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Bagh O Bahar, Or Tales of the Four Darweshes by Mir Amman of Dihli

Part 5 out of 5

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[135] The verb _uthna_ like the Persian _bar-khastan_ is used
idiomatically in the sense of "to go away," to "vanish."

[136] Literally, "your command is on my head and eyes," a phrase
imitated from the Persian "_ba sar o chashm_."

[137] The phrase "_rah dekhna_," literally to look at the road,"
(by which a person is expected to come;) hence, very naturally and
idiomatically it signifies "to be anxiously waiting for one." Again,
_rah dikhana_ is the causal form, signifying "to make one wait," of
"keep one waiting."

[138] The word _janwar_ means "an animal," in general; but it is
frequently used in the more restricted sense of "a bird".

[139] The "evil eye" is a supersitious motion entertained by the
ignorant in _all_ countries even until this day. The Asiatics
suppose that uncommon qualities of beauty, fortune or health, raise
an ominous admiration admiration, which injures the possessor. To tell
parents that their children are stout and healthy, is a _mal-a-propos_
compliment; also to congratulate women on their healthy appearance is
often unwelcome; the same ridiculous and supersitious accompany all
admiration of beauty, fortune, &c. For this reason the visitor, in this
case, do not compliment his host on the beauty of his person or the
splendour of his dress; but instead make use of the above exclamation.

[140] A celebrated musical performer in upper _Hindustan_, and
considered as the first in his art. He lived in the reign of _Akbar_,
somo 300 years ago.

[141] A celebrated singer in upper _Hindustan_, who lived about
600 years ago. _Tan-Sen_ and _Ba,ora_ are still held in the highest
reverence by singers and musical performers. In the original, there
is a play on the words to _tan_ and _ba,ora_ which scarcely needs to
be pointed out.

[142] The original is, "_jis Ki itni ta'rif aur ishtiyak zahir kiya_,"
where the word _kiya_ agrees with _ishtiyak_ only, being the noun
nearest. A shallow critic would be apt to say that this is bad grammar.

[143] "_La haul parhna_," to repeat or recite the "_La haul_," or more
fully, "_La haul wa la kuwwat illa b-Illahi;_" meaning, "there is no
power nor strength but in God." An exclamation used by _Musalmans_
in cases of sudden surprise, misfortune, &c.

[144] The insignia of state among the grandees of India.

[145] The _gulab-pash_ is a silver or gold utensil, like a French
bottle, to sprinkle rose water on the company; the _'itr-dan_ one
to hold essences, and _pik-duns_ are of brass or silver to spit in,
called by the French _crachoirs_.

[146] The _abdar-khana_ a room appropriated to the cooling of water
in ice or saltpetre, by the servant called the _abdar_.

[147] Small leaden mugs with covers for the congelation of ice.

[148] To cool the water which they contain; they are made of pewter.

[149] The _masnad_ and its large back pillow are criterions of Asiatic
etiquette. To an inferior or dependant, the master of the house
gives the corner of the _masnad_ to sit on; to an equal or intimate
friend, he gives part of the large pillow to lean on; to a superior,
he abandons the whole pillow, and betakes himself to the corner of
the _masnad_.

[150] A kind of _palki_ or sedan, for the conveyance of the women of
people of rank in India.

[151] A sign of afflicting surprise.

[152] _Majnun_, a lover famed in eastern romance, who long pined
in unprofitable love for _Laili_, an ugly hard-hearted mistress. The
loves of _Yusuf_ and _Zulaikh@a, Khusru_ and _Shirin_, also of _Laili_
and _Majnun_, are the fertile themes of Persian romance.

[153] The _Muhammadans_ reckon their day from sunset.

[154] By sitting and drinking with the young merchant, when he ought
to wait on his guests, and attend to their entertainment.

[155] A figurative and highly poetic expression as old as Homer. In
this instance it is said to signify that the sun had been two _gharis_
above the horizon.

[156] Literally, "a friendship of two days," where the number two is
employed indefinitely to denote "few."

[157] The month of _Ramazan_ consisting of thirty days, is the Lent
of the _Muhammadans_. During tgat whole period, a good _Musalman_ or
"true believer," is not allowed either to eat, or drink, or smoke from
sunrise to sunset. This naturally explains the anxiety they must feel
for the arrival of evening; more especially in high latitudes, should
the _Ramazan_ happen in the middle of summer. As a mere religions
observance this same fast, enjoined by _Muhammad_, is the most absurd,
the most demoralizing, and the most hurtful to health that ever was
invented by priestcraft. The people are forced to starve themselves
during the whole day, and consequently they overeat themselves during
the whole night, when they ought to be asleep in their beds, as nature
intended. Hence they fall by thousands an easy prey to cholera,
as happened in Turkey a few years ago. The fast of Lent among tho
followers of the Pope of Rome is, though in a less degree, liable to
the same censure. Why, instead of these unwholesome observances, do
not the priests, whether of Mecca or of Rome, preach unto the people
temperance and regularity of living? Ah, I forgot, the priests both of
Mecca and of Rome can always grant _dispensations_ and _indulgences_
to such good people as can adduce _weighty_ reasons to that effect.

[158] As frogs live in wet, they are not supposed to be extremely
subject to catch cold; the simile is introduced to ridicule the
extravagant idea of a merchant's son presuming to be in love with a
princess. The simile is a proverb.

[159] Washermen in India, in general, wash their linen at the _ghats_,
and their dogs of course wander thither from home after them, and
back again. This is one of their proverbs, and answers to ours of
"Kicked from piller to post."

[160] The _Khutba_ is a brief oration delivered after divine service
every Friday (the _Musalman_ Sabbath,) in which the officiating priest
blesses _Muhammad_, his successors, and the reigning sovereign.

[161] A kind of sedan chair, or _palki_.

[162] The _Khabar-dars_ are a species of spies stationed in various
parts of oriental kingdoms in order to forward intelligence to head

[163] A mode of humble address, when the inferior presumes to state
something contrary to what the superior maintains or desires; and
as human life in India was, in olden times, not only precarious,
but considered as insignificant, the oriental slave acts prudently
by begging his life before he presumes to be candid.

