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0161 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 161 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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loads in creels' that look as if they were made of green vines. These people halt at some place on the frontier between their own country and Thin, and hold a feast for several days, during which they strew [the materials of] their baskets about on the ground, and then they depart to their own homes in the interior. When the other people are aware of their departure they come to the spot and gather those withes2 that had been strewn about. To these they give the name of Petri.3 Getting rid of the [stalks and] fibrous parts they take the leaves and double them up into little balls which they stitch through with the fibres of the withes. And these they divide into three classes, forming from the largest leaves what is called Big-ball Malabathrum, from the next size Illicldle ball, and from the smallest leaves Little-ball. And thus originate the three qualities of Malabathrum, which the people who have prepared them carry to India for sale.*

tain chain on the east of Bengal), dwarfish and stumpy and platter-faced, but white in complexion." Lassen locates them as a Bhotiya race in the Himalya near Darjiling; his map (by Kiepert) in the Garo and Kasia Hills north of Silhet.

1 The word is rapirôvas, the meaning of which is doubtful.

2 The word is «altâµot, and would usually mean reeds or canes. But it seems absurd so to term what had been described as like green vine-twigs.

3 Not the withes but the leaves, as Lassen (iii, 38) has pointed out, must have been called thus ; Sanst. Patra, a leaf; mod. Hindust. Patti.

4 The same terms (hadrospherum, 9nesospherum, microspherum) are applied by Pliny to varieties of Nard ; perhaps a mistake of his, as Dioscorides observes that some people made the mistake of regarding malabathrwm as the leaf of Indian Nard.

Some of the early writers after the Portuguese discoveries took the pin or betel leaf for the malabathrum of the ancients, but the physician Garcias Da Horta, in his work on the aromatics of India (first published at Goa in 1563) pointed out that malabathrum was the Tamâlapatra, the leaf of a species of cassia, still valued in India though in a greatly inferior degree (see ch. xix ; I quote an Ital. transi., Venice, 1589). Curiously enough Ramusio gives as a representation of the " Betelle" a cut which really represents with fair accuracy the Tamalapatra, commonly called (at least in Bengal) Tejpdt. Linschoten describes it accurately, noticing its pleasant clove-like smell, and says it was in great repute among the Hindus as a diuretic, etc., and to preserve clothes from moths, two of the uses expressly assigned to malabathrum by Dioscorides and Pliny. He also observes that the natives considered it to rival spikenard in all its qualities. Linschoten's commentator Paludanus says much was imported to Venice in his time ; and that it was called by the Arabs Cadegi Indi (Read çadegi). I see that in F. Johnson's Persian Dictionary, Sccdaj is defined " Indian spikenard," and Sâdhaji Hindi, " Indian leaf," which seems to show' the persistence of the confusion between the two articles. This leaf was abundant in the forests of the Kasia Hills, where I passed a part of my earliest service in India, and so was a cassia producing a coarse cinnamon, of which there was a considerable export to the plains. The trees were distinct, if I be not mistaken, though evidently of the same genus. The Tejpdt was narrow, like that of the Portugal laurel, that of the other tree much broader, both noticeable for their partition by three main longitudinal nerves, like the lines of longitude on a map of the hemisphere. The Kasias in features would answer well to the