Page 86. “Government resembles a tree, the root of which is legal punishment”—siyāzat, that is, discretional punishment, such as the law has not provided, but may be inflicted.—The lithographed text thus proceeds: “And its extremity [i.e. of the root] is justice, and its bough, mercy, and its flower, wisdom, and its leaf, liberality, and its fruit, a degree of kindness, and the leaf of every tree, of which the root becomes dry, assumes a yellow [tint], and does not produce fruit. And as the root of government is legal punishment, delay on this point is not permissible; and as in this legal punishment there is postpone­ment, I am apprehensive lest the root of the tree has become dry; after which reparation is impossible.”

Page 87. “In case she should give birth to a boy, to call his name Bihrūz”—an appropriate name for a jeweller's son, since it denotes “a species of blue crystal,” as well as “good day.” The lithographed text adds: “If it should be a daughter, give her a name suitable and proper;” alluding to the privilege accorded to a mother of naming her own daughter; the name of a son is given by the father.

Page 88. “The boys had learned to read the Kur'ān” (pro­perly, as I have spelt it in the translation, Qur'ān).—Muslim children are not only taught to read the whole, but commit to memory portions, of the Kur'ān. After learning by heart the first chapter* —which is to the Muslim what the Lord's Prayer is to the Christian—the remaining chapters are learnt in their inverse order, and those who have learnt to repeat the whole of the Kur'ān may then claim the title of Hāfiz, or Hāfizu kalāmi 'llāh, “rememberer of the Word of God,” or “one who knows God's Word by heart.”—“Much merit,” says Torrens, “is attributed by the Muslims to recitations of the Kur'ān. On occasions of festivity persons are hired to repeat either the whole or the principal parts of it. These are fickees, a term usually applied to schoolmasters by modern Arabs, but signifying, ‘a person learned in the law.’ They know by heart the whole, or particular parts, of the Kur'ān, which each in turn recites. These recitations are introduced among the Egyptians as an entertainment at parties.”*

Page 88. “Were instructed in the art of penmanship.” —“Beautiful writing,” says Sir John Malcolm, “is considered as a high accomplishment. It is carefully taught in schools, and those who excel in it are almost classed with literary men. They are employed to transcribe copies of books, and some have attained such an eminence in this art that a few lines written by one of these celebrated penmen are often sold for a considerable sum. I have known seven pounds to have been given for four lines written by Dervish Musjīd, a famous Persian scribe.”* And a story is told of a celebrated Indian penman, in the course of his walks one day, being solicited for alms by a beggar, “Money,” he replied, “I have not;” but taking his pen and ink from his girdle, he wrote a few words on a small slip of paper, and handed it to the poor man, who received it with expressions of gratitude, and sold it to the first wealthy person he met for a gold mohur—about ten shillings.

Page 88. “And other accomplishments”: adab, that is, “good manners;” a decent and becoming behaviour at meals, a proper degree of respect to be shown to the father, greeting him affectionately in the morning by kissing his hand, and—as a well-bred son seldom sits in his father's presence—standing before him in a submissive attitude (Lane). Reverence for parents, which is still a marked characteristic of Eastern races, has ever been strongly inculcated by the Hebrew Rabbins; and the noble conduct of one Dama, the son of Nethuna, towards both his father and mother is adduced in the Talmud as an example for all times and every condition of life. “His mother was unfortunately insane, and would frequently not only abuse him, but strike him, in the presence of his companions; yet would this dutiful son not suffer an ill word to escape his lips, and all he used to say on such occasions was, ‘Enough, dear mother, enough.’ One of the precious stones attached to the High Priest's sacerdotal garments was once, by some means or other, lost. Learning that the son of Nethuna had one like it, the priests went to him, and offered him a very large price for it. He consented to take the sum offered, and went into the adjoining room to fetch the jewel. On entering the room he found his father asleep, his foot resting on the chest wherein the gem was deposited. Without disturbing his father, he went back to the priests, and told them that he must for the present forego the large profit he might make, as his father was asleep. The case being urgent, and the priests, thinking that he only said so to obtain a larger price, offered him more money. ‘No,’ said he, ‘I would not, even for a moment, disturb my father's rest for all the treasures in the world.’ The priests waited till the father awoke, when Dama brought them the jewel. They then presented to him the sum they had last offered, but the good man refused to take it. ‘I will not,’ said he, ‘barter for gold the satisfaction of having done my duty. Give me what you offered at first, and I shall be satisfied.’ This they did, and left him with a blessing.”

