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siderable energy, and by no means deficient in information; he is well versed in the history of his own country, and has a tolerably correct idea of the geography and political state of Europe. His army is his hobby, and to his thirst for military fame he sacrifices both his own ease and comfort, and the welfare and prosperity of his country. His court is far inferior in style and splendour to that of his grandfather and predecessor, the principal offices of state being occupied by men of low origin, deficient in that magnificence and courtliness of manner which formerly distinguished the Persian noble. The late king was always attended by a numerous and gallant retinue of princes of the blood, and officers of state, besides a crowd of inferior retainers; the present monarch often rides out with a few ill-mounted and worse appointed followers."
The Shah has, however, many good qualities to recommend him : he neither drinks wine or smokes ; he is a strict and conscientious mussulman, and in other domestic matters sets an example, which, however little might be thought of it in our western climes, is creditable for the polygamists of the
As we have given a portrait of the master, it may not be amiss to have a sketch of the man, so we will even follow our author from the royal presence into the tent of the celebrated Haji Mirza Aghassi, the Grand Vizier of Persia. At the time of the Colonel's visit it was crowded with ministers, priests, soldiers, secretaries, and courtiers, whom the various arrangements which were then making preparatory to the intended movement of the troops, had assembled around the person of the minister.
"The Haji, or pilgrim, as this important personage is always called, from his having performed his devotions at the shrine of Mecca, is the most remarkable man that I have ever met with. He is by no means destitute of talent, but his words and actions are strongly tinctured with real or affected insanity. He is said to be deeply versed in the mysteries of Soofeeism, the wild theories of which, though incompatible with the religion of the Prophet, are daily extending the number of their votaries. The extraordinary degree in which he has possessed himself of the confidence of his sovereign, both as political and spiritual adviser, has rendered him almost omnipotent, and emboldens him to treat the ancient nobles, and even the princes of the royal
family, with the utmost hauteur and coarseness, doubly galling to them from the lowness of his origin. The whole business of the state is transacted by him, and the other ministers of the Shah are mere instruments in his hands.
"It is impossible to introduce any subject but the Haji immediately assures you that he understands it more thoroughly than any man alive; and I have heard him utter the most consummate nonsense about military matters, while the whole assembly, with imperturbable gravity, agreed with all he said. On one occasion, some one having ventured to praise the generalship of Napoleon, the Haji sharply interrupted him, saying, Napoleon! whose dog was Napoleon?' The good sayings attributed to the Haji would fill a volume, but unfortunately few of them would admit of repetition to ears polite." • * • "The Vizier is a short but athletic man, of about sixty, with a shrewd grey eye and a thin scanty beard, the cause of much witty remark in a country where that appendage is culti vated with so much care. Until the accession of the present Shah, the Haji filled a subordinate station in the household of the prince royal, and had something to do with the education of the reigning king. He was raised to his present dignity in 1835, when his predecessor, a bold and clever man, having excited, by his ambition, the jealousy of the monarch, met with the fate of the bowstring."
Colonel Wilbraham's long residence in the capital of Persia afforded him very extensive opportunities of becoming acquainted with the state of society there, and accordingly, as might be expected, his observations on that subject are full of interest, and afford considerable information.
"Persians of all classes are devotedly fond of society, and, when we consider how few resources they possess within themselves, we shall not wonder that they should so soon tire of their own company. Their beautiful climate (for beautiful it is to them who do not mind the heat, which to us appears excessive) contributes much to their sociability, by enabling them to spend the larger portion of their time in the open air; and you scarcely find a village, however small, which has not its shady seat, where all the idle congregate and discuss the topic of the day. The general courtesy, so remarkable among Asiatics, is very pleasing to witness, and it is impossible not to contrast it with the clashing selfishness so apparent in those busy communities where every one is eagerly intent upon his in
dividual pursuits. Living a life of indolence, free from care and rivalry, the Persian's only thought is to enjoy the passing hour. His pleasures are few and simple, such as those around him are welcome to share in, for the habits of the higher classes differ in little from those of their inferiors. Although the precedence due to rank and office is scrupulously exacted, the intercourse between all ranks is familiar and unrestrained, and the wandering Dervish will enter without ceremony the tent or chamber of the Vizier, and join freely in the conversation. The attachment displayed by the retainers of the Persian nobles towards their lord, and
the kindness with which they are treated by him, has often reminded me of the devotion of the Scottish clansmen towards their chief, and speaks highly in favour of both parties. Their treatment of their slaves is another proof of the natural kindliness of the Persian disposition. Many of these old servants are regarded quite in the light of friends, and I have frequently seen them standing near their lords, with folded arms, listening to all that was said, and often giving their opinion unasked. I remember being very much struck with a scene which occurred at the table of Mr. Ellis, our ambassador in Persia in 1836. One of the sons of the late Shah was the ambassador's guest, together with several other Persians. During dinner the prince handed a goblet of wine to his confidential retainer, who stood behind him; the man refused it, saying, Who am I that I should drink in the presence of your highness?' The prince, repeating the offer, answered, You are my friend.' The man still demurred; when the prince exclaimed, You are my brother. The man then took the cup, and turning away, quaffed off its contents."
