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3-VI

Part 3- Chapter VI

Concerning their Houses, Diet,

Housewifry, Salutation, Apparel.

Having already treated of their Religion, we now come to their secular concerns. And first we will lead you into their houses, and shew you how they live.

Their Houses are small, low, thatched Cottages, built with sticks, daubed with clay, the walls made very smooth. For they are not permitted to build their houses above one story high, neither may they cover with tiles, nor whiten their walls with lime, but there is a Clay which is as white, and that they use sometimes. They employ no Carpenters, or house-builders, unless some few noble-men, but each one buildeth his own dwelling. In building whereof there is not so much as a nail used; but instead of them every thing which might be nailed, is tyed with rattans and other strings, which grow in the woods in abundance; whence the builder hath his Timber for cutting. The Country being warm, many of them will not take pains to clay their walls, but make them of boughs and leaves of Trees. The poorest sort have not above one room in their houses, few above two, unless they be great men. Neither doth the King allow them to build better.

They are not nice nor curious in their houses. They have no Chimneys in them, but make their fires in one corner, so that the roof is all blacked with the smoak.

The great people have handsom and commodious houses. They have commonly two buildings one opposit to the other, joined together on each side with a wall, which makes a square Court-yard in the middle. Round about against the walls of their houses are banks of clay to sit on; which they often daub over with soft Cow-dung, to keep them smooth and clean. Their Slaves and Servants dwell round about without in other houses with their wives and children.

Their Furniture is but small. A few earthen pots which hang up in slings made of Canes in the middle of their houses, having no shelves; one or two brass Basons to eat in, a stool or two without backs. For none but the King may sit upon a stool with a back. There are also some baskets to put corn in, some mats to spread upon the ground to sleep on: which is the bedding both for themselves and friends when they come to their houses. Also some Ebeny pestels about four foot long to beat rice out of the husk, and a wooden Morter to beat it in afterwards to make it white, a Hirimony or Grater to grate their Coker-nuts with, a flat stone upon which they grind their Pepper and Turmeric, &c. With another stone which they hold in their hands at the same time. They have also in their houses Axes, Bills, Houghs, Atches Chissels, and other Tools for their use. Tables they have none, but sit and eat on the ground.

The Manner of their Eating and Drinking

And now we are mentioning eating, let us take a view of this people at their meals. Their Dyet and ordinary fare is but very mean, as to our account. If they have but Rice and Salt in their house, they reckon they want for nothing. For with a few green Leaves and the juice of a Lemmon with Pepper and Salt, they will make a hearty meal. Beef here may not be eaten; it is abominable: Flesh and Fish is somewhat scarce. And that little of it they have, they had rather sell to get mony to keep, then eat it themselves: neither is there any but outlandish men, that will buy any of them. It is they indeed do eat the fat and best of the Land. Nor is it counted any shame or disgrace, to be a niggard and sparing in dyet; but rather a credit even to the greatest of them, that they can fare hard and suffer hunger, which they say, Soldiers ought to be able to endure.

The great ones have always five or fix sorts of food at one meal, and of them not above one or two at most of Flesh or Fish, end of them more pottage than meat, after the Portugal fashion. The rest is only what groweth out of the ground. The main substance with which they fill their bellies is Rice, the other things are but to give it a relish.

If these people were not discouraged from rearing and nourishing of Cattle and Poultry, provisions might be far more plentiful. For here are many Jackalls, which catch their Hens and some Tigres, that destroy their Cattle: but the greatest of all is the King; whose endeavour is to keep them poor and in want. For from them that have Hens his Officers take them for the Kings use giving little or nothing for them; the like they do by Hogs. Goats none are suffered to keep, besides the King, except strangers.

In dressing of their victuals they are not to be discommended: for generally they are cleanly and very handy about the fame. And after one is used to that kind of fare, as they dress it, it is very savoury and good. They sit upon a mat on the ground, and eat. But he, whom they do honour and respect, sits on a stool and his victuals on another before him.