Page 89. “His clothes and money concealed in different places”—the words here printed in italics are not in the litho­graphed text.

Page 90. “With afflicted bosoms and bleeding hearts”—ba dil-i kabāb, wa sīna-i kharāb, ajingle of words, of which Orientals are very fond, as previously noticed, foot-note, p. 128.

Page 91. “I accept it as a favourable omen.”—Muslims are always on the watch for lucky or unlucky omens. On first going out of a morning, the looks and countenances of those who cross their path are scrutinised, and a frown or a smile is deemed favourable or the reverse. To encounter a person blind of the left eye, or with one eye, forebodes sorrow and calamity. While Sir John Malcolm was in Persia, as British Ambassador, he was told the following amusing story: When 'Abbās the Great was hunting, he met, one morning as the day dawned an uncommonly ugly man, at the sight of whom his horse started. Being nearly dismounted, and deeming it a bad omen, he called out in a rage to have his head struck off. The poor peasant, whom they had seized and were on the point of executing, prayed that he might be informed of his crime. “Your crime,” said the King, “is your unlucky countenance, which is the first object I saw this morning, and which has nearly caused me to fall from my horse.” “Alas!” said the man, “by this reckoning, what term must I apply to your Majesty's counten­ance, which was the first object my eyes met this morning, and which is to cause my death?” The King smiled at the wit of the reply, ordered the man to be released, and gave him a present instead of taking off his head.* Another Persian story to the same purpose: A man said to his servant, “If you see two crows together early in the morning, apprise me of it, that I may also behold them, as it will be a good omen, whereby I shall pass the whole day pleasantly.”* The servant did happen to see two crows sitting in one place, and informed his master; but when he came he saw only one, the other having in the meantime flown away. He was very angry, and began to beat the servant, when a friend sent him a present of choice viands. Upon this the servant exclaimed: “O my lord, you saw only one crow, and have received a fine present: had you seen two, you would have met with my fare.”* The old pagan Arabs never set out upon any important expedition before con­sulting their fortune, either by divining arrows or by the flight of birds; if a bird flew to the right, it was a good omen, but if to the left, they would postpone their intended enterprise. In allusion to this superstition the celebrated poet Bahā 'u-'d Dīn Zuhayr, of Egypt, says:

My love is like a young gazelle,
Appearing on the huntsman's right;
And oh! the bargain prospered well,
When she and I our troth did plight.

Page 91. “Heir to the crown.”—Bihrūz, no doubt, on being raised to the throne, assumed another name, or the imperial title.

