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At about half the height of the mountain the temperature of a small shallow spring was tried where it oozed from a cleft in a rock and found to be 68° Full.—The temperature might however have been lowered by evaporation, therefore it can scarcely be assumed as a true mean temperature, or employed in calculating the height.—It may however be remarked that the mean temperatures given by Mr Leslie for the level of the sea in the different latitudes will certainly not apply to the low latitudes in the eastern islands: 83° which is given as the mean temperature in latitude 3, is far too high for Bencoolen, where the range of the thermometer throughout the year is usually from 74 to 85, rarely falling below 70 or rising above 87 or 8.
The people who inhabit the interior are Rejangs, and speak a different language from the Malays; they extend northward as far as Laye. From the Sillebar river southward, the Serawi tribe prevails, and the space between that river and the Bencoolen is occupied by the tribe of Dua-blas. Similar customs with slight shades of difference in each prevail among all these tribes. At every village where the party staid for the night, the gadises or virgins paid a visit of ceremony in the evening, making a present of betel or siri, and receiving some trifling articles, in return. This custom is general, and it is necessary to be provided with a sufficiercy of fans, looking glasses, or such like articles in consequence, as the number of the young ladies is often very considerable. Sometimes an entertainment is given in honor.of the visitors, and then all the beauty of the surrounding villages is also called in.
These entertainments, which take place also on occasions of meniages, &c. are not unamusing and to a European have the additional interest of novelty and originality. They are given in the Balei or public hall, a large building generally in the middle of the village, appropriated to such purposes and to the accommodation of strangers, &c. When European visitors are present, the ceremonial is generally as follows; the gentlemen being seated near the upper end of the room, the gadises drest out in their best attire, make their appearance about nine o'clock, and seat themselves on the floor previously spread with mats, in a semicircle with their attendant matrons behind them; each brings her siri box oi various material and elegance according to the rank or wealth of the parties. The chief of the village or one of the elders then makes a harangue in the name of the Indies, welcoming the strangers to their village, and concluding with the presentation of the betel. An appropriate answer is then to be made, and after taking out the siii leaves a small present is put into each box, proportioned in some degree to the rank of the parties; this however may be put off at pleasure till the conclusion. The amusements of the evening then commence, which consist on the part of the young people of dancing and singing; and of the old, in smoking opium in a circle apart by themselves. The musical instruments are commonly kalintangs,, which are a species of harmonicon formed of a series of small gongs arranged on a frame. A space is cleared on one side for the dance which is performed by five or 6ix of the young gadisen; the step is slow and sailing; the salindang or scarf is adjusted in a particular manner over the shoulders so that the ends may be taken in the hand, and the motions of the arms and management of the flowing scarf are not the least graceful part of the performance.
The singing of pantuns in alternate contest is an amusement which seems to be peculiar to the Sumatrans and of which they are very fond. It may either be formally commenced by two parties who seat themselves opposite to each other after having danced together, or it may be begun by one of the ladies from the place where she happens to Bit. She begins a series of pantuns in a kind of reeitative or irregular song; a bujang or young man answers her in the same manner and the contebt is kept up indefi-' nitely or until one of the parties is unable to give the proper answer. The girls and young men relieve each other occasionally as one or other happens to get tired.
The Malay pantuns strictly so called are quatrains, of which the first two lines contain a figure or image, and the latter give its point or moral. Sometimes the figure or comparison is accurately suited to the subject, and then the application may be omitted in recitation, the more to try the ingenuity of the respondent; sometimes the whole is couched under one or more figures; while in many the beginning seems only intended us a rhyme, or at least has no obvious connection with the subject. Among the Rcjang and Serawi people a greater latitude is allowed to the seramba or pantun, the figure is pursued to greater length, and a kind of measured prose is often employed in place of confining themselves to the trammels of verse. The paniun is frequently framed into a kind of riddle whose meaning it requires some ingenuity to discover, and a blundering answer to which excites much mirth. These pantuns frequently contain words derived from the language of Sunda, which has been partially introduced into the poetry of all the tribes to the southward of Kataun, while to the northward the M?nangkahau dialect prevails, The origin of this distinction is referred to the period of the wars between Imbang Java a Javanese prince and Tuanku orang Muda of Menangkabau, the traces of the Sunda dialect marking the limit of the possessions of the former.