[164] Literally, "He who is the changer of hearts."

[165] Here the first _Darwesh_ addresses himself directly to the
other three, who were his patient listeners.

[166] The _jama_ is an Asiatic dress, something like a modern female
gown, only much more full in the skirts. It is made of white cloth
or muslin.

[167] A superstitious custom in India; it implies that the person who
goes round, sacrifices his life at the shrine of the love, prosperity
and health of the beloved object.

[168] The _kazi_ is the judge and magistrate in Asiatic cities; he
performs the rites of marriage, settles disputes, and decides civil
and criminal causes. As the _Muhammadan_ laws are derived from their
religious code, the _Kuran_, the _kazi_ possesses both secular and
ecclesiastical powers.

[169] All good _Musalmans_ bathe after performing the rites of Venus,
hence the purport of the princess's _simple question_ is obvious

[170] Called _warku-l-khiyal_; it is made from the leaves of the
_charas_, a species of hemp; it is a common inebriating beverage in
India; the different preparations of it is called _ganja, bhang_, &c.

[171] Literally a "weighty _khil'at_," owing to the quantity of
embroidery on it. The perfection of these oriental dresses is, to be
so stiff as to stand on the floor unsupported.

[172] The _paisa_ is the current copper coin of India; it is the
64th part of a rupee, and is in value as nearly as possible 3/4 of
our halfpenny, or a farthing and a-half.

[173] The word _kafir_ denotes literally, "infidel," or "heathen." It
is here used as a term of endearment, just as we sometimes use the word
"wicked rogue."

[174] Literally, "_lakhs_ of rupees." In India money accounts are
reckoned by hundreds, thousands, _lakhs_ and _crores_, instead of
hundreds, thousands, and millions, as with us. A hundred thousands
make a _lakh_, and a hundred _lakhs_, a _crore_. As the Indian
mode of reckoning, though simple enough, is apt to perplex the
beginner, let us take for example the number 123456789, which we
thus point off,--123,456,789; but in India it would be pointed as
follows:--12,34,56,789, and read 12 _crores_, 34 _lakhs_, fifty-six
thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

[175] The _muwazzin_ is a public crier, who ascends the turret or
minaret of a mosque and calls out to the inhabitants the five periods
of prayers; more especially the morning, noon and evening prayers.

[176] This is a proverb, founded on a short story, viz.: "A certain
Arab lost his camel; he vowed, if he found it, to sell it for a dinar,
merely as a charitable deed. The camel was found, and the Arab sorely
repented him of his vow. He then tied a cat on the camel's neck, and
went through the city of _Baghdad,_ exclaiming, 'O, true believers,
here is a camel to be sold for a _dinar_, and a cat for a thousand
_dinars_; but they cannot be sold the one without the other.'"

[177] _Taks_ are small recesses in the walls of apartments in Asia,
for holding flower-pots, phials of wine, fruits, &c.

[178] In the original it is a proverb, "When evil comes, the dog will
bite even the man that is mounted on a camel," said of a person who
is extremely unfortunate.

[179] The term _barah-dari_ is applied either to a temporary pavilion,
or a permanent summer-house; it is so called from the circumstance
of its having "twelve doors," in honour of the twelve _Imams_.--Vide
note, page 4.

[180] The various kinds of fire-works here enumerated admit not of
translation.--Vide vocabulary.

[181] A proverb meaning that people or things are well matched; as
the soul, at the hour of death, is committed to the charge of good
or evil angels, according to its dessert.

[182] A proverb applied to those who act in a manner utterly at
variance with their condition.

[183] The _patka_ is a long and narrow piece of cloth or silk,
which is wrapped round the waist; among the rich a _shawl_ is the
general _patka_. The act of throwing one's _patka_ round the neck
and prostrating one's self at another's feet, is a most abject mark
of submission.

[184] Literally, "a collar or yoke, round my neck."

[185] The _Mughal_ princes in the days of their splendour had guards
of _Kalmuc_, or _Kilmak_, women for their seraglios; they were chosen
for their size and courage, and were armed; other Tartar women were
likewise taken, but they all went by the general name of _Kilmakini_.

[186] Here the first _Darwesh_ resumes his address to his three

[187] In a note to my edition of Mr. F. Smith's translation of the
_Baghobahar_, 1851, I inserted the following "petition." "May I request
some friend in India, for auld lang syne, to ask any intelligent
_munshi_ the exact meaning of _panchon hathiyar bandhna_, showing him
at the same time the original where the expression occurs." To this
request I received, a few months ago, a very kind and satisfactory
reply from Lieut. J.C. Bayley, 36th Regt., M.N.I., which I have the
pleasure here to insert; and at the same time, I beg to return my
best thanks to that gentleman. "The _five weapons_ are, 1st, the
_talwar_ or sword; 2nd, the _pesh-kabz_ or dagger; 3rd, the _tabar_
or battle-axe; 4th, the _barchhi_ or lance; 5th, the _tir o kaman_
or the bow and arrows. The phrase, _panchon hathiyar bandhna_ is very
nearly equivalent to our expression, 'to be armed cap a pie.'" I
may add to Lieut. B.'s obliging account that in more recent times,
the "bow and arrows" are very naturally superseded by "a pair of
pistols." Still the meaning of the phrase is the same in either case.

[188] The word _chikmak_ or _chikmak_, is wrongly called "a flint"
in the dictionaries. It merely denotes the piece of steel used in
striking a fire. The flint is called _chikmak ka pathar_.

[189] Literally, "at the seeing of which the liver would be turned
into water."

[190] The _pipal_ or "ficus religiosa," is a large tree venerated by
the _Hindus_; it affords a most agreeable shade, as its leaves are
large, in the shape of a heart. Many writers confound it with the
"_ficus Indicus_" or "_baniyan_ tree," or rather, they devise an
imaginary tree compounded of the two species, investing it with the
heart-shaped leaves of the former, and the dropping and multiplying
stems of the latter.

[191] Respecting the ceremony called the _tasadduk_, vide note 3,
p. 66.

[192] Literally, "much dust did I sift the dust."