Though the women are strictly prohibited from mixing in the society of the men, and only their nearest relations are permitted to see them unveiled, yet they are by no means subjected to that close confinement which it is commonly said they are; and once out of doors and wrapped up in the concealment of the dark blue "chaddar," their liberty would appear to be quite as unrestrained as our own rational and confiding notions of license would accord to our wives and daughters at home.
From the capital our author proceeded westward by Sulimaniah to Casveen, through a country, as he informs us, devoid of interest, and destitute of water and cultivation.
Farther on, however, in approaching Zanjan, he had the good, or, we rather believe, ill fortune to fall in with a large detachment of Persian troops, and his observations on them, their disorderly march, marked with plunder and devastation of their own countrymen, their wretched equipments and unsoldierlike appearance, are not calculated to give us any very exalted ideas of Persian discipline. We shall take no notice of posts or stages, or the common-place annoyances of travelling, which it is not to be wondered befell our author, as well as every other
tourist, but shall pass rapidly forward through the great commercial town of Tabreez, and rejoin him at Tiflis, which he made for some time his head-quarters while making excursions to the adjacent places that were worthy of observation.. So far as we can incidentally collect from our author's remarks, it would seem that the society and manners of Tiflis are gradually becoming Russianized-to use an expression of his own under the influence of the nobles of that nation who now resort to it. And the recent visit of the emperor and his suite to this remote portion of his empire will be likely to make a sad inroad amongst the peculiarities of the Georgians, though as yet few of the ladies have adopted the costume of the Europeans, or speak any other than their native language. The rank of Colonel Wilbraham of course introduced him to the society of the highest classes as well of the Georgians as of the Russians, whom the near approach of the emperor has brought to the city; and we are bound to say that the introduction of many distinguished personages and some pleasant domestic chit-chat render these pages very agreeable. After having had an interview at Erivan with the young heir apparent of Persia, the Emperor arrived at Tiflis : our author attended at ing sketch of the autocrat: his private levee, and gives the follow
is peculiarly fascinating, but the high forehead, the short and curved upper lip, and the expression of a rather small mouth, impart somewhat of sternness to his features when in repose. His naturally fair complexion is now bronzed by exposure to a southern sun, but the forehead where the cap has sheltered it is white as marble. His blue eye is quick and expressive, and a small moustache adds to his soldierlike appearance. His majesty wore the full dress of a general officer, distinguished only by his decorations. Passing round the circle, he addressed a few words to each individual as Baron Rosen presented him, and his manner towards the Asiatics was peculiarly gracious. An Armenian officer served as interpreter. It soon came to my turn to be presented. After remarking that I ought to have been at the cavalry review of Vosnesensk, the Emperor asked me several questions concerning the state of Persia, and mentioned his having seen the heir-apparent at Erivan. He then made some observations on the recent accession of Queen Victoria; on which subject he referred me to Count Orloff, and passed on to my neighbour Souvoroff. On his name being announced by the governor-general, the Emperor immediately exclaimed that it did not please him to see the grandson of the Prince. Souvoroff Italisky in other than a military uniform, whereupon my friend had to kiss hands and to become a soldier nolens volens. This struck me as rather an arbitrary mode of changing a man's profession, especially when he has for many years been following some other line, and has, perhaps, no inclination for a military life."
During the residence of the Emperor in this part of his dominions, the duties of the interior of the palace were performed by a body of young Georgian princes, whose appearance excited the admiration of the author, and must no doubt have added to the splendour of the court.
"Dressed in their splendid and becoming national costume, they fully uphold the character which the Georgians have acquired of being the handsomest nation in the world. Over a closely-fitting tunic of rich silk or brocade they wear a cloth dress with short sleeves, which reaches to the knee. Their loose Eastern trouser is of silk, and a black boot, fitting close to the leg, confines it below the knee. A sword and pistols, richly inlaid, are fastened in their girdle, and on their head they wear a low lambskin cap." VOL. XIV.
