Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/183

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the Beylerbey. Sir Robert Porter states, and as he assures us from unquestionable authority, that the personal present made every Nowroose to the king by Hadjee Mohammed Hossein Khan, while he governed the province of Ispahan, amounted to not less than 200,000 toomauns.





The Guebres are the relics of the ancient Persians,who have refused to embrace the doctrine of Mahomet, and retained the religion of Zoroaster, and the manners and customs of their ancestors, notwithstanding the lapse of ages and the revolutions of their country. In India, they are called Parsees.

The ancient differ as much from the modern Persians, in person and costume as in manners. They are short and stout, wear their beard and hair long, dress in a short vest, and cover the head with a cap of fine wool, which bears some resemblance to our hats. Their garments are of linen or woollen cloth, or stuff made of goats' hair; and they prefer that kind of brown colour which we call fillemot, to any other.

As to the women, it is easy to perceive that indigence and distress rather than nature have given them the coarse features which characterize the physiognomy of most of them; for there are some whose faces are delicate, beautiful, and intelligent. Their depressed state has also banished from their minds all fondness for dress, and disposition to coquetry. Nothing in fact is so destitute of taste, and so closely bordering on inelegance, as their costume.

Idleness is a vice unknown among the Guebres: all of them follow some occupation, and this active life preserves them from numberless vices which disgrace polished societies. Some cultivate the earth, others follow useful trades, dress skins, and make carpets, caps, and fine woollen cloths. They are strangers to the liberal arts, and despise commerce. Agriculture is in their opinion the noblest of the arts, and the most honourable of professions. This notion is instilled into them by their religion, which inculcates, that there is nothing more meritorious