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raised at once his own character and that of his country into weight and authority. The present time too is highly favourable for simplifying the subtleties of public diplomacy, since no minister ever could know better than our present premier the superiority of Corporal Trim's single thrust of the bayonet, the determined aim and irresistible vigour of which bears down all fine fencing in action, and all metaphysical subtleties in logic. Let us speak a frank word, for it is a true one. Subtlety is not our national characteristic, and when we engage in the recondite mazes of diplomacy we attempt a game which we do not understand, and from which, therefore, we are not likely to rise winners. Since the time of Philip de Commines, who first made the remark, the English have commonly lost in negotiation what they have gained in war.' This could not, surely, be the case, were our diplomacy conducted on the principles of plain reason and com
We ask pardon of our readers for a digression to which, in truth, the work before us affords no apology, since, differing in that particular from Montesquieu and Lord Littleton, the author of Hajji never suffers the lucubrations of his Persian to touch upon politics, whether of a general or national character, confining his subjects almost entirely to criticisms on manners and
The ambassador-whose liberal mode of thinking, and shrewdness of perception of character, though mingled of course with national prejudice and a good deal of national roguery, are not to be disguised-is, we conclude, the same Mirza whose wit and talents excited a strong sensation in the fashionable world about eighteen or twenty years ago, and whose person, character, and manners made the subject of a small and agreeable pamphlet by Lord Radstock, which, though not published, was, we believe, pretty generally circulated. There was in the manner of Mirza all the address and dexterity of a courtier, with some points which seemed to indicate a deeper degree of reflection than we are accustomed to connect with the idea of a Mussulman. His repartees were often repeated at the time, and lost none of their effect in coming forth by the medium of bearded lips, from a head swathed round with a turban. His jests were regulated with much delicacy. He could, on occasions, be severe enough, but it was always when time and place served. A profound blue-stocking once teased him with inquiries whether they did not worship the sun in Persia. Oh yes, Madam,' said Mirza, with perfect coolness, and so would you in England too-if you ever saw him.' Mirza, while residing in Britain, made a progress, on which occasion he showed that he completely understood the duty of tour
ists who would act in character, to ask a certain number of questions, with a becoming degree of indifference as to the manner in which they may be answered. For example, when he visited a large public library at one of the universities, he looked round the room, Fine room-great many pillar-are they stone pillar? -wood pillar?' His cicerone, who had a slight impediment in his speech, not answering immediately, Mirza went on, You do not know?—very well-very many book here-are they printed book or written book?' There was a similar hesitation; You do not know? very well.' In Edinburgh he visited the old palace of Holyrood, whose gallery is garnished with a most fearful and wonderful collection of pictures, said to be portraits of the hundred and six ancestors of gentle King Jamie, which we believe were originally painted to grace the entrance of his unhappy son Charles into his Scottish metropolis in 1633. Mirza no sooner beheld this collection of scarecrows than, being a critic as well as a wag, he turned to the old lady who showed the apartments:"You paint all these yourself?' 'Me, Sir-no, no-1 canna paint any thing, please your honour.' To which Mirza answered, You not know, ma'am-you try, ma'am-you do a greatly deal better, ma'am.' Such was, in his actual reality, Mirza Abou Taleb, the prototype of Hajji's patron, whose character, therefore, is not overcoloured by our tell-tale secretary.
Additional interest is given to the narrative by the contrasted lights in which the same incidents are seen by the envoy and Hajji, (both of whom are somewhat indifferent, or, at least, very liberal in matters of religious belief,) and the master of ceremonies, Mahomed Khan,-a rigid Mussulman, and others of the suite who are zealous followers of the Arabian prophet. The Circassian, too, though a late convert to Islamism, became, as is the nature of her sex,-to say nothing of the nature of renegades —a violent assertor of the creed which she had so recently adopted. There was a dinner accepted by the envoy at the house of some wealthy Jew merchant, or banker, which liberality on Mirza's part drew on him reproaches from his mistress, his master of the ceremonies, and even from Hajji Baba himself. The Mirza is provoked beyond patience.