Before we leave this subject, we will give our readers one more extract, and introduce them to the grand ball given at the palace, the evening before the Emperor's departure from Tiflis.
"It was little after eight when we arrived, but the saloon and corridors were already thronged. The men were standing in groups in the middle of the room, or elbowing their way through the crowd, while the women were ranged in formal rows on benches placed against the walls. Beyond the ball-room lay a long suite of rooms, terminating in a small octagonal boudoir, the recesses of which were occupied by couches of the most inviting luxury. I must confess that I was sadly disappointed in the beauty of the farfamed Georgian women; and yet I do not know what right I had to raise my expectations high. Their praises have been sung almost exclusively by the poets of the East; and the absence of mind, without which the most perfect features fail to charm the refined taste of an educated European, matters little to the sensual eye of an Asiatic. Their dress is also most unbecoming. A golden tiara, pressed low upon foreheads already somewhat deficient in elevation, is the universal ornament for the hair; while their bosoms, conceal the foot and ancle, and gowns, too liberal in the display of their hide the prettiest figure. Then, almost all, young as well as old, are painted, and their stained eyebrows impart a coarseness and unpleasing boldness to the countenance. In short, if there be beauty, it is beauty of a low and unintellectual order. At some little distance, many a face struck me as very pretty, but, on a nearer inspection, there was always some fault, usually about the mouth. The Georgian costume is far more becoming to the men, who showed to great advantage beside the Armenian merchant, with his sober garb. There was also a sprinkling of Turks and Persians; and had any European been transported thither, unconscious where he was, he might have fancied himself at a masquerade, so motley were the groups. The old Mushtehed was there, and seizing both my hands in his, he overwhelmed me with questions regarding his native country. Were he to show himself there, I doubt whether the sanctity of his office would ensure the safety of his life.
"At nine, the Emperor arrived, and the ball commenced. His Majesty opened it in person, by walking a polonaise with a little Georgian Tzarevna,' or Princess Royal, long past the bloom of youth. With great difficulty, and at the risk of
a pretty little Georgian, spoke French with ease, and her manner as well as her dress was European."
In the latter end of October, Colonel Wilbraham left Tiflis, and turning his course to the south-west, in a few days reached the fortress of Goomri, which is on the Russian frontier. The little river of Arpachai, a branch of the Arras, flows at a short distance to the westward, and divides the territories of Russia and Turkey. Having sent forward a horseman from a small Armenian village to the town of Haji Villi, to apprise the Beg of his intended visit, our traveller was met at the outskirts by a servant of the Beg's, and, with many assurances of hospitality, led to his master's mansion. Our author has not failed to record his Turkish entertainment.
It was very late when the servants appeared with preparations for the evening meal. My host, my guide, and I, seated ourselves round the tray, and the old major-domo presented us water to wash our hands. The supper consisted of a succession of somewhat savoury and very palatable dishes, in which sweets and acids were strangely mingled, and ended with a princely pillau, the pride of Eastern cookery. The word Bismillah' (in the name of God) gave us the signal to fall to. Thin wheaten cakes served us in lieu of plates, and fingers performed the office of knives and forks. Once or twice my host tore off some dainty morsel and handed it to me; but, though one could well dispense with such marks of
civility, they are intended as a compliment, and should be taken as such. Water was again handed round, and our host, with the pious ejaculation of God be praised, (Alhamdolillah,') rose from his seat, and we followed his example. Coffee and pipes were then produced, and one by one the Beg's guests returned to their homes."
By far the most interesting object in this part of Armenia are the ruins of the once celebrated city of Anni. This city continued for several centuries to be the capital of Armenia, and was destined, during that period, to become more than once the prey and the property of those ruthless conquerors who, during the middle ages, overran, and in a great measure devastated the East, and whose savage and unsparing slaughter choked up the streets of the devoted city with the bodies of the slain, and crimsoned the waters of the Arpa with their blood. Attended by a guide and single servant, Colonel Wilbraham proceeded to visit the town, traversing the dreary, cheerless, and scarcely inhabited country that lies around. At a distance, the city does not appear deserted, for the long line of wall which stretches along the rocky heights, on which the city, with admirable judgment, was placed, hides from the eye the internal ruin and desolation, while towers of massive masonry and the spires of churches rise apparently in perfect preservation. Once within, however, and the delusion vanishes.
"We entered by the principal gate, which stands in the centre of this face. Over the gateway are some curiously sculptured figures. The walls and towers are built of irregular masses of stone, cemented with mortar, but they are faced with well-hewn blocks of sandstone. The sacred symbol of Christianity is introduced in various places. Huge blocks of blood-red stone; let into the masonry of the tower, form gigantic crosses, which have defied the hand of the destroying Moslem.
