Sidor som bilder

either within doors or without, than they were. The climate of Persia is so exceedingly various, that it is impossible to speak of the whole together. The southern and eastern parts of the country are subject to excessive heat in summer, but the winters are very mild. The extensive sandy or salt deserts in this part of the country make the temperature as much hotter as in other parts it is colder than mere latitude would lead us to expect. On proceeding to the north and west, the heat of summer abates, for we remove from the neighbourhood of large deserts, and get into higher and more mountainous regions. It is about the great city of Ispahan that we come into that part of Persia which may be called temperate. We have then left the country in which the summer heat is excessive, and are not come to that in which the cold of winter is severe. The Persians are never weary in praising the climate of Ispahan, and they have really good reason to do so. Did you ever hear the story about the merchant of Ispahan and the emperor of India ?

F. and J. No!
H. I think not.
U. O. Then I'll tell you.—This merchant,

who had travelled very much, was residing at Delhi, the capital of India, when the emperor asked him which he thought the best spot in the world ? He, no doubt, expected that the merchant would have had the complaisance to mention Delhi, or some other spot in India ; but the patriotic Persian answered without hesitation, “ My own house !”—“ Your own house !" said the emperor with much surprise. “ Yes, please your majesty,” replied the merchant; " and I trust I shall prove it to your satisfaction. You will allow,” he proceeded, “ that the fourth climate is the finest on the earth ?” The emperor who, like the Persian, believed the habitable earth to be divided into seven climates or regions, of which the fourth was the best, readily agreed to this. “ Then, the province of Irak is admitted, I believe,” said the Persian, “ to be the finest in that climate, and Ispahan is the first eity in Irak. Now the ward of Saadut-abad is certainly superior to every other in Ispahan, and my house is the best in Saadut-abad.”

F. What did the emperor say to that? .

U. O. Just what we should have done : he laughed, and approved both of the man's logic and patriotism. In these southern and central parts of Persia the dew does not fall in summer, and the air is so pure and dry that the brightest steel will not rust in the open air; and, indeed, I have not been in a country where the air is generally more dry and pure than in Persia. As we proceed northward or westward from Ispahan, the cold of winter increases in severity; and in all the country from the thirty-fifth degree of latitude to the river Aras, the winters are far more inclement than is ever known in this northern country.

H. And what of the summers ?

U. O. In this part the heat of summer varies much with the difference of height and situation. But, speaking generally, there are very few places in which the summer is not much warmer than in any part of England, though not so warm as in the more central parts of Persia. An exception is afforded by the low, level country on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The waters of that sea are lower than those of the ocean; and even the shores are said to be sixty feet below that level. You would therefore expect

H. Great heat.

U. O. You are right. The heat of the summer is very intense, and the air is very moist throughout the year. Steel soon gets rusty there; and the pale complexion of the inhabitants shows the climate to be unhealthy. Yet, owing to the combination of heat and moisture, there is no part of Persia in which the vegetation is so rich and abundant. The sugar-cane is successfully cultivated in the plains, while the sides of the back mountains are covered with the acacia, the linden, the oak, and the chestnut; and their tops are crowned with the cedar, the cypress, and other varieties of the pine. Some writers, who divide Persia into three climates, regard as the third, the long, narrow, and sandy tract which stretches along the shores of the Persian Gulf, and extends beyond, even to the Indus. The ground is not only sandy, but low and level; therefore the climate there is what, think you?

H. and F. Warm; very warm, Sir.

U. O. Yes; very warm. The climate more resembles that of Arabia, which is opposite, than that of Persia. The Persians, indeed, do not like to consider it as part of Persia, but as belonging to Persia. The heat there is so intense during the summer months, that it is scarcely to be borne by any but the Arabs, by

whom this tract of country is chiefly inhabited. It is very oppressive even to Englishmen who have spent several years in India. Mr. Morier mentions some gentlemen who found the heat amount almost to suffocation. One of them wrapt himself round with a sheet, which he kept wet, and another covered himself with his mattress, and the thickest things which he could find, by which different means they alike felt much relieved, as the outward heat was thus kept from them.

It looks as if the sea had once washed the foot of the mountains, and had afterwards retired, leaving this tract dry. The whole consists of low sandy plains, in which one only perceives occasionally some date-trees and patches of cultivation near the wells and freshwater rivulets, which are thinly scattered over this extensive but barren region. Thus we see in the same country two regions somewhat similarly situated, the one on the Persian Gulf, and the other on the Caspian Sea; in both the summer is exceedingly warm, and the winter very mild. Yet the shores of the Caspian Sea are very fruitful, and those of the Persian Gulf barren; and the reason is, that the shores of the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »