Rentap’s Defeat at Sadok Mount

25th. — Moved our housing gear on about a mile 
towards the foot of Sadok, to the place where we had 
before spent one night. The gun is some distance 
behind, but in sight. The weather is piercingly hot, 
and all hands are busy husking padi. Early in the 
afternoon, Nanang, the head chief, made his appearance, 
and took his seat amid a large concourse of our people. 
He tendered his submission, offering to pay down any 
fine demanded ; and for the sake of humanity, as well 
as the future of Saribus — for the place now is nearly in 
ruins for want of peace and trade — I had already re- 
solved in my own mind, after bringing the gun so far, 
that we should show sufficient strength and force to 
receive Nanang*s party upon a permanent and substan- 
tial understanding, both to save life and guarantee pros- 
perity. I was anxious to see the people of Saribus back 
in their own country. I demanded his most valuable 
property, to the amount of forty rusa jars (400/.), and 
told him 1 should keep the whole amount for three 
years ; at the end of that time, the Government would 
have the power of detaining whatever amount was con- 
sidered right, according to custom, as a fine.* I wished 

♦ The whole amount was restored to Nanang's party in 1863. 



142 TEN TEAES IN SAEAwAB!. 

him to remove down the river at once, but he wisely 
demurred at this, as lie said, " We shall not be able to 
farm this year, and should in consequence be in a state 
of starvation." I then gave them three days to give up 
the jars, and remove from the front of Rentap's forti- 
fication, so that we might be able to attack it. And 
I required to secure Nanang's jars before I could 
trust him to be on friendly terms on our rear, in case 
we did not succeed in taking Rentap's fort. Nanang 
then returned, apparently well satisfied ; but he is a 
quiet, heavy, stolid genius, whom Watson appropriately 
calls " Cart-Horse." Rentap has also sent ofifers for 
peace, but, knowing the man and his ways, I do not 
place much credit in the sincerity of his peaceful pro- 
fessions. However, I demanded twelve rusa jars (120/.), 
and the demoKtion of his fort, as well as his immediate 
removal from Sadok. His emissaries then returned to 
" Grandfather Rentap," as we always call him. 

26th. — The man who ventured into Rentap's abode 
yesterday came to me early to say that they had met 
him for the purpose of trying to bring him to surrender, 
and pay down the jars, which he can do without any 
difficulty. These two men had formerly been \l\& fighting 
cocks, but now had been on friendly terms with us for 
four years. They informed me he was very surly, and 
scarcely spoke a word. While in his presence they felt 



EENTAP'S PERTINACITY. 143 

most anxious, fearing he would close his doors and hold 
them as hostages. They told ^m there was a gun 
coming up which was large enough to knock him to 
pieces. This he would not believe at alt, and said he 
was perfectly aware of the akal (cunning) of the white 
men, as they had attacked him often before, and failed. 
This was enough from Kentap ; and the two men de- 
clared they would not go near his place again in a 
friendly capacity, as his pathway was so narrow, and 
approach so small, that they might be murdered and 
thrown off the precipice without anyone being the 
wiser. There were no women nor children in his 
house, and this in itself proved he intended to show 
opposition. 

Nanang and Apai Ikum brought their jars in the 
course of the afternoon, and requested to be permitted 
to kill two pigs. This was done, and their hearts 
examined, and found to be very propitious. The one 
upon our side, they said, was larger and better ; on their 
heart there was not so great a development. I per- 
mitted them to perform this ceremony, as I know there 
is not a greater or more binding mark of good faith in 
Dyak customs ; but at the same time, I could scarcely 
listen to such absurd nonsense, particularly now, as one 
grows impatient. But we are not losing time, for nothing 
can be done without the gun, and that is coming up 



144 TEN YEAES IN SAEAWAS. 

slowly ; but before nightfall I intend to have it at the 
foot of the last ascent^i in readiness for the last climb to 
the summit. 

This afternoon many of our wild young Dyak lads 
had been on Sadok, had embraced Nanang and his 
party since the pig-killing, and had been drinking the 
cup of friendship so freely that some were intoxicated. 

Rentap has shut himself into his den, and cut off all 
communication, while Nanang is removing away to 
another part of the mountain. Two hundred men are 
yelling under the weight of our gun. 

27 t/i. — After finishing coffee at an early hour, and 
expecting to lead a quiet lazy day, as our agreement 
with Nanang would not be up before to-morrow, 1 was 
surprised at hearing a call of Pire ! "Fire ! and on looking 
out, saw the smoke of a house on Sadok. Grandpapa 
has fired Nanang's houses, which are now blazing in 
good earnest. He had evidently been exasperated on 
finding that the party on his off side were removing their 
property preparatory to giving up the position. I imme- 
diately resolved to push on, and we commenced pre- 
parations. 

The gun was slung to a long pole, and sixty men 
were lifting it over these rough places, and many others, 
ready to relieve, were carrying gear. We halted atHhe 
foot of the steep, and I felt that my boast would soon be 



LOYIOH'S APPEAEANCE. 145 

realised. Main strength would drag it to the summit, 
although carrying such a weight further than this point 
was out of the question, as one could scarcely stand, and 
the trees were high and low, lying crossways in every 
direction. While waiting here, a fine handsome young 
Dyak approached me, clad in his chawat and a long 
flowing garment, with ornamented head-dress, and his 
long sword dangling by his side. This I knew imme- 
diately to be Loyioh, our enemy of yesterday, and 
friend of to-day. He looked anything but like a con- 
quered man ; nevertheless his manner was respectful 
and upright. He carried himself as a warrior chief of 
the feudal period, standing as straight as a lath, and 
spoke as if he were receiving a friend or visitor at the 
threshold of his father's domains. We talked for some 
short time, and I thanked heaven I was able to con&ont 
him with as active and unfatigued an exterior as him- 
self, although I must confess not so picturesque a one. 
We then shook hands in brotherly affection, and he 
glided away, promising to come and assist in getting the 
gun up. ' He embraced three or four Malays on the 
path, in recollection of boyish days spent together in 
hunting, deer-snaring, and farming. Loyioh is not how- 
ever a brave man, ahhough a showy one. His " cart- 
horse" brother Nanang possesses a braver and truer 
disposition, which has been corrupted by others. But 

TOL. II. L 



146 TEN YEAES IN SARAWAK. 

n3w we trust to hiin alone to bring about a friendship 
between us and them. 

By dint of labour with the ropes we dragged the gun 
half way up the steep ascent, and left it to proceed to 
the top, where our tents were arranged on the same 
spot on which I had previously lain for eight nights in 
wet and mire. The top was much more cleared now, 
and Rentap's fortification was in sight, within long 
range, but he did not try to molest us in any way. The 
remainder of Nanang's village smokes and smoulders, 
and our party are close around Rentap's fort, but not 
a man dare attempt that narrow pathway, which has a 
precipitous fall of a thousand feet on either side. I 
made an arrangement with some of the young leaders to 
€rect a stockade for our gun as near as they could get it, 
and fearing fire, the arms, powder, shot, and rockets 
were being collected and crowded into my abode. After 
breakfast I pushed the force down again, and went with 
them myself, leaving Watson in charge on the mountain. 

Loyioh came according to agreement, and we worked 
together like Trojans ; and after four hours of terrible 
work, and covered with mud, we at length lodged the 
gun close to my shed, and it was almost going over the 
precipice in another direction. I felt now Rentap was 
safe in our grasp, and in all probability by this time to- 
morrow his head would be in a bag. 



WE OPEN FIEE. 147 

2Sth. — I rose at one o'clock, a.m., and aroused a party 
of Dyaks to carry the gun up to the stockade under 
cover of darkness. At 4'30 a.m. we had it in position, 
and then patiently waited for daylight, at the first peep 
of which the rocket tube was brought and ammunition 
arranged. There was a dense mist, and the wind blow- 
ing a heavy gale, with the clouds sweeping past us, so 
that we could not discern more than a few yards 
around. 

Rentap's house was not over 200 yards from us, 
and we were a living mass of expectation. At 7*30 the 
clouds commenced rising, and as soon as his fortification 
showed itself, we opened fire and rattled shot and grape 
through the planking. 

The rockets could not be used as the wind was 
blowing too strongly ; there was no return from Rentap's 
place, but no one yet dared to approach it. After the 
seventeenth round our carriage split in two, and I was 
thinking that we should be in a dilemma for some time 
at any rate, as any patching was hopeless. However, 
before five minutes were over, some of our party had 
crept through an aperture, and they were speedily 
followed by others, who yelled ''victory." It was a 
blessing to my ears. The third time of asking was to 
be successful. Our first shot went through their port- 
holes, and killed the principal man watching their gun ; 

L 2 



148 TEN YEAES IN SARAWAK. 

besides this, there were the remains of three or four 
others killed, but Rentap had gone, and the sly old fox, 
I fear, will get away among the holes and comers of this 
mountain, which no one knows as he does. Bands 
went immediately in pursuit of him : the property, in 
the house was plundered. I walked through it, when 
all was in a state of disorder, and looked into Rentap's 
room, which was encased in thick planks quite impervious 
to musket or rifle shots. The house itself was a 
miserable building, but the stockades were about two 
feet in thickness, of the hardest wood, and the peppering 
of bullets administered on previous occasions had not 
penetrated a third through. In looking from the plat- 
form, which all Dyaks have for the purpose of drying 
padi, &c., a precipice gaped immediately below, so steep 
and high, that recovery after faUing would have been 
impossible, and death must have followed before 
reaching the bottom of this abyss. All around the 
upper part of the hill had been cleared of everything, 
and a slip had taken place, making it ten times more 
dangerous than before ; if another of the same dimen- 
sions had occurred, Rentap and his shell must have 
gone to the bottom and been dashed to pieces. How a 
man and his family could have lived for so many years 
on such a spot is marvellous, and nought but a most 
determined spirit of resistance could have supported him 



YIOTOBIOUS ENTEY. 149 

in such discomfort and danger. My feeling was one of 
infinite satisfaction in having at length dislodged this 
old culprit, although we all admired his resolution in 
having stood so long. The arras he had taken when 
fighting against Messrs. Brereton and Lee (when the 
latter was killed in 1853) were now recovered. And 
we found a good supply of ammunition and shot, 
doubtless brought from Mukah. While we were 
blazing away at him, Nanang and some hundreds of his 
people, both men and women, were watching in the 
distance, and anxiously awaiting the result. When the 
place was taken they exultingly said, " And if we had 
held out, we should have shared a similar fate, but now 
we are safe.'* I returned to my. shed, and felt as if 
something of great weight and importance had fallen 
from me, and a sensation of calm ease remained in its 
stead. 

In the afternoon a party of our men collected all the 
combustibles and ignitable wood and material around 
Rentap's house, in the inner' side, for the purpose of 
making a large blaze ; to draw the attention of all the 
inhabitants to it, we fired the gun ofi* twice at dusk, and 
set fire to the house ; it made a glorious conflagration 
upon this conspicuous site, and I was told afterwards 
that the whole surrounding country witnessed it. At 
night all was quiet, and already many of our force had 



150 • TEN YEAES IN SABaWAK 

commenced to move homewards, so anxious were they 
about their farms. 

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