BAT AN THE PAROQUET 15 7
to his own people was not always as gentle as that which he assumed when in the presence of the Rja or of myself, and during our progress through his father's district I heard many tales of his ill doings. To these, however, I attached but little importance, for Malays are very apt to malign a young Chief who, as they say, is born like a tiger cub, with teeth and claws, and may always be expected to do evil. Nevertheless, it would certainly never have occurred to me at that time that this mild-eyed, soft-spoken, silken-mannered, rather melancholy young man was capable of committing a peculiarly cruel, deliberate, and coldblooded murder. Until one begins to understand them, one's Malay friends always seem to be breaking out in some new and unexpected place, to the intense mortification and surprise of people who attempt to judge Oriental character from a purely European standpoint.
The Rja and I journeyed through Pahang with great state and pageantry, our party increasing in bulk as we went along, after the manner of a snowball. The Rja and I were accommodated on a huge raft or floating house, and a perfect flotilla of boats accompanied us. At length, after many days spent in floating down the beautiful Pahang river, with the cool ripple of the water in our ears, and the ever-changing views to delight our eyes, we came in sight of Pkan, and, that night, we tied up about half a mile below the capital, at the landing-place which belonged to my travelling companion.
Thereafter followed negotiations, and interviewsa made terrible by unearthly sweetmeatsamuch talk,Thereafter followed negotiations, and interviewsa made terrible by unearthly sweetmeatsa much talk,