sunday in worship and rest, which no doubt 
was an advantage to their health as well as their 
growth in grace. 

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

In January, 1851, the Church of St. Thomas at 
Kuching was consecrated by Bishop Wilson, of 
Calcutta. On the afternoon of the i8th, I was 
returning from church, and mounting the flight of 
steps which led to the porch of the house, I saw 
a large steamer turn the corner of the Pedungen 
Reach and anchor above the fort. It was the 
Semiramis bringing the Bishop, Archdeacon Pratt 
and Mrs. Pratt, the Rev. H. Moule from Singapore, 
Dr. Beale, the Bishop's physician, and Mr. Fox from 
Bishop's College. This party, escorted by Frank, 
who rushed home to dress himself in black (his 
usual attire being grey flannels and a white muslin 
cassock), very soon marched into the house, exclaim- 
ing with pleasure at the wreaths of white jessamine 
growing over the stairs, and the fresh air of the hill. 
We had so lately settled in the house that it was 
.not half furnished, but we gave up our rooms to 
our guests and stowed ourselves in an empty 
corner. I remember the satisfaction with which 


Mrs. Stahl produced the remains of the Christmas 
plum-pudding, and the comfort it was to have 
a joint of venison in the house. Dinner was soon 
on the table, and immediately afterwards the Bishop 
read prayers and retired to his room. We all went 
into the library, where we had tea and talk. It was 
very refreshing to have an English lady to speak 
to, and Mrs. Pratt was so tall and fair that every- 
body admired her, especially the Malays, who used 
to say that it was sufficient pleasure to look at her 
throat only. 

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

The next day was Sunday, but the church was 
not cleared out for consecration, and most of the 
fittings had come from Singapore in the Semiramis, 
and could not be got out on Saturday night. So 
morning and evening prayers were as usual in the 
dining-room, and what with the officers of the 
Semiramis, the English of the place, the school 
and our home party, the room was very full. The 
children sang with all their might, and were much 
interested with the visitors. The Bishop and Arch- 
deacon Pratt preached morning and afternoon. On 
Wednesday the church was ready. Mrs. Stahl and 


I were up before dawn, covering hassocks with 
Turkey red cotton. The church was tiled, but 
platforms of wood, covered with mats, which were 
a present from Mr. and Mrs. Stahl, were placed on 
the tiles, and the chairs just arrived by S emir amis 
stood on them. We afterwards had to clear the 
platforms away they became full of white ants ; 
but they looked very well at first. 

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

He was very kind and friendly to us all, and 
admired the church very much. His visit was 
a boon to the mission. It impressed the native 
mind with the importance Christians attach to their 



churches and to public worship. When our church 
bell called us to prayers twice every day, the 
Mahometans revived the daily muezzin at the 
mosque ; and the sight of the public practice of 
religion amongst us quickened the Malays in the 
performance of their own religious rites, and from 
that time there were many more pilgrims to Mecca 
from Sarawak. 



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


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

me she must be Chinese, for she can talk in two 

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

Mary married the schoolmaster, Mr. Owen. We 
brought Julia home with us in 1869, and put her 
into a training-school for teachers in Dublin, where 
she was much beloved. When we returned to 
Sarawak, in 1861, she became the schoolmistress 
to the girls I then had in the house, and others 
who came as day-scholars. She was a thoroughly 
good girl, and a great comfort to me, but of course 
she married, a young man employed as mate in the 
Rainbow, a Government vessel running between 


Sarawak and Singapore. Some years afterwards 
Forrest died, and Julia married again, an older man 
very well off. I have no doubt she is bringing up 
her family in the fear of God, but I have not heard 
of her lately. I had many trials with the girls, 
more than I like to recount. All the first little 
family of Chinese girls we received in 1850 belonged 
to the tribe who rebelled in 1857, and their relations 
carried them off when we were driven from the 
mission-house. They were taken to Bau where 
their relations lived, but what became of them in 
the terrible flight to the Dutch country, when many 
were killed, and still more died of the privations of 
the jungle, we never could hear. 

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

In the year 1862 some little captives fell into 
the hands of Captain Brooke, then ruling at Sarawak. 
They came from Sarebas, and one of them had been 
wounded by a spear, though he was only a tiny 


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

Still, the alternative was nothing less than 
sending these four children to their heathen rela- 
tions, and to a place at that time beyond the reach 
of Christ's gospel a terrible idea which could not 
be entertained for a moment. So at last I sent for 
them, resolving to keep them in our house, and not 
allow them to go down to the school until the 
Bishop returned. Shortly afterwards a Chinese 
doctor came to the Bishop, and said, " If you will 
give me fifteen dollars I will cure that boy of 
kurap. I have a wonderful medicine for it, made at 


the Natunas Islands." So he had the money on 
condition of the cure. The medicine was an 
ointment as black as pitch indeed, I believe there 
was a good portion of tar in it. With this the 
doctor smeared Esau all over. He was to wear 
no clothes, and not to be washed or touched. I 
used to see him, poor child, skipping about exactly 
like the little black imps depicted in Punch. 

The ointment did not hurt him, but every third 
day the doctor came and washed it all off with hot 
water : this was rather a painful operation, but it 
was worth while undergoing some discomfort, for 
at the end of a month the disease had vanished, 
and " his skin came again like the flesh of a child." 
Esau grew up to be a good man and catechist to 
his own countrymen, so it was well I ventured to 
keep him at Sarawak. The other children soon 
got well when separated from him. Kurap arises, 
1 believe, from poor food and exposure to weather. 
A Dyak wears no clothes except a long sash wound 
round him and the ends hanging down before and 
behind ; and when we consider the hot sun and 
frequent rains which beat upon him, for he lives 
mostly out of doors, it is no wonder his skin 
suffers. Limo and Ambat were clever children. 
In a letter, written about a year after they came to 
us, I find this passage : " I have only four girls 
who can read English and understand it. My two 
little Dyaks, Limo and Ambat, are very fond of 
learning English hymns, and say them in such a 
plaintive, touching voice, pronouncing each syllable 


so clearly, but they don't understand it until it has 
been explained to them in Malay. Limo's brother 
and uncle came this week from Sarebas two fine, 
tall men, with only chawats * and earrings by way 
of clothes. Limo was delighted ; she would have 
gone away with them in their great boat if I had 
allowed her. No doubt they told her how much 
they would do for her at Sarebas. However, I drew 
a little picture of the women setting her to draw 
large bamboos full of water, and to beat out the 
paddy with a long pole very hard work, and 
always done by the young girls, a more truthful 
and less delightful view of things ; so Limo said 
she would stay with me until she was grown up. 
I gave her a pair of trousers for each of the men, 
a present generally much esteemed. But these two 
were very wild folk ; they laughed very much at 
the trousers, and carried them away over their 

I must not forget to tell the story of my dear 
child Nietfong, although it is a very sad one. She 
was the daughter of the Chinese baker who lived 
in the lane which led from our garden to the town. 
I used to befriend her mother, a delicate little 
woman, very roughly treated by her husband. She 
twice ran to me for shelter when her husband beat 
her, and though of course I always had to give her 
up to him when he came begging for her the next 
day, he knew what I thought of him, and had a sort 

* A chawat is a long strip of cotton or bark cloth wound round 
the body. 


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

In vain I entreated Acheck not to be so wicked. 
" Tell me how much you would get for your 
daughter," I said, " and we will give you the money." 


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

As I have spoken about the Dyak kurap, I may 
as well here mention the real leprosy of the East, 
which was a tenible but not frequent scourge 
among the Chinese. The Rajah had a small house 
built out of the town for any men who were so 
afflicted, and they were fed by Government. The 
Bishop or his chaplain used to go and teach these 
poor creatures, but there were not more than three 
or four of them at a time. We knew one Chinese 
woman who had leprosy. She became a Christian, 
and liked to have a cottage lecture at her house. 
I often went to see her. Her toes gradually dropped 



md her fingers. I never heard her complain. 
One day I went to see her and found her very ill, 
constantly sick. She said she had been poisoned ; 
and it seemed probable, for no medicine gave her 
any relief, and in a few hours she died. The natives 
have such a horror of leprosy that they do not like 
to touch the body of any one who has died of it, so 
the Bishop and Owen, the schoolmaster, laid poor 
Achecn in her coffin ; and this charitable act they 
performed for any unfortunate who died of this 
terrible disease. 

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

Amongst our schoolboys was one particularly 
steady and religious. Tung Fa was so good a 
Malay and Chinese scholar that he could interpret 
at the Chinese Bible class, and also the sermon at 
the Chinese service at church on Sunday. I think 
he knew his Bible almost by heart. He was never 
very strong in health ; then his feet began to swell, 
and leprosy declared itself. For a long time he 
was carried to and from the church in a chair, but 
at last he was so diseased that he was removed 
from the school-house, and a little hut was built for 


him close to us. The boys brought him his food, 
and of course he had anything he fancied from our 
kitchen. I think the servants were very kind to 
him, and he exhibited a beautiful example of 
patience and resignation until the disease affected 
his brain ; even then he was quite gentle, only he 
was always begging to be baptized over again that 
he might die free from sin. This mistake arose 
entirely from his illness. We were quite thankful 
when one morning he was found dead in his bed. 
What a blissful waking, after so much suffering ! 



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


We stayed six weeks amid the lovely scenery 
and in the cooler air of Penang Hill, and returned 
to Sarawak in May, Admiral Austin giving us a 
passage in H.M.S. Fury. The admiral gave me 
his cabin to sleep in, all the gentlemen sleeping 
in the cuddy. I woke in the night, hearing a rush- 
ing sound in the air, then, patter, patter, all over 
the bed. I jumped up, and called Frank to bring 
a light and see what was the matter. " Oh," said 
a voice from the cuddy, " better not : it is only 
cockroaches, and if you saw them you would not 
go to sleep again." This swarm of cockroaches 
came out several times before daylight. The next 
night I put up a mosquito-net to protect my face 
and hands from these disgusting creatures. When 
a steamer has been nearly three years in these hot 
latitudes it becomes horribly full of rats and cock- 
roaches. My husband, taking a trip in H.M.S. 
Contest, in 1858, woke one morning unable to 
open one eye. Presently he felt a sharp prick, 
and found a large cockroach sitting on his eyelid 
and biting the corner of his eye. They also bite 
all round the nails of your fingers and toes, unless 
they are closely covered. It must be said that 
insects are a great discomfort at Sarawak. Mosqui- 
toes, and sand-flies, and stinging flies which turn 
your hands into the likeness of boxing-gloves, 
infest the banks of the rivers, and the sea-shore. 
Flying bugs sometimes scent the air unpleasantly, 
and there are hornets in the woods whose sting 
is dangerous. When we look back upon the happy 


days we spent in that lovely country, these draw- 
backs are forgotten ; the past is always beautiful, 
and shadows, even of sorrow and sickness, only 
enhance the interest of the picture. Sin alone, 
in ourselves and those about us, can make the past 
hateful, and the great charm of the future is that 
it is untouched by sin. Happy, then, are those who 
are able to look back on the past with smiles of 
thankfulness, while they stretch out their arms 
hopefully to the future. 

Sarawak looked very peaceful on our return ; 
and now began the interest of the Dyak missions. 
From our first arrival at Kuching my husband had 
taken every opportunity of visiting the Dyak tribes, 
and sometimes a chief would come to the town 
with a number of his people, to pay their rice tax, 
or purchase clothes, tobacco, gongs, gunpowder, 
whatever the bazaar possessed which they valued. 
They brought with them beeswax, damar, honey, 
or rattans to exchange for those things. On these 
occasions the whole party came up to the mission- 
house to hear the harmonium, see the magic- 
lantern, and beg presents. At first they would ask 
for arrack, but finding nothing but claret to be had 
with us, soon left off that request. Plates and cups 
were always valued, and they used to say we had 
so many more than we could possibly want in the 
pantry, that of course we would give them some. 
To their honour be it said, they never stole one, 
and were invariably refused, for we had not any 
more than we wanted. The Dyaks hung their 


plates in loops of rattan very ingeniously against 
the walls of their houses ; but a plantain-leaf folded 
up is more often used by them in lieu of plates, 
and they could not have a better substitute. I 
never enjoyed a meal so much as some cold rice 
and sardines eaten off a plantain-leaf in the jungle 
at Lundu, after a long walk to the waterfall. The 
servant with the provision basket had lost his way, 
and as we sat hungry under the great trees at the 
foot of the fall, a Dyak friend produced a box of 
sardines and a parcel of cold rice, and divided it 
amonsfst us. When at last the basket of cold 


chickens arrived we handed them over to the 
Dyaks, feeling quite superior to such civilized food. 
The Lundu Dyak chief was a great friend and 
admirer of Sir James Brooke from his first arrival 
in the country. He and his tribe were the determined 
enemies of the pirates, and with the Balows of the 
Batang Lupar braved the Sarebas and Sakarrans, 
even when they were most powerful. At the pirate 
fight of 1849 the Lundu chief lost two of his sons : 
they were killed by an ambush set by Lingi the 
Sarebas chief. Only one son, Gallon, remained, and 
he was not his father's favourite. Poor old Orang 
Kaya ! it was a terrible trial, and nearly brought 
him to his grave. Some time afterwards, he and 
Gallon were at Sarawak to pay their tax. Lingi, 
who had then submitted to the Rajah, had been in 
Sarawak for some days, professedly to trade, but 
really to see if he could not take Sir James Brooke's 
head. This was prevented by the watchfulness of 


the Malays, who, suspecting Lingi, never let him get 
near the Rajah when they sat talking after dinner, 
as was the custom in those days. So Lingi went 
away foiled, and the day they dropped down the 
river the Lundus heard of it. Revenge seemed 
ready at hand : they had a fast boat, were a large 
party, and brave to a man. They entreated the 
Rajah to let them follow Lingi and take his head 
never again would they take a head, only Lingi's, 
the Rajah's enemy and their own. Of course they 
were refused, and it must have been a terrible 
strain on their affection and fealty to the Rajah, 
not in this instance to follow the traditions of their 
ancestors, and gratify their personal revenge by 
killing a traitor. But they obeyed, and Lingi got 
safely back to Sarebas, little knowing how narrowly 
he escaped. The old Lundu chief was a Christian 
before he died. He always professed a desire to be 
of the same religion and brother to the white man, 
but when, after due instruction, his son and grandson 
came to Kuching to be baptized, he was not well 
enough to accompany them, Mr. Gomes promised 
to baptize him on their return ; but when that event 
took place Orang Kaya was dead, gone where, no 
doubt, the will was taken for the deed, as he was a 
Christian at heart. Mr. Gomes was from Bishop's 
College, Calcutta. Soon after he came to us, in 1852, 
he went to Lundu and remained there until 1867, 
when his children requiring more education than 
he could give them at a Dyak station, he went to 
Singapore, and accepted the post of missionary 
priest there. 


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

There was also a very rich old man, Simoulin by 
name, who was baptized at this time. His wife 
had opposed his conversion with all her might ; 
indeed, she declared she would leave him and carry 
half the property with her. Simoulin said quietly, 
"If she will she must: she is only a woman, and 
her judgment in the matter is not likely to be 
good." | Christianity had strong opponents in the 
women of all the Dyak tribes. They held important 


parts in all the feasts, incantations, and superstitions, 
which could not be called religion, but were based 
on the dread of evil spirits and a desire to propitiate 
them. The women encouraged head-taking by 
preferring to marry the man who had some of 
those ghastly tokens of his prowess. ' When Sir 
James Brooke forbad head-taking among the tribes 
in his dominions, it was the women who would row 
their lovers out of the rivers in their boats, and set 
them down on the sea-coast to find the head of a 
stranger. I When heads were brought in, it was the 
women who took possession of them, decked them 
with flowers, put food into their mouths, sang to 
them, mocked them, and instituted feasts in honour 
of the slayers. The young Dyak woman works 
hard; she helps in all the labours of sowing, planting 
out, weeding, and reaping the paddy. She beats 
out the rice in a wooden trough, with a long pole, 
or pestle. She grows the cotton for clothing, dyes 
and weaves it. She carries heavy burdens, and 
paddles her boat on the river. t All these are her 
duties, and in performing them she quickly loses 
her smooth skin, bright eyes, and slender figure. 
It is only the young girls who can boast of any 
beauty, but;' the old women are very important 
personages at a seed-time or harvest festival.! They 
dress themselves in long garments embroidered 
with tiny white shells, representing lizards and 
crocodiles. With long wands in their hands, they 
dance, singing wild incantations. I They have 
already prepared the food for the feast-|-chickens 


Page 74. 


roasted in their feathers ; cakes of rice, spun like 
vermicelli and fried in cocoa-nut oil ; curries, and 
salads of bitter and acid leaves ; sticks of small 
bamboo filled with pulut rice and boiled, when it 
turns to a jelly and is agreeably flavoured with the 
young bamboo. ] It is the women also who serve 
out the tuak, a spirit prepared from rice and spiced 
with various ingredients, tobacco being one. The 
men must drink at these feasts ; they are very 
temperate] generally, but on this occasion they are 
rather proud of being drunk and boasting the next 
day of a bad headache ! The women urge them 
to drink, but do not join in the orgies, and disappear 
when the intoxicating stage begins. I trust that 
this description belongs only to the past ; at any 
rate, we know that in those places where the 
missionaries have long taught, their people follow 
a more excellent way of rejoicing in the joy of 
harvest, and, after their thanksgiving service in 
church, pour out their offerings of rice before the 
altar to maintain the services, and minister to the 
sick and needy. | 

For many years, however, the women were 
opposed to a religion which cleared away the 
superstitious customs which were the delight of 
their lives, their chief amusement and dissipation, 
and a means of influencing the men. It was not 
until the year 1864 that Mr. Gomes asked us to 
visit Lundu and welcome a little party of women, 
the first converts to the faith which their fathers 
and husbands had long professed. This is a long 


digression from the history of the Lundus' visit to 
Kuching in 1855, which was at the time a great 
event. I find the following passage in my journal : 
"Every evening, before late dinner, the Lundus go 
up to Mr. Gomes's room to say their prayers, and 
sing, or rather chant, their hymns. There is some- 
thing very affecting in this little service the Dyak 
voices singing of Christ's second coming with His 
holy angels, and rejoicing that He came once 
before for their salvation ; then praying for holy, 
gentle hearts to receive Him. I always feel on 
these occasions as if I heard these precious truths 
afresh when they arc spoken in a tongue till lately 
ignorant of them. Indeed, there can scarcely be 
a more joyful excitement than such passages in 
the life of a missionary ; they are worth any sacrifice. 
After English morning service, Mr. Gomes has 
prayers in church for his Dyaks. He then instructs 
them in the baptismal service. This makes five 
daily services in church, two English, two Chinese, 
and one Dyak. We clothed all the candidates in a 
new suit of cotton garments with a bright-coloured 
handkerchief for their heads. It would be con- 
sidered very irreverent for Easterns to uncover their 
heads in church. I taught the school-children to 
sing ' Veni, Creator Spiritus ' at this baptism, while 
the clergy were arranging the candidates and 
sponsors round the font. The font was wreathed 
with flowers by my children. There was quite 
a full church, for the Chinese Christians all came 
to see the Dyaks baptized, and all the English of 


the place were present. Mr. Gomes baptized, and 
my husband signed them with the cross. They 
all spoke up bravely in answering to their vows : 
may God give them grace to keep them." 

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


Sarawak River to the Batang Lupar, then a long 
pull from the fort at Linga up to Banting. The 
journey took three nights and two days. 

The mission-house at Banting is most romanti- 
cally placed on the crest of a hill overhanging the 
river about three hundred feet, and stands in a 
grove of beautiful fruit-trees. The view from it is 
enchanting. The river branches at the foot of the 
hill, and each branch seems to vie with the other 
in the tortuousness of its course through the bright 
green paddy-fields. About a mile off rises Mount 
Lesong* with a graceful slope, about three thousand 
feet, and then terminates abruptly in a rugged top. 
The four clergymen who met at Banting looked 
almost as wild as their people wide shady hats, 
long staffs, long beards, not a shirt among the 
party, and but one pair of shoes, belonging to my 
husband, who never could walk barefooted. They 
spent several days together, and had much consul- 
tation about religious terms. The most intelligent 
of the Dyak Christians were present, as it was 
necessary, not only to choose words they could 
understand, but such as they could easily pro- 
nounce. On Trinity Sunday there were several 
services in the large room of the house, for the 
church was not yet built. The Lingas sang their 
hymns with great energy to one of their own wild 
strains, but when they heard the Lundus' melodious 
chant they were ashamed to sing after them, and 
begged them to teach them. The Dyaks love 

* Lesong, mortar, being mortar-shaped. 


music and verse. Mr. Gomes and Mr. Chambers 
wrote them hymns, and the Creed in verse, which 
they readily commit to memory and understand 
better than prose. Pictures are also used in their 
instruction : a parable or miracle is read, then a 
picture of it produced and explained, the Dyaks 
repeating each sentence after the teacher, to keep 
their attention. 

The baptized alone join in the Litany and Holy 
Communion. The afternoon was spent in visiting 
the sick and giving medicine. Several women 
came to the house for instruction, and seemed to 
take great interest in Mr. Chambers, teaching ; but 
it was not until Mr. Chambers was married that 
any women were baptized. At breakfast the next 
morning came an old chief, called Tongkat Langit 
the Staff of Heaven. His son Lingire was one of the 
most pleasing converts, and Tongkat was wavering 
had not leisure at present ! The necessity of 
forswearing the practise of head-taking deters the 
old men from becoming Christians: they fear to lose 
influence with their tribe. The little party then 
fixed upon the spot where the church should be 
built, a permanent bilian chancel to which a nave 
could be added when the additional room was 
required. Twenty-five pounds from the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge was all the 
money then in hand to begin with ; but very soon 
more was collected, and when I visited Banting in 
1857 there was a lovely little church standing on 
the hill overlooking the village, and surrounded by 


beautiful trees. The walk to it from the mission- 
house was just like a gentleman's park, the green 
sward and groups of trees with lovely peeps of hill 
and valleys and winding streams between. Again 
in 1864 we went to Banting, that the Bishop might 
consecrate the church. The nave was then built. 
Every stick in the church was bilian. The white ants 
walked in as soon as the workmen left. In one 
night they carried their covered ways all over the 
inside of the roof, the walls, the beams, and rafters; 
and finding nothing they could bite, they walked 
out again, leaving their traces plainly marked. 
Since then a coloured-glass window, representing 
our Lord's Resurrection, has been added at the east 
end of the church ; and, what is better far, the 
church is full of Dyak Christians every Sunday, and 
from this living Church many branches have been 
planted, so that the Banting Mission now includes 
seven stations, where there are school-churches 
built by the natives themselves, and many hundreds 
of Christian worshippers. 

