Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and the outside covered with bitumen, 2 substance of the same nature as pitch. They are furnished with a mast and sail, and have a clumsy rudder, nearly as large as the boat itself.

Although this town of Bushire is the prin. cipal Persian sea.port, yet there is none of the bustle which indicates the activity of com. merce; instead of crowds of vessels at anchor, receiving and discharging their cargoes, with nume. sous boats passing to and fro between them and the shore, the masts of a single vessel

may

be here and there perceived, and perhaps a coue ple of boats creeping along with a tlapping saila The whole of its trade is closely connected with that of Bussora, lying at the almost extreme northern point of the gulf; for almost every ship which navigates this sea touches at both places.

The governor of Bushire came on board the following day, accompanied by a numerous train, to greet the arrival of our travellers, and invite them ashore; he was introduced by Captain Blisset to the English officer, com. manding the detachment; and on receiving an intimation that these troops were come to disa cipline the army of the king his master; he paid the whole party extraordinary honours. On 5th March they lapded, and after a tedious ceremony, as grand as the governor

could make it, the entire number of English found them,

Belves in possession of a long line of tents of different sizes which werp 'pitched outside the town, and were indeed preferable, owing to the excessive heat of the climate, to their con, fined and inconvenient clay buildings.

Opçe settled in their encampment, they had Jeisure to make their observatione on surround. ing objects, for it was necessary to await the arrival of a Mehmander before they could proceed to Ispahan, the capital. The business of this officer would be to act as commissary guard and guide, and indeed he was of indis, pensable necessity in a country where there are no public inns, and little safety on the road for strangers; and though the governor of Bushire could have appointed one, . it deemed necessary, out of gespect, that one of greater consequence should be sent from court.

Well Sir, said William to Captain Blisset, after they had returned from making the circuit of the town, I think it would be diffi. cult to give one who had spent all his life in Dublin or in London, any idea of what we have seen to-day. That is a very just observation, replied Captain Blisset, for no two places can be more opposite in every re. spect. Accustomed, as we are at home to peatness, cleanliness, and convenience, we see here the very contrary; instead of houses with þigh roofs, well glazed and painted, and is

was

What aulo

neat rows; we have them here low, lat rooled, irregular, and 'without windows. swers to our street, is nothing but a narrow lane, incumbered with filth, dead animals, and mangy dogs, and we hear a language totally unlike what we ever heard before, and spoken by a people whose looks and dress are equally extraordinary. Yes, rejoined William, it was that which most vexed me to see such fine look, ing men as the Persians, crawling about in slipshod shoes, and long flapping clothes. It struck me once or twice that it I had a parcel of them aboard our ship, I could make them a little more active on their limbs. Will you never forget, William, that different countries have different manners, and that the Boatswain of an English man-of-war is not to expect every man to move about as a seaman on the gangway. But what a new sight, added William, did the shops present! little

open sheds in rows, between which is a passage of about eight feet in breadth, serving as a street, instead of our closely shut shops, with windows gaily decked with the most costly wares. Comparisons of this kind might be made without end, but it becomes us, William, to remember, that as there is no country in the world to be compared with our own for wealth, security, and comfort, we should be thankful for our own superiority, and always recollect that it can be retained only so long as we cona tinue an industrious, moral, and intelligent, people.

Our travellers remained encamped outside Bushire, till the 27th March, when the Mch. mander arrived. At first, the novelty of every thing they saw amused them, but this soon wore off, and left them nothing to look at but the situation in which they lay with a long desert of sand, terminated by the sea in front, and another long desert of sand bounded by mountains in the rere. During this time, als", they became acquainted with some of the discomforts of a Persian climate. For two days it blew such a gale from the south and west, that three of the largest tents were levelled with the ground, and the clouds of sand also which arose, and which entered into many parts of their tents entirely destroyed either comfort or rest. The wind also brought with it such hot currents of air, that they thought the samoun, or hot wind from the desert, was coming on. They found, however, that autumn is generally the season when it approaches. As it was described to Captain Blisset, it always blows at night, from about midnight to suprise, comes on in a hot blast, and is afterwards succeeded by a cold one. About six years before, he was informed, there had been a samoun during the summer months which so totally burnt up all the corn, then nearly ripe, that no animal would eat a blade of it or touch any of its grain. It reminded him of what he had before met in the Bible-of coru blasted before it was grown up, but it was not till after some search by both himself and William that he found the passage in 2 Kings, xix. verse 26.

On the morving after the Mehmander's arrival as we baye mentionıd, the whole party broke up from Bushire, on their route to Shiraz, For the first two days of their journey, the country they traversed was a flat sandy plain, interspersed with villages, and cultivated tracts. As they approached a small town, called Booranžgoon, they observed some extensive fields of barley and wheat, amongst which grew wild oats and the white and red poppy ; these fields, however, had no hedges or banks, to separate them from each other, or even froin the adjacent woods. Our travellers, according to a custom not unusual in Persia, on such exa peditions, and at that season of the year, conti. nued their journey always during the night, and rested by day; during which latter the su'll was so hot, and shining on the light coloured sand, unscrerned by trees or vegetation of any kind, produced such a dazzling light, that they were ubliged to wear green gauze shades over the eyes ; which were useful to them, not only on. that account, but in defending them from tive millions of insects with which the air actually swarmed. The soil of the country appeared very much impregnated with salt; all the streams aud pools of water that they met with having a strong saline flavour, and many of them they likewise found to be quite warm,

« AnteriorContinuar »