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Besides these articles from Arabia, the Persian gulf also furnishes dried fruits, ottur of roses, tobacco, rosewater, a small quantity of Schiraz wine, with a few articles of curiosity and luxury, as books, worked slippers, and silk shawls.
The only English church is in the fort; it is large, but neither well served nor attended. The Portuguese and Armenian churches are numerous, both within and without the walls, and there are three or four synagogues, and mosques and temples innumerable. In the English settlements, when the Bramins go out of their houses, they usually put on the tuban and mussulman jamma, or gown. I saw at Momba Devee's temple (the name of the Bombay goddess) some soi-disant holy men; they were young and remarkably fat, sprinkled over with ashes, and their hair was matted and filthy. I believe they had no clothing, for, during the few minutes I remained in the temple, they held a veil before them, and stood behind the Bramins. My expectations of Hindoo innocence and virtue are fast giving way, and I fear that, even among the Parias, I shall not find any thing like St. Pierre's Chaumiere Indienne. In fact, the Parias are outcasts so despicable, that a Bramin not only would refuse to instruct them, but would think himself contaminated by praying for them. These poor creatures are employed in the lowest and most disgusting offices; they are not permitted to live in any town or village, or to draw water from the same well as the Hindoos. It is therefore not to be wondered at, that their minds are degraded in proportion to their personal situations. Near every Hindoo village there is commonly a hamlet of Parias, whose inhabitants pay a small tax to the kalkurny, or village-collector, for permission to reside near a bazar (market) and wells, and they earn a subsistence by acting as porters and scavengers. They are filthy in all their habits, and do not scruple to use as food any dead animal they find; it is even said that, in some places, they do not reject human bodies.
September 19th.-- We have spent our forenoon to-day very agreeably, in conversing with two well informed natives, one a Hindoo, the other a mussulman. They both speak English
well, and are thoroughly informed in all that concerns the laws, religion, and customs of their own nations.
• Our mussulman friend, the cazy Shahab o'dien Mahary is a sincere Mahometan, and therefore a great bigot ; however, he sometimes drinks tea with us, and does not scruple to eat bread, pastry, and fruit in our house.
• My sister and I paid a visit to his harem, but could by no means prevail on the cazy to admit any of the gentlemen of our family. In the lower part of the house we saw a number of mussulmans sitting cross-legged, with cushions at their backs, in the different apartments, perfectly idle, rarely even speaking, and seeming hardly able to exert themselves so far as to put the betle into their mouths. We ascended to the women's apartment by a ladder, which is removed when not in immediate use, to prevent the ladies from escaping, and were received by the cazy's wife's mother, a fine old woman dressed in white, and without any ornaments, as becomes a widow. Shahab o'dien's mother, and the rest of his father's widows, were first presented, then Fatima his wife, to whom our visit was paid, and afterwards his sisters, some of them fine lively young women. They all crowded round us to examine our dress, and the materials of which it was composed. They were surprised at our wearing so few ornaments, but we told them it was the custom of our country, and they replied that it was good. I was not sorry that they so openly expressed their curiosity, as it gave us a better opportunity of gratifying our own. The apartment in which we were received was about 20 feet square, and rather low. Round it were smaller rooms, most of them crowded with small beds, with white muslin curtains; these were not particularly clean, and the whole suit seemed close and disagreeable. Most of the women were becomingly dressed. Fatima's arms, legs, and neck, were covered with rings and chains; her fingers and toes were loaded with rings; her head was surrounded with a fillet of pearls, some strings of which crossed it several ways, and confined her hair, which was knotted up behind. her forehead hung a cluster of coloured stones, from which depended a large pearl, and round her face small strings of
pearl hung at equal distances.
Her ear-rings were very beautiful; but I do not like the custom of boring the hem of the ear, and studding it all round with joys, or jewels, nor could even Fatima's beautiful face reconcile me to the nose jewel. Her large black eyes, the cheshme ahoo, stag eyes, of the eastern poets, were rendered more striking by the black streaks with which they were adorned and lengthened out at the corners; and the palms of her hands, the soles of her feet, and her nails, were stained with hinna, a plant, the juice of whose seeds is of a deep red colour.
• Fatima's manner is modest, gentle, and indolent. Before her husband she neither lifts her eyes nor speaks, and hardly moves without permission from the elder ladies of the harem. She presented us with perfumed sherbet (a drink little different from lemonade), fruit, and sweatmeats, chiefly made of ghee, poppy seeds, and sugar. Some of them were tolerably good, but it required all my good manners to swallow others. Prepared as I was to expect very little from mussulman ladies, I could not help being shocked to see them so totally void of cultivation as I found them. They mutter their prayers, and some of them read the koran, but not one in a thousand understands it. Still fewer can read their own language, or write at all, and the only work they do is a little embroidery. They thread beads, plait coloured threads, sleep, quarrel, make pastry, and chew betle, in the same daily round; and it is only at a death, a birth, or a marriage, that the monotory of their lives is ever interrupted. When I took leave, I was presented with flowers and paung, (chunam and betle nut wrapped in the leaf of an aromatic plant,) and sprinkled with rosewater.
• As visits in the east are matters of ceremony, not of kindness, they are considered as a burden on the visitor, from which the person visited relieves him, as soon as he is satisfied with his company, by ordering refreshments, or offering the paung, which is a signal to depart. The highest affront one can offer to an oriental, is to refuse his betle. Bernier tells a story of a young noble, who, to prove his loyalty, took and