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



set apart ,3000 a year for Borneo. Under their 
fostering care the mission flourished, as it could 
not have done under the management of any 
private society. 



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


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

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


climbing for any one, but a stiff knee made it still 
more difficult. 

The object of the expedition was to make peace 
between certain Dyak tribes who had long been 
enemies, and to build a fort on the Rejang River, 
similar to Mr. Brereton's fort at Sakarran, and for 
the same purpose. An Englishman named Steele 
was to occupy the fort with some Malays. Captain 
Brooke took the Jolly Bachelor gunboat, and 
Frank moved into it to cross the sea from the 
mouth of the Sarawak to the Linga River, for the 
waves were high and wetted the smaller boats. 
When they reached the Linga River, he was sitting 
one Sunday night on the boom of the Jolly, 
enjoying the moonlight, and watching the swift 
rush of the tide, which is very rapid in that river. 
Suddenly, the piece of wood he was trusting to 
broke, and he was precipitated over the stern. 
Had he fallen into the water he must have been 
dragged under the vessel by the tide and drowned, 
but, through God's mercy, the ship's boat (Dingy), 
which only a few minutes before was the whole 
length of its painter away from the Jolly, swept up 
to it from the swing of the vessel, and, as he fell, he 
caught hold of the boat and pulled himself into it, 
escaping with only a bruise, when a watery bed, or 
the jaws of an alligator or shark, might have received 
him. A shark had been swimming round the gun- 
boat during Divine service that day, and an 
alligator had taken a man only the day before from 
a boat close by. My dear husband's comment on 


this narrow escape is, " Praise the Lord, O my soul, 
and forget not all His benefits ; who redeemeth 
thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with 
mercy and lovingkindness." 

The fleet waited for some days in the Linga 
River, while the Balow Dyaks fetched the jars which 
they were to exchange with the Sakarrans as a 
pledge of peace. These jars, of which every Dyak 
tribe possessed some, are of unknown antiquity. 
There is nothing very particular in their appearance. 
They are brown in colour, have handles at the sides, 
and sometimes figures of dragons on them. They 
vary in value, but though the Chinese have tried to 
imitate them, hoping to sell them to the Dyaks, 
they have never deceived them : they detect a 
difference where no European or Chinese eye can, 
and at once pronounce the Chinese jars of no value. 
Yet they will not sell their own rusas or tajows for 
any money, and they fancy that some of them have 
the property of keeping water always sweet. If 
a Dyak tribe offends the law, Government fines 
them so many jars, which are brought to Kuching 
and kept, or returned on their good behaviour. 
This reminds me of the story of a little Dyak boy 
who was taken prisoner in 1849. His father was 
killed, and the boy, about eight years old, was 
brought to the Rajah. For some days the child 
seemed quite happy, then he begged to speak to 
"Tuan Rajah," and told him confidentially that he 
knew a place in the jungle where some valuable 
tajows were secreted, and if he would land him 


\vith some Malays or the bank of the river, he would 
point out the place. The Rajah believed the child, 
and the jars were found, and taken on board the 
boat. Then the little boy went again to the Rajah, 
and bursting into tears, said, " I have given you the 
riches of my tribe ; in return give me my liberty. 
Set me down in the jungle path, give me some food, 
and in two days I shall reach my home and my 
mother." So the child was laden with all he took 
a fancy to a china cup, a glass tumbler, and a gay 
sarong (waist-cloth), and as much food as he could 
carry and we heard afterwards that he rejoined 
his friends in safety. 

I must now return to my husband's journal. He 
says : " While at breakfast this morning, one of the 
men told us he had seen the people with tails, of 
whom we have often heard.* They live fifteen days 
up a river, in the interior of the Bruni country. It 
is a large river, but in some places runs through 
caverns, where they can only pass on small rafts. 
He was sent there by Pangeran Mumeim to get 
goats, as these tailed gentry keep a great many of 
them. He says their tails are as long as the two 
joints of the middle finger, fleshy and stiff. They 
must be very inconvenient, for they are obliged to 
sit on logs of wood made on purpose, or to make a 
hole in the earth, to accommodate their tails before 
they can sit down. These people do not eat rice, 
but sago made into cakes and baked in a pot. In 
their country, he said, was a great stone fort, with 

* This legend, though commonly reported, has never been proved. 


nine large iron guns, of which the people can give 
no account, not knowing when or by Avhom it \vas 

" After dinner, when the men sit round me and 
smoke my cigars, they soon enter into conversation. 
We spoke a good deal to-day on the subject of 
religion, the difference between Christianity and 
Mahometanism, and, above all, the absurdity of 
their repeating the Koran, like so many parrots, 
without understanding one word of what they say ; 
and the irreverence of addressing God in words 
they do :iot understand, so that their hearts can 
take no part in their prayers. They agreed that it 
would be better to learn God's law, instead of 
trusting merely to their hadjis, who are often as 
ignorant as themselves. A respectable old Bruni 
man, speaking of different races of men of various 
colours, said he had visited a tribe of white people, 
who lived on a high hill in the interior of the 
country ; they were very white, and the women 
beautiful, with light hair. The men dress like 
Dyaks, but the women wear a long black robe, 
tight at the waist, and puffed out on the shoulders. 
The tradition of their origin, he said, was as follows : 
A long, long time ago, an old man who lived on 
this mountain lost himself in the jungle at its foot, 
and at night, being tired, and afraid of snakes and 
the evil spirits of the wood, he climbed into a tree 
and fell asleep. He was woke by a noise of ravish- 
ing music, the sweetest gongs and chanangs min- 
gling with voices over his head. The music came 


nearer and nearer to the place where he was, until 
he heard the sweet voices under the tree, and, look- 
ing down, beheld a large clear fountain opened, and 
seven beautiful females bathing. They were all of 
different sizes, like the fingers on a man's hand, and 
they sung as they sported in the water. The old 
man watched them for some time, and thought how 
much he should like one of them as a wife for his 
only son ; but as he was afraid of descending 
among them, he made a noose with a long piece of 
rattan, lowered it gently, and slipping it over one 
of them, drew her up into the tree. She cried out, 
and they all disappeared with a whirring noise. 
The girl he caught was very young, and she cried 
sadly because she had no clothes on ; so he rolled 
her in a chawat (long sash), and immediately heard 
the gongs at his own house, which he had thought 
was a long way off. He took the child home, and 
she was brought up by his wife, until she was old 
enough to marry their son. She was very good 
and sweet-tempered, and everybody loved her. In 
course of time she had a son, as white as herself. 
One day her husband was in a violent rage and 
beat her. She implored him not to make her cry, or 
she should be taken away from him and her child. 
But he did not heed, and at last pulled her jacket 
off to beat her. Immediately another jacket was 
dropped with a great noise from the sky, upon the 
house. She put it on, and vanished upwards, leaving 
her son, who was the ancestor of the present tribe." 
Who would have thought of a Dyak Undine ? 


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

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

" He then presented each chief with a jar, a spear, 
and a Sarawak flag, and desired them to use the 
flag in their boats for the purposes of trade. 
Nothing could be more picturesque than the scene. 
The surface of the water was dotted over with the 
long serpent-like bangkongs, gaily painted and 
adorned with flags and streamers of many colours, 
which looked all the brighter against the solemn 
jungle background. Then Gassim and Gila Brani 
(madly brave), on the part of the Sakarrans, and 
Tongkat Langit (Staff of Heaven), the Linga chief, 


joined hands; and each tribe killed a pig with great 
ceremony, and inspected the entrails to see if the 
peace was good. Then they feasted and rejoiced 
together. This ended, they proceeded up the 
Rejang River in the boats, and paddled for four 
days, from twenty-five to thirty miles a day, until 
they came to the Kenowit, on the banks of which 
the fort was to be built." 

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

The Rhododendron, growing in the forks of the 
great branches, takes possession of the tall trees, 
making them blush all over with delicate pinks and 
lilacs, or deepest rose clusters. Then the orchideous 
plants fix themselves in the branches, and send 
out long sprays of blossom of many colours and 
sweetest perfume. Here the voice of the Burong 
boya (crocodile- bird) may be heard, singing like an 
English thrush. He shakes his wings as he sings, 


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



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

The leaves make the thatch to cover the roofs 
of the houses, or shelter over their boats. Neatly 
fastened together with split rattans, they form the 
walls of the house. From the juice of the tree they 
make a fermented drink something like sweet beer, 
also brown sugar. The young shoots are eaten in 
curries and salads. The fruit is salted or pickled. 
When they have got all these good things out of it, 
they burn the stem of the palm with some of the 
leaves, and wash the burnt ashes in water. This 
water is then boiled until it is evaporated, and some 
black salt remains at the bottom of the pot. It 


tastes bitter as well as salt ; but the Dyaks prefer it 
to common salt, and if you ask why, they say, " It is 
a fat salt." I must now return to my husband's 
journal. " Arrived at Kenowit. A tribe of Milanows 
have been induced to settle here lately by the 
Rajah. Within the last few weeks they have built 
two long and substantial houses, raised thirty feet 
from the ground on trunks of trees, some two feet 
in diameter. There are in all sixty doors, or 
families. The tribe furnishes three hundred fight- 
ing men, and numbers from fifteen hundred to two 

" The bachelors, as with the Dyaks, have a sepa- 
rate dwelling. 

" Tanee's tribe, who are returning to Sibou on the 
Rajah's promise to build a fort at Kenowit, are of 
the same tribe, and number about three hundred 
men. They speak the Milanow language, and have 
the same customs of burial. The men and some 
of the women are tattooed in the most grotesque 
patterns. When you look at them closely the 
invention displayed is truly remarkable ; but at 
a distance they give a dingy, dusky appearance to 
the men, as if they were daubed with an inky sponge. 
Nature having denied them beards, they tattoo 
curly locks along their faces, always bordered by 
a vandyke fringe, which must task their utmost 
ingenuity. Tanee, who has followed us with some 
of his warriors, is the very exquisite of a Kenowit. 
He is made like a Hercules, and is proud of show- 
ing his strength and agility. He piques himself 


upon having the best sword, of fine Kayan make 
and native metal, and the strongest arm in his tribe. 
1 le sits most of the day sharpening one or another 
of these swords, feeling and looking along its edge 
to see that the weapon is in perfect order: then, to 
prove it, he seeks for a suitable block of wood, as 
thick as his arm, severs it at a blow, gives a yell, 
and with a grin of delight returns the weapon to its 
sheath. His jacket is of scarlet satin ; his long hair 
is confined by a gold-embroidered handkerchief; his 
chawat is of fine white cloth, very long, and richly 
embroidered the ends hang down to his knees, 
lie wears behind an apron of panther's skin, 
trimmed with red cloth and alligator's teeth, and 
other charms ; this hangs from his loins to his knees, 
and always affords him a dry seat. Tanee's boat 
is long, made out of one tree, like our river canoes, 
but much lighter and faster. His cabin is a raised 
platform in the centre of the boat, covered with 
a mat, and hung all round with weapons and 
trophies of war Kyan fighting-coats of bear and 
buffalo hides, having head-pieces adorned with 
beads or shells, shields and spears all gaily decked 
with Argus' feathers, or human hair dyed red. 

" On Sunday we moved from the boats into 
Palabun's house, and settled ourselves in part of the 
verandah. After breakfast I doctored the sick, 
and then we had the morning service, much to the 
surprise of the natives, who, however, did not disturb 
us. They sit round us all day, hearing and asking 
us questions. . . . Meanwhile the seven hundred men 


who came in the flotilla of twenty boats, were 
busy building the fort. First they pulled down 
a temporary fort already set up by the Kenowits, 
and then cut wood to erect a substantial building. 
Four guns were mounted on the parapet, and there 
was a house inside for the Malay commandant, and 
a powder magazine. All the chiefs near Kenowit 
were assembled when the fort was finished, and 
had the same kind of address made them as at 
Sakarran, praising the benefits of peaceful trade 
instead of the miseries of wasteful war. They all 
listened with respect. That same afternoon, dismal 
howlings issued from Palabun's house. His brother, 
who had left him two years ago with a party of 
fourteen, to visit a friendly tribe at a distance, had 
been treacherously murdered. He and his party 
had been kindly received by their friends, and they 
had all gone out together on the war-path to seek 
heads. It is supposed that when they met no one, 
the hosts had turned on their visitors ^nd taken 
their heads, rather than return home without any. 
Palabun vowed vengeance, and the whole tribe 
go into mourning for three months." (Bishop's 

A Dyak mourning is not a becoming black 
costume, made " cheerful," as the dressmakers say, 
by jet ornaments and bugle trimmings.. It consists 
in the abandonment of all ornament and their 
usual clothing, and the substitution of a kind of a 
brown cloth made of the inside bark of trees, which 
must be as rough and uncomfortable as it is ugly. 


These people, being Milanows, have peculiar burial 
customs. They lay the dead in a boat, with all 
his property and belongings, and send it out to 
sea; for they imagine that in some way a man's 
possessions may be of use to him in another world, 
if no one claims them on earth. 

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

I remember our once meeting one of these boats. 
It had been caught by branches from the bank, and 
swayed idly to and fro in the stream. We could 
only see a heap of coloured clothes inside it, but 
there was a weird, ghastly look about the boat 
which made us shudder. An unburied corpse, left 
to the winds and waves, without a prayer or a 
blessing ! how could it be otherwise ? Even if we 
could delude ourselves into fancying the Dyaks 
happy during their lives without Christianity, there 
can be no doubt of their being miserable when 

* A kris is a Malay dagger. 


death comes. They all believe dimly in a future 
state, but their dread of spirits is so great that they 
can have no ideas of happiness unconnected with 
their bodies. " Having no hope, and without God 
in the world," describes the mental state of a 
heathen Dyak. In 1856, we were living for a few 
weeks on a hill called Peninjauh, some miles from 
Kuching, where the Rajah had built a cottage as 
a sanitarium after illness. The cool freshness of 
the mountain air, and the glorious view from See- 
afar Cottage, were indeed conducive to health. 
On the hillsides lived several villages of Land 
Dyaks, and I had a woman as nurse to my baby 
who belonged to one of these villages. The cholera 
was in the country at that time, and three men 
had died of the Sebumban Dyaks. Every night 
the most mournful wailing arose above the trees 
a sad sound indeed, rising and falling on the wind 
as the friends of the dead walked all through the 
jungle paths near their homes, now near to our 
cottage, now far off. One night I found my little 
ayah seated in the nursery when she ought to have 
been in the cook-house getting her supper. " What 
is the matter, Nina ? Are you ill, that you are 
eating no supper ? " " No, I am not ill, but I dare 
not go to the cook-house to-night." " Why ? " 
" I fear to meet the spirits who are abroad to-night 
in the jungle." " The spirits of the dead men ? " 
" No, the spirits who come to fetch them." After 
three days the bodies of these Dyaks were burnt, 
for this was the custom of the Sebumbans. The 



dead man is laid on a pile of wood, and they all 
sit round watching. Nina said, that when the 
fire has burnt some time the dead man sits up for 
a moment, whereupon they all burst into renewed 
waitings of sorrow and farewell. I am told that 
the heat swelling the sinews of the dead body may 
cause this curious phenomenon ; but could there be 
a more mournful, hopeless story of death ? 

It is a relief to return to the party on the Rejang 
River. They were much entertained one day with 
a war-dance between two warriors, which was a 
graphic pantomime of their customs. " The two 
men appeared fully armed, and were supposed to 
be each alone on the war-path, looking out for a 
head. They moved to the beat of native drums, 
and seemed to be going through all the motions 
of looking out for an enemy, pulling out the 
ranjows (sharp pieces of cane stuck in the earth, 
point upwards, to lame an enemy). At length 
they descried one another, danced defiance, and, 
flourishing swords and shields, commenced the 
attack. The nimbleness with which they parried 
every stroke of the sword, and covered their bodies 
with their shields, was remarkable. In real com- 
bat, to strike the shield is certain death, because 
the sword sticks in the wood and cannot be with- 
drawn in time to prevent the other man from using 
his sword. After a time, one of the combatants 
fell wounded, and covered his body with his shield. 
The other danced round him triumphantly, and 
with one blow pretended to cut off his head ; then, 


head in hand, he capered with the wildest gestures, 
expressive of the very ecstasy of savage delight 
But, on looking at his trophy closely, he recognized 
the features of a friend, and, smitten with remorse, 
he replaced the head with much solicitude. Then, 
moving with a slow, measured tread, he wept, and 
with many sighs of grief adjusted the head with 
much care, caught rain in his shield and poured 
it over the body ; then rubbed and shook the limbs, 
which by degrees became alive by his mesmeric- 
like passings and chafings from the feet upwards. 
Each limb as it revived beat time to the music, 
first faintly, then with more vigour, till it came to 
the head ; and when that nodded satisfactorily, and 
the whole body of his friend was in motion, he 
gave him a few extra shakes, lifted him on his legs, 
and the scene concluded by their dancing merrily 
together." (Bishop's Journal.) 

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


selves in the jungle upon wild fruits and roots, until 
the scourge has passed away. 

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

When the guns were mounted at the fort, and 
a garrison of seventy men, under Abong Duraup, 
settled there to guard it, the fleet left the Rejang 
to return to Sarawak. Captain Brooke had per- 
suaded Palabun to give up his ideas of retaliation 
for his brother's death, on condition that the Kapuas 
people who killed him should give satisfaction. 
The last afternoon was devoted to doctoring the 
sick and giving them a stock of remedies. One 
poor man had nearly recovered his eyesight during 
the week he had been under treatment. So the 
Sarawak flag was hoisted at the fort and saluted, 
and after some good advice and renewed promises 


from the Sakarrans and Kenowits, the boats pulled 
away to the Jolly Bachelor, which had been left 
at the Serikei River ; and a few days afterwards 
we heard gongs and boat music on the river, and 
my servant Quangho running into my room called 
out, " Our Tuan is coming," so we all went down 
to the stone wharf and welcomed them home. 
The lameness which had so long hindered my 
husband from moving about, did not yield to any 
remedies we applied, and at last we went to 
Singapore for medical advice. The doctors there 
sent their patient to China for a cold season, and 
he spent six weeks at Hongkong with the Bishop 
of Victoria, and at Canton with other friends, to 
the advantage of his knee. Afterwards we went 
together to Malacca, where there was a hot spring 
bubbling up in a field. Into this spring we put a 
large tub ; and there, in the early morning, Frank 
used to sit, with no neighbours but the snipe 
feeding in the field, and, as he had his gun by 
his side, he occasionally shot some game for 

In 1853 we went home. My health was very 
much broken, and my husband was called to 
England by the necessary transfer of the mission 
from the Borneo Mission Society, whose funds came 
to an end, to the venerable Society for the Pro- 
pagation of the Gospel, who kindly adopted us. 
We arrived at Southampton one grey November 
day. I wondered to see the sky so near the earth, 
and the trees almost like shrubs in height compared 


to our Eastern forests. But it was sweet to hear 
the children speaking English in the streets, and 
their fair rosy faces were refreshing indeed. I 
never thought our school-children plain when we 
were at Sarawak, but the contrast was certainly 
very great when we looked about us in England. 




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

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

For nurse I had an old Malay woman who had 
taken some children to England from Singapore, 
and wanted to return. She was a capital sailor, 


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

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


and I sometimes had the mortification of seeing 
Ayah with a small crowd at her heels, and my 
baby kissing her little hands to them as Ayah 
desired her. 

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

Our Rajah had been very dangerously ill of 
small-pox, and had only a Malay doctor, who was 
devoted but ignorant. Happily Mr. Horsburgh, 
with medical books to aid him, came to the rescue 
in time, but the return of the physician of soul and 
body was much desired. I see, by my journal, that 
after a weary passage of twenty-four days in a 
sailing vessel from Singapore, we reached Sarawak 
on the 25th of April. Mr. Horsburgh came to fetch 
us from the mouth of the river in the Siam boat, 
a long boat with a house in it, which the Rajah 
brought with him from Siam after his embassy to 
that country. Mr. Horsburgh told us that all the 


chief Government officers were away, looking for 
Lanun pirates on the coast ; but we had plenty of 
kind greetings from the Christian Chinese, who 
came about us in the bazaar, and all the school- 
children came running down the hill with Mrs. 
Stahl, who almost screamed for joy at our return. 
The house looked nicer than ever, for the trees had 
grown up about it, and I felt most vividly that this 
was our chosen home, endeared to us by many 
sorrows, but the place where we had received much 
blessing from God, and where our work lay, and 
perhaps some day its reward, in the Church 
gathered from the heathen into Christ's fold. We 
were not long alone ; the next day Mr. Chambers 
arrived from Banting with a party of seven baptized 

We had brought all sorts of beautiful things 
from England for the Church. A carpet to lay 
before the altar, a new altar-cloth, also painted 
shields for the roof. Our friends in England had 
furnished us with a box of clothes for the Dyaks, 
cotton trousers and jackets, and gay handker- 
chiefs for their heads. We always dressed the 
Christians for baptism it was a sign of the new 
life they professed at the font ; but we did not 
expect them to wear clothes generally, except 
their own chawats, nor was it to be desired until 
they knew how to wash them. We had also 
brought a beautiful magic lantern with a dissolving- 
view apparatus for our people's amusement and 
instruction, for some of the slides were painted by 


Miss Rigaud to illustrate the life of our Lord, and 
there were many astronomical slides also. All 
these treasures brought us numerous visitors. The 
Chinese Christians were all invited to a feast at 
our house, after which the magic lantern was 
exhibited, and we were glad to find that our school- 
children could explain all the Scripture slides quite 

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


and, even long before that, performed all episcopal 
functions in those settlements ; but the title has 
only lately been altered. 

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

Calcutta, Bishop's Palace, October 22, 1855. 
Thank God, the consecration took place with 
complete success on Thursday, October i8th, St. 
Luke's Day. The Bishop elect arrived some days 
before, the Bishop of Victoria on the i6th, and 
Bishop Dealtry (of Madras) on the i/th. The 
crowded cathedral marked the interest which was 
excited. We sent out two hundred printed invita- 
tions to gentry, besides requesting the clergy to 
attend in their robes. There were more than eight 
hundred jammed into the cathedral, and hundreds 
could not gain admittance. The clergy were thirty. 
After morning prayer the assistant bishops con- 
ducted the elect Bishop to the vestry, where, having 
attired himself in his rochet, he was presented to 
me when seated near the Communion table. Her 
Majesty's mandate was then read, and the commis- 
sion of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
The several oaths were next duly administered by 
the registrar of the diocese. The Litany was 
devoutly read by the Bishop of Madras, and after- 
wards the examination of the candidate took 
place. I should have said that the sermon followed 


the Nicene Creed. It was by the Bishop of Madras, 
the text being taken from 2 Tim. i. 6, 7 : 

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

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


Sarawak Mission, and above five hundred C. rupees 
collected. The whole service concluded with the 
Holy Communion of the body and blood of Christ. 

