38 JOURNEYS IN PERSIA LETTER xvn
is that knife to a woman ?" he asks daily. Now he says
that I have given him many things but I have never
given him money, and he must have a purse of money.
" Why can you do so much more than our women ?"
he often asks. His astonishment that I can read, and
yet more that I can write, is most amusing. " Can
many women in your country write ?" he asked. " Can
your Queen read and write ? Can she embroider as you
do ?" At first he thought that I only pretended to
write, but was convinced when I sent a letter to tl^
He usually appears when a number of sick people
come, interprets their dialect into good Persian for Mirza,
and beats and pelts them with stones when they crowd
too closely, but they do not care. Sometimes when I say
that nothing that I have can do a sick person any good
he begs " for my sake " that I will try, and when I still
decline he goes away in a tantrum, cursing, and shaking
his wide shulwars with an angry strut, but is soon back
again with fresh demands.
He spreads his prayer-carpet and goes through his
devotions thrice a day, but somehow " Aziz Khan pray-
ing" seems to suggest some ludicrous idea, even to his
co-religionists. "Feringhis don't fear God," he said to
me; " they never worship." I told him he was wrong,
that many are very devout. He said," Does-------pray ?"
mentioning a European. I said "Most certainly," and
he walked away with the sneering laugh of a fiend. He
is a complete child of nature. He says what he thinks,
and acts chiefly as he pleases, but withal there is a
gentlemanliness and a considerable dignity about him.
I think that his ruling religion is loyalty to Isfandyar
Khan, and consequent hatred of the Ilkhani and all his
other enemies. Going through a pantomimic firing of an
English rifle he said, " I hope I may shoot the Shah with