226 GOLDEN GATE TO GOLDEN SUN
trip across Sumatra would have been attended with danger of attack both from natives and animals, one realises that the clock of the world moves fast indeed.
At one point in the road my coming caused a slight commotion. A song in a mezzo soprano voice came from out a clump of beachwood palm trees, and I stopped to listen. The song also stopped. Then I heard a crackling of brush, and two young girls scurried across the road, and away toward a little settlement across a field. I sent Djok in pursuit, for the machine had overtaken me. I wanted to hear that song again. The promise of an auto ride and a Batak shawl overcame their timidity, and in a moment they were before me, repeating the song. In the liquid Malay, the words had a suggestion of great beauty, but when, laboriously, I turned them into English, I found they were a diagnosis of a universal ailment.
" If you look into your sweetheart's eyes daily,
You cannot put a stop to the worry of love.
Every resistance flounders sadly.
Crazier you get with every morn."
I do not set this down as an important addition to the love lyrics of the world, but it was amusing to hear in such surroundings.
The Kota Nopan rest-house sheltered me for the night. When in the morning I started to tramp on, I wore a sweater for the first time in months. A raincoat would have been more to the point, I soon discovered, for a downpour came with tropic sudden-