Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/123

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104
PERSIA.

in the possession of his property, could augment it by honest exertions.

The Turks, on the other hand, are a new nation, having all the coarseness, rudeness, and ignorance, of one which civilization has not polished, and which instruction has not meliorated. Under an able government, the Persians would rebuild their cities, re-establish their commerce, and repair the-injuries which their agriculture has sustained. With a vigorous, active, and intelligent government, the Turk would perhaps once more strike terror into Europe.

From these different traits we are authorized to conclude, that the society of the Persians is agreeable, if the connexion between the parties is disinterested: but we must not expect from them either sincere friendship, strict integrity, or refined delicacy.

To judge from the Guebres, the relics of the ancient Persians, they were originally a coarse-looking race of people; but their blood has since been refined by the intermixture with that of Georgia and Circassia. There are few Persians of quality, who are not sprung from women of those nations: and as this intermixture has been practised for several centuries, both sexes have been greatly improved by it. The men are tall and well-proportioned, vigorous, active, and comely. The women, without being qualified to vie with those of Georgia in beauty, are in general handsome in face and figure.

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CHAPTER II.

NOMINATION AND CIRCUMCISION OF INFANTS.

It is an established custom among all nations, to accompany the birth and nomination of children with ceremonies and diversions; which differ with the manners of the respective countries.

In Persia, on the birth of a son, some confidential person about the harem is usually the first to get the information, when he runs in great haste to his master, and says: Mujdeh! or "good news!" by which he secures to himself a gift, which generally follows the mujdeh . Among the common people, the man who brings the mujdeh, frequently seizes the cap or shawl, or any article belonging to' the father, as a security for the present to which he holds himself entitled.

On the birth of a child, the Persians wash, clothe, and swathe it in a long bandage, called the kandak, that entirely encircles the infant from the neck downwards, keeping its arms pinioned