Page:Thirty-five years in the East.djvu/79

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39
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE EAST.

myself of my influence with Hosruff Khan, to procure from him some genuine Persian mumiai, for the wounded Russians. In Turkey and Arabia they highly praised the wonderful effects of this medicine, and I was therefore eager to convince myself of its efficacy. But as the cases I had to treat rather required the use of instruments, I postponed the trial.

Our return to Bagdad was via Urugurd and Kermansha. At Urugurd we were detained for several days by the Shazadah (the reigning prince), who requested us to attend to a few patients belonging to his household, the healing of whom brought us a tolerable little sum of money, and a few handsome presents. Here again we had an opportunity of witnessing the manners and customs of the Persians. It was then Muharem ( time of mourning }, and the tenor of the Shazadah's order ran thus, " during the time of the mourning, all merchants are summoned to appear in the Meidan ( a square in front of his palace ) at three in the afternoon, in order to shed their tears for the martyrs, Hassain and Hussain." On one occasion we saw the Faratshes (Shazadah's servants ) dragging a tradesman by force out of his shop, which was at the caravansary where we lived, and driving him to the Meidan. The plea of necessity was urged, to make those people weep by blows, whose feelings did not afford them tears freely. But we witnessed other atrocities, on the last days of the Muharem. We saw fakirs and dervishes, with tiger-skins round their bodies, their long black hair hanging down and covering their faces and backs, beating themselves with iron- headed clubs, till the blood flowed down their bodies. They ran like savage beasts, or maniacs, through the streets and bazaars, howling, " Ya Ali !" One of our friends, a native of Bagdad, told us, that if any of the Sunits, to which sect he belonged, should venture that day to acknowledge his religion, he would run the risk of being immolated by the fanatical Persians ; so inveterate is the hatred between these two sects, though they are both Mahomedan ; and this is not the case in Persia alone, but in every place where Shias and Sunits are