chap. xi SAVAGE MALAYS OF JOHOR
To this imperfect sketch of the character of the Benua it should be added that although less sensitive in their feelings than the Berembun tribes, whose pride takes offence at the least appearance of a slight or assumption of control, they would probably show themselves reserved, unsocial, and even sullen if they were not treated with kindness and respect. They are less distrustful, less changeful, and more robust in their character than the Berembun tribes, who require to be humoured like children, and, if they are not so treated, easily convince themselves that they are wronged, neglected, or treated with a want of consideration. Like children, too, they are very susceptible to flattery.1
It is this excessive sensitiveness both to flattery and slight which seems to supply that psychological link between the aborigines and the Malays, which at the first contemplation of the great difference between them, seems to be wanting. Civilisation has deprived the Malay of the openness and simplicity of the Benua, and hardened him. But although he has substituted for a total want of manner one of the most strongly marked manners possessed by any race, his pristine sensitiveness is covered, not conquered. It is indeed the secret of much that is peculiar in his social deportment. That art of putting everything in a pleasing point of view, of softening and concealing the natural asperities of a subject under discussion, of rendering even that which in other hands might wound the self-love of the person addressed, the medium of a complimenta an art in which the well-bred Malay is unsurpassed and which the combined softness, frankness, and simple dignity of his manner so
1 J, I. A. vol. i. pp. 267, 268.