[193] _Murtaza 'Ali_, the son-in-law of the prophet; one of his
surnames is _Mushkil-kusha,_ or " the remover of difficulties." The
_Saiyids_, who pretend to be descended from _'Ali_, wear green dresses,
which is a sacred colour among the _Muhammadans_.

[194] The phrase _char-zanu ho-baithna_, signifies "to sit down with
the legs crossed in front as our tailors do when at work." It is the
ordnary mode of sitting among the Turks.

[195] The _dalk_, or _dilk_, is a garment made of patches and shreds
worn by _darweshes_; the epithet _dolk-posh_, "a _dalk_ wearer,"
denotes a "darwesh," or "mendicant."

[196] _Ispahan_ was once a fine city. In the time of the Chevalier
Chardin, nearly two centuries ago, it was pronounced by that traveller
to be the largest in the world. It is now about the size of Brighton;
yet a few weeks ago, we saw in the "Illustrated London News," an
account of it by a _Frenchman_ (a fire-side traveller), who declares
it to be, still, "the largest city in the world!"

[197] The _Muhammadans_ divide the world into seven climes, and
suppose that a constellation presides over the destiny of each clime.

[198] The Arabic phrase _lantarani_, a corruption of _la-an-tarani_,
literally signifies "egad, if you saw me [do so and so];" hence
_lantarani-wala_ is equivalent to our terms, "an egregious egotist,"
or "great boaster."

[199] A novice in the language would say, "Here a distinction seems to
be drawn between the words _zaban_ and _jibh_. Both signify 'tongue,'
but the former applies to men and the latter to animals." To this
profound bit of criticism I should reply--Not so fast, Mr. Novice; a
distinction there is, but that is not it. The word _zaban_ in Persian
and _Hindustani_ means both the fleshy member of the body, called the
tongue, and also language or speech, just like our word "tongue," which
has both significations. In the former sense it applies alike to man
and beast; in the latter it is mere truism to say that it applies to
man only. _Jibh_, in _Hindi_ and _Hindustani_, means the tongue only
in the sense of the member of the body, never in the sense of speech;
hence it is equally applicable to man or brute. Ask any physician
who has practised in India the _Hindustani_ for "show the tongue,"
he will tell you _jibh dikla,o_, or _zaban dikla,o_; and if he was a
man of discernment, he would use _jibh_ with a _Hindu_, and _zaban_
with a _Musalman_; but I believe he would be perfectly understood,
whichever word he used to either party.

[200] The case is _Hatim's_ philanthropy in respect to the old woodman,
which on the part of any other than _Hatim_ might seem super-human.

[201] It is related by grave historians, that _Hatim_ actually built
an alms-house of this description. On _Hatim_'s death, his younger
brother, who succeeded him, endeavoured to act the generous in the
above manner. His mother dissuaded him, saying, "Think not, my son,
of imitating _Hatim_: it is an effort thou canst not accomplish;"
and in order to prove what she said, the mother assumed the garb of
a _fakir_, and acted as above related. When she came to the first
door the second time, and received her son's lecture on the sin of
avarice; she suddenly threw off her disguise, and said, "I told thee,
my son, not to think of imitating _Hatim_. By _him_ I have been served
three times running, in this very manner, without ever a question
being asked."

[202] This and the following _jeu de mots_ cannot be easily explained
to a person who does not understand a little Arabic or Persian.

[203] The original is, "as yet _Dilli_ is a long way off," a proverb
like that of the Campbells--"It is a far cry to Loch Awe."

[204] The expression in the original is so _plain_ as to need no

[205] Some would-be knowing critics inform us that "_Dastar-khwan_"
literally signifies the "turband of the table"!!! How they manage
to make such a meaning out of it is beyond ordinary research;
and when done, it makes nonsense. They forget that the Orientals
never made use of tables in the good old times. The _dastar-khwan_
is, in reality, both table and table-cloth in one. It is a round
piece of cloth or leather spread out on the floor. The food is then
arranged thereon, and the company squat round the edge of it, and,
after saying _Bism-Illah_, fall to, with what appetite they may;
hence the phrase _dastar-khwan par baithna_, to sit on, (not _at_,)
the table. The wise critics seem to be thinking of our modern mahogany,
which is a very different affair.

[206] In the original, an infinite variety of dishes is enumerated,
which are necessarily passed over in the translation, simply, because
we have no corresponding terms to express them in any Christian
tongue. They would puzzle the immortal Ude himself, or the no less
celebrated Soyer, the present autocrat of the culinary kingdom. But
my chief reason for passing them over so lightly is the following,
viz.: I have fully ascertained from officers home on furlough,
that these passages are never read in India, nor is the student
ever examined in them. They can interest only such little minds as
are of the most contemptibly frivolous description. A man may be a
first-rate English or French scholar, yea, an accomplished statesman,
without being conversant with the infinite variety of dishes, &c.,
set down on the _carte_ of a first-rate Parisian restaurateur.

[207] The Asiatics eat with the right hand, and use no knives or forks;
so to draw back the hand from eating is to leave off eating. Of course,
spoons are used for broths, &c, which cannot be eaten by the hand.

[208] As it were intended to be stored up and not eaten.

[209] This exceedingly plain expression is, so far from seeming gross
or indelicate, considered as a very high compliment among Orientals.

[210] Literally, "recite the _la haul_," &c, vide note 2, p. 5.

[211] _Jogis_ are _Hindu_ ascetics, or fanatics; some of them let
the nails grow
through the palm of their hands by keeping their fists shut, &c.

[212] The _maunis_ are _Hindu_ ascetics who vow everlasting silence.

[213] The _sevras_ are mendicants of the _Jain_ sects.

[214] _Majnun_ is a mad lover of eastern romance, who pined in vain
for the cruel _Laili_. _Farhad_ is equally celebrated as an unhappy
_amant_ who perished for _Shirin_.

[215] The word _salam_, "salutation," is used idiomatically in the
sense of our terms "compliments" or "respects," &c. And in that sense
it has now become, in India, adopted into the English language.

[216] The marriage portion here alluded to is not to be taken in the
vague sense we attach to the term. The word _mahar_ denotes a present
made to, or a portion settled on, the wife at or before marriage.

[217] _Nimroz_ is that part of Persia which comprehends the provinces
of _Sijistan_ and _Mikran_, towards the south-east.

