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BUSH - WHACKING.
BY HUGH CLIFFORD.
AN EXPEDITION INTO THE BENIGHTED LANDS.
An expedition into the Be. it from the white races since nighted Lands! Until you the Creation, shall be laid bare have served your apprentice- to your probe; when you shall ship on the outskirts of the at last be suffered to enter the empire, breathed frontier air, stronghold which has so long heard frontier talk, dreamed withstood the assaults of profrontier dreams, you cannot gress and civilisation. Until realise the splendour, the magic, you have yourself experienced the thrill of that idea. For these desires, you cannot conyears you have heard tales ceive the
of their without number of the States potency. The men, military or beyond the border—fragment- civil, whose duty takes them ary echoes of deeds that have to the border - lands, cannot their counterparts only in the escape the contagion. It is in · Arabian Nights. For years the air they breathe, the sounds you have speculated with your they hear, the sights which fill fellows concerning all that goes their seeing. The restlessness, forward in that dim back-of- which under Elizabeth drove beyond where no white man men Westward Ho! sets our has hitherto set foot. Now fellows itching to cross the and again you have caught a borders of the Queen in this passing glimpse of the blue line later day, there to seek for new of distant mountains which countries, to see new things, to separate a nineteenth-century experience new dangers, exciteprotectorate from a kingdom ments, privations. Our borderof the middle ages, and the folk are the gentlemen advenfaint haze upon the hill-tops turers of our age. They are has seemed to you to be the glorified tramps every man of visible cloud of mystery which them, and the song of the hovers over the untrodden land. tramp is their war-song:Earnestly you have longed for Since the day when I played in the the day when the Government
squalid street, will step on and out; when the And dreamed that I'd go to sea, barrier of frontier will be re- No place in the world was dear or
sweet, moved ; when the new
Or good in itself to me! country, which is yet so old, so unchanged, shall be forced to The Land I loved was the Land I saw yield its secrets to you; when
Just dipping below the sky,
And when I was there, -it was good the mystery which has sur
no more, rounded it, which has severed So forward again trudged I !
If the matter were left in the these barren zones; and since hands of the frontier-men, the the staple of the bulk of the expansion of the empire would force is rice, without which proceed at a rate positively Malays cannot live, it is necterrific, and England would essary that the white have more little wars on her should conform as far as poshands than she owns men to sible to the native custom, and fight them. But the folk who should satisfy themselves with sit in the offices of Downing food such as the natives use. Street – 'tis an atmosphere The Resident gathers together
' little calculated to breed excite- a hundred fighting Malays— ment or enthusiasm — know villagers of his State, who folthis well; and the men on the low him willingly at his invitafrontier hold their posts only tion without pay or fee. The so long as they curb their de- old feudal feeling, so strongly sires and their restlessness. rooted in the people, has now That is what frontier - men been transferred from the mean when they say that en- native chiefs to himself, and ergetic action on their part since the raiding of the rebels does not receive the support has broken the peace which it deserves from Government. the Malays have learned to
But when the word goes love under British rule, they forth that an expedition into have a personal object to serve the Benighted Lands is sanc- in aiding their white friend to tioned, there is mighty delight remove all possibility of future
men upon the trouble from them by carryborder. Every soul thinks ing the war into the enemy's that he has especial claims or country.
But each of these qualifications which render his fighting-men consumes a quarinclusion in the expedition a ter of a bushel of rice every mere matter of common-sense. twenty - four hours ; and The Resident is bombarded Malay bearer can only carry with applications, is pleaded five bushels of rice upon his with, almost tearfully, by dis- back, if he is to move swiftly appointed men, and is pre- through jungle in the wake of sented with an embarras de the fighters. Also, the bearer choix that might well be be- needs an equal quantity of food, wildering were it not that he in order that he may do his knows exactly what he wants, work efficiently ; and this and which of his officers most means that he carries supplies accurately fulfil the conditions for himself for ten days, and which he requires. The ex- rations for a similar period for pedition will probably occupy one fighting-man. In addition several months; its way will lie to rice there are other burdens through vast uninhabited for- that must be borne, such as ests for many days, and later ammunition, sleeping-mats for it will pass villages scantily the white men and the chiefs, populated. Supplies must be the medical stores and instrutaken to tide the over ments, and sundry inevitable
impedimenta; and each bearer not easy to find in this jungleemployed in this duty requires smothered land. A stockaded a man to carry his rations for police - station rises from the ten days. The Resident and centre of a small parade-ground his aide work the problem out high on the river - bank above on paper after the manner of the spread of sand. At a distheir kind, and the figures re- tance of a couple of hundred presenting the number of men yards in front of it the forest needed reach alarming dimen- shuts down upon the edge of sions. When the jungle march the running water. In midbegins the supplies must be cut distance a sharp point of land, down as much as possible ; swaddled in thick, secondary
, dried fish and salt must be the growths, juts out, dividing the only luxuries allowed in addi- Jělai from the Těmběling. The tion to the necessary rice; and edge of the sandbank is fringed the white men must take their with moored boats of many chance with the natives. These shapes and sizes, from the dugare the conclusions at which out canoe fashioned from the Resident arrives. In an- single charred log to the great ticipation, with the glow of mat - covered freight - barges excitement engendered by the which can be punted no higher thought of the expedition still up the rapid-beset stream. On upon them, the prospect does the sand itself temporary huts not dismay the Europeans; but - mere lean-to roofs supported none the less their chief selects on rude uprights or puntingas his comrades only those in poles—are scattered about withwhose physique he has the out order or plan. Some of greatest confidence. The moral these are thatched rudely with qualities needed
needed — courage, green palm-leaves cut in the patience, devotion to duty, neighbouring jungle; others are energy, good temper, and good roofed in with sheets of měn
-are things of course. A kûang - palm mats, borrowed man lacking these had hardly from the boats; others again won his spurs in the trying are sheltered by lengths of bamdistricts of the border-land. boo, split in half, and cunningly
It chances that it is on laid side by side, the concave St Patrick's Day the start is surfaces uppermost, with conmade. During the past week vex pieces protecting the joins, natives have been flocking from draining dwing rainy weather all parts of the interior district into the hollows on either hand, to Kuâla Těmběling, where the and rendering the whole waterunited waters of the Těmběling proof.
