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.national dress, one of singular elegance and decency, to their national house-architecture, simple, commodious, and welladapted to the climate and surroundings, and to their other ancestral usages, of which, though on æsthetic grounds merely, the habit of betel-chewing may be considered objectionable. Amenable to law and government, cautious, conservative, methodical, and, when not over-weighted by the Islamitic incubus, reasonably progressive, they form a good, if somewhat thin, substratum for trade and labour, not out of keeping with their equatorial inheritance of calm seas and monotonous fertility of land.

Other components are not wanting to the many figure-groups that give life and diversity to the terraqueous landscape; types and nationalities less dominantly represented, yet each with its own significance and interest.

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Most widely diffused among the business-centres of the Archipelago, are the 'Bombay merchants, so called because natives for the most part of Western Hindoostan and of the town of Surat, near Bombay, in particular; though not rarely hailing from Lower Bengal and Orissa. Shifty and litigious, half merchants, half stock-brokers, three parts usurers, and wholly liars, they play a prominent, though rarely a respectable part in the trading ventures of the great Malayan market. Their decidedly intelligent, often handsome features, their voluminous muslin turbans, and gay, if somewhat flimsy, robes, put them in marked opposition to the prevalent plainness of Chinese or Malay faces and simplicity of costume; their characteristics, intellectual and moral, afford an even stronger contrast.

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More gorgeous yet in apparel, and announced from a distance alike by the precursive odours of musk, their favourite perfume, and by the glitter of brass-gold thread and imitative brilliants, are the Arab' merchants; very crows in peacock feathers, sallow, dusky, lean, rapacious-looking fellows, the scum of the Yemen bazaars, mongrels by race, pretentious, grasping, unscrupulous, and fanatical to boot; an evil and occasionally a dangerous influence among the Mahometan Malays. Sumatra is their great muster-point; but the Sooloo islands and wherever else piracy was, or yet is, the order of the day, are their favourite


Of the Europeans, indwellers or sojourners in Malaysia, from the ambiguous Portuguese up to the exclusive Briton, we need not here speak at length. Few in actual numbers, and much more apparent in their effects than in their persons, their presence, but for occasional white forts, tall flag-staffs, and showy residences, would be on shore almost unmarked; though

in the sea-view of our panorama their ships, and above all their steamers, would be prominent everywhere.

Such are the principal, though by no means the only actors in the life drama of the Malaysian stage. We will now resume our survey of the stage itself.

Of all the harbours on the western side of the Malay Peninsula, none is so pleasant in aspect, so happy in climate, as the narrow sea-channel between island and mainland that forms the harbour of Penang. It is a kind of Equatorial Dardanelles, but with much loftier and more varied outline of heights on either hand than the Hellespontic; densely wooded tco with all the glossy large-leaved diversity of tropical growth, from the fringe of betel-palm, cocoanut, and palmetto, along the glistening beach, up to the very summit of the jagged peaks 3000 feet above, while in front sparkles the calm of a lake-like sea. If we visit the town itself, by name Georgetown, and capital of the island and adjacent district, we shall find it a fair sample of a European settlement in the tropical East, or, it might be more correct to say, of a European nucleus, giving consistency and character to an Asiatic settlement which has grown up around it. Separately taken, the white-plastered or bamboo-constructed dwellinghouses are, in a great majority, Chinese, Malay, or Hindoo; so are also the shed-like mosques, or brick-built temple-shrinesvery gay in colour and quaint in outline and detail are some of the latter-jotted along the streets or about the gardens; but the trim neatness of the well-metalled roads, the symmetry of the streets, the cleanly and well-aired market-places, the little fort, the Council House, the Gaol, and, at intervals, one or more of those delightful residences in which whoever has once dwelt, will long and regretfully remember when prisoned in the heavy discomfort of an ordinary English house, while he contrasts its narrow stair-flights and cell-like rooms with the cheerful verandas, the wide spaciousness, and the easy freedom of the Anglo-Indian, no less than of the West-Indian bungalow' -all these attest British presence and British rule, the rule of law, the shelter of justice, the assurance of thriving peace.

