You may imagine that you have been in the place
before, you seem to know it so well!
The beauty of that poetry is, to me, that it was never too
handsome; there is no fatigue of sublimity about it. Shacabac and
the little Barber play as great a part in it as the heroes; there
are no uncomfortable sensations of terror; you may be familiar with
the great Afreet, who was going to execute the travellers for
killing his son with a date-stone. Morgiana, when she kills the
forty robbers with boiling oil, does not seem to hurt them in the
least; and though King Schahriar makes a practice of cutting off
his wives' heads, yet you fancy they have got them on again in some
of the back rooms of the palace, where they are dancing and playing
on dulcimers. How fresh, easy, good-natured, is all this! How
delightful is that notion of the pleasant Eastern people about
knowledge, where the height of science is made to consist in the
answering of riddles! and all the mathematicians and magicians
bring their great beards to bear on a conundrum!
When I got into the bazaar among this race, somehow I felt as if
they were all friends. There sat the merchants in their little
shops, quiet and solemn, but with friendly looks. There was no
smoking, it was the Ramazan; no eating, the fish and meat fizzing
in the enormous pots of the cook-shops are only for the Christians.
The children abounded; the law is not so stringent upon them, and
many wandering merchants were there selling figs (in the name of
the Prophet, doubtless) for their benefit, and elbowing onwards
with baskets of grapes and cucumbers.
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