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one corner of this pavilion. No pen could ever define the beauty, the bewitching air of innocence and dignity which pervaded her whole person. She was fast ripening into womanhood, but her forms were almost infantine; different from the generality of her country women, she was fair, at least she might be so called, where all are decidedly dark; her hair, flowing down her back and over her temples in the greatest profusion, was brown, but rendered auburn by a slight tinge of khenna; her skin was whiter, and of a more delicate texture, than that of the most refined Circassian; and her eyes were of so dark a blue that they were occasionally taken for the usual black eye of the country, and being deeply set, they possessed a double force of expression. Her movements were full of grace. There was an earnestness in every thing she said, which enhanced the value of each word, and gave her an appearance of sincerity unusual to her countrywomen. She was richly though simply dressed, in the costume of spring, that is, chiefly in shawls, which were disposed in folds round her person; whilst rows of buttons, each possessing a stone of value, drew tight to her shape the short but graceful vest which covered her body. Her head-dress was composed of a turban of shawl, of a round and picturesque form, two long tresses, after the fashion of Persia, falling from her temples in rich clusters nearly as low as the swell of her bosom. This fair creature was the Princess Amima. Possessing an almost unbounded sway over her uncle, she never took advantage of it but for the best of purposes, always tempering her zeal in favour of the unfortunate victims of his rage or ambition, by a wisdom and discretion beyond her years; and which, in fact, was the secret of her influence. She was almost adored as a saint by the whole country, particularly by those who immediately surrounded the person of the monarch. This young creature, as indeed all Persian girls do, had lived in such total exclusion from the world, that she had never spoken to man save her uncle, her brother, and the attendants of the seraglio, and consequently her heart had never known any stronger emotion of affection than for one or two of her own sex. Her mother had died when she was very young; and excepting an old nurse, whom she always called Dedeh, and her companion or waiting-maid Mariam, both of whom she loved with the greatest affection, she had no attachments.'-vol. i., p. 65-69.
The Princess, and her attendant, Mariam, are both eager, after saying their prayers, to avail themselves of the permission which the Shah had given them to walk about unaccompanied by their usual guardians.
"We are really like mice in a cage," exclaimed Mariam, as she surveyed the rocks which surrounded them. "We might try to get out, but it would be in vain; for, excepting at the entrance on the other side, where the guards are posted, there does not seem to be a hole to put one's head into." "No," said the Princess, แ never was there seen a more complete anderoon than this; 'tis one of the stupendous
stupendous works of Allah! See the rocks rise round us like a serperdeh."
As they proceeded they came to a small projection, within which they observed a very narrow pass which had been hidden from their view, the rocks lapping over each other, like the folds of an Indian screen, and keeping that hidden which could only be seen by a near approach. Without hesitation they proceeded to explore what they at first took for a cavity, but as they advanced, the passage continued to wind onwards, until it stopped almost abruptly; but there was a narrow part of the rocks which had been formed by nature into an easy ascent, and adopted as a path by the wild goats, and which gradually led from the intricacy of the channel into some more open space. At first the maidens, as shy as the antelopes themselves, seemed uncertain whether they should proceed; but, taking courage from the total seclusion of the scene, and impelled by their natural eagerness and curiosity, they ventured to ascend, turning their eyes upwards with looks full of interest towards the perpendicular rocks overhead, which opened new forms to their view at each step they took. As they ascended they found their path bordered with mountain flowers, which, as they gathered, invited them onwards; they now saw more of the blue sky, and at length stepping over a huge rock, which had appeared to overhang their heads from the lowermost point of their path, they at once stood upon an eminence which overlooked an immense range of wild and savage country. In the extreme distance were seen the crests of the forest trees, which in one deep and impenetrable mass clothed the sides of the mountains that surround the Caspian Sea, and form the boundaries of the province of Mazanderan. A wild intermixture of low wood, rock, soil, and broken country took up the intermediate space, forming a chase celebrated throughout Persia for the variety of wild animals with which it abounds, and a well-known resort of its kings for the purposes of hunting. The majestic and snow-capped Cone of Demawend was seen to the westward, stretching its beautiful lines of ascent into the intervening lines of other surrounding mountains, and gave at once a character of grandeur, to what without it would be a dreary, chilling waste. No sound was heard save the shrill note of the hawk, or occasionally high in air the heavy cry of the eagle,: which might be seen winding in graceful circles its descent upon its prey. The maidens, who had never before found themselves in so lone and unprotected a situation, remained awe-struck at the view before them, and scarcely ventured to address each other.
