Journal of a Voyage in 1811 and 1812 to Madras and China. 1

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Journal of a Voyage in 1811 and 1812 to Madras and China. 1
Journal of a voyage in 1811 and 1812, to Madras and China; returning by the Cape of Good Hope and St. Helena
James Wathen (1751?-1828)
London: J. Nichols, Son, and Bentley
Page 1
Page 2

When I returned to the road leading to George Town, I had recovered my
spirits; and seeing some Sepoys going up the hill side, I was induced to
follow them, with the intention of reaching the top of Penang mountain;
but after proceeding for about a mile, and considering the distance from
the town, I determined to return, and take another opportunity to visit
the mountain. A great number of snakes, beautiful lizards, and other
reptiles, crossed my path in this walk; but I could now see these
creatures without alarm. I sat down on a bank, and enjoyed a fine view
of Fort Cornwallis, George Town, the Straits of Penang, and the coast
and mountains of Queda.

Approaching the town, I heard a great noise, proceeding from a crowd of
people, who were stationed in the road opposite a house. A gong, and
other discordant music, announced some entertainment about to be
performed. — I soon learned that a strolling party of the Chinese sons
of Thespis were to perform their sing-song, or theatrical exhibition.
The stage was elevated from the ground to the height of one story in the
front of the house, and was covered with green baize. A curtain was
drawn across, and anon the play commenced!—The performers, dressed in
the most extravagant costume, came forth from behind the curtain, and
proceeded to declaim with great vehemence, accompanied with pantomimic
gestures. The hero, who, no doubt, represented some great warrior, was
armed with a most enormous scimitar, and “so strutted and bellowed,”
that Hamlet, had he seen him, would have again said that “some of
Nature’s journeymen had made men, and not made them well,” this player
“imitated humanity so abominably.”—After several murders and executions,
the play ended, arid a dance succeeded. I confess that I could not make
out the story, or discover the plot. The audience in general, however,
were delighted beyond measure with the exhibition.