It is only for want of a better word that one uses this term of a towna to designate that picturesque ensemble of villa-studded parks and avenues, Batavia. There is, it is true, an older Batavia, grey, grim and stony as any war-scarred city of Europe the stronghold, which the steel-clad colonists of 1620 built on the ruins of burnt-down Jacatra. But, long since abandoned by soldiers and peaceful citizens alike, and its once stately mansions degraded to offices and warehouses, it has sunk into a mere suburba the business quarter of Bataviaa alive during a few hours of the day only, and sinking back into a death-like stillness, as soon as the rumble of the last down-train has died away among its echoing streets. And the real Bataviaa in contradistinction to which this ancient quarter is called a the towna a is as unlike it as if it had been built by a different order of beings.
It is best described as a system of parks and avenues, linked by many a pleasant byway and shadowy path, with here and there a glimpse of the Kali Batawi gliding along between the bamboo groves on its banks, and everywhere the whiteness of low, pillared houses, standing well back from the road, each in its own leafy garden.