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without doubt, are "the houses of clay" of which Job makes mention. The walls that inclose the courts of the houses, and the walls of the towns in Persia, are of the same construction, the thickness of those at the bottom being commenced in proportion to the intended height. The roofs of the peasants' houses have no projections; nor have they any windows; a hole in the roof is an outlet for the smoke, and admits a few rays of light.
Each house of the peasants in Persia has its open courts inclosed by walls; and the stables, barns, and out-houses, are entered by different doors from those which conduct to the apartments of the family. The premises in the villages are contiguous to each other for the sake of security; and it is possible to walk over the roofs through the whole length of a village without descending into the streets. As this implies, the roofs are not usually, as in towns, guarded by top-walls, though the inmates sleep on these in summer, the manners of the villagers being more simple, if not their morals more pure than those of the towns' people. The courts of these dwellings are usually, in some sort, farm-vards; but such is the fondness
of all kinds of Persians for flowers, that a small patch, even in the humblest court, is usually kept as a flower-garden. Another circumstance which agreeably distinguishes the villages of Persia from those of Turkey, is the presence of clumps of trees, in or near them; so that a traveller is enabled to distinguish his destined resting-place in the distance long before he reaches it.
The oven used in the villages is primitive and curious, and deserves description. It consists of a circular hole in the earth, in the middle of the chief room, about three feet deep, and perhaps two in width at the top and three at the bottom, with a flue entering it there, to convey air to the fire. This hole is internally coated with clay, which soon hardens into tile. The bread is drawn out in thin cakes, from two to three feet long, eight or ten inches wide, and scarcely the thickness of a common dinner-plate. It assumes this shape almost in a moment by the wonderful tact of the maker, who simply tosses a piece of dough rapidly from hand to hand. Thus drawn out like a membrane, it is laid upon a sort of cushion, and stuck on to the side of the oven, where it attaches and crisps in a few seconds, and
another, as quickly made ready, succeeds to the same place. Bread in the cities differs from this only in being made of flour more finely sifted, and in thicker cakes, which are baked at the bottom of large ovens paved with pebbles. The thin bread soon dries, and may long be preserved. Except on a journey, however, it is usually baked every day, and eaten fresh; and as every family bakes its own bread daily, there is none to sell any that may be accidentally required; whence the arrival of strangers soon occasions the master to give the same order "to bake cakes upon the hearth," which the arrival of the three seeming wayfarers induced Abraham to give to Sarah. We were always much interested with this and other Biblical recollections, in observing the regularity with which our arrival at any village habitation was followed by this operation of baking bread, which there were thus frequent opportunities of observing.
But the baking of bread is not the only use of the tanoor, or oven of the peasants. It serves also the important purpose of warming the room in winter most effectually, at a wonderfully small expenditure of fuel; which, indeed, in most parts of Persia, is very
scarce. That it may serve this purpose the more completely, it is converted into a tandoor, by laying a flat stone, or a large earthen covering, made for the purpose, over the top, and placing over this a frame resembling a low table, four or six feet square, and perhaps a foot high, and covering the whole with a large thick quilt, which extends to the ground on all sides. The oven is heated only once a day for baking and cooking. But the hole in the roof over it, being closed after the smoke has passed out, and the warmth retained in the oven in the manner described, a single fire is made to suffice for the whole twenty-four hours. The whole family encompass the tandoor, sitting on the ground, with their feet under the quilt, to keep themselves warm, which by this process is perfectly accomplished even in the coldest weather. At night, they spread their couches around it, and form a circle by placing their feet near the fire, while their heads radiate from it, and thus they socially sleep. Barbarous as this invention may seem, and unwholesome as it certainly is, it is by no means confined to the peasantry, but is found in the noblest mansions of the
cities, only burning more agreeable fuel than the villagers can command.
The Persians have no candles for lighting their houses. They have brass cups, fixed upon rods or stands of the same metal, which they fill with pure white tallow, having a cotton wick in the middle. Sometimes, however, they burn scented tapers, the wax of which has been mixed up with oil of cinnamon, or cloves, or some other scented substances, and which therefore emit a fragrance in burning.
The furniture of a Persian house is exceedingly simple when compared with ours, as indeed is the case in all eastern countries, except in China, where the movables are in number and variety scarcely inferior to our own. We find in the best Persian dwellings, neither beds sumptuously decorated, nor tables and chairs of costly wood, nor chandeliers and lustres, nor those numberless articles of various forms and materials with which Europeans decorate their apartments. The furniture consists of a thick coarse felt, which covers the floor, over which is spread a rich Persian carpet; people in middling circumstances content themselves with the felt alone. Instead of