"Only let us advance to yonder rock," said the confidant, "and then we will retrace our steps. We shall certainly see strange sights from it." They proceeded cautiously about a hundred yards farther to a rock which held a conspicuous place in the foreground, and which by its projecting top would seem to afford shelter from the sun as well as the night air. They had scarcely turned an abrupt angle
*The serperdeh is the wall of canvas which surrounds the royal tents.
when they heard, or thought they heard, the growl of a dog. Advancing a few steps, their apprehensions were realized; for they not only heard the bark distinctly, but saw a dog rise from the ground, where it had been lying, and almost immediately after, a man's form extended on the ground, apparently asleep. A hawk, hoodwinked, was perched immediately over him.
The first impulse of both the maidens was to make a rapid retreat; but the bark of the dog having awakened the man, he immediately arose and advanced towards them. Amima, after recovering her fright, covered herself with her veil, though not before he had fully gazed upon her face; Mariam was too much pleased with the appearance of the stranger to feel unhappy. He was in fact a youth of the most prepossessing appearance. His shape was that of great manliness, agility, and strength; the breadth of his shoulders showed to advantage the slimness of his waist, his whole frame being poised most symmetrically upon legs formed as though they had been sculptured. Features cast in a mould of great regularity, and animated by the expression of sense and goodness, would have been at all times his best introduction; but in this instance they produced so magical an effect that fear gave way to confidence, and suspicion to goodwill. He was dressed in the costume of Mazanderan. His cap was placed on the side of his head, with hair in curl behind the ears; a short vest fitted tight to his body by a belt, and descended to his knees; a dagger was on his thigh, and a staff in his hand; a small hatchet was inserted within his girdle. With looks full of deference he approached the Princess and her attendant, and said, in the softest accent," Be not in fear of me; I am your slave; tell me, as you fear Allah, where I am, in order that I may retrace my steps homeward. I have lost my way-benighted as I was last night, I passed my night under this rock, and now know not where I am." -vol. i., p. 71-79.
The parley proceeds for a few minutes, Mariam, who penetrates the feelings of her mistress, insisting on hearing who the stranger is:
The youth, still with hesitation on his lips, and admiration and astonishment in his whole manner, was about to answer, when suddenly an antelope bounded by, apparently sorely pressed, and shortly after the trampling of horses' hoofs was heard, with the shouts of huntsmen. Several shots were then fired in the direction in which the trio stood. The interruption was so unexpected, so sudden, that the youth had scarcely time to throw himself before the Princess, to screen her from harm, when a horseman on full speed, passing the angle of the rock before mentioned, forgot his chase as he discovered them, and stopped, by one vigorous effort on his horse's rein. The consternation which seized Amima and her attendant, on discovering who it was, was so great, that it deprived them of all power of speech and action, and half fainting, half dragging themselves along, they hid themselves like frightened birds before the hawk, behind the rock which effectually screened them from the gaze of the men. The
youth, in the meanwhile, having very soon discovered the peril of his situation, and before whom he now stood (for it was the Shah himself) drew up to his full height, and put himself in an attitude, which while. it bespoke his independence, at the same time announced his determination to defend himself. The first impulse of the king was immediately to cry out with all his might to his attendants "Seize him-slay him!" and immediately the foremost dismounting from their horses, ran to put his orders into execution; as they approached their victim, he said, "Keep off, in the name of the Prophet keep off." Again the king exclaimed, "Sons of dogs! why do you delay? what news is this? whose dog is this? bekoush! bekoush! kill, kill."
The youth finding that there was no chance of escape, for his assailants had now completely hemmed him in on every side, exclaimed with a loud voice, "Avaunt! desist! I am Zohrab !"
