Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

90

PIRATES ENGAGE A DUTCH FLOTILLA.

baling out water and blood, they knew we were suffering, and cheered like devils. We were desperate; surrender to Dutchmen we never would: we closed together for mutual support, and determined at last, if all hope ceased of escape, to run our prahus ashore, burn them, and lie hid in the jungle until a future day. But a brave Datoo, with his sbattered prahu, saved us; he proposed to let the Dutchmen board her, creese all that did so, and then trust to Allah for his escape.

“It was done immediately; we all pulled a short distance away, and left the brave Datoo's prahu like a wreck abandoned. How the Dutchmen yelled, and fired into her! The slaves and cowards jumped out of the prahu, but our braves kept quiet; at last, as we expected, one gun-boat dashed alongside of their prize, and boarded her in a crowd: then was the time to see how the Malay man could fight; the creese was worth twenty swords, and the Dutchmen went down like sheep. We fired to cover our countrymen, who, as soon as their work was done, jumped overboard, and swam to us; but the brave Datoo, with many more, died, as brave Malays should do, running a muck against a host of enemies.

“ The gun-boats were quite scared by this punishment, and we lost no time in getting as rapidly away

FLIGHT OF JADEE'S COMPANIONS.

91

as possible; but the accursed schooner, by keeping more in the offing, held the wind, and preserved her position, signalling all the while for the gun-boats to follow her. We did not want to fight any more ; it was evidently an unlucky day. On the opposite side of the channel to that we were on, the coral reefs and shoals would prevent the Hollanders following us: it was determined at all risks to get there in spite of the schooner. With the first of the land-wind in the evening, we set sail before it, and steered across for Bianca. The schooner placed herself in our way

like a clever sailor, so as to turn us back ; but we were determined to push on, take her fire, and run all risks.

“It was a sight to see us meeting one another; but we were desperate : we had killed plenty of Dutchmen; it was their turn now.

I was in the second prahu, and well it was so; for when the headmost one got close to the schooner, the Dutchman fired all his guns into her, and knocked her at once into a wrecked condition. We gave one cheer, fired our guns, and then pushed on for our lives. Ah! sir, it was a dark night indeed for us. Three prahus in all were sunk, and the whole force dispersed. To add to our misfortunes, a strong gale sprang up. We were obliged to carry canvass; our prahu leaked from

92

THE PIRATES SAVED BY THE RAJAH,

shot-holes; the sea continually broke into her; we dared not run into the coral reefs on such a night, and bore up for the Straits of Malacca. The wounded writhed and shrieked in their agony, anü we had to pump, we fighting men, and bale like black fellows ! By two in the morning, we were all worn out. I felt indifferent whether I was drowned or not, and many threw down their buckets, and sat down to die. The wind increased, and at last, as if to put us out of our misery, just such a squall as this came down upon us. I saw it was folly contending against our fate, and followed the general example. "God is great!' we exclaimed; but the Rajah of Jehore came and reproved us: Work until daylight,' he said, and I will ensure your safety.' We pointed at the black storm which was approaching. “Is that what you fear?' he replied, and, going below, he produced just such a wooden spoon, and did what you have seen me do; and I tell you, my captain, as I would if the Company Sahib' stood before me, that the storm was nothing, and that we had a dead calm one hour afterwards, and were saved. God is great, and Mahomet is his Prophet !—but there is no charm like the Jehore one for killing the wind !”

It did not take as long to tell as it does to write

KILLING THE WIND !

93

this odd tale; and it would be impossible to try to give an idea of how my coxswain's feelings were carried away with the recital of his narrative, or how genuine and child-like the credulity of the old pirate. I wrote it down as a strange episode in Malay life, and possibly the prescription may get me a medal from the College of Physicians, even if it should be declared valueless by European navigators in general.

94

REFRESHING EFFECTS OF A SQUALL.

CHAP. VIII.

Refreshing effects of a Squall in the Tropics. — Scenery in the Malay Archipelago. - My Gun-boat “The Emerald ” joins

- “ the Parlis Blockading Squadron. — The Malays try to Stockade us out of the River. – Haggi Loūng comes on an Embassy. — Malayan Diplomacy. — Jadee's disregard for a Flag of Truce.

Jadee and the one-eyed Enemy. — A Spy. - The Chase by Starlight. — The submerged Jungle. - An

Indian Night-Scene. The Chase lost. — The Whip and Mangrove Snakes.

[ocr errors]

AGAIN we made sail and sped on our way. How nature revives in those equatorial climes, after the revivifying effect of such a squall as we had just experienced! Animate and inanimate objects gain fresh life as it were from the action of the passing storm; the very sea glittered in the sunlight with a brighter and a deeper blue, and the forest-clad sides of the surrounding mountains looked even more gorgeous than was their wont, as they shone in all the thousand shades of which green and gold are susceptible. Away to the northward stretched a labyrinth of islands of every size and shape — some

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »