Esteemed Readers, good tidings! The Cape of Good Hope is approaching! Soon we will enjoy comfortable Dutch huts, wonderful meat dishes & vegetables! The sea is favourable. Let fair wind be with us!
Aboard the Oiseau, 23 May 1685
“…Studying reassures us when things don’t go well. Days pass swiftly but we are not idle at all. I’m going to send you the very Siamese cross with my first liturgies. At least I hope so much. Finally I pronounce guttural & nose sounds, while our Missionaries find them difficult. You won’t believe but my modest music skills that I have make my Siamese pronouncation easier. It would be great if I could enter the Court of the Siamese King feeling at ease. He would not be dissapointed but even curious. Oh, I would tell him so many things & would visit his cabinet from time to time…”
Aboard the Oiseau, 25 May 1685
“…We are on the way: it means something & we sail without any obstacle. I wonder where these furious seas of the Cape of Good Hope are. Nevertheless Messieurs de la Maligne are persuaded these seas are very near from here. The wind is very weak while the sea is very stable…”
Aboard the Oiseau, 26 May 1685
“…It is always a little windy, and we study a miracle: the Siamese moves its own way. We haven’t reached the Cape but we have learned thousand wonderful things. The crew loses hope: either we never reach the Cape or we won’t arrive to Siam this year. And I answer it: it will be all right; we have started too good not to achieve the end: if we don’t arrive to Siam we will spend winter in Surate in Bantam that is a beautiful country, We are fond of it. We will stay together for a longer period of time while I shall learn the Siamese better… The Father Fontenei continues to explain the spheres. This morning he has shown us very clearly why it is so easy to determine latitude & almost impossible to do the longitude. My logic was correct, I comprehended the matter but, unfortunately, I failed at the eleventh hour. I faced an insurmountable difficulty. Otherwise, I would send you my procuration to obtain hundred thousand ecus that he Dutch promised to the one who would determine the longitudes…”
Dieu Vous Ait en Sa Sainte Garde,
Vostre l’Abbé de Choisy ”
Image: Aubusson, tapestry.