Page images

heaven only by the mercy of God on account of his faith, and to be rewarded in proportion to his good works." Here then we have, amongst Mahomedans, the battle between faith and good works also.

Lane continues: "A companion asked, 'O Prophet of God, inform me respecting charms, and the medicines which I swallow, and the shields which I make use of for protection, whether they prevent any of the orders of God.' Mahomed answered, 'These also are by the order of God. There is medicine for every pain: thus when the medicine reaches the pain, it is cured by the order of God.""

Thus the Mahomedans, enclosed within their religion, have an intuitive perception of the true laws of nature, a faculty given to all. Their constitution being apathetic in the enervating climates in which they mostly live, inclines them to resignation. Their poet therefore


"Oh, thou who fearest thy fate, be at ease: commit thy offences unto Him who spreads out the earth.

For what is predestined cannot be cancelled; and thou art secure from everything that is not predestined."

A comfortable solace at the eve of battle; how many a soldier takes this to himself, and then presses forward.



"ON this year there came a vessel from Europe to Singapore, at which it remained for four months. Its duty was to traverse the seas near Singapore and sound the channels. The vessel touched at every island for a day or two, marking in the charts all the rocks, banks, and passages, then going every ten or fifteen days to Singapore, taking in provisions and water, and then going out again. One day I met the lieutenant of the vessel, when I was so bold as to ask him as to the business of his ship stopping so long here, going out and in; and when he heard what I said, he gloomed for a moment, and then inquired if I was a merchant or an Arab, when I told him how I made my living, as well as about my country. He now smiled, and said it was right that I should know the English, for for four months he had been coming and going, and no one asked him about his object. He now explained that the vessel was in the public service, sent out to survey straits, passages, seas, islands, and banks; the depths and sites of the shoals; the shoals themselves and their channels, so that vessels might go through them. He added, 'We do this so that charts may be constructed for the use of ships navigating these waters. The charts are engraved in Europe, and the sheets sold.' I now


began to understand the object of his duty, and I was astonished to see the energy of the white man in examining the seas with their islands, and the sums of money that the work would cost.

From that day the lieutenant was friendly with me, and stopped as he was passing my house daily; and if I was not there, he searched me out elsewhere. I perceived that he was of an amiable disposition, and withal clever, not in any way like the usual class of sailors, rough, wicked, and drunken; but this one was intelligent and learned in regard to astronomy, eclipses, trigonometrical survey, and the heights of hills. The name of this young gentleman was Mr. Smith. He walked alongside of me making inquiries about the state of the country, its origin, also of Malacca, their princes, as to how the island became settled, and such like; he added that he would like well, if his captain would let him go, so that he could remain with me, that he might study Malay, and understand all the above things. Again, on the morrow he brought me a present of a silver watch, saying that it was a token of remembrance, as he was about to sail for good to Europe. And when I heard this I was much touched, because of his going to sail; so I at once opened my box, and taking out my damasked kris which I wore, I gave it to him, saying, 'This is a token from me to you; here are also two Samarang mats, worked with large flowers.' When he got these he did not know what to make of himself, he was so delighted; he then grasped my hands and said, 'If you are truly my friend, let me know their price.' I then replied, that when I first bought the kris it cost me ten dollars, but after this that I had it polished, and put right. When he heard this, he opened his purse and gave me twenty dollars; but I gave the money back again to him, telling him that I did not part with the kris

for money, but for friendship's sake only-'You gave me the watch for me to wear, so I give you the kris to wear also.' So he took the money and was prevailed on for a moment, and then exclaiming, 'Oh, for four months. here of your acquaintance, how much would I have not gained!' He now appeared as one in deep grief, for he did not know what to give me. So I said, 'My friend, do not be grieved; if we live we may meet again.' So he was silent for a while, as he cared not to part. He had come to me at eleven and had remained till two. At length he took me by the hand, and said, 'Goodbye,' which in our language means 'salamat tingal.' So I accompanied him to the vessel, and on the evening he sailed. Of such characters the Malays have a proverb, If a ruby falls into a hole its splendour is not lost.' So it is with a good man: his looks may not be good, but his heart is."

[ocr errors]

In the above narrative it will be noted that the native opinion of our sailors is not very complimentary, yet in this young gentleman, apparently one of Captain Daniel Ross's officers, he found a most amiable acquaintance. This would be in the year 1827, as I see by Ross's charts of the Straits, much of whose work I revised in 1845. Abdulla would now be thirty years of age.



"I Now return to my own affairs, while I was in Singapore, after I had heard of the death of Mr. Coolie. The letters that I received from Malacca increased, as there was no one at the college; so I felt that I must go. But by God's will I was taken with remittent fever of a virulent kind; so much so that I could not even bear the smell of rice, neither could I raise my head. I had had all ready, and was only waiting for a vessel to carry me. I was at that time living in a house in the Merchants' Quarter, and it was about the Chinese New Year, and on the 13th night of the month, when the children were busily engaged in playing with paper horses, half of the Chinese amusing themselves, and half making great noises with their musical instruments. It was just about half-past seven, when a number of people were seen to be running and crying out, 'Fire! fire!' Being sick, I was in a disturbed sleep, so I lifted my head from the pillow, when I saw out of the window that there was the glare of fire, with the sparks falling thickly. This startled me, as one who had not collected his senses; so I ran to the window, and with the clothes and coat fastened to my body, I bolted down the stairs, leaving all my tools, boxes, clothes, writingdesks, with other choice things which I had brought

« PreviousContinue »