Max Havelaar (Wikisource)/04
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Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24 - Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27 - Chapter 28 - Chapter 29 - Chapter 30 - Chapter 31 - Chapter 32 - Chapter 33 - Chapter 34 - Chapter 35 - Chapter 36 - Chapter 37 - Chapter 38 - Chapter 39
Before I go on, I must say that the young Stern has come. He is a nice chap. He is quick and skilled, but I believe that he courts. Marie is thirteen years old. His inventory is very neat. I let him work on the copybook, so he can practice the Dutch style. I wonder whether Ludwig Stern will soon send me orders. Marie will embroider slippers for him – for the young Stern, I mean. Busselinck & Waterman won't have his orders. A decent broker is not an interloper, I say!
The day after the circle meeting at the Rosemeijers, who are sugar merchants, I called Frits and asked him to bring Shawlman's packet. You must know, reader, that I am very strict in my family when it comes to religion and chasteness. Well, last night, just when I had peeled the first pear, I saw on the face of one of the girls that there was something in the verse that was a bit fishy. I had not been listening to the thing, but I did see that Bethsy crumbled her bread, and that was clear enough. You will see, reader, that I am a person who knows what's going on in the world. So I told Frits to show me that fine piece from the previous night, and very soon I found the line that had crumbled Bethsy's bread. The poem told about a child that's on his mother's breast – that's acceptable – but also "hardly had appeared from the mother's womb", well and that was no good – to talk about that, I mean – and my wife agrees with me. Marie is thirteen years old. We do not speak about cabbages or storks in our house, but saying things so clearly, that's indecent, because I appreciate chastity. Frits knows the thing "", as Stern calls it, and I let him promise that he'd never again say it – at least until he is a member of Doctrina, because no young girls are admitted there, I stored it in my desk, I mean the poem. But I wanted to know whether there wasn't more in the packet that could be offending. So I searched and browsed through it. I could not read everything, since there were languages which I did not understand, but behold, my eye fell on an article titled Report of the coffee culture in the Residence Menado.
My heart jumped up, because I am a coffee broker – 37 Laurier Canal – and Menado is a good brand. So that Shawlman, who makes such indecent poems, had also worked with coffee. I saw the packet now in a very different way, and I discovered many articles. I did not understand all of them, but they certainly showed knowledge and skill. There were tables, reports, calculations with digits without any rhyme, and everything was edited very carefully, so that I, to be frank – for I appreciate truth – got the idea that this Shawlman, when our third clerk was unavailable – which is not unlikely, since he gets older – might very well take his place. It's a matter of course that I'd inquire first as to honesty, faith and decency, since I want no-one in the office before I am sure of that. That's my strict principle. You saw that in my letter to Ludwig Stern.
I did not want Frits to know that I got interested in the contents of the packet, so I sent him away. It was really dazzling, when I picked up the articles one by one and read the titles. It is true, there was poetry in it, but many things were useful, and I was amazed by the diversity of subjects. I admit – for I appreciate truth – that I, who have always traded coffee, am unable to judge the value of all these things, but even without this judgement it is obvious that the list of titles alone is remarkable. I told you the history of the Greek, so you know that I had some Latin education in my childhood, and although I prefer to have no quotations in my correspondence – it would not be fitting in a broker's office – I thought when I saw all that:. Or: .
But this was actually merely a kind of resentment, and a desire to speak to all that wisdom that lay before me, to speak to it in Latin, more than that I exactly meant what I said. Because, when I looked with some care to an article, I had to admit that the author seemed to know what he was talking about, and that his considerations showed a lot of solidity.
There were articles and essays:
- On Sanskrit, as the mother of the Germanic languages.
- On the penalty clauses for child murder.
- On the origin of nobility.
- On the difference between 'Infinite time' and 'Eternity'
- On calculation of probability.
- On the book Job. (There was some more about Job, but that was poetry
- On protein in the atmospheric air.
- On the state of Russia.
- On vowels.
- On cellular prisons.
- On the old theorems of .
- On the desirability of the abolition of punishment for slander.
- On the causes of the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain, apart from the desire for religious or national freedom.
- On perpetual motion machines, the squaring of the circle and the root of rootless numbers.
- On the weight of light.
- On the decline of civilisation since the advent of Christianity.
- On the mythology of Iceland.
- On the Émile by Rousseau.
- On the civil legal procedures, in matters of commerce.
- On Sirius being the centre of a solar system.
- On import duties being ineffective, uncouth, unrighteous and indecent. (I had never heard about that)
- On poetry as the oldest language. (I don't beliieve that)
- On white ants.
- On the unnaturalness of schools.
- On prostitution within marriage. (This is an outrageous article)
- On hydraulic subjects in relation to rice culture.
