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latter are sandy, and the air dry, which is not the case with those of the Caspian Sea. . I wish now to give you some idea of the general climate of the country, by describing to you the heat of summer and the cold of winter. To begin with the heat: I think it may be best to give you a notion of it, by saying, that the greatest heat of the common Persian summer is about one-third more than the greatest heat of the English summer. In some places the proportion is much greater, and in other places it may be less. In some parts of the country which are not considered the warmest, and not in the hottest season of the year, I have felt the heat to be very intense, so that, next to a cup of cold water, the shade of a rock, or a wall, or anything else, seemed the greatest blessing in life; and it became a matter of serious disappointment if this advantage could not be secured. The province of Fars, of which Shiraz is the capital, is considered to possess one of the mildest climates in Persia, not being so very hot in summer or cold in winter as most other parts; yet here (turning over the leaves of a book which lay on the table) Mr. Morier thus describes the climate of Shiraz at the latter end of the mild month of May. Read, Henry: ,,
H. (Reading.) · From the 28th to the 31st of May the heat was excessive, the thermometer at about two o'clock, in our different tents, varying from 98° to 103°.'
U. O. Now, remember that the greatest heat of an English summer seldom exceeds 75o. Mr. Morier afterwards tells us, that the heat at the same place reached to 110° in the month of July.
H. (Still reading.) The Persians allowed this heat to be uncommon, but still talked of it as trifling, when compared with the great heats of summer. Although it was very oppressive, yet we did not find it so oppressive as the heat of India. All our furniture suffered extremely; mahogany boxes that had stood the climate of India, and which had crossed the equator several times unwarped, had cracked. Ivory split, our mathematical rulers curled up, and the mercury in the artificial horizons overran the boxes which contained it. Yet we found the nights cool, and the mornings quite cold. The difference was sufficiently sensible to enable us to comprehend the full force of the complaint which Jacob made to Laban - In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night.""
U, O. So much for the heat: now for the cold. Observe in the map the town of Tabreez in the north of Persia. The winter in this neighbourhood is incomparably longer and severer than was ever known in England. January is the coldest month. The water then freezes almost instantly in the tumblers upon the diningtable. The ink is constantly frozen in the inkstands, though on tables close to the fire. No eggs can be had, as they are all split by the cold. Bottles of wine freeze, although covered with snow; and strong copper vessels are split by the expansion of the water congealed in them.
F. Who could expect such things in Persia!
U. O. Who, indeed, but they who know how to account for them. The snow in this part of Persia frequently falls so early as October, and so late as May; and it quite covers the ground from November to April. Everything is then covered with snow; and as it is blown about by the wind or new snow falls, the paths which had been trodden in the snow before, are frequently covered, so that the traveller, if not perfectly acquainted with every step of the way between one place and another, is in continual danger of falling into some hollow, where the snow is deep enough to bury him and his horse. I have sometimes, in such circumstances, sat still upon my horse for three-quarters of an hour, while the guides groped about with long poles in search of a secure path. I have heard of instances in which travellers have been in great danger on such occasions, when the wind or new-fallen snow has covered the path. They may then plunge about in the snow for hours; and if not in some way relieved before night, can hardly hope to survive until the morning. It is still worse to be caught in a snow-storm, where, not only solitary individuals, but large parties are sometimes overwhelmed by the drifted snow, and perish. It is therefore considered very rash to venture far from a town in obscure and windy weather.
In the winter season, persons who happen to be benighted before they can reach the town to which they are going, are lost. The gates of cities and towns in Persia are regularly shut a little after sun-rise, and not again opened until the morning. As this rule is strictly attended to, except in the case of great persons, and many things may, and do, happen to prevent people from reaching in time the place to
which they are going, melancholy consequences do sometimes take place, from their being obliged to remain in the open air all night. They are frozen to death. Sir Robert Ker Porter relates on this subject an anecdote which will interest you. He says that there was a person who had made a long journey upon his own horse, to which, like Persians generally, he was very much attached. The night had come on before he could reach Tabreez, and the cold was the severest which had been known that season. He felt that, if he remained exposed to the cold until the morning, he should certainly perish; so he stood considering what he should do. At last, though he was very sorry to do so, he took his dagger and killed the horse he loved so much. He then ripped up the body of the animal and went in, hoping in this shelter to preserve his own life until the morning. But he was mistaken: when the people opened the gate in the morning he was found all stiff, and dead in the body of his horse !
H. Oh, poor man!
F. But didn't it serve him right for killing his horse in that manner?
J. Yes; that it did !