Great confusion and unrest reigned in the kraton; the Soesoehunan, with glazed eyes and trembling fingers, sat on his throne surrounded by his female bodyguard, while the chief lords of the court crouched some distance from him.
Anxiety and terror were evident on every face, no one really knew what to do, no one what the emperor wanted; the eyes were now fixed on the Reich ruler, then on the weak, indecisive monarch. Amirang Koesoemo alone was calm, nothing happened that he had not foreseen and prepared; all went as he expected, and the great blow was now to be struck. He wanted to get rid of the envoy and all the Hollanders, he had carried this intention with him for a long time. Never had the opportunity been fairer, never would it present itself in this way again.
The Pangeran Sampan Tjakra di Ningrat, regent of Madura, however, was not of the opinion of the Reich rulers.
“The Dutch are mighty,” he said , “what will it profit you, if you kill the envoy and all who accompany him? Tomorrow new formidable armies will come from Batavia to avenge his death; thou shalt have gained nothing but their enmity, and thy Highness knows by experience how powerful their aid is.”
The Susuhunan sighed:[ 134 ]
“I never needed it!”
“Then Troeno-Djojo now reigned in Mataram, and you would wander in exile if you were not laid to rest like your Father in lonely Tagal-Wangi.”
“Your father despised the teachings of the prophet, he had the spiritual counselors of his people murdered by the hundreds. Allah punished him for it by madness and later by a painful death,” said the Pangulu or chief priest in a solemn tone.
The danger and dependence in which the Susuhunan now found himself gave all courage to tell him less pleasant truths; with a venomous look he looked at the speaker and perhaps planned, if he felt stronger, to take revenge for this unsolicited advice.
“Thou hast spurned the servants of Allah in the day of tribulation,” continued the Pangulu, with mounting bitterness, “thou hast crept before the Kafirs, to them thou owest a crown to no one else. Therefore, do not refuse to bear the guilt under whose weight they now crush you! Every benefit is a stone laid on our necks, from which it is difficult to free oneself; by accepting their favors you have put yourself under their power. Who knows how they will use that power today? I can not help you! Neither you nor your father ever honored Allah.”
“Now is not the time for useless reproaches,” said the Madurese prince, “a decision must be made, and the sooner the better. Do you want to hand over Surapati?”
Helplessly the Emperor looked at his Reich ruler, who had hitherto been silent with downcast eyes.
„Help me Radhen Adipati, help me! I expect my salvation from you alone!” he moaned.[ 135 ]
“Cunning befits the weak,” said Amirang Kusumo slowly , “for thou art weak, O Emperor! Weak and exhausted by the expensive mercies you owe to the Dutch. You must not be ashamed to confess that weakness before the mighty strangers. The weak and women are much forgiven!”
“Your words are dark, my son! Speak clearer language!”
“The weak take help where he can find it; he apparently bows his head in submission to the strong and secretly takes the hand of him who can deliver him from the hated protector in whose heart there is no more mistrust, thanks that public homage. Are my words clearer now! oh emperor?”
The Soesoehunan closed his eyes as if to silently digest his servant’s words.
“I am beginning to understand you Radhen Adipati, you want me to keep Surapati as a friend and also flatter the Lord Envoy! But how will that happen?”
“It is dangerous, O Emperor!” said de Pangeran, “to trust in two lances, which desire nothing more than to aim at each other.”
“Nothing can be dangerous where a wary eye is on watch; confusion is a good distraction! Let Karta-Sura shine in revolt because the Balinese want to resist the extradition of their heads! You yourself wish that extradition, you dedicate it to the Radhen Tjakra de Ningrat, who understands and will respect your secret intentions!”
“I’d rather not carry out orders with double purpose,” replied the Pangeran scornfully.
“Not even if the Master’s salvation and the happiness of the Javanese country depend on it?” asked the Pangolu. “Too many[ 136 ]We already granted to the stranger who only took it on our treasures and on our land; why didn’t he stay in his own country? To trade with us, to teach us what he can and what he knows! foolishness! He wants to oppress us, to make us averse to Allah and his great Prophet, to rule our lands, to drive out our princes, and with blindness our princes are smitten. They do not seek help where it can be found alone, but call upon the greedy infidel to decide their mutual facts; they try not to remain in harmony with each other, and forget that the bundle of arrows bound together defies the strength of the strongest, while each can be broken individually by a child’s hand. Therefore, my sons, abide in one accord, swear to defeat the enemy by force or by cunning. Allah wills the destruction of the disbelievers. He will bless your weapons! I promise you!”
“But if Surapati succumbs?”
“You must see him fight and you would not allow that doubt to enter your heart,” said Radhen Adipati proudly.
“Let me try to settle everything in peace,” demanded the Pangeran Sampan, “I want to speak to Surapati! It would be too careless to break with the mighty Dutch for the sake of a runaway slave!”
“You forget that slave is a hero!” exclaimed Koesoemo indignantly, „a hero whose enmity is even more to be feared than that of the Dutch. A second Troeno-Djojo , who could make the Mataram Empire tremble if it wished.”
“Allah help me! I do not know where to turn,” lamented the Emperor.
“You call on Allah in the day of tribulation! Will you now worship him also in the day of victory?”[ 137 ]
“I promise…I promise to found him a new mosque and make a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher in the Dieng Mountains, I promise…”
“Let us act now,” cried Pangeran Sampan, “I am at the head of my men, to hear with the Regent of Surabaya at Surapati what his purposes are!”