The new Bishop preached at St. Thomas's Church 
on Sunday, the 2ist, for his mission ; and a single 
gentleman contributed one thousand C. rupees. He 
will preach at the cathedral on the 28th, when 
something more will be gathered. The Bishop of 
Madras has presented the four hundred rupees ot 
his voyage expenses, from Madras to Calcutta and 
back, to the same blessed cause. I have had three 
breakfast parties (for I don't give dinners) to meet 
the Bishop, of about forty each, on the day after 
the consecration, and on Saturday, and this morn- 
ing, and the addresses made by Bishops Dealtry 
and Smith were most warmly received. Thus has 
this great occasion passed off the first consecra- 
tion, I believe, that has ever taken place out of 
England since the glorious Reformation, and per- 
haps the first missionary Bishop sent out by our 
Church ; unless the Bishop of Mauritius may be 
considered as having preceded him. 

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

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



I must add to this graphic letter a note which 
the venerable Bishop wrote to my husband, No- 
vember 6th of the same year. 

Tennasarim, Bishop's Cabin. 


Whether to write to you by the pilot or 
not I can hardly tell. However, I am so anxious 
for your beginning well at Singapore and Sarawak, 
and so responsible also from having consecrated 
you to the Lord, that I must write. I have taken 
the liberty with you which Mr. Cecil took with me 
in 1 80 1, to caution you, now you are a chief pastor 
and a father in God, against excessive hilarity of 
spirits. There is a mild gravity, with occasional 
tokens of delight and pleasure, becoming your 
sacred character, not noisy mirth. 

I met with a letter of a minister, now with God, 
to a brother minister, who was about to take his 
duty for a time, which I think will give you plea- 
sure. " Take heed to thyself; your own soul is your 
first and greatest concern. You know that a sound 
body alone can work with power ; much more a 
healthy soul. Keep a clear conscience through the 
blood of the Lamb. Keep up close communion 
with God. Study likeness to Him in all things. 
Read the Bible for your own growth first, then for 
your people. Expound much ; it is through the 
truth that souls are to be sanctified, not through 
essays upon the truth. You will not find many 
companions ; be the more with God. Be of good 



courage, there remaineth much land to be possessed. 
Be not dismayed, for Christ shall be with you to 
deliver you. I am often sore cast down ; but the 
Eternal God is my refuge. Now farewell ; the 
Lord make you a faithful steward." If we do not 
meet again in the flesh, may we meet, never to part, 
before the throne of the Great Redeemer ! 
I am your affectionate 


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

Our party in the mission-house during his 
absence consisted of a chaplain, a missionary lady 
learning Malay and teaching the girls' school, our 
young friend Mr. Grant, myself, and baby Mab. 
The days ran along a smooth groove, although we 
had all plenty to do. Up early in the morning, 
then a walk, and service in church at seven. After 
prayers some hours' teaching and learning before 
midday bath and breakfast. The afternoon was 
a more lazy time, though the hum of school went 
on continuously, while we did our sewing and 
reading in the coolest corners we could find. The 
new school-house, in which all the boys, the Stahls, 
and Mr. Owen, the schoolmaster, lived, was near 
enough to the mission-house for us to know the hour 


of the day by the lesson going on at the time ; for 
all the younger boys repeated their multiplication 
tables in a loud voice together (in Malay), also their 
Chinese reading ; then came the singing, rounds and 
part-songs, the most popular lesson of all. At four 
o'clock the school broke up. The children amused 
themselves as English boys do. There was a season 
for marbles, for hop-scotch, for tops, and for kites. 
Above all, do Chinese children love kites, and 
are most ingenious in making them. They cut 
thin paper into the shapes of birds, fish, or butter- 
flies, and stretch it over thin slips of the spine of 
the cocoa-nut leaf, then they ornament it with bits 
of red or blue paper, and fasten it together with a 
pinch of boiled rice. The string is the most ex- 
pensive part, and two pennyworth lasts many kites, 
for they are very frail affairs, and in that land of 
trees do not long escape being caught, though they 

fly beautifully. Miss J had a cockatoo which 

amused her and the little girls during sewing-class. 
He was a beautiful bird with a rosy crest, but 
extremely mischievous. To sharpen his beak he 
notched all the Venetian shutters in the verandahs ; 
and if he spied a looking-glass, flew at it in a rage 
and broke it : fortunately there were no large mirrors 
in the house. These birds look very pretty perch- 
ing in the trees, and this one became tame enough 
to be trusted out of doors, but they are bad inmates. 
We had also a chicken-yard for Alan's amuse- 
ment, and great were our difficulties in preserving 
the nests from rats, who ate the eggs. If we placed 


the nests on a high shelf, these creatures managed 
to shove the eggs out of the nests so that they fell 
broken on the floor all ready for their supper. At 
last we circumvented them by slinging the nests by 
long rattans from the roof. 

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

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

One morning Miss J did not appear at early 

breakfast, and little Mary, who waited upon her in 
her room, said she was sound asleep and did not 
wake when she opened the shutters. I thought 

nothing of it at first, for Mies J sometimes sat 

up late at night ; but an hour afterwards, I went into 
her room and looked at her. Her breathing was so 
laboured I thought she was in a fit ; and first I tried 
to put leeches on her temples, but they would not 
bite, and we resolved to carry her into the fresh 
breeze in the verandah, for the air of the room 
seemed laden with something close and stifling. 
When I threw back the covering of the bed, I 
perceived that the veins of both arms had been cut, 

EVENTS OF 1855. .117 

and a few drops of blood stained her night-dress ; 
also there was a small empty bottle in the bed with 
" Laudanum " on its label. The terrible truth was 
evident she had taken poison and tried to bleed 
herself to death ! Probably the action of the 
laudanum prevented any flow of blood, yet the few 
drops may have relieved the brain. The horror of 
this discovery nearly deprived me of my senses ; but 
there was no time for lamentation she was not 
dead, thank God, and all our efforts must be used 
to restore her to life. We were very ignorant, but 
we did all we could think of. There was no doctor 
to apply to, only the chemist who served the dis- 
pensary. He gave medicine which was certainly 
very strong, and we put mustard plasters on her legs. 
By the evening she was sensible enough to take 
some food, but for a week there was serious illness, 
and it was a long time before I could ask my poor 
friend why she had done this thing. She had left 
me a letter to read in the event of her death,- but 
of course I never read it. We were very much 
together, but I had not thought her unhappy ; 
indeed the only reason she ever gave me for so 
hating her life was, that she could not learn Malay, 
and did not think she should be any use as a mis- 
sionary. This despondency was known to me, but 

I had no idea it cut so deep. Miss J had a 

great deal of quiet fun she often amused us by her 
clever and somewhat caustic remarks. But Sara- 
wak was too monotonous a life for her. When, 
some weeks afterwards, she had quite regained 


the balance of her mind, she went to Singapore, 
and became a very useful member of society for 
many years before she died. I never felt that I 
could judge her, for I had so much ' more to 
occupy my mind and interest my heart than my 
companion. There was baby in the first place, 
and the responsibilities of the school and mission 
naturally fell to my share. No doubt it requires 
an even temperament to live contentedly without 
society, and with only such excitement as daily 
duties and the beauties of nature afford. Yet 
these are full of infinite happiness, and we were 
not without friends, although we had no company : 
the little party at Government House, as it was 
then called, were very agreeable and uniformly kind 
It is, however, a common mistake to imagine that 
the life of a missionary is an exciting one. On the 
contrary, its trial lies in its monotony. The un- 
eventful day, mapped out into hours of teaching 
and study, sleep, exercise, and religious duties ; the 
constant society of natives whose minds are like 
those of children, and who do not sympathize with 
your English ideas ; the sameness of the climate, 
which even precludes discourse about the weather, 
all this, added to the distance from relations and 
friends at home, combined with the enervating effects 
of a hot climate, causes heaviness of spirits and 
despondency to single men and women. Married 
people have not the same excuse ; for besides duty 
and nature, they have " one friend who loves them 
best," and that ought to be enough for the most 

EVENTS OF 1855. 119 

exacting temperament. I say nothing about the 
comforts of religion they are the portion of all, 
married or single ; still some spirits become so 
sensitive in solitude that they are not able to take 
the cheerful side v even of their relation to their 
Heavenly Father, and these are generally the most 
reserved to their companions. I am glad to find 
that missionaries are now seldom sent alone to any 
station, and women are more often associated in 
sisterhoods for mission work under our colonial 
Bishops, so that they have the society and sympathy 
of English ladies after the toils of the day. I felt 

much discouraged after Miss J left me, and 

afraid of urging any one to follow in her place ; but 
at last a cousin of my husband's came out to us, 
and as she enjoyed the climate, and delighted in 
the place and people, declaring that she had never 
been more happy in her life than with us, I consoled 
myself that it was not all the fault of Sarawak and 

the mission-house that poor Miss J could not 

live there. 



" Mortal ! if life smile on thee, and thou find 

All to thy mind, 
Think, Who did once to earth from heaven descend 

Thee to befriend ; 
So shalt thou dare forego, at His dear call, 

Thy life, thine all." 

THESE lines were most applicable to us during the 
year 1856. It was such rest and peace when our 
Bishop returned from Calcutta and soothed all 
the griefs and heartburnings we had suffered the 
four months he was away. Then ensued the per- 
formance of his new episcopal duties. Mr. Gomes 
was ordained priest in March. Confirmations took 
place, of our elder school-children, who were all 
baptized when they first came to us ; also many 
Chinese Christians too, who had long attended the 
Bible classes at the mission-house and stood firm 
to their baptismal vows. In April we had another 
baby girl ; and soon after, the Bishop went to Labuan, 
to arrange about a church being built there. Un- 


fortunately he caught fever at Labuan ; which 
declared itself at Singapore on his return. We 
were both very ill, and glad of doctors' advice at 
Singapore ; but Labuan fever returns again and 
again, though in a slighter form after a while, and 
was for years a constant trial to the Bishop's 
strength. When we returned to Sarawak in 
October, our party was increased. Mr. and Mrs. 
Crookshank had come out from England she a 
bride, and quite a new element of youth and beauty 
for Sarawak. A lady friend and her child and nurse 
also came on a long visit to us, the air of Sarawak 
being considered quite a tonic compared to the sea- 
breeze at Singapore, which was at times visited by 
a hot wind from Java. Very pleasant days followed 
our return home. Mrs. Harvey and I, with our 
children, went for a month to " See-afar " Cottage 
on the hill of Serambo. I have already mentioned 
this little house, built by Sir James Brooke as a 
sanitarium after his attack of small-pox. The only 
objection to it was, that it was built in the region 
of clouds : had the hill been five hundred feet higher 
we should have had the clouds below us, as they 
are on Penang Hill. The path up the mountain 
if path it can be called is almost a staircase of 
tumbled rocks, and requires both strength and 
agility to climb. It was quite beyond me ; but I 
was carried on a man's back, sitting on a bit of 
plank, with a strip of cloth fastened round my 
waist and across the man's forehead, my back to 
his back. The Dyaks are famous mountaineers, 


their bare feet cling to the stones, or notched trunks 
of trees thrown from one rock to another. I never 
felt unsafe on my Dyak friend's back, and he used 
to laugh when I proposed his setting me down and 
taking a rest, and say, " You are not as heavy as 
a basket of durian fruit." These Dyaks have 
beautiful groves of fruit-trees, and make a good 
purse in the fruit season by bringing down durians, 
mungosteen and lansat fruit to sell at Kuching. 
They also carry all their harvest of paddy up the 
mountain to their rice-stores in the villages, so they 
are used to heavy weights. 

We took a stock of provisions up with us, fowls 
and ducks, a goat and her kid, etc., and all the bed- 
ding we wanted, for of course there was not much 
furniture in the cottage. Our first night was un- 
fortunate. We had settled ourselves in the rooms, 
had our supper, and were about to go to bed, when 
the servants ran out of the cook-house, which was 
a stone's-throw from the cottage, crying out, " Fire ! " 
, and in a few minutes we saw it wrapped in flames. 
Of course a house built of sticks and leaves does 
not take long to burn down to the ground, but we 
were distressed to hear the bleatings of the little 
kid which could not be got out in time. The ducks, 
too, were still in the long basket coop in which they 
were carried up, and were literally roasted in their 
feathers before anybody remembered them. A 
large party of Dyaks were on the spot directly 
they saw the flames, and they did good service 
by throwing water on the roof of the cottage, and 


watching lest the thatch should catch. In the 
morning they discovered the burnt ducks, and ate 
them up with much relish, for a Dyak likes the 
flavour of burnt feathers. The next day the cook- 
house was rebuilt. These native huts look so clean 
and fresh when first put up, the straw-coloured 
attap * walls and green leaf roofs are so agreeable 
to the eye. They quickly turn hay colour and then 
get discoloured by the wood smoke. Except that 
we were at times rather short of food, we enjoyed 
our mountain retreat very much. The bath was 
a remarkable feature a natural stone basin, under 
the shadow of a great rock, fed by the clearest 
streamlet and sheltered from view by a heavy bit 
of curtain, was our bathing-place. We carried a 
little leaf bucket and our towels in our hands, and 
while we poured the fresh water over our heads 
we could now and then stop to look at the great 
expanse of plain and forest, with silver rivers wind- 
ing amidst them, and blue smoke stealing up here 
and there to mark a Dyak village. There was, 
however, a particular rock on the spur of the 
mountain from whence we always watched the 
sun set ; there was a much wider view from thence. 
The sea lay on the horizon, and the pointed mountain 
of Santubong stood on the plain, with other ranges 
of hills far away. I fear we did little else but watch 
the glories of earth and sky at that time, and look 
after our children, who could not be trusted alone 
a minute on those steep paths. 

* Talm leaf. 


Meanwhile the Bishop was paying a visit to 
Lundu in his new life-boat, a boat of about twenty- 
c-i^ht feet, with a little covered house in it, and 
water-tight compartments in the bow and stern 
to keep her afloat. She was well named, for even 
in this first voyage she saved the lives of her pas- 
sengers. From the coast at Santubong you see 
blue hills far away to the west, which lie in the 
Lundu country. The sea runs very high, in the 
north-cast monsoon, between the mouths of these two 
rivers, the Sarawak and Lundu ; and on this occasion 
the waves on their return from Lundu were fearful. 
Seven great waves like green hills advanced one 
after another. The Malay crew prayed aloud with 
terror. Stahl and the Bishop steered the boat and 
held their breaths. It looked like rushing into the 


jaws of death, but the life-boat mounted the big 
waves one after another, sometimes shuddering with 
the strain, but buoyant and stiff. The danger past, 
the crew praised Allah and the good boat ; and 
they, as well as Stahl who had behaved so well at 
the time of danger, fell into a fit of ague from 
the nervous shock. We knew on the top of the 
hill that a fearful storm was raging, but we did 
not see the white boat flying like a bird over the 
seven great rollers, or there would have been no 
sleep for us that night. The crew never forgot 
it, nor the calm pluck of their steersman the Bishop. 
I must confess that an attack of fever was the 
result of all this exertion when he joined us on 
the hill. 


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

The Chinese gold-workers of Bau and Seniawan 
had long given more or less trouble to the Sarawak 
Government. They were governed by their own 
self-elected kunsi (magistrates), and recognized 
their fealty to Sarawak only by the payment of 
a small tax on the gold they washed from the soil. 
They sent the gold away to China, and habitually 
cheated as to the quantity obtained. They also 
smuggled opium from the Dutch settlement of 
Sambas, thus defrauding Government of revenue. 
Worse than all this, they introduced secret societies, 
or hui, among themselves, and threatened to rebel 
if any of their kunsi were punished for breaking 
the laws of the country. At Christmas, 1856, they 


boasted they could demolish Kuching in one night, 
if they chose ; and that a new Joss House they were 
building there should furnish them with a pretext 
to gather by hundreds to set the Joss in his temple, 
and possess themselves of the place and the 
Europeans who lived there. These uncomfortable 
rumours seemed to have some foundation when 
a new road was discovered which the Chinese had 
made between Bau and Seniawan, another settle- 
ment nearer to Kuching. Mr. Crookshank, who 
was in charge of the Government, sent word to Mr. 
Johnson, who immediately came from Sakarran 
with a fleet of Dyaks, delighted to have a chance of 
fighting the Chinese, and carrying plenty of heads 
back to their homes. At the same time a gun-boat 
was stationed on the river to prevent any com- 
munication between Bau and Kuching. Upon this 
the kunsi came very humbly and begged pardon, 
declared the whole story was a fabrication, and 
that they never intended mischief. We only half 
believed them, but the Dyaks were dismissed, and 
unfortunately the gun-boat no longer kept watch 
on the river. Our Christian Chinese teacher " Sing- 
Song," was of the Kay tribe, the same as the Bau 
people, and once a month he went there to teach 
his countrymen. There were a few Christians among 
them. One, a goldsmith, did his best to let us know 
that danger was impending, but the kunsi suspected 
him, and put him in prison ; we were therefore quite 
unprepared for what took place. On the I7th of 
February, three Chinese kunsi were flogged by 


order of the court at Kuching, for taking the law 
into their own hands, and seizing a runaway 
prisoner, as well as the captain of the boat in which 
she absconded, although he was not guilty of hiding 
her. This seems to have put the finishing touch to 
the factious state of feeling at Bau. The Rajah 
and the Bishop had determined to take a trip 
together on the iSth, in the life-boat, to Sadong, 
and from thence to Linga and Sakarran. The 
Rajah had been ailing for some time, and we hoped 
this little voyage would do him good. We pre- 
pared all the provisions for this trip : bread and 
rusks were made, salt meat was cooked, and every- 
thing was ready packed in the provision baskets 
(this was of great importance to us afterwards). 
That evening we all met out walking, on the only 
riding-road there was in those days. Rajah spoke 
to the school-children, and we all amused ourselves 
with the little Middletons, boys of four and five, 
strutting along with turbaned hats and long walking- 
sticks. It was a dull evening, and we all felt 
unaccountably gloomy. We fancied it was because 
Rajah was not well enough to come and dine with 
us, as he had purposed in the morning ; but during 
dinner I remembered afterwards that the Bishop 
said, " If any sudden alarm were to take place to- 
night it would rouse him and make him all right." 
We certainly went to bed without expecting any- 
thing to happen, but, about twelve o'clock, we were 
roused by shouts and screams, and the firing of 
guns. We got up and looked out. The Rajah's 


bungalow was in flames across the river. On our 
side the Middletons' house was burning, and Mr. 
Crookshank's new house, a little way up the road, 
was soon after on fire. The most horrid noises 
filled the air, there was evidently fighting going on 
at the two forts at either end of the town by the 
river's side. We knew there were very few de- 
fenders at either of these two forts, and that they 
would soon be taken ; for by this time we were sure 
it must be the Chinese miners who had fulfilled 
their threat to take the town. We thought, " When 
the forts are taken they will come to us." Presently 
the brothers, William and John Channon, who 
lived near us, came to our house, bringing their 
wives and children for shelter. They brought news 
that the fort near their houses was taken and burnt, 
and they dare not stay in their own cottages, as 
they were Government servants, and would be 
obnoxious to the rebels. 

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

We were so large a party, and had so many 



children amongst us, that we did not venture to 
hide in the jungle : the night was quite dark and we 
might lose one another. Then the Bishop said, "We 
cannot make any resistance : we will hide away the 
guns we have in the house, and unite in prayer to 
God." So we all knelt round him while he com- 
mended us to the mercy of our Heavenly Father, 
and prayed for all our dear friends who were 
exposed to the fury of the Chinese. Then we sat 
and waited. Miss Woolley, who had only been 
three months in Sarawak, read aloud a psalm from 
time to time to comfort us ; but the hours seemed 
very long. At five o'clock in the morning the 
kunsi, having possessed themselves of the Chinese 
town, sent us word that they did not mean to harm 
us " the Bishop was a good man and cared for the 
Chinese," but he must go down to the hospital and 
attend to their wounded. Then came the welcome 
news that the Rajah had escaped, and Mr. Crook- 
shank and Middleton the three people whom the 
Chinese most desired to kill, for the one was chief 
constable and the other police magistrate, who 
carried out the Rajah's sentence on the kunsi. 
A price was set on their heads, but the Malays' love 
of their English Rajah made that only an idle threat. 
We were told that Mrs. Crookshank was dead, and 
the little Middletons, as well as Mr. Wellington, 
who lodged in their house, and Mr. Nicholetts, who 
was staying at the Rajah's house. Mrs. Crookshank, 
however, was not dead, but lying wounded in a 
ditch near the ashes of her house. When the 



Bishop knew this he demanded her of the kunsi. 
They said no, at first, for they were angry that her 
husband had escaped ; but Bishop refused to attend 
to the wounded unless they gave her up, so at last 
they gave leave to have her carried to our house. 

