Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ancient Words of a Confirmed Bachelor

Sherman Oaks, California

Around the year 1711, Arnolt Bitter, a 48-year-old stationed in the colonial capital of Batavia in the Dutch East Indies, wrote to his sister and explained why he had no interest in marrying:

To attach myself at this age to a marriage and risk my peace of mind with the fickle temper of a wife I do not (I beg your pardon) deem expedient; even more so as a marraige would place me once more on the centre stage of worldly life. If I resolved to do so, I would throw in my lot with a wife who could give birth to children. Then I would not be able to decide when to return to my dear old Patria but would run the risk of being forced to remain here all my life and slave away until my last day. Nowadays money cannot be married anymore, all must be contributed by the vigilence of the husband in order to support his family.

Source: Leonard Blussé. Strange Company: Chinese settlers, mestizo women and the Dutch in VOC Batavia. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Foris, 1986.

Pictured: The Cnoll Family of Batavia, who were Arnolt Bitter's in-laws. Note that all of the women were Eurasian. The portrait was painted in 1665 by Jacob Coeman.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, brother.

3:13 AM  

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