The Reichstag smiled and bowed his head; the emperor beckoned him to approach and whispered to him:
“If everything fails, then our flight remains, isn’t it? Do you see to it that a way is left open?”
“Do not worry!” said the Radhen Adipati, “it will not be necessary, but order the Pangeran that he do nothing against the Balinese.”
In the kampong Babirong, Soerapati had been reinforced by a hastily thrown up pagger; when the Madurese princes at the head of their numerous men came to the enclosure, the Pangeran asked to be admitted.
Two Balinese immediately brought them in; armed, Surapati stood at the head of his one hundred and forty men; he received the emperor’s emissaries courteously and politely.
“We come to tell you,” said the Pangeran, “that the Noble Lord Envoy will not enter the Emperor’s dale until we have delivered you to him alive or dead.”
“And what is the will of the mighty Emperor?” asked Surapati. “He has promised me and my men protection, and made us his bodyguard? Does he now demand that I lay down my arms? Then he acts against his promise?”
“The Emperor has sent me to tell you that you are going to meet the Dutch.”[ 138 ]
“Is this to win mercy and forgiveness from Lord Tak? Then tell the Susuhunan that I will go to meet the envoy if he does it himself, we have been made his bodyguards, and therefore I will not go out until the emperor bids me accompany him, though it be to Batavia.”
“I am going with my men to meet the Dutch ambassador, will you go with me?”
“No, I am not made your bodyguard.”
“Well,” said the Pangeran, “then I must attack you and force you to surrender.”
“You can try it, we are determined to the end.”
The princes departed, and Kiai Hemboong, who had been standing behind Soerapati, beckoned him to sign that he had something to say.
“Radhen Goesik Koesoema must speak with you.”
He turned and went to his home, where all the wives and children of his Balinese were gathered. Anxiety and terror were written on every face; Radhen Goesik alone was calm, she encouraged everyone and with a smile on her lips she came to meet her husband.
“I have a message for you,” she said, “everything is fake! The Soesoehunan is counting on your help to deliver him from the Dutch.”
“And the ten thousand men who are about to surround me?”
“Won’t hinder us from the exodus; you must cut through and reach the dalem in order to protect the Soesoehunan.”
“I understand nothing of the orders that come to me? They are all equally contradictory. What does the Soesoehunan want? Get rid of me, or keep me; it is your father who arranges everything. I know his secret wishes but who is my guarantee that also the[ 139 ]other court greats share them. The roll they give me disgusts me; I am a soldier, a robber chief, whatever one wills, but not a dalang, 1 who always takes different voices, represents other persons.”
He thought, suddenly he raised his head, his eyes flashed flames, he seized his kris and exclaimed in a steady tone:
“I will therefore act as a soldier; I will fight against those who threaten my freedom. Either against the men of the Soesoehunan, or against the Dutch! My freedom or death! No more cowardly tricks, I don’t care who conquers, the Emperor or the Dutchman, but I don’t want to be a slave anymore!”
Entranced stared Koesoema him.
“That was the only thing I expected from you, my husband! Fight with courage! Behold, take this kris from me, it was once carried by Troeno-Djojo , the brave Madurese, who drove the cowardly emperor from Mataram, Kolomisanie is her name. He himself received it from a saintly penitent, and do not forget the spell which Bulu Kidur whispered to you in the mountains of Galongong. When you speak it, the enemy will see your army a hundredfold and flee at your approach.”
“Thank you princess!” replied Surapati, putting the weapon reverently to his head, and then fastening it to the girdle, “I will fight against all who might endanger you of becoming a slave. But a fear still holds my soul captive, it is a fear that creeps up on me. What will become of you, what of all those weak women and little children?”
“Leave that to me! Gentleman! Only command some of your men not to leave me! That Kiai Hemboong aside from me[ 140 ]stay. My slogan is like yours, rather death than slavery!”
Surapati gave his last orders, and after taking leave of his wife, returned to the entrenchment.
The emperor again sent a messenger to exhort him into submission; proud and proud he refused to obey. His plan was now set; he did not want to get involved in the machinations of the court, but would sell freedom for himself as dearly as possible.
So Pangeran Sampan gave the order to fire; it is as yet unknown whether the Madurese prince was serious or merely engaged in a mock fight at the emperor’s command. It seems impossible that ten thousand men were powerless to master the camp encircled only by a bamboo pagger; Surapati was surrounded on all sides like the tiger in the alang-alang field, but also as the tiger his courage grew in increasing the danger.
He ordered his men to gather about him, and waving his glittering kris, which like a sun flickered its rays to the left and right, he flung himself fearlessly upon the gripped crowd that barred his passage.
Did he utter the magic words taught by the dwarf that blinded the eyes of the foes, or was it only the sight of his heroic figure as he suddenly trampled the pagger underfoot, swinging death and destruction around him in the midst of the assailants? popped up? Or was everything prearranged?
Who knows, but with loud cries of terror the ten thousand heroes threw away their firearms, heeded no more the admonitions and commands of their leaders, and scattered far and wide, shrieking and wailing as if they had been weak women and not men of war.[ 141 ]
The circle was broken, the kampong became empty on all sides; the confusion rose still higher as black clouds of smoke gathered over the fugitives, the flames escaped from the thatched roofs of the village houses; Babirong was on fire and it was Radhen Goesik who had set her house ablaze with the first shots.
“And now to the mountains, soon!” she cried to the distraught scissors. “Surapati will find us there,” and under the protection of the small band of men they rushed off unmolested to the forest, while the Balinese triumphantly continued their march as far as the dalem, whose southern buildings they set fire to to force their way in. to ensure.