An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 438 pages of information about An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies.

[How they travail.] When they travel together a great many of them, the Roads are so narrow, that but one can go abreast, and if there be Twenty of them, there is but one Argument or Matter discoursed of among them all from the first to the last.  And so they go talking along all together, and every one carrieth his Provisions on his back for his whole Journey.

[A brief Character of them.] In short, in Carriage and Behaviour they are very grave and stately like unto the Portugals, in understanding quick and apprehensive, in design subtil and crafty, in discourse courteous but full of Flatteries, naturally inclined to temperance both in meat and drink, but not to Chastity, near and Provident in their Families, commending good Husbandry.  In their dispositions not passionate, neither hard to be reconciled again when angry.  In their Promises very unfaithful, approving lying in themselves, but misliking it in others; delighting in sloath, deferring labour till urgent necessity constrain them, neat in apparel, nice in eating; and not given to much sleep.

[The Women their Habit and Nature.] As for the Women, their Habit is a Wastcoat of white Callico covering their Bodies, wrought into flourishes with Blew and Red; their Cloath hanging longer or shorter below their Knees, according to their quality; a piece of Silk flung over their heads; Jewels in their Ears, Ornaments about their Necks, and Arms, and Middles.  They are in their gate and behaviour very high, stately in their carriage after the Portugal manner, of whom I think they have learned:  yet they hold it no scorn to admit the meanest to come to speech of them.  They are very thrifty, and it is a disgrace to them to be prodigal, and their Pride & Glory to be accounted near & saving.  And to praise themselves they will sometimes say, That scraps and parings will serve them; but that the best is for their Husbands.  The Men are not jealous of their Wives, for the greatest Ladies in the Land will frequently talk and discourse with any Men they please, altho their Husbands be in presence.  And altho they be so stately, they will lay their hand to such work as is necessary to be done in the House, notwithstanding they have Slaves and Servants enough to do it.  Let this suffice concerning the Nature and Manners of the People in general:  The ensuing Chapters will be spent in more particular accounts of them.  And because they stand much upon their Birth and Gentility, and much of what is afterwards to be related hath reference unto it:  I shall first speak of the various ranks and degrees of Men among them.


Concerning their different Honours, Ranks, and Qualities.

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An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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