Esteemed Readers, prepare to disembark! Take only necessary things as it won’t take us long to stay at the Cape of Capricorn. No spirits are allowed! In fact, there is plenty of wine in cosy Dutch pavilions. Be careful! There are cruel lions & savage elephants nearby.
Aboard the Oiseau, 1 June 1685
“There are four vessels on the roadstead at the Cape. They take a General Commissaire to the Indies. A Dutch Company assigned him to visit certain places & to give orders. His name is M. Baron de Reede, he has sovereign authority & even right to change Governors. In the morning he sent a Gentleman to M. the Ambassador to pay his compliments. The ship he sails flies the Admiral’s flag. The Dutch use this custom in the Indian seas: when they pass the line they fly a flag, even if it is a merchant ship. M. the Ambassador sent Chevalier de Fourbin to pay his compliments back. We have made seven canon shots & the fortress responded to us equally. All the vessels on the roadstead, including the Admiral’s one, greeted us with seven, six & three canon shots. We did the same to thank them for each shot. Our sick men, Jesuits & Missionaries disembarked from the ship. I’ll do to-morrow in pleasant company as there are some certain ferocious lions & impertinent elephants on the mountain. M. the General Commissaire has sent us some fruits, herbs & fish as a gift. We shall have a salade. As for me, I don’t worry about the rest (any more…)”
At the Cape of Capricorn, 3 June 1685
“…Water will be loaded to-morrow, timber will be done on Tuesday, we are to re-boards the ship on Wednesday. (The crew members) who have the scurvy are already strong, so if it pleases God, we set sail on Thursday. To stay here is so good but we must head for Siam.
I shall spend this night on land with Jesuits in a pavilion located in one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. As soon as these good Fathers appeared the General Commissaire offered them an accommodation to give them a good place for meditation & they trusted him. (NB: Most of the Dutch were Protestants). Their appartements are situated between two terraces where the biggest telescope will be at their disposal. They will have no need: there are bread, wine & fruits (in abundance) & they will keep the table. Is not it a gest? They will show Jupiter’s satellites, the rings of Saturn, the Milky Way to the Dutch. They will carry tiny microscopes where they will see pretty tiny things. In fact,I suppose that if they wished to live here they would build a house. This place is good for that as well as for the spirit…”
Dieu Vous Ait en Sa Sainte Garde,
Vostre l’Abbé de Choisy ”
Image: Aubusson, tapestry.
Sounds like a great place to rest. Push on to Siam is a must.
Pingback: Voyage de Siam par L’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XVIII | eternamenta
Pingback: Voyage de Siam par L’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XIX | eternamenta
Pingback: Voyage de Siam par L’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XX | eternamenta
Pingback: Voyage de Siam par l’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XXI | eternamenta