It was about ten o'clock when she was brought in 
a pitiful sight, her dress covered with blood, her 
hair matted with grass and dust, her fingers bleed- 
ing. It did not seem possible she could live after 
remaining all night in this dreadful state. She 
told us tl}at she and her husband did not awake 
until the house was full of men. They had only time 
to jump up and run down their bath-room stairs, 
he catching up a spear for their defence. Opening 
the bath-room door it creaked, and a man came 
running round the house shouting, " Assie Moy," 
the name of the woman-prisoner they had seized. 
He struck down Mrs. Crookshank with a sword he 
had in his hand, and Mr. Crookshank attacked him 
with the spear. They struggled together till the 
Chinaman cut his right arm to the bone, and the 
spear fell from his hand ; then, seeing his wife lying 
dead, as he thought, in the grass, he managed to get 
away to the edge of the jungle, and sitting down, 
faint with loss of blood, saw his house burn to the 
ground. As morning dawned he found his way 
to the Datu Bandar's house, where the Rajah had 
already arrived, and Middleton. Meanwhile the 
Chinese, chasing the fowls from the burning fowl- 
house, came upon Mrs. Crookshank lying on her 
face, and one of them, seizing her by her hair, 


desired her to follow him. She could not walk 
a step, so he carried her in his arms ; but when she 
groaned with the pain, he laid her in a ditch near 
the road. Many Chinese came and stood by her : 
they covered her with their jackets, one held an 
umbrella over her head, another offered her some 
tobacco, but they would not let any of our people 
touch her until an order came from the kunsi. 
We had sent our eldest school-boy to reassure her, 
and he stood beside her until our servants could 
bring her away safely. As soon as the Bishop had 
dressed the wounded in the town, he came home for 
some breakfast. When I saw him I called out, for 
his pith hat was covered with blood. "It is only 
fowl's blood," said he, " don't be frightened : they 
killed a chicken over my head as a sign of friend 
ship." The Middletons' servants came to us early 
in the morning, and said that they did not know 
what had become of their mistress, but the two 
little boys were killed by the Chinese, their heads 
cut off, and their bodies thrown into the burning. 
Later on, we heard that Mrs. Middleton, after seeing 
Mr. Wellington killed in trying to defend her, had 
escaped into the bath-room and hidden herself in 
one of the big water-jars; but, the door being open, 
she had seen her children murdered, and then had 
got out of the jar and run into the jungle, where 
she concealed herself in a little pool of water, much 
hidden by overhanging boughs. There this poor 
mother remained for some hours, until a Chinaman 
from the town came to the spring, carrying a drawn 


sword in his hand. " Oh, sir, pray don't kill me ! " she 
called out. " Oh no ! " answered the man, "I am a 
friend of Mr. Peter" (her husband), "and will take 
care of you." So he took her to his house, and 
dressed her in Chinese clothes. It was almost a 
wonder to me that this poor young woman lived 
through that dreadful time. As the day wore on, 
Mr. Ruppell, the banker of the place, and a great 
friend of the Chinese, came and took up his abode 
with us. Then he, the Bishop, and Mr. Helms, the 
manager of the English Merchant Company, were 
ordered to meet the kunsi at the court-house ; also 
the Datu Bandar, the chief Malay magistrate. There 
a very trying scene took place. The kunsi sat in 
the seats of the magistrates, smoking, their principal 
in the Rajah's own chair. They stated that they 
did not wish to make war with the English, or the 
Malays, only with the Rajah's government, and they 
desired those present to assist them in the govern- 
ment of the country. This they had drawn up in 
writing, and desired the English and Datu Bandar 
to sign. The Bishop pointed out to them that the 
best thing they could do would be to return to Bau 
and defend their town ; that the Dyaks would 
certainly come in fleets of boats directly they heard 
of what had happened at Kuching, and they would 
as certainly be killed if they remained in the place. 
This was true enough, but they were afraid of the 
Malays attacking them on the water. The Chinese 
are bad boatmen. They could not therefore make 
up their minds to go, and much fierce discussion 


arose. The thieves and rogues of the place, being 
under no restraint, robbed all the houses, on this 
afternoon, whose inmates had taken refuge at the 
mission-house. The Christian Chinese, being afraid 
of their countrymen, rushed into our house, carry- 
ing all sorts of goods and chattels, and caused me 
much distress on Mrs. Crookshank's account, who 
was very sensitive to fresh alarms. However, we 
settled our Chinese friends in some of the lower 
rooms. The Channons and their babies were in 
the attics. Night came at last, and a dead silence 
fell upon the town and the crowded mission-house. 
Not even the usual sounds in the bazaar or on the 
river were heard ; only an occasional gun broke the 
stillness of the night. Friends and foes were alike 
weary. We did not venture to undress, but lay 
down all ready for flight if necessary, with our hats 
and little bundles beside us. The Bishop and Mr. 
Ruppell watched all night in the porch. Friday 
morning the Chinese, continually urged by the 
Bishop, determined to return to Bau. Later on 
they heard a rumour that the Malays would attack 
them on the river ; then they made the Datu 
Bandar sign a promise not to follow them. Still 
they felt no confidence that he would not, so they 
said they would take Mr. Helms with them as 
a hostage for the Datu's good faith. Poor Mr. 
Helms did not like this idea at all, and having 
a fast boat lying in the creek near his house, he 
slipped away early in the afternoon, down the 
river, and hid himself in the jungle. No one 


in Sarawak could imagine what had become of 

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

Mrs. Stahl and Miss Coomes were to remain and 
nurse Mrs. Crookshank, but it would be a great 
relief to him to think of us in safety. The 
Chinese kunsi also wished us to go, " that the 
people at Singapore might see that they did not 
desire our death." It seemed very hard to me to 
leave my husband in such danger, for that morning 
the kunsi had flourished swords in his face and 
threatened him, knowing very well that he wished 
to bring the Rajah back. Still I knew he could 
more easily provide for the safety of those left 
behind if we were already out of the way. So I 
packed up some clothes and provisions for the 
voyage. While I was doing this a Chinaman 
came from the Good Luck schooner to say I must 
only take one box for our party, as the schooner 
was very full of Chinese passengers, fleeing for fear 
of the kunsi. With this we had to be content. 
At three o'clock we went to the shop of Amoo, the 
Chinese owner of the Good Liick, There I found 
my husband writing to Mr. Johnson at Linga, 
to tell him what had happened. Then Datu 
Bandar came in to say that the kunsi had gone 
up the river, and had taken some of the fort guns 


with them ; that they were very crowded in the 
boats, and that he should follow after them with a 
Malay force at night. They did nothing, however, 
when the time came ; for until the Malays had got 
their families safe out of the place they were not 
willing to fight. They were brave enough when 
the women and children were moved to Samarahan 
on Saturday. There were many Chinese women 
collected at Amoo's, belonging to the shopkeepers 
in the bazaar. The wife of the court scribe, whom 
I knew, told me in a whisper that she managed to 
get some bread to the Rajah and his party, and 
had told Mr. Crookshank that his wife was alive 
and with us. At last the life-boat was ready. 
Stahl went with us to steer, and said there were 
plenty of Chinese to row the boat. When we got 
down to it, we found it not only fully manned by 
Chinese, but full of their women, children, and 
boxes, so that we could scarcely find room to 
squeeze ourselves into the stern, and we were so 
heavily laden that we made very slow progress. 
It was no use protesting, however : we were only 
English folk, and the Chinese had it all their own 
way in those days. About eight o'clock we got 
down to the mouth of the Morotabas, where the 
schooner lay. Pitch dark and very wet it was, but 
it was a relief when all the Chinese passengers 
climbed up the schooner ladder, and the men 
hauled the boxes up one after another, last of all a 
very heavy one which it took six men to lift, full 
of dollars, so no wonder \ve were overladen. Last 


of all I climbed into the Good Luck, leaving the 
children still in the boat with Stahl and Kim- 
chack, one of our school-boys whose family were 
moving away in the schooner. I found the deck 
covered with Chinese, and when I said to the little 
Portuguese captain, " Where is the little cabin Mr. 
Rtippell promised me I should have?" he answered, 
" Oh, ma'am, pray go back to your boat. I have 
neither water nor fuel for the people who are 
already on board. The cabin is filled with the 
family and friends of the Chinese owner of the 
schooner, and I cannot give you even room to sit 
down anywhere." It was indeed true. My friend, 
the court scribe's wife, said, " Come and sit by me 
on the deck." " But the children, they cannot be 
exposed day and night on deck." " Oh well, there 
is no other place for them." So I jumped into 
the life-boat again, and reclaimed my treasures. 
"Rather," said Miss Woolley and I, "die on shore 
than in that horrid boat." Indeed we felt quite cheer- 
ful now we had the boat to ourselves ; and Kimchack 
said he had already been two nights on board the 
Good Luck and had had no room to lie down. 
There we were, however, in the middle of the river, 
with no one to row the boat. Stahl could not 
move it by himself. At this moment a small boat 
pulled alongside, and Mr. Helms' face appeared in 
the darkness. How glad we were to see him ! and 
he, faint and exhausted with wandering all day in 
the jungle, was glad of a glass of wine, which was 
soon got out of the provision basket. Then we 


opened a tin of soup, and fed our tired and hungry 
children, who behaved all through those terrible 
days as if it was a picnic excursion got up for 
their amusement. They enjoyed everything, and 
were no trouble at all, either Alan or Mab. Edith 
was a baby, and suffered very much from want of 
proper food but that was later on. Mr. Helms 
and his crew rowed our boat into Jernang Creek, 
where there were some Malay houses. In one of 
these he and Alan went to sleep, but he advised 
us to remain in the boat until the morning. We 
laid Mab and Edith on one of the seats ; Miss 
Woolley lay on the other ; and I sat at the bottom 
of the boat to prevent the children from falling off. 
The mosquitoes were numerous on that mud bank, 
and I was very glad when the morning dawned. 
At six o'clock Mr. Helms came to say we could 
have an empty Malay house on shore for a few 
days, so we gladly mounted up the landing-place 
and found a kind and hospitable reception from 
our Malay friends. They had put up some mat 
partitions in a large room, that we might sleep in 
private, and presented us with a nice curry for 
breakfast. We then unpacked our box and dried 
the clothes in it, which were wet through from the 
overlading of the life-boat. About midday two 
Englishmen arrived from the Quop River, nearer 
to Kuching, where they had been with the Rajah. 
They only stayed a short time, but told us that the 
Kunsi Chinese had really gone to Bau, and that 
the Bishop was with the Rajah at Quop. Late at 


night I had a note from my husband, saying he 
thought we might return to Sarawak, for all was 
quiet, and he hoped the Rajah would come back 
early on Sunday morning. The next morning, 
therefore, we prepared to set off again in the life-boat, 
but first I went to pay a visit to Inchi Bouyang the 
Malay writer, who lived in one of the houses near, 
and who was too stout to venture out of his own 
house into a less strongly built one. This seems 
absurd enough, but the Malay houses were certainly 
very slight ; they seemed to sway in the mud of 
the creek, and the floors of the rooms were made 
of very open strips of nibong palm, so that you 
had to walk turning your feet well out in order not 
to slip through the lantiles. I found many Malays 
gathered in the writer's house, all to entreat me 
not to go to Kuching, because it was " not a lucky 
day." " If the Malays fight the Chinese to-day," 
they said, "they will be beaten." "What reason 
have you for saying so ? " " No reason exactly, but 
the day is unlucky ; it is like Friday to the English, 
they never go to sea on that day." " Oh," said I, 
" that was long ago : they often go to sea on Friday 
now they know better, and no sensible person 
thinks anything of lucky or unlucky days." " Well, 
we have told you what we think. If you must go. 
some of us will go with you, and we shall tell the 
Tuan Padre it was not our fault that you would not 
wait until to-morrow." So Lulut, a servant of the 
Rajah's, and another Malay got into the boat with 
us, and we set off up the river. 


As we proceeded up the river we agreed we would 
ask news of any boat we met. Presently we 
noticed smoke rising above the trees. " The 
Malays are burning the Chinese town," said the 
men ; but as we drew nearer it was evidently the 
Malay town which was burning. At last we met a 
boat. " Yes ; the Chinese had returned, and had set 
fire to the Malay town ; they were also firing at the 
Sarawak Chinese in the bazaar." On Saturday the 
Bishop and the Channons and Stahl had unspiked 
two of the guns left in the fort, and had hoisted the 
Sarawak flag again on the flag-staff. The Bishop 
then went to the Rajah's war boat at the Quop, and 
told him that the Malays had sent away their 
women, and were ready to fight should the Chinese 
return ; and he begged him to come to our house 
early the next morning, where breakfast should be 
ready for him, and take the command. But the 
Chinese heard of this, and returned in the morning, 


some by river, some by road. As soon as the 
Malays saw their boats rounding the corner near 
the Malay town, they attacked them bravely, drove 
them ashore, and though suffering much loss from 
their superior fire, captured ten of their boats, and 
secured them to a Malay prahu in the river. 
While this struggle was going on, a large party of 
Chinese, who walked from Seniawan, were ransack- 
ing the town. Enraged with the Bishop for trying 
to bring the Rajah back, they rushed into our house 
to find him ; but he, having sent off all our belong- 
ings, English and native, ran down the back stairs 
while the Chinese rushed up into the porch in front, 
and escaped to the Chinese town, where shots were 
flying about in plenty, but did not hit him. He 
got into a little boat passing by, with two Malays 
in it, and they paddled him to the Rajah's war boat, 
then retreating down the river. When they 
reached the Quop he found a little boat, which 
brought him quickly to Jernang. 

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


firing had already begun in the streets when Mrs. 
Crookshank was got into the boat." 

This was an anxious moment; but before long our 
servant James appeared with a message to me from 
my husband, to return to Jernang, and stay there 
until he appeared. Our Malay friends here left us, 
to join their families anchored in boats by the 
banks, and I filled the life-boat with the school- 
children to lighten the other boats. Then we 
pulled slowly back against the tide to Jernang. 
The little landing-place was crowded when we 
arrived, for the smaller boats had got there first. 
I had the greatest difficulty in persuading the 
Malays to give shelter to the Chinese Christians 
and children. I answered for their good behaviour ; 
but all Chinese, whether rebels or no, were in 
sufficiently bad odour in those days. At last I 
got them part of a house to themselves. No sooner 
was all arranged than the Bishop arrived in his 
little boat ; it was like receiving him from the dead. 
Presently appeared the Rajah's war boat, he 
standing at the stern. We all ran down to meet 
him and Mr. Crookshank, and take them to Bertha, 
who had been carried into a house. While we were 
all standing on the little wharf, built on tall piles 
into the water, the Malays cried out that it was 
giving way, and we must all go into the houses. 
The Bishop then decided what to do with his large 
party. Mr. Helms had a schooner close by, in 
which he was going to Sambas, to seek assistance 
from the Dutch, our nearest neighbours. He kindly 


offered to take Miss Woolley, Miss Coomes, and 
two of our eldest school-boys with him. The rest 
of us could go to Linga, where there was a fort, as 
a little pinnace belonging to Mr. Steele lay handy 
at the mouth of the river. The Chinese, however, 
implored to go with us ; and indeed it would have 
been cruel to leave them a prey to the Malays, or 
the bad Chinese, or the Dyaks. When we were 
lodged in the pinnace, therefore, the Bishop went 
back to Jernang, and packed all our Chinese into 
the life-boat, which was attached by a rope to the 
pinnace ; so we were all together. It was nearly 
dark when we weighed anchor, and left the mouth 
of the river. There was a tiny cabin, just large 
enough to hold Bertha on her mattress ; a fowl- 
house, into which our native children crept ; an open 
hold, where we women sat down on our bundles, 
with our children in our arms ; and there was a 
place for cargo forward, where the men settled 
themselves. The Rajah in his war boat also pro- 
ceeded to Linga, and we expected him to arrive 
long before our slow boat ; he would meet Mr. 
Johnson, his nephew, there, and organize a force of 
Dyaks from the great rivers, Sakarran and Batang 
Lupar, to drive away the Chinese rebels. We never 
had any doubt of their doing this eventually, though 
we feared the remedy might be almost as bad as 
the disease, if the Dyaks proved unmanageable and 
quarrelled with one another. The night was very 
dark and wet, and the deck leaked upon us, so 
that we and our bags and bundles were soon wet 


through. But we neither heeded the rain nor felt 
the cold. We had eaten nothing since early morn- 
ing, but were not hungry ; and although for several 
nights we could scarcely be said to have slept, 
we were not sleepy. A deep thankfulness took 
possession of my soul ; all our dear ones were 
spared to us. My children were in my arms, my 
husband paced the deck over my head. I seemed 
to have no cares, and to be able to trust to God for 
the future, who had been so merciful to us hitherto. 
I remember, too, when Mrs. Stahl opened the 
provision basket, and gave us each a slice of bread 
and meat, how very good it was, although we had 
not thought about wanting it. We lit a little fire, 
and made some hot tea, but soon had a message 
from the Rajah's boat to put out the fire lest we 
should be seen. The only thing that troubled me 
was a nasty faint smell, for which I could not 
account; but next morning we found a Chinaman's 
head in a basket close by my corner, which was 
reason enough ! We had taken a fine young man 
on board to help pull the sweeps, a Dyak, and this 
ghastly possession was his. He said he was at 
Kuching, looking about for a head, and went into 
the court-house. Hearing some one in a little side 
room, he peeped in, and saw a Chinaman gazing 
at himself in a bit of looking-glass, which was stuck 
against the wall. He drew his sword, and in one 
moment, stepping close behind him, cut off his 
head : and having obtained this prize, was naturally 
desirous of getting away from the place; so he came 


off as boatman in one of the flying boats, bringing 
the head in a basket, which he stowed in the side 
of the boat. It entirely spoilt my hand-bag, which 
lay near it ; I had to throw it away, and everything 
in it which could not be washed in hot water. 

Towards morning the sea made us all sick, 
added to the wet, and cold of dawn ; yet, when the 
day cleared a little, and we got a fire on deck, and 
some hot tea and biscuits, and the children seemed 
none the worse for their bad night and the swarms 
of mosquitoes which had feasted upon them, we 
could not repine. In the evening we passed the 
island of Burong, at the mouth of the Batang 
Lupar River, and Mr. Crookshank tried to stimulate 
the men pulling the sweeps to reach a Sebuyan 
village farther on, before the tide left us and it grew 
dark. By dint of hard pulling we made the village, 
and its little fort, standing close beside the water 
and washed by its strong tide. A little boat came 
off from the fort, with some Malays, of whom we 
inquired for the Rajah, thinking his boat was far 
ahead of us, but they said they had seen nothing 
of him. Mr. Crookshank then begged them to 
bring a boat in which he could take Bertha up to 
Linga Fort that evening, instead of her remaining 
another night in the pinnace. We went on as long 
as the tide lasted, and then anchored in the Batang 
Lupar. Again we made a fire on deck, and after 
taking some food, settled ourselves for the night. 
At eleven o'clock the promised boat came for 
Bertha and Mr. Crookshank, and Mrs. Stahl went 


with them as nurse ; they thought nothing could 
be worse than spending another night on board the 
pinnace, but I fear the little boat journey was still 
more painful. When they reached Linga, they 
found only Malays in the fort, and the dwelling- 
house shut up, for Mr. Johnson was at Sakarran. 
They had to carry Mrs. Crookshank up a ladder 
into the fort, and lay her on a table ; but happily 
Mr. Chambers arrived that night from Banting, 
and furnished a curtain as a screen, and pillows 
from his boat to make a more comfortable couch. 
As we were setting off again next morning, we met 
Mr. Johnson in a long boat, going straight off to 
Kuching. He was lying ill of fever at Sakarran, 
when his Malays roused him by saying, without 
preface "The news is bad.Tuan : the Rajah is killed 
and Kuching in the hands of the rebel Chinese." 
Upon this he jumped up, called together the chiefs, 
and bidding them follow him with a strong force 
of Dyaks, he set off himself without calling at 
Linga by the way. When we told him that Rajah 
was alive and on his way to Linga, he turned back 
with us, and taking me, my ayah, and the children 
into his boat, soon landed us at his house. This 
was Tuesday, but we heard nothing of the Rajah 
until Friday. Mr. Johnson, after breakfasting with 
us at his house, went on to Kuching, and found 
that, after we lost sight of the Rajah's war boat, 
they had fallen in with the steamer belonging to 
the Borneo Company, the Sir James Brooke, just 
entering the river. Mr. Helms' schooner also came 



across her, so all the passengers in the schooner 
and the war boat had moved into the steamer, and 
they immediately proceeded up the river, preparing 
the guns on board to attack as soon as they reached 
the town. What must have been the feelings of 
the Chinese in the fort when they saw the smoke 
of the steamer curling above the trees, and then 
received one ten-pounder shot after another into 
their midst ! They fired one round of grape shot 
at the steamer, and shouts of " Run ! " rose on all 
sides. The steamer then proceeded up to the 
Malay town, where the Malays still held out against 
the Chinese ; but as they were getting very short 
of ammunition, and their enemies were bringing 
some large guns to bear on their position, they 
greeted the steamer with shouts of welcome. The 
Chinese fled in every direction. Cut off from their 
boats, they ran into the jungle ; and while many 
no doubt reached Bau in safety, many fell into the 
hands of the Dyaks, who, following their usual 
course of warfare, spread themselves through the 
jungle, and took the head of every man they met. 
The town was quite clear of the rebels in a few 
hours, and the Sir James Brooke, anchored in the 
river, furnished the base of operations which the 
Rajah required : from thence he could direct the 
Malay and Dyak forces, which were immediately 
at his disposal, to drive the rebels out of the country. 
The day before, the Chinese had filled our house 
and looted it completely, except the books in the 
library, for which they seem to have had some 


respect ; but we had reason to believe that on 
Monday the house would have been burnt, for gun- 
powder and inflammable materials were found 
strewed about after they left. They took every- 
thing they could carry away, and destroyed the 
rest, cutting long slits in the gauze of the mosquito- 
rooms, and pouring all the chemicals and medicines 
of the dispensary over the contents of the drawers, 
clothes, and papers they did not wish for. They 
found a long table set out ready for breakfast, and 
had only to gather up the small plate, which, with 
a house full of people, was all in requisition. The 
church, too, was emptied of all its furniture, and the 
harmonium smashed ; but the opportune arrival 
of the steamer prevented these buildings from 
sharing the fate of the other houses. 