In these contests the pantuns are supposed to be extemporaneous effusions, and perhaps sometimes are so in reality, but in general their memories are so stored with established verses, thai they are not often put to the task of invention. Of their force and meaning it is extremely difficult to convey a just idea by any translation: whoever has attempted to transfuse the spirit of an oriental composition into a European language must have felt the difficulty of doing so satisfactorily, where the whole structure of the language is so different, and the whole current of ideas seems to flowin another channel. This is particularly the case with the pantun, whose chief merit consists in conciseness and point, and in conveying a deeper meaning than is contained in the literal words and expressions. The figures and allusions are often quaint, but occasionally evince a considerable degree of poetic feeling and force of imagination.
It is not only on these set occasions that pantuns are employed, they enter largely into their more common intercourse, and are essential accomplishments to all who aspire to a character for gallantry, or who hope to woo and win their lady's love. Skill and readiness in this kind of poetry is with them a passport to female favor, much in the same way that a readiness at compliment and flattery .in conversation and the art of saying soft nothings serves the European candidate for the smiles of the fair: much of this kind of flirtation goes on independently of the open and public display of skill, and is often accompanied with the interchange of flowers and other mute symbols which have all a mystic meaning intelligible to those who have been initiated into this secret mode of communication. Making due allowance for difference of customs, of wealth, and of progress in civilization, there seems to be much in the conduct of these entertainments and in the general deportment of the Sumatrans towards women, to indicate that they possess somewhat of that character of romantic gallantry which marked our own earlier ancestors, and there might be found as much delicacy of feeling and perhaps more of the poetry of the passion in their courtships, than in the overrefinement of modern English society. It must also be remembered that no people can be more jealous of female honour than the Sumatrans, and that all this is conducted with a strictness of decorum far greater than is observed in the free intercourse permitted by European custom.
A few examples of the different kinds of pantuns may not be unamusing, though it would be as difficult to convey an idea of the effect with which they are applied at the moment and on. particular occasions, as to record the sallies and evanescent sparkles of wit that somefimes enliven our own tables, and which like the champagne that inspires them, would seem flat and dull if repeated next morning. Of the Malay pantun of four lines several examples have been already given by Mr Marsden, the strictness of their form and limits perhaps render them better suited to translation, but they are considered by the people of the interior as too stiff and prosaic, and as deficient in that boldness of allegory and recondite allusion which they consider ihe perfection of their own longer ones. The following are specimens of the Malay pantun, applicable to different occasions, such as the opening of a courtship, complaints of inconstancy, coyness, &c. expressions of compliment, of affection, of doubt, of ridicule or displeasure, and others which the reader may much better imagine to himself than they can be explained by words. In some the connection of ihe figure and the sentiment will readily be perceived, in others it is obscure, particularly where the allusions are idiomatic or have reference to popular fables or belief, j,nd in oilier* there is none at all.
Mamuti umbak di rantau kataun
Patang dan pagi tida berkala
Sa tangkei saja iang menggila.
"The waves are white on the shore of Kataun, night and day they do not cease to roll;—many are the white flowers of the garden, but one alone hath made me distracted with love."
Guruh ber buni sayup sayiip
Orang di bumi samoa bembang;
Ada kali bunga mau kambanjj.
"The thunder rolls loud and deep, and the inhabitants of the earth are dismayed; if the zephyr should now breathe upon it, will the flower expand its blossoms."
Ayer dalam ber tambah dalam,
Ujan di ulu bulum lagi tedob;
Dendam daulu bulum lagi sumboh.
"The deep waters have increased in depth, and the rain hath not ceased on the hills, the longing desire of my heart hath increased, and its former hopes have not yet been accomplished.''
Parang bumban di sabrang,
Pohon di hcla tiada karuan;
Sayang nia lagi di saput awan.
"The reed is cut down on the other bank, it is now at the mercy of the stream, draw it towards you; the moon is at the full ar.d shining, a cloud as yet intercepts her light (literally affection;."
Ulak ber ulak batu mandi,
Kian ber ulak tenang jua;
Dewa membawa bembang jua.
"The stream becomes still behind the sunken rocks, and the waters arc smooth and calm amid the eddies; I try to quiet the