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Then said the rose, with deepen'd glow,
HAJJI BABA IN ENGLAND.*
THE HE work before us-the second series of Hajji Baba's adventures, by Mr. Morier, has some faults (and some merits) which the first production had not: but, on the whole, it is very amusingly written. There can scarcely be said to be any plot about it, in the sense in which that term is used by novelists, but a constant source of excitement is kept up by the shifting of the characters even if they be such as take no great hold upon us-into new and singular situations: and, without becoming subject to that sort of novelistic lien which arises out of a care for the individuals before us, we have a running curiosity to see what, in particular positions, particular people will think and do.
"Twas but a moment-o'er the rose
The work sets out with the nomination of Hajji Baba, as appointed and peculiar officer of the Persian shah, to select and take up in the provinces of his master's empire, a collection of presents which are to accompany an embassy to the king of England. These gifts are to consist (as becomes the honour of the shah and the purpose of the embassy) of the choicest specimens of art and splendour that Persia can afford, and especially of such matters as are likely to be acceptable to the illustrious monarch for whose use they are designed. Horses, slaves of all descriptions, and an eunuch dwarf, are among the gifts.
These presents, according to Persian etiquette, previous to their transmission to Frangistan, are submitted to the inspection of the English ambassador resident at the court of the shah; and immense surprise is creat ed when that officer suggests that "the slaves will none of them be ac
ceptable." The to the eunuch dwarf, and the statement that the King of England does not lock up his wife-and moreover that he has but one, creates a burst of merriment and incredulity through the court, "La illahah illallah!" cries the vizier- astonished even into forgetfulness of the place in which he stands-"only one wife? Suppose he gets tired of her, what then?" The delight, however, expressed at the gift of the horses, somewhat covers these disappointments. The English ambassador is luckily "no great judge; and, therefore, the animals which a Persian would most likely have rejected, he accepts with joy." "With a warning to learn all the languages of Frangistan, to express no surprise at any thing which they may hear or see, and to do every thing in England for the shah's honour, that his face may be white in the eyes of the infidels ;" the mission, accompanied by a young Englishman, who is to act as interpreter, quits Ispahan on its way to St. James's.
The chief ambassador from Persia, Mirza Firouz, is by no means devoted to the task assigned him. In fact, he receives the honour at the suggestion of a vizier, who is jealous of his favour with the sultan, and thinks it advisable to get him out of the way. Hajji Baba, whose fortune it is to be protected by the jealous vizier, (and who goes" to England as secretary of the embassy") therefore stands in no great odour in the nostrils of his superior officer.
*The Adventures of Hajji Baba in England, 2 vols. 12mo., Murray, London. 1828. 50 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series,
there? underground, or how ?'-Another, 'We hear that their only food is the unlawful beast; how can a Mussulman exist there?'-A third said, At least we shall get wine, for we are told they drink nothing else, and that all their water is salt.""
In passing through Turkey, the usual heartburnings break out, between the Turks and the Persians; and in "the capital of the Blooddrinker" (Constantinople), even the hatred of both sides to the Franks appears not strong enough to control this disposition to mutual offence. At length the Persians get on board the English ships prepared for their voyage to Great Britain. And here we shall let the historian speak a little for himself:
was done in honour of his excellency, and was the acknowledged mode is England of treating persons of de tinction. May your shadow never be less!' rejoined the ambassador. '1 am very sensible of the honour,' at the same time thrusting his fingers into his ears; ' and I assure you that this mark of distinction will leave a lasting impression upon me. But what is the use of discharging so many cannon, and wasting so much precious gunpowder? You have fired away more powder than our shah did at the celebrated siege Tus, when, with three balls and one cannon, he discomfited a host Yuzbegs, and kept the whole of their kingdom in fear of his power for ever after.'
"We had reached the frigate all but about one maidan, when, wonderful to behold, at the sound of a shrill whistle, out jumped hundreds of what we took to be rope-dancers;
"The captain then brought his naibs, or lieutenants and officers, introducing them to the ambassador, and, among the number, he specially presented a doctor, who was enjoin
for none but the celebrated Kheez-ed to take care of our health. He,
Ali of Shiraz, inimitable throughout Asia for his feats on the tight rope, could have done what they did. They appeared to balance themselves in rows upon ropes scarcely perceptible to the eye, ascending higher and higher in graduated lines, until on the very tip-top of the mast stood, what we imagined to be either a gin or a dive, for nothing mortal surely ever attempted such a feat. We had no sooner reached the deck, whither we had all been whisked up (the blessed Ali best knows how), than instantly such discharges of cannon took place, that, with excess of amazement, our livers turned into water, and our brains were dried up.
"In the name of Allah!' exclaimed the elchi, what does this mean? Is this hell? or is it meant for heaven? What news are arrived?' All this he was exclaiming, whilst the captain, standing before him, made low bows, and seemed to claim his admiration. And it was only when the firing had ceased, and that our ears had somewhat recovered the shocks they had received, that the mehmander stepped up and said, this
moreover, led a Frank priest before us, who was the only living sign we had yet seen of religion amongst infidels-for never had we seen one of them even stand still and pray.