Meanwhile, we were settling ourselves with our 
large party in Mr. Johnson's house, which he kindly 
placed at our disposal. This house was surrounded 
by a latticed verandah, the ground immediately 
about it was cleared of jungle and drained by deep 
ditches. From the fort you looked over the wide 
stretch of water of the Batang Lupar, but it was 
a lonely and monotonous look-out. As the fort 
men were taken away to fight at Kuching, the 
gentlemen had to form themselves into watches 
day and night, with the few Malays who remained 
to guard the fort. Boats full of Dyaks continually 
arrived, to join the Rajah's force Balows, Sarebas, 
and Sakarrans lay side by side on the river, all 
excited by the prospects of war, and frequently 


causing silly panics among the Malays of Linga, 
lest these warriors, from tribes so long enemies, 
should fall out with one another before they got to 
Kuching. There were, of course, no books or news- 
papers to read ; our Bibles and Prayer-books alone 
were among our luggage. We women were the 
best off, for we got some unbleached calico from 
Sakarran, and cut out some under-clothing, of which 
we had but little; this gave us occupation. We also 
had every clay to wash our linen and towels after 
bathing. The bath was a clear running stream, 
covered in near the house, very pretty and romantic, 
but the water was of a light brown colour, like 
toast and water, and had a slightly acid taste, very 
agreeable but not very wholesome. Probably the 
spring forced its way through dead leaves in the 
jungle ; at any rate, it did not wash the clothes 
white. It was very difficult to procure food for us 
all. Rice and gourds made into a kind of curry 
stew was our daily meal ; if a chicken was got it 
was devoted to the children and the sick. We 
were very anxious for some time on account of 
Mrs. Crookshank. Had she remained quiet at 
Kuching, her wounds would have healed quickly, 
for she was young and perfectly healthy ; but all 
the moving into boats, and carrying up ladders and 
steps, had broken open the wounds, and it was 
a struggle of strength and youth against adverse 
circumstances. She was so patient and cheerful 
that we never heard a complaint, which was in her 
favour no doubt ; still there were some days when 


her life was in great danger in that hot climate. 
Twice during the month we received a box from 
Kuching, sent by a native boat. Once it contained 
our mail an immense pleasure ; also some bread 
and biscuits, but they were wet with salt water, and 
mouldy besides. However, Mab and Alan could 
eat them. I used to look with thankful astonish- 
ment at those children, both so delicate generally, 
but who throve all the time we were without 
proper food or shelter. But baby Edith shrank 
and pined, and at last my husband said, " We shall 
lose this child if you stay here any longer : better 
go and live among the Dyaks, who have plenty of 

So Mr. Chambers kindly took us in at his house 
at Banting, where we had a most loving welcome, 
and saw something of the Dyak women and 
children. The men were mostly gone to the war, 
and great excitement prevailed among the tribe 
with the prospect of acquiring heads again, for the 
Sarawak Government had quite stopped that 
hunting in the country. Boats were continually 
arriving, gay with streamers, and noisy with 
gongs and drums beating, with heads of Chinese 
on board. One day we were invited to a feast 
in one of the long houses. I said, " I hope we 
shall see no heads," and was told I need not see 
any ; so, taking Mab in my hand, I went with 
Mr. Chambers, and we climbed up into the long 
verandah room where all the work of the tribe goes 
on. This long house was surrounded with fruit- 


trees, and very comfortable. There were plenty of 
pigs under the house, and fowls perching in every 
direction. About thirty families lived in the house, 
the married people having each their little room, 
the girls a room to themselves, and the long room 
I spoke of being used for cooking, mat-making, 
paddy-beating, and all the usual occupations of 
their lives. We were seated on white mats, and 
welcomed by the chief people present. The feast 
was laid on a raised platform along the side of the 
room. There were a good many ornaments of the 
betel-nut palm, plaited into ingenious shapes, 
standing about the table, so that I did not at first 
remark anything else. As we English folks could 
not eat fowls roasted in their feathers, nor cakes 
fried in cocoa-nut oil, they brought us fine joints 
of bamboo filled with pulut rice, which turns to 
a jelly in cooking and is fragrant with the scent 
of the young cane. I was just going to eat this 
delicacy when my eyes fell upon three human 
heads standing on a large dish, freshly killed and 
slightly smoked, with food and sirih leaves in their 
mouths. Had I known them when alive I must 
have recognized them, for they looked quite natural. 
I looked with alarm at Mab, lest she should see 
them too ; then we made our retreat as soon as 
possible. But I dared say nothing. These Dyaks 
had killed our enemies, and were only following 
their own customs by rejoicing over their dead 
victims. But the fact seemed to part them from 
us by centuries of feeling our disgust, and their 


complacency. Some of them told us that after- 
wards, when they brought home some of the 
children belonging to the slain, and treated them 
very kindly, wishing to adopt them as their own, 
they were annoyed at the little ones standing 
looking up at their parents' heads hanging from the 
roof, and crying all day, as if it were strange they 
should do so ! Yet the Dyaks are very fond of 
children, and extremely indulgent to them. Our 
school was recruited after the war by the children 
of Chinese, bought by Government from their 
captors. This was my first and last visit to a Dyak 
feast. I used to go and see the women in the 
early morning sometimes, and they constantly came 
up to the mission-house to see my children. Of 
course the war had an evil influence on them, 
increasing their interest in heads, and all the 
heathen ceremonies connected with their possession. 
We stayed about ten days at Banting, walking 
every afternoon to the little church through a long 
avenue of fruit-trees great forest trees which threw 
a grateful shade over the path, charming for the 
children's walks. They could have chicken broth 
too for their dinners ; and Edith revived, but it was 
a whole year after this before she grew any taller, 
so that when she began to run about, three months 
later, it looked a surprising feat for a baby who 
should be in long clothes, yet she was then sixteen 
months old. This life at Banting was a kind of 
dream, after all the hurry and anxiety we had gone 
through. At last we heard that we might go back 


to Kuching, the Chinese had all been driven out 
of the country, or killed. Our house was purified, 
and the dead bodies lying about in the jungle had 
been buried, so that the air was sweet again. We 
returned to Linga, and all embarked in a little 
schooner for home. It was not a much better boat 
than the one we had fled in, and we suffered two 
very trying days' voyage ; but when we walked 
into the mission-house and found Miss Woolley 
to welcome us, and our house, though dismantled, 
uninjured, and most of the books in the library, 
we were very thankful. The Sunday after, we had 
a thanksgiving service in the church, in which all 
joined very heartily. 

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

At Bau there were supposed to be from three to 
four thousand Chinese rebels, who had lately been 
strengthened by many malcontents from the Dutch 
country. The Chinese held Bau, Seniawan, the 
government fort of Baleda, and a fort at Peninjauh 
opposite to Baleda. They boasted that they had 
rice and gunpowder enough to last out six months 
in these places ; but they were gradually surrounded 
on all sides by Malays and Dyaks, so that they 
could get no fresh stores. On the loth of March 
a body of Chinese came down the river to Leda 
Tanah (Tongue of Land) about halfway to'Kuching. 
They built a breast-work by the river-side, dug a 
trench behind it, placed some brass guns in position, 


and then retired to eat their dinners in comfort 
behind their defences. There was a little house 
and garden belonging to the Rajah at Leda Tanah. 
The Datu Tumangong and Abang Boujong hear- 
ing of this, went up the river with a Malay force and 
attacked the breast-work in front. The Chinese 
fired one volley and ran. The Malays entered, 
sword in hand, but only killed two men ; all the 
rest fled into the arms of the Dyaks, who lay in 
wait in the jungle behind, and took a hundred 
heads, some say two hundred, but stories do not 
lose in the telling. The Chinese begged hard for 
their lives, wrung their hands, wept, prayed the 
Dyaks to be friends with them ; but Dyaks know 
nothing about prisoners. One of the principal 
kunsi was killed in this affair, and some say that 
Kamang, the leader of the attack on the i8th of 
February, lost his head to the Sakarran Dyaks. 

This success was matter of great rejoicing at 
Kuching. Two days afterwards they heard that 
Baleda Fort was deserted by the Chinese. Mr. 
Johnson went vip and found it quite empty ; Seni- 
awan too, and soon after Bau also. All had fled 
towards the Dutch territory. A dreadful march 
they had, poor creatures ; carrying their sacred 
stone Tai pekong with them. Nearly a thousand 
women and children delayed their progress. They 
were harassed all the way by parties of Malays, 
and Dyaks cutting off the stragglers. The party 
dwindled by degrees, until nearly all the kunsi 
were killed, either by the enemy or their incensed 


countrymen, 'who found themselves driven from 
their. peaceful homes for the sins of these rebels. It 
is so painful to think of the many innocent who 
suffered with the guilty on this occasion, of the 
miseries they endured, and the relentlessness of 
their foes, that I cannot detail it. War naturally 
brines such evils in its train ; even civilized warfare 

O ' 

is not without its horrors and its injustice : but 
when revenge falls into the hands of savages these 
ills are multiplied. The Malays both hated and 
despised the Chinese. That such people should 
have taken their forts, burnt their dwellings, com- 
pelling them to seek safety for their families by 
flight, was so great an insult that their most violent 
passions were aroused, and only the blood of all 
the Kay tribe could wipe out the disgrace they 
had incurred. It was indeed wonderful that these 
Chinese should imagine for a moment that they 
could remain rulers in a country whose inhabitants 
regarded them as the natural hewers of wood and 
drawers of water to the community ; but no doubt 
they were intoxicated by their unlooked-for success 
on the 1 8th of February, and a Chinaman seems 
destitute of any appreciation of people who are 
not Celestials ! A remnant of these people got 
safely into the Dutch territory, where the authorities 
took what arms and ammunition they had, and, 
very properly, returned them to the Sarawak 
Government. They also offered to send a war 
steamer and soldiers if desired. So our misfortunes 
called out the goodwill of our neighbours. Soon 


after we returned home, H.M.S. Spartan, Captain 
Hoste, arrived to protect British interests in 
Sarawak. They stayed with us for a while, but the 
troubles were over, and the only difficulty was how 
to make any visitors comfortable or to feed them. 
We had to pass round a knife and fork at table 
for some days, and there were only a few spoons left 
to us. On the beds there were hard mattresses, 
but no pillows, sheets, or in fact any bed-furniture. 
Our guests being travellers and full of resources, 
slept on their pith hats for pillows, and used their 
pocket-knives. A good deal of fun was made of 
our privations, and indeed, as no beloved friend 
was missing, we could afford to laugh. 

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

When we left our house, our servants generally, 
except James a Portuguese, and my Bengalee 


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


EVENTS OF 1857. 

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

I was glad of an opportunity to get my baby 
vaccinated, which could only happen at Singapore 
in those days. We were two months away, and 
the cool quiet of Penang Hill was a great refresh- 


incut. The first news I heard there was that Miss 
Woolley was to be married to Mr. Chambers. 
This wedding took place immediately on our 
return home, the end of July. It was a great 
benefit to the Banting Dyaks, for Mrs. Chambers 
devoted herself to the women and young girls, and 
was a true friend to them. She taught them to 
sew, and instructed them in morals and religion. 
When I went to Banting some years afterwards, 
I found a set of modest young women who were 
much pleased with gifts of needles, thread, and 
thimbles ; they also enjoyed a game of croquet 
after the lessons were done, and it was wonderful 
to see what smart taps of the mallet were fearlessly 
given under their bare feet ; for of course the Dyaks 
do not wear shoes. 

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


witness the ceremony. This was the day before 
the Rajah set off for England. 

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

The Malays suffered very much from this 
epidemic. Constant funerals were to be seen on 
the river, and there was much praying at the 
mosque. Then the Chinese were attacked, but not 
so fatally. Two dead men were, however, found 
on our premises ; they were strangers to us, but 
we supposed they came late at night to the mission 
for medicine, and, lying down in the stable or 


cow-house, died without reaching the house. It 
was an anxious time. I used to hang little bags 
of camphor round the children's necks, and was 
very careful of the diet for the household. Thank 
God, we had no case either in the school or the 

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

This time the cholera was very fatal among the 
Dyaks up some of the rivers. The poor creatures 
were so terrified that they left their houses, as in 
small-pox, and scarcely dared bury their dead. In 
one instance they paid a very strong man to carry 
the dead on his back to a steep hill, and throw 
them into the ravine at the bottom. The food 
enjoyed by the Dyaks, rotten fish and vegetables, 
no doubt inclined them to get cholera. The first 
time of its visitation was after a great fruit season 
when durian, that rich and luscious fruit, had been 
particularly abundant. A durian is somewhat 
larger than a cocoa-nut in its inner husk ; it has 
a. hard prickly rind, but inside lie the seeds, 
enclosed in a pulp which might be made of cream, 
gatiic, sugar, and green almonds. It is very hsat- 


ing to the blood, for when there are plenty of 
durians the people always suffer more from boils 
and skin disease than usual. We never permitted 
them to enter our house, for we could not bear the 
smell of them. But many English people liked 
them ; and they were so much esteemed by the 
Dyaks, that when the fruit was ripe they encamped 
for the night under the trees. When a durian fell 
to the ground with a great thud, they all jumped 
up to look for it, as the fallen fruit belongs to the 
finder, and they loved it so that they willingly 
sacrificed their sleep for it. Woe be to the man, 
however, on whose head the fruit falls, for it is 
so hard and heavy it may kill him.* 

In February three new missionaries came from 
England Mr. Racket, Mr. Glover, and Mr. 
Chalmers. The two last came straight to Sarawak 
on their arrival at Singapore, Mr. Racket and his 
wife about a month afterwards. They were all from 
St. Augustine's College, Canterbury, thoroughly 
good people, and a great happiness to us. Mr. 
Chalmers was settled among the Land Dyaks at 
Peninjauh, afterwards at the Quop. Mr. Glover went 
to Banting, to work among the Balows. The Rackets 
stayed at Sarawak: indeed they all remained with 
us until Easter, when their ordination took place. 
The Easter services that year, 1858, were very 
delightful. All these missionaries were more or 
less musical, and Mr. Racket adorned the church ab 

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



it had never been decked before. Flowers and ferns, 
and lycopodium moss, were always to be had in 
abundance ; and the polished wooden walls were 
brightened by some beautiful scroll texts, printed 
by a friend in England. We had full choral service 
on Easter Sunday, and the school-children sang 
their part beautifully ; indeed, our new comers 
were astonished to find such good material for a 
choir in little native boys. 

I had been fully occupied with preparations 
for these missionaries while the bishop was at 
Labuan ; some additions to the comfort of the 
house for the Rackets ; a new cook-house and 
servants' rooms near, to build ; and the church to 
reroof. The balean attaps were as good as ever, 
but the strips of wood on which they hung were 
attacked by white ants, and had to be renewed 
or the shingles would have fallen through. Such 
responsibilities fell to my share when the Bishop 
was away, and heavy cares they were when money 
was not abundant. The prospect of three new 
missionaries was, however, worth any trouble. They 
came to teach the Dyaks, who had so long waited 
for teachers, and we hoped they would settle them- 
selves among them for many years. In this hope 
we were to be disappointed. Mr. Glover fell ill 
of dysentery at Banting, and before two years 
had passed away was obliged to remove to a cold 
climate. He went to Australia, and has been doing 
good work there ever since. Mr. Chalmers was 
a very valuable missionary, and his labours among 


the Quop and Merdang Dyaks bore much fruit 
in after years ; but he also fell ill from the climate, 
and the food which was attainable up country. 
In 1860, he also made up his mind to follow Mr. 
Glover to Australia. There are no doubt many 
difficulties for Englishmen living in Sarawak 
jungles. Some become acclimatized to them, others 
cannot bear the low diet, the loneliness, the apathy 
and indifference of the Dyaks. The Bishop was 
once accused, by a person who ought to have 
known better, that he was too apt to gather his 
clergy at Sarawak and keep them from their Dyak 
parishes : but it was a necessary part of the Bishop's 
work to keep a home where the missionaries could 
come for change and refreshment ; where they 
could enjoy a more generous diet, and the society 
of English friends ; where they could consult a 
medical man, and get some hints how to treat the 
maladies of the Dyaks for they expected all the 
missionaries to know the art of healing, having 
had more or less experience of the Bishop's skill. 
Mr. Racket was consumptive, but Sarawak is the 
best climate in the world for that disease : he got 
much stronger with us, and might have lived many 
years there, but he was too nervous for so unsettled 
a country. We were often subjected to panics for 
many months after the Chinese insurrection, and 
though we old inhabitants took it very easily, 
Mr. Hacket always thought his wife and child in 
danger. I remember, one day a Malay was being 
tried in the court-house, when he, by a sudden 


spring, escaped from the police, and snatching a 
sword from a bystander, ran amuck through the 
bazaar, wounding two or three people he met. The 
hue and cry in the town fired the imaginations of the 
timid. People came running to the house for shelter, 
bringing their goods and chattels, and all sorts of 
tales " The Chinese were coming from Sambas," 
and all sorts of nonsense. Then, Mrs. Racket 
fainting on the sofa, and the servants all leaving 
their work to listen, and look out of the verandah, 
provoked us extremely : we administered sal volatile 
and a good scolding, and sent everybody off to 
their business again. But those scenes were very 
trying to the nerves. That a Malay should run 
amuck (amok, in Malay) with anger or jealousy, 
or a fit of madness arising from both these passions, 
was an occasional event all through our Sarawak 
life, but it was no more alarming in 1858 than in 
former years. It was the breach in the general 
feeling of security under the Sarawak Government, 
which for a time magnified every little disturbance 
of the peace into a public danger. 

Our school was enriched this year by, first, seven 
new Chinese boys, then four more and four girls, 
the captives of the Lundu Dyaks, ransomed by 
Captain Brooke. Those children were, some of 
them, miserable objects, covered with sores from 
neglect. One boy had been set to carry red wood 
which blisters the skin, another was badly burnt. 
Mrs. Stahl took them in hand, dressed their wounds, 
nursed them, clothed them, and soon they looked 


quite nice, sitting on a bench at the end of the 
church with a monitor to take charge of them, for 
they were still unbaptized they were old enough to 
be instructed first, except two of the little girls who 
were immediately received into the Church. About 
this time a little Dyak boy, Nigo by name, was 
paying a visit to the school, and was baptized in 
church, answering for himself. He was about six 
years old, and as he stood at the font his face was lit 
up with so sweet a smile it touched us all. Mab 
begged him to stay at Sarawak ; but the Dyaks 
never part with their children, and in this case it 
was not necessary, for Nigo's father was a Christian. 
It was a great happiness to us that none of our 
boys were killed in the insurrection ; three got 
away to Sambas, the rest came back to the school 
one by one, having all escaped the Dyaks. The 
Christian goldsmith, too, who was put in prison 
by the kunsi for trying to warn us of the attack 
on the 1 8th of February, got to Sambas safe, and 
afterwards returned to us at Sarawak. 

This summer a doctor came out to Sarawak with 
his family. I heard of their proposed arrival some 

months before, and wrote to Mrs. C to beg 

they would leave their elder children in England, 
and only bring the babies with them, for the little 
ones thrive well enough at Sarawak. I also gave 
a plain unvarnished account of the place. But 

Mr. C , having made up his mind to bring all his 

family out, put the letter in his pocket ; and we were 
very sorry when they arrived, a party of nine, 


having lost one child at Singapore. They only 
stayed one month ; the lady was so disgusted with 
the place " no shops, no amusements, always hot 
weather, and food so dear ! " that she persuaded 
her husband to take advantage of some difference 
he had with the Government, and return in the 
same steamer by which they came out. I, however, 
gained by their departure, for they brought a sweet 
young girl with them as governess, and as she did 
not wish to return so soon, she remained with me, 
and became Mab's governess and friend. We liked 
her very much, and I cannot help mentioning an 
incident of her spirit and courage. One of our chil- 
dren being ill, I had taken her down to Santubong, 
where we had a seaside cottage ; but as the house 
was full of clergy preparing for ordination, I left 
Miss McKee to do the housekeeping and take care 
of our guests for a few days. She slept at the top 
of the house, and little Edith in a cot beside her. 
It was late at night, and the moon shining into 
Miss McKee's room, when she woke and saw a 
Chinaman standing at the foot of her bed with 
a great knife in his hand. She felt under her 
pillow if the keys were safe, for the box of silver 
was put in her room while I was absent ; then she 
jumped up, shouting "Thieves!" with all her might. 
The man ran and she after him, down a long passage, 
down the staircase, out of the house, by which time 
her cries had roused the gentlemen the Bishop was 
nursing a sick man in fever, and was not in the 
house that night. They looked out of their doors, 

A THIEF. 167 

asking what was the matter ? However, Miss 
McKee had by this time made up her mind that 
the thief was our own cook ; she had seen enough 
of him by her courageous pursuit to be sure of it. 
No doubt he thought she would be fast asleep, and 
he should carry off the silver and the keys without 
discovery. Only a servant of the house would have 
known where they were kept. This young lady 
afterwards married Mr. Koch, one of the missionaries. 
He came from Ceylon, and eventually returned to 
his native country, where I hope they are still. 

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

On November I5th, Mrs. Brooke had another 
ooy, and though there was some anxiety at the 
time, she seemed pretty well until the fourth day, 
when inflammation set in with puerperal fever, and 
at the end of ten days our much-loved friend was 


gone to her home in heaven, leaving her husband 
and children desolate. It seemed so impossible 
that so bright a creature should pass away from us, 
that to the last day we believed she would recover. 
That afternoon she called her husband and brothers 
and sisters to her bedside, and said, " I have tried 
hard to live for your sakes, but I cannot;" then she 
calmly and sweetly bade them good-bye, and no 
earthly cares touched her afterwards. Very sad 
hearts were left behind, but her example remained 
to us and called us upwards. Her short life had 
been continual self-sacrifice. She gave up her 
beautiful home in Scotland for love, and the 
prospect of doing good to Sarawak. On her 
arrival there the most rigid economy was practised, 
on account of the losses in the Chinese insurrection. 
A mat house, called " The Refuge," neither airy nor 
comfortable, was her only home ; but it was always 
bright with Annie's good taste and cheerful spirits. 
Then came the last sacrifice, her husband and 
children. These, too, she laid at her Lord's feet 
with a willing heart. Everybody went into mourn- 
ing ; for in so small a place it was quite a calamity 
to lose the head of our little society. But to the 
Bishop this event was a great trial. He had spent 
most of his time, day and night, striving to save this 
precious life. He was very fond of her ; he ministered 
to her as her priest ; from his hands she received 
the Blessed Sacrament a few hours before she died, 
and he heard her say with almost her last breath, 
" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ; " but he had also to 


witness agony which he could not relieve, and no 
effort could prolong her life. It made him quite ill 
for some time, and all the happy holiday days- 
passed away with Annie Brooke. Government 
House was never again, in our time, a bright and 
cheerful home : it returned to its bachelor ways ; 
and business, not social pleasure, presided there. 
On Christmas Day, exactly a month after Mrs. 
Brooke died and was laid in the churchyard, we 
placed a bouquet of flowers from her garden on 
the altar, but there could be no festivities. The 
Chinese Christians had their feast, and the school- 
children ; but we who had lost our companion 
and friend could not rejoice. It was sad enough 
to go over the water and see Annie's empty room, 
kept just as she had left it, and no sound in the 
house except the wails of the motherless baby, 
who we feared would soon follow his mother to the 
grave. Captain Brooke was obliged to go to 
England very soon after his wife's death ; the Rajah 
was struck with paralysis, and it was at first doubt- 
ful whether he would recover. In the midst of all 
this sorrow I had the trouble of losing my faithful 
servant, Mrs. Stahl, who took all the care of the 
school-children off my hands. Her husband had 
found more lucrative work at Singapore, and sent 
for her to join him. It was a grief to both of us, 
and a great addition to my responsibilities. Mrs. 
William Channon, then a widow, was installed 
matron of the school, but she had neither knowledge 
nor experience. She did as well as she could, with 


continual supervision. The sick children now came 
to me to be doctored early every morning. I also 
had a large sewing-class of boys, and a tailor to teach 
us how to cut out and make their peculiar-shaped 
clothes : however, we soon learnt to do without the 
tailor. Mrs. Racket taught the little ones to sew, 
and I had the elder ones from seven to ten every 
morning. Somefimes I gave a music lesson 
between whiles ; sometimes I had to leave them for 
a while, first to see what the cook had brought 
from the bazaar for their day's food, and to give 
out the rice which was kept in my store-room ; also 
the cocoa-nut oil, which trimmed the lamps of both 
house and school. Sometimes I read aloud to my 
boys, stories from history. They could understand 
English quite well. 