[218] The _man_, commonly called "maund," a measure of weight, about
eighty pounds avoirdupois.

[219] It is needless here to enumerate the stores of various articles
detailed in the original, as they will all be found in the vocabulary.

[220] Literally, "her own leavings." In the East it considered a very
high compliment on the part of a person of rank to present his guest
with the remnants of his own dish.

[221] Literally, "night of power or grandeur," would in that place
be "without grandeur." The _shabi kadr_, or as the Arabs have it,
_lailatu-l-kadri_, is a sacred festival held on the 27th of _Ramazan_,
being, according to the _Musalmans_, the night on which the _Kur,an_
was sent down from heaven.

[222] Meaning that, under present circumstances, her commands were
altogether out of place.

[223] It is incumbent on good Mussulmans to wash the hands and face
before prayers. Where water is not to be had, this ceremony, called
_tayammum_ is performed by using sand instead.

[224] _Lukman_ is supposed to be the Greek slave AEsop, the author
of the Fables. _Bu 'Ali Sina_ is the famous Arab physician and
philosopher, by mediaeval writers erroneously called Avicenna.

[225] _Khizr_ or _Khwaja Khizr_ is the name of a saint or prophet,
of great notoriety among the _Muhammadans_. The legends respecting
his origin and life are as numerous as they are absurd and
contradictory. Some say he was grand _Vizir_ to Solomon, others to
Alexander the Great. They all agree, however, that he discovered the
water of immortality, and that in consequence of having drunk thereof,
he still lives and wanders about on the earth.

[226] _Kasra_ is the title of the King of Persia, hence the Greek forms
Cyrus and Chosroes, and most probably the more modern forms Caesar,
Kaisar, and Czar. The form _Kisra_ used in the text is generally
applied to _Naushirwan_.--Vide note 3, page 13.

[227] _Ni'man_, also _Nu'man_, the name of an ancient king of _Hirat_,
in Arabia.

[228] The first day of the new year, which is celebrated with great
splendour and rejoicings.

[229] The _Brahmans_, erroneously called Bramins, do not eat meat.

[230] Literally, "she would have repeated the _Kalima_," or "Confession
of Faith" of the followers of _Muhammad_, which is as follows:--"There
is no God but God, and _Muhammad_ is his prophet." Some profane wags
have parodied this creed into a Jewish one, viz.--"There ish no God
but the monish, and shent per shent (cent. per cent.) ish hish prophet"

[231] The common mode to present large sums in specie to princely
visitors, is to form a platform with the money, spread the _masnad_
on it, and place the visitor on the rich seat. Mr. Smith states that
he had himself seen _Asafu-d-Daula_, the then _Nawwab_ of Lucknow,
receive a lack of rupees in this way from _Almas_, one of his eunuchs.

[232] _Chand-rat_, is applied to the night on which the new moon is
first visible, which night, together with the following day till
sunset, constitutes the _pahli tarikh_, or _ghurra_, that is the
first of the lunar month.

[233] _Ramazan_ is the ninth _Muhammadan_ month, during which they
keep Lent. Vide note, p. 59.

[234] The _'Id_ is the grand festival after the Lent of _Ramazan_ is
over. There is another _'Id_, called _Al-Kurban_, in commemoration of
Abraham's meditated sacrifice of his son Isaac, or as the _Muhammadans_
believe of his son Ishmael.

[235] Literally, "having washed my hands of my life."

[236] _Rustam_, a brave and famous hero of Persia, whose Herculean
achievements are celebrated in the _Shah-Nama_.

[237] Literally, "a _salam_ as low as the carpet;" or as we say,
"a bow to the ground."

[238] The various editions of the text read _tunna_, "a particular
kind of tree." In one of my MSS., however, the reading is _tane_, the
inflected form of _tana_, the "trunk of a tree," which is better sense.

[239] Literally, "the parrot of my hand flew away."

[240] The _Muhammadans_ reckon a hundred and twenty years as the
_'umri tabi'i_, or the natural period of man's life.

[241] The mountain of _Kaf_, is the celebrated abode of the _jinns_,
_paris_, and _divs_, and all the fabulous beings of oriental
romance. The _Muhammadans_, as of yore all good Christians,
believe that the earth is a flat circular plane; and on the confines
of this circle is a ring of lofty mountains extending all round,
serving at once to keep folks from falling off, as well as forming a
convenient habitation for the _jinns_, &c., aforesaid. The mountain,
(I am not certain on whose trigonometrical authority) is said to be
500 _farasangs_ or 2000 English miles in height.

[242] With regard to the plain, simple sentence, "_yih kahkar takht
uthaya_," we have somewhere seen the following erudite criticism,
viz.:--"With deference to _Mir Amman_, this is bad grammar. The
nominative to _kahkar_ and _uthaya_ ought to be the same!!!" Now, it is
a great pity that the critic did not favour us here with his notions
of _good_ grammar. Just observe, O reader, how the expression stands
in the text: "_yih kahkar takht uthaya_," and you will naturally
ask, "where is the fault in the grammar?" The nominative, or rather
the agent, is _pari ne_, hence the translation, "the fairy, having
thus spoken, took up the throne." The poor critic seems to confound
"_uthaya_" with "_utha_."

[243] One of the would-be poets of our day has translated the above
most elegantly and literally, as follows:--

"What mischiefs through this love arise!
What broken hearts and miseries!"

[244] The _Muhammadans_ have great confidence in charms which
are written on slips of paper, along with numerous astrological
characters. They consist chiefly of quotations from the _Kuran_,
and are often diluted in water, and drank as medicine in various
distempers. As the Indian ink and paper can do no harm, and often
act as an emetic, they are probably more innocent than the physic
administered by eastern physicians, who are the most ignorant of their
profession. The fact is, that the soi disant "teachers" of mankind,
in all ages and countries--the African fetish, the American Indian
sachem, the _Hindu jogi_, the _Musalman mulla_, and the Romish
priest and miracle-monger--have all agreed on one point, viz., to
impose on their silly victims a multitude of unmeaning ceremonies,
and absurd mummeries, in order to conceal their own contemptible
vacuity of intellect.