"Oh you dog without a saint!" said he to Mohamed Beg; "are you a Mussulman to lie after this manner? why am I to bear all this want of respect? I am the shah's representative, and if the shah himself was here he would cut your head off; but as I am a good man I will only punish you with a few blows. Give him the shoe," he cried out to several of us; and having named me as the principal agent, I was obliged to take off my slipper, and inflict on the mouth of my friend as many blows as I could. I went to work as quietly as pos
sible; but with all my ingenuity I could not avoid knocking out a certain old and solitary tooth, which had stood sentry at the door of his mouth ever since the last reign.
The poor sufferer left the ambassador in pain and anger. I heard him vow eternal vengeance; and to me he said, "Oh you of little fortune! why would you hit my tooth! You did better things when you were a ferash, and beat men's toes."
'I swore upon the sacred book that I was without help, that I was ordered to strike; and I only begged that if he were ever obliged to do the same to me that he would not spare me.'-vol. ii., p. 271.
But it is an amourette of our adventurous friend Hajji Baba which chiefly interested us. The gallant secretary had made an acquaintance at Astley's (which place of amusement he calls the horse-opera) with a father, mother, and three daughters, the first of whom was a devotee, who converted Jews, and made stockings for the poor; the second, beautiful and fashionable; the third was not come out yet, but had a tendency to blue, in the garter at least. All this was made known to our Hajji by the loquacity of the mother, who expatiated upon the wealth and generosity of her husband.
""Mashallah! praises to Allah!" said I, "he is also very fat;" and I added, "what may his fortunate name be?" Hogg, at your excellency's service," said she. "It is an old Scotch family, and we flatter ourselves that we come from some of the oldest of the stock." "Penah be khoda! refuge in Allah," exclaimed I to myself; "a family of the unclean beast! and old hogs into the bargain! My luck is on the rise to have fallen into such a set. And pray what may yours and the young ladies' names be ?" said I. "We're all Hoggs too," said the mother.'
This leads to a visiting acquaintance which the secretary keeps private from the ambassador, the ambitious Ispahani having in secret nourished hopes of securing the affections and property of the beautiful Miss Bessy Hogg. The ladies, on their part, had adopted some idea that their eastern friend was a mirza, or prince, which Hajji Baba failed not to confirm, gaining thus an amazing step in their favour.
This being established, it was quite amusing to observe the rate at which they started with the word " Prince," as if it had never crossed their lips before. Whatever they addressed to me was prefaced with that monosyllable, until at length, in my own defence, I was obliged myself to ask a few questions. "Where is your papa?" said I to the beautiful Bessy. The mamma answered, "He is gone into the city; he attends to his business every day, and returns in the evening.” "Ah! then," said I, "he is merchant-same in my country:—merchant sit in bazar all day, at night shut up shop, and come home-- What he sell, ma'am?" "Mr. Hogg," said the lady, with some dignity,
"does not keep a shop, he is an East India merchant." "Then per haps he sell ham," said I, thinking that his name might be a designation of his trade, as it frequently is in Persia. "Sells hams!" exclaimed the lady, whilst her daughters tittered. "Why should he sell hams, prince ?" "Because he one Hogg, ma'am. In our country, merchant sometime called after the thing he sells." "La, prince!" exclaimed the lady, "what an odd custom. Hogg is an old family name, and has nothing to do with the animal. There are Hoggs both in England and Scotland." "You might as well say, prince," remarked the young Jessy, “ that Sir Francis Bacon, the famous Lord Verulam, was a pork butcher.” “ And that all our Smiths,* Taylors, Coopers, Bakers, Cooks, and a thousand others, were representatives of their professions," added Bessy. "Well, I never heard any thing like it," summed up the mamma. "Mr. Hogg a ham-seller, indeed! La, prince! what could you be thinking of ?"—vol. ii. p. 93.
