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We noticed, in a former Article, the little artifice made use of to convince the natives of the distressed situation of the ships on their anchoring before the town of Napakiang, and which obtained for them such ready and cheerful assistance. Captain Hall tells us that numerous parties came off from the shore, and that the deportment of all was modest, polite, timid, and respectful. They had the address however to amuse their visitors a whole fortnight, parrying with considerable ingenuity every proposal that was made to go on shore, and setting aside with great adroitness every allusion to that subject; giving them at the same time every thing they could possibly want, in the way of provisions, and even anticipating their wishes. At length, however, a greater number of boats than usual were observed coming off in a kind of procession, and it was soon discovered that a great man was in one of them. He appeared to be about sixty, and had a cheerfulness of expression and a liveliness of manner, remarkable for a man of that age; his manners were graceful and elegant, and from the first moment he seemed to be quite at his ease; every thing about him indicated good breeding, and a familiarity with good society.' He examined every part of the Alceste with the greatest attention, and seemed to be highly entertained with what he saw.
On taking leave, the Chinese interpreter (whose language was here understood) was desired to say that Captain Maxwell and his officers would return the visit the next day; but this was decidedly objected to. The interpreter however was not so easily to be repulsed; he followed the great man into the boat, where every persuasion was used to convince him of the impropriety of the strangers going on shore; but the Chinese being determined not to yield the point, they rowed away without coming to any understanding. The report of John Chinaman (so they familiarly called the interpreter) is too curious to be omitted, especially as to his perseverance the strangers appear to have owed their permission to land.
"They ax me," (says John) "what for my ta-yin (great man) come sho?" I say, "to make chin-chin* they ta-yin;" they tell me, "You tayin too much great mandarine, no can come sho;" I say, "What for my ta-yin no come sho? He great man; het Ta-whang-tee too much great man; he let you ta-yin come board ship, and you no let him come sho, chin-chin you ta-yin; what for this?" Then they speak long time together; by and by ax me, "how many people bring sho you ta-yin ?" So I shake my head, I no like give answer long time, (they always take long time answer me), When they ax me again, I say, "Ta-yin bring five
*Chin-chin, in the corrupt dialect of Canton, means the ceremony of s which consists in the action of holding up the closed hands, pressed togethe face, and bowing at the same time.'
† 'Ta-whang-tee is Chinese for Emperor, King.'
people mo besides me." They say, "too much men come;" I say, "No, no too much." They ax, "What time come?" I give no answer.―p. 93.
On this report the determination was taken of returning the visit. The ceremony of landing, their friendly reception, the decent behaviour of the multitude, and the entertainment which had been prepared for them are described pretty nearly in the same terms as in Mr. M'Leod's book. The feast consisted of hard boiled eggs, coloured and sliced, of fish fried in batter, sliced pork smoked, sliced pig's liver; then tea, which being new, resembled in taste an infusion of hay. A dish consisting of a mass of coarse, soft, black sugar, wrapped up in unbaked dough, and powdered over with rice flour dyed yellow, was the only unpalateable one; cakes in various shapes, with something like cheese, completed the entertainment; the intervals of which were filled up with cups of sackee,* pipes and tobacco; and every thing passed off with the greatest good humour and jollity. A hint was given towards the end of the entertainment, when every one appeared to be merry and good humoured, of a wish to go into the town, but the very mention of such a thing sobered the whole party in an instant, and the subject was accordingly dropped.
From this time, however, it was perceived that our visitors had gained a considerable step in the confidence of the Loo-choos; they now were occasionally allowed to go on shore and to walk up the side of a hill, though still under such surveillance as to make any little excursion irksome and uncomfortable, and it was in vain they urged the necessity of landing the sick. The departure of the Lyra, however, to examine the coast, produced the desired effect; the chiefs hastened on board the Alceste to inquire what was become of the little ship. Captain Maxwell told them that they had trifled with him so long, and refused to let him land his casks and stores with such obstinacy, that he found it necessary to look out for some more favourable place at which to refit. On hearing this they entreated that he would not think of moving from Napakiang; adding that he should have store-rooms on shore for whatever he desired; and that he and his officers might land where they pleased, and walk to the top of the hill without being guarded. In short, they now assigned for their immediate use an oblong enclosure, sixty yards by forty, surrounded by a wall twelve feet high. Of this prison (for such it might be considered) they kept undivided possession during the remainder of their stay, which was about a month.
