DIRECTOR   Eddy Sparklefrost


Early in the morning, a man, dressed somewhat in the style of an European sailor, came off, and stated that he had been sent from Bankok to act as interpreter, and to accompany us to the capital. This was one of that degraded, but self-important class of society, well known in India under the general title of Portuguese, a title to which a hat and one or two other articles of clothing in the European fashion would seem to give every black man, every native, and every half caste, an undisputed claim. Our visitor bore the characteristic national features of the Siamese, amongst whom he had been born ; he spoke the Portuguese language with ease and fluency, but English very imperfectly. He said, that the chief of Packnam requested that the guns might be landed, as the ship could not otherwise be permitted to proceed upwards without an order from court to that effect. It was observed, that the Portuguese frigate did not land her guns; he replied, that such was a special indulgence from the court. Mr. Crawfurd was, at the same time, invited on shore to dinner, the chief representing that he had received orders to entertain all persons of the rank of ambassadors or envoys during their stay within his jurisdiction. Very little notice was taken of, and no direct communication was held with, the interpreter. This sort of verbal communication, on matters of business, did not augur well towards the success of our mission. We could not fail to remark, that the different personages who had as yet visited us, were either of very low rank, or of none at all, neither did they exhibit any mark by which they might be recognised as acting from authority. The chief, or, as the gentlemen of our party styled him, governor of Packnam, himself, to all appearance, of small political importance, being merely the head man of several poor fishing villages, did not condescend to visit us, or to hold other communication with us than that described. It was hinted that a man of some rank had been sent hither to receive us, but neither did this personage make his appearance. After breakfast, Captain M'Donnell went on shore to wait upon the chief of Packnam; he induced the latter to send a young man, a relation of his, on board. This man was received with much attention; he appeared to take little notice of the ship, or, indeed, of any thing else; he was naked from the waist upwards, and rather meanly dressed even for a Siamese; he partook of sweetmeats and spirits, and after inviting Mr. Crawfurd to go on shore, and conversing with the latter for about half an hour, he rose and departed, Mr. Crawfurd having agreed to visit the chief in the evening. We accordingly set out in three different boats, Mr. Crawfurd and Captain Dangerfield having their servants, harkaras, silver sticks, state umbrellas, and dressed in the uniform of the Governor-General. A crowd of people, consisting of old men and women, and many children, were collected on the beach, and appeared to view us with considerable curiosity. The young man who had visited us on board, alone received us at the landing-place, from whence we walked through a narrow noisome lane, paved with wood, the distance of about fifty yards, to the chief's house, a place of sorry appearance ; we ascended by a flight of wooden steps into a small enclosed court, which opened behind into the house. In an open room, tawdrily ornamented with Chinese paper lanterns, Dutch glass, and scraps of painted paper, we found the chief, a tall, slender, rather elderly man, seated on a chair; he got up to welcome Mr. Crawfurd, and conducted him to a chair on his left. A table was placed in the centre of the room, and soon after we had taken our seats (we were luckily accommodated with chairs), a dinner, consisting of roast pork, roast ducks and fowls, and a pilaw, were brought in. The dishes were cooked after the European fashion, two or three native Christians who attended, to judge by their busy manner, being very anxious to approve themselves on the present occasion. We had dined before going on shore, but' at the request of the chief, who, indeed, appeared to be very desirous of pleasing us, we sat down to table, accompanied by the interpreter already alluded to, but neither the chief nor any of his family partook of the entertainment. A crowd of people were collected in the court, and viewed us as we sat, evidently with considerable interest. Opposite to the chief sat the personage who had been sent to receive us; he was a good-looking, middle-aged man, a Malay, who had been once or twice in Bengal: we spent nearly two hours thus conversing on various subjects. On our getting up to depart, the chief rose and shook hands with all of us.