But if, escaping from the heat and glare of the town, we drive out to visit the country beyond, we first pass the belt, often two or three miles in depth, of gardens and orchard plots; a mingled undergrowth of orange-trees, mangosteen, pomolo, banana, and fifty more delicious fruits, unknown to less favoured lands, intermingled with gourds, sweet potatoes, melons, yams, and many other succulent but somewhat vapid vegetables, overshadowed by betel-palms, cocoanut, jack-trees, bread-fruit, and, loftiest in height as unrivalled in excellence of flavoured fruit,

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the royal durian. Entering the jungle beyond, we find ourselves in a region of beautiful and luxuriant life, compared with which Ceylon is sterile, and Brazil or Guiana barren. Description of scenery is Miss Bird's forte;' so we will avail ourselves of what she tells us regarding her own visit to the immediate neighbourhood of the town of Malacca, premising only that, with little local variation, the picture given might serve for almost any suburban scene in southern Siam, Borneo, Java, or the Philippines, and yet in plain fact falls short of the loveliness of any of them all.

'As we drove out of the town the houses became fewer and the trees denser, with mosques here and there amongst them; and in a few minutes we were in the great dark forest of coco, betel, and sagopalms, awfully solemn and impressive in the hot stillness of the afternoon. These forests are intersected by narrow turbid streams, up which you can go in a canoe, overshadowed by the " nipah,' a species of stemless palm, of which the poorer natives make their houses, and whose magnificent fronds are often from twenty to twenty-two feet long.'


An endless entanglement of leafage, undreamed of by Ruskin himself, the delicate adornment of lace-like or gigantic ferns, spreading palmettos, exquisitely graceful fronds, some darkgreen in colour, some verging on yellow, of plumy bamboo, glossy orchids, and whatever fantastic undergrowth rich soil, copious moisture, and steady warmth of air, can give birth to, should in description be here interwoven into the canal fringe, and not seldom overarch the stream from side to side. often have we glided ten, twelve, fifteen, continuous miles amid such a labyrinth, by sun and shade, from beauty to beauty, as though some exquisite sonata of Mozart's had been metamorphosed into living nature, and hearing into sensation and sight! But, to rejoin Miss Bird:


'The soft carriage-road passes through an avenue of trees of great girth and a huge spread of foliage, bearing glorious yellow blossoms of delicious fragrance. Jungles of sugar-cane often form the foreground of dense masses of palms, then a tangle of pine-apples, then a mass of limes, knotted and tangled, with stems like great cables, and red blossoms as large as breakfast cups. The huge trees which border the road have their trunks and branches nearly hidden by orchids and epiphytes, chiefly that lovely and delicate one whose likeness to a hovering dove has won for it the name of the "Flower of the Holy Ghost," an orchid that lives but for a day, but in its brief life fills the air with fragrance. Then the trees change; the long tresses of an autumn flowering orchid fall from their branches over the road; dead trees appear transformed into living beauty by multitudes of ferns, among which the dark-green shining fronds of

the Asplenium nidus' [we trust Miss Bird is well assured in her scientific nomenclature], 'measuring four feet in length, especially delight the eye; huge tamarinds and mimosa add their feathery foliage; the banana unfolds its gigantic leaves above its golden fruit; clumps of areca palms, with their slender arrowy-strait shafts, make the coco-palms look like clumsy giants; the gutta-percha, indiarubber, and other varieties of ficus, increase the forest gloom by the brown velvety undersides of their shining dark-green foliage; then comes the cashew-nut-tree, with its immense spread of branches and its fruit, an apple with a nut below, and the beautiful bread-fruit, with its green "cantalupe melons," nearly ripe, and the gigantic jack-fruit and durian, and fifty others, children of tropic heat and moisture, in all the promise of perpetual spring and the fulfilment of endless summer, the beauty of blossom and the bounteousness of an unfailing fruit-crop, crowning them through all the year. At their feet is a tangle of broad fungi, velvetty mosses, ferns, trailers, lilies, lotus, reeds, canes, rattan, a dense and lavish undergrowth,' &c.

