Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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them, and with whom they are an article of considerable
trade. Among other fruits, they preserve large citrons,
such as we have in Europe, a certain delicate root about
the length of sarsaparilla, that common fruit of the Indies
called amba} another called ananas} small mirobolans}
which are excellent, limes, and ginger.

Bengale, it is true, yields not so much wheat as Egypt;
but if this be a defect, it is attributable to the inhabitants,
who live a great deal more upon rice than the Egyptians,
and seldom taste bread. Nevertheless, wheat is cultivated
in sufficient quantity for the consumption of the country,
and for the making of excellent and cheap sea-biscuits,
with which the crews of European ships, English, Dutch
and Portuguese, are supplied. The three or four sorts of
vegetables which, together with rice and butter,* form the
chief food of the common people, are purchased for the
merest trifle, and for a single roupie twenty or more good
fowls may be bought. Geese and ducks are proportionably
cheap. There are also goats and sheep in abundance ;
and pigs are obtained at so low a price that the Por¬
tuguese, settled in the country, live almost entirely
upon pork. This meat is salted at a cheap rate by the
Dutch and English, for the supply of their vessels. Fish
of every species, whether fresh or salt, is in the same
profusion.      In   a   word,    Bengale    abounds   with   every

' See p. 249.

* This is the name, from the Brazilian nana or nanas, of the pine¬
apple in every country where it has been introduced from its original
habitat in America, except England. This fruit is now very common
in many parts of India, especially in those places that were Portuguese
settlements, or came under the influence of that people.

^ Myrobalans, the general name then given to various dried fruits
and kernels exported from India from a very remote period, and which
had a high reputation in the mediseval pharmacopoeia.

■* That is, ghee, which is clarified butter. In preparing it, the butter
is boiled until all the watery particles and curds have been thrown off
by repeated skimmings. When the liquid is clear oil, it is poured into
a vessel to cool, which it does in a granulated form, and if originally
well boiled, will keep for years without taint.
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