"One of the men was a son of the road, as the wandering Arabs say, a traveller. He was evidently a person of experience; for his hair was white, which he might have kept from the gaze of the world had he always worn a turban or head-dress, according to our Eastern fashion. The account which he gave of himself was to us incomprehensible; for it seems he was travelling about the world, at his own expense, for a Frank king, to collect birds, beasts, and fishes, which, as fast as he caught, he stuffed. The moment he perceived us, be eyed us from head to foot, as if he were inspecting horses or camels; and his curiosity was afterwards explained by the knowledge we acquired of his pursuits;-it was evident that, looking upon us as foreign animals, he longed to kill and to stuff us."
The most admirable affair of all, however, seems to the Orientals to
be, the seeing the "idle young men wrought wood was raised a canopy of rich stuffs, from which were suspended curtains as ample as those which screen the great hall of Tehran. The seat was overlaid with the softest and most luxuriant mattresses; and pillows to recline upon were raised, one above the other, in heaps. Allah! there is but one Allah' exclaimed Mirza Firouz; I am in a state of amazement. To eat dirt is one thing, but to eat it after this fashion is another!" "
on board the ship" [the midshipmen] appear all at noon, each with an astrolabe" [a quadrant] in his mands! To see boys handling this instrument of wisdom, and apparently with a purpose to ascertain if the heavens are propitious to the voyage, excites an inexpressible wonder on the part of the ambassador! and having contemplated the exhibition of a little rhubarb on that day, he sends a message, to know from the Frank soothsayers, whether the time is propitious for taking physic. In the mean time the whole party apply themselves diligently to the study of all European peculiarities, and especially of the English language; and, after the chief ambassador has nearly cut off one finger in learning to use the knife at dinner, and Hajji Baba nearly committed a greater mischance, by running his fork into his eye; with no farther calamities than these, the ship reaches the English coast in safety, and the embassy is disembarked at Plymouth :
must have been constructed upon the famous peacock throne of the Moguls. Upon four pillars of curiously
"What was our astonishment, when we alighted at the door of a house, at the gate of which stood several denominatious of Franks, without their hats, and two or three women unveiled, all ready to receive us, and who, placing themselves in a sort of procession, preceded the ambassador until they reached a room, fitted up with looking-glasses, and surrounded by many contrivances, too numerous now to mention. The mehmander then told us, that this was to be our habitation for the present; and added, that, whenever we wanted any thing, we had only to pull a string pendant from the wall, when slaves, ready to obey our orders, would appear, quicker than ever the gins did to Aladin.
"The shah's throne, on which he sits to administer justice, and to make the extremities of the world tremble, was not more magnificent than the
bed intended for the ambassador. It we longed to cut them up for alcoloks, or to bind them round our waists; but we were unaccustomed to their heavy coverings, and found,
The dinner at the caravanserai delights the travellers even more than that on board ship. Their satisfaction at the appearance of so much plate, glass, china, &c. is at first unbounded; but is afterwards a little abated by the production of that nuisance which, the Persian historian observes," meets strangers, go where they will in England-a bit of paper, covered with hieroglyphics, calledthe bill!' ” After a few hours, the novelty being over, the time at the inn begins to hang somewhat heavy on the hands of the strangers, but is relieved by the "diversion of pulling the strings which hang near the fireplace, to try whether such a ceremony will actually produce the appearance of the slaves, or servants, of the caravanserai:" and "sure enough they came," says the Hajji, "and tired enough they seemed to be; till, at length, our pulling had no farther effect; and the charm we supposed was broken by our too frequent repetition."
The embassy then proceeds to London, where the ambassador finds himself much disgusted on account of the little respect shown to him both on the road and on his arrival. The arrangements of the Frank houses, too, when they reach the capital, the whole party find to be, in many points, inconvenient :
"We passed the first night very ill. Each of us had a bed, the curtains of which were so pretty, that
after we had been a short time under them, that our coat and trowsers became disagreeably oppressive. The whole household was on the stir long before the Franks thought of moving; but Mohamed Beg was much puzzled about the true hour for saying his morning prayer, for we heard no muezzins to announce it from the mosques; and, besides, the nights were so much longer than any we had been accustomed to, that we had almost settled amongst ourselves that the sun never rose in this ill-conditioned city. We had walked about the house for several hours almost in total darkness, and were in despair waiting for the dawn, when at length we heard noises in the streets, iudicating that the inhabitants were awake. During the whole night, at intervals, we had watched the cries of what were evidently guards of the night, who, like the keshekchis, on the walls of the Ark, announce that all is right; but those we now heard were quite different. At first, we thought they might be muezzins, appointed to cry out the Frangi azan, the invitation to the inhabitants to arise and pray; and, indeed, looking at them through the twilight, we were confirmed in our idea; for they were dressed in black, as all the English men of God are; but we were evidently mistaken; because, although they uttered their cry in a variety of loud, shrill tones, yet still no one seemed to rise a moment the sooner, or to have the least idea of praying on their account. And still
were uncertain; but, when the day had completely broken, Mohamed Beg came running in, in great joy, exclaiming, Muezzin! muezzin and, pointing to the top of one of the minars which are seen on all the houses, we there saw one of these street clergymen, crying out his profession of faith with all his might."