While our spirits were at their lowest ebb, and 
the rain still pouring with little intermission, we had 
a visit from H.M.S. Esk t Sir Robert J. McClure 
captain. He did his best to cheer us. How kind 
and bright he was I shall never forget, nor how he 
used to sit patiently under a tree in the rain to 
be photographed, simply to amuse us. There are 
certainly some people who have more of the wine 
of life than others, and who are a wonderful refresh- 
ment to their friends. It was during this year, 
1858, that we built our seaside cottage at San- 
tubong Sandrock Cottage, as we called it, which 
sounds rather cockney; but as it stood on the sand, 
with great boulders of granite rock scattered about, 
it seemed the most appropriate name. Santubong 


is the most beautiful of the two mouths of the 
Sarawak River, but not as safe as the Morotabas for 
ships to enter. The Bishop had a mission yacht 
this year ; consequently he was away, visiting the 
mission stations. The next year he sailed the 
Saraivak Cross to Labuan. The voyage took only 
one week either way, whereas in other years he 
had to go to Singapore, more than four hundred 
miles off, in order to get to Labuan by P. and O. 
steamer, or any man-of-war chancing to go there. 
Months instead of weeks were consumed by this 

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


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

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

A little colony of Chinese were settled here in 


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



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

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

During one of our visits to Santubong I re- 
member a timber-ship lying off the mouth of the 
river, to lade planks from a saw-mill which was on 

BUNTAL. 175 

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

In the north-west monsoon we sometimes went 
to Buntal, a bay on the other side of the mountain 
of Santubong. No soul resided there, but it was 
the resort of great flocks of wild-fowl at that 
season. We rowed into the bay while it was still 
high tide, then left the boat ; and our men made 
little huts of boughs some distance from the shore, 
where we could sit without being perceived. As 
the tide ebbed the birds arrived tall storks, 
fishing eagles, gulls, curlew, plover, godwits, and 
many others we did not know. They flew in long 
lines, till they seemed to vanish and reappear, 
circling round and round, then swooping down 
upon the sand where the receding waves were 
leaving their supper. I never saw a prettier sight 
The tall storks seemed to act like sentinels, 
watching while the others fed. At a note of alarm 
they all rose in the air, flew about screaming, and 


then settled again on the sands in long lines, the 
smaller birds together, the larger ones in ascending 
rows. At last, alas ! a gun fired into their midst 
caused death and dismay. A few fell dead, and 
the rest fled to some happier shore, where no 
destroying man could mar their happiness. And 
there are many such spots in Borneo where no 
human foot ever trod, and where trees, flowers, 
and insects flourish exceedingly ; where the birds 
sing songs of praise which are only heard by their 
Maker, and where the wild animals of the forest 
live and die unmolested. There is always some- 
thing delightful to me in this idea. We are apt to 
think that this earth is made for man, but, after 
many ages, there are still some parts of his domain 
unconquered, some fair lands where the axe, the 
fire, and the plough are still unknown. 

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


natives, but only thought that particular tribe of 
Kenowits were not to be trusted. 

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

There were many killed, but it was their own 
fault ; for, before attacking, a flag of truce had been 
hoisted, and all who Trould were invited to submit, 
and promised their lives, but only a few women and 
children availed themselves of it and were saved. 
Tanee the brave was killed, and Hadji Mahomet. 
It was found that these traitors had spread a report 
that all the English at Sarawak and at Labuan, as 
well as at Bunjermassin, had been killed, and this 
was so thoroughly believed that the Kenowits 
thought they had only to kill Mr. Fox and Mr. 
Steelc, in order to possess themselves of the arms 
and goods in the fort with impunity. It was true 
that the Malays at Bunjermassin had risen upon 
the Europeans there, and killed twenty Dutch 
officials and their families ; also four of the German 
missionaries living among the Dyaks, and a Mr. 
Mattiey, with his wife and three children, who used 



to live at Labuan. The Dutch took summary 
vengeance for this massacre, but in spite of that the 
Malays at Coti killed the Europeans who lived 
there ; so that neighbouring countries showed a bad 
example to our people, and we were afraid that 
religious fanaticism might have something to do 
with the hatred to Christians, whether Dutch or 

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

Gapoor and his followers were pardoned, and 
when Sarawak was given over to Sir James Brooke 
by the Sultan of Bruni, it was naturally supposed 
that this man who owed his life to the English 
Rajah would remain his faithful friend and follower. 
He was made the chief datu, or magistrate, of 


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

About a year afterwards Sir James Brooke said 
to me, " Did you ever feel pleasure at hearing of 
the death of an old friend ? " Before I could con- 
sider this knotty question, he added Gapoor had 


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

He instigated the murder of Mr. Fox and Mr. 
Steele ; nay, it was intended to be a general massacre 
of all the English in Sarawak territory ; but by 
a mistake of the Kenowits these two unfortunates 
were killed prematurely. The day had not arrived, 
and this led to the discovery of the plot. When 
Mr. C. Johnson went with an armed force to 
Kenowit, Seriff Messahore had already killed the 


fort men, who had only executed his own orders. 
For some time he, the guilty one, escaped detec- 
tion. At last some Christian Dyaks of Lundu and 
Banting disclosed to their missionaries that Malays 
had visited them to say they had better turn 
Mahometans, for soon there would be no English 
left in the country. These stories being communi- 
cated by the Bishop to Mr. Johnson, he consulted 
the Malay members of the council and other trust- 
worthy native friends, and it was evident they knew 
there was good reason for anxiety, as they advised 
all the English to wear firearms, even the ladies. 

At last the rumours of threats were traced to old 
Gapoor, the ex-Patinghi, and he was again banished 
the country by order of the council. Seriffs 
Messahore and Bujang, being connected with him 
by marriage, were also suspected. Messahore was 
warned that if he came to Kuching he would be 
treated as an enemy. Nevertheless he advanced 
up the river ; his boat was greeted by a shower 
of balls, and he ignominiously fled. When the 
glamour was thus taken from him everybody was 
ready to divulge what they knew of the plot, and 
that a pension of six hundred rupees a year was 
promised to any one who would kill Mr. C. John- 
son. The Rajah was in England, and known to 
be in bad health. Very few English men-of-war 
visited Sarawak at that time. Rumours were got 
up at Bruni that the Rajah was in disgrace with his 
own queen. This was the consequence of the 
commission of inquiry about piracy, which had 


taken place in 1858, by order of the English Parlia- 
ment ; for though the results of that commission 
thoroughly exculpated Sir James Brooke from any 
blame, there was never any amende honourable 
made for subjecting him to such an indignity. It 
\vas never understood by the natives as anything 
but a slur on the Rajah's character, and was a 
terrible injury to his prestige for a time. Indeed, 
it was the seed of the Malay plot ; and if we had all 
been killed, our own English Government would 
have been the remote cause of our death. It is no 
doubt difficult for Englishmen to understand the 
feelings of Malays and Dyaks. We are accustomed 
in England to find fault with our rulers, and submit 
to them all the same. But in the East it is different : 
no breath of blame must touch the Rajah, nor can 
he be arraigned before any court, except the throne 
of God. 

Fatima, Seriff Bujang's wife, was an old friend of 
mine. She had always visited me from the time of 
our first arrival at Sarawak, and was then a very 
handsome girl, with a pale, clear complexion, and 
fine hair and eyes. We took a great interest in 
her marriage, and Seriff Bujang frequently came 
to our house. He was apparently fond of Mab, 
and liked to hear her tell fairy tales. Mab spoke 
Malay very well, and was always popular with the 
natives, to whom she would sing, dance, or relate 
Cinderella, the White Cat, or the Three Bears, etc. 
It was curious to see a grave-looking Malay sitting 
to listen to fairy stories ; still more so when all the 


time he was party to a plot for the destruction 
of the household he visited. He was more weak 
than wicked ; and two years after that he died. 
I had occasion to visit some Malays in his kampong 
after his death, dnd found poor Fatima bereft of 
all her ornaments and gay dresses, and working 
as a drudge in the house. Widows are little 
accounted of in Eastern households. 

To return to the events of October, 1859. 

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

Mr. Chalmers had come from Merdang with news 
that some of those Dyaks had joined the Datu Hadji, 
and also some bad Lundus, who had been punished 
for sedition four years before. We all sat up that 
night ; but I was too much occupied with my sick 
child to be nervous about anything else. The night 
passed over without any rising of the disaffected, 
and the next day Gapoor consented to leave the 
country quietly, finding no chief Malays would 
stand by him, and to be taken in a Government 


gunboat to a brig just leaving the river. Thus, 
through God's mercy and the loyalty of the people, 
no harm came of this plot, except that Mr. and 
Mrs. Racket decided to leave the mission, not 
being strong enough to stand such alarms. They 
went to Malacca, where he became Government 
chaplain, and died there of consumption, after 
some years' service. 

The heat of Sarawak climate was so injurious to 
our child Mab, who had frequent attacks of fever, 
that as soon as the place was quiet again, we 
resolved to pay another visit to England. The 
Bishop's health was much shaken, and the doctors 
at Singapore ordered him home at once. But it 
was winter, and we were afraid of taking our 
children too quickly into the rigorous cold of 
England ; therefore we took a passage in the 
Bakiana, a steamer which had brought out a 
telegraph cable to lay between Singapore and 
Batavia, and having accomplished her purpose, 
was returning empty to England. The Bishop went 
with us as far as Bombay, and then took P. and O. 
boat to England ; whilst we called first at Mau- 
ritius, then at the Cape of Good Hope, staying 
some days at each place, and at the latter adding 
several passengers to our small party. We pro- 
ceeded very happily until we were within a day's 
steam of the Island of St. Vincent, off the coast of 
Africa ; then the great crank of the steam-engine 
snapped in two, and we had to sail. It took us 
ten days to beat up to the island, for a large screw 


steamer was never intended to be propelled by 

We began to have gloomy forebodings of the 

time which must elapse before we could reach 

England, sailing at this rate, when we saw, lying 

in the roads at St. Vincent, a very large West 

Indian steamer on her way home. It was difficult 

to communicate with this ship, because she lay in 

quarantine, yellow flag flying ; and we did not 

know whether she had yellow fever on board or 

not. Our captain, however, called us all together, 

and said, " I hoped to have found some provisions 

in this island, to add to our stores ; but I find there 

is nothing." The island seemed just a bare rock, 

with one solitary palm-tree growing by the office 

door, and not a blade of grass. It was difficult to 

imagine what provisions there could be, except the 

coal left by ships to supply passing steamers. " It 

will be necessary," added Captain Grenfell, " that 

some of you should go home in the Magnolia, 

West Indian steamer, for we have not food on board 

for all, and cannot expect to be less than another 

month reaching England under sail : therefore you 

must each of you decide to-night what you will do ; 

and if you choose to go home in the Magnolia, I 

will pay your passage. But I ought to tell you 

that probably there are cases of yellow fever on 

board that ship ; for it is the time of year when it 

is rife at the South American stations." 

Here was a problem to solve in the night ! 
Should I take my children on board a ship where 


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

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



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

Most of our old Sarawak friends had either died 
or gone away when we returned in '61, but the 
mission grew more and more interesting as 
Christian Churches sprang up on the Dyak rivers. 


Four new missionaries came out soon after our 
arrival. Mr. and Mrs. Abe, Mr. Zehnder, Mr. 
Mesney, and Mr. Crossland, the two latter from 
St. Augustine's College, Canterbury, from whence 
had formerly come those two good men, Mr. 
Chalmers and Mr. Glover. They had both gone to 
Australia on account of their health, but the teach- 
ing of Mr. Chalmers had left its mark among the 
land Dyaks of Murdang and the Quop, so that 
Mr. Abe, who was afterwards placed on that station, 
reaped the harvest which had been sown with many 
prayers two years before. Mr. Mesney succeeded 
Mr. Glover at Banting, and its many branch 
missions ; and Mr. Crossland went farther off, to the 
Dyaks, on the Undop, where he eventually built a 
church and gathered a little flock of Christians about 
him. Mr. Richardson came as catechist about the 
same time, and after staying a short time at Lundu, 
built himself a house among the Selaku Dyaks at 
Sedemac, in the country towards Sambas. He was 
much beloved by those simple people, who speak 
quite a different language to the Lundus. They 
exerted themselves to build their own church of 
substantial balean-wood, and their women learnt to 
pray as well as the men. "To learn to pray" is 
the Dyak description of a Christian. " What will 
you do," asked a missionary, "to bring those 
around you to Christ ? " "I will teach them to 
pray," was the answer. And surely this is the great 
distinction between the Christian and the heathen 
the one has communion with his Father in heaven, 


an all-powerful, wise, and loving Friend ; the other 
may cherish some vague belief and worship of an 
unknown God, but has neither love nor trust to 
carry him above this world's troubles and trials. 

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

Julia, one of our original school-girls, became 
very useful to me at this time. We had taken her 
home with us in '59, and sent her to a training- 
school for teachers in Dublin, so that she was quite 
competent on our return to take the management 
of the girls' school. We had eight girls in the 
house, and a few day-scholars from the town. 
Lessons used to go on in a room on the basement, 
where of course I was superintendent, and they 
learnt sewing in the afternoon. Julia was a very 
gentle mistress, and I was feeling very happy 
about my girls, when I found to my sorrow that 
Julia had an admirer, and I must make up my 
mind to part with my child who had lived with us 
since she was four years old-. Such natural events 
must not be considered trials, but the difficulty of 
replacing her was insuperable. I was obliged at 
last to send my girls to Mrs. Abe, at the Quop 
Station, for I was too often away in the mission- 
boat with the Bishop to keep them at the mission- 
house. This was not until 1865, however. Poor 


Mildred felt parting with "her girls," as she called 
them, very much, and often said, " Mamma, if Sarah 
and Fanny might come back we would never, never 
quarrel any more." Are not such pricks of conscience 
common to us all when our dear ones leave us ? 
But the past never returns ! 

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

The Bishop paid his annual visit to Labuan in 
any steamer which happened to be going. We had 
the great advantage of frequent visits from an 
English gunboat, for the admiral of the Chinese 
seas had orders from England to tell off one gun- 


boat for the two stations of Labuan and Sarawak. 
This arose from our being also blest with the 
presence of an English consul. But after he and 
his wife had remained two years at Sarawak, they 
were heartily tired of the dulness of their lives, and 
did their best to get removed to a more stirring 
station. However, the recognition of England 
gave confidence to native traders and security to the 
well disposed, so that there ensued a time of peace 
such as we had not experienced during our former 
sojourns in the country. 

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

Sunday before Easter, 1862. 


I am glad you are not here, for it is very, 
very hot, and you would probably have a bad 
headache. Julia is sitting in the verandah teaching 
Polly, Sarah, Fanny, and Phcebe the Easter hymn 
for next Sunday. Ayah is walking up and down 
with Mildred, and Louis Koch is running about, 
making her laugh. I must tell you how we spend 
the day. Papa gets up at five, and takes a ride on 
his pony. I make the tea at six, and cut bread 
and butter for Ayah and Julia, and Samchoon, one 
of the boys who has had fever and wants feeding 
up. The bell calls us to church at seven, but I 
don't go till the afternoon. The gardener brings 



me a tray of flowers, and I make the nosegays for 
the day. Then I go downstairs and see the 
butter made. The boy brings in a great jar of milk, 
with which he mixes some warm water ; into this he 
puts a long piece of bamboo, with cross pieces fixed 
in it like the spokes of a wheel. This he twirls 
round and round in the jar till the butter comes. 
Then he takes it out with his black hands, and I 
carry it off and wash and salt it. We only get five 
ounces now at a time, though there are six cows in 
milk ; but the calves are such miserable little things 
they have to be helped first, and fed with rice- 
gruel also. The butter finished, I go up to the 1 
sewing-class, who are very busy making their 
Easter clothes, both boys and girls ; and I help 
them with my sewing-machine until half-past ten, 
only running away twice once to see what the 
school cook has brought for their breakfast, and 
then to order our own. Then we all bathe and 
breakfast, and Ayah goes away for two hours for 
her breakfast and midday nap ; and I take care of 
Mildred, which is, I own, the hardest part of my 
day's work, for the little restless thing will never let 
me sit down, and is up to all sorts of mischief. 
At two o'clock Ayah comes and sings Mildred to 
sleep, with the same old tune of " Doo doo baby " 
which you used to sing to your dolls. I think in 
the next box I have from home you might send 
your old friends Sarah and Fanny a doll each, and 
dress them yourself. Our Malay Tuan Ku was here 
the other day and asked after you ; he remembered 
your Malay fairy tales. 



Our letters were very welcome last Sunday, 
Easter Sunday, telling us good news of you all. 
Our church was very gay with flowers and moss 
ferns ; and the font was filled with large pink water- 
lilies, whose beautiful round green leaves, a foot 
wide at least, looked quite lovely round the white 
shell font. All holy week and Easter Monday and 
Tuesday we had full service at seven o'clock in 
the morning, papa preaching a short sermon from 
the altar. It was delightfully cool at that hour, 
and began the day so pleasantly. I always love 
Easter, when all our dear ones seem to be gathered 
to us in Christ our Lord, whether those in Heaven 
or those far away all one family, and Christ's 
children through God the Father's love and mercy. 
I have been very busy. The school-children had all 
new clothes for Easter. We worked diligently for 
three hours every morning. The jackets were 
made of the Irish gingham I brought from home. 
This week is holiday, and Julia and I have had a 
fine wash, and have clear-starched the Bishop's 
sleeves and ruffles such a business ! My hand 
aches to-day with lifting the heavy smoothing-iron, 
which is not iron, but a large brass box, hollow 
and filled with hot charcoal. We shall get more 
used to it in time. Mrs. Stahl used to do it. Now 
she is gone it is quite impossible to let the Kling 
Dobie touch papa's sleeves ; they would soon be 
torn to ribbons. I gave the school a treat on 
Easter Tuesday. They had two soup-tureens full 


of syllabub, plum cake, and pine-apple puffs. My 
cook stared when I said, " Make forty large pine- 
apple puffs." However, they were for his own 
countrymen he is Chinese. I thought at first he 
understood English, for he always said " Yes " to 
my orders ; but it was his one word. After the 
school-children had finished off with fruit and 
native cakes, they had, what they like best of all, 
quantities of crackers, which filled the house with 
the smell of gunpowder, and frightened baby 
Mildred out of her sleep. Good-bye. 

July, 1862. 


Thank you for your note, written on the 
4th of May, which I received the other day. I 
always rejoice to think of you in the springtime, 
because, like other young things, you enjoy the 
opening buds, flowers, and sunshine after the 
long grave winter. But winter is a good friend, 
although he has a grave face ; we should be all the 
better for a visit from him out here. My garden is 
now as full of flowers as it will hold ; Mrs. Little 
brought me so many new ones from Singapore. I 
have a very gay nosegay every morning, and still, 
leave flowers to adorn the beds outside. We have 
turned out some of the fruit-trees to make more 
room for flowers. This morning I have sown a 
quantity of blue and purple convolvulus, which 
only display their beauties to those who rise early 
before the sun closes their blossoms ; but we have 


flowers which only open at night, the moon-flower, 
and night-blowing cereus, both white and fragrant. 
Dr. Little has been travelling about the country 
looking for new plants. He and Mr. Koch went 
to the top of the mountain of Poe near Lundu. It 
was so cold six thousand feet above the level of the 
sea, that they had to supply the natives who went 
with them with blankets. At the very top of the 
mountain they found a new orchid growing on the 
ground, a bright yellow flower, with streaks of 
magenta colour inside. Dr. Little picked some of 
the blossoms, and dug up one hundred roots, two 
of which he gave me ; but they will not live in my 
garden, they want mountain air. He also gave 
me the dead flowers, and asked me to paint a 
picture of one from his description and the faded 
blossom. I did it as well as I could, but I fear it 
was not very good, and, after all, the flower was 
not nearly as pretty as a bunch of laburnum in 
England. They also found growing on the roots 
of a tree that strange fungus flower described by 
Sir Stamford Raffles in his book on Java and 
Sumatra a yard wide across the petals, brilliantly 
coloured red, purple, yellow and white, and, in the 
hollow of the flower (nectarium), capable of holding 
twelve pints of water, the whole weighing from 
fifteen to twenty pounds ; for it is a thick fleshy 
flower, not frail and delicate as one likes a flower 
to be. It is very curious and gorgeous, but as 
soon as it is fully expanded it begins to decay 
and smells putrid. Sir James Brooke once found a 


specimen of this gigantic flower in the jungle, and 
sent it to me to look at ; but it had lost all its 
beauty in the journey, and I held my nose as I 
looked at it. The Dyaks said, " It is an auton " 
(spirit), which is their explanation of anything they 
never saw before. The natives of Sumatra call it 
" The Devil's sirih-box." * Are you as fond of frogs 
as you used to be ? Last week, some people were 
dining with us. I had just helped the soup, and, 
letting my hand fall upon my lap, picked up one 
of your friends who had settled himself there. Not 
knowing at first what the cold clammy thing was, 
I jumped up, and everybody else jumped up too, 
to see what was the matter ; for it might have been 
a snake, you know ! Good-bye. 

December i, 1862. 


Uncle told me of your walk with him to 
West Hyde Church, and how you made believe 
to get to Sarawak and see mamma walking in the 
verandah. You are much better off in the cold 
December air of England, than you would be in 
this sultry place, for all its green beauty and never- 
failing flowers. I had rather you carried the roses 
in your cheeks than have them in the garden all 
the year round. Last month papa went to visit 
the Quop Mission, where Mr. and Mrs. Abi and 
their little baby, and your old Ayah Fatima, live. 

* The real name is Rafflcsia Arnoldi. See page 343, vol. L, 
" Raffles' Life and Journals." 


To get there he goes down the Sarawak River and 
up the Quop River, then lands at a Malay village, 
from whence there is a walk of three or four miles, 
up and down pretty hills and across Dyak bridges, 
and over paths made of two bamboos tied together, 
with a muddy swamp on either side. Then you 
come to the mission-house which papa has built, 
and to Mr. Chalmers" old house, which at present 
serves as the church, and to some long Dyak 
houses. Papa baptized twenty-four men, women, 
and girls, and confirmed nineteen people who had 
been baptized by Mr. Chalmers. The old Pangara, 
one of the principal chiefs, was baptized, and three 
of his grown-up sons, and one little grandson 
whom the old man held in his arms. We had 
made white jackets for the baptized, but the old 
Pangara had not quite made up his mind, fearing 
the ridicule of the other elders of the tribe, till 
papa talked to him ; so there was no jacket for him, 
and papa gave him a clean white shirt, round the 
skirt of which we tied his chawat, a very long waist- 
band which wraps round and round the body, and 
that was all ! no trousers, and very funny he looked ; 
but papa was too rejoiced at his becoming a 
Christian, to laugh at him. These people will all 
be Christians soon. They come to Mr. and Mrs. 
Abi, morning, noon, and night, to be taught, and 
there 'are two daily services; so the missionaries 
have plenty to do. Two of our old school-boys, now 
grown up, are catechists there, Semirum and Aloch. 
There is much love between the people and their 


teachers; they are so happy at the Quop they never 
want to come away. However, I have asked the 
Abis to come for a fortnight at Christmas, and 
bring their poor little baby to be fattened on cow's 
milk. There are no cows at the Quop. 