[245] The _Jata-dhari Gusa,in_ is a sect of fanatic _Hindu_ mendicants,
who let their hair grow and matted, and go almost naked.

[246] _Mahadev_ is a _Hindu_ idol; the emblem of the creative power,
and generally and naturally represented by the Lingum.

[247] _Shevrat_ is a _Hindu_ festival, which corresponds nearly with
the Mahometan _shabi barat_.

[248] Plato is supposed by the _Muhammadans_ to have been not only
a profound philosopher, but a wise physician. In short, it is too
general an idea with them, that a clever man must be a good doctor.

[249] The _langot_ or _langoti_ is a piece of cloth wrapped or fastened
round the loins, and tucked in between the feet. It barely conceals
what civilization requires should be hid from the public view.

[250] _Ma'jun_ is the extract from the intoxicating plant called
_charas_ or _bhang_, a species of hemp; it is mixed with sugar and
spices to render it palatable. The inebriation it produces fills the
imagination with agreeable visions, and the effects are different
from those of wine or spirits.

[251] Six _mashas_ amount to nearly a quarter of an ounce; a sicca
rupee weighs eleven _mashas_.

[252] Literally, "a volume of a book."

[253] This exceedingly absurd story is of Rabbinical origin. I have
a strong impression on my mind of having read something very like it
long ago in the works of Philo Judaeus, the contemporary of Josephus.

[254] The _Ismi A'zam_, or the "Most Mighty Name" [of God] is a
magic spell or incantation which the acquirer can apply to wonderful
purposes. God hath, among the _Muhammadans_, ninety-nine names or
epithets; the _Ismi A'zam_ is one of the number, but it is only the
initiated few who can say which of the ninety-nine it is.

[255] The word _sawab_ strictly means, "the reward received in the
next world for virtuous actions performed in the present state of

[256] The veiled horseman who rescued the first and second _Darweshes_
from self-destruction.

[257] A Persian proverb.

[258] _Badakhshan_ is a part of the grand province of _Khurasan_,
and the city of _Balkh_ is its metropolis, to the eastward of which
is a chain of mountains celebrated for producing fine rubies.

[259] All Asiatic princes, like others nearer home, have spies, called
"reporters of intelligence," who inform themselves of what passes
in public. They are, as a matter of course, the pest of society,
and generally corrupt.

[260] A _miskal_ is four and a half _mashas_; our ounce contains
twenty-four _mashas_. So the ruby weighed more than half an ounce.

[261] The word _raja_ is the _Hindu_ term for a prince or sovereign. In
more recent times it has become a mere empty title, conferred upon
rich _Hindus_ by the Emperor of _Delhi_.

[262] _Naishapur_ was once the richest and grandest city in the
province of _Khurasan_. It was utterly destroyed by _Tuli_, the son
of _Jenghis Khan_ (or more correctly, _Changis Ka,an_), in A.D. 1221.

[263] Seven _miskals_ are more than an ounce and a quarter.

[264] The term Farang, vulgarly Frank, was formerly applied to
Christian Europe in general, with the exclusion of Russia.

[265] Literally, "kissed the ground of obeisance," a Persian phrase,
expressive of profound respect.

[266] "The minister's daughter," afterwards called "the young

[267] The phrase _pachas ek_ means "about fifty." It is strange
that a certain critic on this work, (who has a prodigiously high
opinion of himself,) should have rendered the above passage, "whose
age was about forty or fifty years!" Most assuredly, the merest tyro
in _Hindustani_ can tell him that it cannot have such a latitude as
to mean "about forty or fifty." He might just as correctly have said
"about fifty or sixty." The phrase _pachas ek_, as I have stated,
means simply "about fifty," i.e., it may be _one_ year more or less.

[268] In the text, the _wazir-zadi_ is henceforth called
_saudagar-bacha_ or the young merchant, being the character under
which she, for some time, figures.

[269] _morchhals_, vulgarly called _chowrees_, are fly-flaps, to drive
away those troublesome companions; the best kind is made of the fine
white long tail of the mountain cow; the others of the long feathers
from, the peacock's tail, or the odoriferous roots of a species of
grass called _Khas_. They are likewise a part of the paraphernalia
of state in India.

[270] The title _khwaja _ means "chief," or "master;" it is generally
applied to rich merchants, &c., such as we would call "men of
respectability." The idiomatic London English for it is "governor,"
or (as it is pronounced) "guv'ner".

[271] Literally, "What difficulty" (is there in so doing).

[272] The city of _Naishapur_ being some 270 miles inland, it would
not be easy for the young merchant to reach it by sea. Asiatic
story-tellers are not at all particular in regard to matters of

[273] _'Ajam_ means, in general, Persia; the Arabs use it in the
same sense as the Greeks did the word "barbarian;" and all who are
not Arabs they call _'Ajami_; more especially the Persians.

[274] _Sara,e, sera,i_ or _caravanserai_, are buildings for the
accommodation of travellers, merchants, &c., in cities, and on the
great roads in Asia. Those in Upper _Hindustan_, built by the emperors
of _Dilli_, are grand and costly; they are either of stone or burnt
bricks. In Persia, they are mostly of bricks dried in the sun. In
Upper _Hindustan_ they are commonly sixteen to twenty miles distant
from each other, which is a _manzil_ or stage. They are generally
built of a square or quadrangular form with a large open court in
the centre, and contain numerous rooms for goods, men, and beasts.

[275] Literally, made excuses from the surface of his heart," i.e.,
not serious excuses.

[276] That is, "completely armed." Vide note 2, page 87.

[277] On the exact meaning of _dastar-khwan,_ see note, page 104.

[278] The _Musalman_ confession of faith, see note 3, page 156.

[279] The idiom "_do mahine ek_," about two months, similar to the
phrase, "_pachas ek baras_," _v._ note 1, page 161.

[280] Literally, "began to smack his lips;" denoting his satisfaction.

[281] Tartar, African, and Turkish slaves.

[282] Literally, "I have not proved false in what you have entrusted
to me."

[283] The coffee and pipe are always presented to visitors in Turkey,
Arabia, and Persia, and they are considered as indispensable in
good manners.