The visit of the minister for foreign affairs to the embassy takes place so unexpectedly, at nothing but "sweet and bitter coffee" can be prepared for that officer's reception: "the first of which," the Persians
"A very handsome breakfast was served up to him, but which, strange to say, did not seem to his taste. The ambassador helped him to the choicest bits with his own fingers; he even put his hand into the same mess of rice with him, and gave him his own spoon to driuk sherbet with; but he could not be prevailed upon to make the most of the good things before him. We tried him with some gezenjibin, which he scrupulously examined; but when Hashim, the footman, had dexterously broken it with his hands, and blown the dust from it with his mouth, he did not seem inclined to carry his curiosity farther.
"Surely,' said we, this infidel cannot affect to think us impure, that he does not choose to taste our food; he, who will not scruple to eat swine's flesh, and to drink of the forbidden wine?-and this, too, when our ambassador has laid by his own scruples, has shut his ears to the commands of our holy Prophet, and has treated the Frank as if he were a true believer.' We found that we had still much to learn concerning this extraordinary people."
The whole of the second volume is occupied with the adventures of the Persians in London; and a love adventure which befals Hajji Baba, in a family the name of which is Hogg-a family, as he designates them, "of the unclean beast!" and the card of invitation which he writes to admit his friends to one of the
ambassador's parties" Admit one mother Hogg, and two head of daughters"—are amongst the best points in this part of the book. In the end, the ambassador remains for a time in England, and it falls to the lot of 1 Hajji Baba (under circumstances of something diminished splendour from the manner of its outward journey) to conduct the embassy home. The Persians return to Constantinople in a "transport," on board which they experience every description of horror. "The unclean beast," they say, "walked daily upon the deck; encountering them as if in defiance." Its flesh was eaten before their eyes in every corner.
With the help of the prophet, however, the whole party returns to Ispahan; and Hajji Baba, being admitted to an audience of the shah, is examined as to the wonders of Frangistan-in a conversation, with a few extracts from which we shall close our short notice of Mr. Morier's second appearance. "Well, Hajji, so you have seen Frangistan-what sort of a place is
"Owing to the condescension of the Asylum of the Universe,' said I, 'it is not a bad place.'
"How is it, compared to Persia ?' said the king.
They have none,' said I; of dogs they have abundance.' "So they have poets!' said his majesty; what else have they got? It is said that their women are good -is that true?'
"Hajji,' said the king, after a stare and a thought, say no lies here. After all, we are a king. Although you are a traveller, and have been to the Franks, yet a lie is a lie, come from whence it may.'
"As I am your sacrifice,' said I, 'there can be no comparison.'
"Have the Franks any poets?' "May I be your sacrifice,' said I,' they have; but to say that they
My tongue almost became constipated at this reproof; but taking courage, I continued with vehemence :
approach to either Hafiz or Saadi,By the salt of the king, may my may God forgive me for thinking so "But they have no nightingales,' said the king; say that, I will believe you.'
head be struck off this moment-I am your sacrifice-as I live, I swear that such is the case, and if there be a Frank here, and he be a man, he will confirm my words.'
"Of that there is no doubt,' said I; they would even be worthy, so thinks your slave, of standing before the shah himself."
"You do not say wrong,' said the
king. We want a Frank woman.' Then turning to the vizier, he said, What else was it that we wanted from that country? Is it now in your recollection ?'
"May I be your sacrifice,' said the vizier; 'your slave thinks it was a spying-glass.'
"True, true,' answered the shah, recollecting himself; 'it was a spyingglass; a miraculous spying-glass. Is it true,' said he to me, with some hesitation, is it true that they make a spying-glass in that country which can look over a mountain? Is such a thing really made?'
"Since your majesty says so,' said I, it must be so; but, in truth, it was not my good luck to meet with it. But, as I am your sacrifice, may it please your majesty, I have seen things among the Franks equally astonishing; and, therefore, there is no reason that it should not exist."
"What things did you see? Speak boldly.'
"I have seen a ship,' said I, 'going against a fierce wind, with the same velocity as a horse, and that by the vapour which arises from boiling water.'
"Say it again,' answered the king, softened by my earnestness. What vapour could ever be strong enough to perform such a miracle?
"I then explained what I knew of a steam-engine, and how it acted upon the wheels of a ship.
"But to produce steam enough for such a purpose,' said his majesty, they must have on board the father