[An audience with the Queen's son]

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

[157] December the fifth, the Queen of Olaza's Son, who though he [158] govern not (for the Mother administers all alone, and will do as long as she lives), yet for honor's sake is styl'd King, and called Celuua Kairu (of which words, Celuua is his proper name, and Kairu his title), sent for the Brachman my Interpreter in the morning, and discoursing long with him, took a particular information of [=asked particularly about] me, telling him that he understood I was much whiter than the Portugals who us'd to trade [=habitually trade] in that Country, and of a very good presence, and consequently, must needs be a person of quality. In conclusion, he bid him bring me to him when my convenience serv'd; for he was very desirous to see me and speak with me.

This Message being related to me, I let pass the hour of dinner (because, having no appetite, and finding my stomach heavy, I would not [=did not wish to] dine this day), and when it seem'd a convenient time, I went (with my Interpreter) cloth'd in black after my custom; yet not with such large Breeches down to the heels, as the Portugals for the most part are wont to wear in India, in regard of the heat (for they are very commodious, covering all the Leg, and saving the trouble of Stockings, so that the Leg is naked and loose), but with Stockings and Garters and ordinary Breeches, without a Cloak (though us'd by the Portugal Soldiers in India, even of greatest quality), but with a large Coat or Cassock, open at the sides, after the Country fashion.

The Palace (which may rather be call'd a Royal Lodge) is entered into by a Gate like the grate or lattice of our Vine-yards at Rome, ordinary enough, seated in the midst of a field, which like them is divided by a small hedge from the neighboring fields. Within the Gate is a broad Walk or Alley, on the right side whereof is a spacious plot sown, at the end of which, the Walk turns to the right hand, and there upon the same plot stands the Royal Mansion, having a prospect over all the said great green field.

In the middle of this second Walk, you enter into the House, ascending seven or eight wooden stairs, which lead into a large Porch, the length of which is equal to the whole fore-part of the House. This Porch was pav'd with Cow-dung after their manner, the walls about [=around] shining, and painted with a bad red colour much us'd by them. The fore-part of it, which is all open, is up-held by great square posts, of no great height (for 'tis their custom to make all buildings, especially Porches, but low in respect of the breadth and length, with very broad Pent-houses; which is, I believe, by reason of the great heat of the Country, where they have more need of shadow and coolness, than of air or light). Directly opposite to the stairs in the middle of the Porch, was another small Porch, which was all the entrance into the inner part of the building.

Within the little Porch was a small room long and narrow, where the King sat near the wall on the left side; and he sat upon the ground after the Eastern manner upon one of those coarse clothes [=fabrics], which in Persia and Turkie are called Krelim [=qilim], and serve for poor people; nor was it large, but [159] only so much as to contain the Person of the King, the rest of the room being bare, saving that it was polish'd with Cow-dung. Beside the King, but a little farther on his left hand, sat upon a little mat, sufficient only to contain him, a Youth of about fifteen or eighteen years of age, called Bale Nairu, who was his Nephew, and is to succeed him, being the Son of his deceased Sister, who was Daughter to the present Queen.... 

None other sat with the King, but three or four of his more considerable servants stood in the room talking with him; and in the great Porch, without [=outside] the little one, stood in files on either side other servants of inferior degree, two of which nearest the entrance ventilated the Air with fans of green Taffeta in their Hands, as if to drive away the flies from the King or the entrance; a Ceremony us'd, as I have said elsewhere, by Indian Princes for Grandeur; and they told me, the green colour was a Ceremony too, and the proper badge of the King of Olaza, for the King of Bangbel uses crimson; other Princes, white, as I saw us'd by Venk-tapa Naieka; and others, perhaps other colours: A small company indeed, and a poor appearance for a King; which call'd to my remembrance those ancient Kings, Latinus, Turnus, and Evander, who, 'tis likely, were Princes of the same sort. Such as came to speak with the King, stood without in the Porch, either on one side, or in the middle of the little Porch; either because the room was very small, and not sufficient for many people; or rather, as I believe, for more State.