- On the seeming superiority of the Western civilisation.
- On land registry, registration and seal.
- On books for children, fables and fairy-tales. (I'd like to read that since he insists on truth)
- On intermediaries in trade. (I really dislike this. It appears that he wants to abolish brokers. But yet I put this aside, since it contains some things that I can use in my book.)
- On succession rights.
- On the invention of chastity. (I do not understand this)
- On multiplication. (It's a simple title, but there is a lot in this article of which I had never thought before)
- On a kind of funnyness of the French, based on the poverty of their language. (I agree – Funnyness and poverty, he would know it)
- On the relation between the novels by August Lafontaine and consumption. (I'd like to read that, since there are books by Lafontaine in the attic. But he says that the influence will not be revealed until the second generation. My grandfather did not read.)
- On the power of the English outside Europe.
- On trial by ordeal in the Middle Ages and today.
- On calculation by the Romans.
- On musicians and their paucity of poetry.
- On pietism, biology and table-lifting.
- On contagious diseases.
- On Moorish architecture.
- On the power of prejudices, as can be seen from diseases caused by draught. (Didn’t I say that the list was remarkable?)
- On the German unity.
- On longitude at sea.
- On the duties of the government at public entertainments.
- On the similarities between the Scottish and Frisian languages.
- On prosody.
- On the beauty of the women in Nîmes and Arles, with an investigation of Phoenician colonisation.
- On agriculture contacts in Java.
- On the power of a new kind of pump.
- On legitimacy of dynasties.
- On the people's literature in Javanese rhapsodists.
- On a new way of reefing.
- On percussion, used on grenades. (This was written in 1847, before Orsini)
- On the understanding of honour.
- On the Apocrypha.
- On the laws of Solon, Lycurgus, Zoroaster and Confucius.
- On the authority of parents.
- On Shakespeare as a historian.
- On slavery in Europe. (I do not understand what he means by this)
- On helix watermills.
- On the sovereign's right of mercy.
- On the chemical components of cinnamon from Ceylon.
- On discipline on merchant ships.
- On opium lease on Java.
- On conditions regarding the sale of poison.
- On cutting through the isthmus of Suez, and its consequences.
- On payment of land rent in kind.
- On the coffee culture in Menado. (I already mentioned this)
- On the rupture of the Roman Empire.
- On the 'Gemüthlichkeit' of the Germans.
- On the Scandinavian Edda.
- On the duty of France to create in the Indian Archipelago a counterforce against England. (This was in French, I don't know why)
- On the making of vinegar.
- On honouring Schiller and Göthe by the German tradesmen.
- On the right of Man to happiness.
- On the right to revolt in times of oppression. (This was in Javanese. I learned the meaning of the title later)
- On ministerial responsibility.
- On some points of criminal justice.
- On the right of a people that the taxes paid by them be used for their benefit. (This was again in Javanese)
- On the double A and the Greek Eta.
- On the existence of an impersonal God in the hearts of people.
- On style.
- On a constitution for the empire Insulinde.
- On the lack of attraction in our language rules.
- On pedantry. (I think this was written with authority)
- On the debt of Europe to the Portuguese.
- On sounds in the forest.
- On the flammability of water. (I think he means strong water)
- On the Milksea. (I neer heard of that. It appears to be near Banda.)
- On seers and prophets.
- On electricity as a moving power, without iron.
- On ebb and flow of civilisation.
- On epidemical rot in economies.
- On privileged trade companies. (This contains some topics that I need for my book)
- On etymology as a resource for ethnological investigations.
- On the cliffs with bird's nests on the South shore of Java.
- On the place where the day begins. (I do not understand this)
- On personal understanding to measure responsibility in a chaste world.
- On gallantry.
- On the poetry of the Hebrews.
- On the century of inventions by the Viscount of Worcester.
- On the not-eating people of the island of Roti near Timor. (Life must be cheap there)
- On the cannibalism of the Battahs and headhunting of the Alfuros.
- On mistrust on public decency. I think he wants to abolish the locksmiths. I am against that.)
- On 'the right' and 'the rights'.
- On the philosopher Béranger. (Again something I don't understand)
- On the aversion of the Malaysians by the Javanese.
- On the worthlessness of education by so-called high schools.
- On the loveless spirit of our ancestors, as can be seen from their understanding of God.
- On the relation between the senses. (It's true, when I saw him, I smelt attar of roses)
- On the taproot of the coffeeplant. (I put this aside for my book)
- On sense and sensibility ('sensiblerie', 'empfindelei').
- On confusion between mythology and religion.
- On the saguweer tree in the Moluccas.
- On the future of the Dutch trade. (In fact this is the article that inspired me to write the book. He says that there will not always be big coffee auctions, and I live for my profession.)
