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of reasoning, there will be no end of it till we come to consider the life of a beast the most desirable of all. But let us return to the room. The carpet, being the only moveable article of furniture, requires to be noticed. It is perhaps because the carpets form the principal article of furniture, that the Turks and Persians have brought the manufacture of carpets to a point of perfection which we in Europe have not yet been able to equal. You know how much Turkey and Persian carpets are prized even in this country. I need not describe them to you. You have seen them and trod upon them often. You have, moreover, trod upon them with your shoes on, which is more than you might dare to do either in Turkey or in Persia. Indeed, we hardly deserve to have such fine carpets as they have in the East, while we tread upon them with our dirty boots and shoes. That is a Turkey carpet in our drawing-room, and the carpet in my study is Persian.
F. I will take off my shoes before I come in, if you please, Uncle.
Jane. So will I.
U. 0. I am much obliged to you ; but I shall be well content if, instead of taking off
your shoes, you take off the dirt from them, by scraping and wiping them well, when you come in from the garden.-Well; the Persians cover their rooms, in the first place, with a mat of rushes--sometimes an Indian mat, which is an article well known in England also. Over this they lay their carpets; and upon the carpet they place a long and narrow piece of thick and soft felt, (which they call nummud) along the sides and top of the room, next to the wall. This felt which is stamped with rich patterns upon the natural colour, which is what we call stonecolour, is doubled to make it more comfortable, and is then about three feet in width. At the top of the room it is broader, it being there that the master usually sits with any persons who call to see him.
H. Suppose, Sir, there are too many to sit there?
U. 0. They then arrange themselves according to their rank, along the sides of the room. The top of the room is the most honourable place—as it is indeed with ourselves when such matters are attended to—and the least honourable is nearest the door.
H. We are to understand that they sit upon the ground, covered in this way, without chairs ? U. O. Yes. Their way of sitting is to kneel down, and then to let their bodies sink back, so that they would sit upon their heels if they did not take care to put their feet as wide asunder as they can, in order that the lower end of their body may rest upon the ground. English travellers call this “sitting upon the heels,” but this gives us a wrong impression ; for while their heels are certainly under their bodies, yet the weight of the body itself rests upon the ground, although the legs and feet help something to support it. Sitting crosslegged, like tailors, which is the common way among the Turks, is not considered a respectful posture in Persia; it is used, however, sometimes, particularly by persons who are too fat to sit comfortably in the regular Persian way.
H. That way of sitting back between their heels must be a very uncomfortable one.
U. O. I do not see that. It might be uncomfortable to you who never tried it ; but to the Persians who learnt it in infancy and have practised it all their lives, it is the most comfortable of all sitting postures. However, if you understand my description you may as well try at once how you like it.
Henry kneels upon the grass ; and then sits back, but immediately after rolls himself over upon the grass, exclaiming, -Oh!
U. O. Oh!— Well, you could not have done it comfortably at first, even if you had done it correctly; but you threw yourself back with too much force, and that, too, upon your heels, instead of between them, so that your weight rested on your toes, which are not calculated to bear such a burden.
H. I wonder how the little children can learn it?
U. O. There is no wonder at all in that: the wonder is, that men who have never been used to it can learn it. Any child that can sit at all, can at once sit comfortably as the Persians do; and it is only difficult when the motion of the knee-joints becomes restrained by the habit of never bending them so far as the postures of the Persians and Turks require. Until I considered this, I used to be much astonished, and also amused, to see the perfect ease with which I saw very little children squat themselves down on the ground in a posture which I found it so difficult to learn.
F. Then you did learn it, Uncle ?
U. O. Yes; and also to sit cross-legged.
F. (Insinuatingly) And will you please, dear Uncle, to do it now?
U. O. No, Frank; excuse me. Age stiffens the joints, and I am now too old to do many things which I could once do with ease. It is certainly difficult for one who has been accustomed to chairs all his life, to learn to sit either cross-legged or on his heels. Yet you see that our tailors learn to sit quite at ease in the former posture; and what is more, they learn to do it on the hard bare boards, which is what neither Turks nor Persians would like. It is, however, more difficult to learn the Persian method, because it bends the joints more, and I could never bear it for more than a quarter of an hour or so; but I could sit for hours together cross-legged, with as much ease, and more comfort, than in a chair.
H. More comfort, Sir?
U. O. Yes ; and if I could have accustomed my joints to bend sufficiently, I have no doubt I might have said the same of the other posture. In fact, I think both postures rather too comfortable for health, being the postures of the most perfect repose that can be imagined next to