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A glimpse this, and no more, of a Flora even yet, we believe, to a great extent uninvestigated by fully-qualified adventure, unclassified by botanical science. Nor are the birds of Malaysia unworthy of its woods. For the wonderful Birds of Paradise' dispersed throughout the Southern and Eastern Archipelago, but whose choicest habitat or metropolis, so to speak, is in the Aru islands, off New Guinea, their great specialist, Mr. A. Wallace, should be consulted; but for the more ordinary feathered denizens of the Golden Gates, Miss Bird's list drawn up by her in reference to the Malay Peninsula, but in matter of fact adapted to the whole of Malaysia, may safely be quoted :

'Sunbirds' (so begins her catalogue) 'rival the flashing colours of the humming-birds in the jungle openings; kingfishers of large size and brilliant blue plumage make the river-banks gay; shrieking parroquets with coral-coloured beaks and tender green feathers abound in the forest; great heavy-billed hornbills hop cumbrously from bough to bough; the Javanese peacock, with its gorgeous tail, and neck covered with iridescent green, moves majestically along the jungle tracks, together with the ocellated pheasant, the handsome and high-couraged jungle-cock, and the glorious Argus pheasant,'to which may be added many sub-varieties of the abovenamed kinds, nor least, though strangely overlooked by Miss Bird, the glorious oriole, and the large cobalt-blue jay, both frequent as thrushes or blackbirds in English hedges; besides birds of prey innumerable; and, to glad the sportsman's soul, wild-duck, teal, snipe, a jet-black jungle-fowl, nearly related, we believe, to a Northern kinsman in the Scottish blackcock; plover too, quails, speckled partridge, and others well worth the shot; among which we have breakfasted, dined and supped,

with our gun for sole provider, for days together. Birds of song too, and birds of mimicry, not a few; and, amid the coast-crags, the swallow architect of gelatinous nests worthy of their epicurean fame. Malaysia is a Paradise of birds.

Insects, as might be expected, are even more numerous and diversified, though some of them, white ants and mosquitoes for instance, might well be dispensed with. Not so the glorious 'Atlas' moth, measuring nigh a foot across the expanded wings, and all the butterfly train, amongst whom Miss Bird noticed

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one with the upper part of its body and the upper side of its wings jet-black velvet, blue spotted; another of the same make, but with gold instead of blue; and a third with cerise spots, the lower part of its body cerise, and the under side of the wings white with cerise spots. All these measured full five inches across their expanded wings. In one opening only I counted thirty-seven varieties of these brilliant creatures, not in hundreds but in thousands, mixed up with blue and crimson dragon-flies, and others iridescent,' &c.

To these should be added such marvels of form and colour as Wallace's 'Ornithoptera,' with its

'ground colour of a rich shiny bronzy black, the lower wings delicately grained with white, and bordered by a row of large spots of the most brilliant satiny yellow. The body was marked with shaded spots of white, yellow, and fiery orange, while the head and thorax were intense black. On the under side the lower wings were satiny white, with the marginal spots half black and half yellow ;'

the great calliper butterfly; beetles marvellous in form, and gem-like in metallic lustre; and myriads of fire-flies, varying in size and brilliancy, that on a damp and cloudy night especially make such show as if the stars, impatient of the misty veil drawn across them in heaven, had come down to display themselves in mazy dances on earth. For the larger fauna of Malaysia, the elephant, the rhinoceros, the tiger, the lovely black panther, the buffalo, monkeys of all kinds, from the hideous orang-utan, or 'Mias,' downwards or upwards; deer, wild hog, tapir, porcupine, alligators, dugongs, lizards great and small, and a long list besides, we must, for want of space, content ourselves with a general reference to what Miss Bird, according to her opportunities, and those professed naturalists who have in some measure explored these regions, have supplied in their writings.

And now, having thus sketched out, in the slightest of outlines and faintest of colouring, the prevalent life, whether human, animal, or vegetable, throughout this vast landscape, let us embark on the first convenient steamer, English, Dutch,

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