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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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  Page 356  

356                JOURNEY TO KACHEMIRE

bread, and a .sourai of Ganges water (with which, like
every person attached to the court, he has laden several
camels)! should be presented to me every morning. A
sourai is that tin flagon of water, covered with red cloth,
which a servant carries before his master's horse. It com¬
monly holds a quart, but mine is purposely made to contain
two, a device which I hope may succeed. This flagon
keeps the water very cool, provided the cloth which covers
it be always moist. The servant who bears it in his hand
should also continue in motion and agitate the air; or it
should be exposed to the wind, which is usually done by
putting the flagon on three neat little sticks arranged
so that it may not touch the ground. The moisture
of the cloth, the agitation of the air, or exposure to
the wind, is absolutely necessary to keep the water
fresh, as if this moisture, or rather the water which has
been imbibed by the cloth, arrested the little bodies, or
fiery particles, existing in the air at the same time that
it affords a passage to the nitrous or other particles
which impede motion in the water and produce cold,
in the same manner as glass arrests water, and allows
light to pass through it, in consequence of the contexture
and particular disposition of the particles of glass, and the
difference which exists between the minute particles of
water and those of light. It is only in the field that this
tin flagon is used. When at home, we put the water
into jars made of a certain porous earth, which are covered
with a wet cloth; and, if exposed to the wind, these jars
keep the water much cooler than the flagon. The
higher sort of people make use of saltpetre, whether in
town or with the army. They pour the water, oi^ any
other liquid they may wish to cool, into a tin flagon,
round and long-necked, as I have seen English glass
bottles. The flagon is then stirred, for the space of
seven or eight minutes, in water into which three or four
bandfuls of saltpetre have been thrown. The liquid thus
! See p. 221.
  Page 356