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tunited to admit of above one story, made them rather go back that
In those mountainous parts where
other Indians. When chewed, this more continent with respect to womixture becomes as red as blood, men than the other Asiatic naand stains their mouth, lips, and tions; and their women are treated teeth, of a black colour which can with much more attention. A never be effaced. This effect, Ceylonese woman almost never ex. which to an European would de- periences the treatment of a slave, form the countenance,
rith is but is looked upon by her husband, considered as beautifying it, for more after the European manner, they look upon white teeth as only as a wife and a companion. These fit for dogs, and a disgrace to the traits may seem very inconsistent human species. The hot mixture, with that licentious commerce however, speedily destroys their among the sexes, which is so conteeth, and often renders them tooth- trary to Asiatic customs and ideas, less at an early age. They also and which has prevailed from time frequently stain their nails and immemorial in this island. Mr. fingers with the juice of the betel. Knox has drawn a picture of their leaf; but this seems to be attended total disregard to chastity, or any with no bad consequence, as their bounds to sexual intercourse, which hands are delicate and well formed is extremely abhorrent to the ideas in an uncommon degree,
not only of an Asiatic, but even to « There is a wonderful degree the inhabitants of the most dissoof gravity observed in conversa- lute metropolis in Europe: and tion even among relations and inti- from my own observations among mate friends. It is not unusual to the Cinglese, and all the accounts see a party cf Ceylonese sit for a which I could obtain of the Canlong time together as grave and dians, I am convinced that he has, mute as an assembly of quakers in very few instances, exaggerated when the Spirit does not move their licentiousness. them; and, during all this while, “ A Cinglese husband is not in they continue 'chewing betel-leaf the smallest degree jealous of his as if for a wager, and apparently wife, and is rather ambitious to disenjoying it as much as an English- play her to the public eye. Nor is man would a bottle of old Port. he particularly offended at her infis
“ In their salutations they are delity to him, unless she be caught particularly punctilious: the form in the fact; in which case he thinks which they use is that common to hintself entitled to exercise the all Indians, of bringing the palms rights of an Asiatic husband. The of the hands to the forehead, and infringement of chastity scarcely then making a sulam, or low bow. subjects a wom?n either married It is here that the distinctions of or unmarried to the slightest rerank are peculiarly observable : a proach, unless indeed they happen person of a lower class on meeting to have connexion with one of his superior alınost throws himself lower cast; an act which is looked prostrate before him, and repeats upon as the very excess of infamy. his name and quality fifty different Among the Candians, in particular, ways; while the superior, siziking this only distinction of moral tur. past with the most unbending gra- pitude, which is so wortliy of a barvity of features, scarcely deigas the barous nation, is carried to the siightest rod in return.
highest pitch. Even a man will “ The natives of Ceylon are scarcely venture to marry a woman
of inferior rank, nor would the husbands. This, however, is not king allow of it without exacting a alwaysthe case: many of the men in. large fine ; but a woman is never deed have but one wife, while others known to form a connexion below have as many as they can mainher own sphere, as it would dis- tain. There is no positive regulagrace her in the eyes of the world tion on the subject, and it is proba. for ever.
With people of their ble that the east with which promisown rank, on the contrary, the cuous intercourse is carried on, and most unbounded commerce is car. the ease with which marriages are ried on in private; and it is by no dissolved, is, together with their means uncommon,
nor attended poverty, the true cause why polywith any disgrace, for the nearest gamy is not more general among relations to have connexion with them. In their particular circumeach other.
stances indeed, where the houses Among the Cinglese, the di- consist often of but one apartment, stinction of rank has indeed begun and even the necessaries of life are to be less strictly attended to; so scanty, it is not to be supposed but without any better boundary that a man will voluntarily underbeing established in its place
take the burthen of maintaining “A mother makes no scruple two wives, when he can at pleasure of disposing of her daughter's fa- put away the wife he begins to get vours for a small sum to any one tired of, and take in her place the that desires them. They are parti. new object of his affections. cularly fond of forming such con « The marriage ceremony, nexions with Europeans; and, in- which among nations with stricter stead of accounting it any reproach, ideas of chastity is looked upon a mother, in quarrelling with any with a degree of mystery and veneof her neighbours, will silence ration, is a matter of very small them at once on the score of her importance among the Ceylonese, superior dignity, by telling them and seems to be at all attended to that her daughter has had the ho- only with a view to entitle the parnour to lie with an European. ties to share in each other's goods, Even women of the highest rank and to give their relations an op. do not think themselves degraded portunity of observing that they by having connexion with Euro- have married into their own cast. peans, and are not ashamed to be The marriages are often contracted seen by them in public. This by the parents while the parties are forms a remarkable contrast with as yet in a state of childhood, the Mahometan women of the con- merely with a view to match tinent, who would think themselves them according to their rank, and disgraced and polluted if any of are often dissolved by consent their features were even by accident almost as soon as consummated. discovered to a stranger.'