The contents of the and the Jělai form the noble huge freight-barges have been Pahang river. At this place a packed into smaller covered wide spread of golden sand, set boats during the last few days; with silver shingle, flanks the the bearers who are to carry left bank of the river for several the burdens when the marching hundreds of yards, furnishing a begins are now manning the camping-ground such as it is punting-platforms, for the MaVOL. CLXVII. —NO, MXIII.
lays of the expedition have all tarrying !” comes the answerbeen born on the river - banks ing shout. The phrases are reand bred to paddle and pole; the peated from boat to shore, from warriors, with their rifles, car- shore to boat again as the whole tridges, and bundles of personal flotilla crawls off in an irregular gear, are fitting themselves into line, the steermen seeking the the dug-outs, taking their turn shallower parts of the stream. to steer or work the boat; the Then boat after boat vanishes white men, with their slender round the bend into the Těmstock of baggage, are crawling běling valley, till the last dugeach into the slim craft which out disappears with its freight is to be his home for the next of armed men, and a great ten days. The huts are being hush falls upon those who stand rapidly dismantled of mat roofs watching from the sandbank. and punting - poles, many of The expedition has started on them collapsing into confused its way to the Benighted rubbish-heaps as their supports Lands. are dragged away from them. All day long the fleet of boats The whole scene is one of extra- struggles up-stream, puntingordinary bustle and confusion, poles creaking and complaining, of flitting figures clothed in gay their metal tips grinding in the garments, of pattering bare feet, shingle of the river-bed, water of brown arms waving, of brown splashing and dripping from faces, some excited and eager, their ends in a jewelled shower; others stolid and expression- the men, whooping, groaning, less. Men bear the last loads grunting at each fresh effort, riverwards sturdily with bowed labour and strain with bent backs, moving methodically ; bodies combating the current, others noisily shouting direc- their bare wet soles stamping tions to which no one pays
on the poling-platforms. All heed, stamping and gesticulat- day long the sharp noses of the ing wildly, and impeding the boats are thrust forward fretbusy workers. At last the ting the river, cleaving its boats are ready. A Malay who waters with a delicious sound enjoys some reputation among suggestive of the coolness for his fellows as a man of learning which all are craving. All day stands on the platform in the long the white men lie stretched stern of the Resident's boat and upon their mats under the thin lifts up his voice in shrill Mu- low awnings, grilling in the hammadan invocation. The merciless heat. At every village sonorous words of the prayer a party goes ashore and comes end with the Prophet's name, back laden with miscellaneous and the crowd of natives chimes supplies — noisy fowls
noisy fowls which in, repeating “Muhammad !” have resolutely resisted capture in a crashing roar. “Peace be and now protest furiously, yams, to thy journeying !” screams brinjals white or purple, cocoaan old chief from the bank nuts, long stalks of sugar-cane, as the Resident's boat gets preserved duri-an wrapped in under way; “Peace be to thee palm-leaves, bananas, oleagin
ous rice drenched in molasses, scious of a sense of most comand all the other unspeakable plete wellbeing. luxuries of
up - country village, from putrid fish to the For many days the flotilla salted yolks of last year's eggs forces its way up-river, penenewly disinterred. Transport trating farther and farther into presents no difficulties so long the bosom of the Těmběling as the journey can be made by valley. The range of mounboat, so the Resident, at whose tains, which forms the barrier charges all these purchases are between the empire and the made, encourages his men to waste beyond, grows hourly eat of the best that can be
pro- more near.
At last a point is cured so long as the opportunity reached where a river, falling is theirs.
into the Tembeling on its right At dusk here, so close to bank, opens the way to the the equator, the day ends al- most frequented route
route that ways soon after six o'clock- leads into the settled districts the flotilla halts, the boats being of the Benighted Lands. Here made fast alongside a sand- the Resident calls a halt, and bank The boatmen camp sends messengers forward to ashore, and fires are soon blaz- spread the news of his coming; ing, rice-pots boiling, fish and but next morning, to the genuother things roasting in the ine surprise of the whole exembers. The white men walk pedition, the order is suddenly about and stretch their legs, given to continue the ascent of swim in the cool waters of the the main river. Late in the river, and then gather in the afternoon the mouth of another Resident's boat for the evening stream is reached, and into this meal.
Thereafter they sit the flotilla is steered. For a smoking, filled with a great week the expedition labours up content. From the sandbank this shallow river,—now poling there comes a continuous hum along straight reaches of of soft, melodious voices, for oily smoothness; now dragging Malay is a musical tongue; the the unloaded boats up flights splash of feet wading to or from of noisy rapids, where the one of the moored boats sounds waters leap furiously around frequently; the river
the wallowing canoes and the gently, like a mother soothing drenched straining men; now her child to sleep; from the carrying the crafts over belts forest the note of nightbird, of rock, or running them on insect, and tree-frog is heard wooden rollers; now pushing ceaselessly, the background, as them through the shrieking it were, against which all the shingle-beds. From early in other noises are revealed. The the morning until the darkness coolness of the Malayan night comes every soul is labouring in the quiet up-country places unceasingly, loading and uncomes gratefully after the fever loading the boats, tugging, of the day, comforting the white dragging, pushing, pulling, men, making them actively con- lifting and heaving, righting