This name acted like a spell upon those who heard it. The King himself was now as anxious to save as he had been to destroy the stranger, and ordered a cessation of the attack with as much vociferation as he had before urged it on. Every mouth was now hushed, and every eye turned towards him. At length, after eyeing him for some time from head to foot, the King exclaimed, "So this is Zohrab! O well done, my good fortune! Zohrab is in my power! This is he with a burnt father, who has so long laughed at our beards. By the head of the Shah, by the soul of Ali, let us give thanks to Allah! Well done, my good fortune!
All this while the youth kept a firm and steady countenance, and although he now stood in face of the bitterest enemy of his father and his family, yet he exhibited such a manliness and bravery of appearance, that no one could see him without a feeling of respect. "How came you here?" said the King to his prisoner in a taunting tone. "You less than man! What have you to do hitherwards?" "What shall I say?" said Zohrab. My evil star led me hither; of my own accord I came not." "If you do not fear the Shah, at least respect the Coorook.* What had you to do with yonder women? Speak, before your tongue is cut out!" "I have no news to give either of the Coorook, or of the Shah, or of the women. I was huntingmy hawk fled from me-I pursued him-I was benighted. The morning found me asleep under this rock-on awaking, I found two women standing before me and shortly after I was surrounded by armed men. That is my history-what else can I say?"
"By this time the rage of the tyrant, which to this moment he had in great measure suppressed, broke out upon witnessing the apparent coolness and indifference of his prisoner. "Dog's son! child of an unclean parent! ill born, ill begotten slave!" said he; "is it thus you speak to the Shah? You die not, but you shall live to misery. I will cut your accursed family into a thousand morsels; dogs shall defile their graves; aye, the graves of your grandfathers and grandmothers, * The 'warning off'-the proclamation against coming within a certain distance of the royal harem in progress. and
and all their ancestors. Take him, seize him," roared he to his guard; give him the shoe on the mouth if he speaks; tie him with the cameltie, and lead him straight to the camp. Give him to the chief tentpitcher, and let every tent-pitcher, one after the other, go and spit in his face; and then I will think of further acts of uncleanness to inflict upon him." Upon this he rode off, and such was the violence of his rage that he totally forgot the two unfortunate women, who were entranced with fears almost mortal at all they had heard, as they stood trembling behind the rock.'--vol. i., p. 81-85.
The fates of Zohrab and Amima are now of course fixed; but the course of their true love has many a formidable barrier to burst ere it reaches the certain termination. The hero of Mazanderan is retained in durance by the Shah, as the hostage of his tribe, whose submission is expected as the price of his release. He is committed to the care of the chief executioner-an officer in Persia, as in most Oriental countries, of high rank and importance, whose house conveniently abuts on the outer wall of the ark or citadel of Teheran, where the Shah and Amima have their ordinary residence. That, placed so near each other, the lovers should find some means or other to speed their soft intercourse, is what every one anticipates; that there should be a rival fair one to contest the affections of the Hostage-and that the enamoured and jealous daughter of his excellency the chief executioner should perplex effectually the affairs of volume the first to its close-all this is equally in the course of things. It would be unfair of us to do more than indicate lightly the stages of such a narrative.
In the second volume, Teheran is visited by a solemn embassy from the insurgents of Mazanderan, eager to accomplish the deliverance of their idolized champion. The first reception of these envoys by the Shah might be quoted entire as another vivid picture of real manners; we have room only for a fragment:—
The subjection of Mazanderan had long been the object of the Shah's policy, and anxious to impress his former friend and rival, Zaul Khan, with an idea of his greatness, he determined to receive him with the utmost magnificence. The years which had elapsed since they met, had left but a slight impression upon their respective minds of each other's person. Upon the frame and countenance of an eunuch, an appearance of premature age settles the cast of his features even from youth, and the changes are not so strong as upon the man, whose beard, like the verdant foliage of nature, shows by the variety of its tints through which of the seasons of his career the owner of it is then passing. The Shah's superior good fortune, his rise from being a wanderer and an adventurer to the possession of a throne, were subjects in his mind of great exultation; and as he thought that success is always the test of merit, although his ostensible creed was that it was the gift of fate, so he longed to exhibit himself