[284] "_dant kholne_" is fully explained in my Grammar, page 129. It
appears to have sadly puzzled a learned critic, to whom I have
occasionally alluded.

[285] Literally, "middle brother;" as there were three in number,
of course the "second" and "middle" are identical.

[286] The _Siyum_ are the rites performed for the dead on the third
day after demise; it is called the _tija_ in _Hinduwi_.

[287] Alluding to God.

[288] Or it may mean, "my blood boiled" [with resentment].

[289] The _Muhammadan_ sabbath is Friday.

[290] A _kafila_ means a company of merchants who assemble and travel
together for mutual protection. It is synonymous with caravan.

[291] _Bukhara_ is a celebrated city in Tartary; it was formerly the
capital of the province called _Mawaralnahr_, or _Transoxiana_, before
the Tartar conquerors fixed on _Samarkand_. It lies to the northward
of the river _Oxus_ or _Gihun_, which divides Tartary from Persia,
or as the Persian geographers term it, _Iran_, from _Turan_. _Bukhara_
is celebrated by Persian poets for its climate, its fruits, and its
beautiful women.

[292] The _boza_ is an intoxicating drink made of spirits, the leaves
of the _charas_ plant, _tari_, and opium. _Tari_, erroneously called
_todee_, is the juice of the palm tree.

[293] Literally, ale-house, or tippling-house. One is strongly led
to believe that this is the origin of our cant word _boozing-ken_,
imported from the East by the gipsies some four or five centuries ago.

[294] A grateful and luxurious operation in the warm climate of India,
more especially after the fatigue of travelling. _Shampooing_ is a word
of uncertain etymology; the French have a better term, _masser_. The
natives say it has a physical advantage, as it quickens their languid
circulation; perhaps they are right.

[295] A _kos_ is nearly two English miles, being about fifteen

[296] Literally, "the fire was kindled in my stomach."

[297] Pointing to his two brothers who were present, and heard
his tale.

[298] The stake was a common mode of punishment in India in
former days, and, until recently, was practised among the _Sikhs_,
_Marhattas_, and other Asiatic princes, who were independent of
our government.

[299] Addressing himself to the king _Azad Bakht_.

[300] The term _kibla_ signifies the "point of adoration," and is
generally applied to the _Ka'ba_, or holy edifice, situated in the
sacred inclosure of Mecca. To this point all _Muhammadans_ must turn
when they pray.

[301] The prayer of martyrdom among the _Musalmans._ It is often
repeated when they go into action against Christians and Pagans

[302] According to the _Muhammadan_ belief, _Nakir_ and _Munkir_
are two angels who attend at the moment of death, and call to an
account the spirit of the deceased.

[303] Literally, "satiated the dog of my stomach."

[304] Literally, to perform the act of "rubbing the nose on the earth,"
expressive of extreme humility.

[305] Literally, "having fastened [on his person] the four mirrors."

[306] The term _zuhr_ strictly denotes the period devoted to the
mid-day prayer, which is offered up after the sun has perceptibly
declined from the meridian. Vide note 4, in page 14.

[307] The name of the countries which lie, as the people of _Hindustan_
term it, below Bengal, i.e., to the south-east of it; the name includes
the kingdoms of Ava and Pegu.

[308] _Kunwar_ is the _Hindu_ name for the son of a _raja_.

[309] The _chaugan_ is a Persian sport performed on horseback, with a
large ball like a foot-ball, which is knocked about with a long stick
like a shepherd's crook; it is precisely the game called in Scotland
"shintey," and in England "hockey," only that the players are mounted.

[310] _Rani_ is the _Hindu_ name of a _raja's_ wife.

[311] Literally, "without a partner." The _Musalmans_ consider our
doctrine of the Trinity as a deadly error.

[312] _Sarandip_ is the name for the island of Ceylon among the Arabs
and Persians, as well as the _Musalmans_ of India. The ancient _Hindu_
name was _Lanka_, applied both to the island and its capital.

[313] The term _kisra_ is evidently applied here to _Naushirwan_,
not to Cyrus, as is stated in some books.

[314] _Iran_ is the ancient name of Persia in its more extended sense,
that is, the Persian Empire. _Fars_ is sometimes used in the same
sense. Strictly speaking, it denotes Persia proper, which is only a
province of _Iran_.

[315] The _kafila-bashi_ is the head man of the _kafila_, or company
of merchants, who travel in a body for mutual safety, and compose what
is commonly called a caravan, properly a _karwan_; the richest and
most respectable merchant of the party is generally elected _bashi_;
all the rest obey his orders, and he directs the movements, &c.,
of the whole company, and moreover, acts, in all cases of dispute,
as judge and magistrate.

[316] The _farsakh_, or _farsang_, or _parsang_, is a measure
of distance in Persia, and contains at the present day about 3 3/4
English miles. Herodotus reckoned the _[Greek: pasasaggaes]_; in his
time at 30 Grecian stadia.

[317] _Salsabil_ is the name of a fountain of Paradise, according to
_Muhammadan_ belief.

[318] The student is of course aware that in most languages a question
is frequently equivalent to a negative, as in this sentence. A
sapient critic, to whom I have more than once alluded, was pleased
to honour me with the following profound remark on the reading given
in the original, viz.--"There is a slip here in Forbes's edition,
as well as the Calcutta one. The word _nahin_, 'not,' is omitted,
which destroys the whole sense!!!"

[319] The _kaliyan_ (or as the moderns say, _kaliyun_) is the Persian

[320] This is, as the vulgate hath it, "coming it a little too
strong;" but be it remembered that Oriental story-tellers do not mar
the interest of their narrative by a slavish adherence to probability.

[321] Here the king _Azad Bakht_ speaks in his own person, and
addresses himself to the four _darweshes_.

[322] With regard to the essence of _bed-mushk_ vide note 2, page 42.

[323] The image of the Divine power in that country of Pagans.

[324] Vide note 3, page 30, respecting the _chilla_, or "period
of forty."

[325] That is to say, she had never seen a _Muhammadan_ at his prayers.

[326] _Lat_ and _Manat_ were the two great idols of _Hindu_ worship
in former times.

[327] In the languages of southern India, _Turk_ is the general
appellation for a _Musalman_.