Their common drink is only water: and if they drink Rack, it is before they eat, that it may have the more operation upon their bodies. When they drink they touch not the Pot with their mouths, but hold it at a distance, and pour it in. They eat their Rice out of China dishes, or Brass Basons, and they that have not them, on leaves. The Carrees, or other sorts of Food which they eat with their Rice, is kept in the Pans it is dressed in, and their wives serve them with it, when they call for it. For it is their duties to wait and serve their Husbands while they eat, and when they have done, then to take and eat that which they have left upon their Trenchers. During their eating they neither use nor delight to talk to one another.

They always wash their hands and mouths both before and after they have eaten; but for others to pour the water on their hands is looked upon as an affront. For so they do to them, whom they account not worthy to handle their Water pot. But when they wash, with one hand they pour it themselves upon the other. They are very cleanly both in their bodies and heads, which they do very often wash, and also when they have been at stool they make use of water.

But to give you a little of their Cookery. If People be in the room talking together, the woman being ready to put the Rice into the Pot, bids them all be silent till she has put it in, and then they may procede with their discourse. For if they should talk while the Rice is putting in, it would not swell.

At the time of the year that there is most plenty of Lemmons, they take them and squeez the juyce into an earthen Pot, and set over the fire, and boil it so long, till it becomes thick and black like Tar. This they set by for their use, and it will keep as long as they please. A very small quantity of it will suffice for sawce. They call it Annego.

They have several sorts of sweet-meats. One they call Caown. It is like to a Fritter made of Rice-flower, and Jaggory. They make them up in little lumps, and lay them upon a Leaf, and then press them with their thumbs, and put them into a Frying-Pan, and fry them in Coker-nut Oyl or Butter. When the Dutch came first to Columba, the King ordered these Caown to be made and sent to them as a royal Treat. And they say, the Dutchdid so admire them, that they asked if they grew not upon Trees, supposing it past the Art of man to make such dainties.

Oggulas another sort of sweet-meats, made of parched Rice, Jaggory, Pepper, Cardamum, and a little Cinnamons. They rowl them up in Balls, which will grow hard. These they tie up in bags and carry them with them when they travail to eat in afternoons when they are hungry.

Alloways made much after the former manner, only they are flat in the fashion of a Lozenge; which are good for faintings and thirsty souls to relish their water, and to eat of in afternoons when they are at home. We carried some of these along with us in our travayl.

Tacpetties, made of Rice-flower, and the meat of the Coker-nut and Jaggory. They are made up into small lumps, and so put in a Leaf, and laid on a cloth over a Pot of boyling water. The stream of which heats that which is laid upon it: and so they are sodden like a Pudding. They tast like white bread, Almonds and Sugar.

Pitu. Which is made thus. They take flower of Coracan, and sprinkle a little water into it, being both put into a large Pot for the purpose. Then they stir and rowl it in the Pot with their hands: by which means it crumbles into corns like Gun-Powder. Then they have a Pot of boyling water with a cloth tyed over it; and upon this cloth they lay so much of this corn flower as they can conveniently cover with another Pot. And so the steam coming through the cloth boils it, that it will be much like unto a Pudding. And this they use to eat as they do Rice.

A Noble Man.

The womens Housewifry is to beat the Rice out of the husk; which they do with an Ebeny Pestle before mentioned. They lay the Rice on the ground, and then beat it, one blow with one hand, and then tossing the Pestle into the other, to strike with that. And at the same time they keep stroke with their feet (as if they were dancing) to keep up the Corn together in one heap. This being done, they beat it again Page 89in a wooden Morter to whiten it, as was said before. This work tho it be very hard, belongeth only to the women: as also to fetch both wood and water. The wood they bring upon their heads, the water in an earthen Pot, placing it upon their hip. To the women also belongs a small bill to cut Herbs, Pumkins &c. Which she is to dress. Which bill she lays upon the ground, the edg upwards, and sets her self upon a Staff or handle to hold it fast, and what she meaneth to cut, she lays it upon the edge, and shoveth it on it.