A more intimate intercourse now began to take place; the three
This liquor (which is distilled from rice) is called chazzi by Mr. M'Leod: sackee is the Japanese name, and chazzi (we suppose) their own, as we perceive it is so called by the Chinese ambassador. It is drank in very small cups.
or four persons who constantly attended them were all civility and good humour; among these was an individual of the name of Mádera, whose character is drawn with great ability, and excites a very considerable degree of interest.
Two of the natives have been studying English with great assiduity, and with considerable success. One is called Mádera, the other Anya. They carry note books in imitation of Mr. Clifford, in which they record in their own characters every word they learn. They are both keen fellows, and are always amongst the strangers. From the respect occasionally paid to them, it is suspected that their rank is higher than they give out, and that their object in pretending to be people of ordinary rank is to obtain a more free intercourse with all classes on board the ships. Mádera, by his liveliness and propriety of manners, has made himself a great favourite; he adopts our customs with a sort of intuitive readiness, sits down to table, uses a knife and fork, converses, and walks with us; in short, does every thing that we do, quite as a matter of course, without any apparent effort or study. He is further recommended to us by the free way in which he communicates every thing relating to his country; so that as he advances in English, and we in Loo-choo, he may be the means of giving us much information. As an instance of his progress in English, it may be mentioned, that one day he came on board the Lyra, and said, "The Ta-yin speak me, 'you go ship, John come shore;'" by which we understood that Captain Maxwell had sent him on board the brig for the interpreter. This was about three weeks after our arrival.'-pp. 132–133.
There is something so fascinating in the conduct of this extraordinary man, that we cannot resist the temptation of entering more largely into it.
'Mádera has made great improvement in English, and his character is altogether more developed. He is quite at his ease in our company, and seems to take the most extraordinary interest in every thing belonging to us; but his ardent desire to inform himself on all subjects sometimes distresses him a good deal; he observes the facility with which we do some things, and his enterprizing mind suggests to him the possibility of his imitating us; but when he is made sensible of the number of steps by which alone the knowledge he admires is to be attained, his despair is strongly marked. He sometimes asks us to read English aloud to him, to which he always listens with the deepest attention. One day, on shore, he saw me with a book in my hand: he begged me to sit down under a tree and read: Jeeroo was the only chief present, but there were several of the peasants in attendance upon him; they all lay down on the grass, and listened with an attention and interest which are natural enough: every one expressed himself pleased and satisfied except Mádera, whose anxiety was to read in the same manner himself. From the earnest way in which he inquired into every subject, we were sometimes inclined to think that he must have been directed by the government to inform himself on these topics; and certainly a fitter person could not have been selected; for he adapted
himself so readily to all ranks, that he became at once a favourite, and every person took pleasure in obliging him.
'Jeeroo is esteemed in another way; he is uniformly good humoured and obliging, and not without curiosity; but he is not clever, and has none of the fire and enthusiasm of Mádera. We all think kindly of Jeeroo, and shake him cordially by the hand when we meet him; but Mádera is admired and respected, as well as esteemed, and his society is courted for his own sake.