The King was young, not above seventeen years of age, as they told me, yet his aspect spoke him elder; for he was very fat and lusty [=healthy], as I could conjecture of him sitting, and besides, he had long hairs of a beard upon his cheeks, which he suffer'd to grow without cutting, though they appear'd to be but the first down. Of complexion he was dusky, not black, as his Mother is, but rather of an earthy colour, as almost all the Malabars use to be [=habitually are]. He had a louder and bigger voice than Youths of his age use to have [=habitually have], and in his speaking, gestures, and all other things he shew'd Judgment and manly gravity.

From the girdle upwards he was all naked, saving that he had a thin cloth painted with several colours cast across his shoulders. The hair of his head was long after their manner, and tied in one great knot, which hung on one side wrapt up in a little plain linen, which looks like a night-cap fallen on one side. From the girdle downwards I saw not what he wore, because he [160] never rose from his seat, and the Chamber was something [=somewhat] dark; besides that, the painted cloth on his shoulders hung down very low. His Nephew who sat beside him was not naked, but clad in a whole white garment; and his Head was wrapt up in a greater volume, white, like a little Turban.

When I came before the King, his Men made me come next to the little Porch in the midst of them, where standing by my self, after the first salutations, the King presently bid me cover my head; which I forth-with did without further intreaty; though with the Mother, because a Lady, I was willing to super-abound in Courtesy, speaking to her all the time uncover'd: But with the Son who was a Man, I was minded to enjoy the privilege of my descent, and receive the favour which he did me, as due to my quality. To sit upon at first they offer'd me nothing, nor was it fitting to sit down upon the bare ground: Yet to shew some difference between my self and the by-standers, after I had put on my Hat, I lean'd upon my Sword, and so talk'd as long as I was standing, which was not long; the King, who at first sat side-wise, turning himself directly towards me, although by so doing he turn'd his back to his Nephew.

He ask'd me almost all the same questions as his Mother had done; Whence I came? What countries I had travell'd through? What Princes I had seen? Whether I had left my own Country upon any misfortune? Or why? How I would have done thus alone in strange Countries, in case of sickness or other accidents? To all which I answer'd, as I had done to his Mother; and upon my saying, that I wandered thus alone up and down trusting in the help of God; He ask'd me, Who was my God? I answer'd him (pointing upwards), the God of Heaven, the Creator of the Universe; whereupon certain Soldiers there present (in all likely-hood Moors [=Muslims]) as if applauding me, said, Ab Chodia, Chodia, which in the Persian Tongue signifies Lord, and is meant of God; inferring that I worship'd the true God, whom the *Moors* pretended to know, in opposition to the Idols of the Gentiles of the Country; And they us'd the Persian word Chodia, because that probably the Sect of Mahomet came into these parts from Persia (which is not very remote from India), as also from Arabia; or perhaps, because the Indians of the Territory of Idal-Sciah [=Adil Shah] and Dacan [=the Deccan], being in great part Moors, use much of the Persian Tongue, which is spoken in the Courts of those Princes no less than their natural Language; whence these other Indians more inwards to the South have, by reason of neighbourhood, communication both in Religion and Speech.

The King told me several times that he had very great contentment in seeing me, and that no European of my quality had ever been in his Country; that my person well shew'd of what quality I was: Nor was he mistaken herein; for what other would ever go out of Europe into his Country? unless some Portugal Merchantello [=petty merchant] of those who came hither for the most part to seek wood to make masts and sails [161] for Ships; these Woods abounding with very goodly Trees. I told him, I was sorry I had nothing worthy to present to him; that in my Country there wanted not gallant things for his Highness; but it being so many years since my departure thence, and my Travels so far, I had nothing left as I desir'd; yet, as a memorial of my service, I should venture to give him a small trifle of my Country: Whereupon I caus'd my Interpreter (who carried it) to offer him a little Map of the World, which I had brought with me out of Italy; telling him what it was, and how all the Countries, Lands, Seas, and Islands of the world were exactly delineated in it, with their Names set to each place in our Tongue, and all that was necessary to make him understand what it was.

The King was hugely pleas'd with it, and desir'd to see several Countries, where they lay, and how great they were, asking me sundry questions about them; but being [=since] he understood not our Letters written therein, he satisfied himself with the sight only, and with shewing it to all the by-standers as a curious and ingenious piece of Art.

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