A MAL AT OTHELLO
the poles. Punting in this fashion, they reached Mchang Raja in about twenty minutes.
Arrived at his destination, Wan Beh landed with about a dozen of his followers, bidding the remainder of his people surround the house as soon as he had effected an entrance. Wan Po's dwelling stood by itself in a large grove of fruit-trees, and was surrounded on three sides by open fields, no longer under cultivation, upon which the rank lalang grass grew six feet high. The house itself consisted of a large main building, with a door opening from it on to a narrow verandah, that ran along the front facing the river. This verandah was guarded by a low balustrade of wattled bamboo, and the stair-ladder leading from it, at the down-river end, was the only means of entrance to and exit from the house. In common with every other Malay dwelling in the Peninsula, the house was raised from the ground on piles, some five or six feet high.
Wan Beh halted his followers at a distance of a few yards from the house, and himself, accompanied by a youngster, named Mamat, crept cautiously forward to the foot of the ladder. They moved as noiselessly as they knew how, when they reached the head of the stairway, but laths of bamboo make a flooring upon which it is not easy to tread without sound, and the creaking of their footsteps awoke Wan Kming.
He was sleeping at the far end of the verandah, under a mosquito-net, and near his head stood a dmar torch guttering dimly. He was alone.
When the sound of Wan Beh's approach disturbed him, he sat up, pulled back the bed-curtains with one hand, and peered into the gloom, asking who was atWhen the sound of Wan Beh's approach disturbed him, he sat up, pulled back the bed-curtains with one hand, and peered into the gloom, asking who was at