232 THE ARMY OF SIAM book iii
a phantom, of whom they speak blindly, and they are so obstinate in
maintaining their gross errors that it is difficult to confute them.
They say that the God of the Christians and theirs are brothers, but
that theirs is the elder. If anyone asks them where their god is they
reply that he has disappeared, and that they know not where he is.
standing army of the kingdom consists mainly of infantry, which is
fairly good. The soldiers are inured to fatigue, and have for their
sole garment a piece of calico to cover their waists. All the remainder
of the body—the chest, back, arms, and thighs—is uncovered, and the
skin, which is all tattooed,1 as when one applies
cupping-glasses, represents many kinds of flowers and animals. After
the skin is cut and the blood has flowed from it, these figures of
flowers and animals are rubbed in with whatever colours they wish ; and
seeing these soldiers from a distance you would say that they were clad
with some flowered silken stuff or painted calico, for the colours once
applied never fade. They have for arms bow and arrow, musket and pike,
and an azagaye,2 which is a stick of 5 or 6 feet long, tipped with iron at the end, which can be hurled with skill against an enemy.
In the year 1665 there was in the town of Siam a Neapolitan Jesuit called Father Thomas.3
He fortified the town and the King's palace, which is on the margin of
the river, and he had previously erected good bastions on both sides.
On account of this the King allowed him td dwell in the town,
where he had a small church with a house where M. Lambert, Bishop of
Beyrout, went to lodge on arriving in Siam. But these two did not long
remain on good terms, and the Bishop found it advisable to have a
The port where vessels arrive from Cochin-China and other
Burmese occasionally, but not often, eat meat (Sir J. G. Scott, Burma, 1906, p. 90).
1 As is well known, tattooing is a fine art in Siam (de la Loubere, 276) : and in Burma, Sir J. G. Scott, op. cit., 77 f.
s Assegai (vol. ii, 127).
De la Loubere (p. 91) tells how a few years before his time the King
employed a priest of the Mission of St. Lazarus at Paris, named Brother
Rene Charbonneau, to make a wooden fort on the Pegu frontier.