LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, eC.
diffusion of it, no matter how superficial or trifling, which is known to prevail in Hindustan and China.
Javanese books are written either on palm leaves or on paper ; in the ruder parts of the island usual-ly on the former, and in the more civilized, on the latter. Their paper is a peculiar manufacture of their own, from the fibre of a plant cultivated for the purpose, in appearance and texture resembling thin parchment, but peculiarly liable to be preyed upon by the destructive insects of the climate. Their intercourse with Europe and China supplies them with the papers of these countries, and in their best works that of the former is employed. The pens made use of are either twigs from the Aren palm, or quills as with ourselves, the latter being in general preferred, though their use seems but recently acquired from Europeans.
Though the Javanese character be peculiarly neat and beautiful, very little-pains are generally taken with their writings, and no effort to produce those finished and elegant specimens of penmanship which distinguish the manuscripts of the Turks, Persians, Arabs, and Mahomedans of India. it is not in composition done that the Javanese display the imperfection of the art, for even in the mechanical part of it they are childish and inexpert. The writing of an ordinary letter is a
work of pains and trouble, and not one in a thou-