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42

JADEE ESCAPES IMPRISONMENT

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sistence. For a few years he led a chequered career : plenty one day-opium, curry and rice, and wives galore; then pulling at an oar like a galley-slave to win more; at last the white men spoilt his career. An expedition in which Jadee was engaged was attacked by a British man-of-war, and suffered a severe defeat. Jadee never bargained for fighting them: anything with a dark skin - let him be the Old Gentleman himself-he felt himself a match for. A Dutchman he did not mind, and a Spaniard he had often seen run; but the Orang-putihs --there was no charm, not even from the Koran, which had ever been efficacious against pirates so mighty as they. Jadee had sailed with distinguished Malay “ Rajah Lauts," or Kings of the Sea, but their glory paled before the “ Rajah Lauts” of the white men; they were indeed rovers whom Malay men might envy but might not imitate.

Driven with many of his companions from following up their profession in a wholesale way, Jadee and

a one or two roving spirits struck up a new business. They bought a fast-pulling sampan, lived at Singapore, and apart from an occasional honest fare, used at nights to waylay the market-boats and Chinese petty traders, and frighten them into paying black mail. Even this came to an end; for, one day when

BY HANGING A MAN.

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asleep in his sampan, Jadee was captured by a dozen Chinese, who carried him before the authorities, and swore, by all they could swear by, that he had been caught in an act of piracy. Jadee was fairly frightened; he knew the English had a rapid way of hanging up his countrymen, and vowed to himself that he would adopt the white men's mode of living, if he escaped this present peril.

The judge, although a severe man, was a just one, and happily in this case suspected the veracity of the Chinese. Jadee was sent to jail to ruminate over his evil practices, and had remained there some time, when a reward was offered to anyone who would hang a Chinese murderer, the executioner having absconded. Our friend was glad to earn his liberty so easily, the more so that a Chinaman was to be the unfortunate to be operated upon.

The murderer was duly hung, and Jadee, or Jack Ketch, was free. Finding “ the Company” too strong for him, Jadee wisely determined to enlist under their colours. He turned from pirate to pirate-catcher, and a more zealous, intelligent servant Governor Bonham, or the Touban Besar*, did not possess. Jadee soon brought himself into notice, and, with one exception, on occasion when

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* “ Touhan Besār," the great chief or officer.

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QUEDAH TOWN AND FORT.

a jealous husband thrust a spear fourteen times into Jadee's body, for certain attentions to his cara sposa, he had maintained an unblemished character. Such was his history.

Towards evening the rain ceased and the clouds cleared away, enabling us to see the place we had to starve into subjection.

Our gun-boats lay at the distance of about twelve hundred yards from the mouth of the river, across which a stout stockade had been formed, leaving only one narrow outlet, and there the Malays had stationed a look-out man to give an alarm in case of necessity. Within the stockade, upon the north bank of the river, stood the town and fort of Quedah.

The latter was a rectangular work built of stone, and said to have been constructed in the days when the Portuguese were in the zenith of their glory. The parapet was now sadly dilapidated, and armed with a few rusty guns, whilst on a bastion which, at one of the angles, served to flank the sea face of the works, and command the river entrance, several long formidable looking pieces of cannon were pointed threateningly at us. Beyond the fort, and on the same side of the river, a long continuation of neatlooking thatch-built houses constituted the town, and off it lay numerous trading prahus, and several topes,

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APPEARANCE OF ADJACENT COUNTRY.

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a Malayo-Chinese vessel peculiar to the Straits of Malacca. A dense and waving jungle of trees skirted round the town and fort of Quedah, and spread away on either hand in a monotonous line of green. The country, which was said to be particularly rich in the interior, was extremely flat towards the seacoast; and the only thing that broke its sameness was the remarkable hill which, under the name of Elephant Mount, rose above the jungle like an island from the sea. Far distant ranges of hills, the backbone of the peninsula, stretched however as a background to the scene. Slowly the setting sun tinged their peaks with rosy and purple tints, and then they gradually sank into darkness as the evening mists gathered strength along the seaward edge of the jungle, and, acted upon by light airs, sailed slowly along like phantoms: it was then night with a dewladen atmosphere and a starlit sky.

The English seamen in the pinnace loaded the air with noise, if not with melody, by singing their sailor-songs; and the Malays, in their own peculiar way, amused themselves by singing extempore lovesongs, to the melancholy accompaniment of a native drum played upon by the hand: gradually these sounds ceased, men and officers sought the softest planks, and, clad in blanket frocks and trousers, lay

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A WET NIGHT.

MY CREW.

down to sleep, and the first day of the Quedah blockade was over. During the night it rained hard, and the wet, in spite of our awnings being sloped, began to encroach upon the dry portions of the deck. I heard my men moving about; but desirous of setting an example of not being easily troubled with such a discomfort as a wet bed, I kept my place, and was not a little pleased to see Jadee bring a mat called a kajang, and slope it carefully over me, evidently thinking I was asleep, and then the poor fellow went away to rough it as he best could. And this man is a inerciless pirate! I thought; and I felt a friendship for my Malay coxswain from that moment, which nothing will ever obliterate. With early dawn all were awake, and shortly afterwards the usual man-ofwar operations of scrubbing and cleaning commenced, Jadee exhibiting as much energy amongst buckets and brooms, as if such peaceful articles were the only things he knew how to use. Leaving him to do first lieutenant's duty, I perched myself — I was but a lad of seventeen - upon the pivot-gun, and, as the different men of my crew came in sight, asked their names and characters of the interpreter. Jamboo's account of them was, to say the least of it, very unsatisfactory. One was a notorious pirate of Sumatra, another of Tringanau; those that were not pirates,

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