January, 1863. 


As I cannot have you with me this 
Christmas and new year, I must comfort myself 
as best I may by writing you an account of all we 
have been doing, and how we have tried to fancy 
ourselves in old England amidst the frost and 
snow, notwithstanding the bright sunshine and 
perpetual green of our Eastern home. When we 
woke before daylight on Christmas morning the 
school boys were singing under our windows, 
" When Joseph was a-walking he heard an angel 
sing," so we got up and looked out, wishing the 
children a happy Christmas. Then we dressed, 
for there was a great deal to do. Papa had many 
services in church, Chinese, English, and Dyak. 
I had the wreaths to make. The church had been 
decked with moss fern the day before, but the 
flowers must be added in the morning, or they 
would be faded. So Julia and I made a crown 
of French marigolds to hang on the cross over the 
altar, two large wreaths for either side, and one 
at the west end made entirely of the golden alla- 
manda, in the buds of which you used to imprison 
fire-flies when you lived here. The font was 


adorned all over, in preparation for the baptisms 
to take place in the morning service. At half-past 
eleven we all went to church, and after the Litany 
there were sixteen Dyaks from Murdang, six 
Chinamen, and six little children baptized. Mr. 
Koch read the service in Malay, and papa baptized. 
It was a beautiful sight. The children, four of my 
little girls, and two small boys from the school 
behaved very well, and looked pretty in their new 
clothes. But they all understood something of 
why they were sprinkled with the blessed water, 
for we had been teaching them for some time, and 
Limo told me on Christmas Eve, that " our Saviour 
came into this world a little child, to teach us to 
be good ; and when He had blessed them in their 
baptism, they must take pains to do all He desired 
them." I thought this pretty well for a beginning. 
Ambat always repeats what Limo says, so I do 
not know how much is her own : she is Limo's 
sister. Ango and Llan, the other two girls, have 
been taught by Miss Rocke, who has given them 
to me ; they know but little, but are gentle children. 
The school had a feast at five o'clock, beef curry 
(papa had an ox killed), salt pork, rice, and a huge 
plum-pudding. They had newly white-washed 
their dining-room the week before, and decked it 
with boughs, so that it looked very nice with six 
lanterns hanging from the roof. They played there 
while we were at dinner, and the Christian Chinese 
feasted at Sing Song's house. Julia had her little 
party in her school-room, and dinner from our table : 


some of the grown-up schoolboys and Polly. We 
had Mr. and Mrs. Koch, Mr. and Mrs. Owen, Mr. 
Zehnder, and Mrs. Crookshank at our table. Papa 
counted that ninety-seven people were fed on the 
mission premises on Christmas Day. After dinner 
we had a bonfire in the hollow below our hill, 
between the house and the church. Quantities of 
dry bamboo had been collected there, which threw 
up columns of sparks, and lit up all the under 
leaves of the trees, making the dark sky and the 
young moon look so far far away. Then the boys 
began with crackers and rockets. Baby Agnes 
was not frightened, but poor Mildred could not 
sleep for terror. Every rocket made her call out 
" Bumah," and hide her face on my shoulder ; how- 
ever, she got used to it at last. Christmas is the 
time of year which belongs especially to children, 
because our Lord Jesus Christ then deigned to 
become a little child. We forget what happened 
to us when we were very young even a mother 
does not know all the feelings, little troubles, 
ardent wishes and desires of her little ones but 
it is impossible that our Saviour can ever forget 
I Ic knows exactly all that belongs to the daily life 
of a child, not only because He is God and knows 
everything, but because He was once a child Him- 
self, and remembers all the joys and sorrows of 
His child-life in the cottage at Nazareth ; and so 
children are very dear to Him He listens to their 
prayers, accepts their praises, and watches over 
them always. Remember, my darling, that He is 


your best friend ; to Him you may tell all your 
little troubles and confess all your faults, for He 
is very pitiful and of tender mercy. 

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



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


cruelty. When we lived at Kuching there was 
scarcely a Malay family there who had not suffered 
from them, either by the loss of relations or pro- 
perty ; for they are naturally a trading people. 

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

The Spaniards and the Dutch were everv now 
and then roused to search the seas for these pests 
of the human race, but they were so cunning 
they generally evaded them. At last they had 
a signal lesson. In the year 1862, Captain Brooke, 
then governing Sarawak in his uncle's absence, 
decided to go to Bintulu on the north-west coast 
of Borneo, a territory which had lately been ceded 
to the Rajah by the Sultan, and build a fort on the 
river, to check piracy and protect the peaceable 
inhabitants who were settling there on the promise 
of such protection. For this purpose he took the 
Rainbow, a small screw steamer of eighty-nine 
tons and thirty-five horse power ; and the Jolty 
Bachelor, a Government gun-boat. The Bishop 
accompanied him, to see what missionary prospects 
there were in that distant spot, also because he was 
at that time anxious about Captain Brooke's health. 
Mr. Helms, the manager of the Borneo mercantile 
company, accompanied them as far as Muka, where 


was an establishment to collect sago for exporta- 
tion. On the second day after his arrival, a pira- 
tical fleet of Ilanuns, consisting of six large, and as 
many smaller vessels, appeared on the coast, and 
blockaded the town. For two days they remained 
off Muka, capturing there, and on the coast south- 
wards, thirty-two persons. 

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

Meanwhile all preparation was made for fighting. 
Planks were hung over the railing to raise the 
sides of the poop where there were no bulwarks, 
and mattresses were laid inside to receive the shot 
and spears of the enemy ; this doubtless saved the 
lives of several of the crew. There were eight 
Europeans on board, including the captain of the 
Rainbow and his mate, the engineer, Captain 
Brooke, Mr. Stuart Johnson, Mr. Hay, Mr. Walters, 


and the Bishop. As soon as there were any- 
wounded, Mr. Walters assisted the Bishop in his 
work of mercy. The Bishop always carried a 
medicine chest and case of surgical instruments 
wherever he went ; and, happily, a large sheet had 
been packed among his things this voyage, which 
was speedily torn up into bandages. Now all was 
ready, but it was not until Friday morning that 
they sighted what looked like three large palm 
drifts to seaward off Tanjong Kidorong, to the 
north-east of the British River. They proved to 
be three large prahus, with their masts struck, and 
bristling with men, who were rowing like the 
Maltese, standing, and pushing for shore, casting 
off their sampans * one by one to make better way. 
Hadji Mataim recognized the sampan which chased 
and fired at him when he slipped away from Muka. 
Brooke then asked one of the chief officers of the 
Sarawak Government, who was on board, and 
Pangeran Matussim of Muka, if they were per- 
fectly sure that these prahus were Illanuns ? " Not 
a shadow of doubt," they said. So they loaded 
their guns and prepared for action. The leading 
prahu was going almost as fast as the steamer 
herself, and though steam was put on, and every 
effort made to get between her and the Point, the 
prahu won the race, and got into shallow water 
where the steamer could not follow ; then she 
opened fire on the steamer, which was returned 
with interest. This prahu had three long brass 

* Small boats. 


swivel guns, and plenty of rifles and muskets. As 
she was beyond the reach of the steamer, Captain 
Brooke turned to the second prahu, which was now 
fast nearing the shore. His plan was to silence the 
brass guns by the fire of the rifles on board the 
steamer, and shake the rowers at their oars by a 
discharge of grape and round shot ; then to put on 
all steam and run at them with the stem of the 
Rainbow. This was done with great coolness by 
Captain Hewat when Captain Brooke gave the 
order; the steamer struck the prahu amid-ships 
and went over her. Those on board called to the 
slaves, and all who would surrender, to hold on by 
the wreck until the boats could take them off; then 
they steamed away after the third prahu, which had 
already got into two-fathom water and was struck 
too far forward to sink. All the pirates in her 
jumped overboard and swam for shore, leaving 
their own wounded, the slaves, and captives, who 
were also bid to remain by their vessel till they 
were rescued. 

Meanwhile the first prahu, seeing the fate of the 
others, ran ashore among the rocks inside Tanjong 
Kidorong ; and all the crew, pirates, and slaves ran 
into the jungle. Had the captives known better 
they would not have run away. The Jolly Bachelor 
was left to look after these runaways, and then 
the captives of the other two prahus were helped 
on board the steamer. Several of the crew of the 
Rainbow recognized friends and acquaintances 
among the saved ; and the joyous, thankful look 


of the captives, as they came on board and found 
themselves among friends, was indeed a compensa- 
tion for the awful destruction of the pirates. Many 
were wounded, either with shot or the fearful cuts 
of the Illanun swords of the pirates, who tried to 
murder their captives when they saw all was lost. 
The Bishop was dressing one man who was shot 
through the wrist, when he spoke to him in English, 
and after pouring out his gratitude for his wonderful 
escape, said he was a Singapore policeman, and 
was going to see his friends in Java when he was 
captured. There were also two Singapore women, 
and a child, and two British-born Bencoolen Malays, 
who were taken in their own trading boat going to 
Tringanau. The husband of the younger woman 
had been killed by the pirates, and she, like all 
women who fall into their hands, had suffered every 
outrage and insult which could be offered her. 
They were almost living skeletons. One was shot 
through the thigh, and after the Bishop had dressed 
her wound, Mr. Walters said quaintly, "Poor thing, 
she has not meat enough on her bones to bait a 
rat-trap." It is a wonder how the poor creatures 
lived at all, under the treatment to which they were 
subjected. When the Bishop asked some of the 
men whether their wounds hurt much, they 
answered, "Nothing hurts so much as the salt 
water the Illanuns gave us to drink. We never had 
fresh water ; they mixed three parts of fresh with 
four of salt water: and all we had to eat was a 
handful of rice or raw sago twice a day." Very 



few of the pirates who were not wounded surren- 
dered. They are marvellous swimmers : took their 
arms with them into the water, and fought the men 
in the boats who were trying to pick up the captives. 
The Bishop and Mr. Walters were fully occupied 
doctoring friends and foes, arresting hemorrhage, 
extracting balls, and closing frightful sword or 
chopper wounds. One man came on board with 
the top of his skull as cleanly lifted up by a Sooloo 
knife, as if a surgeon had desired to take a peep at 
the brain inside ! It took considerable force to 
close it in the right place. This man had also two 
cuts in his back, yet the next morning he was 
discovered eating a large plate of rice, and he 
ultimately recovered. Another poor fellow could 
not be got up the ladder because he had a long- 
handled three-barbed spear sticking in his back : 
the Bishop had to go down and cut it out before he 
could be moved. 

While all this was going on, the captives told 
Captain Brooke that there were three more pirate 
vessels out at sea, waiting for those near shore 
to rejoin them ; as soon, therefore, as the steamer 
had picked up as many captives as she could find, 
she steamed out to sea in search of them. After 
an hour, the look-out from the mast-head reported 
three vessels in sight. It was then a dead calm, 
and they were using their long sweeps, when they 
were seen from the deck, to arrange themselves 
side by side, with their bows towards the steamer ; 
but, a breeze springing up, they hoisted sail, spread 


themselves out broadside on, and opened fire on 
the Rainbow as soon as she was within range, so 
that there was no question as to whether these 
were pirate prahus or not. The same plan was 
followed as in the case of the other boats, and with 
more success, as there was no shore to escape to. 

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

One poor Chinaman came swimming along, hold- 
ing up his long tail of hair lest he should be 
suspected to be a pirate ; other men held up the 
ropes round their necks, to show they were captives. 
The deck of the steamer was soon covered with 
those who had been picked out of the water, men 
of every nation and race in the Archipelago, who 
had been captured during this cruise, which had 
lasted seven months. These vessels left Tawi-Tawi, 
an island to the south-west of Sooloo, in October. 
The Sultan of Sooloo is in league with the pirates, 
and receives part of the plunder and slaves. In 
the only boat boarded by Captain Brooke was 
found the Sultan's flag, which is only given to 
people of high rank ; also the usual Illanun flag, 
six Dutch, and one Spanish flag, which no doubt 
belonged to vessels they had captured. The men 
who were saved gave details of the taking of two 


large vessels one a Singapore prahu trading to 
Tringanau ; the other a Dutch tope, of one hundred 
and fifty tons, on the coast of Borneo to the south 
of Pontianak. There they fell in with five other 
Illanun boats, which had come down from the 
northward they themselves were going up from 
the southward. The new-comers told them of a 
merchant vessel near at hand, and proposed they 
should join them in capturing her, which they did. 
She had a valuable cargo, worth ten thousand dollars. 
They killed everybody on board, plundered and 
burnt the vessel. Only the one Chinaman escaped 
who told this tale. The captives stated that this 
was the usual proceeding if resistance was made. 
When they spare their captives' lives, they beat them 
with a flat piece of bamboo over the elbows and 
knees, and the muscles of arms and legs, until they 
are unable to move ; then a halter is put round their 
necks, and, when they are sufficiently tamed, they 
are put to the oars and made to row in gangs, 
with one of their own fellow-captives as overseer 
to keep them at work. If he does not do it 
effectually, he is krissed and thrown overboard. 
If these miserable creatures jump into the sea they 
spear them in the water. They row in relays, 
night and day ; and to keep them awake, cayenne 
pepper is rubbed into their eyes or into cuts dealt 
them on their arms. 

The masts of these prahus are very small, so 
that they may not be seen at a distance. They 
go very fast. Those encountered by the Rainbow 


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


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




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

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

Eastern people set little value on time. They 
would just as soon sit cross-legged on the floor 
smoking for three hours as for one. The bride is 


the daughter of one of the first merchants in the 
place, Nakodah Sadum, and the bridegroom is 
the grandson of the old Datu Tumangong, whom 
you may remember. A handsome young man is 
Matussim, and enlightened, for a Malay. He made 
his betrothed a present of his photograph last year. 
Formerly Malays objected to having their portraits 
taken, fancying it a breach of the second com- 

The bride's father's house was gay with flags 
and streamers, and in front of it lay, by the river's 
brink, four small cannon, which had been busy, for 
days before and all that morning, saluting the 
occasion. We walked up into the house, which 
was full of guests. A long verandah, lined with 
hadjis and elders, all smoking and talking, led to 
the principal room, which, unlike any Malay house 
before built in Sarawak, had large Venetian- 
shuttered doors all round, and was therefore cool 
and airy. There was a little round table, and some 
armchairs covered with white mats for the ex- 
pected guests, in the middle of the room. Sadum 
and his wife came forward and greeted us very 
cordially, and then we were told to sit down on the 
chairs. I looked about for the bride, and saw a 
crowd of women in one corner, and a boy holding 
a gilt umbrella over the young lady, who was being 
shaved. A woman with a razor was shearing her eye- 
brows into a delicate line, and all round her forehead 
trimming disorderly hairs. Four women, seated on 
their heels in front of her, were fidgeting over her 


face ; she, impassive as a log in their hands. A 
vast deal of singing. and drumming went on all the 
time, a row of musicians keeping it up all round 
the room. The girl was washed ; then her hair, 
magnificent black hair down to her heels, knotted 
in two great bows on either side of her head. Over 
these, gold ornaments like wings were fixed, and a 
little tower of gold bells above them. Then the 
women painted a black band round her forehead, 
and added a silver edge to it, also painted. Her 
eyebrows were likewise touched up, and her skin 
rubbed all over with yellow powder. Poor child ! 
she was a curious figure by the time it was all 
finished, and her skin must have felt painfully stiff. 
She was then attired in very handsome silk robes, 
ornameAted with solid gold, and the attendants 
carried her to a raised dais or bed-place at one end 
of the room. There she sat, not daring to lift her 
eyes until the bridegroom's arrival. 

The divan was gorgeous with silk curtains and 
cushions embroidered with gold thread and em- 
bossed with tinsel ornaments, the work of the bride 
herself. The seat for the bridegroom was somewhat 
higher and larger than the bride's. At last the 
bridegroom approached in a large barge, which 
held about two hundred people. A small boat 
preceded it with three guns, which kept up a deafen- 
ing noise as he drew near. He was carried up the 
steps, and the house door was shut to in his face, 
according to the Malay custom. Then he begged 
admittance very humbly, and after paying a fee of 


five dollars, was admitted. His followers rush in 
first such a clatter! Greetings, welcomes, jokes, 
and laughter, make a Babel of noise ; everybody 
speaking at once. Then a cloth was laid down for 
the bridegroom to pass over, and he was pulled 
with apparent reluctance into the room, panting 
and shutting his eyes as if exhausted. His head 
was wreathed with Indian jessamine. He was 
naked to the waist, except a gold scarf over one 
shoulder ; otherwise he had plenty of gold and red 
silk about him. He was pulled up to the bride, 
turning his head away as if he was ashamed to 
look at her, and dropped a red silk handkerchief 
over her face for a moment. Then he sat down on 
the divan, and all the old women of both houses 
sprinkled the couple with yellow rice, and rubbed 
their foreheads with some charm, which looked like 
a bit of stone and a nutmeg-grater, and wished 
them all kinds of luck but especially that they 
might be the parents of sons only. After the young 
people had endured this long enough, the curtains 
were let down round the dais, and only two or 
three old women kept going in and out. We 
found they were taking off all the finery, and dress- 
ing the bride and bridegroom in their usual clothes; 
for while we were drinking coffee and eating 
Malay cakes at the little table, they came out from 
the curtains, looking quite pleasant and natural. 
So we shook hands, made our congratulations, 
and bade them adieu. We got home at four 
o'clock, very hot and tired, and papa laughed 


at us for going ; but I was glad I did for once in 
a way. 

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

The Rajah often made a present of an ox for a 
great man's wedding. This was a great help, for 
many dishes of curry could be made out of so much 
meat When we wished for some meat at Christ- 
mas and Easter, we sent for the Mahometan 
butcher to kill the animal. He turned its head 
towards Mecca, repeated prayers over him, and 
then cut his throat in such a way that no drop of 
blood was left in the flesh ; for the Malays hold to 
the Jewish law in that as well as many other 


particulars. Then the people would buy what- 
ever beef we did not want ourselves ; but not 

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


esteemed them very highly, he allowed the break- 
fast to take place at our house. 

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

It was this year, 1865, that Mr. Waterhouse, the 
chaplain of Singapore, came to visit us. The 
doctors often sent us a patient or friend to be under 
the Bishop's care, and for rest and change ; the latter 
was the cause of Mr. Waterhouse's visit, and six 
weeks of jungle life did him good, while his society 
and sympathy were a great pleasure to us, the 
Bishop especially. The Bishop took him to visit 
the different mission stations, and he often spoke 
to me with satisfaction of the " real mission work " 
he witnessed at Banting, Lundu, and the Quop. 
At each of these stations he found a consecrated 
church and a community of Christian people ; whilst 
the missionaries set over them, not only instructed 
and ministered to the tribe among whom they 
lived, but journeyed to outlying places, founding 
branch missions and setting catechists to work 
under them. I find in one of my letters, when 
Mr. Waterhouse returned from Banting, he said, 
"I cannot but admire the patience with which 
Mr. Chambers talks all day, morning, noon, and 
night, to every party of Dyaks, who march into the 
house whenever they like, making it quite their 
home: it is what very few people could do day after 


day." This is the trial of Dyak teaching. You 
cannot appoint specific hours for instruction. People 
come when they can, sometimes long distances. 
They can never be denied, except you are actually 
at meals, and then they sit down and wait till the 
eating is over. Here is a programme of a day 
at Banting: 

By seven in the morning Mr. Chambers goes to 
one or another Dyak house to teach. These houses 
contain many families under one roof. The people 
understand now that teaching is the sole object of 
Mr. Chambers' visit, so, when he enters, all who are 
at leisure gather round him. He returns home to 
eleven o'clock breakfast. After breakfast his school 
of boys occupies him for the afternoon ; but every 
party of Dyaks who come in must be listened to, 
and, if they are willing, instructed, taught a prayer, 
a hymn, a parable, or some Scripture lesson. This 
goes on till five o'clock, when the bell calls them 
to daily prayers, and they all walk together down 
the beautiful jungle avenue to the pretty church. 
A short service, in which the Dyaks respond 
heartily, and a catechizing follows, during which 
they are allowed to ask questions of their teacher. 
Then an hour's rest before dinner. But immedi- 
ately after dinner more Dyaks, sometimes a whole 
house, i.e. forty or fifty persons, come in, and have 
coffee, and pictures, and a lecture. All this does 
not happen every day, but most days during what 
we call the working season, from March till 
October, and no doubt so much talking and so 


little leisure is very fatiguing. But then comes the 
harvest, and afterwards the wet monsoon, and the 
schools fall off, and the Dyaks no longer come from 
a distance to be taught. It is sufficiently dull 
and lonely then in the jungle stations. The sea 
runs too high for boats to bring mails, or books, 
or provisions ; the rain falls heavily, and with 
little intermission, and food becomes scarce. Mrs. 
Chambers told me that the prayer for daily bread, 
which seems to us to relate to the daily needs 
of our souls for the bread and water of life, bore 
a literal meaning to them in the north-east mon- 
soon, when the day's food was by no means certain. 
Rice they had, it is true ; but English people get 
nearly starved upon rice alone, without fish, meat, 
or bread. It was therefore with sincere thankful- 
ness that they welcomed a chicken, however skinny, 
in that season. 

After the Banting expedition, the Bishop took 
Mr. Waterhouse to Lundu, and Mr. Hawkins, 
a missionary lately come out, went with them. 
They arrived on a Saturday. On Sunday there 
was a great gathering of Christian Dyaks: fifty-two 
people were confirmed, eighty received the Holy 
Communion, so that they were more than three 
hours in church, the Bishop preaching to them 
in Malay. On Monday Mr. Waterhouse and Mr. 
Hawkins paid a visit to a beautiful waterfall, about 
two miles from the town ; and on Tuesday all the 
party, Mr. Gomez included, went in boats forty 
miles up the river Lundu, with three hundred Dyaks, 


to tuba fish. The Bishop had paid the Dyaks 
to collect tuba the week before. It is a plant 
found in the jungle, the root of which washed in 
water makes a milky-looking poison. It does not 
make the fish unwholesome to eat, only intoxicates 
them for the time, so that they rise floundering 
about on the surface of the water, but it destroys 
human life, and is the poison chosen by Dyaks who 
commit suicide, though I do. not believe that this 
crime is common among them. 

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


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



might see how it was done, and then sent them off 
the last minute. They came home in high glee. 
Only those who live at the ends of the earth can 
tell what a pleasure and refreshment is a little visit 
from her Majesty's ships from time to time. The 
whiff of English air they bring with them, and 
the hearty English enthusiasm which has not had 
time to evaporate, is most reviving. 

