[The journey to Olaza]

[Excerpt from Letter VI, from *Mangalor*, December 9, 1623:]

[144] I departed from *Ikkeri* a little before noon, going out at the same Gate whereat I had enter'd; and having no [145] other company but a Veturino, or *Hackery*-man [=groom for a horse]; and a Pulia who carry'd my luggage, without any other servant; for as for Galal the Persian, alias Cacciatur, I was constrain'd to dismiss him for some uncommendable actions, and send him back from Ikkeri to Goa.

I will not omit to tell you, that this my brave God-son (whom I had brought so carefully out of Persia, and trusted so much, and who alone of all my ancient servants remain'd with me) one day cunningly open'd a light box or basket (Canestri the Portugals call them) wherein I kept my Clothes, and which, after the fashion of the Country, was not of wood, but of hoops lin'd with leather, and clos'd with little Pad-locks, like those which are us'd at Rome for Plate; and they are thus contriv'd that they may be of little weight, because in these parts, carriages and baggages for travel are more frequently transported upon Men's shoulders than upon beasts' backs; and one of these baskets or Canestri is just a Man's load.

Now the good Cacciatur having open'd mine, without hurting the lock, or meddling with the linen which he found therein, took out only all the little money which I then had, and [which I] had put into it, to avoid carrying its weight about me; it was in one of those long leathern purses, which are made to wear round the waist like a girdle, and was full of Spanish Rialls, a Coin in these parts, and almost in all the world, current enough. His intention, I conceive, was to leave me (as they say) naked in the Mountains in the center of India, and peradventure [=perhaps], to go into some Territory of the Gentiles or Mahometans, there to pass a jovial life upon my expense.

But it pleas'd God, the theft being done in my Chamber, where none but he resorted, we had vehement suspicion of him; and therefore the Ambassador making use of his Authority, caus'd him to be laid hold on, and we found the theft in his breeches tied to his naked flesh; and thus I recover'd my money. I was unwilling any hurt should be done to him, and [unwilling] withall, to keep him longer; nevertheless that he might not go into the Infidel-Countries, lest thereby he should lose his Religion and turn to his native errors, I sent him away with some trusty persons to Goa, giving him letters also to Signora Maria, but such as whereby they might know that I had dismiss'd him, and that he was not to be entertain'd there, though otherwise indemnified.

By this Story you may see how much a Man may be deceiv'd in his trusting; how little benefits prevail upon an unworthy nature; and withall, you may consider to what misfortunes a Stranger is subject in strange Countries; so that if I had had nothing else, being thus depriv'd of all, I should have been left to perish miserably amongst Barbarians.

But leaving him to his Voyage, I departed from Ikkeri, and having pass'd the Town Badrapor, I left the road of Abineli, and by another way more towards the left hand, went to dine under certain Trees near a small Village of four Houses, which they [146] call Ramanen coppa. After dinner we continu'd our way, and forded a River call'd Irihale, not without being wet, by reason of the smallness of my Horse; and having travell'd near two Gau's (one *Gau* consists of two Cos [=*coss*] and is equivalent to two Portugal Leagues) we lodg'd at night in a competent Town, the name whereof is Dermapora.

In the Towns I endeavor'd to procure me a servant, as well because I understood not the Language of the Country (for though he that carry'd my Goods could speak Portugal, yet he could not well serve me for an Interpreter, because being by Race a Pulia, which amongst them is accounted vile and unclean, they would not suffer him to come into their Houses, nor touch their things; though they were not shy of me, albeit of a different Religion, because they look'd upon me as a Man of noble Race); as for that I found much trouble in reference to my diet [=food]: For these Indians are extremely fastidious in edibles, there is neither flesh [=meat] nor fish to be had amongst them; one must be contented only with Rice, Butter, or Milk, and other such inanimate [=vegetarian] things, wherewith nevertheless they make no ill-tasted dishes; but, which is worse, they will cook every thing themselves, and will not let others either eat or drink in their vessels; wherefore instead of dishes they gave us our victuals in great Palm leaves, which yet are smooth enough, and the Indians themselves eat more frequently in them than in any other vessels: Besides, one must entreat them three hours for this, and account it a great favor; so that, in brief, to travel in these Countries requires a very large stock of patience.

The truth is, 'tis a most crafty invention of the Devil against the Charity so much preach'd by our Lord Jesus Christ, to put it so in the heads of these people, that they are polluted and become unclean, even by touching others of a different Religion; of which superstition they are so rigorous observers, that they will sooner see a person whom they account vile and unclean (though a Gentile) die, than go near him to relieve him....

[146] November the four and twentieth.... I descended the Mountain Gat by a long precipice, some of which I was fain to walk a foot, my Horse having fallen twice without any disaster, and by a third fall almost broke my Knee to pieces. I din'd, after I had travelled one Gau and a half, in a good Town called Colur, where there is a great Temple, the Idol whereof, if I misunderstood not, is the Image of a Woman; the place is much venerated, and many resort to it from several parts in Pilgrimage.

After dinner, my Horse being tired, I travelled not above half another Gau; and having [147] gone in all this day but two Gau's, went to lodge at a certain little village, which they said was called Nalcal. Certain Women who dwelt there alone in absence of their Husbands, courteously gave us lodging in the uncovered Porches of their Houses, and prepared supper for us. This Country is inhabited not only with great Towns, but, like the Mazandran in Persia, with abundance of Houses scattered here and there in several places amongst the woods. The people live for the most part by sowing of Rice; their way of Husbandry is to overflow the soil with water, which abounds in all places; but they pay, as they told me, very large Tributes to the King, so that they have nothing but the Labour for themselves, and live in great Poverty....

[150] The first of December, in the Morning I went to see Banghel, by the Indians more correctly call'd Bangher, or Banghervari; 'tis a mile or little more distant from Mangalor, towards the South and upon the Sea; and the King that rul'd there, and in the circumjacent lands, being at this day driven out, 'tis subject to Venk-tapa Naieka. A Musket-shot without [=outside] Mangalor, on that side, is a small River which is pass'd over by a ruinous stone bridge, and may likewise be forded; 'tis the boundary of the Portugals' [=Portuguese] jurisdiction. The above-said mile is through cultivated fields, and then you come to Banghel, which is a rich soil, and sometimes [=formerly] better peopled than at present; whence the Houses are poor Cottages of earth and straw. It hath but one straight street, of good length, with Houses and Shops continu'd on both sides, and many other sheds dispers'd among the Palmettos.

The King's House stood upon a rais'd ground, almost like a Fort, but is now wholly destroy'd, so that there is nothing left standing but the posts of the Gate; for when Venk-tapa Naieka took this Territory, he demolish'd whatever was strong in it. The Bazar, or Market-place, remains, although not so stor'd with goods as it was in the time of its own King; yet it affords what is necessary, and much *Areca* or Fofel, whereof they make Merchandize, sending the same into divers [=various] parts, that of this place being better than others; here are also in the Bazar, some Gold-smiths who make knives and scissors adorn'd with Silver very cheap, and other like toys, of which I bought some, and having seen all that was to be seen return'd on foot, as I came, though somewhat late, to Mangalor.

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