Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/173

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"Alexander, snatching a spear from one of his guards and meeting Clytus as he was drawing back the door-curtain, ran him through the body."

Mr. Morier relates, that at an interview which took place between the prince-royal of Persia and the Russian governor-general of Georgia, the latter, unaccustomed to the manners of the Persians, dressed himself in full uniform, which comprises a pair of tight pantaloons and military boots. The English ambassador had previously intimated to him in a friendly manner, that it would be but a common mark of respect to the Persians, whose carpet was not only their seat but their table, to substitute for his boots the chakchour, or red cloth stockings usually worn on such occasions. The general, alleging that the only costume in which he could appear was that which he wore in the presence of his own sovereign, persevered in his full dress, and was seated, boots and all, on the prince's carpet. The prince was so incensed, that as soon as the general was gone, he ordered his master of the ceremonies to be bastinadoed almost to death.

The Persians have no candles for lighting their houses. For this purpose, they use brass cups, fixed upon rods of the same metal, which they fill with pure white tallow, having a cotton wick in the middle. Sometimes they burn scented tapers, the wax of which has been mixed up with oil of cinnamon or cloves, or some other aromatic.

The mode of warming houses is economical, but unwholesome. As wood is scarce, the Persians are strangers to the use of fireplaces and chimneys. In their stead, a sorry expedient presents itself in the shape of a large jar, called a kourcy, which is sunk in the earth, generally in the middle of the room, with its mouth on a level with the floor. This the people fill with wood, dung, or any other combustible; and when it is sufficiently charred, the mouth of the vessel is shut in with a square wooden frame, shaped like a low table. The whole is then covered with a thick wadded quilt, under which the family, ranged round, place their knees, to allow the hot vapour to insinuate itself into every fold of their clothing. When very cold, they draw the borders of the quilt up as high as their chins, and form a group something resembling our ideas of a wizard incantation. This mode of warming is very disagreeable and often dangerous, owing in the first place to the immovable position necessary to receiving the full benefit of the glowing embers; secondly, to the nauseous and often deleterious effluvia from the smoke; and thirdly, to the head-aches which are almost always the consequence. Many of the natives put the head and shoulders under the quilt at night; but if the fuel have not been previously charred to the