A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.

[Footnote 149:  Mr Barrow estimates the population of Batavia, and the adjacent villages, at 116,000, of which only about 8000 are Europeans; the slaves are supposed 17,000, the Chinese 22,000, and the remainder consists of free Javanese or Malays.  The streets of Batavia, he says, present a greater variety of races than are almost any where else to be found together.  Among these, however, as is to be expected, the Dutchman is by much the most consequential, when he condescends, which is not frequent, to appear amongst the lower species.  Mr B.’s description of this important being may amuse the reader.  “The Dutchman, whose predominant vice in Europe is avarice, rising into affluence in an unhealthy foreign settlement, almost invariably changes this part of his character, and, with a thorough contempt of the frugal maxim of Molier’s L’Avare, lives to eat, rather than eats to live.  His motto is, ’Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’  He observes, it is true, the old maxim of rising at an early hour in the morning, not however for the sake of enjoying the cool breeze, and of taking moderate exercise, but rather to begin the day’s career of eating and drinking.  His first essay is usually a sopie, or glass of gin to which succeed a cup of coffee and a pipe.  His stomach thus fortified, he lounges about the great hall of the house, or the viranda, if in the country, with a loose night-gown, carelessly thrown over his shoulders, a night-cap and slippers, till about eight o’clock, which is the usual hour of breakfast.  This is generally a solid meal of dried meat, fish, and poultry, made into curries, eggs, rice, strong beer, and spirits. Currie and rice is a standing dish at all meals, and at all seasons of the year, being considered as an excellent stimulus to the stomach.  The business of the day occupies little more than a couple of hours, from ten to twelve, when he again sits down to dinner, a meal that is somewhat more solid than the breakfast.  From table he retires to sleep, and remains invisible till about five in the evening, when he rises and prepares for a ride or a walk, from which he uniformly returns to a smoking-hot supper.”  So much for the portly Dutchman at Batavia,—­a sort of animal not unsuccessfully emulated, as to substantials, by a certain genus in some islands of the West Indies!-E.]

Women, however, of all nations, are permitted to settle here, without coming under any restrictions; yet we were told that there were not, when we arrived at Batavia, twenty women in the place that were born in Europe, but that the white women, who were by no means scarce, were descendants from European parents of the third or fourth generation, the gleanings of many families who had successively come hither, and in the male line become extinct; for it is certain that, whatever be the cause, this climate is not so fatal to the ladies as to the other sex.

These women imitate the Indians in every particular; their dress is made of the same materials, their hair is worn in the same manner, and they are equally enslaved by the habit of chewing betel.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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