[328] The _chaman_ is a small garden or _parterre_, which is laid out
before the sitting room in the interior of the women's apartments;
it means in general, _parterres_ of flowers.

[329] The original uses a much stronger expression.

[330] Literally, the poison of the _halahal_, as expression used
to denote poison of the strongest kind. The _halahal_ is a fabulous
poison, said to have been produced from the ocean on the churning of
it by the gods and _daityas._ Our critic says, on this word, that it
means "deadly!!!" will he favour us with some authority on that point,
better than his own?

[331] On the phrase, _do mahine men_, our critic comes out in great
force. He says, "Mir Amman here sins against grammar; it should be,
_do mahinon men!!!_" The critic is not aware, that when a noun follows
a numeral it never requires the inflection plural en, except when it
is to be rendered more definite? In reality, Mir Amman would be wrong
if he had employed the reading recommended by the sapient critic;
_do mahine men_ means "in two months;" _do mahinon men_ "in _the_
two months" (previously determined upon).

[332] The _chor-mahall_ is a private seraglio.

[333] The twelve _Imams_.--Vide note 3, page 4.

[334] The threshold of a pagoda or mosque. The oriental people uncover
their feet, as we do our heads, on entering a place of worship.

[335] Asiatics do not sign their names, but put their seals to letters,
bonds, paper, &c.; on the seal is engraven their names, titles, &c.;
which absurd practice has frequently given rise to much roguery, and
even bloodshed, as it is so easy, by bribes, to get a seal-cutter to
forge almost any seal, a notorious instance of which appeared some
twenty years ago in the case of the _Raja_ of _Sattara_. Though the
_Muhammadan_ laws punish with severe penalties such transgressions,
yet seal-cutters are not more invulnerable to the powers of gold
than other men. Kings, princes, _nawwabs_ &c., have a private mark,
as well as a public seal, to official papers; and a private seal and
mark for private or confidential papers.

[336] A _khil'at_ or honorary dress is generally bestowed on a person
when he is appointed to a new situation.

[337] Literally, "who could hit a _kauri_ suspended by a hair." The
_kauri_ is a small round shell used to denote the minutest denomination
of money. In Bengal it is about the hundredth part of a _paisa_.

[338] The _nazar_ or _pesh-kash_ is a sum of money, &c., which,
all oriental officials pay to the prince of the country, or to his
favourites, &c., when appointed to their situations. Some people
say that such things are done nearer home, with this difference,
that among us it is a private transaction; whereas, in the East,
it is an open one.

[339] _ja-girs_ are donations of lands, or, rather, of the revenues
arising from a certain portion of land; strictly speaking, such
a grant is a reward for military service, though it is sometimes
bestowed without that condition.

[340] As the _Musalmans_ reckon their day from sun-set, this is
no _bull_.

[341] Literally, "the third fault is that of the mother."

[342] The king here resumes his address to the four darweshes.

[343] A proverb synonymous to ours, of "What is bred in the bone,
will never come out of the flesh."

[344] The _tawa_ is a circular plate of malleable or cast iron,
used for baking cakes or bannocks. It is slightly convex, like a
watch-glass, on the upper side, where the bread is laid on; the under
or concave side being, of course perfectly black. In Scotland, and in
the northern counties of England, this domestic implement is called
"the girdle," and is still in common use in places remote from towns.

[345] Till recently a province of Persia; the northern part of ancient
Media. It is now, alas! fallen into the deadly grasp of the unholy

[346] A kind of pea common in India; it is the ordinary food of horses,
oxen, camels, &c., likewise of the native. By Europeans it is generally
called _grum_ or "_graum_."

[347] The _Muhammadans_ believe that on the day of judgment all who
have died will assemble on a vast plain, to hear their sentences from
the mouth of God; so the reader may naturally conceive the size of
the plain.

[348] The _surma_ is a black powder made of antimony, which the Asiatic
women use on their eyelids, to give a superior lustre to their black or
hazel eyes; when applied with taste, it certainly has that effect. It
is likewise used for sore eyes, but I cannot say with what success.

[349] _Chummak_ is the Turkish name for a kind of _baton_ set with
precious stones, and used by some of the officers of the palace as
an insignia of state, like our rods, wands, &c.

[350] This ludicrous idea is to be found in the veracious "Voiage and
Travaile" of Sir John Maundevile, Kt. Speaking of the "Yles abouten
Ynde," he says, "men fynden there an Ile that is clept Crues," where
"for the grete distresse of the hete, mennes ballokkes hangen down
to their knees, for the grete dissolucioun of the body."

[351] The _Hur_ are celestial females, and the _Ghilman_ beautiful
youths, who are to attend upon all good Mahometans in Paradise.

[352] The _nakkar-khana_ is the place at the portico of a temple or
palace where drums are beaten at stated intervals. It is somewhat akin
to the "belfry," of a Romish church, the childish and everlasting noise
of which is supposed to constitute an important part of Christianity.

[353] _Padmini_, the highest and most excellent of the four classes
of women among the _Hindus_.

[354] The prime minister, or first officers of state, under the
_Mughal_ emperors.

[355] Literally, "instant of an instant." With regard to this idiomatic
use of the genitive case, vide "Grammar," page 96, paragraph _b_.

[356] Here the _khwaja_ resumes his own story to _Azad Bakht_.

[357] The king, _Azad Bakht_, speaks in his own person.

[358] The son of a _khwaja_ or merchant of the highest grade.

[359] When _Musalmans_ go on pilgrimage to _Mecca_, they shave their
heads on their arrival there; the ridicule is, to have incurred the
shaving without the merit of the pilgrimage.

[360] Called the _khil'at sarafrazi_, i.e. of exaltation.

[361] The _farsh_ is the carpet or cloth which is spread in the room,
where company is received, or the king's audience is held; for the king
to advance to the end of the _farsh_ to receive the _wazir_, is a mark
of respect, which Asiatic princes seldom pay, even to their equals.

[362] The insignia of the _wazir's_ office in India and Persia,
is the _kalumdan._

[363] The abode of a _fakir_ is called a _takiya_.

