Bilit Is A Large Village Made Up Of Malays,
Orang Sungei, And Sulus.
Quite a crowd met us on our arrival, and
they seemed not a little excited.
It appeared that their late Panglima
(chief), who was also a Hadji, had been on a second voyage to Mecca,
and they had just heard that he had died on his way back. "That was
quite right," they said; "his time had come, and, besides, it had
been foretold that he would die if he tried to go to Mecca again."
Two men were most anxious to gain favour with Richardson - viz., the
dead man's son and another Hadji, who was the richest man in Bilit,
and who had a large share in the Gomanton caves. The reason was that
Richardson had the power to appoint whom he liked as the new Panglima,
provided, of course, that the man was of some standing and fairly
popular. Richardson sent for one of the most influential men in the
village to come and talk the matter over, but he lived on the other
side of the river, and, it being late, they said he dared not cross
in his small "gobang," as the crocodiles are very bad indeed here,
and at night they often help themselves to a man out of his canoe. We
went to the late Panglima's house and had a chat, but nothing was said
about the new Panglima. I caught sight of one of the widows swathed in
white, going through all sorts of contortions by way of mourning for
her late husband.
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