The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Dilicaya Garden - Samarkand

Previous - Next

On Monday the 22nd of September, the lord went to another house and garden, which was surrounded by a high wall, and at each corner was a high round tower. In the middle there was a house in the shape of a cross, with a great pond in front; and this house was larger than those in any of the gardens which they had yet seen, and the work in gold and blue was the richest. These houses and gardens were outside the city, and this house was called Bagino. The lord ordered a great feast to be prepared, and the ambassadors were invited to it, and many people were assembled. In this feast, the lord gave an order that wine should be drunk, but the people are not. allowed to drink wine publicly, nor in secret, without permission. The wine is given after dinner, and they serve it out in such quantities, and so often, that it makes the men drunk; and they do not consider that there is either pleasure or festivity without being drunk. The attendants serve the wine on their knees, and when one cup is finished, they give another; and these men have no other duty, except to give another cup, as soon as the first is finished. As soon as one attendant is tired of filling the cups, another takes his place; and you must not think that one attendant supplies all, but he confines himself to one or two, so as to make them drink more; and those who do not wish to drink the wine, are told that they insult the lord, at whose request they drink. They give the cups full, and they must not leave any wine in them; and if they leave any, the attendants will not take the cup from them, but make them drink it all. They drink from one cup, once or twice, and if they are called upon to drink by their love of the lord, or by the lord's head, they must drink it all at one pull, without leaving a drop. They call the man who drinks the most wine Bahadur, which is as much as to say 'a valorous man' and he who does not drink, is made to do so, although he does not wish it {In those days most of the Mohammedan sovereigns of Central Asia died of delirium tremens; so that tobacco was a fortunate discovery for these people. Babur, in his Memoirs, gives some idea of the drinking propensities of himself and kindred}. On this day, before the ambassadors came to the lord, he sent one of his Meerzas, with a jug of wine, and a message, asking them to drink the wine before they came, so that they might arrive in a jovial mood. Before the lord arrived, they were seated according to the order observed at the previous interview; and the drinking lasted a long time. The food consisted of many roasted horses, boiled and roasted sheep, and rice cooked in their mode. After they had eaten, one of the Meerzas of the lord came with a silver basin, full of their silver coins, called Tagaes; and they scattered them over the ambassadors, and over the rest of the company, and when they had done this, they put what was left into the skirts of their clothes. The lord then caused the ambassadors to be clothed in robes, and they bowed their knees to him three times, according to the custom; and he said that they should come and dine with him again, on another day.