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B.3 Ch. 22: Council at Batavia

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chap, xxii M. CONSTANT'S DIAMONDS
255
and as I wished to travel, in order not to risk what M. Constant had entrusted to me I placed the whole in the hands of Sr. Francis Breton,1 the second officer in the English factory at Surat, who, at M. Constant's request, afterwards forwarded it to him in Holland. I had previously asked the Dutch Commander, named Arnebar, to be good enough to take charge of this parcel, as he was a friend of M. Constant; but he excused himself, telling me that if the General or Council at Batavia came to know that he had such goods in his hands they would treat him as a receiver who had not declared them, in other words, he would be deposed from his office and all his property confiscated.
One day, then, while I was at Batavia, M. Faure, whom I have just mentioned, came to see me with three others, bringing a large bottle of Rheims wine and another of English beer. For my part I had contributed a collation, and as we began to drink they asked me if I had not heard the news of M. Constant which had come by land while I was at Surat ; to which I replied that I had not received any intelligence, either by sea or land, since he had left Batavia. They expressed surprise at this reply, and told me that they were much astonished, that having been such great friends, and having done such considerable trade together which still lasted, he had not made me acquainted with his movements. I saw from the first that they were come with no other design than to inquire whether I had with me the parcel of diamonds which I had bought at the mine for M. Constant, or whether I had left it with some Dutchman to send to him. I thought it advisable to remove this doubt from their minds, for unless I did so they would be unable to drink the wine they had brought, with comfort. Without keeping them longer in suspense, therefore, I told them that I was astonished that they had not spoken to me of this matter on the first occasion when they had done me the honour to visit me, and I perceived clearly that they wished to know if the last time I had been at the diamond mine M. Constant had not given me a com­mission to buy for him; that they need not have brought
1 Francis Breton, President of Surat 1644-9. See the epitaph on his tomb (Rawlinson, British Beginnings in Western India, 136). [Cf. p. 62],
B.3 Ch. 22: Council at Batavia Page of 417 B.3 Ch. 22: Council at Batavia
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