The travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a noble Roman, into East-India and Arabia Deserta in which, the several countries, together with the customs, manners, traffique, and rites both religious and civil, of those Oriental princes and nations, are faithfully described : in familiar letters to his friend Signior Mario Schipano : whereunto is added a relation of Sir Thomas Roe's Voyage into the East-Indies.
Della Valle, Pietro, 1586-1652., Roe, Thomas, Sir, 1581?-1644., Havers, G. (George)

SECTION XXV. Of his Pastimes at home and abroad, &c. where, something of his Quality, and Disposition.

NOw what he doth, and how he behaves himself amongst his house-full of Wives and Women cannot be known, and therefore not related; but when he shews himself (as be∣fore) thrice openly to his people, every day, he had always something or other presented before him to make him sport, and to give him present content.

As sometimes he delighted himself in seeing Horses ridden, the Natives there (as before) being very excellent in their well-managing of them. Sometimes he saw his great Elephants fight. And at other times he pleased himself in seeing wrest∣ling, or dauncing, or jugling, and what else he liked.

And it happened that (but a few years before our abode there) a Juggler of Bengala (a Kingdom famous for Witches, and men of that profession) brought an Ape before the King (who was ever greedy to please himself with Novelties) pro∣fessing that he would do many strange feats: The Mogol was ready presently to make a trial of this, and forthwith called some boys about him (which he was conceived to keep for such use as I dare not name,) and plucking a Ring from his finger gave it one of them to hide, that he might make a trial, whe∣ther or no the Ape could find it out; who presently went to the boy that had it. The Mogol made some further trials like this, where the Ape did his part as before. And before the Ape was taken out of his presence, this strange, and unex∣pected thing following came into the King's thought. There are (said he) many disputes in the World about that true Pro∣phet which should come into the World. We, said the Mogol, are for Mahomet. The Persians magnifie Mortis Hale (but they are Mahometans for Religion likewise.) The Hindoos, or Heathens there, have many whom they highly extol and magnifie; as Bremaw, and Bramon, and Ram, and Permissar; the Parsees are for Zertoost, the Jews for Moses, the Christians for Christ; and he added three more whose names I have not, who make up the number of twelve, who have all their seve∣ral followers in that part of the World; and then he caused those twelve Names to be written in twelve several Scrolls, and put Page  461 together, to see if the Ape could draw out the Name of the true Prophet, this done, the Ape put his paw amongst them, and pull'd forth the Name of Christ. The Mogol a second time, caused those twelve Names to be written again in twelve other Scrolls and Characters, and put together; when the Ape as be∣fore pull'd forth the Name of Christ.

Then Mahobet-Chan, a great Nobleman of that Court, and in high favour with the King, said, that it was some imposture of the Christians (though there were none that did bear that Name there present) and desired that he might make a third trial; which granted, he put but eleven of those names toge∣ther, reserving the name of Christ in his hand; the Ape search∣ing as before, pull'd forth his paw empty, and so twice, or thrice together, the King demanding a reason for this, was an∣swered, that haply the thing he looked for was not there: he was bid to search for it, and then putting out those eleven names one after the other, in a seeming indignation rent them; then running to Mahobet-Chan caught him by the hand where the Name of Christ was concealed, which delivered, he opened the Scroll, and so held it up to the King, but did not tear it as the former; upon which the Mogol took the Ape, and gave his Keeper a good Pension for to keep him near about him, calling him the Divining Ape, and this was all that followed upon this admirable thing, except the great wonder and amazement of that people.

There was one some years since wrote this story (but some∣what varied from that I have here related) in a little printed Pamphlet, and told his Reader that I had often seen that Ape while I lived in those parts, which particular he should have left out; but for the Relation it self, I believe it was so, because it hath been often confirmed there in its report unto me by divers persons, who knew not one another, and were differing in Reli∣on, yet all agreed in the story, and in all the circumstances thereof.

Now for the disposition of that King, it ever seemed unto me to be composed of extreams; for sometimes he was barbarously cruel, and at other times he would seem to be exceeding fair and gentle.

For his cruelties; he put one of his women to a miserable death, one of his women he had formerly touched and kept Company withall, but now she was superannuated; for neither himself, nor Nobles (as they say) come near their wives, or women, after they exceed the age of thirty years, though they keep them, and allow them some maintenance. The fault of that woman, this: the Mogol upon a time found her, & one of his Eunuchs kissing one another; and for this very thing, the King presently gave command that a round hole should be made in the earth, and that her body should be put into that hole, where she should stand with her head only above ground, and the earth to be put in again unto her close, round about her, that so she might stand in the parching Sun, till the extream hot beams thereof did kill her, in which torment she lived one whole day, and the night following, and almost till the Page  462 next noon, crying out most lamentably while she was able to speak in her language, as the Shunamits Child did in his, 2 King. 4. Ah my head, my head! Which horrid execution, or rather murder was acted near our house: where the Eunuch by the command of the said King was brought very near the place where this poor Creature was thus buried alive, and there in her sight cut all in∣to pieces.

That great King would be often overcome by Wine, yet (as if he meant to appropriate that sin to himself) would punish others with very much severity, who were thus distempered.

Sometimes for little, or no faults, the Mogol would cause men to be most severely whipt, till they were almost ready to die under the rod; which after they must kiss in thankfulness.

He caused one of his servants of the higher rank to be very much whipt for breaking a China-Cup, he was commanded to keep safe, and then sent him into China, (which is a marvellous distance from thence) to buy another.

Sometimes in other of his mad distempers he would condemn men to servitude, or dismember, or else put them to death, as sacrifices to his will and passion, not Justice. So that it might be said of him, quando male nemo pejus, that when he did wickedly none could do worse, as if it had been true of him which was spoken of that monster Nero observed before, who was called Lutum sanguine maceratum, Dirt soaked in blood.

For his good actions, he did relieve continually many poor people; and not seldom would shew many expressions of duty and strong affection to his Mother then living, so that he who esteemed the whole world as his Vassals would help to carry her in a Palankee upon his shoulders.

The Mogol would often visit the Cells of those he esteemed re∣ligious men, whose Persons he esteemed sacred, as if they had been Demigods.

And he would speak most respectively of our blessed Savi∣our Christ; but his Parentage, his poverty, and his cross did so con∣found his thoughts, that he knew not what to think of them.

Lastly, the Mogol is very free and noble unto all those which fall into, and abide in his affection, which brings me now to speak