This false step is soon repaired; and, by dint of his supposed quality, our friend Hajji, whom no scruple or fear of consequences ever deters from prosecuting an immediate advantage, is invited to a splendid dinner by the family of Hoggs, and treated with such distinction, that he conceives himself to be on the point of making a conquest of the moon-faced object of his affections; whilst, on the other hand, he has no small reason to be apprehensive of the envoy's displeasure, should he be detected in the act of taking upon himself the character of a prince. This fact transpires, like most others, through the medium of the newspapers, which announce the grand entertainment given by those distinguished fashionables, Mr. and Mrs. Hogg, of No. -, Portland Place, to his highness the Persian Prince Mirza Hajji Baba. Great is the displeasure of the ambassador; and great above measure is the embarrassment of his worthy secretary, justly suspected of being the illustrious prince who has shared the banquet of the unclean beasts, as the cousins of the Ettrick Shepherd are unceremoniously denominated; and as he endeavours to vindicate himself, with some warmth, against the charge of having eaten a good dinner, he draws on himself the discipline of the shoe-heel, applied repeatedly to his teeth by the envoy himself, while his hands are held by two of the assistants.
This mis-adventure does not prevent the enterprising secretary from persevering in his scheme on the heart and fortune of the lively Bessy. He is even able to extract some countenance from the ambassador, who, understanding that the damsel has a fortune of fifty thousand tomauns, proposes that the profits of the adventure shall be fairly divided betwixt himself and his dependent, he *The prince did not know Verstegan's couplet, or he might have found an answer— 'Whence cometh Smith, be he lord, knight, or squire, But from the clown that forged in the fire?"
getting the portion, and Hajji Baba the person of the lady. But, though this obstacle is removed, it is in vain that Hajji makes love in the Persian manner, by rubbing his own shawl against the back of the young lady's pelisse; it is in vain too that he learns from an Englishman-(who had, probably, in his mind, the lively story of Altham and his Wife,')-that there have been instances of love-tales being favourably received in England when told under an umbrella, and in the middle of a shower. Chance, assisted by his own dexterity, gave him the desired opportunity, with its adjuncts of the umbrella and the rain, which he considered as essential to a propitious explanation. But while, in the most correct style, we presume, of Persian adoration, he styles the young lady his tooli sheker khu, or sugar-loving parrot, and invites her to wife with him and live with him'-the lovely Bessy slips her arm from under that of her lover, and hints something of speaking to mamma, The prosecution of the story is, we think, a little caricatured. The Father of the Hogs, as Hajji calls him, is represented as applying to the ambassador, and to the mehmandar or interpreter, for the purpose of learning our friend's real character, birth, fortune, and expectations. Now as the said Hogg is described as a wealthy India merchant, we think that he must certainly have known what wool a Persian's red cap is composed of, and that it is impossible he could have thought for a moment of matching his daughter with a foreigner, of a false religion, and a barbarous country, while there were so many bachelors, good men on 'Change, and very good christians, doubtless, to boot. It is wonderful, however, that in a work which afforded such tempting opportunities to push humorous incidents into extravagance, the author should have resisted the licence, except only in the present instance. The appeal to the too veracious mehmandar is utterly destructive of Hajji Baba's tender hopes; and the moonfaced Bessy Hogg, instead of being made a princess after the desire of our Persian secretary, or the lady' of a young long-spurred hussar officer, after her own inclinations, becomes the wife of a wealthy grocer, and her oriental admirer is a resigned witness of the ceremony which—we doubt not, to her great ultimate comfort and satisfaction-makes her Mrs. Figby.
The departure of the embassy, with all the preparatory bustle, and above all, the settlement of long bills which it involves, is described with the truth and spirit which characterize this lively work, and of which we have given so many instances. Hajji Baba returns safely to Persia. The wonders which he saw at the court of Britain he narrated before the throne of the Shah; was invested with a dress of honour; and dismissed from the royal