Mádera is about twenty-eight years of age, of a slender figure, and very active; his upper teeth project in front over the lower ones, giving his face a remarkable, but not a disagreeable expression. He is always cheerful, and often lively and playful, but his good sense prevents his ever going beyond the line of strict propriety. When required by etiquette to be grave, no one is so immoveably serious as Mádera, and when mirth rules the hour, he is the gayest of the gay: such indeed is his taste on these occasions, that he not only catches the outward tone of his company, but really appears to think and feel as they do. His enterprizing spirit and versatility of talent have led him to engage in a number of pursuits; his success, however, is the most remarkable in his acquisition of English. About a month after our arrival, he was asked what had become of his companion Anya; he replied, “ Anya, him mother sick, he go him mother house;" and when asked if he would return, he said, "Two, three day time, him mother no sick, he come ship.” With all these endowments and attainments he is unaffectedly modest, and never seems aware of his being superior to the rest of his countrymen. We were a long time in doubt what was his real rank; for at first he kept himself back, so that he was well known to the midshipmen, before the officers were at all acquainted with him: he gradually came forward, and though he always wore the dress of the ordinary respectable natives, his manners evidently belonged to a higher rank, but he never associated with the chiefs, and disclaimed having any pretensions to an equality with them. Notwithstanding all this, there were occasional circumstances, which, by shewing his authority, almost betrayed his secret. One morning a difficulty arose about some supplies which the chiefs had engaged to procure, but which they had neglected to send : as soon as Mádera was told of the circumstance, he went to Captain Maxwell, and undertook to arrange it to his satisfaction, at the same time begging that if any difficulty occurred in future, he might be applied to. Whatever may be Madera's rank in his own society, it is highly curious to discover in a country so circumstanced, the same politeness, self-denial, and gracefulness of behaviour which the experience of civilized nations has pointed out as constituting the most pleasing and advantageous form of intercourse.
The great interest which Mádera took in the English, and the curiosity he always expressed about our customs at home, suggested the idea of taking him with us to England, where he would have been an interesting specimen of a people so little known; and he also might have carried back knowledge of the greatest use to his country. When it was proposed to him, he paused for some minutes, and then, shaking
his head, said, "I go Injeree-father, mother, childs, wife, house, all cry! not go; no, no, all cry!"-p. 156—159.
A few days before they sailed, the prince of Loo-choo, heir to the throne, paid a visit to the Alceste, and invited the officers to an entertainment on shore. He was about fifty years old, his beard full and white, and his figure well proportioned. He was a man of plain, unaffected manners, and though there was nothing striking about him, it was thought that in making inquiries into different things on board, he shewed more discrimination than most of those who had preceded him.
Nothing, however, that occurred to-day, attracted more notice than Mádera's assumption of his long concealed rank. He came for the first time dressed in the robes and hatchee-matchee of a chief, and not only took precedence of all our old friends, but during the discussion in the cabin with the Prince, maintained a decided superiority over them all. While all the rest were embarrassed in the Prince's presence, and crouching on their knees every time they spoke, Madera, though always respectful, was quite at his ease; and we could not help fancying that he addressed the Prince as if accustomed to his society. It was no less remarkable, that the Prince referred much oftener to him than to any of the rest, and listened to what he said with greater attention. Whether Mádera owed such distinction to his actual rank, which may have. placed him about the court, or to the ascendancy of his talents, or to the accidental circumstance of his having had better opportunities of knowing us than any other of the natives, we could never discover. He admitted, when interrogated, that he had often seen the Prince before, while the other chiefs confessed their ignorance even of his person, before to-day.
As soon as the Prince was placed in his chair and carried away, Mádera came on board, and entered with great good humour into all the jokes which were made upon his new character. He declined telling why he had kept his rank so long out of sight, but it was sufficiently obvious that his main object was to establish an intimacy with all the different classes on board the ships, and in this he completely succeeded; for he had gradually advanced in his acquaintance, first with the sailors, then the midshipmen, next with the officers, and last of all with the captains. By this means he gained the confidence and good will of each class as he went along; and by rising in consequence every day, instead of putting forward all his claims at once, acquired not only substantial importance with us, but gained a much more intimate knowledge of our character and customs than he could have hoped to do in any other way.'-p. 184, 185.
The time was now fast approaching for their departure; and never was regret more sincerely felt on both sides at taking leave of each other. The poor fellows who had been appointed to attend on the strangers, and who had taken so lively an interest in all that concerned them, were overwhelmed with grief on perceiving the prepa