"The only buildings which are now standing are the Christian churches, a Turkish mosque, several baths, and a palace, said to have been the residence of the last Armenian monarchs. All these display much splendour and architectural beauty, and the fretwork of some of the arches is very rich; but it is evident that the public buildings alone were on this massive scale, and that the private dwellings were always very humble. The hollows in the ground, and the mounds of
loose stones scattered over the whole area of the city, would lead me to suppose that they were much of the same style as those now in use. Throughout the whole of Armenia and Georgia, I have remarked, that, while the villages are scarcely raised above the level of the ground, the churches are massive structures, visible from a great distance. There are a vast number of inscriptions at Anni, some in Turkish, but the greater part in Armenian. The churches are precisely of the same architecture with those of Etchmiadzin, and some of them are still in perfect preservation. In one, the walls are covered with rude paintings, in some of which I recognised subjects from the Scriptures; but the miracles of St. Gregory, and other saints of the Armenian calendar, occupied the large share. The Oriental Christians appear always to have had a fancy for building their churches in the most inaccessible situations; and of
this there is a curious instance at Anni. On a narrow ledge of rock, washed on three sides by the Arpachai, stands a little chapel, accessible only by a steep and dangerous footpath. Tradition says that it was erected by the daughter of some old Armenian king, famous for her piety and beauty, who used to spend the greater portion of her days in this isolated spot.
"As I rode among the mounds ef stones, several covies of the rock par tridge rose from beneath my horse's feet, so seldom are they disturbed in the once crowded streets of the capital of Armenia. One solitary Koordish shepherd, with his white felt cloak, was standing beneath the shelter of a ruined porch, while his small flock of mountain goats were perched upon the crumbling arches of an adjoining bath. Shepherd and flock were both in keeping with the desolation of the surrounding scene, and would have furnished a subject worthy of Salvator's pencil. In one of the old roofless churches, a scanty fire, still smouldering among the blackened ruins of the fallen altar, marked his cheerless bivouac. My guide dismounting allowed his horse to stray within the gate way of the sacred pile, and, sheltered from the raw and piercing blast by the massive buttress of the vaulted aisle, vainly attempted to fan the dying embers to a flame."
"The feelings excited by the sight of this deserted city are very melancholy. The forsaken churches remind you that a powerful Christian nation here sank beneath the repeated attacks of the most barbarous tribes of Asia, the bitterest foes of civilization and Christianity. The very preservation of the buildings height ens the impression of loneness, and you
involuntarily look around for signs of life. Amid the utter ruin of more remote antiquity, very different feelings are excited. The shapeless mounds of Babylon are like the skeleton; but the deserted yet still standing city resembles the corpse whose breath has fled, but which still retains the semblance of life."
Our author proceeded to Kars, which cible expulsion of the Armenian popuwas once a thriving town, till the forlation at the close of the last war between Turkey and Russia, destroyed its trade, and deprived it of some of its of the season, now advanced to winter, wealthiest inhabitants. The severity Contributed, no doubt, to the dreary and miserable appearance of the country and villages, for our author pronounces Kars to be the most wretched place that he ever met with in his wanderings. The city of Erzeroum has also, of late years, suffered severely, and from the same cause as Kars. We could wish to have found, throughout this volume, more observations like the following. It is a matter of the greater regret, as we are not disposed to attribute the want of them either to the lack of opportunities, or abilities of the author.
"The trade of Erzeroum is almost limited to the passage of goods between Constantinople and Persia, which has been considerably increased since the establishment of weekly steam-boats on the Black Sea. The khans, or caravanserais, when I was there, were filled with packhorses; and the custom house, an extensive establishment, was lumbered up with bales of goods. Yet, in spite of this thriving appearance, our trade in Persia is by no means flourishing, the markets are glutted with British manufactures, by the over-speculations of the Persian merchants resident in Constantinople, numbers of whom have failed in consequence; and in the present impoverished state of Persia, the consumption of European goods is daily diminishing. Besides these causes, large quantities of manufactures are annually imported into Persia from Russia, both by the way of Tabreez aud by the Caspian, which, though inferior to ours, are cheaper, and find a readier sale. The bazaars of Erzeroum are poor and of small extent; and the manufacture of copper utensils, which once formed the principal branch of its industry, is now almost abandoned. The market appears to be well supplied, and great numbers of oxen are weekly killed. In Persia, especially in Tehran, beef is rarely seen, and is eaten only by the very poorest classes.