Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/44

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some distance from his majesty's person, and endeavouring to anticipate his commands from his looks. As soon as the king looks at him, he advances, takes his orders, lays down his stick, causes the orders to be executed, resumes his stick and returns to his place. He receives all petitions presented to the king, delivers them into his hand, and either reads or reports the substance of them to his majesty. His office by right requires him to lie every night at the door of the palace, but instead of performing this service in person, he places guards there.

The Yesaools and the Yesaools sohbet are immediately dependent on the Ichic-Agasee-Bashee. The former are a kind of messengers, who carry the orders of the king; the latter are a sort of assistants to the master of the ceremonies: they form a body, composed of the sons of nobles. When on duty, they carry painted and gilt sticks, impose silence, and keep order wherever the king may be. When the king gives audience to ambassadors, they go to the entrance of the palace to meet them, introduce them, and lay their presents before his majesty.

The Meer-akhor, or chief equerry, and the Chikkiar-Bashee, or chief huntsman, come next to the Ichic-Agasee-Bashee. They have each subordinate officers, as the Djeladar-Bashee, chief of the grooms; the Jindartshee-Bashee, chief of the saddlers; the Oozengoo-coortshidjy-Bashee or chief of the stirrup-holders; the Taoos-Kaneh-Agasee, head-keeper of the birds of prey; the Sekban-Bashee, keeper of the hounds. Here too we must place the Hakim-Bashee, or chief physician, and the Monaddjem-Bashee, or chief astrologer. The reader need not be surprised to meet with such an office as the latter, in a country where the sway of astrology is omnipotent among all classes. Such are the places which confer the right of sitting in the presence of the king. The chief of those to which this privilege is not attached, is the post of Mesheldar-Bashee, or chief torchbearer, who rides before the king, carrying a golden torch in his hand, and superintends the flambeaux for lighting the interior of the palace. These torches are brass cups fixed to the end of rods of the same metal, which are filled with oil, and in the middle of which is burned a cotton wick. The Persians seldom make use of wax, and never of tallow or rosin. In Chardin's time, the Mesheldar-Bashee had the superintendence of taverns, public prostitutes, musicians, and buffoons of all kinds. The Mehmandar-Bashee comes next to the Mesheldar-Bashee: he is the chief of the officers, whose duty it is to go out of the city to meet ambassadors, to conduct them to the quarters prepared for them, and to accompany them in their journey: for every foreigner of distinction, on entering the Persian territory, is furnished with an officer whose duty it is to attend him, to protect