In Pegu the fashion in dress is uniformly the same for the high and low, the rich and the poor, the only difference being in the quality or fineness, of the materials, which is cloth of cotton, of various qualities. In the first place, they have an inner garment of white cotton cloth which serves for a shirt, over which they gird another garment of painted cotton cloth of fourteen brasses or yards, which is bound or tucked up between the legs. On their heads they wear a tuck or turban of three yards long, bound round the head somewhat like a mitre; but some, instead of this, have a kind of cap like a bee-hive, which does not fall below the bottom of the ear. They are all barefooted; but the nobles never walk a-foot, being carried by men on a seat of some elegance, having a hat made of leaves to keep-off the rain and sun; or else they ride on horseback, having their bare feet in the stirrups. All women, of whatever degree, wear a shift or smock down to the girdle, and from thence down to their feet a cloth of three yards long, forming a kind of petticoat which is open before, and so strait that at every step they shew their legs and more, so that in walking they have to hide themselves as it were very imperfectly with their hand. It is reported that this was contrived by one of the queens of this country, as a means of winning the men from certain unnatural practices to which they were unhappily addicted. The women go all barefooted like the men, and have their arms loaded with hoops of gold adorned with jewels, and their fingers all filled with precious rings. They wear their long hair rolled up and fastened on the crown of their heads, and a cloth thrown over their shoulders, by way of a cloak.
By way of concluding this long account of my peregrinations, I have this to say, that those parts of the Indies in which I have been are very good for a man who has little, and wishes by diligent industry to make rich: providing always that he conducts himself so as to preserve the reputation of honesty. Such, persons will never fail to receive assistance to advance their fortunes. But, for those who are vicious, dishonest, or indolent, they had better stay at home; for they shall always remain poor, and die beggars.
End of the Peregrinations of Cesar Frederick.
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EARLY ENGLISH VOYAGES TO GUINEA, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA.