7HE BATTLE OF THE WOMEN 41
folded short about her waist ; and her thick hair was tucked away beneath a head handkerchief twisted into a peak in the manner called tanjak. At her belt she carried a kris, and also, a smaller dagger, called a c pepper-crusher ' in the vernacular, and in her hand she held a drawn sword, which she brandished as she walked. At her back came some three hundred women, moving down the street with that queer half-tripping, half-running gait, which Malay women always affect when they go abroad in a crowd at the heel of their Princess. The way in which they run into and press against one another, on such occasions, together with the little quick short steps they take, always reminds me of young chickens trying to seek shelter under their mother's wing. The army was wonderfully and fearfully armed. Some of the more fortunate had spears and daggers ; one or two carried old swords ; but the majority were armed with weapons borrowed from the cook-house. The axes and choppers, used for breaking up firewood, were the best of these arms, but the number of these was limited, most of Tungku Amnah's gallant three hundred being provided with no better weapons than the kandar sticks, on which water pails are carried ; spits made of wood hardened in the fire \ cocoa-nut scrapers lashed to sticks \ and a few old pocket-knives and fish-spears. What they lacked in equipment, however, they made up in noise, one and all combining to raise an indescribable and deafening babel.
As they halted before Tngku Indut's house, the shrill screams of defiance from three hundred dainty throats pierced my ear-drums like a steam siren, andAs they halted before TA ngku Indut's house, the shrill screams of defiance from three hundred dainty throats pierced my ear-drums like a steam siren, and