It is also customary for those who “ In some respects the accounts intend to marry, previously to cogiven of the matrimonial connex habit and make trial of each other's ions of the Ceylonese are incorrect. temper; and if they find they canIt has in particular been said that not agree, they break off without each husband has only one wife, the interference of the priest, or although a woman is permitted to any further ceremony, and no discohabit promiscuously with several grace attaches on the occasion to
.either party, but the woman is several times round both their bon quite as much esteemed by her dies; and water is then poured next lover as if he had found her upon them by the priest, who al. in a state of virginity.
ways officiates at this ceremony al“ After the parties have agreed though rarely at the former. After to marry, the first step is, that the the marriage ceremony, whether man present his bride with the wed the stricter or the less binding one ding-clothes, which indeed are not is performed, the parties pass the of the most costly kind: they con- night at the bride's house ; and in sist of a piece of cloth, six or seven the morning the husband brings yards in length, for the use of the her home, accompanied by her bride, and another piece of cloth friends, who carry with them proto be placed on the bed. It gives visions for another feast. In bringus a striking idea of the total want ing home the bride a strange anof industry among the Ceylonese, cient custom is observed; the and their extreme state of poverty, bride is always obliged to march that even these simple marriage before her husband, and never to. presents are frequently beyond the be out of his sight by the way. ability of the man to purchase, and The traditionary reason for this that he is often obliged to borrow practice is, that a man on this octhem for the occasion from some casion once happening to walk of his neighbours.
foremost, his wife was carried off “ The wedding presents are from him before he was aware ; presented by the bridegroom in a circumstance not at all unlikely person, and the following night he to happen more than once among is entitled to lie with the bride. a people who think so lightly of Upon this occasion is appointed the marriage ties. The weddingthe day for bringing her home, day is always looked upon as a and celebrating the wedding with time of particular festivity; and festivities. On that day he and those who are able to afford it, his relations repair to the bride's never fail to have the feasts accomhouse, carrying along with them panied with music and dancing ; what they are able to contribute to the merriment is often protracted, the marriage-feast. The bride and and certain nuptial songs continue bridegroom, in the presence of this to be carolled the whole night assembly, eat out of one dish to de- long. note that they are of the same « The portion given with the Tank. Their thumbs are then tied daughter is in proportion to the together; and the ceremony con- ability of the parents ; and if the cludes by the nearest relations, or young couple are not in circumthe priest, when he is present, cut- stances to maintain themselves, ting them asunder. This, how. they still continue to reside with ever, is accounted a less binding their parents. If the young peoceremony, and indeed scarcely in- ple find after marriage that their tended for continuance. When it dispositions do not agree, they seis desired to make the marriage as parate without ceremony; only firm and indissoluble as the nature the woman carries with her the of their manners will allow, the portion she brought, in order to parties are joined together with a make her as good a match for her long piece of cloth, which is folded next husband. Both men and wo1803.
men often marry' and divorce seve a much greater degree than migla ral times in this manner, before be expected from their stage of ci they have found a partner, with vilisation. This is probably owing whom they can reconcile them to the gloomy superstitious fears selves to spend the remainder of which they imbibe from their intheir days.
fancy, and which continue to emOwing to the early intercourse bitter their existence ever after. of the women with the other sex, Sports and diversions are almost for they are in general even regu- entirely unknown among them larly married at twelve, they soon None of them attempt those tricks lose the appearance of youth, and and feats of activity for which the get old and haggard in their looks natives of Hindostan are so faimmediately after they pass twen- mous; for all the jugglers, danty. The climate, indeed, conduces cers; and conjurors, who are at any much to this early decay; and time found at Ceylon, are univerthey expose themselves so much to sally from the continent. The the sun, that were it not for the dispirited and oppressed state under quantities of cocoa-nut oil with which the Cinglese have so long which they anoint themselves pro- groaned, may indeed be supposed fusely, their skins would soon to have among them extinguished crack and break out in blotches. the practice of their original
“ The Cinglese women are much amusements ;, but during the whole more pleasant in their manners, time of my stay on the island, and and, I may add, more elegant in after the minutest inquiries, I never their persons than those of the could learn of any diversions in other Indian nations. Their ex use among the Candians. It is treme cleanliness is a trait which indeed to be supposed that in their Tenders them particularly agreea- more flourishing state they had, ble to an Englishman, although he like other nations, some recreations finds it something difficult to re- for their leisure hours; and Mr. .concile himself to the strong exha. Knox records one or two which lations of the cocoa-nut-oil.
in his time still continued in “ The Ceylonese, like other inha. use at new-years and particular bitants of warm climates, are par- festivals; but their perpetual conticularly fond of bathing, and often tests with the Portuguese and plunge into the water several times Dutch, joined to the tyranny of a day. In this gratification, how- their own internal government, ever, they are often interrupted by have probably succeeded, along alligators, of whom they entertain with the gloom of their superstithe greatest terror ; and are ob- tion, in destroying those glimmer. liged to have recourse to precau- ings of humane and social enjoy. tions against this dreadful enemy, ment, which were just beginning to by inclosing with a strong paling break through the dark ferocity of a little spot on the side of a pond barbarism. or river, sufficiently large to allow “ During the wet season, the them room to wash and refresh Ceylonese are subject to a variety themselves.
of diseases. Every man is here his “Gravity, that constant charac- own physician, and the mode of teristic che savage state, still cure practised
of course very continues among the Ceylonese in simple. A plaister of herbs or of cow.