- On Genesis. (An outrageous article!)
- On the secret brotherhoods of the Chinese.
- On drawing as a natural way of writing.
- On truth in poetry. (For sure!)
- On the unpopularity of rice peeling mills in Java.
- On the relation between poetry and the mathematical sciences.
- On the wayang puppets of the Chinese.
- On the price of Java coffee. (I put this aside)
- On a European currency.
- On irrigation of common fields.
- On the influence of mixing of races on the spirit.
- On equilibrium in trade. (He writes about exchange premiums. I put it aside for my book.)
- On persistency of Asian customs. (He says that Jesus wore a turban)
- On the ideas of Malthus about the number of people, in relation to means of maintenance.
- On the original people of America.
- On the piers in Batavia, Samarang and Surabaya.
- On architecture to express ideas.
- On the relation between European officials and the regents of Java ( )
- On living in basements in Amsterdam.
- On the power of error.
- On the idleness of a supreme being, when the laws of nature are perfect.
- On the monopoly on salt in Java.
- On the worms in the sago-palm.
- On Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon and the Pantun verses of the Javanese.
- On the 'jus primi occupantis'.
- On the poverty of painting.
- On the indecency of fishing. (Did you ever hear of such?)
- On crimes of the Europeans outside Europe.
- On the weapons of weaker species.
- On .
And that wasn't all! I found, not mentioning the poetry – there were verses in many languages – a number of booklets without a writing on the cover, romances in Malay, war songs in Javanese, and a lot more! I also found letters, many in languages which I could not read. Some had been written to him, but actually they were only copies, but he certainly had some intention with them, for everything had been endorsed by other people as being 'identical to the original'. I also found excerpts from diaries, notes and some loose thoughts – some were really very loose.
As I said, I had put some articles aside because it appeared that I could use them in my profession, and I live for my profession. But I must admit that I was a bit wary of the rest. I could not return the packet to him, for I did not know where he lived. It had now been opened. I could not deny that I had seen it, and I would not have denied it anyhow, since I prefer to be truthful. Besides, I did not succeed in packing it up again so that you could not see that it had been opened. Furthermore I cannot deny that some articles were about coffee, so they had my interest, and I was eager to use them. Every day I read some random pages and every day I was more convinced that one should be a coffee broker, so one can find out what happens in the world. I am sure that the Rosemeijers, who are sugar merchants, have never seen such a thing.
I was a bit afraid that Shawlman would one day stand in front of me, and that he wanted to say something. I was feeling sorry that I had run away that evening into Kapelsteeg and I understood that one should never leave a decent road. Of course he would have asked for money, and talked about his packet. Perhaps I would have given him something, and if he had sent me all those writings the next day, it would have been my legal property. I could have separated the wheat from the chaff, I would have removed the articles which I needed for my book and burned all the rest, or thrown them in the waste basket, something I could not do now. For if he came back, I had to produce something, and when he saw that I was interested in some of his articles, he'd certainly require too much for it. Nothing puts a seller in a more advantageous position than discovering that the buyer is eager for his goods. A merchant who knows what to do, will always attempt to avoid such a position.
Another idea – I have already spoken of it – that may prove how a visit to the exchange market can make someone susceptible to charitable impressions, is this. Bastiaans – that's our third servant, who is getting old and infirm – had last month not been here for more than 25 days, and when he is in the office, he performs badly. As an honest man it is my obligation towards the firm – Last & Co, since the Meijers have left – to make sure that everyone does his task, and it would be bad to throw the firm's money away out of misunderstood pity or oversensitivity. That's my principle, I'd rather give Bastiaans three guilders out of my own pocket than continue to pay 700 guilders a year which he doesn’t deserve. I calculated that the man has worked here 34 years – at Last & Co, it used to be Last & Meijer, but the Meijers have left – and earned almost 15,000 guilders, quite a lot for a common man. There are few from his community who have so much money. So he has no reason to complain. I could do this calculation with the help of Shawlman's article on multiplication.
That Shawlman is a good writer, I thought. Furthermore, he appeared to be poor, and he did not know what time it was. What would it be like to give him Bastiaans' job? In that case I'd tell him to call me 'Sir', but I think he'd understand that himself, a servant cannot call his employer by name, and he would be helped for the rest of his life. He could start with 400 or 500 guilders – our Bastiaans also worked a long time before he earned 700 – and I would have done a good deed. I could even start with 300 guilders, for he has never been in business and he can consider the first years as an education. That's quite fair, for he cannot be equated to people who have a lot of experience. I am sure that he would be satisfied with 200 guilders. But I have some doubts about his conduct – he wore a shawl. And besides, I did not know where he lived.