A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
which is brought in great abundance from a city named Balascam, where also great plenty of Castoreum is procured and various kinds of colours.  The reason why so very little true Castoreum is found among us is because it is adulterated by the Persians before it comes to our hands[57].  The way to prove true castoreum is by smelling, and if genuine and unadulterated it makes the nose bleed, as I saw proved on four persons in succession.  When genuine and unadulterated, castoreum will preserve its flavour for ten years.  The Persians are a courteous and gentle people, liberal and generous towards each other, and kind to strangers, as I found by experience.  While here, I met with a Persian merchant to whom I was known in the year before when at Mecca.  This man was born in the city of Eri in Chorozani, and as soon as he saw me he knew me again, and asked by what fortune I had come into that country.  To this I answered, “that I had come thither from a great desire to see the world.”  “Praised be God, said he, that I have now found a companion of the same mind with myself.”  He exhorted me not to depart from him, and that I should accompany him in his journeys, as he meant to go through the chief parts of the world.

[Footnote 55:  In the rambling journey of Verthema, we are often as here unable to discover the meaning of his strangely corrupted names.  Chorazani or Chorassan is in the very north of Persia, at a vast distance from Ormuz, and he pays no attention to the particulars of his ten days journey which could not have been less than 400 miles.  We are almost tempted to suspect the author of romancing.—­E.]

[Footnote 56:  Supposing that the place in the text may possibly mean Shiras, the author makes a wonderful skip in three days from the Euphrates to at least 230 miles distance—­E.]

[Footnote 57:  What is named Castoreum in the text was probably musk, yet Russia castor might in those days have come along with rhubarb through Persia.—­E.]

I accordingly remained with him for fifteen days in a city named Squilaz, whence we went in the first place to a city named Saint Bragant[58], which is larger than Babylon of Egypt and is subject to a Mahometan prince, who is said to be able to take the field when occasion requires with 60,000 horsemen.  This I say only from the information of others, as we could not safely pass farther in that direction, by reason of the great wars carried on by the Sophy against those Mahometans who follow the sect of Omar, who are abhorred by the Persians as heretics and misbelievers, while they are of the sect of Ali which they consider as the most perfect and true religion.  At this place my Persian friend, as a proof of his unfeigned friendship, offered to give me in marriage his niece named Samis, which in their language signifies the Sun, which name she well deserved for her singular beauty.  As we could not travel any farther by

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