MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.
Persian camp, where all was already alive and stirring.  Here are arranged on the sand, baskets full of eggs and dates, flanked by piles of bread and little round cakes of white butter; bundles of fire-wood are heaped up close by, and pails of goat’s or camel’s milk abound; and amid all these sit rows of countrywomen, haggling with tall Persians, who in broken Arabic try to beat down the prices, and generally end by paying only double what they ought.  The swaggering, broad-faced, Bagdad camel-drivers, and ill-looking, sallow youths stand idle everywhere, insulting those whom they dare, and cringing to their betters like slaves.  Persian gentlemen, too, with grand hooked noses, high caps, and quaintly-cut dresses of gay patterns, saunter about, discussing their grievances, or quarrelling with each other, to pass the time, for, unlike an Arab, a Persian shows at once whatever ill-humour he may feel, and has no shame in giving it utterance before whomever may be present; nor does he, with the Arab, consider patience to be and essential point of politeness and dignity.  Not a few of the townsmen are here, chatting or bartering; and Bedouins, switch in hand.  If you ask any chance individual among these latter what has brought him hither, you may be sure beforehand that the word “camel,” in one or other of its forms of detail, will find place in the answer.  Criers are going up and down the camp with articles of Persian apparel, cooking pots, and ornaments of various descriptions in their hands, or carrying them off for higher bidding to the town.

Having made our morning household purchases at the fair, and the sun being now an hour or more above the horizon, we think it time to visit the market-place of the town, which would hardly be open sooner.  We re-enter the city gate, and pass on our way by our house door, where we leave our bundle of eatables, and regain the high street of Berezdah.  Before long we reach a high arch across the road; this gate divides the market from the rest of the quarter.  We enter.  First of all we see a long range of butchers’ shops on either side, thickly hung with flesh of sheep and camel, and very dirtily kept.  Were not the air pure and the climate healthy, the plague would assuredly be endemic here; but in Arabia no special harm seems to follow.  We hasten on, and next pass a series of cloth and linen warehouses, stocked partly with home-manufacture, but more imported; Bagdad cloaks and head-gear, for instance; Syrian shawls and Egyptian slippers.  Here markets follow the law general throughout the East, that all shops or stores of the same description should be clustered together; a system whose advantages on the whole outweigh its inconveniences, at least for small towns like these, in the large cities and capitals of Europe, greater extent of locality requires evidently a different method of arrangement:  it might be awkward for the inhabitants of Hyde Park were no hatters to be found nearer than the Tower.  But what is Berezdah

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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