Department of Railways,
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are seen smoking cigars. The use of opium is not so universal as in China. The edict prohibiting the sale of opium issued in 1838 has remained a dead letter. It is now a Government monopoly and this is believed to have a discouraging effect on the spread of this evil habit.
Betel-nut chewing is a wide spread habit, regarded as indispensable to the women of all ranks. The betel-nut is a preparation made of the nut of the areca palm, lime (sometimes tobacco also), and the leaves of the betel-pepper. It has an astringent taste, gives a red colour to the saliva, and blackens the teeth as well as the gums. To those not used to it, it causes dizziness and severely injures the inside of the mouth. The natives believe that betel-nut chewing has the effect of strengthening both the teeth and gums. At a Siamese banquet it lakes the place of the dessert course. Ladies have a tiny betel-nut box (two or three inches square), which they carry wherever they go. These boxes are sometimes most elaborately ornamented with gold and jewels.
Typical Housk in Siam.
XV. Houses. The Siamese have little to show as a distinctive style of architecture. While the royal palaces and the residences of the nobility are generally built in a foreign style (the renaissance style), the houses of the common people are of teak wood, their floors being raised high above the ground because of the flood during the rainy season. The use of teak is by no means a luxury,