Page 92. “Purchased a young boy at the slave-market.”— Repellent as even the name of slavery is to a European, and especially to a Briton, it must not be supposed that the condition of slaves in Muhammadan countries bears any resemblance to that of the slaves in the Southern States of North America, before their emancipation, with which such works as Uncle Tom's Cabin used to harrow up our souls. On the contrary, Muslims are enjoined by their religion to be, and, as a general rule, really are (all things considered), kind and even indulgent to their slaves. Sir John Malcolm (an excellent authority) remarks: “Slaves are not numerous [in Persia], and cannot be distin­guished by any peculiar habits or usages from the other classes, further than that they are generally more trusted and more favoured by their superiors. The name of slave in this country may be said to imply confidence on one part and attachment on the other. They are mostly Georgians or Africans; and being obtained or purchased when young, they are usually brought up in the Muhammadan religion. Their master, who takes the merit of their conversion, appropriates the females to his own harem, or to the service of his wives; and when the males are at a proper age, he marries them to female slaves in the family, or to free women. Their children are brought up in the house, and have a rank only below relations. In almost every family of consequence the person in whom the greatest trust is reposed is a house-born slave; and instances of their betraying their charge, or abusing the confidence that is placed in them, are very rare.”* A curious story is related in the Talmud, of a man making his will in favour of his slave, although he had a son whom he loved fondly. This man, resid­ing at some distance from Jerusalem, had sent his son to the Holy City to “complete his education” (to employ an absurd colloquial phrase for the nonce); and dying during his son's absence, he bequeathed his entire estate to one of his slaves, on the condition that he should allow his son to select any one article which pleased him for an inheritance. Surprised and naturally angry at such gross injustice on the part of his father, in preferring a slave for his heir instead of himself, the young man sought counsel of his preceptor, who, after carefully consid­ering the terms of the will, thus explained its meaning and effect: “By this action thy father has simply secured thy inheritance to thee. To prevent his slaves from plundering the estate before thou couldst formally claim it, he left it to one of them, who, believing himself to be the owner, would take good care of the property. Now, what a slave possesses belongs to his master; choose, therefore, the slave for thy portion, and then possess all that was thy father's.” The young man followed this advice, took possession of the slave, and thus of his father's wealth, and then gave the slave his freedom, together with a considerable sum of money.* —“The manners of Asia,” says Richardson, “seem in all ages to have pointed to domestic slavery; and Muhammad, in Arabia, made that an article of religion which had anciently been only a custom. The captives of war were, in consequence, with few exceptions, constantly reduced to a state of servitude; and little distinction seems in general to have been made between a princess and her slave; excepting what she derived from a superiority of personal accomplishments. These ideas the Arabians entertained amidst their extensive conquests. Many instances might be given, but two will suffice, as they were daughters of the two greatest princes in the world. In an action after the siege of Damascus, in A.D. 635, amongst other prisoners was the daughter of Heraclius, emperor of Greece, and widow of the governor of that city. Rasi, the Arabian commander, to whose lot she fell, presented her without ceremony as a slave to Jonas, a Grecian, who had embraced the Muhammadan religion; but Jonas, from a principle of honour, returned her, with all her jewels, unran­somed to her father. When the Arabians conquered Persia, Shīrīn Bānū, the daughter of the King Yazdejird, was one of the captives, and was publicly exposed to sale in the city of Madīna; but the liberal-minded 'Alī thought differently from his countrymen on this occasion; he declared that the offspring of princes ought not to be sold, and married her immediately to his son.”* —The lot of women in Arabia before the time of Muhammad was at the best a hard one, and it certainly under­went no improvement when they happened to be taken captive in any of the frequent tribal wars. (The brutal treatment of the beauteous Abla, in the Romance of 'Antar, when she fell into the hands of the chief of a tribe hostile to that of 'Abs, is doubt­less a faithful picture of Arabian life in those times.) And there can be no question that the cruel and unnatural practice which prevailed among the pre-Islamite Arabs of burying alive their new-born female children had its origin in a desire to save them from the hardships they were so likely to encounter when grown up. This practice seems to have been at one time common to most of the nations of antiquity.

Page 93. “Several of the soldiers returned.”—They prob­ably came to report to the King that the enemy were in superior force, and that more troops must be despatched to oppose them.

Page 94. “Day was beginning to dawn.” The text adds: “He performed the morning-prayer (namāz-i sabā), at the time when [teaches the Kur'ān] ‘you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread.’” The Persians, who are shī'a (unorthodox), prefer to “distinguish a white horse from a gray horse.”

Page 94. “Say, King, shall I strike or not?”—It was cus­tomary, if I am not mistaken, at the courts of some of the Khalifs or other Eastern monarchs, for the executioner, after being ordered to decapitate a culprit, to ask the King three times: “Shall I strike?”

Page 95. “It was the will of Heaven that they should fall into the sea, where one of them perished, but the other was restored to us.”—The unhappy couple could not bring them­selves to confess that the father had with his own hand tossed them into the water. There is something in this that bears a resemblance to the answer of Joseph's brethren when they went down to Egypt to buy corn, and were arrested on suspicion of being spies: “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” (Gen. xlii, 13.)

Page 96. “Set at liberty all those who had been confined with him.”—To the point is the following extract from the Times newspaper, of September 23, 1882, p. 8, col. 2: “The coronation of Czars is always signalised by acts of imperial clemency, and in this respect the ukase of Alexander II, on the 7th of September, 1856, remains honourable. It granted a complete amnesty to all the political offenders of 1825-6, and of the Polish rebellion of 1831, who were still in exile, or in prison; also pardons to Press offenders, military defaulters, and to about five thousand other individuals in gaols.”