Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/67

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PERSIA.

to every Persian who has grown into power from his riches. Before he ventured to enter the capital, he sent for his son, who was an attendant on the court, of whom he inquired what were the king's intentions towards him, and what fear there might be for his safety. The king, in order to cloak his game, conferred the dignity of Khan on the son previously to seeing the father, which so blinded him, that he entered the city in full confidence of the monarch's favour. He had been accompanied by Mirza Ahady, governor of the great districts of Corbal and Fars, and his coadjutor in his system of extortion. They were summoned to appear before the king some days after their arrival and were then informed that they were to give an account of their respective offices. After they had stood some time before the king, he said: "Well, have you brought me no peshkeesh (present)?" They remained silent. "Where are the 70,000 toomauns, the arrears of the tribute of Fars; of course you have brought that?" Mirza Ahady answered, that "all that was due had been sent." The king then turned to Mahomed Nebee, who answered the same thing. "Call the ferashes," exclaimed the king, "and beat these rogues till they die." The ferashes came and beat them violently; and when they attempted to say any thing in their own defence, they smote them on the mouth with a shoe, the heel of which was shod with iron. The king's wrath increased with the violence of the blows, until it became so great, that he ordered them to be thrown out of the window, which was more than seventy feet from the ground. At this critical moment came the Ameen-ad-dowlah, who entreated the king to spare their lives, saying that he would be security for the payment of their arrears. Upon this the royal anger ceased, and he permitted the culprits to depart by the less expeditious mode of the staircase. Mirza Ahady was imprisoned; Mahomed Nebee soon afterwards received a khilaut as a palliative for the blows he had received, and as a douceur to keep him in a good humour till he should disclose the secrets of his riches, and exert himself to pay the full demands of the king upon him.

SECTION VI.

OF THE TITLES OF MIRZA AND KHAN.

In Persia there are no nobility, according to the acceptation of that term in Europe. In that country, no dignity, no office, is hereditary; yet there are titles which denote the birth or rank of the persons who bear them: such are those of Mirza and Khan.

Mirza is a Persian compound word, a contraction from mirzadeh, which signifies, son of an emir or prince. This title is very