MR. BARRAUD. "Near a place called Semnoon, not many miles from Asterabad, there formerly stood a city of Guebres, named Dzedjin, with which a droll legend is connected: "'When Semnoon was built, the water with which it was supplied flowed from the city of the Guebres, who one day turned the stream, and cut off the supplies.
"Let me do all the offices of fair courtesy to so fair an antagonist," said the old gentleman, offering his arm. He rejected bells as used by Christians, trumpets as the summons of the Guebres, and finally adopted the human voice. I have had equal doubt concerning my dinner-call.
Voltaire has published a tragedy, called "Les Guèbres." Two Roman colonels open the piece: they are brothers, and relate to one another, how they lately in company destroyed, by the Emperor's mandate, a city of the Guèbres, in which were their own wives and children; and they recollect that they want prodigiously to know whether both their families did perish in the flames.
The first village they halted at was called Shadderron, where, having rested awhile, they continued their flight, strictly enjoining the inhabitants not to tell their pursuers the direction which they had taken. Shortly afterwards the Guebres arrived, and inquired where they had gone.
The head-quarters if they can be said to have any head-quarters of the Persian guebres are at Yezd, a city that is but little known to Europeans, and which is all but isolated from the remainder of the country by the great central desert.
Like the Brahm of the Hindus, the god of Epicurus and Confucius, and the Akarana-Zaman or Endless Time of the Guebres, Anyambia is a vague being, a vox et praeterea nihil, without personality, too high and too remote for interference in human affairs, therefore not addressed in prayer, never represented by the human form, never lodged in temples.
In certain quarters of Teheran one happens across a few remaining families of guebres, or fire-worshippers; remnant representatives of the ancient Parsee religion, whose devotees bestowed their strange devotional offerings upon the fires whose devouring flames they constantly fed, and never allowed to be extinguished.
Monsters, who need superstitions as crows' gizzards need carrion! you have been told it already, and there is nothing else to tell you if you have two religions in your countries, they will cut each other's throat; if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace. Look at the great Turk, he governs Guebres, Banians, Greek Christians, Nestorians, Romans.
Like all the people in these Mohammedan countries, who realize the weakness of their position as a small body among a fanatical population, the Teheran guebres have long been accustomed to consider themselves as under the protecting shadow of the English Legation; whenever they meet a "Sahib" on the street, they seem to expect a nod of recognition.
All that was left for them was to take care of their own souls; and fancying that they saw something like Plato's ideal republic in the pure monotheism of the Guebres, their philosophic emperor the Khozroo, and his holy caste of magi, seven of them set off to Persia, to forget the hateful existence of Christianity in that realised ideal. Alas for the facts!