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12

A SEPOY MARTYR.

Hard, sir, but blest if they don't draw one's eyeteeth in Sincumpo!”

It was pleasing to turn, from all these loud noises and strong smells of the commercial part of Singapore, to the opposite side of the river, where, nestling amongst green trees, lay the residences of the wealthy European merchants: all was as dreamy, sleepy, quiet, and picturesque as anyone could desire, and, I am bound to add, as hot; for there the bright equatorial sun was pouring down without shadow or breeze to take off its effects. The Sepoy sentry seemed to be frizzling in his leathern shako and hideous regimentals, and the sensation I felt on regarding his scarlet coat was that he might at any moment burst into flames. He was a military martyr lashed to a British musket instead of a stake. From that painful sight the eye instinctively sought repose upon a mass of cold dark-green foliage, against which the Court-House rose, - a long building, possibly commodious, but decidedly of the Composite order of architecture. Within it, at stated periods, the British embodiment of the Goddess of Justice occasionally sat; whether in the classic pepper-and salt coloured wig and black gown which that deity disguises herself in on our own dear island, I know not; but as Mars adheres in the East to leather

CHURCHES WITII STEEPLES.

13

stocks, pipeclay, and black-ball, it is quite possible that Astræa does not abandon horsehair and black silk.

A pretty esplanade, and bungalows standing in pleasant detached patches of ground, stretched away until lost in the jungle and half-cleared country beyond ; these, with a very commodious church, constituted the west-end of Singapore: those who built the church, built it to give sitting-room to those who attended; heathens that they were, they forgot the steeple! The good bishop of Calcutta could not like the Chinese emperor with his old shoe-throw a steeple at their heads; but he did more: he preached a crusade against churches without steeples, and laboured, preached, and subscribed to have steeples put to all Protestant churches so successfully, that steeples went up in the air wherever he had trodden; and I dare say by this time people in Singapore when they build churches build steeples, as they do in modern England, for birds to build in, instead of aisles in which Christians may pray.

But what have I to do with the shore ? - Let us return to the “ Hyacinth,” and busy ourselves,

6 painting and polishing, until every one belonging to her begins to believe she is the most beautiful thing that ever floated. The first lieutenant has holy

14

THE

" HYACINTH" IN PORT.

stoned the decks and scraped the masts, until both are as bright as a hound's tooth; the boatswain has been driven distracted by having to square and resquare the yards, in consequence of some slight flaw being detected in their parallelism, and confides to me, as I steer him on board for the sixth time, that “ He'll be d-d if he doesn't think them yards are enchanted, for, somehow, he used to square the

Wapse’s' yards in five minutes ;” and the carpenter has been “cutting out” the white streak here, and

cutting in ” the black paint of the hull there, until he fancies he has brought the appearance of the old sloop to as near perfection as it is possible for mortal man to do.

6

INTERNAL ECONOMY.

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CHAP. II.

Internal Economy. — Fishing-Parties. — Rumours of Pirates.

- News of an Illanoon Squadron. A floating Menagerie.

An Encounter with Pirates. — The “Hyacinth " searches for Pirates. - A War-fleet heard of. — Quedah Politics. We are required to aid the Siamese. Rapid Equipment of Pirate Fleet. - The Malays are warned of the coming Retribution. — Captain Warren visits the Pirate Fleet. Arrangements are made to equip a Flotilla. — The “Hyacinth” and Gun-boats off Quedah. — My Gun-boat and Crew. - The Coxswain's Excitability. --The Interpreter's Appearance.

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THE Captain has gone ashore to take up his quarters with the Governor; the second lieutenant says it is his duty to be out of the ship as much as possible in harbour, and has gone to carry his theory into prac

, tice. Those of the subordinate officers who are blest with funds, go on shore to hire horses, and try and ride their tails off; those that have not, calculate the number of days that must intervene before they have a right to inform their affectionate relatives, through the Navy Agents, that they are alive, and of course doing well, and are heard to assert that they will commemorate the cashing of that prospective

16

FISHING-PARTIES.

bill by feats in horsemanship and gastronomy which would make both steeds and poultry tremble could they only hear them. Being of those whose happiness was involved in a cheque not yet arrived at maturity, I stayed on board; and, by way of amusement, cricket and fishing parties were made up. Of the former, I shall not speak: for any one can form an idea of what cricketing must be at a distance of sixty miles from the equator, the temperature at the time we played, 3 P.M., being about 84° in the shadiest part of Singapore. The seining-parties were decidedly the most pleasant and healthy. The plan of proceedings usually consisted in either of the two seniors of the midshipman's berth obtaining permission from the first lieutenant to make up a fishing party; tbat done, there was a selection of volunteers from the seamen, marines, and boys, sufficient to man the cutter and jolly-boat. Into the latter boat, the seinepoles and lines were carefully placed, and in the cutter a goodly store of biscuit and pork, tea, coffee, and a little private stock of spirits. A couple of good frying-pans and some lard were of course a necessary addition, in order that we might enjoy a supper upon fish fresh from the water-a gastronomic treat in all climates, but doubly so in the East Indies. After evening quarters, the fishermen repaired to

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