When one comes to anothers house, being set down the Entertainment is, green Leaves, they call Bullat, which they eat raw with Lime and Betel-nut, and Tobacco. And being set a while, the man of the house will ask the Stranger what he comes tor, which if he does not suddenly, the Stranger will take exceptions at it, as thinking he is not welcom to him. Neither do they ever go one to visit the other, unless it be for their own ends, either to beg or borrow.

And if Kindred, that are very nearly related come together, they have no loving or private conference one with the other, but fit like strangers very solid and grave. And if they stay above one night, which is the common custom, then they do help and assist the man of the house in any work or service he hath to do.

When any friends go to anothers house to visit, they never go empty handed, but carry provisions and sweat meats with them to their friend. And then he makes them a Feast according to his ability, but they never eat of those things, which themselves brought. But there is but little feasting among them unless at a Wedding.

We have been long enough in the house, let us walk abroad, and show you how the People demean themselves without doors.

When they meet one another, their manner of Salutation or obeisance is, to hold forth their two hands, the Palms upwards, and bow their Bodies: but the superior to the inferior holds forth but one hand, and if the other be much beneath, him he only nods his head. The women salute by holding up both their hands edgways to their Foreheads. The general complement one to another at first meeting is to say Ay; it signifies how do you: and the other answers, Hundoi, that is, well.

The Habit of the men when they appear abroad is after this sort. The Nobles wear Doublets of white or blew Callico, and about their middle a cloth, a white one next their skin, and a blew one or of some other colour or painted, over the white: a blew or shash girt about their loyns, and a Knife with a carved handle wrought or inlaid with Silver sticking in their bosom; and a compleat short Hanger carved and inlaid with Brass and Silver by their sides, the Scabbard most part covered with Silver; bravely ingraven; a painted Cane and sometimes a Tuck in it in their hands, and a boy always bare-headed with long hair hanging down his back waiting upon him, ever holding a small bag in his hand, which is instead of a Pocket, wherein is Betel-leaves and nuts. Which they constantly keep chewing in their mouths, with Lime kept in a Silver Box rarely engraven, which commonly they hold in their hands, in shape like a Silver Watch.

The great ones also generally, and spruce young men, do wear their hair long hanging down behind: but when they do any work or travail hard, it annoying them, they tie it up behind. Heretofore Page 90generally they bored holes in their ears and hung weights in them to make them grow long, like the Malabars, but this King not boring his, that fashion is almost left off. The men for ornament do wear Brass, Copper, Silver Rings on their Fingers, and some of the greatest Gold. But none may wear any Silk.

A Gentlewoman

But the women in their Apparel do far surpass the men, neither are they so curious in clothing themselves as in making their wives fine. The mens Pride consists in their Attendance, having men bearing Arms before and behind them.

Their other ornaments and Apparel show very comely on them Their Hair they oyl, with Coker-nut oyl to make it smooth, and comb it all behind. Their hair grows not longer than their wasts, but because it is a great ornament to have a great bunch of hair, they have a lock of other hair fastened in a Plate of engraved Silver and guilded, to tie up with their own, in a knot hanging down half their Backs. Their hands are bare, but they carry a scarf of striped or branched Silk or such as they can get, casting it carelesly on their head and shoulders. About their Wasts they have one or two Silver girdles made with Wire and Silver Plate handsomly engraven, hanging down on each side, one crossing the other behind. And as they walk they chew Betel. But notwithstanding all their bravery neither man nor woman wears shoos or stockings, that being a Royal dress, and only for the King himself.

Their other ornaments and Apparel show very comely on them Their Hair they oyl, with Coker-nut oyl to make it smooth, and comb it all behind. Their hair grows not longer than their wasts, but because it is a great ornament to have a great bunch of hair, they have a lock of other hair fastened in a Plate of engraved Silver and guilded, to tie up with their own, in a knot hanging down half their Backs. Their hands are bare, but they carry a scarf of striped or branched Silk or such as they can get, casting it carelesly on their head and shoulders. About their Wasts they have one or two Silver girdles made with Wire and Silver Plate handsomly engraven, hanging down on each side, one crossing the other behind. And as they walk they chew Betel. But notwithstanding all their bravery neither man nor woman wears shoos or stockings, that being a Royal dress, and only for the King himself.

 

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