Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 305 sador was deferred till the 20th of May, when a Court was held at Carlton House, and the greatest preparations made to receive the distinguished foreigner in a style suited to his rank, and worthy of the British Court. The civil and military force assembled in as great display as in 1814, when the Allied Sovereigns were in England. On the right side of the grand hall was placed a large painting of the King of Persia on horseback. ‘‘ The procession of his Excellency was preceded by a numerous detachment from the corps of Lancers, followed by six of the Prince Regent’s carriages, with servants in their state liveries, five of them drawn by six bays, and the sixth by six black horses, surrounded by a numerous detachment of Royal Horse Guards. The Arabian horses brought by his Excellency to England, as a present to the Prince Regent, were drawn up in front of Carlton House, in the courtyard, ut the time of the arrival of his Excellency. In five of the carriages were four of his Excellency’s attendants, dressed in the costume of their country, Mr. Morier, the highmander, and Captain Willock. Two of the caniages contained presents brought for the Prince Regent, among which was a magnificent, costly sword ; the sheath was ornamented with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds ; also two large silver salvers, on one of which was a splendid cabinet, and on the other a numerous collection of large pearls, and other valuable articles. ‘( His Excellency was attended in his carriage by the Marquis of Headford, who was specially appointed, with Sir Robert Chester, to conduct the ambassador into the presence of the Regent. His Excellency was dressed in a richly embroidered robe, his turban ornamented with jewels, and in his hand a silver stick or staff. His Excellencyleaned on the arm of Sir Robert Chester, being a little lame from a kick he received on Tuesday from one of his horses. The Prince Regent being seated on his throne, Viscount Castlcreagh, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Sir Robert Chester, the Master of the Ceremonies, introduced and conducted his Excellency into the presence of the Regent to deliver his credentials. His Excellency had the honour of an audience, and was graciously received. After the Ambassador had retired from the Royal presence, he viewed several of the State apartments previous to his departure.” At a ball subsequently given at Carlton House, the Prince Regent presented the Ambassador with a portrait of himself. The miniature, suspended by a blue ribbon, was placed by his Royal Highness round the neck of the Persiana condescension of which he seemed exceedingly proud. After residing in London nearly six months, and having visited and inspected every place of note, besides making several excursions into the country, to Epsom races, and elsewhere, Mirza Aboul began to prepare for his departure. Designing to return himself overland, he hired a vessel to convey his fair companion to Constantinople, from whence she would proceed to Persia. This much-talked-of female accordingly left London on the 30th of September. From an account of her departure, written apparently by one well acquainted with the circumstances, we gather the following interesting particulars respecting the “ Fair Circassian : ”- “That she is a native of Circassia is an undoubted fact ; and it is equally true that the inhabitants of that country are neither a polished nor a well-civilised people, but still they have the reputation of possessing many excellent qualities, and are proverbial for bravery and romantic hospitality. Constantly engaged in warfare or the chase, the males are a hardy Face of beings ; and it is a lamentable fact, that excites horror in the mind of a European, that their daughters, even in infancy, are made an article of traffic with the Turkish slave merchants, though they as frequently become subject to a state of vassalage from the chance of war. It is, however, believed that the female in question became so by the voluntary act of unfeeling parents for the sake of lucre j although, from every inquiry I have made, it cannot be reduced to a certainty. Be this as it may, she was undoubtedly a vassal of one of the Pashas of Constantinople, and waa ransomed VOL IL 2 R
Volume 9 Page 406
  Enlarge Enlarge  
306 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. from her servitude by his Excellency the Persian Ambassador, during his residence in that city on his way to England. Embracing the Mohammedan faith, her creed enjoins her to observe the strictest privacy ; and on no account to expose her features, or even her figure, to any of the male sex, excepting to particular individuals by the special permission of her lord or protector. * “I am constrained to confess that her conntenance is far more lovely and interesting than really beautiful ; and it is a mistaken notion that the Circassian women are the most celebrated for beauty of any of the inhabitants in the countries round the Caucasus, as it is the Georgian women who are entitled to this distinction. To attempt a description of the female in question, we may say with great truth, that her eyes are black and remarkably fine, adorned with arched black eyebrows, and fringed with long eyelashes of the same colour ; and her whole countenance is expressive of peculiar modesty and a becoming a d e n c e , that is very pleasing ; and, joined with a natural and easy politeness, and a sweetness of disposition, renders her altogether a most interesting young creature. Her teeth are beautiful, and her mouth good, though her lips are rather thick than otherwise. Her nose is far from handsome. Her hair is a fine, soft, and glossg jet, which she arranges in a very tasteful manner, and highly becoming her countenance, which, indeed, is of no ordinary description, and particularly when enlivened with a smile. Her complexion is brunette, but by no means of 80 dark a hue as the pictures in the Print-shops exhibit to the public eye ; yet several ladies have asserted that her skin is very soft and clear, and that a Mush has been frequently seen to mantle over her cheek. She is rather below the middle stature, and is considered a remarkably good figure for a Circassian, who by art acquire a very slender waist, which makes them broader about the shoulders than is pleasing to the eye of a European, and destroys the contours of proportionable beauty. She appeared to be,:about twenty years of age, though it is said she has only arrived at eighteen. Her dialect is Turkish, which indeed is the general language of Persia, particularly in the northern parts ; the pure Persian being considered as the language of the Court of Tehran. She has, however, some knowledge of this, as well as of the English tongue. The name by which she is:distinguished is Dill Arurn, which are two Persian words, signifying hean! and quiet; but the more general and appropriate application corresponds with the small and favourite flower called “Heart’# Ease.” The writer then goes on to state that ‘‘ it proves the superiority of Dil2 Amcm. as much as it bespeaks the noble and generous disposition of Mirza Aboul Hassan Khan, that he not only released her from vassalage, but faithfully adopted her as the partner of his bosom.” To his Excellency’s affection and anxiety for her safety the writer attribntes her departure by sea, and considers it “particularly honourable to his feelings that he would rather forego the pleasures of her society,” than subject her to the unavoidable constraints and fatigues of an overland journey. The vessel engaged for her conveyance was a new coppered brig, the Lord Exmouth, fitted up in a comfortable manner for the voyage. The fair Circassian was accompanied by the Ambassador‘s two nephews, Mirza Abul Tallib, and Abbas Begg (the latter of whom was in England with his Excellency on the former embassy), and other confidential servants. “ At eight o’clock on Monday morning, the 30th September, three carriages mere in attendance in the immediate vicinity of the residence of the Ambassador, in Charles Street, Berkeley Square ; and shortly after the first coach was occupied by three of the Persians who were to accompany her to Persia. In the second coach was seated the Circassian lady, with three other Persians, two of whom were the Ambassador’s nephews, and a Persian attendant mounted the coach-box. The last coach contained Lieut.-Colonel DArcy, of the Royal Artillery, who was a resident in Persia for five years, aud commanded the military party of the embassy under Sir Gore Ouseley ; and who, for his eminent and extensive services in that country, was elevated by the Shah to the rank of Khan, with the title of Alijah or Honourable, and invested with the Persian order of the Lion and Sun. He was accompanied by Captain George Willock (who is attached to the present embassy from Persia, and is brother to the British Charge d’Affaires at Tehran), and also by Mr. Percy, the Persian accountant, who likewise acts as a confidential secretary. They proceeded along the principal streets on their way to the Artichole Tavern,
Volume 9 Page 407
  Enlarge Enlarge