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

Voon Yen Knoon deserved a holiday, certainly, 
for he worked hard among his countrymen, besides 
teaching every day in the school. Three evenings 
every week were devoted to the instruction of the 
Chinese, at the mission-house. Two distinct lan- 
guages were spoken by the different tribes of 
Chinese who had settled at Sarawak. They could 
not be taught together. The people of the Kay 
tribe came on one evening, the Hokien another, 
each having their own interpreter. On the third 



evening the interpreters were instructed in the 
lessons for the following week. On these nights 
our long dining-room was full of Chinamen, and 
a large tray of tiny cups of tea was carried in, and 
consumed before the teaching began. 



MR. CHALMERS 1 Merdang Dyaks once said to him, 
" See how many races of people there are : Dyaks, 
Malays, Klings, Chinese, English. They have all 
different religions : this is proper, for God has 
given to each the religion suited to them." 

I remembered this ingenious remark when I was 
reading Mr. Helms's interesting book, just published, 
" Pioneering in the Far East." He says : " Like most 
barbarous and savage nations, the Dyak identifies 
his gods and spirits with the great phenomena of 
nature, and assigns them abodes on the lofty 
mountains. Though, in his opinion, all spirits are 
not equally malignant, all are more or less to be 
dreaded. The silent surroundings of primaeval 
forests in which the Dyak spends most of his time, 
the mountains, the gloomy caves, often looming 
mysteriously through cloud and mist, predispose 
him to identify them with supernatural influences, 
which in his imagination take the form of monsters 


and genii. With no better guide than the un- 
tutored imagination of a mind which in religious 
matters is a blank, who shall wonder that this 
is so ? I have myself often felt the influences 
of such surroundings, when dark clouds deepened 
the forest gloom, and the approaching storm set 
the trees whispering : if, at such a moment, the 
shaggy red-haired and goblin form of the orang- 
outang, with which some of the Dyaks identify 
their genii, should appear among the branches, 
it requires little imagination to people the mystic 
gloom with unearthly beings." 

Mr. Helms is quite right |-the religion which 
springs from circumstance and surrounding nature 
is always one of fear ; evil is so close to the heart 
of man that the very elements and mysteries of 
nature seem his enemies, so long as he is ignorant 
of the love of God. The great creating Spirit, 
whose existence is acknowledged by all Dyaks, 
inspires them with neither love nor trust ; it is only 
malign spirits who are active, who concern them- 
selves with his affairs, and threaten his happiness 
and prosperity, and who must therefore be pro- 
pitiated. What a different aspect his native woods 
must present to the Christian Dyak, who can look 
around without fear, and believe that his Heavenly 
Father made all these things ! You would imagine 
that Christianity would be welcomed as a deliver- 
ance from such superstition ; but here the apathy 
of long habit raises a barrier. The Dyak who 
professed to think his dismal religion was given 


him by God, was probably too intellectually idle to 
think at all. " What you say is most likely true, 
but we have received our belief from our forefathers, 
and it is good enough for us," is the common 
remark of the Land Dyak. This listlessness was 
perhaps originally caused by oppression and misery, 
a hard life and cruel masters. | In the days we 
knew these people they had a sad and patient 
expression in their faces, as if they could not forget 
the time when they were ground down by Malay 
extortion, and despoiled by stronger, more warlike 
tribes. The present generation may have more 
spirit, more independence, and the blessings of 
peace and liberty may leave their minds more open 
to the light of truth. It is, however, interesting 
to note how different races of men develop different 
religious beliefs, and how these Dyaks^ intuitively 
perceive spirit through matter, and are governed, 
however blindly and ignorantly, by the powers of 
the unseen world. I 

The orang-outang, or wild man, in not very com- 
monly met in the jungle. I have seen the trees 
alive with monkeys, but never met an orang-outang 
at liberty. The Dyaks may well be afraid of them 
if it is true, as they say, that if one of these 
monsters attacks a man, he picks his flesh off 
his bones like a cook plucking a chicken. They 
are immensely powerful, but once caged are gentle 
enough. Their one desire in confinement is 
clothing, why I cannot tell ; large-sized monkeys 
always wrapped themselves in any bit of cloth they 


could find, partly in imitation of their keepers, and 
perhaps also because they are very chilly creatures, 
and, deprived of their usual violent gymnastics, 
suffered from cold. A Chinaman had a female 
orang in his shop while we were at Sarawak, who 
took a violent liking to the Bishop, and always 
expected to be noticed when he passed the shop. 
Then she would kiss and fondle his hand ; but if 
he forgot to speak to " Jemima," she went into a 
passion, screamed, and dashed about her cage. 

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

There was a race of monkeys at Sarawak called 
by the natives " Unkah," from the noise they made, 
but which we called Noseys, for they had long 
noses which fell over their mouths, so that the 
large males had to lift their noses with one hand, 
while they put food into their mouths with the 
other. When we first lived in the country, and 
were anxious to send specimens of every new and 
curious thing to England, my husband shot one of 


these large monkeys for the sake of his skin, but 
he was so distressed at the look the beast gave him 
when he felt himself hit, he was so like his own 
uncle in England, who had rather a red face and 
long nose, that he resolved never again to shoot a 
monkey. This ape was clothed in long brown fur, 
while his legs were encased in much shorter hair 
of a tan colour, which gave the idea of leather 
breeches. I once saw a monkey's nest in a high 
tree. The tree was very bare of leaf or the nest 
might have escaped notice. It was formed of big 
sticks laid in a strong fork of the branches ; and 
whether it was lined Avith anything softer could not 
be seen from below, but the sticks stuck out, 
covering a large space, which had no appearance of 
comfort or snugness. 

The one monkey I liked, and that at a distance, 
was the wa-wa, whose voice was very sweet and 
melodious, like the soft bubbling of water ; but it 
was a very melancholy animal, and never seemed 
to possess the fun and trickishness of the more 
common sorts of ape. They are all delicate and 
difficult to rear, and invariably die of over-eating, 
or rather eating what is unwholesome for them, if 
they have a chance. It seems as if, in approaching 
the form of man, they lost the instinct of the brute. 
It was a great addition to the pleasures of life in 
Sarawak that there were no wild beasts to be 
feared in the jungles. When we were once staying 
at Malacca, and, for the sake of a natural hot 
spring, inhabited a little bungalow in the country, 

TIGERS. 233 

we were always liable to encounter a tiger in our 
walks ; on Penang Hill, also, there was a large tiger 
staying in the woods. During one of our visits, 
we tracked his footsteps in a cave on the hill ; and 
he carried off a calf from a gentleman's cow-house 
near us at another time a pony from a neighbour's 
stable. Tigers do not, however, live at Penang: 
they occasionally swim over the strait from Johore, 
opposite the island, if driven by hunger. The 
natives made deep pits to catch them, with bamboo 
spears at the bottom to transfix them when they 
fall in. On one occasion a French Roman Catholic 
missionary fell into one of these tiger-pits, and 
remained there, starved and wounded, for three 
days before he was discovered. He was a very 
good man, and gave a wonderful account of his 
happiness, his visions of heavenly bliss while dying 
in that slow torture, for he was too far gone to 
be restored. He died rejoicing that he had known 
what it was to suffer with Christ. 

The last two years of our life at Sarawak, the 
Bishop's health failed and caused me much anxiety. 
The long jungle walks, which were so necessary 
in getting about from one mission to another, 
became more and more difficult to him. Often he 
had to stop and lie down under a tree till the 
palpitation of his heart abated ; repeated attacks of 
Labuan fever affected his liver; and our friends 
often warned us that we ought to go home to save 
his life. The interest of the different missions 
increased so much at this time, that it seemed hard 


to give up a post in which many trials and dis- 
appointments had been lived through, just as 
success seemed about to reward the years of patient 
labour. The peace and harmony of the mission 
was greatly promoted, the last three years of our 
stay, by an annual meeting of the clergy with their 
bishop. They came from their different rivers to 
spend a week at the mission-house, and for certain 
hours of each day met in the church to discuss 
missionary operations, Church discipline, religious 
terms, translations, etc. It was very desirable 
there should be no diversity of opinion in these 
matters, but that the different missions should have 
the same plans, uses, and customs. And these 
meetings, besides the importance of the subjects 
discussed, knit the missionaries to one another and 
all to the Bishop, promoting also that esprit de corps 
which strengthens any institution, be it school, 
college, or Church in a heathen country. 

A curious adventure happened to the Bishop in 
1865. It was the rainy season, and the roads were 
saturated with water and full of holes, especially a 
new bit of road towards Pedungan, where sleepers 
of wood had been laid down, to steady what would 
otherwise have been a bog ; but holes here and there 
could not be avoided. The Bishop always took a 
ride early in the morning, before seven o'clock 
service in church. That morning I had asked him 
to go to a house down that road, to inquire about 
a servant. He came home late, and covered with 
mud ajl down one side. "Papa has fallen," said 


little Mildred, playing in the garden. At her voice 
her father seemed to wake up out of a deep sleep, 
and gradually he became conscious of a severe 
bruise on his face and pain in his head ; but he 
could give no account of the matter, which was, how- 
ever, explained by a Malay in the course of the day. 
This man was walking on the road to Pedungan, 
when he met the Bishop returning home. He saw 
the horse put his foot into a deep hole and come 
down, the Bishop also. He did not, however, at once 
fall off, not until the horse in his efforts to rise had 
inflicted a blow with his head on his rider's face. 
The Malay helped the horse up, which was not 
hurt, and the Bishop on his back ; and seeing he was 
much stunned, he followed them for some way lest 
the Bishop should need assistance : but when they 
reached the town and seemed all right, he went 
back. All this time, however, the Bishop was 
perfectly unconscious ; the horse carried him as he 
chose, over a ditch, up a steep bank, under low- 
hanging trees, and quite safely until he stopped at 
our own door. A headache and some stiffness 
were the only results of what might have been a 
fatal accident. We were very thankful to God for 
having sent His angel to guard steps as uncon- 
scious and heedless as any little child's could have 
been. No memory of what had happened ever 
came back to the Bishop. 

In 1866 the Rifleman, her Majesty's surveying 
ship, gave us a passage to Labuan, where the Bishop 


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

They have some customs at Manilla which I could 
not help admiring. When the Vesper bell rings at 
six o'clock, all business and pleasure is suspended 
for a few minutes, and all the world, man, woman, 
and child, say a prayer. The coachmen on the 
carriages stop their horses, the pedestrians stand 
still, friends engaging in animated conversation are 
suddenly silent. The setting sun is a signal for the 
heart to rise to God ; it is a public recognition of 
His protecting care, and an act of thanksgiving. 
When it is over, the children ask their parents' 
blessing for the night. This was told me by 
a native of Manilla, an educated gentleman, who 
gave his children every advantage of learning and 
travel. The Vesper custom I saw for myself every 
time I took an evening drive. We witnessed a very 
gorgeous procession on the feast of the Epiphany. 



All the city functionaries, the military, the priests, 
bands of music, and a masquerade of the three 
kings on horseback, surrounded by troops of chil- 
dren beautifully dressed in white and scattering 
flowers, passed through the streets to a church, into 
which they all poured, the three horses riding in 
too, to attend high mass. I saw but little of 
Manilla, being ill nearly all the time. It is a place 
shaken to pieces by earthquakes. When we were 
there the great square, where the Government offices 
once stood, was a heap of ruins, and the treasury 
was too poor even to clear them away. The bridges 
were all broken in the middle, and patched up some- 
how ; and all the rooms in the houses were crooked, 
the timbers of the walls being joined loosely together 
to admit of the frequent trembling, heaving, and 
subsidence of the ground, without their cracking. 
I believe the country all round was lovely, but I 
only took one drive when I was convalescent, and 
then we steamed away to Hong Kong. I shall say 
nothing about Hong Kong, for all the world knows 
what a beautiful place it is in winter how bright 
and sparkling the blue sea, how clean and trim the 
streets, and how stately the buildings ; also what 
a dream of loveliness is the one drive out of the 
town to the Happy Valley, where many an English- 
man lies buried in the cemetery. I had a second 
bout of fever at Hong Kong. Happily for us, we 
found kind relatives both at Manilla and Hong 
Kong, who nursed me, and who were very good to 
us. We found it very cold there after stewing for 


six years in Borneo, and the Bishop caught a chill 
\vhich made him ill all the rest of the way home. 
Had we thought when we left Sarawak in '66 that 
we should never return there, it would have been 
a great trial to bid adieu to our old home, but 
we had no such intention. We were only taking 
Mildred to England, and seeking a necessary 
change for the Bishop's failing health. The know- 
ledge that he would not be able to resume his work 
in the East dawned upon us by degrees. It was 
a great disappointment, but we were thankful that 
an English vicarage was found for us, where we 
could make a home for our children, and where the 
duties and pleasures of an English parish remained 
to us. It is, however, very pleasant, on a foggy day 
in November or February, to return in fancy to that 
land of sunshine and flowers ; to imagine one's self 
again sitting in the porch of the mission-house, 
gazing at the mountain of Matang, lit up with sun- 
set glories of purple and gold. Then, when the last 
gleam of colour has faded, to find the Chinaman 
lighting the lamps in the verandah, and little dusky 
faces peeping out, to know if you will sing with 
them " Twinkle, twinkle, little star," or the hymn 
about the " Purple-headed mountain and river 
running by," which must have surely been written 
for Sarawak children. 



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

The Dutch claim the south and south-west of the 
island. They have settlements at Sambas, at Pon- 
tianak, and at Banjermassin ; and forts on the 
rivers, inhabited by Dutch residents, or Malay 
chiefs in their pay : but they have never won the 
hearts of the aborigines, for the Dutch maxim is 
always to get as much money as possible out of 


native subjects, consequently they are every now 
and then obliged to send European troops to 
enforce the obedience of the Chinese and Dyaks 
to their rule. On the west of Borneo lies the little 
kingdom of Sarawak, about three hundred miles 
of coast line from Cape Datu to Point Kiderong. 

The Sultan of Bruni, who was the nominal ruler 
of all the north-west of Borneo, gave up this 
province to Sir James Brooke in 1841, "to him 
and his heirs for ever," on condition a small sum 
of money was paid him annually. The province 
consisted originally of " about sixty miles of coast, 
from Cape Datu to the entrance of the Samarahan 
River, with an average breadth of fifty miles 
inland ; " but from time to time the Sultan 
entreated Sir James Brooke to take the rule of 
one river after another beyond this province 
towards Borneo Proper, for, owing to his own weak- 
ness, and the rapacity of his nobles who governed 
in his name, no revenue came to him from those 
rivers, nor could he protect native trade, or secure 
the lives of his subjects from the extortions and 
covetousness of their Malay chiefs. So Sarawak 
grew, and peace, and justice, and free trade 
flourished where before there were only poverty 
and oppression. The country is traversed by fine 
rivers. The Rejang, four fathoms deep two hundred 
miles from the mouth, the Batang Lupar, and the 
Sarawak are the largest, and the great highways 
of the country ; along the banks of which are 

* Letter of Sir J. Brooke to J. Gardner, Esq. 


cultivated clearings and Dyak villages, but beyond 
these extend dense jungle which even clothes the 
sides of the mountains. Besides the before-men- 
tioned rivers are many smaller ones which are still 
noble streams the Sarebas, Samarahan, Sadong, 
Lundu, etc. It is indeed a well-watered country, 
and only requires the industry of man to develop 
its riches. 

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



habitants to supply the explorer with food. Fame 
awaits the man who will thoroughly explore the 
interior of the island." i 

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

It seems that the Sultan of Bruni has found out 
that the best way he can govern his subjects and 
gain a revenue without trouble, is by ceding parts 
of his territory to others. He has given over the 
whole of the north of the island to an English 
company, on condition they pay twelve thousand 
five hundred dollars for it annually. This country, 
embracing an area of twenty thousand square 

* Mr. Hornaday's lecture before the Young Men's Christian 

t St. John's Limbong Journal. 


miles, has fine harbours on its coasts very suitable 
for a commercial settlement. The great mountain 
of Kini Balu, nearly fourteen thousand feet high, 
with its range of lesser mountains, stands on the 
north-west, and between it and the sea lies a very 
fertile country, thus described some years ago 
by Sir Spencer St. John, in his " Forests of the 
Far East : " We rode over towards Pandusan in 
search of plants. From the summit of the first 
low hill we had a beautiful view of the lovely plain 
of Tampusak, extending from the sea far into the 
interior. Groves of cocoanuts were interspersed 
among the rice-grounds which extended, intermixed 
with grassy fields, to the sea-shore, bounded by a 
long line of Casuarina trees. Little hamlets lie 
scattered in all directions, some distinctly visible, 
other nearly hidden by the rich green foliage of 
fruit-trees. The prospect was bounded on the west 
by low sandstone hills, whose red colour occasion- 
ally showing through the lately burnt grass, 
afforded a varied tint in the otherwise verdant land- 
scape. In the south Kini Balu and its attendant 
ranges were hidden by clouds." 

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

" While reclining under the shade of cocoanut 
palms, we had a beautiful view of the country 
beyond. The river Tampusak flowed past us, 
bubbling and breaking over its uneven bed, here 
shallower and therefore broader than usual. To 
the left the country was open almost to the base 


of the great mountain, to the right the land was 
more hilly, and Saduk Saduk showed itself as a 
high peak, but dwarfed by the neighbourhood of 
Kini Balu, whose rocky precipices looked a deep 
purple colour. The summit was beautifully clear. 
The people in this part of the country are called 
Idaan. They seem industrious and good agricul- 
turists, even using a rough plough, and cultivating 
the whole valley ; a rich black soil produces good 
crops of rice, and Killadis, an arum root used for 
food. They also grow tobacco." 

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

I hope the Company will have patience with the 
natives of this vast territory. They will probably 
not work for wages. Chinese labour must be 
depended upon, and as they are the most industrious 
people on the face of the earth, and will do any- 
thing for money, they are always available*. But 
they require a firm government, and great care 
must be taken that they do not infringe on the 
rights of the natives or there will be quarrels and 
bloodshed. Tradition says that there was once 
a Chinese kingdom at the north of Borneo, whose 
chiefs married into the families of the principal 


Dyak chiefs ; but it is the misfortune of the Chinese 
character to be both boastful and cowardly, and 
when they had irritated the Malays by their big 
words, they stood no chance of prevailing against 
them in war. If their enemies did not run away 
after the first attack and discharge of firearms, 
they were pretty sure to show them an example 
by doing so themselves. I speak of the Chinese 
fifty years ago ; since they have had wars with 
Europeans they have learnt better to stand to 
their arms. But they were gradually exterminated 
by the Malays in these petty wars, and now all 
that remains of them is a trace of Celestial physi- 
ognomy in their Dyak descendants, and the know- 
ledge of agriculture which they still retain. 

The Bruni Government protects no one. It is 
wonderful that any Chinese should still trade at 
a place where riches, however moderate, are sure 
to excite the cupidity of the Malay nobles, and to 
be transferred, under some pretext or another, to 
their own pockets. I rejoice to think that English 
rule and justice is now to be offered to the inhabi- 
tants of the North of Borneo. They expect an 
Englishman to be just and generous, brave and 
firm, and they ground this expectation on their 
knowledge and experience of Labuan and Sarawak, 
and the lessons which her Majesty's ships of war 
have from time to time impressed on the corrupt 
and faithless Bruni people. I trust this experience 
will never be reversed by unworthy agents or 
settlers. The climate is too tropical for coloniza- 


tion, no families of emigrants can be reared in such 
heat. There are, no doubt, more decided seasons 
in the north of the island than in the centre : it is 
hotter at one part of the year, and colder at another, 
than in the lands bordering on the equator, which 
are the rain nurseries of the world. A less fierce 
heat, but rain almost every day in the year, was 
our lot at Sarawak ; and though it was very healthy 
for English men and women, it was not so good for 
crops : pepper and coffee prefer a drier climate. 

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

The exertions of Sir James Brooke and his 
nephews, aided occasionally by her Majesty's 
ships, have indeed nearly put a stop to piracy, 
and therefore to the kidnapping of slaves. Still 


the descendants of Dyak slaves remain the property 
of their masters. Besides these, there are slave 
debtors, whole families who have sold themselves 
to pay the accumulations arising from taxes or 
impositions of the Malays which they had no hope 
of repaying. Usury, which was the fountain of 
this evil, has been forbidden at Sarawak, and many 
are the slave debtors whom the Rajah's purse has 
freed. t 

" Slavery in the East," says Mr. Low,* " has 
always been of a more mild and gentle character 
than that which in the West so disgusted the 
intelligent natives of Europe. The slaves in Borneo 
are generally Dyaks and their descendants, who 
have been captured by the rulers of the country 
to swell the number of their personal attendants. 
Their duties consist in helping their master, who 
always works with them, in his house or boat 
building operations, accompanying him in his 
trading expeditions, assisting in the navigation 
of his boats, etc. Their masters generally allot 
them wives from amongst their female domestics, 
and many of them acquire the affection and con- 
fidence of their superiors. The price of a slave in 
Sarawak is from thirty to sixty dollars, but as the 
trade is being as quickly repressed as possible, 
without too much shocking the prejudices of the 
inhabitants, they have of late become very scarce, 
and difficult to be bought. The price of a girl 
varies from thirty to one hundred dollars, but at 
* " Sarawak, its Inhabitants and Productions," by Hugh Low. 


Sarawak they are even more difficult than men 
to obtain." Thus wrote Mr. Low in the year 1848. 
By this time, 1882, slavery is almost nominal 
at Sarawak. I read, in a Sarawak Gazette, six 
months ago, that Rajah Brooke had proposed to 
his Supreme Council, which consists of four Malays 
and two Englishmen, that slavery should be by 
law abolished in Sarawak territory. He had pro- 
posed this, he said, six months previously, a'nd the 
Malay councillors present assented heartily as far 
as themselves and the people of Kuching were 
concerned, but they thought it would be desirable 
to give six months' notice to the outlying rivers 
and coasts, where the people were not as advanced 
in civilization as those at the capital. Now the 
six months had passed away, were they prepared 
to assent to the law ? They again expressed their 
cordial approval of the abolition of slavery, but 
recommended three months more delay before it 
was enforced on the out-stations. In the same 
Gazette I noticed a letter from the Resident at 
Bintulu, one of the farthest stations from Kuching, 
in which he speaks of a Malay noble, warmly 
attached to the Sarawak Government, who claimed 
all the inhabitants of a large district as his slaves. 
It was merely a nominal claim, as they did no work 
for him, but he said they belonged to him. Still, 
when he was assured by Mr. De Crespigny* that 
such a claim would not be allowed by the Rajah, 
he submitted without complaint. We may hope 
* The Resident. 


that such will be the universal acceptance of the 
new law, but it is easy to see that forty years of 
past repression and discountenance, and the strong 
influence of English opinion on the subject of 
slavery, has effected what would doubtless have 
caused strong opposition and estrangement if at- 
tempted hastily. 

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

This is the passage : 

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


This is an important addition to the country of 

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





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