[364] The phrase _kot bundh baithna_ signifies to squat down as a
person does when easing nature, the two hands being clasped together
round the legs a little below the knees.

[365] _Chaupar_ is a very ancient Indian game of the nature of
backgammon, played by four people, each having four men or pieces. A
full description of it is given in the Ayeeni Akbary, London, 1800,
vol. 1st, page 253.

[366] _Azur_, the father of Abraham, was a famous statuary and
idol-worshipper, according to the ideas of _Muhammadans_.

[367] Alluding to the _Hindu_ custom of the wife's burning herself
with the corpse of her husband; in these cases, perhaps, fear of the
priesthood, &c., is a stronger motive than love for the defunct.

[368] By the Island of the Franks, it is most probable that the
author means Britain. The description of the capital is more adapted
to London sixty years ago than to any other European city. This,
_Mir Amman_ might have learned from some of the resident Europeans,
while he filled up the rest from his own luxuriant imagination.

[369] The "eunuch" is of course out of place in a Christian city;
at least he does not hold the same rank as in the East.

[370] In the original it is water; the meaning is obvious enough.

[371] Most probably the name of some famous armourer.

[372] A Persian proverb.

[373] That is poison of the strongest kind.--Vide note on this word
in page 213.

[374] Meaning in this world and the next.

[375] Barbers in Asia not only shave but wash persons in the private
and public baths.

[376] A prince of _Khurasan_, who quitted a throne in order to lead
a life of piety.

[377] A celebrated city of _Khurasan_, famous in former times for
its riches.

[378] The attitude of respect, common in the East, when a servant
has a request to make of his master; or a very inferior person of
one who is greatly his superior.

[379] Meaning, "of surpassing speed."

[380] In the original, the word is _kai_, or the green scum that
floats on stagnant water. "_Bihzad Khan_, dispersed the enemy as _kai_
is dispersed when a stone is thrown into the water," is nearly the
original simile.

[381] Literally, "merely continued bringing up the soil from the

[382] The first and second _Darweshes_.

[383] One of the many epithets applied to _Darweshes_ in the East.

[384] A Persian proverb.

[385] The regent; the fourth _Darwesh's_ uncle.

[386] According to the fabulous system of _jinns, divs, paris, &c.,_
in Asia, it is supposed that the _jinns_ and _paris_ live on essences,
&c. The _divs_ are malignant spirits or beings, and live on less
delicate food.

[387] _Divs_ or demons; the malignant race of _jinns_.

[388] _Chin_ and _Machin,_ is the general name of China among the

[389] _Bukhur_ is a kind of frankincense.

[390] _Abu-Jahal_, or "the father of obstinacy," or "of brutality,"
was the name of an Arab. He was uncle to the prophet _Muhammad_,
and an inveterate opposer of the latter's new religion.

[391] The forty figures of monkeys would give the possessor a power
over the _divs_ and _jinns_, and having them at his command, he could
easily overset the usurper, _alias_ his uncle.

[392] The _Ismi A'zam_, or great name of God.--See note 2, p. 145.

[393] Alluding to the Asiatic custom of the women being concealed
from the view of all, except their husbands or very near relations.

[394] The _kazis_ and _muftis_ are the judges in Turkey, Arabia,
Persia and _Hindustan_, of all civil and religious causes; they
likewise marry, divorce, &c.

[395] The _tija_ is the same as the _siyum_.--See note 2, page 187.

[396] A kind of litter for the conveyance of women and the sick.

[397] A kind of litter for travelling in Persia and Arabia; two
of them are slung across a camel or a mule; those for camels carry
four persons.

[398] Viz., his state of castration.

[399] _Zu-l-fakar_, the name of a famous sword that _'Ali_ used
to wear.

[400] The veiled horseman, _'Ali Mushkil-Kusha_.

[401] In the original there is a play on the words _haml_ and _hamal_.

[402] Literally, "he made the man in want of a _kauri_ the master of
a _lakh_ [of rupees].

[403] _Ryots_ (a corruption of the word _ra'iyat_) are the husbandmen
in India; the tillers of the soil who rent small parcels of land
from the government, through the medium of the _zamin-dar_, who
is a servant of government and not the proprietor of the land, as
some have erroneously supposed. The word means keeper of the land,
and not the proprietor. In fact, he is like the Irish middleman,
in every sense of the word.

[404] A famous garden in Arabia Felix; it is also applied to the garden
in Paradise, in which all good Mahometans, according to their belief,
are to revel after death.

[405] _'Umman_ is the name of the southern part of _Yaman_ or Arabia
Felix; the country which lies between the mouth of the Persian Gulf
and the mouth of the Red Sea; the sea which washes this coast is
called the sea of _'Umman_ in Persia and Arabia, as the Red Sea is
called the sea of _Kulzum_.

[406] A mode of punishment used in former times in Persia, India, and
Arabia, against great enemies or atrocious delinquents. Such treatment
the poor emperor Valerian experienced from the haughty _Shapur_
or _Shabar_ (the Sapores of the Greeks), king of Persia or Parthia.

[407] The first _darwesh_.

[408] The second _darwesh_.

[409] The third _darwesh_.

[410] The fourth _darwesh_.

[411] The five pure bodies are _Muhammad_, the prophet; _Fatima_, his
daughter; _Ali_, her husband; and _Hazan_ and _Husain_, their chidren.

[412] The fourteen innocents are the children of _Hazan_ and _Husain_.

[413] By an arithmetical operation called in Persian _Abjad_; as
Persian letters have arithmetical powers, the letters which compose
the words _Bagh O Bahar_ added up, produce the sum 1217. From the
inscription on most _Muhammadan_ tombs, and those on the gates of
mosques, the dates of demise and erection can be ascertained. We had
the same barbarous custom in Europe about the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries; see the Spectator (No. 60,) on this ridiculous subject,
which was considered as a proof of great ingenuity.

[414] A pun on the word _Bahar_, which means spring, when flowers are
in full bloom; but the French word _printemps_ conveys more exactly
the compound signification; for _Bahar_ not only means spring, but an
agreeable spring. The Persians are as fond of these _double entendres_
as any other people; their poetry is strewed with them, and so is their
prose. It is not, however, to be considered as a model of pure taste.

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