Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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312                              THE GENTILES

kindred, among whom stood the young tailor, invited
thither with other musicians to play on the tambourine
according to the custom of the country. Approaching the
lover as if she intended to take a last and tender adieu,
the infuriated creature seized him with a firm grasp by
the collar, drew him with irresistible force to the edge of
the pit, and precipitated herself headlong, with the object
of her resentment, into the midst of the raging fire.

As I was leaving Sourate for Persia, I witnessed the
devotion and burning of another widow: several English¬
men and Dutchmen and Monsieur Chardin! of Paris were
present. She was of the middle age, and by no means
uncomely. I do not expect, with my limited powers of
expression, to convey a full idea of the brutish boldness,
or ferocious gaiety depicted on this woman's countenance;
of her undaunted step; of the freedom from all perturba¬
tion with which she conversed, and permitted herself to be
washed; of the look of confidence, or rather of insensibility
which she cast upon us; of her easy air, free from dejec¬
tion ; of her lofty carriage, void of embarrassment, when
she was examining her little cabin, composed of dry and
thick millet straw, with an intermixture of small wood;
when she entered into that cabin, sat down upon the
funeral pile, placed her deceased husband's head in her

^ .Sir (then simply Monsieur) John Chardin, the celebrated traveller,
was born at Paris in 1643, and died in London in 1713, and was buried
in Westminster Abbey, where his monument bears the very appropriate
inscription, Nomen sibi fecit eundo. His first journey was to Persia
and India in 1665, and while there he received the patronage (his
business was that of a jeweller) of Shah Abbas II. He returned to
Paris in 1670, and in 1671 he again set out for Persia and India, and
in 1677 he returned to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope. A Protes¬
tant, the persecution going on in P'rance led him to settle in London
in 1681, where he was appointed Court Jeweller and knighted by
Charles II. Chardin was in Surat in 1667 and in 1677, and it must
have been in 1667 that Bernier met him there; as we know from the
date of this letter to Monsieur Chapelain (see p. 300) that Bernier was
in Sheraz in October 1667, after his return from India, vid Surat,
and, most probably. Bandar Abbassi.
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